Spring has finally sprung in the Okanagan after a long cold winter that lasted through to the end of March. It took awhile for the plants to get going as a result, but once they did, this household made a major surprise discovery!
Last November, we had to move yet again, for the second time in two years. When we were house-hunting, we reached a stage where it became humanly impossible to find a place to live. We made up an impossible list of needs and preferences, then laid that before God. Included in that prayer was the request to be near foraging grounds so we could continue our wild adventures. FrontcounterBC had shown us that our new location was near crown land and when the snows began to recede, we began exploring. That crown land is going to be a treasure trove of berries by the time June rolls around! Its crawling with Oregon Grape, Kinnickinnick and Chokecherry! We took a couple treks out to our old stomping grounds near the regional park and came home with one evening’s salad roughly. But those weren’t the biggest surprise.
The grasses and hillside around our rental property began to grow and lo and behold. . . we are LIVING in the middle of a foraging ground! Yarrow is growing in droves up on the hillside above us, along with barley (read quack) grasses and Arrowleaf Balsam Root. However, down around our portion of the yard we didn’t give the horses, we have dandelion, chicory, alfalfa, and another salad leaf I am still trying to identify, growing in such abundance that we can have several days’ worth of mixed green salads in maybe 10 minutes of picking! The alfalfa is blow-overs from the hay field below us. As we are up on a hillside now, the dandelions are slower in getting their flowering heads up, but I saw one today.
If we want plantain, purslane, Solomon’s Seal and chickweed in our salads, we’ll still have to go elsewhere, but it was such a surprise to find so many salad greens growing right where we live! We’ve already discovered that Yarrow leaves add to the flavour of salsa, prompting my daughter to think about making our own salsa in the future with Yarrow leaves added to it. When you look up DIY and natural personal hygiene products, Yarrow comes up as often as chamomile, so I look forward to seeing what I can do with all those plants above our property!
It’s nice to have the salads again as we discovered that winter salad teas, while they may have a similar nutrition count, are not as filling and were missing the phytochemicals that we need.
We estimate now, that between what I’ve spent preparing to make this lifestyle change, and what my daughter has spent preparing her horse for foraging, we have still saved ourselves over $300 since last August! Thanks to the Okanagan being commercial orchard country, shopping in the woods may get us away from many of the chemicals found on foods in the grocery store, but not 100%. It feels good to have better health without having to buy pills to get it, however.
Our wild adventures have resumed!