Oh my goodness. My self reliance challenge list was very short and I still didn’t get it all done. I was busy busy ridiculously busy, but not enough of that work was on my list. I baked for 20 hours, spent most of one day at a poorly planned, pathetically attended, completely misrepresented market, and worked outside all of another day. Still didn’t get it done. I’ll get caught up. So, what I did do – planted the peppers and tomatoes that were ready but not the cucumbers, pulled a lot of weeds, started the brick path, pulled a million weeds, transplanted flower bulbs, and did I mention 20 hours of baking? I did? Ok. That’s covered then!

Wild Food

Wild harvesting plants started with fiddlehead season. Fiddleheads are the unfurled frond of the Ostrich fern. Instructions on how I prepared the first batch are below. I blanch what we don’t eat fresh and put them in the freezer for later. Pickled fiddleheads are one of my favorites and they look nice on a appetizer tray. I didn’t get out to get Japanese Knotweed on time. I looked at some today and was disappointed to find them closing in on three feet tall. Wild strawberries are up next. We don’t have morels here in this part of Maine, sadly. I desperately want to try them and even if I didn’t like them (that won’t happen), I’d want to pick them for others. I love picking mushrooms.

I need to put up a lot of strawberries. I have plants coming that will be grown in the high tunnel. As the runners spread I’ll make a spot for them outside. There should be lots of strawberries but I’ll still spend hours on my hands and knees picking tiny, wild, juicy, luscious wild berries. Usually no bigger than a dime, one berry more flavor than a dozen big cultivated berries. I make at least one batch of strawberry jam from wild berries.

After strawberries, chanterelles, blueberries and raspberries. More mushrooms, hopefully gallons of blackberries, more mushrooms, and wild apples. In between, fish, hopefully bear  (worth a read if you’d like a woman’s perspective on bear hunting), moose and deer. We’ve entered the moose lottery but it’s unlikely that we’ll be drawn.

This week’s list

  • Plant the high bush blueberries (2), strawberries (25) and other plants as they arrive.
  • Pull up the dead American plum tree and replace it with two live plants
  • Turn over a place for broccoli seedlings
  • Cover the old garden space with greenhouse poly (solarization)
  • Pull more weeds in the raised beds
  • Pull rhubarb if it’s ready; might be the following week. Strawberries from freezer for jam and pie; rhubarb sauce. Freeze some to have when strawberries are ready.
  • Asparagus bed – un-disasterize the bed. Grass grass grass.
  • Start drying comfrey for the birds to have in winter.
  • Be realistic – stop adding to this list.

What’s on your list this week?

Life In The Wild

A male partridge (ruffed grouse) on a drumming log in our wood yard.

Carrots in the high tunnel.

An osprey on its nest beside the St. Croix flowage in Baileyville.