Friday, 24 April 2015

Spring is Sprung

Spring has come bounding up the hill side raggle taggle and in a hurry.  She still has twigs and dried leaves in her hair from where she's been sleeping under the oaks, but she's here for sure and everything is bursting into bloom, spiralling open, courting, chasing, chirping and generally being all green and blossomy.  The trees have turned from brown to green in barely more than a week and with every varied shade and tone of vibrant, subtle, healthful, heartful green comes another burst of wild song, both in the branches and in every corner of my spring delighting heart.

Some people are still busy building and feathering their nests, while some have chicks already and spend their days tirelessly to-ing and fro-ing in the ever more necessary tag-game of feeding them.

We have found a Wagtail nest near here.  I haven't photographed it because having found it by accident I don't want to disturb it.  There are five beautiful little white eggs in it.  It's hard not to count the Wagtails before they hatch, but my fingers are crossed.  This is her collecting Daisy dog-hair for some last minute additions to her nest.

I've been busy collecting myself - harvesting the huge array of wild yummyness that grows hereabouts into feral feasts and trying not to repeat myself too often.  Nettle and Wild Garlic soup is really incredible the first time you have it and still pretty wonderful the second, but the palates of all those who come to the table need to be taken into consideration and "oh no, not green soup again" isn't most convivial way to start a meal.

Nettles! Urtica dioica.  Delicious and incredibly nutritious.  There are so many good things to say about this wonderful plant that I'm not going to repeat them here, I'll just leave you this link and this one.  

 Oxalis or Wood Sorrel - Delicious in salads, 
Ground Elder - otherwise known as Gout Weed, Bishops Weed, Herb Gerard, English Masterwort, Wild Masterwort or indeed Aegopodium podagraria. Used as a hot wrap for the treatment of gout and as a mild sedative when eaten, it's delicious when the leaves are young both in salads and as a boiled vegetable.

 Galium aparine or Cleavers, Sticky Willy, Goosegrass, Catchweed, Robin-run-the-hedge.  As well as being an excellent tonic and diuretic this useful plant is a handy poultice for wounds and burns. This year I have also discovered that the roots of this plant make a red dye - wildly exciting.  I'll let you know how I get on. 
Pennywort, Navelwort or Kidneywort - guess what that's good for.. and Yarrow, Achillea Millefolium, this is another one that there's so much to say about I will simply leave you the link here
So we've been having fish pie with nettles, ground elder and wild garlic woven seemlessly and seeminly invisibly into the sauce.  Likewise they have made an appearance, un-noticed in pasta and noodle dishes and in pot roasts, curries and stews.  Lots of Hedgerow salads with dandelion leaves, primrose flowers, cleavers, jack-by-the-hedge, yarrow, sorrel and pennywort.  Fergus and I are pretty much on our own with these hedgerow salads but I'm sure the taste buds of 'youth' will come round soon enough.


  1. I am not brave enough to forage for wild food but I love reading about how others do. Amazing bird photos - such clarity!

  2. Thanks! Really glad you like them. There are lots of great books out there to help the would-be forager. I like the books by Roger Philips for the UK and my favourite herbals are by Julie Bruton Seal.