What I Love About Where I Live: Beautiful Days in the Neighbor-Woods

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Yes, we go for country drives, farm visits, fungi forays, game and country shows, and we visit nature reserves. Yes, we stop along the road and walk down a footpath to forage for berries and sloes. But sometimes, we just take our baskets and walk a couple of blocks from our house, into our neighbor-woods. There are a lot of small areas of woodlands in our city, and I love them.

Do you see the small bit of forest on the lower right photo above? We wandered in there on Saturday. 

It was pretty enchanted. And there were some edibles and decorative autumn foliage waiting there for us.

This kid cannot get over the thrill of picking berries. (OK, neither can I!)
Although there were more blackberries, what we ended up filling our baskets with was enough elderberries for making wine. Would you like to see that process?

In some places, you can hear traffic whizzing by, not too far away. But somehow that makes the walk deep into nature feel even more illicitly pleasurable.

It’s all just so peaceful and lush, and once again, I wonder if the locals know how wonderful it is, to be able to take a walk through such beautiful land as they make their way to or from town…

Sigh… Saturday, when we ventured out just around the corner, was one of those days that I wished would go on forever. There was so much to see and enjoy, all in our own neighbor-wood.

Do you have wild spaces near home?

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17 Responses to What I Love About Where I Live: Beautiful Days in the Neighbor-Woods

  1. Cadi October 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I felt the enchantment!

  2. Ale October 17, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Total magic! We have the dunes near us, also with trails and berries along the way 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins October 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Dunes sound really nice! I imagine there are some gorgeous views from there…

  3. Kristen October 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Yes, let’s see the wine process! 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins October 19, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Great! I started it yesterday, and once I move to the phase where it’s in a demijohn, I’ll have all the process pictures, and will show you/ tell you all about it!

  4. Hazel October 18, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Wine making is on my to-do list, so I’d love to see how you do it. I made more elderberry cordial with the berries I picked yesterday.

    Also, how is your blackberry ferment doing? I was intrigued about that.

    • Ariana Mullins October 19, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      Hi Hazel! My husband has been the one making country wines so far (beet and parsnip) so this was my first shot at it. I started it yesterday, and I think it will do well!

      The blackberry ferment is going well, too. At first, I thought that my natural starter I had made and used before was inert. It took a long time to get going, but now it is fizzy and yeasty, and I expect to bottle it as something like a cider by the end of next week. I posted a picture of it on my FB page, but I will also share some finished ones a little further down the line.

  5. Kristin October 18, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Oh that is just beautiful. And yes to the wine process!
    We do have beautiful hills behind us, although there isn’t much in the way of foraging… at least for us. A lot of older Korean women are up there gathering wild weeds. I prefer berries! 😉

    • Ariana Mullins October 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

      Kristin– no goji berries?! Actually, I don’t even know what they would look like. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could talk one of those ladies into letting you watch them cook what they’re gathering? I am super curious about native food traditions. My favorite was when we killed a cobra in our yard in the Philippines, and one of our helpers was all, “Oh, I can cook that! My mother loves cobra adobo and makes it often!” (We ate it.)

  6. Marisa October 20, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Sigh indeed! This looks like my idea of heaven. What a beautiful countryside you live in – how lucky you are. I would give a lot for the opportunity to live where you do. Or somewhere like it. I just jokingly told my aunt and uncle that my goal for the next 3 days in Germany before going home is to either find a spouse, or someone who can offer me a job! I’m only half joking. I so love this European lifestyle and all the lovely countryside and small town charm. And I LOVE that second picture of Jeff and Amelia – it looks like something out of a children’s storybook!

    • Ariana Mullins November 5, 2012 at 11:59 am #

      Marisa, I will not be surprised at all to hear someday that you’ve figured out how to make the big move over here! Luckily, though, there are probably some similar spaces in WA– maybe not quite a couple of blocks away from you, but definitely out there for you to find! 🙂 My sister lives on Whidbey Island, and told me that there are a lot of these kind of little woodsy escapes there…


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