Well, it's almost official: they're going to be building condos on Bellefield. Most of the plants are gone, hacked away. In the center of the field there's a wooden stake with a painted orange circle. That's what gave it away. That, and that a person walking his dog I had met before had mentioned the idea.
This time around, I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel anything at all. I just walked along where tall plants used too be: white vervain, blue vervain, cow parsnip, wild parsnip, yarrow, sow thistle, red clover, milkweed, mugwort, plantain and thistle.
Interestingly, today was the first time I went foraging all week. Not that I didn't have the opportunity, oh no the weather has been great. Just busy doing my other love...
Wait. Would that be cooking, exercising, writing, reading, gardening...or...?
Yes, they've been having some back to school sales and so I've been enjoying looking and buying :) Although it is also true that I've been busy exercising, gardening and writing/experimenting with chokecherry and crabapple recipes, including making jelly, jello, gummy candies and pie! :)
Bike riding yesterday from one mall to the next, I passed by Bellefield and was invited to come for a visit. I saw the plants and thought to come right then, but it just wasn't the right timing. Then, this morning, I started writing an article about the uses for Burdock. It got me thinking about making a pesto with the leaves and how the petioles are edible (kinda like celery), so that got me thinking about going to Bellefield.
Walking along the path from the street, I went close to the plants growing along the water. Lots of Burdock, first year and second year. I collected some stems and leaves and, lo and behold, tons of Dandelion! Strange that I should be finding her now when all summer I've been collecting Sow Thistles, not Dandelion! But I'm more than happy to be finding her, as her leaves are an excellent diuretic. I dry her leaves and use her as a green in my soups.
There was one plant that I thought might be Wild Chervil. I just wanted to pull up the root, so I was thinking it might be a carrot plant. The leaves didn't seem like that of Wild Carrot, aka Queen Anne's Lace, but I'd like to go back with my spade and dig her up. I'd also like to collect some Burdock roots and Dandelion roots. At work, there's Bellflower growing and the roots are edible; they taste like parsnip! Indeed, I just wrote an article for the [Grow] Network about edible ornamentals, so I'll be posting that soon in Chitter-Chatter for ya'll to read about :)
Walking up the bridge to get to the actual Bellefield, there was tons of Jewelweed, all in flower. I'd hoped to try a Jewelweed pod, trailside nibble apparently, but no luck this time around!
Walking in the remains of Bellefield, I collected more Dandelion leaves, some Sow Thistles and yes, who should be there, but Motherwort!
It's amazing how plants get hacked down, but they still continue growing. They don't just give up and die. No, they continue to regrow their leaves and put forth their flowers, only now they are much smaller, much closer to the ground. I was reading about that in my reference books of plants in my area, that so-called "weeds" have adaptive strategies for "survival" since they are often pulled. Such survival techniques include producing a multitude of seeds (yes, well, Dandelion is found the world-'round), reproducing by runners (like Violet) and having roots where even just one bit left in the ground will spawn a new plant (that'd be Mugwort, she's a keeper, all right). Some plants even grow faster with a good stomping!
Motherwort was looking really good, with nice green leaves. She's in the mint family, you know, and just like Mint, she can spread! I collected her leaves to put in----yes, yes, my SOUP! I dry her leaves and then come soup time, I go looking for what greens I can add to it. No need to go buying leafy greens in winter if you can collect enough during the summer and fall months! Sigh. Besides that garden I'd like to have one day, I'd probably like a root cellar, large freezer and conservatory/solarium to enjoy plants year 'round. Oh no, no big dreams here. Just a mad love affair with plants :)
I actually decided to walk all the way to the end of the pathway this time. Saw more Sow Thistles and Sumac. Took a berry in my mouth, but eh, it had rained a bit the other day and she tasted washed out. Yes, if you want to harvest Sumac, you should do the taste test: you can lick your finger and then swipe it on the Sumac and back in your mouth for a taste, or just pop a berry in and check. You're looking for a sweet-tart taste. If it's rained, she loses her taste, but then the rule of collecting herbs anyway is to wait at least 2 days after a rainfall.
My fave part about this walk was that the sun was shining through the leaves and I was enjoying the dancing rays as they fell on my face. I absorbed the light with my eyes, and took in the plants with serenity and joy. I stopped to have a nibble of Vetch. Yes, she's in the pea family and you can munch on her flowers as a trailside delight. I did! And while I did, I was watching this fantastic-looking black spider that had a white dot on her bum trying in this comedic act to climb up a web to reach what appeared to be old food. The web was all wrinkled up and the insect seemed large but dead. I found it so funny and entertaining at the same time. And what I loved most about that moment was that i was there, i was present. i was just watching the moment.
I spotted some New England Asters and put just a few petals in my mouth. I know her root is known to be useful for lung ailments, but don't remember if any of her bits are edible.
That concluded my rather short foraging trek. Not much action, it would seem, because all the action is happening in the kitchen. The creative spin has turned to cooking, oh yes indeedy! Besides making pesto with Burdock, I was writing today some recipes ideas for Yellow/Curly Dock seed. Yep, her seeds have all gone brown (they start off green and then change to brown when ready to use) and I still have tons from last year because I found the "chaff" a bit too rough for my intestines. Fine if you need the fiber, but with my high veggie diet, I'm good :) Planning on taking off the chaff and baking up lotsa goodies!
Busy, busy, busy. Experimenting with recipes, retesting, writing them up, and then...ebooks time!
That's it for this time, sunshine :)
Ps. Discovered a new friend at Bellefield! There was only one of her, but her smiley yellow flowers have her away as Evening Primrose. great herb for inflammation of all sorts, great tonic for the female reproductive system. She also has edible bits, including a root that tastes like parsnip and edible EFA-rich seeds! You can read more HERE by Kiva Rose :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: