Wild… At Large, Under a Chair Somewhere: Foraging Fridays

Does this ever happen to you?

Say, for instance, there is a particular article of clothing you have been tripping over for the past week. You see it everyday. You know exactly where it is. Except the moment you decide you want to wear it, it is nowhere to be found.

Certainly, you know this drill…you put a pair of socks into the drier, but when the timer dings, only one sock remains.

How about this one? You put something in a certain spot. You haven’t touched it since. Your partner claims he hasn’t touched it either. It is out of reach of the toddler. But the next time you need it, it isn’t there. It isn’t anywhere.

All three happen to me frequently, but especially the latter, and it drives me to distraction. I get labeled as forgetful, or disorganized, but with the Gods as my witness, I swear I’m not. “Crazy” sounds like a more plausible explanation than “poltergeist” or “house sprite”, except for the fact that I am quite sane and I know I put that effing _______ (fill in the blank) RIGHT THERE.

Sigh. Cue to this morning, and todays blog post.

This past week I was at an adorable little park with Fern in the Berkeley Hills. As she flew, shrieking, down a steep concrete slide, I plucked little ruby gems off a tall and lanky, thorny bush. Not prepared for foraging, I wrapped my prickly little nuggets in the only available container. A clean diaper.

When I got home, I took my little bundle and placed it strategically on top of the dresser, underneath my hat. When I went to pull them out this morning to photograph them and lay them out to dry, the hat was there, but they were not. I tore the room apart. I dug through the kitchen trash. The bathroom trash. The trash in the bins outside. Nowhere to be found. I might not be crazy, but feel like I am on my way to going there when this kind of B.S. happens.

So while I am kissing goodbye my fantasies of a nice tart cuppa tea, let’s amuse ourselves with what could have been.

Wild Rose Hips. Produced in the fall by the California Wild Rose, they are ripe when soft and come easily off the branch. They will stay on the branches throughout winter, as supplemental food for wildlife when other sustenance is scarce. Pick only what you truly need, and leave most for the birds.

Here is our native beauty in summer. I took this last year during a visit to our secret hot springs.

In the fall, she produces her hips. The fruit of the wild rose is sky high in vitamin C, and makes an amazing, and nourishing, cup of tea. Steep a tablespoon of the dried hips in a cup of hot water, and keep colds at bay. If you’ve already caught one, rose hip tea will help with a speedy recovery.

Did you steal my hips, you cheeky git? Oh…I stole them from you? Right then.

Even more than having lost something, I am deeply bothered by the waste. Such a nice bunch of wildcrafted goodness, languishing away in some unknown spot or garbage can. Feels like blasphemy. Which brings me to an important point, and one that I often forget.

When foraging, it’s important to attend to your gatherings as soon as you return home. Refrigerate your greens, hang your herbs up to dry. More often than not, if you put it off, your harvest will end up wilting and rotting in the bottom of your bag or pocket. Wild goodies are precious gifts and need to be treated as such. (She tells herself, while bonking her head on the wall.)

Here is a post I could have written, on how to dry and store rose hips for tea.

And here is something wonderful I stumbled across while searching for photos this morning. Nevada City peeps might know about the Living Wild Project. I aim to send them my recipe for Dandelion Wine.

Most of me is resigned to having lost my lip puckering hips. However, there is a tiny part that is holding out hope that they will surface, and soon. More likely, I will find a little package of dusty, shriveled up rocks in some bizarre location six months from now. Along with my other wooden hoop earring. And my credit card. And my black knitted armwarmer. And my grey platform vintage heels. And my…

The Disclaimer

Think with your stomach! Do not ingest wild plants unless you are sure you have identified them correctly and are willing to take responsibility for using yourself as a guinea pig. It is SO not my responsibility if you eat the wrong thing and get poopy pants, or die. You’re an adult. you can make your own choices.

Have a good weekend, y’all.


16 thoughts on “Wild… At Large, Under a Chair Somewhere: Foraging Fridays

  1. Case of the missing Rose Hips…i’m thinking some hippie girl version of Encyclopedia Brown (used to LOVE those!). dang, what a nuisance! i hope they turn up and you get your delicious tart cup of tea. usually around here it turns out SOMEONE, some absent-minded-professor type of hubby, is the culprit for misplacing keys, shoes, a twenty dollar bill, other random items.

  2. Arrrrgh. I feel it all. (like feist😉).

    I’ve been unable to say I feel sane these days. It was nice to see someone proclaim it. My therapist recently told me that after a lived one dies we do go insane for a while. So I’m living with an insane person and I’m teetering myself and aaaaaaaaah. Rose hips. I love it when I find those giant ones. They seem so surreal when they’re huge. I was drawn to the feverfew essence yesterday. But I’m having to refrain while I’m on this homeopathic journey from flower essences. But it was sweet to see it in my magic cabinet and feel that too. Hope u have a lovely workshop tonight and a fab weekend too. Dear. Love.

  3. Oh you just decribed me. And my own missing pieces. The case of the missing sock and brown skirt. I know there is a sock heaven somewhere. I once lost my ATM card, only to find it in the fridge. We have that rose in our garden, it does really well just outside our bedroom, but i didn’t know how to prepare the rosehips…..or when i think about trying it, they’re already dried up. When I get back from my GIRLS NIGHT AWAY IN THE WINERY REGION – I’m going to see what we have on our brambly bush. I hope they turn up. You heard me huh, girl’s night away. first time in 8 years sister.
    Much love!

  4. dude! we had a little duplo lego guy go missing at our last house. “the guy with the green helmet” (we only had two duplo people at that point, so he was pretty memorable). the kids forgot all about the little guy in no time, but my husband and i still talked about him–where the hell did he go!?…for years. we thought for sure we would find him when we moved (deep in the couch, under the bookshelf, behind the fridge…), but he never turned up.
    now i am not saying that your rose hips will go unfound, but if they do, the little plastic guy in the freaking green helmet would be my first suspect 😉

  5. That shit happens to me all. the. time. I made a pair of earrings for someone, put them down someplace… that was a week ago.

    There’s some hope! I lost my box of makeup two years ago and just found it last week. So. I think both your rose hips and my earrings will turn up.

      1. It was inside another box in my closet. Logically, I know I must have put it there, but I’m wondering why… haha!

  6. Oh my! I was just thinking about cooking rosehip syrup to strengthen my immunities, but was side tracked by this post. This happens to me all the time and I think I know who (or what) is behind it. I think I’m gonna have to post about that. Thank you for the inspiration, as always m’dear.

    1. i found the hips and made some syrup! 1 part hips, 2 parts water, and a tsp of orange zest. simmered it for 45 minutes. let it cool down some, then added 1 part raw honey to 1 part strained rose hip decoction.

      i can’t wait for your illuminating post!

  7. Look for them on the edge of forest and stream, where the beginning of the river bank meets the treeline. This is where they hide in my neck of the woods. Good luck!

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