Gardening, foraging, and all the critters in between

I wouldn’t have been able to define “foraging” last week if you asked me to. It’s tricky naming my recent post. I like to be all corny and fun with my titles but I’m running out of ideas so I settled for literal this time. 🙂

We are in the dead of summer. And when I say dead I am specifically talking about the dead brutal Georgia heat. Man it can get so hot here! Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun shine and all it’s radiant glory but it can make outside play a bear. Still we do what we can. Five o’clock is now my favorite time of day. It does get super hot but at 5 pm the temp seems to drop dramatically and you can sit in your rocking chair and enjoy the evening waiting for fireflies. Simply wonderful.

Hopefully someone is taking care of dinner :-/

The last few days we have spent a lot of time working in our garden. Jason is all “go big or go home” and big he went. Since we are total amateurs here the garden is kind of a mess. I’m sure it will take a couple seasons to really get organized but we are enjoying the learning experience.

Of course we would lose our “map” that we made to track what’s in which row. I have looked up every vegetables type of leaf to figure out “what on earth did we plant?!” So far we have a TON of cucumbers. We’ve began pickling some and have had a lot of cucumber salad. Any other good cucumber recipes out there? We also have carrots, tomatoes, corn, and collards. I picked some of the collards yesterday. I am gaining such an appreciation for the farmer. Seriously, gardening is a time consuming process. I spent several hours picking, soaking, cleaning, trimming and cooking. It was very gratifying and eye opening. Obviously some veges are more work than others. Some you can pull, rinse, and eat. Either way, I find myself amazed over how our ancestors did this as a way of life and it was there only option! So incredible! I feel like a wuss lol!! But I am eager to learn some new skills in the areas of growing and cooking. We planted a bunch of other stuff and are already planning our fall/winter crops. So exciting! Maybe one day I will be able to go out and pick my own sweet potatos, snag a few black berries, then swing by the coop to grab my eggs. Perfect breakfast right dad? 😉

20140701-233221-84741402.jpg
So yes, I had mentioned that we have quite a few black berry trees on our property. And by few I mean like 100! It is incredible. We finally picked a few handfuls with our girls and Caleb and their cousins last week. Kids really love this kind of stuff, venturing out into the exciting world of picking wild fruit! I mean who doesn’t?! And bonus, they are so ready to eat it!

20140701-233040-84640386.jpg

20140701-233039-84639993.jpg We went out picking over the weekend and were really hard at it. And we got a BUNCH! But let me just share with you, berry picking is not for the weak or faint of heart.

20140701-230526-83126280.jpgDo not even pretend you don’t love my boots and running shorts combo. Nailed it.

This stuff is really rough and toughing me up. I HAVE to pick the best berries, which always seem just beyond my reach. Of course the horseflies love them and so it was a full on war between them and me. Not to mention the briars. Oh the thorns,….. My husband….. He was really determined to get to this row of berries on the other side of our fence. So he gets his mower and chain saw out to cut a path, rather successfully. Of course when I get out there to start picking and can’t quite reach a few, all of a sudden I get mauled by these giant thorny branches! Jason had brought his trusty mower back in play and mowed the briars right on to me. Accident? Maybe. It was stuck in my hair, scraping my back, I had quite a time pulling it all out, meanwhile my love is laughing hysterically. I realize I probably did look like a real “hot southern mess”. I was able to let out a few laughs over his tenacity, it was kind of funny. However my right shoulder looks like I was attacked by a panther…. or something. :-/ but we did get some amazing black berries. I’d say it was worth the battle wounds. And hey, I can always use the funny material my family provides for the blog right? 😏

20140701-230906-83346731.jpgseriously, natures Edward Scissorhands

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20140701-230907-83347359.jpghow delicious does that look?

So here is one more laugh for ya. Micaila and I are enjoying our fruit….

20140701-231407-83647708.jpg…..at this point I’d say we’ve eaten 85 percent of our bowl and Micaila says “eww!!! There is like, a worm! Or something.” I examine the berry and sure enough a teeny tiny worm is crawling out of it. Have I mentioned that we don’t know what we’re doing around here half the time? Seriously, we sort of just jump in and figure stuff out. At this point I still could not have told you what “foraging” was so I certainly did not expect this. I was so preoccupied making sure the berries were safe to eat I didn’t even consider the need to soak them properly. We did wash them of course but after discovering this little critter we read of a way to soak them, Ice water, salt, 10 minutes, boom. Your berries should be dewormed. No idea if we ingested any, wouldn’t surprise me at all if we did, but for the most part they should be harmless….. :-/ extra protein maybe? 😉

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