"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Friday, April 1, 2016

Spring At The Farm


Or, maybe the title should be just pooting around the farm, trying to find ways to keep from doing what I should be doing.  Like cleaning up antiques.  Antiques are dirty business - stored away in the barn and covered in dirt and dust. Add pricing to that and ugh...

So I decided to go looking for morel mushrooms.  They are only around for a week or two at Easter.  Every year I traipse through our fifty acre wood, right where they are supposed to grow - amongst the Mayapples growing by downed and decaying trees.  

I have never found one.  Nada. The deer or other animals must get to them first.  I did see a patch of grass neatly cropped off by a set of teeth and little holes dug in the dirt.  And I got two ticks on my thigh for my trouble.


Mayapples begin their growth in February, not May.  They stand about 12 inches high off the woodland floor.


They produce a flower with a sort of mild citrusy honeysuckle scent.


Then comes the apple.  It will grow to about nickel size.  I watched a program where three young men were on a campout.  They gathered the fruit from Mayapples, cut them up and along with sugar and cream, they put the mixture in a can.  They put that can inside a larger coffee can with salt and ice and taped the whole thing up.  After playing kick the can for a while, they opened it all up and voila, Mayapple ice cream.  I thought that was very clever.


Though I found no morels, I picked up these tree galls.  Wasps sting trees and the tree produces galls. I don't know what for.  Interesting part is that the galls used to be made into a sepia colored ink that was used by Abraham Lincoln and many others.  In the Outlander books, the author talked of making ink from tree galls.


Beside the Mayapples, this tiny flower, about the size of forget-me-nots covers the lawns here first thing in spring.  And since I am wont to do so, here is one of my favorite stanzas from a poem by Wordsworth - Ode.  And sorry to him for explaining in parentheses one of his words.

"Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest (smallest) flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

I can do many things trying not to do that which I should be doing.

37 comments:

  1. What fun! Except for the tick. Darn ticks.

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    1. After a mild winter, I fear they will be legend this summer.

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  2. Our May apples haven't bloomed yet. But the bluebells have.

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    1. Oh Joanne, they don't grow here. My favorite color in the garden.

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  3. Donna, I am also very sorry about that tick, but do thank you for educating me about mayapples, on this first day of April.

    When you mentioned tree galls, I immediately wanted to send you the link to the post of one of my original blog pals, Milly, who lives in the U.K. Lakes District. I promise you a treat if you visit her at
    drawingsfromnature-milly.blogspot.com
    Milly has used ink she made from galls for her beautiful drawings.

    xo

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    1. Frances, thank you so very much. I will go posthaste.

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  4. Mayapples are something else we don't get. Love those leaves. Your tiny flower reminded me of a crocus. Fields full of them would be a sight to see.
    Sigh on the tick front. Nasty critters.

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    1. Yes, and I just found another one. It may be a terrible summer for ticks since we had a mild winter.

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  5. Sorry Donna but I am the QUEEN of doing things trying not to do that which I should be doing !!!!!! haha
    What pretty flowers and ones that I don't think we see here in the UK.
    ..... and you have 50 acres !!!!! That's a lot of land !! Who looks after everything when you're not there ? XXXX

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    1. The husband, or I hire the housekeeper to come feed if we are both gone. Those flowers are teensy, but en masse, they are quite showy. I am going to have to haul a truckload up to the city next week. That is why I dread the choosing and cleaning up the antiques. Plus, I can't load until the day of due to the weather and dew. I'm too old for all this.

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  6. What a treasure-trove right out your door! Aren't woods-walks just great adventures?

    That's the stanza by Wordsworth that I quoted out beside his grave, one rainy day on our tour of the Lake Country. Sis had brought a rainbow of little umbrellas for the four of us, and there we stood, rain pattering down just a little, and I sad those words out loud.

    (Just before we left in a line, and it struck me that we looked like that movie Cherbourg, and we three grownups were softly singing, "Come Saturday morning . . ." And we did resist the urge to do an up-and-down dance outside the gate, like carousel horses rising and falling, though it did seem a fitting finale). Then we walked across and sat on the patio of the restaurant, eating ice cream cones in the Soft June Rain.

    r

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    1. I love that story Rachel. I memorized many poems long ago and remember some of them!!!!! I feel guilty when I am not doing things I should. It is hard to make myself when there is so much to be done. I found a box to fit the door thingy and will be sending it next week. Isn't it funny how you can never find a right sized box when you need it? PS ~ our woods are filled with ticks and I will be riding in the ATV from now on. I know every square inch of our property anyway. Fields forever. Ticks only like the shady woods.

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  7. Lovely pictures of unusual (to me in the UK) plants Donna.
    They say that procrastination is the thief of time - but I say what is time for if not to dally a while and look at the beauty which surrounds us.

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    1. Well said Pat. Time is more precious as we age isn't it; certainly don't need thieving of it. Glad the Farmer is on the mend.

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  8. I've seen a lot of Mayapple plants but didn't never realized what they were.

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    1. Always know when spring is coming - the mayapples and wild onions are the sure things.

