Foraging

Not Quite Another Year.

Well, as the title says, it’s not quite been another year since I last posted here on this blog.

I haven’t done any foraging whatsoever since I moved last fall. Zero, zip, nadda. I moved from the verdant forest which was my backyard, to the armpit of Hell.
Foraging opportunities have been nonexistent.

But all is not lost!

Over the next year plans are to move North, into a much more temperate environment. Think pine forest and mountains. There shall be foraging opportunities a plenty there, as well as a much more pleasant environment in general.

Then, maybe I can get back to doing some foraging articles and write ups. It’s kind of hard to write about foraging when one is not foraging. Also, the dead Latin names for a lot of lesser utilized plants are starting to fall out of my head. If I don’t start foraging again soon, I won’t know my Asclepias from my Ascot.

Categories: Foraging, Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Leave a comment

Wild Muther****in’ Cookery, B****es!

Why hello there foragers, friends, and fiends!

‘Tis been an awful long time since I posted anything in this blog. Not been doing much foraging with 3 feet of snow on the ground.

It’s been the most god-awful winter I can remember in almost 40 years. Brutal, horrible, and nigh-neverending.

I absolutely cannot wait for it to be over and for the Spring thaw to finally take effect. Though I’m not looking forward to the flooding, that’s for sure.

Let’s take a look at my garden…

Winter2

Hmm… yea, that sucks.

Winter1

So does that. Ok, no green stuff for me any time soon.

But… today is the 1st of March. This goram winter can’t last forever!

And when Jack Frost finally stumbles and the first shoots of spring pop up, I will be there to collect and nom them!

Wintercress and Wild Garlic will be amongst the first to pop up. Along with Dandelions and Garlic Mustard.

Just thinking about it makes my stomach growl. I’ve been resigned to a diet of ‘people’ food this winter, and let me tell you, there’s nothing worse for someone who’s used to eating wild. I’ve gained weight and feel like crap.

Time for a Spring diet of real food soon, methinks.

I hope all of ye are having a pleasant end of winter, and I certainly hope none of ye have to deal with more snow that I do.

All the best!

~Janos

Categories: Education, Foraging | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worms? OK! Dandelions? Baaaaaaad.

I haven’t posted on this blog for a while.

Haven’t had anything foraging-related to talk about lately. Until now.
About two years ago now, I was teaching my oldest two kids how to identify wild edible plants. They were 7 and 8 at the time. Perfectly old enough to begin learning how to identify simple and easy wild edibles. (I learned from birth, thanks to my dear old departed Dad.)

When their mother (who I parted ways with many years ago now), found out that I was teaching the kids how to identify and eat ‘weeds’ as she called them, she about went ballistic. I mean full metal jacket, in my shit, nasty too. Not just casual disagreement.

“That’s disgusting. That’s what POOR people eat. I don’t want to be embarrassed by having our kids pick nasty WEEDS in a park or something. And what if a dog peed on them?” On and on and on.

After that kind of reaction, I didn’t dare to teach the kids about edible insects. In fact she actually threatened to turn me in for ‘child abuse’ if she ever found out that I was teaching the kids about edible insects. Yes, she was serious, and yes she absolutely would have done so.
So, on top of all of that, she ‘forbade’ me from teaching my kids how to identify wild plants when they came over to visit. She also ratcheted down on the kids and told them that they would get severe corporal punishment if she ever caught them eating a ‘weed’.

This totally shattered my oldest daughter, who was doing very well at learning how to identify wild plants, and who’s favorites so far were plantain and dandelion, which she could identify accurately 100% of the time.

And now, on their mother’s Facebook, I read that her and her husband had my kids eating WORMS.

Uh…. excuse me?

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining so much about worms, or any other edible insects. But that’s not what this was about. It wasn’t being taught in the context of survival skills or learning.

What I’m talking about here is the utter hypocrisy of this whole thing.

It was a prank where the adults had fun at the expense of the kids by the juvenille practice of betting them money (which most kids love) that they will or won’t do a certain behavior.

Not for learning, not for an increase in knowledge, but for a fun ‘prank’ on the part of adults who are acting like 5th graders. This is the equivalent of betting a college kid they won’t swallow the goldfish.

