From my diary:
I am a habitual forager; that is, as a hobby, I tend to use my free time to take long walks in the countryside, or even in my own back yard, in search of wild edibles to add to my daily/weekly/monthly “normal” and often too convenient store-bought menu. Springtime is my favorite time to forage; so much wild food bursts out at the first rays of warm sunshine. And, thank goodness it is so...
I also am an avid gardener who tries to get as much food as possible out of the relatively small space that I have, utilizing the most useful methods and techniques of garden landscaping, including vertical and container gardening.
Although I love to be able to go out into the garden in late spring and pick tender baby Zucchini, delicate spinach flowerettes and tiny pea pods to add to a first-fruits stir-fry, I also realize that by using these “premature” fruits is nothing short of a sacrifice considering the amount of foodstuff the mature vegies would supply.
I do love to cook and I do love to eat! But as I am trying to be oh so patient and not rob my garden of the dainty first-fruits, my mind begins to plan on the real harvest, when I will hopefully be super-busy with canning and dehydrating, storing away foods for the “lean” months ahead.
Now, I am not talking about food crisis. I am talking about the months in which my foraging and gardening does not supply my daily portion.
We usually get our first killer frost here around the first of November, so I try to plan on having my winter crops in the ground by mid-August. That also means having already grown and canned enough summer produce to get me through the winter, not so much having to depend on those boring broccoli, cabbage and kale alone.
One thing that I always try to plan for are the “leanest” months which, surprisingly, are not the winter months, but the early spring months when I'm waiting with bated breath and palpitations to see the first fruits arrive in the garden or wayside. I often wonder how my ancestors felt during those first months of spring and how far and wide they would have had to wander to forage just to make it to the glorious summer months of plenty.
Let us remember this and reflect upon it as we cultivate out interests in self-reliance. Gardening is a wonderful hobby now-a-days, but in the past, it was a necessity. Times are such that many are realizing that again, it is a necessity; and let us remember to plan for the winter as well as the coming spring "leanest" months. In today's challenging world, I believe that foresight will save lives and ease our growling bellies.
With Much Love,