Friday, September 28, 2018

Autumn in CB

Autumn comes swiftly to Newfoundland; there is no gentle easing from summer to fall -- it's more like wading in the water and suddenly coming to a ledge where you fall into the depths. It's cold out there! All those dressy capris I'd been saving to wear for work only got about a week's use as then it was just too cold to go bare legged!

Last weekend, I exchanged most of my summer clothes for fall, welcoming my 'old friends' back into action (and those surprise, forgotten thrift store and garage sale purchases made over the summer). I've lost 16+ pounds since I last saw most of them, so they either fit perfectly once again or need to be replaced. But that's okay: I'm sure I'll find what I need at tomorrow's big yard sale and the Sally Ann shops when they re-open with their winter stock. 

What I miss most about wearing a summer wardrobe is sandals: my feet rebel dramatically about wearing shoes. Poor tootsies! But now I get to wear my red Converse, my silver, sparkly Ugg sneakers and my lovely fall boots. And it is ever so nice to put on my warm fleece hoodies and soft leggings and walk in the cold, crisp air. I'm ready for this change of seasons.

The leaves have only begun to change color here. And I'm hoping to get in at least one more big hike before the snow flies. 

In the meantime, I'm enjoying this season where life slows, food is richer and TV viewing picks up again. 

Ciao! It's time for a chai latte!

Friday, September 14, 2018

When it's okay to be a Lady Camel!

Last Sunday morning, I took part in a "Wild Edible Plants" hike with our local environmental group. They did a hike in the spring, but of course, there's a different 'crop' in the woods now. And with Fall fast approaching here in Newfoundland, we only have another month before things will begin to die off quickly. 

It was a beautiful morning and about a dozen people showed up. We began with a little show-and-tell lesson on the various wild plants that we can find anywhere in NL such as: 

Plantain:  The young leaves can be eaten raw, and the seeds can be dried and ground into meal or flour -- good to know for when the apocalypse comes [AND the only time I'd ever try this]. As well, you can chew the leaves and apply the spittle as a poultice that is good for burns or stings.

Also, apparently wherever you live and whatever pests, bugs and/or irritants you have around you, you will also find the remedy nearby in nature! There's a fine, hairy leaved thistle here in NL that burns and stings if you touch it; the pain can last all day and over the counter creams, etc do little to quell the pain. But growing next to this thistle is usually Plaintain; and this will immediately take away the burning and pain. Mother Nature provides all that we need!

Pearly Everlasting:  This pretty little plant always reminded me of wild chamomile but when compared, I can easily see the difference. The young leaves and plant of Pearly Everlasting can be cooked and eaten.           

Clover: This is a pretty versatile plant. The flowers themselves are very tasty; you can pull out the 'fronds' of the flower and add them to your salads. Any part of the above ground plant can be eaten raw. And the creeping roots and stems can be cooked. However, one site I check out says not to eat in the Fall as it contains more alkaloids and can cause bloating. (At my age, I'm well familiar with that problem!)

And this is Newfoundland's "Crackerberry" plant, otherwise known as a Bunchberry. It's rather tasteless and kind of spongy but harmless; we used to eat them all the time as children. I was pleased to find out that the berries contain a lot of pectin and can be dried, ground and added to jams and jellies to help them gel. The berries can also be lightly chewed and pressed over a burn as a poultice.

We discussed a few other plants and bushes. But for most of us, the real jewels of the day were the wild mushrooms.

This is a Coral Mushroom. White to soft yellow in color, these are pretty, frilly little things and are extremely fragile. So, it was suggested that they be added to a dish once the dish was cooked and just before serving.

And these are Chanterelles. (My Ex loved them but they didn't grow where we lived in NS so I never got to try them.) These are quite small and dainty looking, but Chanterelles can be much bigger. There are lots of recipes online for this much sought-after wild mushroom. 

After the workshop, a few of us walked along the river trail until we met up with the Yogi Trail, about a 2 km hike. It was a warm, sunny day and a good opportunity for us to search for more edible plants. 

I really enjoyed myself. But although I don't think I know enough to ever eat wild mushrooms, I loved the information about the healing properties of these plants. 

You can bet that from now on, I'll be chewing and spitting as needed in my own back yard! 

Happy weekend everyone. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Staycation Joys!

My last week of August and into September, I took time off and enjoyed a great "staycation". I did lots of walking, a little hiking and a lot of little side trips to pretty locales. My house is clean and organized; and I returned to work fresh and rejuvenated.

One of my favorite hikes (and also the most challenging this year) was the Alexander Murray Trail. I'd been wanting to do this hike for over a year; and my daughter and I decided to do it together and make a day of it. She wore her FitBit which recorded a total of 9 km (return). The site also says that we climbed 350 m and walked a total of 2,200 steps. Yes, that's right: 2,200 steps! 

Needless to say, we took our time, made lots of stops. My favorite of these stops was halfway up: there was a slight detour (32 steps) down to part of the Corner Brook Stream. We were hot and sweaty and beginning to feel the climb. So, we stopped for a snack and a wee dip in the icy cold water of the gorge. 

Then rested and refreshed, we finished the climb to the top where we ate lunch. 
We made it! 

The views were spectacular!

The climb back down was just as difficult (and just as pretty). 

My poor knees! But what a climb! 4 hours after we'd begun, we reached the bottom. And we were more than ready ready for a wee reward before going out to dinner together.

So, we drove into Springdale, picked up some light and non-alcoholic beer and headed to Glassy Beach, a little known treasure of a place. We did the short hike through the woods with a beverage each and sat on the tiny, beach-glass covered beach and listened to the waves and the occasional sound of a crow or gull. It was magic! And everywhere you dug you hand, you came up with beach glass.

T'was a grand day! I will probably never do this hike again, but I'm ever so glad I got to experience it this once. 


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