Last weekend as our guest speaker, Jeff Ross, began his talk on foraging the rain hammered down on the barn. The sound amplified out of proportion by the tin roof. We were clustered in the breezeway separating the barn from the chicken coop. As he talked about Lady’s Thumb, Lamb’s Quarter, dandelion and their ilk we ventured out of the shelter whenever the rain volume dropped to a drizzle.
A dash out to look at wild edibles and a dash back to the relative dry of the barn shaped the course of this lecture and demonstration. But what saved this from being a total wash (forgive me) was Jeff’s ability to convey practical information on edibles by grounding the facts in a sense of place with good recipes. And hot tea or a glass or two of my muscadine mead helped warm everyone up before heading home.
That rain continued all weekend giving us a total of four and half inches before stopping on that Sunday afternoon. There is still a lot you can accomplish in the rain. But losing a whole weekend in May on a farm, when the grass and weeds, edible or not, grow at an accelerated rate puts us behind our goals. Squash, cucumbers and tomato transplants should all be in the ground. And in three short weeks I will be checking the weather anxiously looking for a date to cut hay.
Rebuilding old fencing lines has been on hold for two weeks. And the list of other must complete tasks piles up behind that one like a log jam on a too narrow creek. So waking on this Saturday morning to the sound of rain pouring down on our roof at 6:30 am was disappointing. Another weekend lost. I know, we all love rain. But we have two and half inches this Sunday morning and it continues to rain with a forecast calling for a possible six inches.
So we switch gears and complete rainy day tasks, those small jobs of insignificance that when piled together amount to one good solid day of work… one hopes. So we scrub the front porch, clean and oil garden tools, sharpen axes, paint bee supers, clean the apartment in the garage for our incoming WWOOF volunteer, visit a well-run native plants nursery called Overhill Gardens where we picked up some great additions for our yard and farm.
Cindy was in her element at the nursery, rattling off the Latin genus and species, full sun vs. shade requirements with the owner. Which is why, I guess, she came back with a range of useful and attractive plants for the farm. And I came back with a pot of Black Cohosh that I vaguely remembered as a useful herbal plant. Turns out it will be quite useful if I ever have to deal with menstrual cramps….
And it continues to rain.
Reading this weekend: 100 native forage grasses in 11 southern states by the USDA and Cooked by Michael Pollan