Friday, May 16, 2008

Edible Wilds


My Dad is a very wise man. When I was a little girl, my parents used to take our family on annual camping trips. We lived in the city, so they wanted to expose us to nature and just spend some quality time with us kids. We used to camp in Gatineau, Algonquin, New Brunswick, and even Virginia Beach!

My brothers were far more interested in fishing and catching frogs and snakes than they were in identifying the different flora and fauna. Dad taught the boys how to fish, but he took me on walking tours through the woods and showed me all sorts of wonderful edible plants! I really cherish those special times with Dad. I remember listening to his infinite wisdom. He always seemed to have such a strong connection to nature and understood the delicate relationships between all living organisms. My Dad once told me "if you're out in the wilderness you will never starve". He's right! If you are stuck in the wild and you know what to look for, you will not go hungry.

When I was in the bush moving the cattle with Hubby yesterday, I thought of my childhood camping trips and my walks with Dad. I am really thankful for the times that Dad took me on those walks and taught me about edible wilds. On our property, Hubby's got a few hundred acres of forest.

In our forest, I've seen:
*Fiddle heads
*Mushrooms
*Mint
*Raspberries
*Strawberries
*Hawberries
*Leeks
*ASA from poplar bark (medicinal)
*Chamomile
*Blackberry
*Elderberry
*Dandelion
*Mustard
*Chives
*Crabapple

I know there are many more edible wilds on our property, but these are the ones I can identify. The number one rule for edibility is KNOW BEFORE YOU EAT!

Looking for edible wilds is such a fun activity. When Hubby and I have kids of our own, I'd really like to take them for walks through the bush to identify and sample some of the wonderful treasures Mother Nature has to offer us. The hiking part is fun, but finding wild raspberries is the part that is the most fun!!!

If you're ever over for a visit, we'll take a walk in the woods and look for edible wilds :)

(Cross-posted at Green Is Her New Blog)

12 comments:

Curiosity Killer said...

Sigh - your dad is very wise indeed. My family have been so wrapped up with moving and money - we rarely take any vacations together.

I love the wild produce... nothing makes me feel more like a natural woman. Next time I'm in Manitoulin, k? I'll wanna go for that stroll. ;)

C said...

CK:
Hey, gorgeous! Yes, next time you're on the Island we will definitely take a stroll! Hey, I've got an idea! Wouldn't it be cook to hunt for edible wilds and see what kind of dishes we can come up with??

When we were kids, my Mom and Dad worked and worked and worked. We had two weeks in the entire year that were allotted for family vacations. That was the only time of the year when we were actually able to be together as a family with no interruptions from work, school, and other obligations.

I'm really glad my parents took the time to take us on road trips and really made the effort to have family time like our camping trips. They were both workaholics, so we treasured those trips.

The family trips stopped once Middle Bro and I became teenagers. With all our activities, school and work, we never had time to travel together after that.

It really puts perspective on priorities in life, doesn't it? Parents want the best for their kids, they want to be able to provide for their families and often, give them what they didn't have the luxury of having (be it piano lessons, ballet lessons, higher education, world travels, etc).

Do parents work their butts off to give their family everything they can possibly give? Do they sacrifice spending time with their kids when they're younger so that they can reap the rewards of their work later and enjoy it? What happens in the in between though? It's a constant struggle. I told my parents that they did the best job they could have done and though they were always busy, they always made time for us kids. I wouldn't change a thing :) I wonder if I'll ever be able to juggle everything as well as my parents did. *sigh*

Hey, I got all the postcards you sent me! #1 and #3 came a few days ago and #2 came yesterday! Thanks so much, sista! So thoughtful of you! Luv ya! XOXO

C said...

That was supposed to read "wouldn't it be "cool" and not "cook"!

baby~amore' said...

mmm on the wild raspberries and all the other bush tucker.

Your Dad taught you a valuable life lesson C.What great fun your future kids will have exploring your property.

Barbara said...

MMMM........fiddle heads...
reminds me of dinner in Calabogie with my granparents...They have morrels(sp) too!!
We are taking the trailer to Wabagishik this weekend for the summer...there is potential to get my ass to LC now and then...lunch could really happen!!!
B

japanmanpete said...

It is official. You are no longer a city girl!

If I am ever lost in the wilderness, I would like to have you and your husband with me! With your guidance, I won't starve! Do you carry knives and matches with you too? For some reason, your husband strikes me as the type of bloke who would be prepared for anything.

Must catch up on the posts that I have missed this week here.
Cheers,

-Pete

C said...

Trish:
Thanks :) It's something I hope to pass onto future generations.

I remember my Dad being super busy and stressed with his hectic work schedule. Everything was work, work, work. The only quiet time he had was first thing in the morning, when he'd water his orchids, bonsai and day lilies. He has always had a green thumb and the time he spent with his plants was (in my opinion) probably very therapeutic for him.

I find myself following in his footsteps. I love plants and gardening. I just love growing things. There's a certain satisfaction one feels when they see the fruits of their labour.

C said...

Barb:
Oooooooooh! What a great weekend to head to Wabagishik! This morning on my way to the Farmer's Market, I had to wait a long time for the ferry traffic to pass! We live a few minutes from the ferry, so we get all the boat traffic that passes by our farm.

I would have thought that the rising gas prices would have had an impact on tourists coming to the Island. The Island sure was busy today!!! I had to wait forever at the pharmacy because there were so many people. I guess all the cottage people are here opening up their camps. There were quite a few tourists wanting to spend "May two-four" on the Island as well!

I really hope we can meet up for lunch soon-ish!! ;) I can meet you in LC if you like! It's only 35 min from me.

C said...

Pete:
I know! Don't remind me! I'm not "city" enough to be considered "city" anymore and I'm not "country" enough to be considered "country" either! If I'm neither, then what on earth am I??? *sigh*

The answer to your question is YES. Hubby is ALWAYS prepared :) He's like a Boy Scout. He carries all the necessary tools with him everywhere. His truck is always equipped for any kind of emergency. He's even made my vehicle "emergency-ready", though I don't know if I'd be "emergency-ready" in event of an emergency! LOL!

Uncivil said...

Oh this is a great post C. I remember making sassafras tea from the little sassafras tree roots that grow wild everywhere down here in the south.
Now I read where they think it causes cancer? Jeeeeesssshh!
My parents sure drank their share of it and they are still kickin'!

BeachMama said...

Have you ever made your own pot of tea with the cammomile? Your woods are very fertile.

Shannon said...

Nothing like a walk in the woods, except running across fresh raspberries or blackberries for a snack :)

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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