The wild winter we enjoyed a few months ago is finally vanished and spring has begun in earnest here on the mountain. I have been out scouting on horse and on foot four times since I last updated everyone and green up is finally happening. Now that there is some greening happening, I can give everyone a better sense of what to expect.
You may expect that we will certainly cover the following species: devil’s thistle, dandelion and associated wild lettuces, creeping charlie, wild blueberry, bramble fruit, the wild cherries, birch, various wild mints, lamb’s quarter (cannot guarantee, it hasn’t emerged yet), wild carrot, possibly feral rhubarb (still waiting for emergence), staghorn sumac, beaked hazelnut, yarrow, wild rose, plantain, cattails, wild strawberries, bladderwort (if emerged), dock and burdock (waiting for emergence), and the uses of birch bracket and old man’s beard. There will be more, too. Right now, foliage and fungi are about a month behind due to the late melt of last winter’s heavy snows. I expect that within two weeks all the things that we are waiting on for emergence will have emerged. There will undoubted be other things, too, rare finds and things out of season (as can oft happen with mushrooms).
We will also cover three oft neglected topics in foraging manuals: when to use, what to use and how to use. In the case of wild foods, these are often more critical questions than they are with domestic foods.
Please park in the lengthy driveway between the dirt road and our cottage and please stay to the edge of the driveway. Do not park on the green as we begin cultivation of many things just off the edge of the drive. As persons arrive, we will guide you to the learning site.
Please remember that much of the way will be over rough ground. This is a wild food course and often the only way to get wild food is to go over wild territory. Tough hiking boots are absolutely required, and please expect that you might get your feet wet. You may want to bring extra shoes for later. At least two of the plants we shall study–aquatic mint and cattails–grow in wet ground, and it can get slushy getting to them.
Also, please, please do not wear shorts and I suggest a light jacket to protect your arms no matter how hot it may be. Expect that you will get a few scratches due to the omnipresent raspberries and wild rose in this area. The best way to minimize this is by wearing clothes that protect you. No matter how hot it gets, I always wear heavy hikers, a jean jacket, tough blue jeans and good hat when heading into the sticks around here. It really is a necessity.
If anyone get’s tired and needs to take a break or go back to the base area, my daughter will be present to lend assistance and help you find your way. She grew up in the Alaskan bush and in the woodlands around here and knows her stuff. She is just turning eighteen and is studying to be a violinmaker but this is her first real job and she’s very excited about it.
Please let me know if you have any questions.