July 24, 2023 | Author Friend Promo
From Emma Janis Lane
When we moved a mile out of the village to enjoy a bit more acreage, my thoughtful roommate (hubby) brought home a weeping mulberry tree. He didn’t want the children to miss the one next door where they had munched on the berries from toddlerville time. The new one is planted right outside my office window where, long after the children have fledged, I enjoy the righteous festival of backyard birds.
As July nears and the outside air takes on that hot, breathless quality of full summer, red berries appear on the long strands of the mulberry. Left alone the streamers (weepers) would eventually reach the ground, but our resident and gracious deer families keep them neatly trimmed.
The backyard feast begins each year when the red berries appear. I wonder the secret of the amazing elixir Mother Nature offers up free for the taking. My children found those low hanging treats when they were barely out of diapers. Disappearing underneath and nearly giving me a heart attack, they would reappear unapologetically with stained fingers and smeared red lips with chubby cheeks and wide grins.
Mulberries are tasty, no doubt about it. Right now, as I peek out the window, I see a gray squirrel, robin, catbird, cardinal, and a European starling munching away contentedly and in complete harmony. They are eating the red berries not waiting for the dark black fruit with rich purple juice of the ripe ones. There are no guarding thorns. The berries hang underneath the foliage, hiding I presume. The taste is sweet and juicy, flavorful but mild compared to a blackberry for instance.
Mention of mulberry trees appears in certain verses in the Bible. China cultivated them as a favorite food for the silkworm’s business. UK imported them hoping to replicate the silk trade but choose the wrong type, black berries instead of the white ones beloved by the silk caterpillars. Shakespeare mentions a lass falling asleep underneath the tree. My weeper has been dwarfed, cultivated to stay small and cascade gracefully.
The foliage is dense, and no doubt appreciated by all the small visitors. I once witnessed a Cooper’s hawk sit on an outside branch frustrated as it was too large to push through the tightly woven branches. Perhaps not hungry for berries, he flew away finally empty-beaked.
A chick-a-de circled and came in hot for a navy ship type landing. It ducked inside quickly. The branches are quivering here and there as first one and then another partakes of a free lunch. Highly recommend a mulberry to your home garden. Once a year, it becomes a lively and interesting place to view nature at its finest.
E Janis Lane
Here is a little from one of my cozy mystery books under my pseudonym Janis Lane. I hope you enjoy it.
Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer, found more than scintillating images of the birds of Central Florida. A handsome park ranger turns her world upside down even as a criminal stalker seeks to threaten her life.
Who knew trespassing in the restrictive area of a Florida State Park to get the perfect shot of the sand hill crane family would wind up with Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, meeting the most handsome park ranger in the world? Mating/nesting birds were the subject of her quest but finding those intense blue eyes in the lens of her camera was distracting and hormone inciting.
Adam Rawlings, millionaire park ranger, was as shocked as Abby when she accidentally discovered a murdered man buried in a shallow grave in the sand.
Face to face with an exciting relationship with Adam, the perfect man, leaves her no excuse for backing away from a growing intimacy. Vagabond Abby must consider relocating if she wants to continue an invaluable relationship with Adam, the original hometown hero.
Abby struggles as she continues to work deep in the breathtaking wilds of Central Florida while trying to ignore the menace of a serious and threatening stalker. Her task was to reexamine long held premises and prejudices while admiring the southern flora and fauna through the lens of her camera. Bird and nature lovers alert.
Busted in Bird land. Still…what a calendar he would make with that uniform, that smile, those shoulders. She stifled a sigh of pure visual pleasure.
You had better stop it, Miss Smarty. He has the authority to fine and kick you out of the park permanently if he so chooses. Holy Moly– love a uniformed hunk!
She stifled a giggle which was riotously rolling around deep inside her, threatening to break out. He continued to loom, gazing thoughtfully while she fidgeted in her warm nest sheltered by the dune. Surrounding them, the sporadic wind blew the smell of something baking in the sun. With her face turned upward and her eyes half-closed against the glare, she awaited her fate. She offered a weak smile while trying to bring into focus his face which was back lit by the bright sunlight. It couldn’t hurt, she thought, and tried for puppy dog eyes pleading for mercy.
“Leave this area, and I’ll forget your lapse of good manners–this time. Don’t let me catch you trespassing on restricted lands again. This is a nature preserve. Visitors may not wander about– especially during nesting season,” he added giving her a stern look. “And that goes for well-meaning, good-looking, lady photographers as well.”
Janis Lane is the penname for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.
She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.
Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.