Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gone Picking!

Springtime is a great time of year to be outside: the sun is shining, leaves are returning to the trees, plants are growing and flowers are blooming, and all kinds of creatures are out and about. In the month of May, some very special plants are growing in our valley. A few weeks ago, Brenda and Irene took our Division 2 class out to the Botany Valley to pick sTweta and Tatoon: wild spinach and wild potatoes. What an adventure we had! 

 As we soon discovered, picking Tatoon is harder than it looks. We came with spoons and sticks and even some crow-bars to dig up our Tatoon. The first thing you need to do when picking Tatoon is look for patches of white flowers. We were lucky, because the field we found was just covered in blooms! It was like an ocean of tiny petals.

Check out this video of a Division 2 student digging for Tatoon. She is using a spoon to try and wedge the roots of the Tatoon plant up and out of the soil. 

Here's the potato she ended up uncovering from the Tatoon plant she dug up! 

Even though the digging was tough, we had a lot of success. The Tatoon we found varied in size from potatoes as tiny as peas to ones as giant as baseballs. When we cooked these up later, back at school, we discovered that they tasted a lot like the potatoes you can buy at the grocery store. We boiled them and then fried them in margarine to make them crispy on the outside! Mmmmm!

A crowbar makes a great digging tool.
Teamwork makes the job easier!

We also found an excellent spot for picking sTweta. sTweta is easy to spot because it has bright yellow flowers and very distinctive leaves. The leaves are long and rounded - they look a little bit like fingers! sTweta also has a really delicate sweet smell, so it's easy to tell if you're picking the right plant! It tastes great freshly picked, especially the white root tips, but it also tastes yummy when it's steamed with a little melted butter on top. We tried it both ways, and it was delicious! 

The sTweta grows on hillsides.
This student picked a whole bag full!
We were very fortunate to have an elder join us on our picking trip. Ellen showed us how to dig up Tatoon and how to spot sTweta. She shared some stories with us about picking when she was growing up. Thank-you, Ellen, for teaching us about picking! 

Ellen holds up a sTweta plant. You can see its white roots and long green leaves.
Thanks also to Irene and Brenda, who organized our trip! 

Leave us a comment:

How many Tatoon did you dig up?

What is your favourite traditional food?

What other things do you like to pick in the springtime? 


  1. To Lennaiya,

    That was a cool vidio you made. Did you find a tatoon?

    From your friend Trinity

  2. Dear div2

    I like the tatoon with the brown suger and I liked the stweta. I picked no stweta and I think I picked 8 tatoon.

    From Preston

  3. I like your video,Lennyia.

  4. Dear Miss.OC

    Was it fun to pick potatos and stweta?

    Because it was fun for me.

    From Fuzzy.

    1. Dear Fuzzy,

      I really enjoyed picking! I did not get to go picking sTweta with the Division 1 and 2 students last year, so I was very happy to get the chance to try it this year. I love the taste of sTweta, especially when I can eat it with rice and a little bit of butter.

      I liked digging for Tatoon, too. It was much harder than I thought it would be to find the potatoes. I learned that a good strategy for finding a really big Tatoon is to look at the stems of the plant. If you can find a spot where lots of stems are growing out of one place, then there is probably a really big root underneath them! This strategy helped me find a few really big potatoes.

      My favourite part, though, was talking to Keira's grandmother, Ellen. I got to sit and chat with her on the steep sTweta hill, and she showed me how to find the sweetest sTweta. She also showed me how to eat her favourite part of the sTweta, the white root tips. They were sweet and juicy. Ellen told me that she really likes to go picking with young people like all of you.

      Your mom came on our trip, didn't she, Fuzzy? Did your mom show you any strategies for finding Tatoon or picking sTweta?

      Your teacher,

      Miss. OC

  5. Miss. OC,
    What a cool name. My name is Bella. Do you like to blog? I do. I like how you put pictures on your posts. I was scaning some blogs and happen to get on yours. How long have you had blog? This is my first time I ever had a blog. My teachers like my class and me. I think that you are a great teacher. I think that your students adore you. I have a question for you. Where are these pictures from? Could you tell me? I think that it is cal-wood. My class went there last summer. Are you related to a boy named Curt O'Connor? I know him in Cherrylin. Could you respond to me as soon as you get this. Thanks.


    1. Hi Bella!

      Thank-you for all your lovely compliments. I love blogging, too. All of these pictures came from our picking trip in 2012. My grade 2/3 students and I went picking at Botany Valley, which is located in the interior of British Columbia. This picking spot is high up the valley, between the Fraser and Thompson rivers.

      I looked up Calwood online, and I see that it is on Vancouver Island. I have visited Vancouver Island before and it is very beautiful! You are lucky to be living in such a lovely place. :)

      To answer your question about Curt, no, I am not related to him. In fact, I've never met anyone named Curt before! There are a lot of O'Connor's out there, it seems. It is a very popular name in Canada.

      Thank-you so much for your comment, Bella! Have fun blogging with your class this year!


      Miss. OC


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