By Robert Lucke
This is a great time to get out to the Bear Paws or that favorite coulee just about anywhere in this vicinity and identify those bushes that have potential for great picking later on in the season.
Of course, remember, that much can happen between blossom stages and berry stages to bushes. Many times in this fickle region, huge bushes full of tens of thousands of blossoms, will, due to a late freeze, not produce a single berry the whole season.
But this is the very best time to identify which could be great bushes for picking by the number of blossoms visible now.
In the Bear Paws, first come the June berry blossoms. Don't let the name fool you. Some call them servus berries, and in Canada, they are called Saskatoon berries but they are about as large as a small blueberry and very sweet. Heavily laden bushes covered in white right now, chances are those are June berry bushes.
After that will come the choke cherry blossoms. They are easy to identify because even though they are white, they are in tassels hanging off the tree just like the berries will be later on.
And there are gooseberries to identify, currents, raspberries, strawberries and other editable berries as well.
One good rule of thumb is that it is always important to know what you are looking at for when they do become berries, you want to be sure they are good to eat.
And while in a questioning mode, this is the season for mushrooms. There is no finer food either than wild mushrooms fried in butter. But there is nothing more deadly if the wrong "mushroom" is chosen. Oldtimers used to say that the difference between mushrooms and toadstools is the difference between a feast and a funeral. Second best advise about mushroom hunting is to get a good book and really study it before venturing into the wilds to find some. Best advise is to go with a friend who really knows all about mushrooms before going yourself.
Where to find mushrooms? In meadows in the sunlight and in old barnyards and the like. There are plenty around this time of year.