Winter Morning Walks

For quite some time I've been taking my morning exercise walks before breakfast. I recently learned while listening to a doctor on an NPR program, that walking immediately after breakfast did more to lower blood sugar levels than walking before. So I've switched - eat first, then walk. It makes sense and also appears to help.
Molly and Cricket
On my morning walks I go up into our woods, following the trails I've created over the years. Our two dogs are always eager for the walk. Molly, our 13-year old Jack Russell, and Cricket, also a Jack Russell, just 6 months old, have their own routines. Molly runs ahead then stops to make sure I'm coming. Cricket wants me to throw sticks for her to chase. One morning when Molly ran ahead, sniffing the ground, I saw 2 coyotes watching her. I yelled and they ran, but they've been marking the territory every day, attempting to claim it for themselves. My job this winter will be to start clearing away lots of underbrush so the coyotes don't have as many places to hide. They're a danger to small dogs.
Cricket's pose, anticipating a stick being thrown for her to chase.
Cattails in the pond.
My walk takes me past our little pond with cattails. In early spring I gather the young shoots just as they come up through the water. Steamed, the shoots taste a lot like sweet corn. Later, when the pollen is easy to gather, I mix it half and half with flour to make cattail pollen biscuits - from a recipe from my late friend, Billy Joe Tatum.
The cattails are fluffing out, the seeds soon to blow away on the wind.
Both Native Americans and early pioneers relied on this cattail fluff to stuff mattresses and pillows. It's light as a feather, bulky and a good insulation.
After a rain the fluff mats down, looking like wet sheep wool.
Once we've walked to the end of the trail, Molly decides it's time to go back home and get warm. She has checked out her territory and led the expedition and now it's time to turn around. Cricket, of course, is ready for another stick to be thrown for her.
What are we waiting for, we've walked, now what?
There's always something to see on our morning walks. I'm not sure whether the dogs enjoy it more, or I do. There's always something new to see, sometimes a hawk, or an eagle flying overhead. Some mornings I can hear the loons in the lake cove. It's good medicine, these morning walks.
Wishing you an excellent year ahead!


Bonnie K said...

Thanks for taking me on a walk. I love to play with cattails. They are so cool. Thanks for sharing.

Allen Pearson said...

Thanks for posting this about walking your dogs. I've always walked my dog first then eaten breakfast. If it's healthier to reverse my practice-guess I need to change too. Enjoyed your info. on the use of plants.

Carla said...

Happy New Year Jim. Thank you for sharing all of your ideas and knowledge with us other bloggers.

Robbins said...

Love the imagery of this post. I love steamed cattail shoots - guess we need to get together for a feast of these! Eons ago when I was an Outward Bound student Euell Gibbons was our instructor - he invited 2 of us for a dinner of cattail shoots and arrow root tubers and a lot of other things - so good!