Springtime Journeys…

May 31st, 2014

Over hill, over dale

Through bush, through briar

Over park, over pale,

Through flood,  through fire

I do wander everywhere …….*

There’s a good reason (at least one!)  to travel afar this month:   May’s weather in the Périgord was so grey, damp and cool.  So, the vagabond hit the airlanes  to see family and friends, first stop:  San Francisco.   Then on to Minneapolis. moving through a reverse passage of springtimes, from blousy, fragrant roses in Marin county to winding up on Mississippi River Boulevard, where  trees were popping out in their first, acid-green leaf  canopy.  Reversing  spring wasn’t actually in my plan, but zooming from the zone 9a and 9b sunny days in San Rafael, California to zone 4a in the Twin Cities was a revelation.   And it was wise to have packed an extra warm cardigan.  It was a late season – two weeks late in fact, so my hopes to go morel hunting were scuttled – with the wild flowers delayed but showing promise.

My sister’s closest market, the Marin Market on Thursday morning, was a wonderland of edibles both fresh (gorgeous blueberries from Fresno) and prepared (savory Lucky Dog hot sauce found a place in my gift-carrier for the next stop).   A week later in St. Paul’s bustling and diverse Saturday market, my good friend was intent on supplying her herb garden.  I assisted with relish. Although too early to plant out the basil (the first half of  May, frost potential still holds), her large collection was in the ground within a warmish day.  And we DID enjoy a plate of morels (dried, from their 2013 foraging) in a luscious, creamy sauce, the day of my departure….enough to prompt plans to return next May – a little later to allow for weather, wandering, and more time to hunt for mushrooms….the ever-elusive morels.

*words inspired me, from Midsummer Night’s Dream (2.1.2-15) by Wm. Shakespeare

USDA Garden zones count 11 zones for winter- hardiness guides.  For more info on this useful system, see:  www. plantmaps.com or for Europe:  gardenweb.com/zones/Europe