Tag Archives: wild walk

Entocuisine: A Passion for Wilder Edibles

0013729e4abe0bb544562cby Paul Landkamer –
Guest Blogger – Show Me Oz

Several years back, a distinguished-looking lady came into our library with some questions. Her formal, quiet school-teacherish (which she was) manner seemed in stark contrast to her request for information on fried grasshoppers and sources of supply. When she made her request, I remembered buying chocolate-covered ants, bees, grasshoppers and caterpillars back in the early ’70s when our Golden Valley, MN Byerly’s carried ’em. Byerly’s doesn’t carry them anymore. The teacher’s request didn’t shock me like it did some. It turned out the teacher was going to serve fried grasshoppers to some of the more daring teachers for a back-to-school function or something like that –quite possibly in remembrance of the big Warrensburg grasshopper feast from my earlier post. Several librarians and I jumped on the project.

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Wild Walk: Goldenrod

goldenrodby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Although the meadow below my house is still lush and green, I can see fall working its way into our lives.  I see it in the falling golden leaves of the black walnut trees and in the burning-red leaves of sassafras and sumac. And even though the meadow is most definitely green, it is also suddenly dotted with the purple and gold blossoms of asters and early goldenrod – plants we sometimes love to hate.

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Wild Blackberries and Wine – Part I

clip_image002by Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s been a wonderfully long and cool spring, but the temps have been climbing steadily into the more June-like 90’s.  With the heat has come the ripening of the wild black raspberries followed quickly by wild blackberries and giant boysenberries.  My husband Dean has already been out gathering the earliest of the sweet-tart fruits.  Historically, I have left the berry pickin’ to Dean.  But this year, I have set myself to pick with him every single time and I know it’ll be an adventure.

After coffee we pull on long pants, tucking them firmly into our socks before heading out to the berry patch with our buckets.  Even though it is barely 8 AM, it’s already unbearably hot and sticky and the gnats are out in full force, flying up our noses and into our eyes and ears.  Every now and then a light breeze brushes past, relieving us of the torture.

I quickly find out why the Japanese beetles that everyone else seems plagued with never bother any of the plants in my garden – they’re all in the blackberry patch slurping up the rich, sugary juices of overripe blackberries.  Every now and again we wind up grabbing a Japanese beetle along with our blackberry, an event that never fails to startle me.

Despite all the discomforts of picking blackberries, Dean has always insisted that he enjoys doing it.  And not because of the berries, which of course are the real prize, but because being out in the berry patch is a sort of meditation.  It takes patience and perseverance and  the Zen-like attention of a turtle to pick the best fruits.  And now that I have begun picking with him, I understand what he means.   When the heat and humidity are horrible and the pesky gnats are darting at my eyes, I find a rhythm in the repetitive picking motion and the drone of crickets and suddenly the rest of the world just seems to disappear.

The concentration needed to avoid thorns, eye-poking brambles, poison ivy and large, red wasps also sharpens my sense of my surroundings.  This somehow allows me to see things that I am not actually looking at, like the wasp on a nearby leaf,  the black-eyed Susan’s in the meadow and the yellow breasted chat in the branch above.  Indeed, berry picking is the master of all meditations wherein thoughts sift quietly past the consciousness of now and slip easily into the void.  I lose all sense of time.  Before we know it, we have been picking for two hours and have several gallons of blackberries.

Every other day for the next three or four weeks, we will pick one of several vast blackberry patches up our ridge until the freezer is full.  And though our fingers be stained purple and our bodies riddled with chigger bites, we will venture out for one last pick with which we will brew a little homemade blackberry wine.   Stop in next week to find out how we do it!

Until then, happy pickin’!

Read: Wild Blackberries and Wine – Part II

clip_image003 A Journey of Seasons

Filled to the brim with colorful stories, wild walks, botanical musings, and a just a pinch of “hillbilly” humor.  A personal and inspiring tale of homesteading in the Ozark backwoods.    Look inside!

© 2014 Jill Henderson  Feel free to share with a link back to the original article.

Jill Henderson is an artist, author, and the editor of Show Me Oz . Her books, The Healing Power of Kitchen Herbs, The Garden Seed Saving Guide and A Journey of Seasons can be found in the Show Me Oz Bookstore.  Jill is a contributing author for Acres USA and Llewellyn’s Herbal Almanac and her work has appeared in The Permaculture Activist and The Essential Herbal.

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Wild Walk: Let the Blooming Begin

2013 4-21 Ohio Buckeye in bloom (2)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Winter is definitely over and summer is marching in with a fury.  Here in Oz, temps have hit the 90’s already and we’ve had a few rain showers to kick the growing season off to a good start.  What was a clear view through the forest just a week ago is now completely obstructed by what we jokingly refer to as “The Jungle”.  So, if you don’t mind a few seed ticks, now is a fantastic time to check out the wildflowers and flowering trees – like this beautiful blooming Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra).

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Wild Walk: Spring Beauties

Image00046It’s been a busy spring here on Turtle Ridge.  We finally got the warm up we’ve been waiting for to really get the spring garden growing.  While we were waiting for sunny days and spring showers to germinate our seeds, I took a little time to go wild.

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Wild Food Foray: Wild Grapes

2013 11-4 Wild Grape (5)_thumbBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Fall is a great time to gather the wild foods that grow abundantly here in the Ozarks.  Black walnuts, hickory nuts, persimmons, mushrooms, rosehips and wild grapes are all native to the Ozarks and many of the Southern and Midwest states.  Our latest foray resulted in a basket full of luscious wild grapes.

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Luscious Elderberries

By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Summer is a time of abundance in the natural world.  It doesn’t take much searching to find plants, trees and shrubs that are either flowering, setting fruit or going to seed.  And all it takes to fill one’s winter larder with this abundance is a little walking and a keen eye.   July is a particularly bountiful month in which one of my favorite wild edibles, the common elderberry, begins to set and ripen its delicious, nutritious and medicinal fruits.

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