A Forager’s Walk

A Forager's Walk

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.

God Provides

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.

Brambles

When I was out hunting morels (mushrooms) last month I noted all the brambles which were just beginning to blossom.

Blackberry blossoms (taken a month earlier)

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.

Ripening raspberries
Loaded blackberry bush
Huckleberries

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.

Huckleberries beginning to ripen

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.

Huckleberries
Gooseberries

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.

A gooseberry bush
A flowering gooseberry. (Photo taken a month ago)
Heading Home

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)

Wild roses

As I turn onto our driveway, I’m joined by the guinea gang and a banty rooster.

Guineas and rooster

I got home just in time. Look at the menacing clouds!

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!

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A Forager's Walk

 

Comments

  1. makinghermama

    I like Ev that you have so much growing wild!!! We started learning to find rage last year as well. Although the blackberries grow rampantly al to get the island, they are the invasive himalayans that you would find in a grocery store (which is awesome in and of itself). But, we were also able to find the smaller love cal
    Blackberries that trail along the ground. Thimbleberries were another first time find and try! Interested by taste. Excited to see that they are growing
    In huge numbers this year!!

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  2. Kathi

    I’ve always thought of our place as rich in wild food, but you have so many more berries than we do! I wish we had wild raspberries, they are my favorites, but blackberries are a close second and we have a great abundance of them. They ripen in the heat of July and you run the risk of chiggers and meeting a snake, but they are worth the trouble.

    Enjoy that wild sweetness. 🙂

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      mcurren527

      Ours ripen earlier than that, and they’re even earlier this year. Snakes, ticks, and chiggers, are a nuisance here, too.

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      mcurren527

      They’re earlier than usual this year. Thank you! I agree. I love the natural beauty of our area.

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