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Of beautiful buds and food triaging

Leslie Campbell


April 10, 2020 (Good Friday)

THE PERIOD FROM NOW THROUGH MAY 10 is a time I have never been on Quadra Island. It’s always been “production time” for FOCUS’s May/June print edition (and before our bi-monthly schedule, the May edition). We’ve always headed back to Victoria to produce it from there. This will also be the longest stretch I’ve ever spent here—perhaps two months or more by the time we return. I’ve been coming over the 26 years I’ve been married to David; he had been living here for 15 years before that.

Since everyone is working remotely and virtually anyway, it doesn’t really matter where we are, physically, in terms of working on the website.

So I am excited to be here through this peek springtime moment. There is so much new growth bursting into view. I regularly take photos of new, budding flora. The maple flowers, for instance. I think their unfolding is among the most splendid of wild things. A mini-miracle. Of course, huckleberries and salmon berries and nettles and new fir needles and emerging ferns are all fascinating as well. I love being able to see nature unfurling, up close and personal. I take way too many iphone photos, but it really helps me see and appreciate the intricacies of nature.



Sword fern fiddleheads


Speaking of nettles: I made curried nettle cauliflower soup earlier this week and am just finishing the last bowl for lunch. I love stinging nettles (Urtica dioica). They are full of vitamins, minerals and, supposedly, contain all the essential amino acids, meaning they are a decent source of protein for vegetarians like me. I read they also make a good liquid fertilizer for gardens as well. 

But they do sting: their fine hairs act like needles, injecting histamines and other chemicals into ones skin on contact—unless cooked or dried. I should harvest some soon, while still young, for drying so I can use them in teas through the winter. And maybe try to make some garden fertilizer tea, as well.

I am triaging the rest of our fresh food now, planning meals around what needs to be eaten quickly to avoid spoilage (hence the cauliflower in that soup). “Waste not, want not,” as my Scottish grandmother was fond of saying.

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