Got lots of pics of Appley Love field, so listen, er, look up!
I returned to Appley Love field after second-guessing myself. I started flipping through my reference book of trees that grow in my area. Suddenly, my first impressions of the trees as crabapples (as I had written about in my last post) seemed all wrong. Did these trees have thorns? Were they perhaps hawthorn trees ---as my herbology teacher had told us they were difficult to identify because the leaves were so variable--- or perhaps service berries? Or pin cherries? That dark crabapple looked like a plum, so some sort of plum species?
It seemed my intuition had gone out the window. In its place was a fervent curiosity to find out. I took several pics of the trees, of the trunk, leaves and fruits. It was an especially hot day, and being in the field meant pants and closed shoes. It was well over 30 degrees and I felt like passing out from the sheer heat. The sweat was dripping down my tshirt, and all I was doing was standing.
I was standing next to a tree that I was sure was a crabapple, and proceeded to munch on it. By munch I mean I took 4 bites because these are tiny, sour delicacies! I felt itchy suddenly, and sure enough, who was there but mosquito. Not sure if she brought her friends, but I wasn't interested to find out. I sprayed myself with a pricey citronella insect repellent I had brought from the health food store. It had worked last time, let's see if it would again.
I felt this itchiness on my shoulder.
Hello, who's this?
An orange and black caterpillar! Similar-looking to the sleeping caterpillars I had seen before (see pic below). Identification solved! They are known as Milkweed Tussock Moths. Interesting that they feed off milkweed plants and are able to utilize the cardiac glycosides (toxic to us). Their predator is the bat, and they send an ultrasonic signal to warn bats that they taste bad. They develop into a large brown moth. You can read more about them here.
Ah, must've brushed up against this moth going through the field. I didn't know who this little fella was at the time and he wasn't too interested when I offered him an apple. I saw him open his mouth to take a bite and he didn't seem thrilled!!
I continued to take several snapshots of the trees. There was so much Goldenrod in this field, as I mentioned in previous posts, and I was able to collect many that had buds. Good, too, because a few of the plants I had collected had flowers that went dandelion on me. By that, I mean their flowers turned fluffy. I don't really care for fluffy flowers when it comes tea time :)
You remember last time I had mentioned that I was too pooped to get those Wild Grapes? Well, I made the time, yesiree, and they are SO good and sweet! I had brought an apple, carrot and sow thistle juice with me and there was no need for it, munching on crabapples and sweet, oh-so-friggin'-yummy (excuse the vernacular) grapes. I didn't take any leaves, but berries I did collect :) I might make a jam or just eat them as is. There are still grapes that I left behind because they weren't all ripe, still turquoise in color.
Yes, fall is upon. I could tell today when doing my "chore" of cleaning the floors. It was going on 8 o'clock at night and the sun was almost gone.
The days are getting shorter, I thought.
No they're not, I countered myself. The days are the same, just the light is getting less.
Which means in the south they are getting more light during the day.
All in the balance, my dear, all is balance.
Going back to those crabapples, there's this great identification group on FB called Plant Identification. I've mentioned them before. Their sole purpose is to help you to identify a plant, a plant that you don't know what it is. One of the admins was on there at the same time I was uploading the pics of the trees, so I got my confirmation of what my intuition had already told me: malus, aka, crabapple.
I did ask what species but was told there are over 1000s and there are many hybrids :( The area where I am foraging used to be all farmland and as far as I know, that lot has been abandoned for as long as I've known it, 15+ years. Of course, I only thought to go and explore this field last year...Yep, foraging was a foreign thing to me 15 years ago, back when I was starting my journey in the field of mental health and fitness, going to school, studying, working 2 different jobs...ah, you know the lifestyle ;)
In the pics below, you'll see 3 different types of crabapples. And then there is one tree ---the one that is NOT elderberry as I had surmised last post---that is Common Buckthorn. Oh yeah, she tastes yucky. This Buckthorn is NOT like Sea Buckthorn, of which the antioxidant oil is used to help with skin issues, weight loss and GERD. No, common Buckthorn has a bitter, nauseous taste. Her other name is Purgative Buckthorn, so you can guess that her use is as a purgative.
No foraging today because of a big storm yesterday, but it was another hot and humid day, all the moisture might've evaporated and I mighta had a go at it. Nope, did a bit of gardening instead:
And what of those rip hips? Oh, my dearie, they are almost r-e-a-d-y! Almost. I may go and collect some tomorrow. Some are still orange but many are bright red. Now is the time to get them because they will be pruned back come September. Yes, if you are able to get them after the frost they taste sweeter, but I ain't going for taste. I'm going for a facial oil! Their Vitamin C is potent now as well, and those ripe haws, or berries, are going to be soaking/infusing in some oil real soon, sweetie pie. You bet.
Might go and have a look yonder at Bellefield tomorrow, feast on some Jewelweed pods, collect some Red Clover and maybe even some Bull Thistles for green juice. Or I might take a jaunt in the woods and take pics and find new friends, which I've been meaning to do.
It's all in the journey, baby :)
Stay in the moment sunshine :)
Ps. Been making all kinds of recipes with Chokecherries and Rowan Berries: jelly, gummy candies, jello, a chia drink, pudding, even a pie...Think it'll make a great ebook! Sweetened with stevia, of course, so good for those with sugar issues or even those for candida!
I think it's time that foraging and naturopathy meet ;)
PPs. Forgot to mention that I also got confirmation on another tree in Appley Love: Russian Olive. I figured it was an olive tree, but the olives are kinda mealy :P Maybe I'll add them to soups or just use the seeds... Enjoy the photos :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: