October 8, 2016

Raspberries in the Birdbath

     It’s autumn in Pennsylvania and so the leaves are falling and the late summer berries have ripened. The birds are enjoying the fruits on their migrations and, as a result, are depositing the digested fruit on decks and cars throughout the area. It happened that shortly after I had done my routine scrubbing of my white, concrete birdbath, nature called and a berry was deposited into the sparkling clean water there.

 The princess pink birdbath

     From my kitchen window I noticed that the water was streaked with a dark pink. This concerned me. It was certainly puzzling and for a moment I wondered if maybe an injured bird had been in the water and then the thought of the berries came to me. A few hours later I looked out and saw that the entire birdbath was a lovely shade of princess pink. What started out as a bird mess had transformed into something magical. It was an inspirational omen! How lovely it would be, I thought, to have that same berry water come spring when the roses and early tulips were in bloom. I began to develop a plan.

Magical waters

     I briefly considered food color. It is food safe, supposedly, but I also know what happens to my grandsons' temperaments when they eat too many artificial colors. The last thing I wanted was fussy fowl fighting with one another in the yard and unable to go to sleep at night when little birdies ought to be tired. No, I thought. Go natural, use berries. I considered searching the area for those local staining types. Visions of traipsing through people’s yards with stained fingers and thistles in my socks flashed through my mind. I know my neighbors wonder about me as it is. Finding berries in neighboring backyards would not do.

     I went to the supermarket and searched the fruit. There were a few choices, but which one should I buy? Blackberries would very likely change the water to blue. No, no, pink had to be the color. Raspberries looked perfect. I bought a couple of baskets (frozen might do just as well in winter), and gave it a try. Alas the raspberries fell short. In the fresh water of the bath I crushed two berries to release the magical pink. They did, but barely. The bits of crushed fruit looked like teeny, tiny rose petals floating there and that looked very romantic but the water stayed mostly clear. It wasn't going to be that easy. I set out to traipse through neighbors' yards.

The magical berries

     The wild berries are the real secret. The pink shade from two or three berries is just perfect. Now I have to scour the region to find them. And I'm wondering how well they will freeze so that I have plenty for next spring. We will just have to see.

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