Feverish Foraging

On Pig Row, we are frequent foragers. We are akin to the little old lady with sharpened elbows at the jumble sale. We keep our foraging spots secret, not because we are greedy but because we believe in careful foraging, we know that if we strip a tree clear we are breaking a cycle and taking away food for animals. These animals are vital to the survival of many plants and spread their seed around, humans (unless they crap in the woods) don't. Therefore we have always taken a little and made a lot from it. However, this year when we went to our primary foraging spot we were a little shocked.

No nuts, no plums, no produce!

There was simply nothing there. It is doubtful that anyone foraged this spot clean. There were no signs of fallen fruit, no plums or nuts (no euphemisms please). It began to dawn on us that the reason there was nothing here was the fruit had never set or, we hope, the birds have stripped the hedgerows clean. Unless there is forager out there with the equivalent of a foraging vacuum cleaner this can be the only explanation.

Empty forage spot

If we look back over the weather of the last few months, it begins to make sense. A warm spring, instead of wet, high blustery end with snow at the end of spring, wet summer and it all starts to add up as not a good time for the hedgerows or the birds. We were a little saddened by this.
Sad Pig Rowers, no forage!

Not all was lost and we went on a walk instead, looking for late blackberries. As we mooched away we ducked up a lane we hadn't been up before. We soon became mired in a boggy track. Little D loved this, Carol hated it and we did find blackberries and something else. We found an abandoned farm house. I was firmly told by Carol that we weren't moving again and not to get ahead of myself. This is code for she loved it, she wanted it and she wanted me to say I wasn't interested. As I write this, we have yet to sell Drovers and the idea of buying anything else, even a wreck, fills me with horror. However, I did take the time to photograph it, chronicle it and record it here. It is a sad fact that we seem to be in love with new housing estates and fearful of old buildings. Yet this house would be ideal for anyone who wanted to get their teeth into a project where they would have to start from scratch, be environmentally friendly and it had a bonus too, it had outbuildings.

Open to the elements and crumbling

A beautiful old building still gets bins!

A wonderful view overgrown and forgotten

Studio? Swimming pool? Potting shed!

Wonderful roof caving slowly in

An afternoon of foraging up an old medieval road and we came home with fourteen blackberries, a muddy toddler and covered head to toe in Rose Willow Herb seed. These fine cotton tufts stuck to us like glue as we foraged our blackberry haul. Some years are better than others but at least we have other foraged beauties back in the larder along with our maturing pickles.

A toddler, his mummy and a medieval road