In my opinion one of the pleasures of living in the countryside is getting in touch with nature in many different ways.
I love having the possibility of meeting the little creatures that inhabit our world without us realizing. Today, driving along a white road by the farm, I saw a blackbird in the middle of the road carrying a huge worm and struggling to fly away when it saw my car. Hurrying to fly away it lost the worm and panicked, trying to decide between its prey and dear life. I slowed down allowing it to run back (blackbirds tend to run instead of flying), get the worm and run away. A few months ago I had the funniest meeting with a very cheeky dormouse who was as curios of understanding what kind of animal I was as I was of seeing how near was it going to come.
The other great pleasure is redescovering the countryside traditions, things that people did for centuries and that we, contemporary town people, lost completely. I still remember my first sausage and the day that I made cheese using fig leaves as rennet (it worked perfectly but the cheese was dreadful). This also includes foraging: flowers, leaves, berries, sprouts, buds… and of course experimenting old and new recipes to prepare dishes, liqueurs, syrups, jams, jellies, preserves, medicines and much more.
This year spring is early, so elder is blooming right now here in Northern Le Marche. The first instalment of this new series about foraging (and preparing yummy goodies), after this long introduction, will be two links to gorgeous recipes using elder flowers. Enjoy!