High Summer Harvest

The seeds of dock dry in the sun, and when a pale, papery green are ready to be beaten into sacks, milled and winnowed as a grain supplement.

The seeds of dock dry in the sun, and when a pale, papery greenish brown are ready to be beaten into sacks, milled and winnowed as a grain supplement.

With high summer’s advent, yet new harvests from gardens, glades and glens descend upon us. Near the barn, wild chamomile is abundant. We’ll harvest and dry a liter for tea through the year. Dock seeds are mature and dry now, and they will be beaten into sacks, hand milled and winnowed over the coming two weeks to supplement our grain. August chanterelles begin to emerge in abundance and so commences the late summer season of mushroom gathering. Not long from now pennybuns, corrals, hedgehogs and many other kinds of mushrooms shall join them in forest and meadow. Indian pipe is appearing under all the spruces at the edge of the Elfwood near our ancient cottage, and when young they can be steamed into fine pale vegetable with a flavor similar to asparagus. Wild cherries are ready to be harvested at the base of the mountain, as are serviceberries, and that too will require some attention over the next two weeks. The Earth Mother is being most kind to us, though in different ways, this year. While our tomatoes have struggled–as I knew they would given I planted them in first year beds this growing season to give their old beds a rest–the land supplements our needs in many other ways. The land is always the ally, if you live by its patterns and know how to speak its language.

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2 thoughts on “High Summer Harvest

  1. FeyWind

    I must say that I am quite enjoying reading of the adventures and life-with-the-land which you write about here. I wish I lived in a place with as much wild land around me as you seem to have. Maybe someday. Mean-the-while, I do everything I can to learn about the wild edibles in my area, and collect when and what I’m able.

    Thank you so much for sharing your stories – long or short – with us all! Do you have any suggestions for reading or research for a budding wildcrafter and collector of wild bounty?

    Blessed and Happy Harvest!

    • Hello Feywind. I would suggest Samuel Thayer’s superb books on wild food gathering: “Nature’s Garden” and “The Forager’s Harvest”. Not only excellent field guides, they also do very well at teaching how to identify wild plants.

      If you are interested in woodscraft (aka bushcraft) skills, any book by Ray Mears should be good. He is smart and realistic–none of the pseudo-drama you see a lot among some of the bushcraft “actor-teachers” out there. And Mears has some superb videos that were produced by the BBC which you can see on Youtube. I’ve been asked several times to write about woodscraft skills or even create videos. Maybe one of these days . . .

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