Saturday, 18 September 2010
I've had a busy day today. Got up at 7:45 (with a hangover, thanks to Justin), installed my parents' new wireless router, did a shop, picked quince and rose hips from my dad's garden, then went foraging in Cwmfferws for two and half hours. I picked hips, haws and sloes.
Here's where I went walking.
I made friends with some calves. They all came to say hello when I stopped to pick haws from a hawthorn hedge.
I found a geocache. My second ever, yay!
Here are the fruits of my labour. From left: Sloes, haws, quince (from my dad's garden), wild hips, garden hips. I'm going to make sloe gin (or maybe vodka, not too keen on gin), hedgerow jelly and spicy haw ketchup. If I have enough haws left I'm going to try haw brandy, and I'm going to keep the one big quince to make quince ratafia. Hope I have enough jars!
I love foraging. It's a proper back to nature, hunter/gatherer feeling when you find a tree laden with purple fruits. It was lovely to be back in Cwmfferws, my Datcu used to take me and my cousins for walks there when I was small. He used to point out the berries and plants to us, and he'd cut small twigs of a certain tree, strip the bark off and give us them to gnaw on. I have no idea what tree it was, but I remember loving the sweet, green taste of the sap. The public footpath runs over what used to be an open cast coal mine, and you can still see things like old gates and a coal shoot that belonged to the mine. I remember when part of it was landscaped and the council dammed a river. There were three tiny bridges spanning the small river, set in the open landscape. I was amazed at how nature is trying her very best to eradicate any sign of what used to be there, healing the scar in her skin. The trees have nearly taken over again, and there are only small paths running in and out of the undergrowth. It's beautiful.
I picked loads of berries, but made sure to leave enough for other people, and the birds of course! There were so many blackberries that had just been left to wither and dry out. People are forgetting what our ancestors had to do to survive. My sister has picked hundreds of blackberries there in the past month or two, so she's not complaining that there are loads left.
I got a bit scrammed because I forgot my gloves. But I figured a few scrams is totally worth all the lovely fruit I found. Can't wait to start preserving it.