Turtle Mountain Metis - 4.
Gathering / Harvesting
Berries grew wild
and in abundance on Turtle
Mountain, and the
Metigoshe community was keen to take advantage of the free foodstuffs
that the bush of- fered. Families went on berry picking expeditions,
sometimes gathering pailfulls of cranberries, chokecherries, saska-
toons, wild plums, pin cherries or strawberries. Sometimes if they were
lucky, they’d even find wild raspberries. Francis Goodon remembers
picking pails of fruit and taking them down to Lake Metigoshe on a
Sunday afternoon to sell to visitors. With the money he made his family
could then go buy sugar so the rest of the fruit could be canned. The
berries were also made into jams, jellies and sauces that were enjoyed
during the long winter months over freshly-baked bannock.
Mushrooms grew in
great numbers in the bush at certain times of the
year. Some people didn’t know how to tell which ones were edible and
left them all alone out of fear of picking the poisonous ones. Others
waited for the season when the morels came out and picked many of them.
Morels grow more abundantly in the years closely following forest
fires, which were not unknown occur- rences on Turtle Mountain.
harvesting blueberries, saskatoons, chokecherries,
cranberries, strawberries and raspberries, wild plums, hazelnuts, and
strawberries that used to grow along the shore of the lake.
They could be
canned or dried for winter use. Made into jams and
and cranberry jelly are fondly remembered.
“One of Dad’s
favourite thing was to go to the Duck Mountains with
uncle and they would dig Seneca root. He’d come back and the
whole kitchen roof would be covered with Seneca root, drying. It would
sell for $9.00 a pound.
used to grow along the shore of the lake, we picked some
to sell to buy sugar to can the rest of the fruit for winter, or take
them with the team to Lake Metigishe to sell on Sunday to visitors.
Other items to
special treat in the spring was duck eggs.
We did not have
bannock too often. We had scones, (tea biscuits with
sugar in them). We had chokecherry syrup, beet wine, cranberry and
pincherry jelly, rhubarb sauce, vegetable marrow and orange jam