In the summer months British Columbians wander.
We are a people who not only make due with what we have, but what we can find or build.
And, we’re impulsive in summer – we can be driving down a road, see something that suits our fancy and dressed in our Sunday best, jump out the vehicle and run headlong into the bush, yes we say bush not forest, dresses hiked up to our knees and prickle bushes scrapin’ our legs. Underneath those Sunday best, is always a bathing suit or shorts. If not we’ll chance birth attire.
We kick-it old school in B.C. and live life to the fullest; because summer is so very short.
Winter engulfs us in darkness nearly 16 hours per day. We go to work in the dark and come home with a flashlight. Darkness falls at 4pm.
When the transition days of spring hit and the days grow a little longer, we feel pressed for time. Like the old Eagles song, “we rush and rush”…. to do as much as we can before the snow flies.
This is a time when children lose sleep because it’s daylight until 1 1:00pm and it throws their circadian rhythms out of whack; they’re too tired for school. A time when we take more sick days from work than in the winter.
We kick-it old school in B.C.!
One of my favorite things is foraging. The spring smorgasbord, tucked among the undergrowth in the trees, growing in mosquito filled swamps is any naturalists dream.
From Fiddle-heads to Morels and Oyster mushrooms, Solomon Seal to Fire weed – a forest salad is delectable. Top that with some banana berries, a thimble or dew berry dressing and a cup of sorrel tea and you have just experienced fine dining the way nature intended it.
If you know what you are doing in the wilderness in B.C. you can be lost for days and never go hungry, get thirsty or become malnourished.
Fire-weed and dandelion shoots. Fire-weed, like burdock tastes like a cross between peas and asparagus. Dandelion leaves are wonderful in a salad or sauteed with a little butter and bacon. The root is a summer staple. I roast it, grind it and drink it like coffee; very nutritious. And Solomon Seal reminds me of cucumbers!
Harvest this burdock before it flowers, peel the stem and steam – you won’t know it isn’t asparagus!
Morels are one of those treasures that are short lived. Wash them well as they have a tendency to be sandy and be careful you don’t harvest the false type – they are poisonous!
Thimble berries are one of the most delicate bush berries. They are soft and velvety and don’t store as they crush easy – so be prepared to make a smoothie or a salad dressing. Collect them in their own leaf, it is large and soft. Not that I want to put this in here because I am talking about food, but people actually use this leaf as toilet paper.
Fiddleheads are new fern sprouts -eat them raw or saute in butter with onions and bacon.
No matter where you are in B.C. you will find something beautiful.
Murch Lake, Prince George, B.C.
And when the day-time fun ends, sit silently with a beer in hand and watch as the province of B.C. sends you a sunset to thank you for appreciating her beauty.