OK, now its springing!

I can’t actully believe its nearly 6 weeks since the last optimisticly worded post about spring, but we had some snow, and then a little more and then a lot more and then it snowed again and then…. well I could go on, but you know the score!

Much as I do actually LOVE the snow, snow angels, snowball fights, jumping in snow drifts up to my thighs, making prints in unmarked snow, driving to work through what is already a beautiful landscape made spectacular with every twig on every tree highlighted; I am kinda glad its almost thinking about going.

Not that the weather has really been able to stop the march of spring, but it has slowed it down just a little.  Wild garlic cotinues to grow – bravely poking through the snow and in one place thoroughly eaten by rabbits, presumably beacuse its far too cold for grass to do very much!

Celendines not yet a carpet of flowers, but a couple of days of sun and they will be; Garlic Mustard (Jack by the Hedge) coming up good and strong.  I am keeping an eye on the local nettles – in a few short weeks at the end of April, we are planning a wild food walk with lunch and I am grave need of nettles for soup, but I have every confidence that Mother Nature will provide (fingers crossed!!)

PS Celedines – those tiny yellow star flowers and the leaves are not edible, however if one could dig them up (which of course on land other than one’s own is illegal) one would find tiny (and I mean tiny) balls of starch attached to the roots.  Known as famine food, one can only imagine how hungry someone would have to be to go to the effort of digging up enough to make a meal.  Sobering thought in our days of plenty.

 

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Garlic Mustard

I took my car in for a service this week, the garage I use this little back street guy, tucked away in a unit at the back of a scruffy industrial estate.  My point being that in order to gather wild food, you don’t have to be ‘in the wild’.  On the walk back from the garage I spied lots of big clumps of Garlic Mustard (Jack by the Hedge) , all coming up in a bit of grass where no one goes. I pulled some of these fresh, green spicy-hot leaves and popped them into my salad in a box lunch.  They would go just as well in a ham sandwich!

While you are out and about at the mo, take a look around at all the blossom that is about – plum ‘family’ is one of the earliest to come into flower, make a mental note of where you see it and remember to pop back in the autumn and check for damsoms or sloes.

Garlic Mustard

Well, the bank holiday weather was not as bad as it was forecast, but I still got quite cold when out cycling today with my friend Alison.  We took a back lane route over the hills and far away (we also had a short detour around a housing estate  – I don’t think she will ever trust me to navigate again!).  There was so many wild flowers en route including Bluebells – what a fabulous site they are – swathes of Wood Anemones and Marsh Marigolds (my own special favourite) plus we actually saw Snakes Head Fritillaries (my first time ever!).

On the way home I picked a huge buch of Garlic Mustard (also known as Jack by the Hedge of Hedge Garlic).  I stuffed and wrapped mackeral in it for dinner.  Lightly oil foil and fish, stuff leaves in cavity, wrap fish in leaves and foil, cook in oven for 20 -30 mins, unwrap leaves and foil – eat – simple!