May 18, 2016
As spring continues to delight me with the wonders of its forests, I try to imagine what they must have meant to winter-weary settlers. The end of winter meant the end of the food stores put away in the fall to last the winter. By spring, families would literally be "scraping the bottom of the barrel", and what lay at the bottom was often rotten and maggoty. So, imagine how welcome the arrival of fiddleheads would be: a healthy, green vegetable to add to the diet. Those who were open to learning from the native peoples would learn to identify wild garlic, edible mushrooms, wild rice and other delicious additions to their table. Tapping maple trees provided a sweetener for plain oatmeal, tea and coffee, and baking.
Other arrivals, such as fields of white trilliums, and in some places, red ones, fed the spirit. Eventually, the Province of Ontario would choose the trillium as its provincial flower. Wild violets sprout wherever they feel like it, it seems, whether that be a rocky crevice or a patch of grass. (Photos below)