Yesterday, Deus Ex Machina and I went on a kind of "Where's Waldo?" hunt in our local area. Of course, we weren't looking for the infamous chameleon, Waldo. What we were actually in search of is spring foods.
It's possible that we were a little too ambitious. There's obviously not a lot going on ... unless one looks a bit closer.
Deus Ex Machina was pretty thrilled to see that this patch of stinging nettles is thriving. It's growing next to a stand of Japanese knotweed, and it's spreading into the knotweed, too. It's also growing right in the sandy hill - where nothing else seems to want to grow anyway.
Nettles are used extensively in herbal medicine - most often as a spring tonic ... which makes sense, as it appears to be one of the first plants to start greening here in the spring.
We also found Japanese knotweed buds and young sprouts of curly dock, mustard, and dandelions, which are all still a big small to harvest, and a number of medicinal plants. In addition, we found burdock shoots, which means there's probably some usable roots in the field somewhere, and we're hoping to find some, because we have a couple of interesting sounding recipes for burdock root.
We didn't come home with any foraged food - this time - which is okay, because we still have a pretty decent supply of stored food (including sixteen of the almost five dozen chickens we raised last summer), another pick-up with our CSA winter share, and some things, like the Jerusalem artichokes we have in our yard, are ready to harvest. So, we have plenty of food for now, and from the looks of things, there will be several spring greens that will be ready within the next three weeks.
Although we didn't find any food, we didn't come home empty-handed, either. We brought back a camera-full of pictures that will help document what's available and when. We brought home a better understanding of what's available right around the corner.
And we brought home a big load of firewood. With a snowstorm predicted for tonight, the wood will be very welcome.
As to the title of this post, I subscribe to Dr. Weil's daily digest, which means, every day, I get an email from the Dr. Weil website with some insightful piece of health advice. Most of the time, the message in the article simply validates what Deus Ex Machina and I already practice. Such was the case with this morning's note, entitled Four Ways to Beat Pessimism.
The general message of the note is that having a positive attitude is healthier, and it's not just something I believe in theory, but something I practice on a (mostly) daily basis.
The message is: "Be Happy - Live Better ... in that order."
I couldn't agree more.