This is the truly disturbing world that this woman lives in. Learning how to identify dandelions, dock, plantains, thistles, sorrel, etc, is ‘horrible’ because it’s teaching the kids to eat ‘weeds’ and ‘poor people food’, and they need to stop doing so immediately under threat of physical violence from their mother. But it’s somehow OK for their mother’s husband to bet them $10 they won’t eat a worm and then for their mother to find it perfectly acceptable and hilarious when they do. Then my son, who always has to outdo his sister, proved he was more ‘macho’ by eating FOUR worms instead of one, all at once.

I think the words of my wife sum it up best: “That hypocritical CUNT! Having the kids eat worms on a bet when she threatened to turn YOU in for ‘child abuse’ if you simply taught them about edible insects for basic survival skills!”

Yep, that pretty much sums it up. And that’s the kind of bullshit I have to deal with daily.

And that’s what the fuck is wrong with this country. One set of ‘rules’ for one set of people, and one set of rules for another set of people. When one person does an action, it’s wrong. When another person does the exact same action, it’s perfectly OK.

If *I* had done this and posted video on Youtube, Facebook or whatever, it would have been the horror of horrors and I’d have people crawling all up my ass over it, and saying what a horrible Father I was. Even if I’d done it purely in a survival/learning context and not as some childish sophomoric ‘bet’ like they did.

I’m really getting awfully sick of double standards.

P.S. The kids’ mother also nominated her husband for ‘Father of the Year’, apparently.
All I have to say on that one, is if this is how the ‘Father of the Year’ behaves, thank God I’m not.

Categories: Animals, Foraging, Nature | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Farewell to the Green Deane forum

Posted here, in case the original is deleted over at GDF, my friends can still see why I left.

*****

I’m going to just cut through the mustard and lay it all out.

This has been coming for a while now, but this topic brought it to a head.

Let’s talk about another one of my pet hates: hypocrites.

We have ’em in spades.

In the past few months, I have seen a few people, and one member in particular, treated like vile filth by the majority of the rest of the board, and even at times by Deane.

They’ve been openly mocked, ridiculed, derided, and essentially told that their content ‘doesn’t belong here’ or is somehow inferior.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

Often calls are made to ‘get rid of’ these members. If it doesn’t fit a certain narrow window, then their contributions are mocked and they are somehow not worthy of being a member here.

But let’s just call it what it is. Bullying.

This is not the ‘tough love’ that I’ve been trying to explain to some of you who have been thick as bricks on the subject. Tough love is done because you care and don’t want to see the individual come to harm. Bullying is done because deriding an individual or their contributions somehow makes YOU feel better.

But wait, you may say, no one’s been directly bullied here. We’re such sweet angels. We rarely, if ever, say anything nasty to anyone.

It’s still bullying, no matter how you dress it up. In all honesty, it’s exponentially worse than a direct insult. A direct insult you can actually face and deal with. The subtle, sly, intellectual kind of bullying can really eat at an individual. Until their self-worth is depleted enough that they either slink off and don’t come back, or they just read and not post because they’re afraid of being jumped on when they do.

And no, you aren’t outright calling anyone an idiot. You’re going a few steps worse. You’re TREATING them like an idiot, in front of the ‘whole class’. It’s self-righteous and subtle, which makes it even more dangerous.

So all this BS talk about being ‘sensitive’? Riiggghht. BS troll is still BSing… Because you’re still treating someone poorly and claiming to be angels.

And all the while you can claim that you’ve not been doing anything wrong. Tee-hee. Oh, so clever you. And as long as no one has anything direct or concrete to call you out on, you’re walking the high road, right?

The whole thing sickens me.

Yes, I’m also talking about how some of you and even our host (Yes, YOU, Deane) have treated our pal Swampy here. Some of you have been at odds with him since that one thread months back, and so everything he posts is read by you negatively before you even read the content.

And some people whom I’ve formerly considered friends here have been outright vile to me just because I’ve stuck up for the guy and not let them run roughshod over him. So be it.
I can no longer continue to ignore these things which ultimately go against my core values.

So, it’s time to say adieu.

It’s been mostly fun, but has certainly been a wild ride. (Pun intended.)

