The wild harvest is on.
~acorns, to be shelled, roasted and ground~
~acorn biscuits with eggs and chokecherry syrup~
When Rose was a toddler, one of her very first joys was wobble-legging around the house gathering up flotsam and bits, purposefully stuffing them in purses. It was endearing and amusing and a little confusing. Is she shopping?
And at the risk of sounding all Anthropology 101, one day I realized that Rose’s propensity to gather sundry items and jam them in purses was likely vestigial. Somewhere in her modern brain was this very old storyline about weaving willow baskets and roaming around the forest, filling them with berries, seeds, leaves and roots.
And right now Rose is sitting on the floor shelling acorns and humming to herself. I’m hoping this harvesting and processing of plants can stave off pleas for trips to the shopping mall someday (or at least for a little while).
I love how kids harvest plants; they’re like bears, totally engaged and yet non-amazed. Dan and I become these awful poets – full of superlatives and exclamations – in a field of wild strawberries, while the kids are like, of course there’s a meadow full of delicious little strawberry gems, lets get to picking.
We had playgroup over at our house last week and I turned 14 kids loose on the garden, encouraging them to pick green beans, zucchini, tomatoes and gooseberries. They were so efficient and earnest; all these bright eyes and small hands reaching and plucking and kerplunking in baskets. Even Jordan, at 22 months, knew to just harvest the ripe tomatoes.
We went on a multi-family mushroom hunt yesterday. After walking a short distance, we settled in a clearing in the woods, and set up a “nursery group” just as the elk and bighorn sheep do. A couple parents stayed with the kids while the rest of the adults went off to foray for mushrooms, and then we’d switch. You could always hear the kids’ voices—reassuringly cheerful and boisterous—while scanning the ground for fungi.
We didn’t find many mushrooms but the bottle gentians were blooming (cue the exclamatory superlatives!)
What are you harvesting these days?
* Tomorrow is our first day of homeschool co-op! The children are gathering at our house to make some natural plant dyes; I’m excited and nervous like I’m going on a first date with four 6-year olds.
* Roasting acorns:
Shell the nuts, place on cookie sheet and roast for 10-15 minutes at 390F (which is Dan’s latest arbitrary oven setting. Just put it at 390F, he says, for the acorns and then the biscuits we make with the acorn meal). Let acorns cool for a few minutes. Grind in coffee grinder. Add to all your favorite recipes, 2:1 flour to acorn meal. So nutty-licious!