i once read that, due to our evolutionary predilictions, humans are most soothed by a view from a height, looking out over grassland, toward a body of water in the distance. both before and after reading that statement, i have been drawn to edges where water meets land. and in the american upper midwest, that means spending a lot of time in the company of cottonwoods, and their expressive bark.
cottonwood tree bark
sucker creek, regional park, saint paul, minnesota
when we bought our house eight years ago, we inherited a small restored prairie. one of my favorite tenants has come to be these golden alexanders–eager, celebratory, always interesting. everything you would want in a friend.
golden alexanders (golden zizia)
my backyard, saint paul, minnesota
in a fit of indecision about what to photograph today, i decided simply to move everything from my desk onto the floor and make the best of it. i do the same thing in fall when i want to clear out my refrigerator. if it’s in the crisper, it goes in the pot. add chicken stock, simmer, blend. sometimes the soup is spectacular, and sometimes it tastes a little like baby food. you will have to decide for yourself whether you’re currently looking at a velouté aux légumes, or gerber puréed peas and carrots.
assemblage of late-may and early-june finds
saint paul, minnesota
spruce tips are a bit of a culinary fad, which, like a lot of fads, culinary or otherwise, is really just a rediscovery of something already known for centuries. here in the midwest we’re suddenly fermenting sauerkraut and pickling vegetables as if we, and not our germano-scandinavian forbears, invented the idea. this year, we missed the spruce tip harvest season. they have burst their husks and started to lose their early season tenderness. so we’ll have to give this ancient native wild edible a try next spring, at which point i promise to report our experience with the breathless excitement of a totally new discovery.
annual growth tips on spruce and balsam
my yard, saint paul, minnesota
p.s. on a similar note, last week i bought myself a pair of trendy, 0f-the-moment birkenstock sandals. i tend to admire them without thinkng much about how in fashion they would have been a couple thousand years ago in downtown nazareth.