Saturday, October 29, 2011

dog rose jamming

ordinary rocks worth stopping for on a bright and beautiful day
wild rose dog berries
spells and mixtures
When I left this morning for the farmer's market I noticed the wild rose bush behind my adobe wall and how it was decorated like a Christmas tree with red hips. Usually we leave them for the birds (and bears?). This day though, they looked so glorious in the sun, and there were so many, that I was compelled to do something about them. So I donned leather garden gloves, a pair of clippers, and with curious Spike an inch away the whole time, picked as many of the hips as possible without exposing myself to zillions of tiny nasty thorns, knife-like yucca leaves, and the low reaching arms of the apricot tree (still full of yellow leaves). All of these things are thriving in one modest square of space and it's dangerous! An hour later, a bit scratched and with a few thorns stuck in my sweater, I assessed the harvest.
About a quart's worth. Don't know if I'll be able to successfully make jam. (I could string them and wear as love-attracting beads). I tried making rose hip jelly once (I already had the lover). It was many years ago in Naragansett, using wild beach rose hips. The recipe came from an old reissued 1939 book filled with quaint centuries-old lore. Months later, we opened one of the jars when we stayed at the cottage, and the jelly was watery and tart. But now I've found a 21st century recipe that incorporates an orange, a green apple, sugar, water, butter, and hope.
What I did learn from the olden times recipe book is that my particular thorny bushes are called dog roses (Eglantine) and the pulp should be removed with the aid of a bodkin. Princess Alexandre Gazarine (1924) wrote that dog roses are best for jam. And that roses planted in the garden attract fairies, and are said to grow best when stolen. So there. How can I fail?

There is a bit of magic in the air this late afternoon and my mood swings from joy to gloom, from enthusiasm to laziness, clarity to confusion. The sun is low now and filling all the rooms with buttery light. Anything is possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment