Hart Ford
Hart Ford
HomeColumns, Opinions & Misc.Springtime birding and foraging

Springtime birding and foraging

Hello and welcome my friends to another beautiful spring here in Oscoda County. What a great spring we have had thus far. I thought that the winter was an easy one so to follow it with a nice spring just makes me happy as a bunny in clover.

I have been gone from here for a couple of months so let’s get right to my feathered friends. They are here and man are they ever. I still have Evening Grosbeaks and all the migrating birds have returned except the Orioles and they may be here by the time this is printed.

All except for one bird and this is a bird that we have never been without in this area ever as far as I can remember, the Blue Jay. The last one that I saw here at home was the beginning of December. I did see one in Gaylord and another in Fairview but nothing here at home.

Now I know that when Blue Jays are nesting, they are quiet and harder to find but in the winter they usually raid the feeder morning, noon and night.

As it is springtime, our minds wander to the opportunities that abound for fresh foods found in the great out of doors. One of the first and a very tasty foraged food is the Dandelion. Fresh young greens that we can add to many dishes. Great cleanser for your liver.

Of course, there are cattail shoots, also known as “Cossocks Asparagus”, that can be eaten cooked or raw and are good pickled also.

Then there is the Burdock root, known as Gobo in Japan, great in stews, stir fries or pickled. I have seen this in local stores under the name Gobo. If you are harvesting this, you will get your exercise as it takes some digging.

Another good springtime green is thistle petioles. Stripping the leaves to leave the center ribs they can then be eaten like celery.

There are many more springtime foods that can be foraged and the ones I have mentioned all have other uses as well. Get yourself some good books on the subjects and you will be surprised as to how much there is that we overlook daily.

One of the books that I prefer is called “The Foragers Harvest” and for me it is an excellent source of information.

If the Covid problem has taught us anything it is that the supply of food can be disrupted very easily and having a bit of knowledge can supplement our meals with just a little planning and work.

Foraging was a way of life not that long ago and it helped with the expansion of our great country. Our ancestors used this knowledge and canned, dried, or preserved in some way for later use and so should we.

That’s all for now, I look forward to our next visit and I also look forward to the return of my blue-feathered friends. Let’s all help keep our woods and waters clean and if there is anything you wish to ask me just send me a note.

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