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We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other. - E.H.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Wild Cranberries

I find myself constantly surprised by the neighborhood Agata and I live in. It is not a neighborhood that we were particularly excited to live in, originally. We are sandwiched between several rooming houses, and anything that isn't a rooming house seems to be a frat house - lots of drinking, lots of yelling in the middle of the night, you get the idea.

But for all of that, I have come to love this neighborhood. Over the last year and a half we've gotten to know many of the folks living nearby (having a very friendly, overexcited dog doesn't hurt). We share our vegetable harvests, and the neighbors next door have saved our bikes from getting stolen on more then one occasion. We're all on a first name basis and everyone stops and chats on the sidewalk - its like a Mr. Rogers neighborhood over here, only with more facial tattoos.

One of my favorite neighborhood characters in Stan, an older single man who lives in his mother's house just around the corner. It all started, as it usually does, when Stan met my Lily, the dog. It was love at first sight. When Stan found out we were gardeners he would lean over his back fence into our yard, offering us gardening advice and cuttings from his garden.

Then he started bringing us old gardening books and leaving them on the front porch. And then a rose bush. When fall came he started bringing us pears from the trees behind his house, and he would always leave them with little notes explaining the variety and offering recipe suggestions.

The few days ago, I was letting the dog out before work and he had left us a little bag of wild cranberries that he picked out in the marsh on a recent hunting trip. They're beautiful.

I realized that, up until that moment, I had never even known that cranberries grew in swamps, let alone that they grew wild so close to where we lived. Next fall, I hope to add wild cranberries to my list of foraging projects!

In the meantime, does anyone have any inspiring cranberry recipe ideas? Stan suggests cranberry sauce, but I would love to try something really special. 

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