Monday, February 21, 2011

First Signs of Life!

Taking the road less traveled often pays off. This is more of a path than a road, and I think that the dogs and I are pretty much the only ones who use it besides the deer. It leads down to the creek, and around here, creeks mean wild garlic is close by.

While the dogs chewed on sticks and sniffed around tree trunks, I started brushing dead leaves aside, and sure enough, I found the beginnings of wild garlic shoots!

These tender plants, called ramsons, ramps, and buckrams, taste and smell incredibly garlicky, and are the most delicious introduction to Spring. People here use the wild leaves mainly for pesto, soups, spreads, and in salads. In March and April, you see many women out in the woods, quietly picking basketfulls of these greens. (I'm one of those women.) Once the plants have lost their white blossoms, their fat seeds much like those of the nasturtium are exposed, which can be gathered and pickled like capers. Folks tend to gather these wild and avoid planting them in the garden as they multiply like crazy and would soon dominate the entire yard, and then the neighbour's. So you can imagine how it transforms the forest floor come Spring.

Soon, this entire creekside will be thickly carpeted with wild garlic.

I picked a few of the tangy sprouts and the smell on my finger tips was heaven. I especially like to chop them and sprinkle them over a piece of dark buttered bread.

There are other plants visible again now that the snow has melted. I love those that have green leaves with purple underbellies.

As much as I am looking forward to growing a garden, there is something so special about the wild native plants, and the excitement of discovering the growth of one after another as the season progresses.  And of course its especially fun when it's something edible that you can harvest and take home to your kitchen.

As for the doggies: Boston has grown into such a handsome dog. He has truly won my heart with his affection, innocence, enthusiasm, and sweetness.

He likes to take his stuffed animals out into the yard with him, and gets so incredibly excited whenever we meet with another dog. He follows my every move all around the apartment, and when I want to step out of the shower he is curled up on the bath mat, waiting for me. We are wondering if his tiny head will ever grow!

And of course there's Kiki, our most faithful friend, who has been with us in good times and in bad.

She has finally admitted that bringing Boston home to live with us wasn't such a bad idea. She has finally embraced him, and watching them play and explore together is such a pleasure.

So, these are the final weeks of Winter, and we are all hungry for the sun, and for green, for new beginnings. But also learning to make the best of the cold, quiet days.

HERE is a link to a previous post about wild garlic, including pictures of it in high season.

How are you? I hope well!

xoxo country girl

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rainy Day Painting

It's an awfully bleak day. Mist so thick you can barely see where you are going. Only the forest looks pretty in this weather, with it's little waterfalls and patches of thaw.

Luckily I have a project to keep me distracted most of the time; I'm in the final weeks of finishing up my children's book, which is set to be published in Spring as an ebook and an audio book. It's been a long journey with many long, long pauses, and it's hard to imagine it ever being finished. My biggest fan and cheerleader has been my husband, and now I fully understand why all those people dedicate books and awards to their husband or wife.

Today I got a kick out of realizing I was painting a rainbow trout while snacking on rainbow cookies, which I baked because my inner child was hungry. *smile*

Thanks so much for all your birthday wishes!

xoxo country girl

Monday, February 14, 2011

Every Day Love

I wish you could have tasted this cake. Simple chocolate with cream cheese frosting, topped with perfectly ripe strawberries. So perfect. Turning 30 was a joy!

This winter is dragging on, but good things are happening, despite the fact that I haven't been here much to write about it.

Even though the forest was white with snow this morning, the birds were singing like it was Spring. I couldn't believe how loud they were! I thought, They really do carry faith within them, to sing like that on a day like this. I am hungry for green, so impatient for growth and new beginnings! But then my heart tells me to use these last cold weeks for creativity, tea, and cookies.

On this day, Valentine's Day, I want to wish you all Every Day Love. Love every day. Not just on a holiday. Every day. That's my wish for you!

xoxo country girl


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