Deane: Thank you for all the videos you’ve authored and all the people you have helped by publishing them. I’ve learned a lot from you, and filled in some blanks in my foraging knowledge.

To the rest of the ACTIVE foraging forum: I’ve learned more from YOU collectively, than I did from one man or his videos, no matter how awesome they may be. YOU are the true treasure here. I think he perhaps forgets that from time to time, and acts accordingly.

Mike: Please put my account in read-only mode. If that’s not possible, then you may outright delete me. I’m done posting here. But be aware that if you do, every post I ever made will quite likely vanish depending on the forum settings. And that’ll be a lot of forum content gone forever.

Heather & Deane: Don’t even try this. Leave it to the professional IT guy. You can permanently and irrevocably obliterate a large part of the forum if you click the wrong thing when doing this on a member account that’s been here so long and who has thousands of posts into the forum.

To everyone: As always, I may be reached at wildcookery@yahoo.com

There is much more that could be said, but I’d rather leave on a somewhat pleasant note.

Farewell friends. May you tread wild paths seldom trod, and pick only the tastiest morsels.

All the best,

~Janos

Categories: Foraging, Green, Nature, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When is Trespassing Acceptable?

As a forager, I run into this concept and question quite often.

When is it acceptable to trespass onย  someone’s private property in search of wild edible plants?

The answer, of course, is NEVER.

If it’s within arm’s reach of the road and you don’t actually have to walk ONTO the property, or if it’s fruit that is, say, hanging OVER a fence, and onto a public sidewalk, then that is different.

You may not however, EVER trespass on someone’s land without their permission, for any reason.

If they have signs up to the equivalent of ‘No Trespassing’, then even walking up to the door to ask permission is unacceptable, because they’ve made it known that your presence is not wanted, for any reason. If you really want to forage there, get the address off of their mailbox, and send them a handwritten letter asking kindly for permission. This will likely get you a positive response.

But apparently this rule doesn’t seem to apply to certain special classes of people doing other things.

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

There’s nothing in the world I hate more than being woken up by a loud and incessant knock on the door. Well, maybe a few other things I hate more. But not many. Like idiots who call me and show up as ‘Unknown caller’ on caller ID, never leave a message, and then call 50 times a day. And when you answer it, it’s an automated collection call for some jackass who had the phone number before you did, and there’s no way in the world to get the service to stop calling you, because you never get a real human on the other end.

But I digress…

So there I was, having the best sleep since… oh… months at least, as I haven’t been getting much rest lately with all the work and research that I’ve been doing in the evenings, since it’s typically the only quiet time I get during the day, and I’m jolted stark awake by some SOB banging on the front storm door so hard I thought it was about to come off it’s hinges.

So in the milliseconds after being so unceremoniously jolted awake, my mind goes through the inventory of who it could possibly be knocking on my door, on a Monday, in the early AM.

It has to be no one we know. Everyone we know, knows that the front door is closed for the winter, and to come to the side door. So it can’t be friends, or neighbors. That means it’s a stranger.

Well, thinks I, I’m expecting a book that I ordered, so it’s probably one of the delivery services with the box. Likely Fed Ex. UPS just leaves it without ever knocking and the mailman just puts it in the mailbox. I have a huge mailbox just for this purpose. Book orders and anything smaller than a German Shepard, fit in my mailbox just fine. But even the UPS and mailman guys have figured out to use the side door for deliveries.

So, having come to this conclusion that it was most likely just the book I ordered the other day, I closed my eyes again.

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

(Pause…)

*BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!* *BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG!*

OMG, are you effin’ kidding me?

Someone’s house better be burning down for someone to be knocking on my door like this and not giving up.

Right about now, I’m pretty livid. The wife is not amused at being woken up either.

So, I crawl out of bed, throw some clothes on, and make my way out to the front door.

It only took about 45 seconds to go from my bed to the door, and they were gone.

There were, however fresh tire tracks in my driveway.

So… snow tracker time. I put on my coat and boots and went outside.

One vehicle, coming from the east, and traveling westward. Pulled into my driveway, only about halfway, and then stopped. Odd.
Two people exited the vehicle. The driver immediately walked over to my neighbor’s house, then walked back to the driver’s side of the vehicle. The passenger immediately walked from the vehicle to MY front door, knocked like it was going out of style. Twice, then immediately walked back to the vehicle.

