The cherry tree is in the center of my backyard. The blossoms in April bring hope and the joy of springtime.
The tree draws the robins who march around it possessively and perch on its branches. When it produces red cherries, I pause in wonder, reminded to give thanks for God’s creation, the work of this tree to produce fruit.
The tree has also been a source of frustration. It has had years of little fruit due to a late cold snap, a couple years of brown rot when all the cherries became moldy (and I had to learn how to clean and prune the tree). When the tree has produced good fruit, the birds got there first.
This year the tree looked to have abundant fruit. My husband and I netted some of the branches. It is tricky to net a large tree. We managed to cover several branches on one side of the tree. On the other side of the tree I tied a large, plastic owl to a branch, tied a number of CDs to branches throughout the tree (they spin and cast reflections), tied bells and chimes to other branches.
We were out of town when the cherries began to have an appeal for the birds. My neighbor said there was a great ruckus. She wondered if the birds had devoured the cherries.
To my delight the birds were leaving the cherries to ripen. After that first day they didn’t come near the tree. I thought that birds might go for the upper branches that I left free of any devices. But they didn’t. They waited until I had finished picking the lower branches and took down all my devices.
Nine quarts of cherries are pitted and frozen. We will have cherry pies and cherry crisp in the fall and winter. On Sunday I added cherries to pannukakku [Finnish oven pancake]. I have adapted a family recipe to make it gluten and dairy free. Here is my recipe:
4 Tbsp. butter ( ½ stick)
22 cherries pitted and cut in half
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup brown rice flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups almond milk
Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Place the butter in a 9”x13” baking dish and place in the oven to melt—and take out when completely melted. Combine the arrowroot powder and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the cherries and mix. In another bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat well. Add the flour and salt, and beat well. Stir in the cherries. Add the almond milk and mix well. Pour batter into the hot baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, until edges of pancake are beginning to brown. Serve hot.
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