Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crawdad Traps from Upcycled Scraps

“You need a haircut baby! I love you…but I don’t like Hobo early ‘90’s Mel Gibson!”-Chelsea gently encouraging me to do a little post-finals week grooming.

            Finals week is over and so I finally have time to take care of some things I have been putting off like getting a haircut, shaving, and posting up a new foraging story. I had been keeping an eye out for useful materials while walking my dog in the mornings before school. Young walnut shoots and cattail leaves looked good for basketry weaving, I found a whole mess of marbles for my slingshot, some Franciscan chert for flintknapping, but the real gem was some old wire mesh I found along the railroad tracks. The area near the tracks is littered with refuse leftover from vagrants and farm workers which has led me to adopt the nickname my buddy Lucas called a ravine where he grew up- Hobo Jungle. Though it’s not the kind of place I would go at night, in the day time however (especially with my Hobo ‘90’s Mel Gibson look) I fit right in! What better place to forage for materials huh? In truth, I don’t take anything leftover from the homeless crowd (it’s a pretty nasty mess), but the farm worker have discarded some really useful materials over the years that I am happy to upcycle.

            It was on one such outing that I happened upon exactly what I had been waiting for…a mess of 1/2 inch wire mesh! I dragged the gnarled fencing out of the irrigation ditch where it had resided for no doubt a year or more and nodded my head with approval.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and I had every intention in transforming this garbage to gold. Using a pair of tin snips, I salvaged what pieces I could.

Next I set to work while my dog climbed the tree in the backyard searching for squirrels.

I used a pair of zip ties I had found outside one of the buildings on campus for hinges on the door, and a long piece of wire I had also found for the line.

When I baited the trap with the carcass of the catfish I had caught a week earlier (see catfish po boys post) I sat back and admired this fully functional and 100% foraged implement on the river bank.

While fishing with hook and line that day yielded not a bite, the trap was a huge success! I dragged it in to shore a couple of days later and was delighted with its performance.

26 crawdads in one trip! Not a bad haul at all!
Not to mention, I found a nice new lure snagged up in some driftwood!
When I got home we got a pot boiling with creole seasonings.
They smelled so good when they were all done cooking!
But I still had work to do. I cracked the shells and removed the meat. Then mixed in potato, egg, green onion, etc. and made up a batch of my famous crawdad cakes. Fried until golden brown on both sides, these little delicacies were well worth the wait!
Even in the lonely ditch where the hobos reside, there's no telling what gems may lay cast aside. Ready for the resourceful forager to find, spinning garbage into gold when the plan hits your mind. So trash is transformed to the tools of the trade, a once discarded wire mesh becomes a vital aid. And now put to the test cast out in the stream, rusty "old trusty" works like a dream. So don't overlook the gnarled trash at your feet, it may just be the backbone of getting a tasty treat. "Waste not, want not" is what the old hobos say, and I hope you've seen why by reading this today.
Keep the old ways alive!


  1. Great post! Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you!

  2. Very cool, Kev! I totally agree with the functional upcycling of "waste".

  3. Ah yes sir!
    That is cuz you are a totally rad human being!
    I just found this comment... or I would have replied sooner.
    Adventure on the 28th?