The smell from pine goes so deep in my memory it seems to have been with me forever. The sounds of the wind in the needles is one my ears strain to hear in each and every gust of wind. It seems I was born under a tree when I was taken to the Adirondacks when I was so very, very little. Three months of age and parked on a blanket or carriage under the trees’ arms, trees have always been ALIVE to me!
The story had been written many times when the Adirondack night blew winds causing temperatures to dive to 30 or 40 degrees BELOW zero, and all the canning jars burst and I was completly out of my normal food supply for the winter. I started my usual prayer with deep desperation– I asked God,” OK now that the food is gone, what do I do next?” Through my fear, I always received an answer in words typed across the forefront of my brain sorta above my eyes. There was no sound to the answer, just emphatic letters:. WHAT DID THE IROQUOIS DO FOR CENTURIES IN FROZEN WINTER? I was off and ploughing through deep snow in the woods for a pine branch. That was my first scraping of bark and taste of chewy-when-hot, stir-fried with garlic salt…Shredded bark!!
Parts of trees, such as the frozen buds caught in winter’s grip, were eaten in more than one way that winter, and I added other types of trees along the way. Frozen sap from balsam and pine became the CANDY for our delicacy in the winter.
In spring, the answers came faster than I could cook them. We ate raw throughout our working day. Thus, the tiny leaves and buds of MAPLE, BEECH, BIRCH and the fruits of the trees & how to use them — NOW, the world was complete for me.
I WAS at peace with my whole enviornment. Below GROUND, ON GROUND and NOW WAY ABOVE GROUND, the supply was ENDLESS, and still is for all of us. I knew then how my predecessors made it through the winter.
I hope you ENJOY Eat the Trees! I know I enjoyed living the homestead memories of tree food!