When life with covid19 is bringing you down, and you are needing something beautiful and refreshing to fill that void, finding that something in nature is the perfect thing to do.
We found a lovely, little reprieve with a trip to a newly discovered local lavender farm @SouthBayFields LavenderFarms.
It was a very relaxing hour or so of meandering amongst rows of different lavender, from pale mauves to deep purples. With tall, smiling, bright yellow sunflowers bringing that much needed perfect break.
There were enough people present to meet that much needed human contact, but few enough that masks could be removed allowing in the wonderful, fresh scents of the farm.
My parents emigrated from the Netherlands in the early 1950’s. I was born, here in Canada, a couple of years later.
I remember speaking Dutch as a small child and being told by one of my aunts to speak English instead. I can still hear her voice saying, “speak English, we came to Canada to be Canadians.” I remember this clearly and it made me proud to be in Canada, proud to be a Canadian.
Reflecting back I wish I had held on, a little tighter, to being a Dutch Canadian. Not just that having a second language would be so beneficial in today’s global society, but also to better understand WHY so many Dutch people and other Europeans came to Canada for a better life.
I know the reasons why. I know what happened in Europe, and particularly the Netherlands, in the decades prior to my family’s move to Canada.
What I am just beginning to understand, now, is the effect these long ago years continue to have on my family.
The Colour of Covid19
With social isolation, and lots of yarn bits from my Christmas socks, I thought I’d see what happened when I mixed them all together. And out popped the colorful creation of a sleeveless sweater.
With the unnecessary death of a black person in the United States, colour has brought out a lot of the ugliness in today’s society. It has also stirred up a huge desire for positive change in the hearts of many people.
Just as different colours of yarn combined together form something beautiful, peoples of all nations, with hearts and minds caring for one another have the ability to create something beautiful.
I’m not sure what I going to do with my sweater of many colours. Maybe add some sleeves? Some fancy stitches and flowers? Maybe wear it to a music festival?
As for the issues around racial discrimination and white privilege? I’ve come to realize how much work I need to, how much more educated and informed I need to become in order to make a difference.
I would love to see a day where all peoples, all created in God’s image, blend into something beautiful.
Forage for the health of it! For the mental health of it. For the physical health of it. To enjoy the great outdoors. To self-educate. To embrace the gifts the world is offering you. To experiment with different tastes, textures, and tonics. To pick a salad, or a cup of loose leaf tea.
A few need to knows. How to prevent bug bites. How to identify poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. How to identify plants poisonous to human beings.
So pluck that spruce tip, and pop it into your mouth.
Sip the sweet nectar of the lilac flower.
Hold that bright, yellow dandelion under your chin and make a wish.
When a friend of mine suggested experimenting with spruce tips, and with the forest about the only place open, I thought ‘why not’. And what a delightful discovery the spruce tip harvest has been.
So far, it is the favourite of my foraged foods. Standing on my back deck I am able to pluck, like a berry, this delicate little treat. A very pretty, yellowy, lime green, paint brush with a crisp citrus flavour pops straight into my mouth. It is a burst of flavour and one tip at a time is enough.
And, the act of removing the spruce tips also prunes the gigantic Norwegian spruce tree that graces our back yard.
With it’s tangy citrus flavour, the little spruce tip is perfect for tossing into a salad. The spruce tip can also flavour vinegar, be baked into cookies, pickled with some sprigs of dill, and dried for tea.
Spruce tip tea comes with great medicinal value. Research shows that the tiny spruce tip contains Shikimic Acid, which is used as a basis of many chemical influenza preparations. So if you are feeling a little under the weather this next cold/flu season, come and see me for a cuppa.
Just how good are dandelion greens? Well, my husband enjoys them more than he does asparagus or brussel sprouts! On their own, in a salad, or joined in a frying pan by wild leeks and morels. Not to mention that they are full of minerals like iron, magnesium, and potassium, and are full of antioxidants.
The first food of the forest floor pops up each spring with garlicky, green foliage and an even tastier white bulb; to cleanse our bodies of the winter blahs with a wonderful tonic of vitamins and minerals.
I was first introduced to this culinary delight, a sweet garlicky treat referred to by many names; wild leeks, ramps, wild onions, allium trivium, a few decades ago by my then soon to be father-in-law. A wonderful, kindly, country gentleman who loved the forest and all of it’s earthly gifts.
This spring being newly retired and with lots of time on my hands due to covid19 isolation, I thought I’d forage for, and experiment with this interesting food.
Wild leeks can be found in most sugar maple forests. Surrounded by the beautiful trillium. We were able to transplant a little bit of both into our forest. Leaving this years found plot to rejuvenate and be discovered by other adventurous foragers.
The year, 2020, is becoming more interesting with each passing day.
Today, a Polar Vortex blasted us with cold winds and streamers of white, wintery snow. People awaking early to visit newly reopened Garden Centers and Hardware stores were greeted with weather warnings.
Saturday, 09 May, 2020
Weather travel advisory in effect for the morning and early afternoon. Brief but intense lake effect snow bands off Georgian Bay will bring low visibility and heavy snow to the area today. Conditions will improve this afternoon.
Ontario Storm Tracker
Barrie – Collingwood – Hillsdale
Innisfil – New Tecumseth – Angus
Motorists should note that in lake effect snow, conditions can vary from no snow to very low visibility in a very short distance. Be prepared for rapid changes in weather and road conditions.
A couple of hours later, people on social media were posting pictures of snowmen. Green grass and decks were once again visible. Winter is once again disappearing…. Spring has sprung!!!!!
We have the cute, furry, grey/brown bunny rabbit that has homes under our shed, our back deck, and our front deck. Last summer, he ate the tops off of my carrots and beets just as they were readying for harvest.
This spring, this little fellow began nibbling at the tender, green shoots sprouting in my husband’s nicely manicured flower beds. And out came the live trap! Mr. Bunny Rabbit was going to be relocated. Far, far away, a couple of concessions down the road.
But before Mr Cottontail was able to locate the smell of the tasty treats, Pepe ‘not’ Le Pew decided to investigate.
He was big! He was bold! He was beautiful!
Unlike Pepe Le Pew, this dude was not trying to catch Penelope Pussycat: attempting to sway her, with his heavy French accent “I am Pepe Le Pew, your love.” “You are my peanut, I am your brittle. ” Instead he was curiously studying his surroundings, and when we noticed that he was trying to dig his way through the fenced bottom of the cage; out came the burgundy blanket!
Darkness ensued. The door opened. There was a light at the end of the tunnel.
He didn’t dance and swoon as the original Pep would have, instead he waddled off as quickly as his short, little legs would take him, and into the forest he did head.