Tis the season for sand plums! This delightful treat can be found along many a country road in Northwest Oklahoma. If you're of the adventurous sort, you can also hike through pastures, venture into canyons, or explore draws to find this delectable fruit.
The thing about sand plum picking--it's guaranteed to be hot! And you know I hate to be hot. And sweaty.
But, in spite of the heat, it is a joy to be out in the country picking plums. I love the sound of cicadas singing. It is such a 'summer' sound. (Did you know that cicadas don't rub their legs together like crickets but 'sing' by contracting timbral muscles on the sides of their abdomen to make a clicking sound and the higher the temperature, the louder the song?)
The summer heat amplifies the smell of prairie plants (a.k.a. weeds!)--gourd vines, sage brush, sunflowers. Many people believe that Northwest Oklahoma is barren, treeless and boring. But that is an opinion held by people who are either not observant or have only viewed the country from the windows a vehicle flying down the road. A discerning eye, can spot the wild flowers that decorate the pastures and ditches. Soapweed, another name for yucca, has lovely bell-like blooms that adorn it's tall spikes. The reds of Indian paintbrush and blanket flower dot the pastures. Purple-flowering vines and spaghetti-like orange dodder (Golden Thread) climb over gourds and other road-side growing plants. A person just has to be observant!
And if you're lucky, you might find a creature like the one picture above to help you in the sand plum picking!
I can hardly wait to make all this delicious fruit into jam!