Monday, January 9, 2012


(That's a pix of what tempts Claire into the stream--watercress!)

Found this description of a woman foraging in colonial America in a novel I'm reading (An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon. This series of Gabaldon novels make wonderful reading, by the way. I love the Claire and Jamie books. :) Claire is an herbalist and a doctor (and a time traveler).


Spring had sprung, and the creek was rising. Swelled by melting snow and fed by hundreds of tiny waterfalls that trickled and leapt down the mountain's face, it roared past by feet, exuberant with spray. I could feel cold on my face, and knew that I'd be wet to the knees within minutes, but it didn't matter. The fresh green arrowhead and pickerweed rimmed the banks, some plants dragged out of the soil by the rising water and whirled downstream, more hanging on by their roots for dear life, leaves trailing in the racing wash. Dark mats of cress swirled under the water, close by the sheltering banks. And fresh green plants were what I wanted.

My gathering basket was half full of fiddleheads and ramp shoots. A nice big lot of tender new cress, crisp and cold from the stream, would top off the winter's vitamin C deficiency very well. I took off my shoes and stockings, and after a moment's hesitation, took off my gown and shawl as well and hung them over a tree branch. The air was chilly in the shade of the silver birches that overhung the creek here, and I shivered a bit but ignored the cold, kirtling up my shift before wading into the stream.

That cold was harder to ignore. I gasped, and nearly dropped the basket, but found my footing among the slippery rocks and made my way toward the nearest mat of tempting dark green. Within seconds, my legs were numb, and I'd lost any sense of cold in the enthusiasm of forager's frenzy and salad hunger.

End excerpt

Oh, gads. I know JUST what that feels like! Foraging frenzy! It's so true. And here's I've got to wait two months (at least). Sigh.

Makes me hungry just thinking about it.



darius said...

My small spring overflow "pond" is covered with watercress, as is the place where the overflow pours into the creek. I should harvest some!

Patricia said...

Hey Darius--oh yes, you should! These wild foods are truly nutritious--far more than farmed foods.

Natalie said...

I just found your blog recently and I love it. :) I adore the Outlander series! I'm on the 5th book now. Claire is a huge inspiration!

Bustednuckles said...

I am so very pleasantly surprised to see you still blogging!

You always have some interesting topics too.

Say Hi to The Grumpy Lord for me..

Been a while, got married last August, new job, new place, been as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest but I do drop by every once in a while.


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