Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hunting Down All Things Wild and Seasonal in Iowa.

Cheryl has been taking running to a new level recently, by running twice a day instead of only in the mornings.    This helps me because I'm more of an evening person anyway, and I enjoy them far more than early, dewy  mornings.   There is always the risk of the heat being higher than normal,  but with the changing season, comes the cooler air and warm evenings with less humidity.  Basically,  it has become more fun to run as the sun sets.
Hickory nuts

The nuts without their husk
Bitternut hickory,  shagbark hickory
That being said,  Cheryl has been keeping her eyes out for "cool nature things" to experiment with in the shop.   Although we have been selling a few stockings,  there is still a bit of free time to play around with her creativity.   So, in addition to the acorns from the apple orchard,  Cheryl has been collecting  Hickory nuts.  They grow along the same path as many of the black walnut trees, and it took a little investigating to discover their true name...because I did not know first hand the name of this nut.   I actually thought they were hazelnuts.  I guess you learn new things every day!

Even among the Hickories, it looks like there may be variations.   I'm just guessing. I don't really know!  Maybe it is a different nut altogether!   It doesn't matter.   What matters is Cheryl is collecting them for some unknown purpose.  Most likely for a diabolical scheme to take over the planet.

The cooler evenings have brought  out the hunting skills of the cat as well.   Yesterday he brought me a live little bunny!   Isn't he adorable?   This is the second time Hiro has captured one alive for me to pet and put back in the neighbors hedge row.  I think he likes the rabbits of this size best.
Possibly because they are not as fast as the larger adults.  They are, however, more fragile.  And he has accidentally killed a couple in the past.  We'll have to work on his strength control in the future.

A cluster of Hops I gathered. 
Ready for harvest to anyone who wanted to pick them. 
And lastly,   HOPS!  Cheryl wanted to run down the section of path that we usually skip out on.  As a result,  I was able to gather a small cluster of Hops.  Looks like they are in peak harvesting ripeness with the brown tips and light green cones.  I put a cone in my mouth and chewed on it for a few moments to see if the taste had changed since the last time ( was it two weeks ago?).  It HAD!   The flavor started out VERY piney and tapered off to a citrus flavor.   After I spit it out,  the aftertaste was sour and HUGE!   Like a grapefruit mixed with lemon mixed with Pinesole.  Or... A very Hoppy beer!  It is too bad I don't home brew beer.  It seems like a pain and a mess.  But the thought of having my very own Hops gathered from the local biking trail does sound romantic.  I imagine wild hops are not very desireable for the local micro brewing houses around here.  They probably depend on a consistent delivery and easier gathering system.  Anyway,  just thought I would add another "Fruit of the Vine" to the list of possible adult beverage ingredient.

So that is all for now.  I'll leave out the really HUGE apples we saw today, because i did not feel like carrying back the larges sample back to be photographed.  ( It was probably over a pound!)   Chicago is coming up and Cheryl need to focus now.  Our last 20 miler is approaching,  and Cheryl will want to nail it.

OH!  And I almost forgot.... Cheryl registered for The Boston Marathon today.   It has been on her mind all morning and she wanted to make sure she has everything set up and ready.  With all this running news around,  it was no wonder she wanted to run again this evening.   Let's hope she can keep that fire lit for the duration.

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