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


  1. What a beautiful post Dawn! I loved the little tribute to your gorgeous furbabies & the bleak yet hopeful countryside photos...I love wild garlic too, especially in risotto or when roasting chicken! Those leaves too...the first picture looks like cyclamen ( which we have growing wild here in the churchyard) & the second is woodsorrel I think...which I love to find & eat on walks with Alice. I adore it's lemony fizz on my tongue! Love, and a big hug to you this Monday...from me & Alice xoxo

  2. I've never seen garlic that didn't come on a produce shelf at the grocery store. Thanks for the enlightenment!

  3. I want to taste it so badly.
    Here in the Yukon it is still bitterly cold with snow everywhere. I imagine that any wild plants are safely asleep under a thick blanket of snow.
    Thank you for sharing your early spring with us. xox

  4. As you are finishing winter - we are finishing summer.
    beautiful post & photos.

    Love Leanne New Zealand

  5. Lovely post sweetie, and the pooches are adorable as always. I cannot wait to forage for wild garlic with Poppy, not long to wait now!
    Love and hugs

  6. I'm a wild forager too and sure do apprecaite the wild bounty!

  7. Such a beautiful post :) Reminds me of this quote by Gladys Taber:

    "Now toward the end of February, the white horses of winter still pound down the valley, but the end of the course is in sight. For example, I wade through melting snow to the pond and find the tips of skunk cabbage poking up where the brook runs in. I don't know why, but they remind me of medieval hooded monks. Later, they look absurdly tropical with their rank green growth. Now I can imagine that if I lifted a hood I would see bright eyes looking at me. 'See,' they would say, 'winter is never the end.'"

  8. Reading of your adventures out in the gorgeous Austrian woods always makes me want to get out and go exploring. We just got another bit of snow so right now Spring is hiding under a blanket.
    So nice Boston and Kiki are enjoying their outings. Love to see their sweet faces. Don't worry about Boston's head, he is a handsome boy.

  9. what treasures you find and your babies are just so very lovely

  10. beautiful post. congrats on your book, you must be so proud!
    have a wonderful day

  11. Hey beautiful - lovely to hear from you and enjoyed your post as ever! Got to get me some wild garlic soon! It is so strong but so nice! Boston is looking very grown up and Kiki as gorgeous as ever! xxx

  12. I loved this posting dear Dawn,

    You have grown and changed so dramatically during the last year. What growth, and oh those sweet little dears who go on those seeker's hikes with you. I love the image of you three trekking along and sniffing out new discoveries.

    Sending love across the cold miles (all my fruit trees are blooming and it is cooooold, so I hand pollinated them today because no bees are out).


  13. Your dogs are adorable, and I enjoyed taking this walk with you via your blog.

  14. Love the pictures of the earth coming back to life. I am so DONE with winter. Thanks for the walk! Jamie in Arizona

    PS...I posted a pic on my pinterest board (with your link, of course). Hope that's ok. If not, I can take it down. Thanks.

  15. Your pictures are so pretty! And your dogs are adorable too. :]

    I'm just aching for those signs of life to pop up by me. So far, we're just getting more and more snow..

  16. Such a pretty place! Spring is coming!

  17. Hi friend. I have been reading your posts, but neglected to take the time to comment. Forgive me. I am so happy for you with your new home, and now your baby. Boston looks beautiful. I love his baby face. He would be such a catch for my Meredith. It looks like we have both been loving on our babies, taking pictures on what is popping through the earth, and painting a bit. Maybe we were twins separated at birth. Keep it coming. I love watching as our lives progress....



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