Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nature: Let's Eat It!!

Today I am will forgo the usual food pics and share my latest adventure in the great outdoors.

I have followed a certain blog for quite a while that I just love. The blogger, going by the name of Merriwether, is an amazing man who does things that I would LOVE to do and eats things that are not listed in any Weight Watcher points book.

Merriwether knows a LOT of cool stuff. Chemistry, history, survival skills, plant knowledge, paddling...probably just about everything. Actually, I think he may know too much. This man knows how to kill you with your own landscaping. It's true.

Saturday I got to meet Merriwether in person! I was very excited. You see, I'm somewhat of a fan. I wanted to ask for an autograph but refrained. Maybe next time.

He generously offered a class on wild edible plants for our area. Eat nature? How cool is that?! Just so you Houston area folks know: he has reasonable rates and will do classes for small groups. Just contact him at his blog.

Here is Merriwether teaching about some wild plants that are edible. This is before we start our walk into the woods.

The paths through the woods were beautiful. It's different than any other trail I've been to in Houston. If you're interested in visiting it's at the Peckinpaugh/Old Riley Fuzzel Nature Preserve; 1209 Old Riley Fuzzel Road in Spring, TX.

The sand was recently deposited by some recent flooding we had in April.

Merriwether showed us edible plants along the way and explained the history of the area. Caddo Indians liked to hang out around here.

This is spiderwort and is very edible. I tasted it and it really was pretty good. It's difficult to eat things with "spider" in the name though.
Merriwether took us to a pond where alligators lurked and braved the edge to show us a water lily root. Also edible but incredibly ugly. I'd have to be pretty darn hungry to eat this. Fortunately I have plenty of fat reserves to keep me going in a crisis situation.
Dr. Livingstone, I presume? Nope, just our fearless adventurer braving the "jungle" to get his class some elderberry flowers. Edible. So are the berries.

A beautiful view of Spring Creek and the sand bars. I was wanting to go exploring so badly. Maybe another time.
One of these will kill you and the other is nature's caffeine. Which one is which? Hint, when you need some espresso in the woods, go for the one on your left, his right. It's ok. See how the leaves are chaotic? Chaos=caffeine. Remember and don't forget it. Oh, it's a yaupon holly.
Yaupon holly again. See those berries? They will turn red. Just a couple of the berries will make you vomit like that girl on the Exorcist. Be careful when eating nature. Sometimes she bites back.

Looks like something you might try to smoke but don't. It's a cassava plant. This is where you get tapioca from. It is also known as a yuca plant but please notice that this yuca is spelled with 1 "c". If it's the yucca with 2 "c" you are in trouble. Don't eat those.

These were brought from Africa and are wild in many areas now. Very cool "Dr. Seuss" looking plant as Merriwether pointed out.

I learned that much of the landscaping around me is edible. I also learned that there are plants out there that will literally make your heart explode. Also learned that Merriwether knows very cool stuff!! He knows where to camp on a sandbar that was inhabited by native Americans and later by the Spanish army. And I learned that for every edible plant there seems to be a mimic plant that is very dangerous.

Can you tell that I had a blast? LOL

Food Log:

Breakfast: burrito with eggs, cheese, hash browns and bacon (5 pts; 306 calories)

Lunch: Subway 6" steak and cheese on wheat and baked chips (12 pts; 530 calories estimated) We had to eat at a gas station Subway and it had filthy magazines just right there. It's hard to eat when boobs are staring at you. Nasty. I used copious amounts of handgel when I got in the car.

Dinner: grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, fries and cantaloupe (6 pts; 340 calories)

Snack: sugar free popsicle (o pts; 30 calories) and a vitabrownie (1 pt; 100 calories)

Points: 26/24

Activity: walking around in heat and sand for a couple of hours during class; run/walk for 36 minutes +6 activity pts

Calories burned: 2637

Calories consumed: 1306

Calorie deficit: 1331


  1. Cool post! That sounds like a blast.

  2. When I grow up, I want to know what Merriwether knows.
    It'll take some time, but I'll get there.

    Had a good time yesterday.

    Reality has slapped me in the face, and I must now clean my closet. :|

  3. Wow! What a fabulous adventure! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

    I will have to remember this stuff in case I ever decide to hike through TX. hehe

  4. I don't like to eat things with "wort" in the name either.

    Very interesting post.

  5. Wow, how cool! That sounds like such a fun class, and so interesting. It's amazing how much knowledge he has. I wish I could be like that!

  6. I have to find a class like that around here one day! Well, come to think of it, I should read the book on my shelf called "Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants". It might give me a hint or two. :-) but there is nothing like seeing the plant with yoru own eyes...very cool way to spend the day!

  7. nice post and pics.

  8. Sounds like an awesome adventure!

    I wouldn't have been able to use the hand sanitizer though I would have wanted to. I have eczema on my poor little hands.

  9. Dang, I knew I should have gone for the hug!


  10. Sounds like a very educational hike in the woods! cool! and thanks for sharing! :)

  11. Wow, how educational! Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself!

  12. How fun! That place looks great, too. I'll have to check it out.

  13. What a cool adventure to go on. Ya'll do the most interesting looking things :) I cant wait to have kiddies of my own so that we can take them to do all sorts of crazy camping and outdoorsy adventures! Firemans kids wont go or do anything that makes them too hot or if they arent close to tv/video games, which is entirely sad. They arent mine, so I dont really have much say :(


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