Thursday Thoughts # 67

from 6 Ways to Where by R Mac Wheeler

" "I need to make a decision," I said
"What I want to be when I grow up."
"So what do you like to do?"
"I could kill people for a profession," I said.  "Assassin. If I'm going to do something, I want to get paid well for it."
"You think," he said, "that's a valid career choice?"
Why cross anything off the list?"

Today's Thoughts

This is a mulberry tree, a baby, if size is any indication, growing in the grounds here, up near the front fence.

this is what the fruits look like; red like this are the unripe ones,

the fully ripe fruits are black, juicy and sweet.

Since the fruit began ripening, several of us who walk past daily, have stopped and picked a handful to enjoy. Today, when I walked to the tree, I found all the lower branches, and higher than I could reach, had been stripped of all ripe fruits. 
Someone must have come by with a bucket :(  
The remaining ripe fruits are way up high, hence the blurriness of the above photo. 

I'm remembering now a mulberry tree in the yard of our Queensland home, where my two eldest children were born. 

The house had a very large, sloping yard, a slope that meant we could bundle the kids into sleeping bags and roll them downhill until they were stopped by the fence at the bottom. 
Not that we did, the kids were too small to take such risks. 
We had two large Jacaranda trees, three small stands of banana palms (yum) and way down in the back right hand corner, the biggest, oldest mulberry tree I have ever seen.

Absolutely covered in delicious fruits every year. I remember stripping the babies naked when I fed them mulberries, so as to save their clothing from stains. 
Mulberry juice stains fingers, faces and clothing quite badly. 
Takes a few days to wear off fingertips, impossible to remove from clothing that cannot be bleached.

One summer, a couple of months before my second baby was born, hubby K and his best mate M decided they'd make mulberry wine. Neither had ever made wine before, they had no recipe either. 
All they had was mulberries, buckets and enthusiasm. And beer. 

M's wife K, brought their babies to visit with me and my daughter, while the men picked bucket loads of mulberries and drank beer, carried them up to the kitchen, drank beer, cooked them in batches in my biggest pot with bags of sugar for fermentation, (well, that's what they said) and drank more beer. 

As the mulberries were cooked and cooled, the juice was strained into emptied and cleaned beer bottles they collected throughout the preceding months. They capped them and stored them under the house, said it would turn into wine in about three weeks. The drank more beer and fell asleep on the lawn. 
K took her babies home to bed, I finished cleaning up the kitchen and went to bed myself. Left the men on the lawn. 

A week or ten days later, they decided to taste test this "wine", see how it was developing. In between beers, they tasted from several mulberry bottles, no decision was made on whether or not it was any good, but they got happily drunk and spent another night sleeping it off on the lawn. 
And so the summer went on, with beery weekend afternoons and mulberry "wine" taste testing, until one day it was declared the "wine" had gone "off" and the remaining bottles were emptied onto the grass under the mulberry tree. 

The following summer, the kids and I got to enjoy the fruits again. 
There was no more wine making. 

Instead, we acquired an above ground swimming pool, from a friend of a friend....someone anyway.

A few of the parts were missing, notably several of the curved strips that held the plastic liner firmly around the top of the pool. And the instructions were missing. No problem, said K and M, who proceeded to put it together as best they could. 
Remember here that we had a sloping yard. 
Neither of them, (or me for that matter), thought about creating a level patch for the pool to stand on. It was put together on a flattish section of the slope and a long hose ran from the tap to fill it up. The pool was fairly large, so we all went inside to eat while the hose did its job. 

Eventually there was enough water to be considered "swim-able", so K backed up and took a running jump over the side into the water. This created a huge wave effect which pounded the opposite side of the unstable pool, collapsing it entirely and K was carried on the water as it poured down the yard. 

I had no camera at the time which saddens me now that I think about it, the expression on his face was priceless. 
The pool was packed away and we continued to use the pool available to us at the Army Base, which lay at the end of the long driveway/carpark just over our back fence.


  1. All the mulberry trees I ever encountered were not mine, so I could only pick, eat and enjoy. I always wondered if they would make jelly as wonderful as elderberry jelly.

  2. I think a video of the wine making and the pool jump would go viral today!

  3. Two terrific memories! Thanks for sharing them with us.

    When I was a young girl, we had two fairly large mulberry trees in our yard. The trees were great for climbing, and the berries were sweet and juicy for the picking, but they were also a source of great aggravation for my mother. Birds loved to eat those berries, too, and then they'd splat purplish poop on the clean white sheets hanging on the line. Getting those sheets clean was no easy matter, either, and not just because of the birds. When my brother and I ran barefoot in the yard, our feet would get pretty stained by those berries, too, so some of that stain transferred to our sheets. Poor Mom. And of course, that was back in the ringer washer days...

