Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Building the House

Whoo-hoo! The floor trusses have been delivered. Now we can get busy building our house :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: Evelyn Mosley

These pictures are from Evelyn, who came on an herb hike with me a few weeks back after spending a couple days at the Herb Festival at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. She wrote to me a very inspiring testimony of how much she enjoyed herself and I thought I'd share it here with you. The following is from Evelyn:

"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!"

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Plants from March 30 Herbwalk

We found mayapples just beginning to unfurl, always an interesting site. They remind me of mushrooms at this stage and they look like they are in slow motion eruption. Plants weren't the only things getting up and ready for spring. The ladybugs were also out and about. I think this is one of the native ladybugs. Anyone know for sure how to tell the difference? I've always thought the orangey ones were Asian and the really red ones with larger spots were American.

This bird nest looks fresh, not like one that made it through our winter. The little bird was probably watching from a distance making sure we didn't touch her nest.

The christmas ferns were unfurling too. These fiddleheads are a strange site. Some are edible, but I am not sure about these.

Not exactly sure yet what this is, but I believe it will make a flower soon and I'll go back to look. If I recall correctly, it makes a yellow flower, similar to the trout lily. (Ah-ha! I remembered as soon as I saw the name in the listing I was looking through. It is a bellwort - Uvularia grandiflora Smith (Liliaceae)) The trout lillies are just beginning to bloom, so maybe today I can get a picture of them. The ginseng is just now beginning to unfurl, as well.

A patch of mayapples in a puddle from the recent rains. Our ground is saturated.
Corydalis flavula (Pale Corydalis) is below, with the yellow flowers. It is a member of the Poppy family and also contains many alkaloids. According to Erichsen-Brown, Native Americans used to place the plant on hot coals and inhale the smoke to "clear the head".
That was about all of the plants we saw. It was early in the season to see very many, but now, only 2 weeks later there are lots of other things getting ready to bloom. Next year I will try to schedule a walk a little later. Too late, though, and the bloodroot is already done blooming. Maybe we'll get in two spring walks.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

March 30 Herbwalk

The weather was awful for an herbwalk, but Evelyn was in town all the way from Tennessee, and she was still game. I actually like hiking in the misty cool rain, but you know, this is not typical of most folks. The bench pictured below was our destination for the day. There are a lot of different woodland plants to see, even so early in spring. I don't have the other pictures downloaded yet, these are from Evelyn's camera - thank you Evelyn for sending them and I hope you don't mind that I've posted them to my blog!We saw a few things poking their heads up after a long winter's rest. Among them were adam-n-eve orchid leaves. I have a picture of one we dug up to look at the root and the baby root (or the 'Eve' root) coming off of it. I'll upload it later when I get it off the camera. Mayapples were just beginning to open their umbrella-like leaves. Chickweed is in good form and ready for harvest. The ginseng is still fast asleep, as is the goldenseal. Bloodroot would have been flowering full-blast, but the recent rains tattered their dainty petals completely off except for a few here and there. Dutchman's britches have leaves out. We stopped to take our lunch break under the big rock. Here's Evelyn in late March. Later I'll post the plants in late March, too :)
Here's me, looking more tattered than the bloodroot blossoms, haha! I'm dressed for cool drizzly rain, but the rain suit was a little warmer than I wished at some points. Walking up steep hills gets the blood moving, that's for sure!

I'll post more later.