We recently planted our saskatoon berry trees. I am sure those of you who live in Saskatchewan know exactly what I am talking about. For the 99.99999% of Internet readers who have never even heard of Saskatchewan, let alone of saskatoon berries, allow me to explain.
Saskatoon is the name of one of the two big cities in Saskatchewan. In this case, “big” is a relative word. But Saskatoon is big enough to have a food named after it, which puts it in the same league as Hamburg (hamburgers), France (French fries) and Iceland (ice).
Saskatchewan is a small Canadian province. Small in that its population can comfortably fit onto the deck of a luxury cruise liner … except who would want to do that in the middle of the bone-dry Canadian prairies? In land area, Saskatchewan is actually almost as big as Texas, although most of their hats are well short of ten-gallons.
That leaves plenty of room for trees to grow. But Saskatchewan is not known for trees. It is known for its prairies. In fact, there are jokes about Saskatchewan and trees.
“How many people does it take to plant a tree in Saskatchewan?” “Are you kidding? Even God couldn’t do that?”
“What do you call a tree in Saskatchewan?” “Wishful thinking.”
“If you run off the road in northern Saskatchewan, would you hit a tree?” “No, the tree is in the south.”
Which brings us to the saskatoon berry trees we just planted. Apparently, trees DO grow in Saskatchewan. Well, almost. I read the seed package. “Grows three to 12 feet high.” A three-foot tall tree? Can you really call that a tree? What if I mow right over it?
So before even planting them, the saskatoon berry trees were proving to be an adventure. We were planting seeds for a tree too small to be a tree from a place that supposedly does not grow trees. But adventure is fun.
The package instructions said to plant the seeds while it is still cold outside – when your fingers can become good and numb. We put on our parkas and rounded up our dogsleds and stepped out from our igloo. OK, it was not quite that cold.
The instructions said to plant the seeds about the depth of one-to-two times the length of the seed. I measured the seed. Actually, the seed was too small to measure. Just a touch larger than a celery seed. The package must have erred. According to my measurements, I would burry the seeds with even a couple grains of sand on top.
I did my best.
Little Lady, our always-eager-to-be-helpful toddler, placed the markers to remind us where we planted the seeds. We used short sticks with plastic glow-in-the-dark stars on top. These were, in fact, made for sticking in the snow to line the driveway at Christmastime, but they seemed fitting markers for such bizarre plants.
The phone rang that evening. “Did you plant something really strange today?” our neighbor asked. “You have stars on sticks poking out of the ground. And they are glowing in the dark. Did you buy the seeds near the nuclear power plant?”
We explained that the glow-in-the dark sticks were just to mark where we planted our saskatoon berry trees. “Ooh, what do saskatoon berries taste like?” She asked. I had no idea. I had tasted them in jam many years ago on a business trip to Saskatchewan, but I do not even remember if I liked them. The seeds were actually a gift from a friend.
But life is an adventure, and three years from now I can tell you what the berries taste like. Can’t you just taste a good adventure?