Water lilies

gandle(4 NE)June 24, 2014

The many Nebraska sandhill lakes and there are thousands of them all had hardy water lilies. Not now, cattle have trampled them to near extinction. Really a shame, they were so pretty.

If you read an earlier post of mine about catching a big fish and a nude bicycle ride the lake where I caught the fish and swam all the time had perhaps thousands of water lilies around the more shallow shore line. Some of the fishermen complained about their tackle getting snagged on the lilies. .

I had a secret spot at the lake or at least I called it secret because I think I was the only one dumb enough to go there.

The spot was across the lake in a glade. There was so much undergrowth and brush and trees that you couldn't just walk around the lake , you had to swim, then slog through sticky mud up to your knees to get there. But the spot always caught my attention as a kid and I wondered at the three tree trunks that looked lightning blasted. The were roughly in a triangle shape with the two larger ones at the triangle base and a taller slimmer on at the point. I always wanted to sit in the middle of the triangle, don't remember what fantasies i had when I was sitting there BUT I made a wonderful discovery. There was a very large patch of wild strawberries in the area. They were not much larger than the end of my little finger but they tasted so good. I can still remember the taste of those sun warmed strawberries. Delicious. Here I was with sticky gooey mud drying on my legs an mud on my hands, tried to was them but the lake was really just a swamp at that end. I ate the berries anyway and loved them.

One of the I thought strangest thiongs was an ordinary box turtle that had discovered the berries too. I found out if I picked a berry and held it in front of the turtle it would always take it from me. The turtle didn't care if the stem was still on the berry or not , it ate every one I handed it.. Only saw the turtle one time and was surprised to see a box turtle that close to water, they always seemed to be in the dry places.

It was easier going back across the lake, you could scrub the plaster-like mud off before you got to the other side, when you got to deep water you could dive down and scrub..

Never took any of the wild strawberries home. Didn't have any way to carry them. I just had a pair of wool trunks and a bike. Grandma understood though, she told me a story of when she was a girl finding a big patch of strawberries on the prairie and just sitting and eating . WE had a big strawberry bed at home, lots of shortcakes and homemade jam but I think the flavor of those wild berries was better than any strawberry I eaten since.

Here I go again, starter out complaining about the loss of the native water lilies and wind up talking about wild strawberries. Guess my thinking isn't linear. Enough

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Luv your story, Gandle. I'm a linear thinker and I could follow your story perfectly.
If I could write like you, my story would be about wild, sun ripened blueberries, and the wooden blueberry picker, my uncle made just for my small hands.
Keep writing.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 6:47PM
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gmatx zone 6

For some reason I never associated water lilies with Nebraska. I guess I always thought there would not be any that would be hardy enough to survive the winters up there. I think they are beautiful plants. My immediate mental image of a water lily is a pretty white bloom with a cute smiling frog sitting on the pad!

I laughed so hard at the nude bicycle ride post. So glad I am not the only one who sometimes did things that were out of the ordinary.

You are a wonderful soul and I never get tired of reading your posts. I still say you need to write a book of your life.


    Bookmark   June 25, 2014 at 11:39AM
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I'm with Mary. I never would've dreamed of water lilies in Nebraska! Kind of a cool vision. That, and the tykes sitting on grass munching warm sunshine berries.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 7:53AM
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Wild strawberries are the ultimate! I have some on this property, but the birds get up and about so much earlier than I, it's hard to find some ripe ones.
Ikeep the waterlilies in a half barrel on the deck, they would take over the whole pond if turned loose.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 9:29AM
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George, I love your stories about your life and the joy of
growing up in a less complicated time and place.
Wild strawberries and a secret place. The perfect adventure.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 3:59PM
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I always love your stories.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2014 at 10:12PM
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I too, always love to read your stories. Somehow, no matter the mood and the load of life to carry, I always smile through them. Thanks George.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 12:29PM
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Save some for me and please don't try to tame them.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 11:39AM
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That did my soul good! What a great memory/image. It's funny what you said about the box turtles, because although we used to see them in dry areas, we always saw them sunning on logs in ponds too.

Water lilies have a bunch that are hardy. We have them here and I know of them being in Canada too. Not just a tropical.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 6:25PM
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Went to the grocery store today, they have small garden center.
Saw a barrel with some small (about 5" across) water lilies @ $36,00 per plant.
Wow, I had no idea how expensive they are.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:10PM
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As usually, your great posts remind me of similar experiences. There is nothing like wild strawberries, the garden varieties don't compare, but the same is true of the big raspberries and commercial blueberries, they are larger, easier to pick, but the flavor is not there.

The last time I was home during berry time, I could not find a single strawberry in all my favorite places and nobody picked blueberries anymore,not even with a blueberry comb.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 2:32PM
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