Creative Sustenance

Culinary and other adventures in foraging, gardening, urban farming and more, in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Hello old friends

Our last post was on March 29, almost 3 weeks ago, and I thought spring was right at the doorstep. Fooled again! I'd been scouting the woods and fields every day or two since then. We noticed the first new green of the year only yesterday, with ramps making their 2013 debut.

Ramps (Wild Leeks) breaking through a soft bed of pine needles.

The ramps I transplanted along the side of the house last year - perhaps six total root clusters - also showed themselves yesterday. That project looks to be a success, and I'll be transplanting even more this year, possibly 50 or more root clusters along the north side of the house.

Cluster of transplanted ramps from last year sprouting at the side of the house.

During a short walk through the woods I did find a single, small garlic mustard seedling making a lonely first appearance. Of course its solitariness was just a ruse; no doubt it will soon be joined by an army of its invading brethren. We found no morels, which did not surprise me, as we haven't had more than a few hours total of adequate temperatures in the last month (it did hit 63° for a couple hours two days ago, before quickly dropping to the lower 50°s). But there were plenty of other interesting things to see in the still naked forest.

A few Great Horned Owl pellets with the remains of mice and squirrels. 

I picked a few bones from some owl pellets, saving a couple of mouse jawbones for my daughter to make a necklace charm with (I suppose that does perhaps sound a tad unusual, but she's an unusual girl...the apple didn't fall far from the tree with her). A group of seven whitetail deer were unafraid and curious, as urban deer are wont to be. One young buck was showing the knobby beginnings of what will become his headgear this year. We also enjoyed watching three beautiful and glossy mallards making use of a small rainwater puddle. They looked so pristine that it made me slightly embarrassed for our own ducks at home, with their natty plumage.

Mice jawbones picked from owl pellets.

Mallards enjoy a puddle swim in the middle of the woods. These fellows were so glossy they appeared to almost be holographic.

We plan to start filming again early next week. Stay tuned and, as always, please feel free to let us know what you think or would like to see in the way of Creative Sustenance episodes, wild edibles and other food projects.

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