Huckleberry Season

I really do love the area where we live.

If I could create the most perfect environment it would be:

– a farm 15 minutes from the LC valley
– no potlatch (but don’t worry, everyone with jobs there would have fabulous jobs somewhere else, I promise)
– the Pacific Ocean (like so-cal temp) 45 minutes away
– 80 degree summers with 45 degree winters
-morels in the spring and huckleberries in the summer

One down.

Yesterday we packed the kids up and headed to the mountains to find huckleberries.

On the way, we spotted lots of wild turkeys.

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One group had 4 little babies with them and they were so ugly they were cute. And will make some Thanksgiving dinner table very delicious.

We went up through Cloverland (through Asotin) and drove quite a while before hitting the Umatilla Nat’l Forest.

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I was having deja vu. I thought we were going on another 6 hour trail ride with the Overland truck people. Dan assured me it wouldn’t be like that and he was right.

Not long after following the dirt road through the mountains, we spotted the tiny delicious berries.

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Holy cow, you guys. There are few things more satisfying than eating a huckleberry straight off the bush. (maybe seeing someone you dislike getting a speeding ticket, receiving a package via UPS or FedEx, or making enough milk to nourish a small country.  Those are all very satisfying.)

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[it looks like she’s disgusted, but she’s not…she had just popped one in her mouth.]

But, there’s one drawback. It takes forever to pick the suckers. After 40 minutes, this is how many I got:

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It might be because every 10th one or so, I’d pop it in my mouth. But still. It took a long time.

Danny was a trooper and took huckleberry hunting very seriously.

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Our fingers turned purple….

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…but after a few hours, we filled up our little bucket.

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We would have filled it a lot faster if this little stinker would have helped:

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But he didn’t have the right shoes.

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After 4 kids, you’d think I’d have this down: getting in the car with the appropriate shoes. But I cannot tell you how many times I tell the kids to get their shoes on and then forget to double-check with them that they did. We have been known to walk into Albertson’s with Alice wearing one of Jamie’s Crocs and a rain boot. Sometimes Jamie is wearing flip flops when he should be wearing hiking shoes.

You win some, you lose some.

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Of course, before we left to go home, we had to sample some.

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Cute.

And then we left.

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So what’s a huckleberry?

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I’ve read that you can only find huckleberries in our area as well as Louisiana. Which seems odd to me. And I have no idea if that is true or not. But I will say that the other day I was watching Chopped and it was a New Orleans edition and one of the ingredients was huckleberries. I don’t know. But I do know that the little berries arrive in early August, but if you wait just a bit, they get bigger and juicier a little later in the month. They are kind of like blueberries but much more flavorful and MUCH juicier. They’re better.

When we got home, we rested and then Danny whipped up some dinner.

Steak, rice, and this veggie hash (minus the potatoes):

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It was really delicious.

Baby version:

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Jamie version:

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So uncharacteristic of Jamie — his veggies are untouched and there are finger tracks in the ketchup. Hmmm.  At least the area around his plate is spotlessly clean.

The only child who really appreciated it was Charlotte. Thank God for Charlotte.

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[Let’s take a moment to admire those lashes, shall we?]

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After dinner, we went to swim.

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[yep, Jamie sans floaties. He swims now. Like…in the deep end. Without assistance.]

Some of us swam, some of us sat on Lala’s lap and ate crackers.

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And I think that’s exactly how a Sunday should be done.

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