MAY 1 Went to the cattail pond today, the one I found last year via Google Earth AFTER the last edible part of Cattails had passed and they were at the “Hot Dog” stage.
Skipper sunk up to his chest in mud and I almost lost my mud boots to the same. Beautiful breezy afternoon.
Saw lots of wild Beebalm, Yellowdock, Mustard, Mullein, Violets, Dandelion, Wild Strawberry, Cattail shoots and many mystery plants. I tried to dig the rhizomes which was almost disastrous and quite impossible with my small spade.
I filled my blue bucket with 50 or so Cattail shoots that I snipped off at their base with my shears. I would have clipped more but without a board to walk on over the muck I would never have made it out with both boots. As it is, the swamp claimed my spade. After spending considerable time searching for it I scoured the woods for Morels instead.
There, the terrain birthed giant Chickweed, Blue Irises, Mayapples, Ferns, Water Hemlock, more Violets, Skunk cabbage, Solomon Seal and other unknowns. Skip and I continued our fruitless search for Morels, took lots of pictures of mystery plants and then left for another day.
Another picture perfect day in God’s creation.
So excited about Cattails I invited Hannah, one of my foraging friends, over for a Nettle and egg breakfast and then we hopped in the truck (with Skipper in the back) and headed for the Cattail haven.
We harvested about 100 young shoots each. As we filled our buckets with the bounty we wandered off in different directions in search of stalks that were mature enough to harvest. We brought boards this time to balance on in the swampy muck but soon found that it was easier just stepping on last years dead growth for support and firmer footing. In this manner we moseyed for over an hour in the early morning sunshine.
The bubbling stream laughing as it raced besides us.
It fascinated me to see the new green shoots emerging amongst their dried out elders of last season. It was as if these ‘parents’ were protecting their young with their brittle bones embracing their growth. The young shoots taste almost exactly like CUCUMBER. And I plan to use them in a tzatziki sauce for my next Greek Wild food feast.
Along with the young stalks I collected 30 or so old dead trophies left over from last years harvest to use as tinder for fires.
Only a few times did the quagmire of mud seek to claim a boot or two but we kept our balance and our buckets from such fate.
Buckets heavy and full we then hiked around the lake in the woods, I pointed out to Hannah the Trilliums, the Mayapples, the Solomon Seal roots, and though we dug a few Solomon Seal roots we saved most of the forest foraging for our next ‘store’, the llama farm.
There I showed Hannah the amazing overgrowth of Poison Hemlock. Impossible to not walk by it for it lined the stream, it’s purple stems clearly flagging it’s location. Collected more Solomon Seal root, some peppermint, Japanese Knotweed, a bit of Trillium root… and identified many green friends along the path. Took pictures of a few mystery plants that we have yet to meet. Collected lots of Cleavers for pesto for dinner.
Still shopping we swung by the Nettle store (a mile away) and harvested a basket full of Urtica dioica. Fun to find an actual wooden swing hanging from an old oak inviting us to stay a bit and play.
Home with a harvest of wild gifts to garble, clean, pickle, tincture and hang to dry. Good day to make tinctures as it is a new moon and the moon is drawing heavily on the earth and all who live on it. Makes good medicine that way.
The time together was priceless… the shopping trip filled our bags with groceries… and the cost was nothing but our time and energy.
Free gifts from a GREAT God!
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