I can feel Spring in my bones. Standing at my back door in the sunshine, sheltering from the wind, and peering at the Angel of the North way off in the distance that will soon to be obscured by the leafy green of all the trees in between, I can almost feel the sap rising in me. My garden is full of new beginnings, colour popping up here and there. I have Calendula that have been flowering all winter. Wrong, I know. A glorious, bright orange reminder of climate destruction. Beautiful still, and cheering to the spirits. So too the bright blue of the Muscari that are flowering at the bottom of the garden. The buds of our sapling trees are getting plump too. The children are growing a magnificent Horse Chestnut, a magical Rowan, a mighty Oak. While Autumn is my most favourite season, Spring comes in a very close second.
Of course, now that I’ve written all that, we will probably get snow, but even that can’t dampen my spirits today. I’m feeling like I’m finally back in my writing groove, have no less than 4 patchwork quilts on the table, and *whispers* have even had my paints out this week. My energy for creating is flowing again and I feel an overwhelming sense of relief that it wasn’t gone for good. Six months since my separation, and life is feeling easier, gentler, and hopeful.
This week I ate my first foraged meal – and it was delicious! The girls and I do a weekly home ed meet in a local nature park, and we enjoy watching the seasons change – this week we found heaps of wild garlic in leaf, and inspired by a fellow home ed mama, smallest and I gathered some up to take home for tea. With my sleeves pulled over my hands, I also gathered up some young Nettle shoots and some Cleavers (known as Sticky Willie in our family, always said with great hilarity!) and they went in the foraging bag too.
Once home (an interesting bus ride, with a mildly overwhelming scent of garlic floating about us like a cloud), our foraged goodies were washed and chopped. I pan friend a 15p reduced to clear red onion, a handful of slightly wizened mushrooms, a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped in a spoonful of coconut oil, with some turmeric, salt and black pepper.
When they were nicely browned, I added the greens, and kept the heat low until they were wilted. Then I added some grated Parmesan and some cooked pasta, and stirred it all in. I’d include a photo, but we were hungry, and it was gone before I had a chance to photograph it! We will have to make it again! It was really tasty and made me feel hopeful of the veg we want to grow in our garden this year. I’m wondering if I might add a small patch of wild garlic beside the nettle patch we’re cultivating for fiber experiments, and the dandelion patch we’re cultivating for guinea pig food (it’s their favorite!) though I’m not sure how to go about obtaining wild garlic bulbs, as it’s obviously not okay to remove them from the wild. But I shall investigate and let you know!
For now, I’m going to take my coffee out into the garden, and sit a bit longer in the last of the daylight, enjoying the peace and dreaming about all the things we will grow and forage and eat this year, feeling grateful that we can.
***Wild Garlic, found from March onwards in UK woodlands, is also known as Ransom, or Bear’s Garlic and both the leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked, in salads, pesto, risotto and even as an extra layer of greens in a sandwich. The leaf shape and colour are however very similar to Lily of the Valley, which is poisonous when eaten, so it’s wise to make sure you’ve got the right stuff before you add it to anything you’re cooking. Wild garlic smells strongly of onions/garlic when picked and has a mild garlic flavour when eaten. For a guide to responsible foraging, check out The Woodland Trust’s guide here.***
UPDATE: I was pleased to be asked to illustrate a wonderfully inspiring book about foraging, herbalism and connecting to nature through the seasons and if you’d like a copy, you can find it here: WILD ONES BOOK
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