"My Ozark Weekend – A Treasure
The experiences of this weekend remain a treasure I will hold forever in my memory! The Medicinal Herb Workshop at the Ozark Folk Center and the walk high above the bluffs near Greer’s Ferry to identify spring ephemerals were marvelous but my time spent with Roxann on our Herb Walk topped it all! The day was fabulous! I just absolutely loved every bit of my time with Roxann and the purely natural Ozarks!
Another torrential rain had fallen the night before our Herb Walk and even more rain interrupted the day of our walk! Roxann and I rode down county roads, wash-boarded in places from the continued spring rains, enjoying views of the Ozarks few have seen, until we reached her place. We sat out yet another heavy rain, enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the right moment to start our walk.
Finally, after the rain slowed to a heavy drizzle, we donned our rain gear and headed up the mountainside. The sound of water was everywhere! The creek, now a river, was really high and gushing. Streams, probably only a trickle most spring days and maybe not even visible in the summer, flowed down unlikely spots all around Roxann’s home. As we walked, we came across just-emerging plants, all announcing spring and the growing season to come.
We hiked up the mountainside to a beautiful site under rocks bigger than houses, where we enjoyed our lunch and the view of the valley below. Brooding clouds quickly developed, bringing our walk to a close. We descended to a hollow, where the sound of the gushing water all around us was eerily silenced, then continued back to Roxann’s place and the end of our hike. What an incredible day!
On my return to Tennessee, as I checked my city garden to see how things had grown in my absence, I was inspired by my hikes in the Ozarks to forage for our dinner! The result was: dandelion greens which I cooked with onion, grated carrot, and garlic and chickweed, violets, and red bud blooms plus some herbs from the herb bed--parsley, bronze fennel--that went into a salad. Very tasty! Stuffed eggs, flavored with pesto made from our own homegrown basil, and ham sandwiches on pumpernickel with baby spinach rounded out our “foraged” dinner.
The dandelion recipe I used is included in the book, Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants, by “Wildman” Steve Brill and Evelyn Dean. This dandelion recipe is guaranteed to be liked by everyone since the carrots and onions offset the bitter greens. The authors are right! Our dandelion dish was delicious! And our meal was a wonderful end to a weekend trip of treasured experiences!"