Tuesday, May 24, 2011

You Can't Always Get What You Want

We had a lovely long weekend (Oh, I do SO wish every weekend was a long weekend!) and on Monday we decided to go for a hike to look for Morel mushrooms.  We headed to an area nearby that had burned last summer hoping that we might find some there.  We walked. We saw Marmots (can you see two of them on the top of the log pile?).
We searched some more.  We enjoyed a new-to-us hiking spot.  We saw a blue bird that I've yet to identify (at first I thought it was a Lazuli Bunting but I'm not quite sure now) and we almost literally came upon this Hairy Woodpecker.  I was close enough to see that his front feathers were no longer white but a silver-grayish from rubbing up against the charred trees.
We found beautiful wildflowers - Chocolate Lilies, Indian Paintbrush and some Arrowleaf Balsam Root and wild strawberries in bloom (we'll have to come back when they are fruiting).
We walked some more.  No Morels.  We found Miner's Lettuce to munch on. We saw one single wild rose in bloom - it was tucked up against a charred log in a sheltered spot, the rest were still tightly wrapped buds.
And while we could have been disappointed that we didn't find any mushrooms I think it makes far more sense to delight in what we did find.
A carpet of Arnica in bloom.  Gorgeous.  So while it may be true that (in the wise words of Mick Jagger) you can't always get what you want...we certainly were happy to find beauty in what was.

9 comments:

watching kereru said...

Beautiful new header. The woods look stunning and such a different landscape from those we find here in NZ

Shell said...

Gorgeous piccies xxx

daisy said...

How lovely. I'm amazed at your ability to identify all you see!
Did you harvest any arnica for medicinal uses?

Jane said...

I looked and looked all season and did not find one morel. I wonder if it wasnt a good year for them here.

Anonymous said...

it was a bumper year for morels on the island~they were out about 6 weeks ago. however we did NOT harvest any this year due to concerns about mushrooms with a high melanin content acting as bioaccumulators of all this radioactive fallout we have been getting. we are also NOT wildcrafting green leafies. look up the criirad report~children are getting their yearly allowable amounts of radiation in mere weeks. there is a media blackout on all of this but experts like helen caldicott and arnie gunderson are keeping us informed. please be careful when foraging to know which items are picking up and bioaccumulating radioactive contaminants. be so so glad that you didnt find any morels.

Katherine said...

Wow. Love your blog's new look, Heather. Your header photo is amazing. Sounds like even without finding any morels, you had a lovely explore and found lots of other growing goodness.
That arnica in bloom against the charred woods is just stunning.

erin said...

Your photos are so beautiful and show such a lovely spring up your way. I find it amazing how an area struck by wildfire comes back to life with such ease and beauty!

No morels, huh? I would love to find some one day. i heard a rumour there are some around the farm, but no one is sharing where!!

I too wonder about the greens + radiation thing, but I err on the side that where we are (meaning North America) there may be far worse hazards than the nettles or mushrooms. I always wonder about the balance there....there are so many free radical fighters in those things, that I believe they may combat any damage incurred. Who knows?

Your new header is fabulous...I need to learn how to work my photos to make one yet! I've tried and got horribly stuck ;-)

Heather said...

Hi Daisy - I didn't collect any on this hike but I will when we go back next time. I haven't used arnica before so I wanted to be sure I would before I gathered any. I want to try making some infused oil with the flowers and also drying and powdering some of the flowers to add to cream. Also wondering if I could somehow make my own arnica gel using aloe.

Hi Anonymous - thank you for sharing your concerns. I also feel it is important to get information out so we can all make informed decisions. In this case I tend to go along the lines of how Erin is thinking and I need to trust that the wild foods we gather will be relatively safe. I guess I wonder if we can't eat the wild greens for fear of radioactive contaminants then what could we eat? Not our homegrown greens either?
It is so tricky being the one to make all these types of decisions for our family food supply, isn't it. I have been thinking about this a lot lately especially in regards to all food in stores and the lack of labelling (of GMOs for example) and even with what can be labelled as "organic". That is one of the reasons why I find it easiest to grow or pick as much of our food as we can.

Erin, my friend just found some on her farm in a new garden bed she had made last year (with leaves and alpaca poop and compost). I'm not sure how they turned up but, like everything else in her garden, they were giant sized! Wouldn't it be fabulous if a person could reliably grown them each year in their own garden? But, I don't think you can with morels.

sheila said...

The other day a Pileated woodpecker landed on the deck - it was massive. I had no idea they were so gigantic. They are such foreign looking birds, too. So different from other birds.