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LMRD 839 - Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
"Voice of the Lower Mississippi River"
Monday, May 10, 2021 -- Mulberry Madness

Y'all: It's that time of year... the berries are deepening from pink to red to a rich deep dark purple ripeness... Mulberry madness takes over a certain kind of person this time of year... Maybe you also?

Like us, the mulberries prefer the islands of the Lower Mississippi River. Rarely found on the land side of the levee, they are prolific in great abundance on the other side, especially on the towheads (The giant Mississippi River sandbar islands which swell to perfection in this stretch of river).

We are offering berry-picking daytrips for anyone who wants to paddle out to a remote Miss River island and spend a few hours amongst the mulberry orchards. Limited season, maybe 2 weeks, maybe as many as 4 weeks. Depends a lot on the weather, temps and precipitation. Offer available almost any day (that we're not already booked) between now and the end of the season. Dewberries will be ripening throughout the next 2 weeks, and might last until mid-June. Prices depend on number going... the more per canoe, the lower the price.

Meet at 9am at our base in downtown Clarksdale.
Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue. Follow us to river in your own vehicle. Round-trip paddle. Pack your own lunch, snacks and water. Dress for weather. Don’t forget sun protection. No previous experience necessary, all paddle together in our big canoes with guides. But must be willing to paddle — sometimes hard paddling necessary. Return to land between 4 and 5pm. Charge depends on number going. 1 person — $215, 2 peeps — $165, 3 — $130, 4 — $110, 5 — $95, 6 or more — $85.

Respond to this email, or call 662-902-7841 for reservations or details. Each trip custom guided by the Mighty Quapaws. If you can't reach me, call Mark “River” Peoples 662-902-1885, Jean Canôt 651-895-0115, or Solange Fraser 612-390-1503.

Each tree has its own flavor, sweetness, character. Try them all --and compare!

If you don't eat all you pick, you can carry some home with you for pancakes, muffins, jams, maybe kambucha?

Get lost in mulberry paradise... its good for your heart, and your tummy!

Orange Snake? No, this is the orange-colored root of the mulberry tree reaching into the rich muddy waters of the Mighty Mississippi!

Closeup of Mulberry Root, this one has deepened to a rich cinnamon purple with ochre highlights

We're not alone. Birds love mulberries, including Canada Goose. Great birding and animal tracking. We've spotted over 40 species in the last 2 weeks including Mississippi Kite, Osprey, Broad shouldered Hawk, Red Tailed Hawk, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Wild Turkey, Mourning Dove, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Least Tern, Common Tern, gull species, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Cattle Egret, White Ibis, Bald Eagle, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Red-headed Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, American Crow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Carolina Wren, Northern Mockingbird, Bobolink, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Common Grackle, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Palm Warbler, Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Indigo Bunting, various Hummingirds, and Dickcissel. (Thanks to biologist Lynda Saul for compiling this list!)

Go for a swim -- or a relaxing soak in a muddy blue hole, some of which are now bathtub warm!

Explore the beauty of the islands

Patterns in the mud

Perfection of sand, light -- and spirit

Mulberries aren't the only plants that love the islands... Watch out for poison ivy.

Mulberry Madness

Mulberry Madness -- it's that time of year!

We're all Connected:

Ending here with Big River Love to everyone. Wherever you are, in on any of the seven continents, or on any of the seven seas -- wherever the passage of life flows onwards forever flowing -- we hope you are well and making good decisions for yourself, your friends, your family, and the future of humanity.

We feel you, and we are all in this boat together. Yours always, in service,

"Driftwood Johnnie"
John Ruskey