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.

 

Shropshire Salad

I spent the weekend in a wood in Shropshire (as you do) – lucky me!  Its an ancient woodland on a South facing slope with mighty oaks and a seeming infinate number of lichens.

OK, I’ll come clean I didn’t exactly make a salad, there wasn’t really enough to have done so, but there was lots of wild foods coming through.  I saw Sheep Sorrel, Dandelion, Nettles, Comfrey and Cow Parsley (though to be honest I would not recommend raw nettles)  give them a week or two and there will be plenty for soup or for pop.

Try this, its ready in a just a couple of days and tastes great (possibly wierd or unfamiliar, but still great!)

Take 1 carrier bag of nettel tops, a sliced lemon, 10oz sugar and 1tsp ginger and 1/4 oz cream of tartar.  Pour over 2 1/2 pints boikling water, when it cools to blood temperature, stir in 1/2 oz crumbled yeast.  Cover with cloth and leave in a warm place for 2 days.  Bottle in old lemonade bottles and its ready to drink the next day.  Enjoy!

 

Nettles

Well I learnt a thing today – and that is that whilst rubber gloves are perfect for picking nettles, cycling shorts are not!!

I was gathering to make soup for my tea – very yummy and full of health-giving vitamins and stuff – you can positivley feel it doing you good as you eat it!

A different way of using nettles, though I’m not sure they do you quite as much good as having them in a soup, is to mix them into your Pimms (www.anyoneforpimms.com), the receipe does not feature on the official website, but take a nettle about as long as your jug is tall, pop it in, add ice, Pimms, lemonade, fruit of your choice and mint for a perfect (if slightly unusual) summer drink!  Splendid!