One of the best parts of keeping a nature journal is knowing when to look for things. And one of the best parts of leading nature walks is having a dozen pairs of eyes all looking for things with you (as long as they're willing to share!). It doesn't always work -- weather can be unpredictable, shifting seasonal patterns off by a few weeks in one direction or another. But when it works it's so sweet.
Pickin' up pawpaws and puttin 'em in her pockets...way down yonder in the pawpaw patch
Listen to the tune and you, too, can have it stuck in your head all week!
We also found black walnuts, as we'd hoped (Matt brought a few extras just in case). We spent some time along the river cracking them open with rocks. It's easy to imaging people doing the same thing hundreds of years ago, in the same spot: we were just across the river from the fishing weir at Scott's Run.
This pawpaw and black walnut combination reminded me of a cookie recipe that Matt got when he first started learning about wild edibles, from his classmate Leslie Plant:
Here's a full list of the things we stopped to look at on our walk. Links are to previous posts on the Natural Capital. Asterisks are the ones we ate, or talked about eating.
Woodland sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)
Wingstem (Actinomeris alternifolia)
New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis)
Mistflower (aka Wild Ageratum, Eupatorium coelestinum)
With fruits, berries, nuts, or seeds
Spicebush* (Lindera benzoin)
Wood nettle* (Laportea canadensis)
Stinging nettle* (Urtica dioica)
Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium)
Wild Rye* (Elymus sp.)
Black walnut* (Juglans nigra)
Wormwood/Sweet Annie (Artemesia sp.)
Bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformus)
Wild grapes* (Vitis sp.)
Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
Box elder (Acer negundo)
Blackberry* (Rubus allegheniensis)
Asiatic bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Wild ginger* (Asarum canadense)
Sound fun? Our next walk will be to look for more nuts, including a spot we know where chestnuts grow, and whatever else we stumble upon along the way. Sign up here.