My first thought at this point was someone selling something.

So I followed the tracks up to my front door. No package or anything else out of order, and nothing attached to the outside handle.
So then I opened the storm door, and on the INSIDE latch, there was a fresh rolled up copy of some Jehovah’s Witness literature. Yep. Someone selling something.

Why would these people be out early on a Monday? No one’s typically home.

Then my brain kicked in. It’s MLK Jr. Day. This explains why these idiots are out in the freezing cold on a MONDAY morning. They’re trying to get all the people who have the day off. And who obviously would be *thrilled* being woken up early on their day off to hear their JW spiel.
This isn’t ‘religious freedom’. It’s outright harassment. It’s also trespassing. Apparently that big sign I have in the window that says ‘No Solicitation’ will need to be altered. They either can’t read, don’t know what the word ‘solicitation’ means, or think it doesn’t apply to them, and their particular brand of unwanted harassment is somehow ‘protected’.

No, it isn’t.

But let me ask this. If Muslims, or any other religion other than a Christian, showed up on people’s front door, and left pamphlets with, say… Quran verses in them on people’s doorknobs, would people tolerate this crap for a minute?

Or would they crap gold kittens, and say they were being harassed, and demand to be left alone? Heck, they’d probably even try to author legislation that made it illegal to be ‘harassed’ by those groups.

But on a whole, we largely tolerate this crap even though we don’t like it. Why? Oh, because as my Catholic father once told me, they’re ‘Christians too’, and they’re just ‘spreading the word of the Lord, even if they are a bit annoying.’

People don’t dislike JWs (and Mormons) because of their beliefs. They dislike them because of their actions.

Because they show up at your doorstep, and try to shove their beliefs down your throat in your own home.

How this has ever been acceptable is beyond me. I find it intrusive and insulting.

You want me to read something unsolicited? Mail it to me. It’s got to be cheaper than going house to house. Especially with the price of gas.

If anyone wondered for even a moment why the general public’s tolerance of people who proclaim themselves to be ‘Christians’ is at an all time low, all you have to do is look at these groups who are actively working hard to give all Christians a bad name.

Categories: Foraging, Nature, Religiosity | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toss a Forager a Dandelion

Well, not really, I’ve got plenty of those.

What I do need though is the opinions of my fellow foragers. Those of you who actually go out and get neck deep in weeds. Why?

Wild Cookery, as of a few days ago, now has an Amazon storefront. The site gets a tiny percentage (4% default) of everything that goes through there, as long as the WC store link is clicked through first. This is at zero cost to the customer. If someone buys something from Amazon directly, that small percentage just goes into Amazon’s pockets. If bought through someone’s link, it will ultimately help with bandwidth, hosting, and other costs, etc.

I want foragers to be able to have a ‘one stop shop’ for things they need, as that can be a real bear, especially for starting foragers.
What I’m looking for is recommended and quality books and ID materials that are still available (and thus will be so on Amazon), that I may have not read yet, but are community recommended.

Also your favorite processing tools, foraging tools, anything that ties in with foraging in some way to make people’s foraging lives easier and more enjoyable.

This will enable me to revamp Wild Cookery and make it infinitely more useful to real salt of the earth foragers, and be able to provide higher quality offerings. It’ll also, eventually, allow for some form of paid hosting to eliminate all those goram adspam that tend to plague my articles and give Wild Cookery a much more ‘professional’ look.

Let me know what kind of stuff that you as real forager’s would like so see in there.

Just look in the top right side of the menu bar, click the ‘Wild Cookery Store’ button, then click the ‘Wild Cookery’s Amazon Store’ link on that page. It’ll take you directly to the storefront and you’ll be able to peruse categories on the right hand side.

Also, ideas for what categories you think are helpful or would like to see, would also be appreciated.

As always, I can be reached at: Wildcookery@yahoo.com

Thanks folks!

~Janos

Categories: Foraging, Nature, Preparedness, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Surviving the Wilderness โ€“ A Review and Critique, Part II

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 11 – Exploring

Gerard talks about moving camp and he spends his last night (Day 3) at his old campsite. Again, he talks about how hungry and weak he is. The whole time he’s surrounded by edible plants that he just walks by as his stomach growls.

