Friday, August 5, 2011

Blueberry Smiles

By: Lacy Sellent, Writing Fellow at the Cable Natural History Museum

A few years ago my friends convinced me to head north on a blueberry expedition.  We took the back roads and kept driving until we ran out of pavement. Then we drove some more.  I have yet to tell anyone where we went.  Like a fisherman that never gives up his secret fishing hole, I cannot reveal the secret berry picking spot.  Which may or may not be due to the fact that I had no idea where we were in the first place.  After the drive, we found ourselves in the middle of a blueberry paradise.  There were so many berries that, at first, I just stood and stared at them all.

Some berries were small; no bigger than a pencil eraser.  Other berries were bigger than baby toes. Before long, we began checking to see who had found the biggest blueberry. This involved a little eye rolling when someone purposely held up their puniest berry.  We laughed a bit to think of all the animals we were scaring away with our little ruckus.  Then we quieted down.  All I could hear was the creaking of the trees as they swayed in the breeze and the soft plop of blueberries into our buckets.  What a great way to spend summer days.

Healthy on cereal, tasty in smoothies—blueberries make the perfect summer treat.  These scrumptious little morsels can be picked from mid July into August.  Depending on what the temperature has been like, blueberries may bloom at slightly different times each year.  Some years the peak of the blueberry season is in July.  Other years the peak may be in August.  Each year it varies. 

The blueberry bushes native to Wisconsin (Vaccinium angustifolium) are short, rarely getting to be much more than foot tall, but can live in a colder climate.  They prefer rocky or sandy soil and grow throughout the state. Some highbush blueberry varieties can only grow further south.  This is because the plant can’t survive more than a hundred and sixty days of frost.  In northern Wisconsin, there may still be frost in May.  Then, as early as September, the frost may be back again.  That makes quite a few days of frost. 

Picking blueberries doesn’t take a lot of skill.  There is no height requirement.  This is the kind of activity that anyone from kid to grandparent can partake in.  Not to mention it’s rich in outdoor fun.  I don’t know what it is about picking blueberries that I like so much.  I can’t quite put my finger on any one thing.  All I know is that, when I finally close my eyes after a day of berry picking, I see nothing but blueberries…and I can’t help but smile. 

For over 44 years, the Museum has served as a guide and mentor to generations of visitors and residents interested in learning to better appreciate and care for the extraordinary natural resources of the region. The Museum invites you to visit its facility in Cable at 13470 County Highway M. The new exhibit, The Joy of Birds: Feathers in Focus opened in May, 2011. Find us on the web at to learn more about our exhibits and programs. Also discover us on Facebook, or at our blogspot,

No comments:

Post a Comment