Birthday Garden Party

Today I went to my neighbor’s 90th birthday party.  She is such a lovely lady! Unfortunately her husband passed away earlier this year. Whenever I’ve visited her on the street or her house she talks about him.

Now I realize one of the many reasons why he was so amazing.  In the back yard (where I’d never been before) he created grape arbors and a pond, a smokehouse, a canning kitchen!!! an art studio, rows of apples, pears, plums, raspberries, red and black currants, a root cellar, and a quail run.

Let me tell you, he knew how to live, and how to eat! I heard stories of smoked salmon and smoked liver pate, cold smoking and hot smoking, as well as how he took loving care of everything.  In the root cellar still in the wine racks were all types of handmade wine and cordials, tons of canning jars, and bushel baskets where the fruit from the trees were stored for use through the winter.

And then, just when I was taking my leave, I saw, behind the outdoor grill area, these:

Maybe you know what they are, but you probably have never seen them in a store.  I know I haven’t — they’re elderberries.  You can make a lovely drink from the flowers. You can make a great drink from the berries as well.

You can make wine, cordials, syrups (that are especially good for you when you have a cough — in fact I’ve seen elderberry extract in natural cough drops, and a natural syrup made for coughs in the health food store).

If you happen to see these berries on a tree in your own yard, you’re lucky.  If you can forage these, it’s worth it!

I’m using them for jelly and I will bring my neighbor a jar as a belated 90th birthday. But I will keep some jars for myself, so I’m the lucky one.

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