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