We had one of the best Family Nights ever last week. Monday evening we took the kids to a local trail to pick ripe wild berries for jamming. We divided into two teams - the Chokecherry team and the Rosehip team. After an hour of picking, we had a gallon of rosehips and over two gallons of chokecherries. The kids LOVED it. I think they would have picked for another hour if we had let them. I was in charge of the rosehip team, and ours were a little harder to find, but 4-year-old Ruth kept running up the trail ahead of us and shouting, "More rosehips!" whenever she found a new bush. I made jelly the next afternoon. When the kids got home from school, their first questions were, "Where is the jelly? May we try some? Of both kinds?"
We feel so blessed to live in a place where there is so much natural abundance. Living in Montana has given us a chance to take our children into nature and teach them about its bounties. We love hiking, and when we go, our favorite pastime is identifying the plants around us. A few weeks ago, while hiking a new trail, we discovered ripe wild currents. We emptied a water bottle and filled it with currents for jam.
As fall sets in, we have a shelf full of jelly for the coming year - chokecherry, rosehip, currant, huckleberry, and crabapple. The bonus - or maybe the ultimate blessing - is that we have children who appreciate nature, are familiar with it's usefulness, will preserve it, have learned valuable skills, and have made lifelong great family memories. And isn't that what it is really all about? Frugal living is ultimately the best way to live - for the earth, for our bank accounts, but mostly for our children.
A final note for the curious: Rosehip jelly doesn't taste like roses. It is fruity, unique, and one of our favorites!