Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Apricots, Bows, and a Homemade Canoe

Now, back to foraging and other related ramblings. I got out at the beginning of summer for some excellent nighttime apricot foraging!

The fruit was incredible and I couldn't get over the sweet aromas. 

The next day I located some plums and made a sweet plum syrup...

 And the following morning yielded some exceptional apricot pancakes with plum syrup.

In the afternoon I used the rest of the fruit to make a batch of apricot jam.

And as fun as that was...check out what my brother has been up to! He built a canoe!

How rad is that? He even hand-carved the paddle! And if that wasn't enough he just finished his first Osage Orange bow from the wood we cut together last year. He backed the bow with deer rawhide he also prepared...and yeah, that is one of his homemade knives in that image.

He let me shoot it and I can honestly say it shoots like a champ!

Justin shot this group at 30 yards!

Keep the old ways alive!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Gone Fishing

"The only reason that you're good at goodbye's is, every boy you ever met, was too easy to forget. Well, I aint goin' out like that! I aint gonna be that easy to leave. Girl, I'm gonna make you miss me."- Sam Hunt

Well, I just ended what I can honestly only call the most passionate love affair of my life. Now, by "affair", I don't mean that we were cheating or anything...I don't do that...its not in my nature...I just mean this was the most incredible adventure of the heart I could never have even dreamed up. But so much intense passion is like a wildfire, it is brilliant to experience, but sometimes it just doesn't last. Well, we had a great breakup and told each other how much we cared for each other over and over...we sure went out with a bang ;)

So to mend this heartbreak I did what men have been doing for centuries to get over a woman (and sometimes to avoid a wife or girlfriend), I went fishing!

My dad and I headed out on the boat into the clear waters of the northern Pacific Ocean armed with rod and reel, apex lures, flashers, and 1 lb salmon weights.

On the way out of the bay we saw a deer that had swam a mile across the width of the bay to the far shore. What possessed it to do that, I will never know, but it was certainly an amazing sight to behold! I thought about taking a picture, but I decided to just keep that image for me.

As we trolled on the outside of the bay we found huge shoals of sardines, smelt and other bait-fish with pelicans dive bombing into the boiling waters where these little finfish rolled at the surface...a good sign!

I wish I could provide my readers with better images but my camera was recently stolen in Mongolia so I will only have low resolution images from my flip phone for a while. Sorry about that.

Right off the bat we must have crossed a shallow reef as my dad hooked a nice rockfish (even though we were on the water in search of salmon).

He landed another later...but the real action of the day was when line started peeling off of my reel and I set the hook and began a great battle with a sizable fish. I didn't dare say it, though deep down I knew what kind of fish it was. Then we saw that brilliant silver flash in the depths of the clear water below the boat. "Salmon!" my dad hollered. In the following minuted I brought it to the boat and with expert precision he had it netted and we dragged a gorgeous Chinook into the boat. This was my first salmon in a long time and the first on the boat all season. We were absolutely thrilled!

After we hit the shore I cleaned the fish...and yeah, that steel bowl is huge...there was pounds of beautiful meat to go around!

And went foraging for some local fruit. I grabbed an apple from the family orchard...

Some blackberries...

Some elderberries...

Some incredible figs...

And infused some great herbs from the garden into a batch of my homemade sea salt...

And cooked up an incredible meal of salmon topped with herb salt, wild fruit salad and mushroom ravioli with a garlic-herb sauce...on a graduate student budget, I was eating like a king again!

Many thanks to the sea and land, and to this incredible gift of life for all of the experiences that make living an absolutely wild ride!

I just realized that this is my 150th post on this blog!

I hope to see you out there foraging soon by field or by flood!

Keep the old ways alive!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Mongolia Revisited

"Hey, remember that time we were in Mongolia?" - Me asking Aurora with a grin as we stand in the remote Taiga-steppe transition
"Yeah, It was awesome!" - Aurora

I just got back from another month and a half in northern Mongolia on an archaeological excavation. It was amazing! I love working in a country with such great people and the breathtaking natural beauty of such exquisite landscapes!

This international collaboration was great fun and very productive. We worked hard, got some great results, and had a great time.
Afternoons found me fishing for local trout with a willow stick, some string, a hook and a locust for bait.

The river not only provided food but also a place to bathe in peace.

Herds of horses, goats and cattle were regular visitors to our camp.

 Local food was also exquisite and cooked for us in traditional fashion (such as cooking with stones heated in the fire). We mostly ate fresh sheep with the occasional goat which the Mongols slaughtered and prepared with expert skill and a tradition of wasting nothing.

At some point I fashioned a small bow and arrow and the crew enjoyed hours of good shooting!

 Well, I had many more pictures of foraging in Asia, but my camera was stolen during the last few days before my return to the US. It's all good though, just material possesions right? "All that I own, I carry with me."

Keep the old ways alive!