This is why I’ve always tried to help people learn about edible plants. There’s no reason to go hungry with food all around you.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 12 – Rain

The first mistake he made was not taking an ember encrusted log with him from his previous fire. Especially if it was raining. One thing primitive man learned early on… ALWAYS take your fire with you, especially if you aren’t very good at re-creating said fire.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 13 – Breakfast

Hey, he got a chipmunk with a rock and then stabbed it with his fishing spear. Good going Gerard! I bet that little vermin was the best meal he’s ever had after what he’s been through.

At about 2:50 in, watching him try to skin and clean the chipmunk is interesting. Especially since he says he’s never cleaned an animal before. (And, is thus, starting at the wrong end.) Most small game can be skinned the same way, and quartered if necessary on larger things such as rabbits. I’ve never eaten and skinned a chipmunk, but it’s likely no different than a mini-squirrel without the big fluffy tail, cleaning-wise.

It’s kind of funny. Day 1, he said he wasn’t hungry enough to eat a frog. Day two, the frog was delicious. Day 4, that chipmunk was probably equivalent to Fillet Mignon.

It’s amazing how much better things taste when you think you’re starving. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 14 – Seafood Lunch

Not a bad job catching a few crayfish. Though I have no idea why he didn’t eat the claws. Also the ‘innards’ that he was all like ‘eww’ about, could have been cooked in the can to make a broth, which would have been very sustaining.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 15 – Nighttime Rant

A recap of the day’s events

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 16 – Gone Fishin’

From his ‘feeling lazy’ last night and not making the fire larger, it went out from the rain. And… he lost his firestarter. Double ‘doh’.
Then he lost his fishhook, and is pretty much tossing in the towel.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 17 – Packing Up

He found an earthworm to eat. He said that it “Tastes like dirt with a little tang to it.” HA! He’s right. They do taste like dirt. They eat dirt. Imagine that. If you ‘purge’ them first before eating them, they’ll taste less like dirt. But they still suck. ๐Ÿ˜›

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 18 – Hiking

He sees a deer and says “Hmm, now how can I kill that.” At least he’s thinking right! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 19 – End of Day

Gerard is talking about walking Southwest and thinking that he just might be lost.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 20 – The Finale

He hears a dog barking and finds a house. Gerard is entirely lucky to have found this house. He’s also lucky that no one shot him on sight. ๐Ÿ˜›
So he goes home after 8 days, utterly defeated.

I would have hoped that he would have learned something, and would have used that as an impetus to shore up his shortcomings in his outdoor knowledge. So that if he was ever put in that kind of situation again (against his will, that is.) that he’d be infinitely better prepared.

As it is, it sounds like he’s scarred for life and probably won’t even go camping ever again. And that’s just a sad thing.

Again, thanks to Gerard for sharing his adventures and Bucky for posting them.

If you missed the first part, you may read it here:

Surviving the Wilderness โ€“ A Review and Critique, Part I

Categories: Animals, Foraging, Hunting, Nature, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Surviving the Wilderness – A Review and Critique, Part I

Surviving the Wilderness.

Two buddies, Gerard and Bucky were sitting around watching survival videos, and Bucky bet Gerard $100 a day for each day that Gerard could stay out in the wilderness.

So, Bucky drives Gerard out to the middle of nowhere, with only a Machete, knife, cordage, and a magnesium and flint firestarter. (Plus a backpack full of camera equipment and a hoodie.)

I’ve decided to review and critique each video. I’ll note what could and should have been done, for the edification and education of my readers, as well as pitfalls to avoid, and just plain out idiot things that you absolutely should NOT do. (Such as drink straight out of a stream or carve things into live trees…)

I have also included a link to each video. They can be hard to find since Youtube altered the way videos are displayed in that the next video in the series is not always listed in the recommended list.

Please note I’m not bashing the survival skills of this fellow, or the lack thereof. (Mostly…) I’m commenting so that other folks can see where opportunities were missed, and so if they find themselves in the woods, they don’t miss those same opportunities. There’s nothing like starving and having no idea that you just walked past six meals worth of food due to your ignorance.

