Sunday, 17 May 2015

Ramping down for the season

I'm ramping down for the season.Scylla and I went for a walk to the woods to harvest ramps for the last time this season. The stroll through the three fields to the woods was lovely. At one point the air was filled with a heady fragrance from wild privet or currants. I couldn't see where the fragrance was coming from but it certainly smelled like one of those two spring flowering shrubs. There was also a patch of wild strawberries along the path in our field. In the low-lying area where the pussy willows thrive there were squadrons of dragonflies.
Wild strawberries in the field
But when I got to the woods it was full-on assault from both blackflies and mosquitoes. The breeze that had kept them at bay in the open ground had disappeared in the closeness of the forest. I also lost track of the path which looks much different at this time of year from the winter. It was time for full HazMat.
HazMat protective gear
Finally I reached the hardwoods and was able to locate some ramps. Wild leeks like to bury down between rocks so it can be difficult to get down to the bulbous part of the ramp. On the very first plunge into the soil my trowel broke. After that I had to use the handle to dig down deep to get extricate the ramps.

I had a couple of moments of panic; because I'd lost the path, because once I found them the ramps were so difficult to harvest and because the bugs were driving me to think longingly of a cliff to jump off.

Having fled the woods, pursued by a cloud of bugs, the final insult came when, attempting to cross a double barbed wire fence, my bug jacket netting got caught in the wire. I felt like Steve McQueen at the end of The Great Escape. I'd made my escape, true on two feet, instead of on two wheels. I'd eluded clouds of bugs, not a squadron of evil motorcyclists, but like Hilts, "the "Cooler King", just as freedom was in sight I got snagged on a barbed wire fence.

Once I had extricated myself from the barbed wire both Scylla and I made a beeline for home. Our woods, being young since we planted them over the past twenty years, are much more civilized, at least for their lack of bugs and scattering of naturalized daffodils.
Scylla leads the way home
Naturalized daffs in our woods 

I'm done. That's it for a walk in the woods until the chill of frost in the air in the fall. But since I did go there are BBQ'ed ramps for dinner and ramp pesto for a taste of spring in the depths of winter.
Ramps cleaned and ready for washing
A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt
Fresh off the grill
Ramp Pesto with Roasted Pinenuts

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