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02 May, 2010

Forage Garden

Been while since I posted anything about foraging. The days keep getting longer, pumping more lumens to feed leaves. But other than the greens, the plants haven't begun to pass the bounty along to us. Now it's just berries busy setting fruit, strawberries and apples blooming, fish in the sea maybe getting that itch that will send them riverward. Mostly in winter I gather stones: colorful and stripy pebbles for my crowy eye, road-cut salvaged slabs for the garden walk, all the rocks in between that will one day be a wall, a fireplace,...

This Spring also brings first fruition to some other gathering--growth of forage food in my yard. Over the past couple of years, I've sometimes come home with a pocketful of camas bulbs not to eat, but to nestle back in the earth close at hand. The prairies where they once blanketed have been farmed and developed to a torn lacery now, but camas and onions and fritillaries hang on in some spots.

Besides burning the prairies to open them to beast and bulb, the local tribes were known to transplant, to carry some of the giving plants to welcoming soils, later feasting on the results. So I've done the same. Camas and strawberries have been multiplying in the flower beds this year, bunchberry and huckleberries in the dappled alder shade. Not all has been gathered--nursery--started blueberries and caneberries spread roots here too--because cheap as I am, I will spend money now to get yummy dividends later. True frugality can take a few years to play out.

So I keep adding bushes (like this saskatoon) that will bear fruit one day, bulbs that will multiply. Soon enough, they'll burst the bed boundaries, turn the yard's sunny spots into prairie, fill the understory with strata of sustenance.

And foraging will be ever easier.

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