I thank Gerard and Bucky for having the guts to post these vids so that people can see what someone’s ‘first time’ out in the wilderness really is like. Everyone thinks its so easy to just walk out into the woods and survive. Reality is somewhat a bit different.
Thanks to my pals Aktrekker and SlowRide13 on the Green Deane forums for the links to the first and second videos.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 1 – The Beginning:

This is just the prelude and driving to the wilderness.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 2 – Finding Camp:

Here Gerard makes his first little camp area.

At 1:20 in the guy starts hacking at the greenery that isn’t even knee high with his machete. And I’m thinking… what the heck was that for? Dramatic effect? Seen one too many jungle movies?

I’ve had three machetes in my life, and other than having fun with one shortly after the ‘Rambo’ movies came out, haven’t found much use for it in a normal camp situation. I keep the ancient one I have, as it’s better built than the later two, just in case I have encounters with animals. 3 feet of razor sharp steel comes in very handy in such situations. But not for hacking down ferns like someone is in the Amazon river basin.ย  ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
I think that was purely for dramatic effect. No machete action was needed to walk through those weeds, and just wastes precious energy and calories swinging that thing for nothing.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 3 – Shelter:

The shelter isn’t exactly shelter from anything. It won’t keep out either the rain or the animals. I think I built a more solid shelter when I was 8. ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, something is better than nothing, even if it’s only to have a psychological ‘cave-like’ place to sleep.

OMG. 2:20 into video 3. The guy starts hacking into a full grown live tree. Why? To make a record of his time there. Very few things irk me enough to make me want to thunk someone, but if I’d seen this done in person, the guy would be keeping his teeth in his pockets. That’s right up there with idiots who carve their initials in trees and write ‘Dumbazz was here’ on ancient monuments.

He has a machete. He could have split a small dead log in twain, then used the flat surface to etch his little ‘record’. Idiot. I realize that’s negative and highly judgmental on my part, but I can’t imagine anyone really thinking that doing what he did to that tree was OK, or a good idea.
Please don’t EVER do this to a live tree for no reason.

At 2:30 in, he epically fails at starting a fire. Humorously so.

My favorite part so far is the end of vid 3 where in typical American childish impatience, he kicks his fire pile of what looks to be bone dry leaves because the wind keeps blowing around his magnesium. Dude, your 21 years are showing. Big time.

But I do agree that it’s very good for folks to watch this series. Especially folks who seem to think that the uninitiated will just waltz into the woods and start living out there like it’s no big thing. And they can’t even start a fire.

The guy said he ‘looked up how to do this online’. Obviously prior to his being dropped off in the woods. But, typically, he didn’t think to actually PRACTICE it first a few times. I do wonder what he plans to eat and drink though. Looking forward to watching episode 4…

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 4 – Days End

This is just a short little commentary by Gerard recapping the day’s events.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 5 – Finding The Stream

When starting a fire with a flint, he should have been much closer to the material he was trying to light on fire. He’s basically ‘going out to bat’ with the firestarter here, and then wondering why nothing is catching. Also, with those leaves being as dry as they are, he certainly shouldn’t need the magnesium to start the fire.

Most of my commentary focuses on around 3:00 into the video.

First off the water. He just drank this straight from the stream. I hope he didn’t get crypto-whatever. he should have skipped the machete and brought a portable water filter for backpackers and hikers. I have two. One has a viral-guard filter. Never leave home without it. At the very least, get one of those ‘life-straw’ things.

Secondly, the frog. He has no food. And no way to get food. Letting that go was stupid. Period. He said he didn’t have a fire going anyway. After drinking right out of the stream, raw frog would be the least of his worries. Think of it as American sushi. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(For the record I’d personally cook the frog, but after slurking out of that stream, he can’t possibly do much worse…)

Thirdly, he’s walking by tons of cattails. Obviously he has no idea they’re edible. You don’t even need to get down to the roots for a quick snack. Just pull the shoot and peel and nom the bottom few inches. I do this when walking in swampy areas all the time. Om nom nom.

