Or: Feeling Like a Bear
Around this time of year, everyone is thinking only of strawberry picking, or keeping an eye on those lush white flowers flowering all over their blackberry bushes, waiting for them to bear fruit. Or when they’ll start seeing fresh raspberries at our local farmer’s market. But who thinks about the mulberry tree with it’s plentiful, fragile berries that, when ripe, fall to the ground with the slightest touch?
The bears think about them! And because they do, so do we keepers. And the other day when I was going out to get some, I kinda started thinking like a bear too. We’ve got several mulberry trees right outside of the animal department, several along the path leading to Catch the Wind & Explore the Wild, and several others on staff paths around grounds. There’s actually a mulberry tree growing in the bear yard too (although I think Yona chewed all of the buds off of it because she doesn’t know any better). We’ve been collecting a lot of the branches and berries for our bears, and last Thursday Cassidy and I went on a special mulberry expedition.
I mean look at them! All tender and ripe. You can definitely see why a bear would be into a mulberry tree. Imagine being a hungry bear (or keeper) and stumbling across one of these, say, for random example, at 11:30am, right before lunchtime, climbing up into one of them and picking off the ripe ones (you only have to touch them), and eating them in the warm sunshine. Sounds good right? It was! I mean, um, for the bears!
We froze the ones we collected, and on Saturday our volunteers collected a whole other bucketful that we froze and we’ll use throughout the year. Yum! It’s good to be a bear (or a keeper!) in spring.