Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things to Look For in June

I love this time of year...butterflies are dancing through the air, fireflies light up the night, and fruit is dripping from the trees. These are the things we wrote about last year in June, and I love them all over again this year (links are to last year's posts):

serviceberry, amelanchier, juneberry
Serviceberries by dbarronoss
Serviceberries: We first learned these native, edible fruits as "Juneberries," but we're starting to think they should maybe be called "Mayberries" around here. (Does something already have that name, or is it just a place in tv land?) They've been ripe for a couple of weeks already. They're scattered throughout the woods in the DC area, but you'll get the most fruit from trees that have been planted ornamentally...see our list of some of the best areas we've found, and try some yourself -- or add your favorite trees to the comments!

Tiger swallowtail
Tiger swallowtail in our backyard
Tiger swallowtails: In the fall, tiger swallowtail caterpillars form a chrysalis in which they'll spend the whole winter, waiting for the right time to emerge. And then, on some warm, sunny day in April or May, you'll see one fluttering by. And you'll know: winter's over. In June, you'll start to see more. To me, tiger swallowtails are one of the things that make summer summer in Washington, DC. If you spend enough time outside on a sunny day, you're bound to see one.

Firefly by James Jordan
Fireflies: J.M. Barrie wrote: "when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." I feel like you could say the same of fireflies. They've been out for a few weeks now, but they're really starting to be plentiful now. We sit and watch them almost every night in our backyard. What better way to celebrate the summer?

Mulberries by PRB
Mulberries: These berries are bane of some homeowners' existence as they drop and ferment on sidewalks and driveways throughout the metro area. And our clothesline (with white sheets!) was the victim of some badly-placed purple bird poop this year. Still, we choose to see mulberries as a glorious abundance of free fruit, rather than an annoyance.

By the way, if you've got a mulberry pie recipe that you love, please share...we are in charge of baking a crazy number of pies for a wedding this month, and we'd love to add some wildcrafted mulberry pie to the mix!

ramp flowers (allium tricoccum)
Ramp flowers by milesizz
Ramp flowers: Ramps are sought out earlier in the spring for their edible leaves and roots. But later in June, they send up flower stalks topped with a puffball of white flowers. If you can find a big patch, it's a very impressive sight. We've seen a lot at Scott's Run and Carderock...keep an eye out and let us know if you see some.

What else have you been seeing on the trails lately? Leave a comment and let us know!