Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And to think I saw it on my mulberry tree

Aren't they gorgeous?

In a slightly ramshackle, rough around the edges, are sure sure it's okay to eat this way?

Mulberries are too often maligned.  "They're messy," so many over the years have said.  "Birds eat them and, well, you know..." trail off others.  "They're not really that pretty."


In my former house, once my home, we shared mulberry trees along the property line.  TREES.  Not bushes.  Over 40 feet tall.  Probably over 50.  I know I don't exaggerate, because at the time we lived in an old three story house whose two main floors, above grade, had 10' ceilings, and the attic flew even higher in the center.  I estimate conservatively because people would visit, people who had even seen mulberry *trees,* and they would comment on the beautiful large trees and how special they were and what kind were they, anyway?  And it was often hard to convince them that they were mulberries.  Unless, of course, it was a certain time of year.

With a tree like that, one person's "messy" is another person's "thank goodness, because we would never reach those berries any other way."

In the current house, which is my home, the tree is not majestic.  Nor is it a shrub.  It is a something that probably was a shrubby tree a few years before we moved in, but now is a non-central trunk tree.  Young, but tree.  Some judicious pruning might make it more architecturally attractive, but it does not set roots from my property, so I cannot make that decision.  Besides, in its tenacious shrubby somebody forgot about it even through the construction of the house on the land that was once a farm behind us means that maybe it carries the mojo of survival.

I thank it for that.  For the shade it brings to that corner, for doing its part to break up a vista that would be, well...a nearly blank wall.  For feeding the birds.  Yes, the birds.  Birds love mulberries, it is true.  In fact, they are recommended as a companion crop for someone trying to raise fruit trees.  I think it works.

Check it.

Mulberries and cherries living together.
Hands reaching hands.

I tell you, we get plenty of cherries.

So, yeah, birds eat them.  Thank goodness.

Yes.  They are messy underfoot.  Yes, there is an odd fermenting smell for a couple of weeks while they macerate on your path or in your lawn.  Yes, that juice is INTENSE in color and will stain just about anything it touches.

(Those beautiful bearded iris, the purple grape smelling ones?  They stain, too.)

Life is an exchange.  I like this deal.

I've seen trees torn down because people didn't like the "mess"--cottonwood, mulberry, serviceberry, maple, what have you.  It doesn't really matter; a lot of trees are "messy" at some point in the year.  The ones that are bred not to be generally end up decidedly unhardy, and certainly not productive.

Okay, fine.  I'll rephrase the question.  Aren't these mulberries a gorgeous hot mess?

By the way, mulberries are the one natural food for a silkworm.

Let you think I am reaching too hard to make a silk purse out of a...well, a mulberry mess.

Random things mulberry:

I found a recipe for mulberry-rhubarb shortcake that I'd like to try.  Extended cool and rain (except when it has been extraordinarily muggy and hot) means I've still got harvestable rhubarb when the mulberries are ready.  Hunh.   

Project Mulberry is a book, for children, by Linda Sue Park.  Target audience is younger than her book My Name is Keoko.  In it, a mulberry tree ends up being the means to draw a diverse group of characters together.  Science fair, silkworms, stereotypes both external and internalized.  And the use of the term "snot brain," which disturbs some.  (See Amazon reader reviews.)  ((Thought I'd go for Theodor Geisel, didn't you?  Nah.  But you should.  ;) ))

Mulberry perfume?  Couldn't think of one off the top of my head.  Found a 2011 release of Lily by Koto Perfumes, but the "mulberry" in it is "mulberry leaf."  Going to go back out and investigate...and I'm back.  Leaf torn, crushed.  It's...well, leafy green, actually much like a lettuce.  But, unique?  Like, say, tomato leaf?  Not particularly.  Hmm.  

And then there is this.  Set your tea cup down.  Pon Farr.
Get your groove on with Uhura and Spock, and settle into base notes of sandalwood, peach and mulberry.  I should have known.  That's what I get for urging open-mindedness with trees.  Karma, returned in perfume form.

all images author's own, obtained without stainage...i think


Musette said...

SS - you blaspheme, though I suspect it is an honest error, as both women have similar profiles and all futuristic hairstyles are persackly the same! :-D. Uhura would NEVER Pon Farr with Spock, as she'd already clinched with Captain James Tiberius Kirk in the first interracial kiss on network TV!

That lady is no lady - that is Spock's wife, the diabolically logical T'Pring.

Live long and prosper, baby.

Anonymous said...


Did you buy a bottle?

I have never eaten mulberries. We have wild blackberry bushes growing all over the farm, along various fencerows, and the berries will be ripe about the 2nd or 3rd week of July. So then the kids and I will go and pick and dodge bees and wasps and thorns, and get blackberry stains all over our clothes... Yum.

ScentScelf said...


BWA HA HA HA!!!! OMG, I have been schooled. You are so right! Good thing I never pretended to have a full Trekkie license. But, yes, I do plead the hair, which you are quite right, was pretty much this or that Nurse Chapel bob. Okay, not just the hair, but also that music, which was like some space disco interpretation of a Barry White experience...

So, you're saying the interracial line was one Roddenberry would cross, but not the woman of multiple paramours one? ;)

Yes, goodness; now that I remember Spock's wife, I am frightened all over again.

ScentScelf said...


I have not bought a bottle. Perhaps some sort of 7-madness, a Perfume Itch, if you will, will strike me, at which point I will desperately seek a bottle or die.

Oh....oh oh oh....wild blackberries. It has been a while since I knew where to find a pocket of those. You are so right...bees and wasps and heat and pickers and stains and...yum. :)

Vanessa said...

The intergalactic backdrop to the Pon Farr video is mulberry coloured!!

Not forgetting the great handbags of that name...Suitably slubby/knobbly like the fruit.

ScentScelf said...

Quite right! Though I blame you for subjecting me to that music again, since I went back to get hep to the hue.

Ah, the Mulberrys. Again, quite right! I'm surprised Musette there, who has confessed to naming her bags in print, didn't bring that up. No doubt she was overly distressed by my Pon Farr faux pas.