Western huckleberries

The Land of Berries and Wildflowers

The Land of Berries and Wildflowers

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 1
Week 31: August 6, 2021

Once upon a time, a man and his wife went for a drive up a steeply curving mountain road not so far from home.

The road wasn’t long, but it was dry and dusty and as the man and wife wanted to breathe in the mountain air with windows down, it necessitated a slow pace for the car.

Once they stopped and the billowing clouds of dust settled, their eyes opened wide at the scene before them: they had been here before, but it was somehow different. Somehow they had stumbled onto a scene so picturesque it most certainly belonged in a fairytale: The Land of Berries and Wildflowers.

Wildflowers dotted the landscape, with colorful butterflies fluttering to and fro.

Acres of laden huckleberry bushes stretched out before them.

It being a dry year, they did not expect to find many berries, making it an unexpected gift.

Can you guess what they had for dinner?

Sourdough Huckleberry Hotcakes! End of fairytale? I don’t think so.

Sourdough Huckleberry Hotcakes
Huckleberry Hotcakes made with Dakota Pioneer Everlasting Yeast. You can use your sourdough starter.

In the Garden ~

Dragon Tongue beans
Dragon Tongue beans

It is time to put in a late crop of beans. Meanwhile, we are enjoying Dragon Tongue beans on our table! The broad, flat pods are light yellow streaked with vivid purple and a wonderfully rich “beany” taste.

Find Dragon Tongue beans here: https://www.rareseeds.com/store/vegetables/fall-favorites/dragon-tongue-bush-bean

I harvested a bounty of culinary herbs this week to refill the spice jars.

processing culinary herbs
Processing culinary herbs for drying at my baker’s bench.

Working with fresh herbs fill the kitchen with heady scents and makes a house feel like home. The herbs that don’t fit in the dehydrator will be bundled and hung from the kitchen beams.

basket of summer squash
Yellow Crookneck squash, Chiffon hybrid summer squash (yellow zucchini), and Cocozelle (green striped) are productive and tasty.

We are contentedly wallowing in zucchini. Are you as impressed with the versatility of zucchini as I am? I serve it at least once a day in some form or fashion and we never tire of it!

Bubbly, hot pizzas, fresh from the baking stone!

I didn’t follow a recipe, but used half fresh-ground whole wheat and half bread flour with my Dakota Pioneer Everlasting Yeast, which gave it a complex, almost wine-like flavor. You can use your sourdough starter for the same effect.

Pizza is a good way to use a young starter that isn’t quite strong enough to raise a loaf of bread. If you use a well-preheated baking stone like I do, the intense heat will raise airy bubbles in the crust, giving it that brick-oven texture you crave.

I am relieved the roses started blooming again. I was concerned the intense heat of July may have finished them off for the season. Perhaps I will add some more rose petals to my ongoing jar of Half Century Potpourri.

And now, I wish you farewell. Thank you for being here, Dear Reader.

Blessings to you ~ Michele

If you have a few minutes to relax…

Last week’s Cottage Diary entry is here:




  • Lovely commentary.
    Happy to see the dragon tongue beans…tried them for the first time this year -the plants struggled so badly I pulled them out . But will try again.

    • Thank you. They’re worth a second try. Very productive beans: large pods and good taste. Hopefully they will do better for you next time.


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