Trailing Arbutus and More Dandelion

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Thursday, April 13, 1911: Carrie Stout was over this afternoon. We went to gather dandelions, and worked awhile, then went to hunt for trailing arbutus in the woods. We didn’t get any though for it was just beginning to come out. But we found some wintergreen and mountain pinks.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

It sounds like Grandma and her friend Carrie had a pleasant afternoon. I can remember often seeing trailing arbutus in the woods in the spring—but hadn’t realized that people apparently picked them years ago. The flowers seem so small.

Dandelion plants

This is the second time this week that Grandma mentioned gathering dandelions in the diary. I can remember relatives gathering dandelions when I was a child. Dandelions are best for eating  early in the spring before they bloom. The more mature the plants, the more bitter the taste.

There is a great Utube video by a 94-year-old woman named Clara about how to gather and clean dandelion. The video is awesome and very accurately shows how to gather and prepare dandelions for eating.

The dandelion video  is part of a series of videos called Great Depression Cooking with Clara. The video is about a time period somewhat after this diary—but I doubt if the way dandelions are collected and cleaned has changed very much over the years.

3 Responses

  1. [...] It sounds like a fun day for three sisters—Grandma, Ruth and their married sister Besse. The trailing arbutus must have just started blooming since Grandma had been unable to find any two days earlier. [...]

  2. [...] is the third time in less than 8 days that Grandma gathered dandelions (see the April 10 and 13 posts). In today’s world it is easy to get most any fresh fruit or vegetable we desire whenever [...]

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