Since moving away from our beloved Timberlane Estates, we’ve been in dire need for nature. Especially with this winter we just had – harsher than I remember winter being – wet, muddy, colder sooner, and nowhere cozy to defrost. Temporary living arrangements have caused us to leave the comfort of having a nearly 1000 square foot library just down the hall from our beds. We also don’t have a fireplace here. It’s been a long time since I lived without a fireplace. But the change is good, it’s helped us redefine necessities, discover the beauty of new public libraries we hadn’t yet visited, save money for the land and dream home we want, and teach our daughter lessons she might have otherwise missed.
We’ve also discovered the Lake Houston Wilderness State Park. We went from 100+ acres of trails and exploration that we knew like the back of our hands to not having anything most of the winter, to Lo! And Behold! 4700+ acres of trails and wilderness closer than we could have ever imagined. Ask and ye shall receive. Take a ride down the highway and pay attention to those marvelous brown signs!
It costs $3 per adult to get in, kids under 13 and senior citizens are free. OR (and this is what we’ve done) it’s $25 for a year pass for an adult and three adult guests; basically, a family pass.
We’ve been back about every other day since we’ve discovered it. We walk, tromp, and read. We snack and picnic, we play in the creek, we stare at the trees. We read all the sign posts and discover new plants we’ve never heard of. We soak up vitamin D and work our muscles.
To the left you’ll see a Hercules’ Club. We were pretty excited about this discovery and did a mini-research project on it when we got home.
In all this much needed tromping and new library resources at my fingertips, I stumbled across a Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants by a fellow named Nyerges. It isn’t the best resource for Texans, only a few plants were ones I recognized, but if you hail from California then it’s right up your alley. Either way, if you’re in the foraging scene, this book is a great read. Nyerges personalizes a lot of his foraging facts with anecdotes of how he has confirmed or debunked various myths, legends, and general assumptions for certain plants. My favorite was a bit about the Native Americans and poison oak – eat the young, red leaves and you’ll be immune to the rash for the rest of the season/year. The science of immunizing oneself at its finest. Already this is how we tackle seasonal allergies when it comes to pollen, it would not have occurred to me that there is a practical pre-remedy for poison oak.