We’ve been having a lot a rainy spring weather lately, and you won’t hear me complaining. Yesterday afternoon I thought I’d get a quick walk in between storms. After studying the weather radar I wasn’t sure how much time I had, but I love taking walks. Every time I do, I fall more in love with our beautiful countryside. My trusty dog, Libby, always goes with me and I feel safer with her along.
It was (very) overcast and cool. The air was oxygen-rich and smelled of rain. When I was under the canopy of trees there was another lovely scent. I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, though. Maybe a certain type of tree was flowering, or something. I wished there was a way for me to share that with you, but I stopped and breathed deeply for a few moments to enjoy it. A rumble of thunder prodded me to get going.
One of my hobbies is foraging – picking wild berries, mushrooms, etc. One of my first visits (maybe THE first) to this farm was about twenty years ago, soon after my in-laws first bought it. It was when the berries were ripening, so we spent time on a hillside picking them and then my mother-in-law made a fresh cobbler when we got back to their home. I was just in awe at all of the wild berries that grew here. Growing up a city girl, I had never lived in such an area. From the time we moved here about ten years ago, I’ve picked the raspberries and blackberries, and gradually added other things I hunt for. God provides for us abundantly, all I have to do is get off my behind and go hiking. How much does a small plastic container of “organic” berries cost these days? Each spring, I spend as much time as I can picking berries and packing them in the freezer. I get free organic food, and exercise at the same time.
When I was out hunting morels (mushrooms) last month I noted all the brambles which were just beginning to blossom.
There were wild canes everywhere I looked, and they were loaded with flowers. The berries are forming now, and yesterday I spied the first ripening raspberries. The blackberries will soon follow.
I’m also keeping an eye on the huckleberries, which are like tiny wild blueberries. My favorite use for them is muffins, but they’re so tiny, and I have a lot of competition, so I don’t usually get a whole lot.
Aha! They’re starting to ripen. I picked a few that were right beside the road. More thunder reminded me that I didn’t have time to look further.
Another berry I pick is gooseberries. They’re so tart that not everyone enjoys them, but my dad has shared memories of foraging for gooseberries during his childhood in northeast Kansas. I like to make a gooseberry pie especially for him. The gooseberries are looking good this year, too. They have such pretty little leaves. The berries are harder to find because they’re green and hang underneath the thorny branches. Some years the berries have seemed scarce, but I’m seeing a lot this season. It’ll probably be a few more weeks before I pick them.
We even have wild roses here! They’re blooming, too. Did you know that roses, blackberries and raspberries are all related? (So are apples, btw)
As I turn onto our driveway, I’m joined by the guinea gang and a banty rooster.
We got almost 5″ of rain overnight, causing more flooding. I enjoyed my short walk, and now I know that my berry foraging season is beginning. Thanks for coming along!