Field Journal April 16th- A Wild Easter Basket

Welcome to my on-line field journal.  I write entries here about what is current with wild foods and nature education. For information on my programs please click on the tabs above.

Lately I’ve been so busy working on my upcoming foraging book that I haven’t been indulging myself in the joys of life quite as much.  I’ve been stuck on the screen and in my head too much. Today I decided to take a well earned break from that and spent some time with a friend by the coast creating a wild easter basket. Daffodils and stinging nettles, an unusual easter basket.  I don’t much care for chocolate you see, I much prefer stinging nettles. They’re one of my favorite foods ever actually.

It’s quite surprising to find nettles and daffodils growing side by side. Daffodils are not native to our area.  Nature has an interesting way of placing stinging and poisonous plants in areas that need protection due to past misuses.  Based on that clue, can anyone guess how the daffodils got to this spot?

Like most easter baskets, mine was also partially created by a magical creature. No, not the bunny. A little girl actually.  She came up to me while in the field of nettles proclaiming “I hate stinging nettles.” After a conversation about getting stung and me letting her know that I fell into a bush of nettles when I was around her age, she insisted I have some of her daffodils.

I took out my scissors and gloves, and started picking nettles.  She curiously observed me from afar, and after a few minutes came over and asked “what are you doing?” “Picking nettles,” I said.  “Why would you want to do that?” she asked baffled.  “They’re really yummy to eat” I told her.  After a long silence and some serious contemplation she surprised me by saying “can I help?” I handed her my scissors and gloves (or one glove rather, she was very clear she only wanted one). She proceeded to carefully and skillfully harvest.  She had clearly been watching my “cut and come again” method, which doesn’t harm the nettles but rather allows them to keep growing fresh leaves, because she was cutting them exactly as I did.  She happily kept at it for quite a while, during which time I picked a bouquet of daffodils.  A quick shift from “I hate nettles” to contentment.

What a nice moment.  It reminded me of the deep connection we all have to foraging our food.  There’s something really special that happens to people, especially children when they get to do it.  It’s so natural, so simple, and so enjoyable.  It feeds us on some level even before we prepare the food and eat it.  Ah, what a true gift my easter basket gave me today.  A needed glimmer of simple joy in the midst of my brainy book writing.

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