Blueberries: While cultivated varieties have been developed from the highbush blueberry, which grows wild in the East and Midwest, other blueberry species are native to most of the United States and Canada. The shrubs produce small flowers that are important spring nectar sources for bees while their intense, sweet-tart flavored berries are relished by many birds and mammals.
Serviceberries: Some species of serviceberry—also known as Juneberry, shadbush or Saskatoon—is native to every contiguous U.S. state and Canadian province. The large shrubs or small trees feature delicate white flowers on bare branches in spring that provide nectar for insects emerging from winter nests. The small, purple fruits help sustain grosbeaks, thrushes and many other birds during the breeding season. If you can get to them before the birds, the uniquely flavored berries can be used to make jam or pie.
American Persimmons: Native from Connecticut to Iowa and Kansas south to Florida and Texas, American persimmon trees produce ornamental, purplish-orange fruits that hang on leafless branches in autumn. Before they ripen, the fruits are guaranteed to make your mouth pucker. But when ripe, they taste a lot like dates. Wild persimmons are an important fall and winter food for many mammals, and the trees are a larval host plant for the luna moth.
And now a bit about Ms. Jacobs:
After nearly seven years hiding in a tiny garret above her grandmother’s home, Harriet Ann Jacobs took a step other slaves dared to dream in 1842; she secretly boarded a boat in Edenton, N.C., bound for Philadelphia, New York and, eventually, freedom. The young slave woman’s flight, and the events leading up to it, are documented in heart-wrenching detail in her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, self-published in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent.
Imbolc (also Imbolg or Oimelc), or St Brigid’s Day (Scots Gaelic Là Fhèill Brìghde, Irish Lá Fhéile Bríde, the feast day of St. Brigid), is an Irish festival marking the beginning of spring. Most commonly it is celebrated on February 1 or 2 (or February 12, according to the Old Calendar), which falls halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere.
The festival was observed in Gaelic Ireland during the Middle Ages. Reference to Imbolc is made in Irish mythology, in the Tochmarc Emire of the Ulster Cycle. Imbolc was one of the four cross-quarter days referred to in Irish mythology, the others being Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. It has been suggested that it was originally a pagan festival associated with the goddess Brigid, who was later Christianised as St. Brigid.