Tuesday, August 7, 2007

My Giant Poke Plant

I wanted to show off how big my poke plant had become. We had plenty of rain in the late spring and wild plants responded with some of the healthiest and a large growth I've ever seen.

This is a picture of my giant poke plant by the driveway. It was becoming a menace as the berries were beginning to ripen. They'll stain your clothes or feet, bright, purple, and nearly permanent. We had to cut it down so people could walk to the house without encountering the staining juice.

Large Adult Pokeweed

The reason this extraordinary growth is so amazing is because it started this spring as the tiny little shoot pictured below.

A Young and Tender Poke Shoot

Okay, not so amazing if you've watched how poke makes its phenomenal growth every year. This one IS bigger than normal though. When we cut it down the hollow, purple stem was nearly 3 inches in diameter at the base.

The temperature is going to be in the 100s this coming week or so here in northern Missouri. That pretty hot for many wild greens, but the blackberries and wild grapes will be ripening soon to take up the slack. There's always something to eat out there!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The New Cicada Crop

I rescued a cicada this morning. He had emerged from his casing, but the casing had fallen on to the porch, leaving the cicada on his back. He was trying to climb, but the empty casing was just rolling in his grasp.

The wings were still soft and folded up. I picked him up and let him climb up a post. He sat with his wings pulsing occasionally as they dried. Here he is fresh and new, with beautiful blue lines around his wingtips and a lime green wing base.

A Newly Emerged Cicada

Sorry for not posting so much lately. I injured my wrists a little doing too much painting at once, and haven't been on the computer. Oh, and I probably got off topic with this post, since you don't eat cicadas. My dog used to, but I don't.

The plan is to move this blog to gardenwild.com. Along with the move comes a broadened focus. This gives me a lot more latitude to post about insects or plant dyes or medicinal herbs, not just wild foods you can eat.

Not sure when the actual move is going to happen, but hopefully it'll be soon. Until then, keep eating those cicadas! [jk]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mouthwatering Mulberries

On this magnificent morning I've been out nibbling luscious mulberries. Okay, I've actually been doing it every day this past week. It's mulberry season in northwest Missouri, the time of year to slow down and savor one of the delights of the edible outdoors.

A Ripe Mulberry

Mulberries are the perfect berry. They're wonderfully sweet, with no seeds to get stuck in your teeth. No sour surprises if you pick them carefully. If you're like me and don't like tart berries, only pick berries that release easily from the tree. The best ones will practically fall into your hand.

Raspberries are also ripe this time of year. With raspberries, choose only the darkest berries for the sweetest flavor. Raspberries do have seeds, but they are smaller and softer than the seeds of the blackberry.

Carefully selecting the berries you want to eat is a contemplative activity, almost a form of meditation. As you put each morsel into your mouth, the flavor explodes. Close your eyes, and really taste the sweet nectar of life.

A Bug Eating a Mulberry

The mulberries bring deer into the yard. They love mulberries! I'm sure a lot of other little animals come at night when I don't see them. What I do see is the occasional insect enjoying a sweet feast.