Donnerstag, 16. April 2015

A spring foraging ride

 The sun was shining, and birds were singing everywhere. It was warm and nice, and I felt that urge to get out. Only but recently I had rebuilt the drivetrain of my bike and repaired the brakes that alas where so neglected over the winter they made some funny noises but did not quite... well... brake?;-)

Anyway, after all this and some new handlebar grips it felt like a fresh bike and it is funny how these simple things can affect the fun one has riding so much. So, out with a bike it was, packing the old textile grocery bags, a hand drill, a plastic coke bottle and a tapping system.

Out into the hills pedalling, and even hammering, it was great to see my bike work properly, but I was also astonished to feel that my body, which has made some sissies recently, also worked like it should. It felt as if years fell off my back! I was hooting and hollering and celebrating a great, great ride along technical singletrack.

 No reason one could not have both, I also collected some lesser celandine (ranunculus ficaria, in German: Scharbockskraut) as spice, taking care to only collect the ones not yet blossoming.
 Just around the corner there was a right abundance of wild garlic (allium ursinum, in German: Bärlauch), and I got some for wild garlic oil, for salad, as spice and to put on a cheese sandwich fresh.
 On the trail went, gnarled and rooted it wound through the ancient forest. Up the hill across rocky sections, and when the trail tilted down, I simply had to scream out my joy into the mild and warm driving wind. The echoes in my mind were like the song of a buzzard´s cry. And thus I came to the birchtree grove. Out came the flask of tea, a blanket to sit on, and the hand drill and tapping system.
 So violently the sap rises at the moment that I got 0,7l of birch sap in half an hour! Please remember to always plug the tree after tapping!
 I just sat there and smelled the roses while the birch sap tap system drip-dripped the time away.
A steely blue sky above bore the songs of birds, and a buzzard was circling above.
Then I got a drink of fresh birch sap to go with my cuppa tea. I always love the first cup of sap in spring. It feels like a fountain of youth. It feels like you swallow spring´s essence itself, so refreshing after a long and cold winter that I felt like a bone - shiver this time.
Beech sprouts are delicious with their nutty flavour. I got them for salad... go with wild garlic, jack-by-the hedge,

...and blanched nettle leaves.

Clover was in blossom. I like the fresh flavour, too.
...and the woods were enchanted by so many flowers... beautiful!

As the sun was sinking, I made for my trail home.

Those are maple leaves. You can use them to mend insect stings or ease blister pain. The sap makes for a delicious syrup. The young sprouting leaves can be eaten as salad.
Ground elder - good for tea, as spice or salad!

Violets (viola, in German: Veilchen) make for a delicious flower flavour in herbal syrup.
And, last but not least, sweet woodruff. (Galium odoratum, in German: Waldmeister). When used sparsely, you can make a delicious syrup or wine from it. But keep in mind woodruff is rich with cumarine inhibiting blood-clotting ability. So if you take Marcumar or other medication, please remember to use woodruff only after taking council with your doctor or apothecary.

I came home with quite a loot and the great feeling of spring and birdsong and warmth in my heart.

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