Quilting, Farming, Variety

Monday, June 8, 2015

A Repost: Standing the Test of Time

Forty four years ago we moved onto our own land, ten acres, with plans to build a new house. The Farmer was just finishing work on his doctorate at the university, and after feeling more or less as a stranger in the big city, I felt happy to be in the country again. We rented a trailer to live in while the house was being built, and had it put in the shade of this mulberry tree.

The month was May, and the berries were at their peak of ripeness, falling and covering the ground underneath. We set up a swing set for our three little girls who now could run and play without the confinement of a fenced back yard, and their beautiful childish voices echoed across the land as they sang "Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so." And every night their little feet and the seats of their panties were stained purple from the mulberries.
I have no way of knowing how long the tree had been here before we bought the land, but it's weathered many storms; perhaps the three trunks give support to one another. It is just outside the yard fence and the cattle take shade underneath its branches in the summer, wearing away the dirt from the roots on that side of the fence.

The dead limbs are signs that the old tree is under stress; most of the time, before I mow the yard, there are several sticks to pick up.

But the roots inside the fence must be providing moisture for the tree, because once again, the limbs are full of green berries, and when they get ripe there will be a mass feeding for the birds, raccoons and terrapins, not to mention the flies who come to drink in the intoxication of the souring berries.
I guess old-timers used the berries for making jelly, but I don't particularly like the taste of them.
I wonder how long a mulberry tree can stand the test of time. Do you like mulberries or do you have a tree on your property?

[This was originally posted in 2012; watch for an update tomorrow]


  1. we used to have a mulberry tree that one of our daughters planted as a young child. The tree grew pretty quickly but as it grew it got in the way of the workshop and one branch leaned too heavily on the roof so we cut the tree down. I never liked the berries and yes the purple stains were everywhere from the bird droppings. I did like seeing all the birds go to that tree in the spring time.

  2. My grandma used to make mulberry jelly, but I never cared for the taste of the berries either. I'm sure your tree is a delight to the birds and other wildlife around. There was one on campus where I went to college. I can remember the sidewalk being covered with the purple berries, and we would try to walk around them so we wouldn't get them on our shoes.

  3. Beautiful memories. Beautiful tree.
    I look forward to the update. :)

  4. Such a great story and wonderful memories! Or mostly wonderful!

  5. I never made jelly with the berries. I used them to dye basket reed before weaving in my baskets. I love the purple color and my fingers would be stained for a few days. Of course I would eat a few as I was crushing them. Not my most favorite berry but tolerable.

  6. I love this post.
    No Mulberry trees near
    but a woods full of old old trees
    that continually lose branches.
    Love your stories
    take care...

  7. We had one at my old homeplace and far as i know it's still standing the test of time. But it's not as big as this one the last time i saw it. Love this post. hugs, xo