Monday, September 8, 2008

Green Dream
When I graduated from college some friends and I considered moving to Oregon State. We planned to make our fortunes, or a living, baking bread. We refered to the plan as 'The Green Dream'. This climate is similiar to Oregon, and for now it is foresty green and dreamy. I think I might be living the green dream at last.

This is a view of our street driving into the neighborhood, about a half mile from our house. This is our house as you approach from the main road
A beautiful little purple flower decorating my yard.
I think in Swedish it is called Stor blåcklocka, or Campanula persicfolia.
Skärvinda or Calystegia sepium
So to enjoy all this green, I went on herb walk with my daughter. We can walk from our house to the store- library- main part of the village by going first through some forest paths, then on a nice paved path. You can actually choose the paved path for the whole trek if you prefer. We went the forest path and collected nettles and chickweed. I was looking for nettles that were young enough to use. Late neetles are not the best, and can give you a stomach ache. Nettles are really best collected in the spring. But we found a number of young shoots that were worth keeping.

Fresh nettles, Brännässla, or Urtica Dioica
Since I was all gloved up for nettle collecting, and keeping the girl away from their potent little stings, she was put in charge of picking the milder herb chickweed. Susun Weed fondly calls it the little star lady. The Swedegirl would exclaim Chickweed!!! everytime she found some, then pluck it up and put it in a bag. The chickweed is good fresh, but I think for my pregnancy tea needs I am going to stick with dried nettles, I did not get that much, and its awful late in the season now.
Fresh Chickweed, Vatårv, Stellaria Media
There are also tons of these red berries growing onthe trees. The folk legend is that if there are many of these berries in the fall, then it will be a very snowy winter. I hope so! There were only three days of snow here last year, I hear. If it is going to be cold and dark, it might as well be snowy too.
I think these are called Rönn, or Sorbus Aucuparia.
And a Playground, too....
Besides finding plants and herbs that are new to us, we also found a playground that is right off the paved path on the way to the library and grocery store. Yay! On one side of the park is a big grassy hill, and on the other side facing the playground is a big wide slide. The SwedeGirl calls it 'the one that goes ba-bump-ba-bump-ba-bump', which is fairly accurate.
This hill is awesome for rolling, and I bet its the world's best sledding hill in the right season. Or maybe we should come back with cardboard boxes?
I come from Florida where hills, nettles, and even dandelions are fairly rare and exotic to us. Florida has an abundance of oranges and grapefruit- we could scavenge a whole stroller full on a neighborhood walk in the winter-and the peaceful gulf waters are warm and swimmable most of the year. But we did not have many hills or common herbs. So this climate and terrain is great new fun for us. We can collect nettles and roll down soft grassy hills. We are so easily amused.

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