After coming home wet and cold from my foraging excursion to the forest at Mauvernay on Sunday, I decided to do another forage … this time closer to home. I wanted to check out whether there would still be any chestnuts to be gathered in the woods of Sauvabelin … as well as look for other edibles. In particular, I was looking for some wild rose hips.
You could say that I was pretty determined to gather some rose hips this year … and as I had found none at Mauvernay, I was hoping that I might be luckier at Sauvabelin. The hubby was all for me going to Sauvabelin — not for the free food that I might be bringing back … but … because he would see it as a good form of exercise for me! ish, ish, ish … 😀
Anyway, seeing that there was a bit of unexpected sunshine on Wednesday … the day that I would have gone mushroom foraging if not for the rainy weather that was forecast for that day … I decided that I would take the opportunity to go for a walk to the woods at Sauvabelin to try and do some quick foraging.
Unfortunately, there were no more chestnuts to be gathered from the spot that I had found two weeks ago … nor from another spot which I found on that day.
I went all the way to the Tower of Sauvabelin (hidden by the trees in the picture) … which is a few hundreds metres away from the area where I had looked for mushrooms and found chestnuts instead, about two weeks earlier.
I was surprised and happy to find chestnut trees near this area … but unfortunately, there was not a single chestnut for picking! Haizzz … I wish I had known much earlier that there were chestnut trees near this area, too!
I was tempted to go up the wooden tower to have a look at the panoramic view … but in the end, I decided not to as it was getting a little late and as I wished to look around the area a bit more … as I was still hoping to find something. However, except for a few very tiny rose hips … I did not bring anything home. It was another disappointing day of foraging! 😦
Nonetheless, I picked a plant with small berries that had seemed a little familiar which I decided to identify against the few guidebooks that I have as well as from searches on the Internet. And true enough, the plant is supposed to be a pretty common plant in Europe and its leaves, flowers and berries are all edible and that it has a medicinal value. Nice! 🙂
The next day, I went back to the woods again … but only because the hubby’s friend had called to say that he was not able to make it for our appointment to go foraging for mushrooms at the forest at Mauvernay that afternoon. Naturally, I was a little disappointed that I did not get to go and look for my bolets … but … I was happy to be able to enjoy the beautifully sunny and reasonably warm day (as had been the forecast) foraging once again at Sauvabelin.
As it was a very sunny day on Thursday, the woods of Sauvabelin were beautifully lit up by the strong sunshine.
And with the ground literally covered with fallen dried leaves …the whole woods seemed to glow in the afternoon sun … such beauty!
Instead of turning right when I entered the woods as I had done on my first visit almost three weeks ago … or going straight in the direction of the tower as I did a day earlier … this time, I chose to turn left and crossed this wooden bridge and the shallow creek that was totally covered with fallen leaves.
Well, it made sense to go to those areas that I had not explored so that I could, hopefully, find something to forage, no?
I stopped for a while at this spot as I found it sooo pretty and golden. Really, when the day is warm and sunny, autumn is such a lovely time to be visiting the woods and forests. And it was truly a lovely day to be walking … and foraging … in the woods last Thursday. Too bad the hubby was working and so, could not join me in my forage.
I decided to follow this path … curious to find out where it would lead to … and what I could find along the way!
It led to this open area with a view of Lac Léman and a small path that went down. And right at the junction of this path … I saw what I was looking for …
… hawthorn berries … woo hoo ! 🙂
There were many hawthorn trees in the woods of Sauvabelin … some big and some small like the ones above … but most of them no longer had any berries (or haws as they are called) … or that the trees are still too young and small to have any berries. So I was quite happy to find this particular tree that still had a lot of berries for me to pick.
And just next to the fruiting hawthorn tree, I saw my wild rose hips! Double woo hoo! 😀
Unfortunately, the trees were on a slope and there was no way for me to try to get to the trees and berries … except to try and reach them from below. And with my dwarf size … you cannot imagine how difficult it was for me to try and get these berries … especially as both trees had sharp thorns!
After I had been trying for sometime … and I had only managed to get a handful of the haws and the rose hips, I decided to continue my walk to see if I could find other easier trees than these to get my berries.
I followed this route all the way to the end … stopping briefly to pick another type of berries that I happened to notice along the way …
… and it led me to the edge of the woods with another view of Lac Léman. I remembered coming to this area (parc de l’Hermitage) several years ago, on foot, from the previous flat that was located nearer to the town centre. It was when the hubby first introduced me to the Tower of Sauvabelin.
It was winter at that time, so there was some snow on the ground. But this time, there was only these beautiful autumn colours.
Then I spotted a wooden bench under this huge oak tree … and I decided that this would be the perfect spot for me to take my break while I would be enjoying the lake view.
But as I was making my way to the bench, I noticed lots of acorns on the ground … and they were clean and seemed fresh from those that I had seen elsewhere. So, instead of sitting down to enjoy my break, I ended up picking the acorns!
After picking more than a kilo worth of acorns and had my snacks and drink very quickly … I then made my way back to where I had come from.
And it was then … that I noticed that there were chestnut trees in this area, too! I tried looking for any chestnuts to pick … but again, there was none. Only the empty husks of the chestnuts remained. Shucks … it would seem that the chestnut season is well and truly over in this wood … and I had missed it by only a week or two, maybe! 😦
Anyway, I went back to the earlier spot … and tried once again to collect more haws and rose hips. I spent even longer time on this second attempt … and even lose a few drops of bloods from the deep scratch that I got from the thorns. But … this time, I managed to collect more of these red berries.
And then several minutes later while I was making my way out of the woods, I chanced upon some beech nuts. I started to pick one or two … initially, only to have a close look at them (after having read about the nuts), … but soon, I could not resist from picking more as I spot more of them among the leaf litter. Several fresh nuts dropped from the tree as I was collecting those that I saw on the ground. I wished that I could have collected more of them, … but soon, I could feel the start of fatigue starting to set in (since I had been in the woods for a few hours).
So after I had collected enough beech nuts to please me, I made my way out of the woods.
Despite feeling very tired at the end of my forage, I was quite pleased with the free goodies that I had managed to find in the woods … as well as I did not forget the beautiful golden colours that I had had the pleasure to see and enjoy.
And these were the little goodies that I had managed to gather on that day … a basketful of acorns,
… (from top left, clockwise) wild rose hips, some elderberries and a few blackberries, hawthorn berries (check out the sharp thorns) and beech nuts.
But the beautiful day was not yet over.
When I got home, I was just in time to catch this golden sunset over Lac Léman! Gorgeous was it not?
And when it started to become darker several minutes later.
It had been one of the nicest autumn days that I have had this year … and I enjoyed spending time and getting to know the plants in the woods of Sauvabelin immensely. Hopefully, I shall get to do more of it before the snow falls.
Related entries on foraging at Mont Sauvabelin:
- My forage jaunts : looking for mushrooms …
- Trying my luck at picking berries at Mont Sauvabelin…
- Always something new to discover at Mont Sauvabelin…
- Been berry picking again… at Mont Sauvabelin…
- Cherries and wild strawberries…at Mont Sauvabelin…
- Course de la Tour de Sauvabelin 2011… (on our blackberry picking trip, the hubby wore the cap he got after having completed this race – see the second picture from the top)