  4. You had me laughing out loud at the story of your husband's "winery"!!

  5. That picture of your husband and the pool is embedded in your memory, River...there was no need for a camera to capture the moment! His big splash will remain in your memory for ever! :)

    A fun story on both counts.

    I love mulberries...mulberry tarts/pies are great, too! We used to collect the leaves when we were kids to feed our family of silk worms. You brought back many happy memories! :)

  6. Joanne; I had fleeting thoughts of mulberry pies, or possibly jam, but in the end decided, as always, just to eat the fruit.

    joeh; yes, it would, especially the pool jump, but this was back in 1974, I didn't even have a camera, much less a video cam. And no computer/internet then either :(

    Susan; I remember the stains I got on my own clothes, I always wore old stuff when picking and eating mulberries and the babies were naked. We never had white sheets though, that was a blessing, the coloured patterns hid any stains.

    fishducky; yep, hubby and M were great mates, got up to a lot of shenanigans with or without beer influence. Usually with though. I remember one New Year's Eve.....

    Lee; but I can't share the image with others. You can read and laugh, but not see the wall of water carrying an astonished young soldier from near the house down to the fence.
    I never bothered with pies, I thought about them, but just ate the fresh fruit instead.

  7. I have two giant mulberry trees in my back yard they are wonderful
    shade and I always get a fruit bonus when putting out the washing but must wait till I have finished before I can eat as you know they do leave marks on everything and the fruit bats getting all the ones up high.

  8. Oh I'm SO envious! Of all the berries, mulberries are my favourite. I haven't had one in years.
    When I was young, I would sit nestled in the branches of a huge old mulberry tree in the neighbours backyard (with their permission) and eat handful after handful. So delicious, right off the tree - the best way to have them in my opinion :)

    Great story about your hubby and the pool!

  9. Merle; lucky you to have two giant trees all for yourself. And the birds.

    Vicki; right off the tree is the best way for so much fruit, apricots, peaches, nectarines. Heavenly.

  10. Those black ones must be really delicious.

  11. You know I'm still laughing. (Pardon me).
    Such wonderful memories of days gone by, and so well told..I/we did enjoy your tale...

  12. We had a huge old mulberry growing by the house when I was growing up... mulberry feasts and mulberry fights are forever in my memory.

    We have a few smaller ones growing around this house, jelly will be made from them next year if the harvest is bigger. =)

    I can just picture the Great Wave... lol.

  13. Haddock; oh they are and I'm quite sad that there are no more that I can reach on the tree.

    Margaret-whiteangel; it's okay to laugh, we did, long and loud and still do when it comes up in conversation.

    Jacquelineand...when I was very young, ten or so, we had a big old fig tree in our yard. The neighbours had some other kind of fruit, The fruit wars were something I'll never forget. Over ripe fallen fruits gathered and tossed.

  14. We have two mulberry trees. The birds get rather a lot of the fruit, which makes for indelible crap stains.
    I get what I can - and look forward to it each year.
    Loved that pool story.
    You are so right about fruit from the tree. Bliss.
    I wonder what profession Mar will finally choose...

  15. HAhaha, that's fantastic!! Both the mulberry wine AND the swimming pool stories!!! Someone told me you could clean off mulberry stains with the juice of unripe mulberries - I've not tested it on clothing, but it seems to work on my fingers!!

  16. "All they had was mulberries, buckets and enthusiasm. And beer." And beer. Picture perfect. You've told the swimming pool story before, but now it has more context. I wonder what a mulberry tastes like?

  17. Years ago when my kiddies were young they used to love to pick mulberries from mum's large tree and when there were no berries they used to climb that tree.
    When I was young I kept silkworms which I fed on mulberry leaves and I can't remember where those leaves came from,
    Our eldest granddaughter came to lunch last week with her two littlies and brought us a tub of beautiful mulberries. They have a large tree in their front garden planted by previous owners. They say that this year it is so laden with fruit the branches are almost touching the ground. She even put on Facebook that folk were welcome to come pick some.
    P.S. I do think the person that obviously picked a bucketful from that little tree was rather mean. There's always someone isn't there?

  18. Elephant's Child; lucky you to have two trees, lucky birds too. I worry about Mar, her emotions are so intense.

    Red Nomad; it might have been me, I've told a few people about the green mulberries. I've never tried it myself, even juice on the fingers I don't worry about, it washes off in a day or two.

    Andrew; I knew I'd done the pool story before but didn't think anyone would remember it. Mulberries are sweet, somewhere in between blackberry and raspberry I suppose. Hard to describe.

    Mimsie; I remember kids at school bringing in shoeboxes with silkworms and mulberry leaves, I was a little jealous then, I wanted to make my own silk too.
    There's plenty of unripe fruit left on the lower branches, I'll just wait a few days and get some then. The birds are enjoying the higher branches.
    Lovely of your grand daughter to share her fruit.


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