berries, berry picking, dewberries, forage, Gem-Studded Puffball, goose berries, hike, red currants, strawberries, walk, walking in nature, White Admiral butterfly, wild plants, wildflower
Today as I dressed for our morning walk, I made sure to wear rubber boots, long pants, a wide brimmed hat and a light mosquito-netting jacket. I generously applied natural insect repellant, packed the camera and grabbed my little basket. I was going berry picking.
I was excited to get started as last night on our evening walk I had discovered a little wild gooseberry shrub. I had also found one recently on our land and was now familiar with this plant’s unique foliage. I was so excited to find another gooseberry plant out on the trail as H loves tart foods and likes to eat the gooseberries while they are still young and green. I picked a few of the riper gooseberries for myself, a beautiful plum color with a mildly tart flavor, and promised to return the next morning with my basket.
Fully armed against pesky mosquitoes (did I mention that I also have been eating at least three cloves of raw garlic each day?) I was able to walk at a more leisurely pace while my eyes scanned the forest for any telltale signs of ‘berry readiness’. For my patience, I was rewarded with gifts of little strawberries, bright red dewberries, red currants, and yes… gooseberries. In fact, now that I knew what to look for, I began to find gooseberry shrubs everywhere.
Lucy is the ideal foraging companion. She stays nearby and keeps busy chasing mice and dragonflies and sniffing out recent animal trails. If another person is approaching (a very rare occurrence) she will bark to alert me to this. She will also bark at skunks and porcupines while keeping a safe distance. Once she saw a pheasant in a tree and froze. She just watched it until I finally caught up and clued in to what she was trying to show me. Only then did she bark and the pheasant flew away. She often watches me when I’m picking or photographing something but never barges in. This is especially appreciated when photographing delicate fungi. If I sit down somewhere to be still for a while, she also sits or quietly sniffs around close by, never interrupting or demanding that we move on.
As I hiked home, happily carrying my little basket of treasure, I spotted a few other natural delights, including a White Admiral butterfly…
…a Gem-Studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) – my first one!
…and a beautiful yellow wildflower, also growing on our land near the garden. If anyone can tell me what this is, please let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep hunting in my books and online and fill you in later.
It was a beautiful and enjoyable morning. Each day that I spend time in nature, I am amazed at the abundance all around me. Not too long ago, when I looked around, all I saw was forest, wilderness, and bush; a canvas of green that I found comforting and peaceful. Now, since learning about wild plants and mushrooms, everywhere I look I see individual herbs, flowers, berries, roots, bark, fungi, moss, lichen, individual trees and much, much more. Not to mention the four-leggeds, insects and winged ones that also live here. The more I learn about the many uses of these plants that greet me here each day, the more I feel that the earth is truly a place of great abundance and diversity. Everything we need for living a good life is right here in our backyards… and always has been.
amazing pictures of the goose berries, flower and Lucy-> fresh, healthy and full of natural vitality, makes me yearn for the nature
I’ll bring nature to you- some tart gooseberries on Wednesday 🙂
The yellow wild flower bears a striking resemblance to a Mimulus. OK, I will look it up now…give me a second.
.Ha HAAAAA! Mimulus guttatus or Common Yellow Monkey Flower!
Yes, I think you are right. At least, that was my only lead but what made me doubt was the shape of the flower- it’s like a little cornucopia and appears to be dangling from the stem. Such a sweet little thing. In the pictures that I looked at of Mimulus guttatus, the flower is growing out of a receptacle and not dangling so it confused me… I have a whole crop of this in the back yard. I’ll have a closer look today and take a few more photographs. There is nothing else like it the books so far… Thanks, Kevin! I knew I could count on you. I’m sure I’ll have lots more questions for you!
Gem-Studded Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum) and White Admiral butterfly=> impressive! I would have just known it as just another mushroom and butterfly
This mushroom is edible and choice. Do I dare eat my first wild mushroom…? I looked this morning and there are two more baby ones growing right beside it. They say when you cut it in half there is a distinct look that confirms the mushroom’s identify (and edibility).
I love your blog, send me email when you have a new post
That seemed like it was a beautiful day in the forest, I love your pictures.
Thank you! I love taking picture. I have been photographing wild plants and mushrooms like crazy in order to further study them in winter. I have decided on Rosemary’s correspondence courses, by the way. I hope to start next month. 🙂
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Thank you so much for your feedback! I intend to get back to my regular posts and your encouragement is just what I needed!
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