Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Wild Garden

Nearly everyday, when I am out harvesting one thing or the other, I think about a blog post.  The thing is, by the time I get to the computer, my body and brain are exhausted and writing doesn't happen.  I would like to think I can make more time for the blog right now, but there is too much going on outside!

Back in the spring, I was a bit envious of friends' gardens.  We had just moved, spread a bit thin time-wise and couldn't quite tame the overgrowth enough to plant.  Though I had no cultivated gardens, I was harvesting everyday.  Thankfully, I saw the sunlight and my perspective shifted.  I had a wild garden.  I didn't weed, I didn't water, I harvested and gave thanks.  That's all.  

Though we now have a small garden beginning to offer us fruits for our labors of double-digging, tilling, weeding, mulching, watering, the list of labors goes on and on, I still harvest from the wild garden everyday.  And it gives me more joy to do so.  The wonders of nature are forever around us and I am forever amazed by the bountiful wild world.  I can live off of the land itself, truly.

I spent the morning picking wild blackberries with a friend.  Joyous work, sweating in the sun, breeze blowing, good conversation and the shared excitement over finding a cane of particularly juicy berries.  The best ones just never make it home, why is that?

Later I harvested the daylilies.  I do this daily, some to eat, some to freeze, and some for an upcoming batch of wine.  I think they are on their way out.  There are some late blooming elders here and there, destined for the same purposes, and the red clover is giving her final efforts.  I will miss them.

I recently harvested dock seeds, mainly yellow dock but there are a variety of rumex species right outside of my door.  Right now they are sitting in paper bags awaiting processing.  I'll store them in glass jars until I want flour, then I will give them a turn in the herb and spice dedicated coffee grinder.  There are still plenty of young dock leaves to be harvested as well, for greens and pakora like fritters on the table.  

We were in the park recently and happened upon a large mulberry tree.  We harvested off of the ground and the tree probably a gallon of berries, not counting the nearly equal amount the five of us stuffed in our mouths as we harvested.  Food is everywhere!

Soon there will be elderberries, wild grapes, persimmons, walnuts, keeps going year round.  You don't have to go far or look too hard.  The Mother provides.  The wild garden grows where ever you may be.  

For the locals:  I will be leading a plant walk in Renaissance Park next week.  Wednesday, July 7th, 7pm.  The park is quite wild, with its undisturbed woodland paths, and the native plantings in between the mounds and the marsh.  It is quite the exhibit of wild plants for food and medicine right in downtown Chattanooga!  We will take a brief look at all we find, spending more time on what to harvest NOW and what is forthcoming.  Cost is $10-$20 sliding scale.

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