Monday, November 7th, 2011...6:19 am

October Snowstorm

October Snow by Elizabeth Thomsen

I don’t know about my readers who live on the east coast, but I am still reeling over the snowstorm we just had this October. In October!!!!  There was never a snowstorm in this part of the country in October that I can recall- and I won’t tell you how many years I can recall.

As a child when my class sang the Thanksgiving song “Over the River and Through the Woods” and came to the lines,

“The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.”

we would giggle.  Snow in November, at Thanksgiving? It had never happened where we lived in New Jersey. It almost seemed silly to sing this song.  And here, in 2011, was snow in October. Unheard of.

My Backyard after Freak Oct 2011 Snow Storm by fauxto_digit

On my property, this October snowstorm caused more problems than the most recent Hurricane we had. I guess I was lucky in that I only lost power for a day due to all the downed electric wires; during the hurricane and after, I was without electricity for almost 4 days. But this snow storm caused more damage to my trees. Not only did it bring down some large tree limbs, but it brought down a huge tree that I have to have removed. I was fortunate that nothing hit my car- a huge limb came very close.

The tree that I lost was a wild black cherry tree, prunus serotina . The wild black cherry tree is not my favorite tree because it generally gets nests of tent caterpillars in the spring.  I think tent caterpillar nests are one of the ugliest sight.

However, this particular tree was nice in that it had grown in a strange bent shape so that it made a wonderful tree for a swing.  And I also liked it for nostalgic reasons.  Growing up on our farm we had two huge wild black cherry trees in the front yard. They bore loads of succulent wild cherries. I learned to like eating those sour, somewhat bitter, flavored fruits. Most of the kids I knew hated them. But more importantly, my father and some of the elderly family members liked it for something else- flavoring for vodka. They called this Scnapps. So they would ask me to collect the wild cherries for them.  And for this job, I was always able to earn a few pennies to buy candy at the penny candy store.

Though this isn’t the season to harvest wild black cherries or most fruits, at least on the East Coast, it is easy to flavor vodka with store bought fruits.  For a longer list of fruits that you can use to flavor vodka, check out this recipe or consider making the famous Italian specialty, Limoncello, with the new crop of lemons being harvested in Florida.  See here.

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