Wednesday, September 9

Nature and Ella

I've mentioned before how clever my father is in the woods and among plants. He lives north of us and receives an extra few months of winter but still, his garden puts mine to shame! Perhaps its a throwback to his years in forestry school or that he reads so much, but my Dad knows so much about so many plants.

His love for plants has sparked an interest in me, almost a feeling a shame about not knowing anything about all the wild things that grows around here. Earlier this year I devoured a few good books on foraging. While I'm not so motivated yet to go dig up cattail tubers to use as potatoes, I have been motivated to use more of the resources around us that go unused. Its been handy to know which plants to pick and use to treat bug bites, since kids and bug bites seem to go hand in hand and we don't use chemical sprays.

Yesterday I pulled the van to the side of a country road on the way back from the library. The boys and I climbed out and they helped me pick the fruit off of a crab-apple tree that was just sitting lazily by the side, hanging over an old barbed wire fence. We cooked them down with cinnamon and cloves and the juice is drip, drip, dripping from a jelly bag as I write, a beautiful shade of cranberry/raspberry red.

Again this afternoon we set out with foraging in mind, bringing a basket to hold whatever treasures we might find. We found mint, wild apples for sauce, raspberries and blackberries and in an old part of once farmed land, a plethora of old milk bottles, canning jars and even a chamber pot! We left the chamber pot but brought home a pretty aqua ball canning jar and a beautiful old doorknob that reminded us of some in our home.

Everyone is tired and resting now, including me. I am very much looking forward to Chase being able to hike alongside me instead of on my back!


Renee said...

It's interesting that you are talking out collecting fruit and other items. I live in town and a couple of weeks ago I noticed an apple tree growing out in front of the libary that we go to. There were lots of apples on the ground and so being a country girl the kids and I started looking for good ones to use to make apple sauce. Then the kids and I were at another park the other day and I noticed 2 crabapple trees. I was wondering about them and looked up a few jelly recipes and didn't know if it was worth my time or not. Do you have a good recipe that you like and any pointers???

Edith said...

I really love your blog. It makes me peaceful & very helpful in my everyday life. Thanks a lot ! And go on to share with us your God & life knowledge :)

Anonymous said...

Did you know that you can make pectin from crab apples? I just recently found this out. I guess the recipe is in an old mason jar recipe book. Since you are foraging and finding crab apples I thought you might want to know.
Hugs from Ohio!

Laryssa Herbert said...

I've been trying to learn more about things we can use from the wild. has come great free resources to learn about wild herbs and remedies.

Patty said...


I found your blog when I searched the term “butchering chickens” on the web. The photos you offered were so helpful. Over the years I have raised and butchered chickens off and on but it wasn’t until after seeing your photos that I was able to butcher and keep the chicken whole.

This morning I have been reading various posts in the archives and thought I would take the time to say “hi” and let you know how much I am enjoying your blog.

I live in Texas and home school too. My oldest, Jonathan, is a sophomore in college; he was home schooled all but pre-K and kindergarten. My youngest, Elizabeth, will soon begin 2nd grade and has been home schooled from the start. We live on my husband’s family farm in a “needs to be fixed up” house. I like to garden, sew and read.

Looking forward to reading more from the archives in the future,


mandi said...

i love to forage. i'm not super skilled at it, but am eager to learn more as well.

last fall we were at fairyland in oakland, ca and there was a fruit bearing tree. i picked a piece and was going to eat it when a man ran over to me mid-bite. he was the the groundskeeper there, and spoke no english. however, he made it VERY clear that i should not be eating that fruit! ha! needless to say, that brought my foraging confidence down a level!