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  9. I think seeing and finding the beauty..is doing..a lot:)
    The flower of the Mayapple is precious.
    I don't think I would even eat a morel I found myself now..
    friends of ours..their daughter -in-law is Italian..so was the mom..and was an expert at mushroom foraging in Italy..she died 2 yrs ago..ingesting a mushroom .
    I can't think of them the same way now..:(

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    1. Oh how horrible Monique. We have these large white puffball mushrooms around here. When you break them open they look like white bread, unless you wait too long in which they are full of dusty spores and turn black. I've had people tell me they slice them and cook in butter and read online they are edible, but still I am too scared to try them. Psylocibin (sp.) mushrooms abound here too, but even in my hippie days, I would not try them.

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  10. I have never heard of a tree gall. How interesting! I wonder if galls are produced by all trees after being stung or only by certain trees...

    I say 'ick' to ticks!

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    1. I know the ones around here are oak trees, but not if they form on other trees. I think the Emancipation Proclamation is in gall ink, but I know it has been used for several hundred years at least.

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    2. I have seen tree galls before, but until reading here, never knew they could be used for ink making.

      I love seeing those shiny green leaves of the May apple plants. My Mom knew all kinds of woods lore and I never heard her mention anything about May Apples being edible. I haven't hunted for morel mushrooms in years. Maybe the deer and other critters are getting to them before you are. I used to find them in the areas that you mentioned, but also in areas where wild grape vines were growing. Not my Mom's woods lore, but I have heard that "The morel mushrooms appear when oak leaves are the size of a mouse's ear."

      Happy mushroom hunting!

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    3. Susie, after having lived on the farm for more than 30 years, I have learned much about country life. That is funny about the mouse ears as I always heard it is time to plant corn when the oak leaves are the size of squirrels ears. Love all that. After two ticks sucking on my thighs, I am not looking for any more morels. I'll buy them. Now if there were truffles around, I might have to buy some bug spray or a pig.

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  11. Oh that last line.....doing things to avoid what we should be doing! BUT....on my spring break, I did things that I wanted to do for a very, very long time. Result? HAPPINESS, a few fun photos that are suggesting that I can keep going to get better and better. OH Donna, the farm in spring....what beauty can be found there under dirt and all! Thanks for coming to visit.

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    1. So glad to see your beautiful post Anita.

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  12. I'm still drooling over you Easter cake, so forgive me. So May Apples are what they are! I have seen them in our woods asked the age old question, " Is it a weed?" Guess not!
    "I can do many things trying not to do that which I should be doing" So true, today I should be working on rabbits, NO WAY! I'm going to the garden: the sun is bright, the air is clean.... I cannot sit inside the house and poke around with a needle.

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    1. The gorgeous weather makes it hard to stay inside, especially when I'm an outdoor person. I don't know how you get so much artwork done when your gardens are so beautiful.

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  13. nature provides so much food that we ignore. and why on earth would a wasp sting a tree.

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    1. I guess to make a gall. I wish we knew of all the wild things we can eat.

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  14. Dear Donna - love this post. Our Mayapples will not bloom until the end of April or first of May here. I know that old story about those illusive morrels being found near by or decaying wood. Like you I don't find them there but have been weeding my garden in the woods and plucked a couple or two. So one never knows where they can be found. The most important thing is when you find them be sure to put them in a net bag so as you travel you spread their spores for the next year. They are certainly a delicacy and quite the prize. I get you friend about doing other things avoiding what needs done. Go ahead though life is way too short to not take some time to enjoy those treks in the woods. Have a wonderful week. Hugs!

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  15. Dear Donna - love this post. Our Mayapples will not bloom until the end of April or first of May here. I know that old story about those illusive morrels being found near by or decaying wood. Like you I don't find them there but have been weeding my garden in the woods and plucked a couple or two. So one never knows where they can be found. The most important thing is when you find them be sure to put them in a net bag so as you travel you spread their spores for the next year. They are certainly a delicacy and quite the prize. I get you friend about doing other things avoiding what needs done. Go ahead though life is way too short to not take some time to enjoy those treks in the woods. Have a wonderful week. Hugs!

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    1. Deb, someone gave me a largish one they found once and said to place it in the garden or wherever as it will take 5 years to produce one from the spores. I put it out back in a little patio garden and next day it was gone! A critter ust have found it. I was crestfallen. Oh well, just have to buy them at the store. Problem with me Deb, is too often I tend to procrastinate and enjoy everything but what I should be doing. Tiger can't change its stripes, huh?

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  16. Ah, lovely! Doing stuff other than the task you should be doing -don't feel guilty, just think of it as living a full life. (That's my excuse!)

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    1. Mine too. I wish my garden looked like yours. I'm back to the city tomorrow to start planting annuals and perennials. Only have a teeny 2 foot x 6 foot place for edibles so I'll plant some tomatoes there.

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  17. This is my first visit to your blog Donna. How brave of you and your husband to up sticks and move to the Ozarks all those years ago. You appear to have embraced the Nature around you or maybe you couldn't stop it from embracing you. In this particular post you have finished with a piece of Wordsworth that illustrates his oneness with Nature. That philosophy was also the driving force behind "Daffodils". Nice rambling post. I'll be back...

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I have read your posts from time to time and have always enjoyed them.

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  18. Hmmm....I wonder what Mayapple ice cream tastes like.

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    1. Like apple and honeysuckle with a hint of ginger/lemon. That's is what I imagine Sandra. If you put enough sugar and cream in it, I'd be hard pressed not to love it. Unless of course it tasted like licorice, in which I'd frown at my bowl.

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