Fourth. He found a patch of ox-eye daisies. He has one behind his ear. Cute. But he should have collected the greens. Young ox-eye daisy greens are, in my opinion, a superior nommable. I eat them straight and raw. The older they are, the more ‘perfumy’ they get though. You can also eat the white petals of the flowers. I wouldn’t eat too many of the yellow centers though. They can give some folks an upset stomach. But a few out of hand shouldn’t cause any issues in any but the most sensitive of folks.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 6 – Fire

So here he is attempting to start a fire, for what, the fourth time? No fire ring, just trying to light a pile of leaves, connected to all the rest of the leaves, connected to the rest of the forest.

I don’t think I need to point out how utterly stupid this is. If you have no rocks, make a fire ring by clearing the leaves away in several feet from your fire, and scratch and disturb the dirt at the very least in a circle around where your fire will be. This will keep the fire from creeping out. If you have the means, make a fire ring using dirt and/or rocks to contain the fire.

After all that scraping the fire flint I kind of felt embarrassed for the guy. He should have accidentally caught it on fire by then with all those sparks flying around.

At about 2:25 in, he gets lucky and accidentally catches part of the forest on fire. ๐Ÿ˜‰ A stray spark, not even where he was aiming, caught a leaf on fire.
I wonder what this guy would have done if it was raining.

At least now he has a fire. And later in the same video he must have cleared the leaves around the open flame. (Or likely ended up just pushing them all into the fire.)

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 7 – The First Meal

As he’s about to leave his fire in search of food, he notes that maybe it’s a good idea to push the leaves away from and/or into the fire, and states that maybe he should put some of those rocks around the fire. (He’s had rocks this whole time and just NOW thinks it’s a good idea to make a fire ring?)
To his credit, he goes back and gets what is likely the same frog, in the same spot. And he cooks it and eats it. Good job, Gerard! ๐Ÿ™‚

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 8 – Another Night

Gerard talks about being a bit weak from lack of food. He had no lack of food, simply a lack of knowledge about food. Food was everywhere around him. I don’t know if anyone later pointed out to him the cattails he walked past. (The easiest parts to collect in his situation would have been the bottom few inches of the shoots can be peeled and eaten raw, and the roots can be roasted and peeled and then stripped with your teeth for their starch.) Or if anyone mentioned the ox eye daisy greens he passed up. (The flower he had in his hair.) I can guarantee that anyone even passingly familiar with wild plants could fill a basket in very short order if they know what to look for. There was no reason whatsoever for him to be hungry with that bounty around him.

That’s why I support places that encourage ongoing education concerning foraging and identification of wild plants, like Green Deane’s forum: ‘Eat the Weeds

Also check out his online Youtube videos

The last I checked he had something like 143 foraging videos all available for viewing free online.
And the main Eat the Weeds site:

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 9 – Target Practice

At about 1:20 into the video, after talking about needing his teeth brushed, Gerard states “I don’t know about any plants I can use, but I’ll find out when I start sticking stuff in my mouth.”

Do not EVER, and I do mean EVER do this!

This is how you end up being those few people a year who die by eating random unidentified wild plants.

Surviving the Wilderness – Episode 10 – The Creek

This guy spends an awful lot of time and energy staging ‘walking out’ and ‘walking towards’ shots with his camera.
Finding the larger stream with the fish was a definite plus, and the first thing he should have done is just what he was talking about, and that is to make a new campsite there and bury the fire at his old campsite. (And take a ember-encrusted stick from his previous fire to start the new one.)
Shelter isn’t an issue in the middle of the summer and his old campsite didn’t provide any shelter anyway.
You can also build a little dam (or two) in a creek and corral the small fish between your dams. And when they can’t get out, you have all the time in the world to figure out how to catch them.

Continued soon in Surviving the Wilderness – A Review and Critique, Part II

Categories: Animals, Foraging, Hunting, Nature, Preparedness, Survival | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fall Foraging and Quincely Woes

Well it’s creeping into fall once again. That lovely time of year following summer, where all kinds of harvest fruits are usually available for preservation and nomming.

To that end, there is a bumper crop on my quince tree this year. This would usually be cause for celebration here, as we pick, clean, slice, and freeze the fruit for use over the winter.

The problem is that the weather has been very odd all year. Whilst this has resulted in beautiful fruit up until now, it’s now hot when it should be cold.

It’s 83 degrees and very wet today, and will also be thus tomorrow. In October. In Pennsylvania.

Why is this a problem?

