Friday, September 9, 2011

a walk in the woods

I came home with about two quarts of lingonberries, a bunch of yarrow, and a decent amount of coltsfoot.

Labor day, I took the day off.  I decided to not expect anything of myself.  So instead of unpacking or cleaning or helping darling man stack the cords of wood he was splitting, I slept in, drank coffee and read a yoga magazine, then drank more coffee and made a big ol' pot of borscht (beets and carrots and potatoes and turnips and cabbage and dill and parsley in chicken stock - all but the potatoes were local!).  Then I left the soup to simmer while I wandered in the woods.  I took Misha, my camera, and my big gathering basket.  When I got back, 3 hours later, I ate late raspberries off the brambles in the yard and made biscuits to have with said -amazing- soup.


Its amazing, once a husky pup realizes that we're going on a walk, or a hike, or some variant thereof where her person accompanies her on foot in a direction; she becomes this amazingly warm and responsive companion as opposed to the crazed, run off at the drop of a hat, won't come back to calls for hours husky that she frequently is. 
Guess we need more time in the woods :-)

We set off along the overgrown 4 wheeler trail, but then headed off across a rise in the birch forest that surrounds us.  We discovered 5 neighbors I didn't know we had, one of whom had scary handpainted "no tresspassing without a warrant, all violators assume responsibility for injury and death.  Bad dog on premisis" signs on the path and what looked like a thousand gallon propane tank.  I guess all kinds get called to the woods 30 miles outside of town :-)
The other neighbors looked much nicer, but were not at home.

This is crampbark.  Also known as high bush cranberry.  Turns this lovely crimson in the fall and lights up the under-canopy of the forest.  I didn't see much in the areas I was hiking around in, maybe higher up the hill :-)
Good mixed with willow bark for cramps (the bark), and the berries are good eating, and for jellies, and sauces.

husky puppy in the woodlands

-high in pectin, fruit of the dogwood -


I walked on paths and off of them, waded through neck high dried grass, and sunk my feet into deep soft muskeg.  I discovered that on our hill, coltsfoot grows not in the deep soft muskeg like it did at the cabin, but in the crunchy lichen-full muskeg.  I think I saw bear skat. I saw patches of tufty cottongrass that mirrored the sky. I saw two moose cross the road, and the cars stop for them.  We came towards home along the road picking the yarrow growing on the sunny well drained shoulders, and then cut back through the woods to home, where a man had finished splitting and stacking all of the birch and welcomed us with open arms.  Misha saw him as we came into our clearing and wriggle bounded up to him with joyful greetings.

home again, home again!

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