Earth Day Adventures: forage

Pick nettles that are approximately 8″ tall, taking the top 6″.

By mid summer, moist woodlands are thick with stinging nettles. Long pants and long sleeve cotton t-shirts are a must, to keep waist-high plants from assaulting skin with trichomes. But right now, the stinging nettles are just beginning to emerge. Celebrate Earth Day by enjoying hunting for, gathering, and eating this delicious plant.


The leaves are tender and full of iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. The tiny hairs are just beginning to produce trichomes, so they aren’t nearly as painful if you break them off into your skin. Grasp the plant gently at the base and break the stem cleanly off. It won’t hurt the plant. If you can’t seem to get the knack of it without getting stung, wear a pair of gardening gloves or use a pair of clippers. As the nettles are a ubiquitous invader throughout the woods, stick a paper sack in your pocket to collect them in.

Once home, rinse them off and boil them for about five minutes. The boiling breaks down the toxins, making them safe to eat. Treat the leaves like spinach, adding a little bit of butter, salt, or lemon juice before serving. IMG_20150409_154827535




Dry the rest. The trichomes also break down as the plant dries. Add a teaspoon of dried nettle leaf to the teapot whenever you make a cup of tea, to take advantage of the nutrients in the plant long after the plants leaves are large and tough, and the trichomes are vigorous about defending it.

This book is older than I am, but the information in it is still a great foundation for foraging  for food in nature.
This book is older than I am, but the information in it is still a great foundation for foraging for food in nature.

How Nature is like the Library and why it matters

How Nature is like the Library

Sitting in traffic on my way home from the library the other day, I got to thinking:

Nature – the great outdoors – is a lot like the public library.

Nature is space free for all to visit, all to peruse, all to enjoy – paid for by tax dollars, public & private benefactors, and citizen fundraising; maintained by forest rangers and naturalists (the librarians of their wild spaces) and the enthusiasm of volunteers.

We go to the library to learn: a vast collection of non-fiction books on every topic imaginable, waiting to be read and gleaned from. There is always something new to be found on a library shelf.  We can go to nature to learn as well.  Every walk in the woods will reveal something new.

Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher. ~William Wordsworth

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. ~John Lubbock

You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters. ~St. Bernard

Let Nature be your teacher

We go to the library for enjoyment: genre upon genre of fiction, poetry, picture books, movies, comics, how-to books. We can go out in nature for enjoyment too.  A mud-puddle and a mountain are always ready to provide a new experience.

when the world is mud-luscious…[and] puddle-wonderful. ~e.e. cummings

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Khalil Gibran

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. ~John Muir

How Nature is like the Library and why it matters

Just as our minds long for ideas that we can find in a book at the library, so our hearts and eyes long for nature – photos of breath-takingly beautiful nature scenes abound on Pinterest, are shared on Instagram, and hang on the walls of homes & offices around the world.

With innovation and technology, seems we have forgotten to cherish the true beauty the world has to offer. ~A.C. Van Cherub

Yet, unlike the library – still a place of generally hushed reverence (except during toddler story time!), nature is often carelessly used as a dumping ground – tires, empty cans, golf balls, and a large collection of half-filled plastic water bottles litter the creek near my home. Would you ever find these in your local library? Who keeps the library clean? Who keeps the natural spaces around your home clean?

If we all treated nature more like the library, I think the world would be a better place. We borrow. We return. We pay our fines when owed. We preserve. We respect. We enjoy!

May you find yourself out in nature or in a library today — better yet, both!

April 2015 Full Moon Walk & Lunar Eclipse

Full Moon Walk April 2015 Lunar Eclipse/Blood MoonAre you planning a Full Moon walk with your family this week?  This month’s Full Moon is on April 4, 2015 — traditionally called the Pink Moon, is also going to include the first total lunar eclipse of 2015!

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow. In some locations, the shadowing can cast a red glow on the moon, and so the moon can also be called a Blood Moon.

Solar and lunar eclipses always arrive in pairs — the lunar eclipse coming 2 weeks after the solar eclipse.  This and other interesting eclipse tidbits can be found at — the website includes viewing information, video clips, and helpful explanations.

Full Moon Walk 2015 Printable from PocketMousePublishing.comDownload your free Full Moon Walk tracker  and enjoy this special time outside in nature!