Kalispell: Where the Wild Things are
Some who just read those words probably got an immediate mental image of those wacky looking creatures in Maurice Sendak’s children’s book of the same name. Nope, I’m not talking about those wild things. And others might be thinking of the deer who are always outside my window (like the ones in this photo that I saw right before I sat down to write). Or perhaps about the mountain lion that has visited our property, or the snake I just nearly stepped on in the meadow, or whatever it was that left turkey feathers and bones across the ground. Nope, not that either. I’m talking about the wild plants. Yes, that’s right, plants.
Yesterday when out for an afternoon walk, I was drawn to some strange looking mushrooms on the side of the road. I tapped them and they seemed nice and firm and healthy. So I snapped a picture and shared it on a Montana group page to see if anyone could help me identify them.
With the exception of one person who said they were sorrel mushrooms (and then came back later to say he knew what they were but he was drunk so it came out wrong), I was told they were morel mushrooms, which are apparently very tasty. I was also given instructions on how to check to make sure they were the real deal, and not the poisonous imposters. So today I cut them, brought them home, did the further research and found out they were really morel mushrooms. Guess what my side dish will be tonight! Morels cooked in butter with a teensy bit of cream. Yum. So that’s the first wild thing I found yesterday, and wow, I’m so excited. I hated mushrooms growing up, probably because I thought they were those mushy things in cans, but now I love them. I’ve never tried these and can’t wait.
So the second wild thing I saw yesterday also made me pause and say, “What the heck is that?” Well in this case I’m not going to eat it so I wasn’t quite as concerned with the accuracy of the information I obtained. I am just relying on the good old Internet. The item I found growing in the wild is apparently something called Horsetail. It’s a seedless plant reproduced by spores. The above ground piece of the plant has medicinal uses such as for fluid retention, kidney and bladder stones, incontinence and urinary tract infections. These plants date back to Paleozoic times (whattttt?), can grow in wet soil or even standing water, and are drought-tolerant. Since I found them right near the creek, and since we live in a relatively dry place, that makes sense to me.
So in one day I found two wild things growing on our property. I’m excited to see what I’ll find next. One thing I know for sure – I’ll continue hunting for new things on a daily basis. Maybe an ice cream or cheese tree is next?
If you would like information about the wild and not so wild things that go on in Kalispell, you can reach me on 406-270-3667 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy your own wild things!