So, how does a forager think about Christmas trees? Well, I love the tradition, and I love the scent. I love the act of decorating it with the kids.
What I don't love is dying trees with falling needles. The thought alone makes my heart sink.
Here's how we do it: we have an outdoors Christmas tree. One that we decorate for the wild animals in the yard. We make them a home made meal to feast upon, with foraged ingredients. As a forager I do consider the wildlife around me as friends and family as well, and aren't those extra special at this time of the year? Isn't this holiday about giving? So, my kids and I are making a forager's Yule tree.
- Make wild berry mini-pies for the birds: on a low fire, melt some (used is fine) coconut oil and add a generous amount of dried berries. Attach a string to the batch and let harden. We used rose hips, sea buckthorn, raspberries, elder berries and hawthorn. Other variations you can use are woodland strawberries, gooseberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants, ligonberry/cowberry, mulberries, rowan berries, sloe.Feel free to add some pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
- Make strings of rosehips and foraged nuts: walnuts, beech nuts, hazelnuts.
- Make a bird lollypop: mix some nut butter with wild seeds: lamb's quarters/ fat hen, wild oats, stinging nettle, plantain, or any other wild edible seed. Take a dried apple ring, attach a string and smear the nut butter/wild seed mix on the apple. Instead of an apple, you can also use pine cones.
Then we go out, either in the yard or in a park, and find ourselves a tree. Your personal preferences may differ, but to us, it doesn't really matter whether it's a spruce or a pine or a cedar or any other evergreen. All of these trees have the advantage that it's quite hard for cats to climb on the branches, so we attach our treats to the branches, where it's safe.
Your local wildlife will be grateful for the gift, and you'll have an exciting time watching them eat. 100% natural, 100% fun.