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mistwalker

Foraging With The Little One

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I love foraging in the late summer and early autumn and I've done a few posts on it lately. My little girl has been seeing the pictures I posted in a thread where her mother and I went out. So...she has been asking a lot of questions about being able to eat foods growing in the woods. Even though this has been an area of serious study for me over the last several years I have been hesitant to teach the little one anything about it because there are so many things she shouldn't eat, or even touch in the bush that it worried me to promote eating wild foods. She has demonstrated a good ability to remember details so I thought what the heck we'll start slow with obvious things.

 

The outing started with a trip to the post office to pick up a package. I ordered a nano XL for one of my students and a new OD one to replace the one I had left with the nurse who had been looking after my father, in a Maxped organizer urban survival kit. After many late night discussions on the subject of hurricanes and displacement at the nursing home, and seeing how he had looked after my father, I thought it was the least I could do.

 

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The fields are full of drying seed pods so on our way through them I thought, with Ms. C. recently becoming an early retiree, that we would gather up some tinder materials for her to practice with at home.

 

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Lots of horse weed, most is still a little green, but not for much longer.

 

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This grass produces really fluffy seed heads that work great as a first stage tinder.

 

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There is still a good bit of thistle around.

 

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After a bit of a wander we found our first objective, one of my favorite persimmon trees.

 

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Looking back as she followed me through the trail I noticed a funny look on her face I didn't understand, but it went away as fast as it came so I let it go..

 

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I held a branch down to let her pick her first persimmons. She seemed to have fun with that and chattered excitedly the whole time.

 

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I found a nice sweet ripe one to let her try and going strictly by the look on her face she likes them as much as I do.

 

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She got a pretty decent haul, with it being her first time eating them I was worried about her eating to many. Plus a better look at the knife I was carrying, the Yuma by T.M. Hunt.

 

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On the way back into the field she asked me “what are those fuzzy things?” I said just seed heads of that type of grass. She said “hmmm, they look like caterpillars on sticks!”

 

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When we got back out to the dirt road she saw the tracks of a small deer.

 

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Down the road a bit I showed her where the passion fruit was and let her pick her first ones.

 

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Any discussions with children on the subject of wild edibles will inevitably lead to discussions on non-edibles, and things you shouldn't touch, such as the dogwood berries.

 

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and the horse nettle

 

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Soon she was telling me “look daddy, there is more of that poison”. Good girl.

 

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She was quick to spot a coyote track.

 

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as well as some other larger canine tracks. The knife has a blade length of 4.25 inches.

 

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She saw the galls and asked me if that was where “the bugs in the sticks” were. So I cut a couple down and showed her. The Yuma has a nice density so using it in a two-finger grip and making snap cuts makes short work of such tasks....I also showed her how to cut too deep into the gall and graze the larvae...she marveled at the yellow insides.

 

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Then I showed her one from last year that the insect inside had already left.

 

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Using the knife in a two-finger grip and snap cuts also made short work of the annoying brier vines we were getting tangled in.

 

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She wanted to go collect some black walnuts, so I cheated and instead of taking her into the woods and letting her hunt for them I took her to one in a field not far off of the road and let her collect as many as she wanted. Then we ate a few. Of the ones I found that had already lost the outer covering.

 

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As she gathered walnuts, I sat and watched and whittled

 

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One of the many reasons I like a good point on my knives.

 

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Soon it was time to head out and meet up with Ms. C., but I had a blast watching her excited face as she learned new things about the world around her. Afterward we went to to the park and had a picnic with fried chicken, rolls, and persimmons and passion fruit for desert. She's having an interesting time eating minus her two upper front teeth, but she's handling it well. It'll be interesting to see if some of the seeds she was throwing into the bushes grow into passion flowers next year.

 

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Tasty southern fried chicken and edible wild fruit. That's a treat. I'm afraid to eat anything that grows wild here. Good times you two have. You have a lot of trust in her to handle a knife, the kids I know that age, have a hard time using a fork safely.

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Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed the post. It looks like I need to stop the picture heavy posting here, so I thought I might as well stop on one that is close to my heart :)

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Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed the post. It looks like I need to stop the picture heavy posting here, so I thought I might as well stop on one that is close to my heart :)

 

I like your picture heavy post. You see those little details like drops of water on leaves and bugs. I never even see those things when I'm out.

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I like your picture heavy post. You see those little details like drops of water on leaves and bugs. I never even see those things when I'm out.

 

Thanks man, I enjoy doing them. But they eat up a lot of bandwidth, which is an issue here, so I'll have to start limiting the number of pics in my posts. Plus shrinking them down to such small sizes takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. I'll have to rethink how I do photo posts here. 

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I have been playing a little catch up over my lunch hour, amazing how much I've missed over the last couple weeks.

 

 

Your pictures are always amazing.  You eye for detail is better than any I've ever known.  If I could notice a small fraction of the things you do, I'd be happy.

 

 

 

 

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