I finally went foraging!!!
Last week, it was 1 day rain, 1 day no rain, so not the best kind of weather for foraging.
Unfortunately, we had a hail squall on the weekend, so that affected the plants, and the apples.
Yes, yesterday I finally decided to go to Appley Love Field. I almost didn't go, as when I hopped on my bike and started pedalling against the westerly wind, it was quite strong and I thought, ugh, I really don't need to go, do I?
Put I let the thought slip across the screen of the mind and spent the next 3.5 hours at Appley Love Field!
I started with taking out my tiny shovel. I was going to bring my big shovel, but thought it might be too cumbersome to lug around.
Not sure it would have mattered anyway...I went first to the part of the abdanoned lot where Yellow Dock was growing. It was quite difficult to extract just one yellow root, as I soon realized the hardiness of all the plants growing there---they were growing under the cement! There was a row of plants growing right beside the wall of the abandoned building, which meant that their roots were growing in a tight space.
What happened? The shovel I bought from the dollar store (cheap, I know) bent! I was trying to lift up some dirt from under the cement and it just couldn't handle the task.
I remember the same difficulty I experienced last year when I went foraging in another field that used to be used as the city's dumping ground for gravel and rocks. Yep, the land was for sale, someone bought it, but the deal fell through. The land had been cleared and then for about 1 year it stood empty.
I remember trying to haul up dandelion roots. Oh. My. God. A neighbor across the street had lent me a shovel. But still, there was no way to be digging up them roots when they were all surviving between rocks! One root in particular had rocks on all sides, just where it was growing there was dirt. Impossible!
The land was sold and they built a house there...Too bad because roots aside, it was fun to go collect Red Clover, Wild Carrot and Burdock. Ah well, life goes on!
And so, back to that abandoned lot: I managed to get ONE yellow dock root, only because the cement piece that was covering it broke. The plant is called Yellow Dock because of the gorgeous bright color that hits your eye when you unearth this beauty. Makes me think of turmeric when i see it---the power of anthocyanins and antioxidants and all that! Yellow color means yellow belly, aka good for the solar plexus chakra and all matters of digestion. :)
I then went to the field. All the Goldenrod flowers were spent. Well, ALL the plants were pretty much spent. It looked like a field, not anything much of interest.
Except the apples.
And oh my, there were apples!! Crabapples, to be sure, to be correct.
As I said, I spent 3 1/2 hours collecting crabapples!!
I went to the first tree, a tiny shrub slightly taller than me, got out my pruners and started cutting the crabapples from the tree.
I then went to the next tree, and then the next, each time partaking of each tree and collecting tons of crabapples for later.
Well, you didn't think I wouldn't be sampling from each one before I decided to take them home, did ya?!
There were several different kinds of crabapples, 4 if I remember correctly from last time I wrote about them, but I think there might even be more. Perhaps 5 or 6 varieties. (sheepishly) I lost count!
Some of the crabapples were like little pinheads, and because of the frost weather on the weekend, some of the crabapples were mushy. But mushy in a good way! Oh my, yes. It was like eating applesauce right there and then. I'd take an apple or two or three, especially if they were small, and they would just melt like butter in my mouth, apple butter to be sure ;)
One tree had small crabapples that were all mushy while other trees had apples that were nice and crisp. I took both the mushy and regular, ol' crispy apples to use for later. A few of the trees didn't have many apples left, but it did seem that nobody had visited Appley Love Field. Indeed, during the time I was there, I barely heard any noise from anyone walking on the street. Cars yes, as the field is close to a highway and across from a post office depot.
Which meant all the more apples for me! :)
Each tree was so unique. The same type of crabapple on one tree would be sweet while on another it would be more tart. Some of the apples on one tree would be still under-ripe, some just perfect and others mushy.
