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Friday, April 1, 2011

Forested Foraging For Fir Florets

Yesterday when the weather broke free of the fog belt,
and the robins tweedled proudly in the front yard,
and the sunshine demanded shorts,
I took my pup and left for the forest, laden with a small bag of tricks and a heart full of Spring.
I collected the first tips from the fir trees, crunching on them as we walked.  They taste like a sort of citrus that remains undefined, crossed with the scent of Christmas morning in the snow, with a resinous bite that sparks the palate.  This morning a mound of tips is drying neatly in a high kitchen cupboard, destine for tea,* even though the thought of their brightness keeps bringing my fingers back to snagging needles and popping them in my mouth.

Several years back, when I began hiking in earnest, I fell in love with the realization that the forests are made of FOOD.  I decided I needed to know what was edible just in the incase a Lost situation happened in the backwoods of Washington state, wherein fresh mangos were not available, but instead, we needed to survive on salmon berries and wild carrots.  [I want to be the one who knows.  This is also why I carry a rather large pocket knife while hiking.  Should Lost happen, and suddenly polar bears and smoke monsters come streaming out of the forest, I want to feel good about my survival rate.]  I'm thinking about taking a foraging class here in the wilds of Northern California, learning how to take the native growth of this lush coast and turn them into something truly gourmet.  In the meantime, I'm lusting over this book in a big way.

I have a feeling these fir tips will end up in more than just tea, in more than just me.  That brilliant chartreuse teases the artist with a come-hither wink.

Answering the call,
~ Umber

*I will tell you true:
The amount of eye rolling and loud snorts happening in this house, by my BC, in regards to this subject, has reached epic proportions.  He's such a good sport, putting up with rock piles on windowsills, new houseplants mysteriously showing up almost weekly, Mumford and Sons on repeat blaring from the studio for hours on end, kale showing up at nearly every meal and the general half-cocked spastic spontaneity that happens regularly around these parts.  But this morning when he opened the kitchen cupboards and found my display of bright green tips, well, let's just call it epic.  I think I amuse the man.  I just like to call it "keeping things fresh."


BC said...

Fir tips should not get in the way of me extracting my coffee mug. Just saying.

Becca said...

Yes! When LOST occurs, I sincerely hope that I am with you. You will be the best John Locke ever!

UmberDove said...

hee-tee tiddly dee!

UmberDove said...

Becca - HA! Yes girl, yes I will. PLUS I've more hair then him to boot!

Cristen said...

This post definitely put a big smile on my face. Totally love your candor.

kerin rose said... i KNOW who to follow around in the forest!...

farmgirl said...

I feel akin to you! I am getting more and more into foraging as a way to supplement the garden! It's fascinating what you can eat. As for the eye rolling... try bringing stinging nettles home to eat and see the reaction! :)

Sunny Rising Leather said...

Oh my goodness, those unfurling brown wonders look like pastries....
save me some tea tips, will ya?? Heaven knows given our track record I'll be up by the time they're dry ;)

the forest must have not known what to do with itself: this teal goddess sharing its wealth...


reconstructing sarah said...

love, LOVE the green!

yes, be watchful of mysterious hatches as well! ;)

Cat said...

spunds a bit like our house....
but truth be told...would they have it any other way???
I totally get it
and ps
hiking with a big knife is wise on sooooooo many levels smart lady!!!

your puppy is getting big!

love and light

Abigail Jasmine said...

LoL- This is hilarious..Love it!~

The Noisy Plume: said...

You KNOW you can make jelly out of young conifer tips, right? Get to it, fungi queen!!!!!!!!!

Iscah Mara said...

I wouldn't mind doing the hunting. A little braised coney to go with some foraged morrells and fiddle heads.

Of Revolt said...

Gorgeous photos! Makes me long for the Northwest . . . even if in my heart, I'm an East Coast girl! Just lovely. (And um, Mumford & Sons have been on continuous repeat on my iPod since I've heard of them! Love them.)


UmberDove said...

OH! The fiddleheads... I used to buy bags of them from a funny bearded man at the Ballard Farmer's market... mmnn, missing...

We ARE spoiled here on the coast; a body could live on green alone!

Clare said...

Your gorgeous photos are reminding me that I've kept myself cooped up a little too long. One needs to stretch one's legs on some of that soft, mossy soil and snack on wild things as often as possible.

thewindhover said...

there's been a lot of mumford and sons around here too.

i swear you are the prettiest lady of the trees.

cbumpmax said...

ACK; lichen and moss on the same tree like that?!?! I need a poster of that shot to put above my bed. It makes me swoon. Thanks for the eye candy.