Hidden treasures, dandelion jam and parsnip bread

Posted on April 26, 2012


I cannot resist an invitation that promises I can learn about foodstuffs like wild leek, trout lily, spring beauty, cattail, wild parsnip, dandelion, and burdock – AND offers me a sample of dandelion jam on parsnip bread. I don’t have photos of all those things, but there’s a nice patch of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) in the woods behind the Writing Studio and Bait Shop. The flowers are so tiny I thought it would be impossible to capture them “working blind” – but the little camera continues to surprise me.

Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) - Torch Lake Township, Antrim County, Michigan - April 25, 2012

Bruce Laidlaw read about my problems with cameras and sent me an email about a tough little number he’s used for underwater shots. He wrote: It is waterproof. So if it gets covered with sand, you can dip it in water. Also it is supposed to absorb a pretty good impact if you drop it (haven’t tested that feature). I use it when I am out in my kayak. Also, I have taken some underwater photos with it.

Stage one of my Deep Six geocache. Clues to stage two attached to the anchor. (Bruce Laidlaw)

That is just like Bruce. Ingenuity combined with a wicked sense of mischief. Geocaching is one of those things I tried and liked and then unaccountably haven’t done for a long time. Maybe I should go take the kayak out and do some more. But I digress.

What I should do is to meander along Kidder Road to Wagbo’s Springtime Wild Edibles program.  The first workshop is on Saturday, May 12 at 12 p.m. and begins with a potluck in the Wagbo farmhouse.  This is a good start.  Then we’ll move outdoors at 1 p.m. for a hike through the 212-acre Wagbo property.  The press release says that we’ll learn about foodstuffs like wild leek, trout lily, spring beauty, cattail, wild parsnip, dandelion, and burdock from Resident Naturalist Fischer Jex and Wagbo Program Coordinator Maria Wesserle.  There will be recipes!  There will be samples of dandelion jam and parsnip bread!  The workshop is free.  And the next day, Mother’s Day, you can go back over there for the Wild Leeks and Morels Walk.  Yes, Maria is going to show you where to find some morels.  Of course it’s been a funny spring, so who knows whether the morels will consent to be found, but that’s all part of the fun, isn’t it.  I don’t see how you can go wrong.

Grubby paws with spring tonic: Wintergreen and wild leeks