I got the idea to start this blog today after working on a stone wall with my good friend Paul Cunningham. I was high from hoisting heavy rocks around and finding just the perfect ones to fit in those little gaps. I also have a challenging health situation and am taking prednisone at the moment, to be honest, which doesn't feel right for my body, but which I felt was a necessary choice last week when I slunk to the hospital in fear I was going to collapse again and end up missing another summer on Block Island. Steroids are powerful drugs. So is Mother Nature. I know I will be off them soon and kind of feel like writing this blog and sharing my joy in the beauty and bounty of wild Block Island will help me do that. One thing I know, is that after a winter in Providence, the beauty of the island is even more intoxicating. Everyday I am more and more astonished by the raw succulence of this place.
I got into foraging a couple of years ago. I read an interview with a British forager by the name of Fergus Drennan who had a BBC show called "The Roadkill Chef." http://www.wildmanwildfood.com/. He does indeed forage roadkill--badgers and birds and other poor creatures crushed by careless wheels, although he, like me, forages mostly for plants. Reading of Fergus's adventures was a revelation to me. I got a foraging guide at The Island Free Library and started looking at pictures. I was amazed to discover that many of the edible plants I saw were ones I saw everyday on Block Island. Indeed, as I began to cruise down dirt roads, dunes, marshes, springs, tidepools, and yes, an occasional paved roads, I discovered the island was a forager's paradise! At the time I worked as a gardener, as in I got paid to pull up weeds. Instead of chucking them over the stonewall, I began to take them home and eat them! Those first days were heady, let me tell you, as I discovered the thrills of eating food I found myself without going to the grocery store.
My plan here is to share plants with you as they come my way, along with photos, nutritional info, recipes, and cooking techniques, along with whatever musings pop into my wild brain to feed our wild bodies. Amen. Feels good to say that. While I love cultivating a garden, wild plants are special because they chose to grow wherever you find them. This means they are optimally nutritious. When we eat a wild plant, we connect with our wild souls--the part of us that remembers we are just as wild as the falcons I keep seeing swoop over the fields in front of my house in the high winds we've had last couple of days. I could go on and on with musings on the wild soul, but for now I will leave you with a hearty welcome to my world and a photo of one of my favorites--wild asparagus--growing in a field you probably drive by a couple of times a day if you live on Block Island. If you don't live here, next time you pass a field that seems to be inviting you for a ramble, pull the car over to the side of the road and see what's waiting to surprise you.