Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sumac Tea

I enjoyed a very pleasant walk in the woods south and west of Gainesville Florida the whole of this afternoon. The tract was former farmland. Trees along the wooded areas surrounding a cleared area exceeding 40 acres were predominantly very old live oaks, with scattered longleaf pines, post oaks, bluejack oak, turkey oak, occasional upland laurel and water oaks, Walter's viburnum, and American and yaupon hollies. There were gopher tortoise burrows, Opuntia cactus, 2 species of pawpaw, Agave, sparkleberry, and numerous wildflowers and grasses that indicated the land was once a sandhill community. It was very hard to go back to the office on this lovely Autumn day in Florida. The pressing thought was that this land needed to be burned to reset the clock to encourage those periodic fire-adapted species to reassert their presence in this area.

Before leaving, I picked a double-handfull of winged sumac infructescences: clusters of very small red drupes from which I will steep and make a strong sour "lemonade" this evening, flavored with fresh ginger and a stick or two of cinnamon, and a measure of honey or sugar.

On the balance, life is good. I try to make homemade music every day (guitar, piano, fiddle, banjo, pennywhistle), dance at least once a week, and walk through a local woodland two or three times a week. Life could be much much worse.

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