April 14, 2011
Spring in the Ozark Mountains
There is nothing like living in the Ozark Mountains during Spring! The environment is rich with so many native plants and trees all year round, especially ones that provide food, but spring is a wild flower and native flowering trees spectacular! All through our woods are wild growing Dogwood and Redbud trees that signal winters demise and springs arrival.
We spent the day making a new herb bed. I got some Stevia plants and let me tell you.....the leaves are too sweet to eat. Its kind of odd to pick a leaf from one of these plants and have it taste like a spoon full of sugar
times ten. I'm excited about learning to cook with this natural sweetener and about having such a homegrown, organic sweetener. Here's a picture I took today of the herb bed in progress.....we've been clearing a few scrub oaks and put the trunks to good use with this bed and it sure beats spending money on gas to get to the lumber yard and then more money on lumber.
We fill our beds with topsoil (it is clumpy and unmixed in this pic), which we bring in each spring. One thing about the Ozarks is that good soil isn't easy to find unless you have good bottom soil down in a holler. We mix that topsoil with manure, organic peat moss, vermeculite, and blood meal. It makes a super recipe for any plants throughout the growing season. I'll post more pics as the bed is filled with herbs.
Another wonderful treasure here in the forests of the Ozark Mountains are the Morel mushrooms that beginning popping up around mid-April. We didn't even know we had any on our place until we discovered mushroom hunters trespassing across our property a few years back. With six german shepherds, nothing goes unnoticed around here, lol. Below is a pic of our first collection a few days ago. I tell you, they are delicious rolled in batter and fried in butter. I know I know, it is an extremely unhealthy way to cook them, but they melt in your mouth! This batch I dried for later use. We've been using our new juicer lately and eating healthier overall so I couldn't bring myself to eat anything fried in butter. I'll just have to find new ways to use them.....if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!