Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Smoothies and Foraging...

I never blog mid-day unless I just have to. I just created a smoothie that warrants being written down So here it is. Hmm, let's call it the Chocolate Covered Cherry Berry Smoothie.   At least, that's what Ian and I named....
Hemp milk (1 cup water and a TBSP or two of hemp seeds, blended)
Banana, frozen goji berries (YAY Whole Foods!),  frozen cherries, and a couple of dates
2 TBSP of cacao powder


Now we are trekking back out in the heat to collect some more monarch caterpillars. We brought home a sample one to identify in the field guide Ian picked out on our last library trip. He also picked out a bird and seashore field guide and has been studying the pictures.  Seems like a great start to homeschooling to me. 

In other news, I am on now on a knowledge quest of wild edibles. Still too novice to actually try much, I am working on identification.  When in VT this past weekend we enjoyed wild blackberries and raspberries on our hikes, but all the greenery remains a mystery to me.... a mystery I just must solve. I feel like I am looking at nature's abundance the way one looks at one of those computer art things you have to squint your eyes to see the picture and I just can't do it yet.  If only I could easily identify which greens are nutritious and edible and which, you know, might leave me paralyzed.  So I do what I always do when something new intrigues me. I dive in head first.  We took out a bunch of books at the library last week, I've located one or two websites, and I am studying.  This morning we went on our first foraging expedition in our backyard  and brought back samples of plants (that some would call weeds) to identify. Ian looked through books and I looked online and we managed to identify a couple.  Ian loves this new project and is very happy to tell everyone when he sees wild carrot. He pulls it up and explains what it is and tells you to smell it.  This morning he explained to his Nonnie that the ENORMOUS weed patch down the street (that the town has to trim several times a summer) is actually edible japanese knotweed.  The goldenrod is in bloom and we are planning to collect leaves and dry them to make teas, apparently great for colds and congestion.  I'm becoming clearer on sumac and realize now that the huge red tufts we saw in VT this weekend was the edible sumac berries and, had I known, could have been steeped in cold water to make a sumac lemonade. The sumac leaf I brought home to identify this morning was we scrubbed ourselves with tecnu just in case. There is so much to learn and I am loving this process. Someday that vast, somewhat blurry, view of field and forest might start looking like a salad.....when I learn how to squint just right. 

I'm astounded and amazed that so much of what I have always considered annoying weeds are here to feed us, so we can eat healthfully, locally, and with minimal impact on the earth.  And that all of this is here in such abundance, I wonder if we all had this knowledge, what kind of impact would that have on our planet?  It seems so silly that it's all right here in front of us so blatantly and we are blind to it.  No, its not even that we are blind to it, we DESTROY it intentionally and consider our hearty local flora nothing but an invasive nuisance.  We kill what is supposed to grow here and spend exorbitant amounts of time and money trying to grow things that aren't meant to grow know, like lawns.  My definition of a beautiful landscape is shifting a bit now too, that perfectly manicured lawn is not nearly as attractive to me as it once was.  A field of wild grasses, greens and flowers is stunning. It is Eden and we are already living in it.

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