Morning Majesty

One of my favorite creatures, seen on my morning walk. 

Vultures sun themselves in the morning to dry the dew off their wings so they lose the weight of water for better flying, and what they do so well, gliding. Their gliding gives us a vision of the wind as they ride the thermals. Majestic!  

Plus they make life from death! - the mushrooms of the animal world.  And they keep the place clean and the cycle going.  <3

"Wisdom tells me I am nothing,
love tells me I am everything,
between the two my life flows."
- Nisargadatta


Breaking Fast with Some of Spring's Edible Wild Flowers

I took a walk this morning and gathered some wild edibles from the yard for a breakfast omelette.  I made some art while walking in the rain-wet wild, or should I say soothed my soul...

In this mandala, you will find mostly wild plants, one feral (Arugula flower), one horticultural (Forsythia flower).  The wildflowers are Ground Ivy, Purple Dead Nettle, 2 types of Violets, Dandelion, and Redbud.  The wildleaves are Cleavers, Dandelion, and Trout Lily with the spirals of fern fronds just beginning. 

Can you recognize them all?  If not, time to get out the field guides and go into the field, learn a plant a week...or a month and in a few years you will have a repertoire.   Make sure that part of your learning includes learning about the habitat and ecosystem you find the plants in and their role including whether they are invasive, rare, slow-growing, endangered, native, common, tenacious, etc.  You want to know *if* you should harvest and *how* to harvest if you do.  You'll want to know if there are poisonous look-alikes and how to tell them apart.  You'll want to know if you can only eat certain parts of the plant, or only eat it in certain seasons.  You'll want to know if the plant is an annual, biennial, or perennial as this affects harvesting guidelines.  You'll want to know if it has medicinal qualities and what they are, and so on...  Truly learn and study the plant before harvesting and eating a wild plant.

"The traveler has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end." 
 - Rabindranath Tagore

I chopped up the bigger pieces and added some Garlic Mustard, see picture below.  This is one plant that you can freely harvest anytime and should actually pull it up by its roots and dispose of the roots in the trash if you do not eat them, not the compost.  It is one of the worst invasives that no amount of purposeful eradication seems to work, so you can't get rid of it even if you try, and I have tried for many years on my property as it crowds out natives and other less tenacious plants.  I still always have it, lots of it.  So harvest away.

I then mixed this with good eggs (good meaning not out of a battery cage like most eggs bought and sold) and cooked it in local lard from happy pigs and put this on sprouted, whole-grain bread with extra virgin olive oil and salt.  All organic, all ways.  Here's why.

It tastes fresh, green, vibrant, and alive! just like spring itself - a perfect way to start the day.                      
Plus you get to eat spirals.  :)

 “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” – Goethe


A Break in the Rain, A Walk in the Woods - Photo Journal

If you aren't able to get out in Nature at this moment,
may these picture suffice,
bringing you the beauty and solace this walk did for me.

Alder Reflections

It was pouring all morning then this afternoon I noticed it stopped and suddenly the sun came out.  I went outside to bring in firewood, and the raindrops sparkling on everything like gems drew me out for a longer perusal.

On my way down the mountain (I live on a small ridge in the Appalachias of northern Virginia), I stopped at the hives and checked on them as I am wont to do whenever I am near.  I noticed a bee at an entrance with its tongue out getting water from a rain drop.  :)  It's too cold and wet for them to actually leave the hive.

Goodness, I love that green color.

I brave gentle rain to stay out I am enjoying myself so much; it being warm enough in February for this is the new normal.  I'm not even dressed all that warm (sweater and scarf); am a bit cold, but less than a mile from home.

Happy Moss

I went to my most regular woodland sit spot,
the place where when I go there I feel like I am coming home,
home unto myself.  The Self that is everything and nothing at once.

Where the flowing waters wash my spirit clean.

Microcosm within Macrocosm

Tiny fungal start

As soon as I came in from my couple-hour-ramble-through-the-woods it started absolutely pouring, a full-on deluge.  I feel I am on the "right" schedule when my timing is this impeccable.  I was not dressed to be caught out in it; but I was in the moment and willing to take the chance.

"Come forth into the light of things; let nature be your teacher"
- Wordsworth


This Sycamore tree in the next picture is such a great example of strength and perseverance. Over years the stream has flooded and carved out the earth that used to hold its roots, but still it remains out in the open, exposed and only half supported, but still full of life.

Seeming to sit, perched in the air.

Witch's Butter Brewing

Now that I am constructing this blog, it has turned into a thunder storm with crashes and flashes right outside the window.  This has happened the past couple of winters, but never in my life before, thunderstorms in winter.  "The times they are a changin'."

I am sad to see that there are areas of these woods where the ground, the fertile seedbed of tomorrow, is covered with the invasive Bittersweet berries/seeds (picture above).  This plant was not noticeably here when I moved here over 18 years ago and now it pervades.  It is not readily edible or medicinal, being more on the poison end of the spectrum and wild life does not seem to favor it.  I hope it's not the next Kudzu, because it'd be worse - at least Kudzu is a great edible/medicinal plant.  This next picture shows Sycamore seeds - a beloved tree and one of my first tattoos.

 “I only went out for a walk 
and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, 
for going out, I found, was really going in.”
- ​John Muir

Lake Rorschach

A language as old as these hills

 Update:  The thunderstorm resulted in losing electricity mid-blog, and for 5 hours.  This always drives home how much I/we rely on electricity.  Candles were lit and books read!