This spring I gathered quite a few gallons of alder catkins this spring and experimented around with them. During the early spring when nothing else is out to eat I used to grab a few to chew on here and there, but never tried to save any for year round. They probably have allot of nutrients like anything full of pollen, but I can’t imagine they have much energy in them, so they’re best as a spice.
I tried just gathering them and saving them, but it turns out there’s allot more moisture in them than it seems, so I had to roast them in a pan over he woodstove and they released allot of steam. After that I picked out al the burnt pieces and could rub them between my palms to get all the ‘kernals’ off, and they’re allot more palatable that way.
When picking them make sure to take the earliest ones you can get, the most yellow. They have the most pollen. Avoid the ones that are fully or partially closed, there’s a little insect that burrows in them (I have yet to see what the insect is, just the holes it makes). These unopened catkins seem to cause allot of the mold and burn easier and don’t have any pollen in them anyways.
Here’s what I ended up with:
I’ve been adding a handful to soups and such. I imagine it something like adding bee pollen. I’m definitely going to be doing this each year from now on.
Out gathering a few weeks ago when I saw a mouse moving her babies from one nest to another. Something must have discovered her old nest, probably one of my dogs. Well, I accidentally scared her and she dropped her baby and ran off, so I picked him up and took a picture. He looked a bit old to be being carried around by his mother still, but all he wanted to do was curl up in the folds of my shirt so I guess he was the right age. I put him back down and his mother came back not too long later to bring him back to their new nest.
Speaking of baby animals, I released that little leveret from a while back. She was getting really friendly, jumping up on top of me demanding that I pet her between the ears and such, but it wasn’t very practical trying to manage both her and the dogs in the little cabin all at once.
I tried making a little moose bone folding knife. The knife itself didn’t come out too bad, but it will not hold an edge for anything. Can’t carve wood with it, and can barely cut leather. I wonder if there’s a way to strengthen it, some sort of chemical I could treat it with. As of now it’s only good as a strigil.