Because of the cold snap, some the crabapples had changed color to a purplish hue. This was true on 2 trees that had the same type of crabapples. The purplish apples were on the mushy side, but certainly sweeter than the other apples on the tree. On the second tree, there were only a few of the purplish apples, but the taste! Oh my! Really, it was so sweet, I could've sworn I was eating a date or a fig...except when I had to spit out the seeds ;P
Twilight was falling and I was still rushing to get as many apples as I could. I wasn't sure if I would come back again, you see...although I just might! ;)
The last tree I visited was the lovely lady who had offered me such sweet energy when I had come last time. Indeed, I realized that ALL the trees had done the same, each in there own way.
This tree had crabapples that looked like Ambrosia apples, only much smaller. The other crabapples were darker in color, dark red or bright red, whereas these crabapples were yellow with reddish-pink splotches.
I was so happy collecting all the apples (big grin)! And it was by now going on 6:30 and I was happily grabbing up the last of the apples!!
It was so much fun to be with all the apples, still so many apples remaining! Some of the trees grew side by side each other, so you could pick two different kinds of apples in one spot!
No mosquitoes, heh heh, but no friendly bug friends either :( Oh, wait. I did bring home a few spider friends :)
When I got home, UGH, what a mess! I only had so many bags with me and the mushy apples got mixed with some of the crisp apples. I had to separate that mess out, then got to making apple juice! Well, technically it's not juice, more like a "broth," because all you do it is add water to the chopped up apples in a crockpot, cook them through, and then run them through a food mill or nut milk bag. The food mill will actually give you an applesauce while the nut milk bag gives you the juice. Once you have juice, you can make jello, jelly and all kinds of things! I certainly did! So far, I turned some of the juice into jelly candies. I used silicone Halloween molds I got from the dollar store. How amusing! And what fun!
October 22, Thursday
Yes, fall is certainly here and it seems that winter is in the wind, not far away. Indeed, today I returned to Bellefield to see what remained to be had. I went there primarily for Nettle, and there was still some Nettle to be had, about a paper bag's worth. The rest? Nada! I thought perhaps the field had been mowed again, but it seemed it was the frost! All the Red Clover flowers are gone, Yarrow flowers no more either. I walked down to the very end of the path and collected some Motherwort leaves. Ah, fresh greens for a good autumn soup! And save some for later, for winter's soup too! I got another paper bag full, made a quick tour of the field once more (to collect buy a few Plantain and Dandy leaves), and left to go dig up Dandy roots behind the mall.
I did say my good-byes to Bellefield, as I'm not sure I shall be returning there again this year. I told the Nettle plants that I hoped to see them again in the spring, and I said goodbye to all the other plants whose fate with the new condo building construction was to be seen. Perhaps Motherwort will still be there as well, but I wished her farewell as well...
I had brought my spade with me, and it was much EASIER to be digging up roots in the earth than in the rock!!! I made quick work of several dandy plants, and of course it was much easier when the soil wasn't compacted. Unlike yesterday, mind wasn't much chatty, although at one point, it had this fear factor going on: it seemed I was doing something wrong! I watched as mind divided itself into the opposite argument, saying what could be more natural than digging up anti-cancer, prebiotic-rich roots in the fall! They sell this kind of stuff in the health food store when we can get it for free!!
When the headlights of a car shone down the alleyway, I thought for sure it was the police and I was in trouble!! I ignored mind, and nope, it turned out it was just a taxi passing by. Sure, there were a few other cars that came by, too. I'm sure they looked my way, perhaps with curiosity or perhaps thinking I was crazy! Either way, I continued my task of pulling up roots, then went to wash my hands and get 8 heads of red cabbage at the supermarket.
Why so much? Sauerkraut! They were small and I tell ya, I eat that probiotic-rich 'kraut every day, it's just so darn good! I've been making enough to last me about 2 weeks I think, so now every time I take the 'kraut out of the crock pot, I just gotta start making a new batch! I noticed that leaving it to ferment longer really helps to break down the cabbage better, but the weather has changed, too. It's colder now, so it takes longer for the cabbage to ferment in the kitchen...
Well, off to make more 'kraut and to clean some roots...
Might be the last one here for foraging for the season...Who knows, I might still have a go at those Burdock roots in Buckthorn Woods....
Keep on shining, sunshine! No matter the weather ;)
Curiosity Got The Cat: