Washing fiddleheads requires a lot of time and patience. You can also see some tiny tomato plants growing on my windowsill.
He who plants a garden, plants happiness!
The last two weeks have been really busy for me trying to get my garden beds built and ready for the summer veggie growing season. I had ordered my organic seeds online in March and by the beginning of May, I started to plan and plot my way to adding more raised beds to my yard despite everyone's warning that the deer would eat everything that I would grow.
The first thing I did was order some thick and heavy wooden boards from a local guy who has his own small sawmill. Thinking it was going to take forever to cut through them with a handsaw, I was lucky enough to have someone stop by with a chainsaw to cut them to the right measurements so that I could drill them all together. I had enough boards to build 5 large raised beds and I was anxious to fill them with just the right mix of soil and compost. But I got side tracked...
The "fiddleheads" woke up from their deep winter freeze and poked their ferny little heads out of the ground. I had no choice but to set aside my wheel barrow and shovel and go to the brook to pick my yearly supply of the delicious and free green vegetables.
Now for those of you who have never picked fiddleheads, let me tell you a few things about them. They are a special treat on a cold winter's night boiled and served with butter, salt and pepper as a side dish, right next to your potatoes.
The picking of them is another story.
One has to be prepared to make their way through the brush and bramble along watery places where they like to grow. The object of the quest is to find fiddleheads that are firm and just starting to push up through the soil and then to break them off and fill the bucket that you carefully try and hold on to as you climb over fallen logs, wade through the mud and push back the overgrown branches that try and block your path from getting those juices fiddly ferns that are teasing you from afar.
Bending over to break them off, your hands undergo a series of torture tactics that nature uses to discourage you from taking too many of the green morsels. Yet despite the scratches, scrapes, picky splinters from the branches and finger nail digging attempts to get the big ones, you pursue your goal to fill that bucket. Then and only then will you return home and wash away the battle wounds.
For days after, you walk around trying to hide the sorry state of your rough looking hands from people who have never picked fiddleheads and do not understand the courageous side effects of fiddlehead picking. The scratches and hangnails will heal and you know that you'll have forgotten all about them when you take that frozen bag of free vegetables from the freezer.
Another spring job done... I froze 47 bags of fiddleheads and now it is time to get back to my Tiny Patch Garden and plant those potatoes!
Here is some information about fiddleheads in case you want to pick some for yourself next spring!