Today was a totally different kind of day, a wild day. My goal today was to eat only what I could wild harvest. That meant eating nothing planted in the garden, only what I could find growing natively and free. Instead of my daily routine of coffee, I dug up dandelion root and made tea, a natural stimulant, kind of like caffeine. The drink was nice, but it was not coffee.
For breakfast I headed to the garden, but not for vegetables. I caught around two-dozen grasshoppers and a few worms. I fried the grasshoppers in some pig fat. My youngest son, Shepherd, joined me in our little feast. He ate four; I ate the rest. They were pretty filling. The worms on the other hand were gritty, but full of minerals (dirt), that is for sure!
I also ate some plantain leaves, dandelion flowers, lamb’s quarters and bull thistle stems. I sure wish I knew how to identify mushrooms better. There are so many types of mushrooms on this land and I know there have to be some that are edible. I really need to meet a local myco-geek.
I had to leave for a wedding rehearsal and do some work at the church in preparation for a wedding tomorrow, so I had to fast from eating until almost 3 pm. What is crazy is that a few of the church staff were tempting me by offering me salted mixed nuts knowing about my week-long diet. I am sure they were only trying to help, or they were just messing with me. Either way I don’t mind. My hunger wasn’t bad all day, but I had a headache that began to grow every hour. It started around mid-morning.
As I headed down the road to home, I spotted a deer and a turkey. I seriously thought about getting some although it is not the season quite yet. As I turned down our side road, I started to salivate over my neighbor’s fully ripe aronia berries.
I got home and grabbed the savage gun (.22 rifle over 410 shotgun) and headed out for a real meal. I thought about shooting some of the many varieties of birds for a quick protein fix. But then I thought, “I would rather starve than kill any of these birds that are so beneficial to the property,” since they help with pest control and make this place so peaceful. We have so many types of birds out here, too many to name them all. I sure wish I could identify all of our birds better. At least I know a local bird expert. I hope she can come out here soon and help us a little.
You know, there is something amazing about learning to identify things. When you know what something is, you know how to exercise proper dominion over it, you learn how to care for it, and I believe you are doing what you were created to do. Naming is essential for living rightly in the world. If you don’t know what something is and what it is useful for, you don’t really care about it, period. One of our main goals in this place is to learn how to identify everything, from microbes, to insects, fungi, grasses, broadleaves, trees, canes, vines, shrubs, birds, mammals, amphibians, etc. We want to not only learn all these things, but also watch how they all interact with one another in different combinations, unity in diversity.
I continued my walk looking for something to eat. I know there are a few rabbits on the farm, but the dog and the cat usually tag team eating those, and besides it is not rabbit season yet. However, squirrel season began August 1st. I headed out to the back walnuts and sat down under the canopy on the edge of the fully shaded small forest of black walnut trees. As I sat there, I ate the bugs that landed on my skin, a few moths and a tiny spider; I grabbed a quick cricket. I also ate some pigweed, which is an amaranth, one of those resistant weeds to herbicide that grows everywhere. It was a little bitter, but I know it is good to eat and if the grain heads are developed, to make bread with.
Two squirrels scurried down the one towering ancient walnut tree, the largest in the woods. Let’s just say, I skinned up two squirrels for my next meal. I ate them both, but squirrel definitely tastes better in the fall after they have fattened up on nuts before winter. Honestly, the squirrels were chewy, but I ate them anyway. The bones and the waste went into the soldier fly bin. By feeding the flies we get larvae for the chickens, free chicken feed.
My headache continued and became so strong, that I had to lie down. I don’t think it was the food I ate. My hunger was satisfied. I probably should have drunk more water. I really believe it was because I went the day without caffeine! I must be addicted to it. I finally gave in and had a cup of coffee around 5 pm. My headache almost vanished within 30 minutes of the coffee. I think that is something I need to work on. I think starting next week I will drink tea in the morning and then maybe a cup of coffee in the afternoon. I am not going to stop drinking coffee. I need to support Santa Martha by drinking it. Maybe, I will just drink a little less of it.
For dinner, I had purslane sautéed in the grasshopper grease I had at breakfast.