Because quince is a fall weather harvest fruit. The week plus of 80 degrees and extremely wet has meant that the ground is too soft to safely plant a ladder to harvest the fruit, and said fruit is rotting on the tree from the heat instead of being all nice and preserved as it should be by cooler temps. The first week of October is usually the first time I pick any fruit from this tree. I’ve had tons of fruit drop on their own over the last two weeks. And it’s ripening unevenly. One side will be shock green and the other side will be literally rotten. Not cool. Literally.

The next semi dry day here is forecast to be four days from now. At that time I’ll be harvesting all I can. They have to be hand picked. If they fall the impact bruises them very easily and ruins wherever it impacts.

The warm weather has also put the kabosh on fall mushrooms thus far. I’ve only found a half dozen mushrooms the past month. The only things that have been coming up have been either unknown or toxic varietals. No boletus. Well, there was ONE stray slippery pine boletus, but it was so bug eaten by the time I found it that I didn’t bother. Slippery pine boletus usually require shade of some kind to come up in any kind of proliferation, and it’s typically in the form of leaves that fall from other trees. When the leaves from the neighboring maple falls on the area of the roots of the scotch pine, is when these things will be popping up en masse. But the leaves haven’t fallen yet. The warmer temps mean that all the trees in my yard (save the barren walnut tree that got the clue early as usual…), haven’t dropped very many leaves at all yet. Two of my maples are still 100% green! The one closest to the house, the oldest one, has gotten the hint and the leaves are starting to slowly turn yellow.

So what’s it like in your neck of the woods, and has the weather been good or horrible for your local foraging preferences?

Categories: Foraging, Green, Mushrooms, Nature, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tabula Rasa โ€“ A Clean Slate

A significant change is coming soon to Wild Cookery!

Yes, we’ll continue to be about foraging and cooking up all things delicious and wild.

But we’ll be adding to our ‘menu’ so to speak.

In the past, there have been various other topics covered here, but I still strove to keep it focused primarily on foraging topics and the cooking of wild foods. Times have changed.

We’re going to be going a bit more ‘broad spectrum’ instead of ‘highly focused’.

There is a very important reason for this…Everything is interconnected. The audience for a 100% foraging focus is very slim indeed. In fact most people who prepare for other things unfortunately have learning foraging on the bottom of their list. I mean to change that through cross-exposure by discussing other topics that are important to people.

I’ve heard it many times that I should keep Wild Cookery! strictly about foraging, to the exclusion of most other topics. I disagree.

Here’s why…

Foraging is very interconnected to many other things. Or rather, a ‘lack’ of foraging is. Because most of us no longer forage for our food, we are very disconnected from nature. Nature is something which, to us, exists in isolation of, and removal from, the human condition. By encouraging discussion of other somewhat related topics, we will segue into discussion of foraging with people that would otherwise have not sought out information on foraging. We will reach a much higher number of people than we ever would just by continuing to endlessly ‘preach to the choir’.

The more good people who know the basic skills of foraging, the better off the whole of humanity is. And no worries, we all know that the number of foragers will never exceed a fractional percentage of the population. So fears that people will ‘over forage’ the world en masse if ‘everyone’ knows this knowledge are statistically unrealistic to the extreme.

So, fear not. You aren’t going to be training your competition if you teach a few more good folks how to forage.

There are many valid topics in these tumultuous times that deserve in depth discussion. If all I do is talk about foraging, then the many and varied topics of our time that need to be talked about get completely missed. I think this is a disservice.

I also think that most of the foragers I know personally will applaud this move, as the vast majority of them are very intelligent and dynamic people. They have wide and varied interests. In other words, they aren’t just interested in foraging. They’re interested in what’s going on in their world and how to make a positive difference. They also don’t oft get a chance to discuss these topics as they are afraid to talk about them in other places for fear of being ‘off topic’, or considered ‘fringe’.

I would like this blog, and the corresponding Wild Cookery! Forums to eventually become such a springboard for open and honest discussions.

All legal and lawful topics should be up for discussion in a healthy society. A mutual interest in foraging should be the start of an intelligent conversation, not the end all be all of a conversation.

Categories: Economy, Education, Food Health, Foraging, Green, Health, Preparedness, Social Unrest, Survival, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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