Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Springtime Thinking

Tipper over at the Blind Pig and the Acorn blog recently wrote about drinking water from grapevines. I had never heard of that, and neither had Tipper until a trip into the woods with her father. Her article made me think about the spring activities we do almost every year--and take for granted that others do them too.

I came up with the following, by no means all-inclusive list. Some of you probably have things you could add to this list, and I'm pretty sure I've missed a few things myself.

1. Look for coltsfoot in the ditches and on roadsides. Coltsfoot is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of spring flowers. Its bright yellow, dandelion-like face is a sure sign winter is leaving.

2. Eat a daylily sprout or two. Picked young (under 6 inches), these are as crisp and juicy as celery and I think they're tastier too. Daylily sprouts make a nice addition to a spring salad that might consist of the next items:

3. Pick wild greens. The earliest in this area are plantain, violet leaves, daylilies, and wild cress (or creasy greens or wild mustard, depending on where you live). Mix with garden lettuce for a gourmet treat. Later the young leaves of sassafras can be used too, along with silvey (AKA lambsquarters or wild amaranth), and many other later arrivals.

4. Nibble on flowers. Violet blossoms are nice, and some people make a jelly with them. Redbuds can also be used for jelly, as can rose blossoms.

5. Suck on a sassafras stick. Young sassafras twigs taste good--sort of lemony, I think.

6. Make sassafras tea for a bloodthinner--or so the old-timers claim. I just make it because I like it. There are some health warnings about sassafras, though, so I'm not saying YOU should drink it; I'm just saying I do.

7. Listen for the barn owl who begins calling in late March, far down on Bucket Run. His haunting voice echoes from hill to hill, a perfect accompaniment to the tree frogs, peepers and other springtime musicians.

8. Look for mollymoochers, or wild morel mushrooms. The very best in spring dining in my book.

9. Sip honeysuckle blossoms. Nip off the end of the flower, pull out the stamen and lick the sweet drop of honey at the end. eye-closing delicious.

10. Watch the stars. Some winter friends will leave and new constellations will take their place. It's time to get out the star book, grab a blanket and go up on the ridge to watch the heavens wheel above.


Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

I have seen those yellow flowers on the side of the road for a good 2 weeks! I have tried to take pictures of them but you have to actually get out of the truck to do that and I haven't done it yet! lol I want to see if I can find some ramps on our property. I've never had them and I would like to try them.

I did notice all of the stars in the sky. They are so bright now that it is Spring!

Janet, said...

I just told Charley today that it would soon be time for the mollymoochers!

TheresaandJay said...

Peepers! I always listen for the peepers and then I know that spring is not far off. Jay was just reading about searching for wild morels, I think we are going to try it this year. other spring time event...digging out the onion grass that loves my gardens. Any folklore about getting rid of it? :) Love you bunches.

Mary said...

I haven't heard frogs by my house yet, but I have heard them just five miles away. Mine must be sleeping late.
Now, how do you drink from grape leaves?

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