Week4: Foraging a New Path

This week I started off mostly writing. I’ve spent a lot of time working on a blog about the role of Elders in rewilding. Sasha wanted to go on a bike ride with me, but I told her I had too much work to do, whatever that means. Sometimes I feel my mind caught up in thinking about the work that needs to get done, and not enough time getting work done.

I told Sasha we would need another purpose besides “just a bike ride.” She suggested we gather nettles up the Spring-Water Corridor, a 40 mile loop that starts in Portland. I said that sounded great and we set off.

Irresistible, even though they sting you; a metaphor for so many things.

I had never traveled up the corridor before, despite the fact that I knew it began in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, one of my stomping grounds. Foraging this new path felt refreshing. Taking plants in the City I often feel a little scared of people catching me, and scared of what chemicals peoples may have sprayed on their plants. But on the corridor, I felt no external pressure and the greens looked toxin free (aside from the base level of toxicity found in every living organism, thanks civilization, for nothing!).

Don’t let the Miners catch you stealing their lettuce!

We also saw lots of wildlife; a Sharp-shin hawk sat eating a fat city pigeon under the I-205 overpass, about a gajillion wooly bears, lots of brush rabbits. The corridor just hums with life. Of course it does, where the hell else would animals live? Nature parks pop up every once and a while, and it seems the corridor works like a wild-highway from nature reserve to nature reserve. The corridor seems the perfect place for wild animals, wild herbs, and people who want to rewild.

“Come inside ‘n meet the misses.”

In short, I think I found my new home… or at least, another stomping ground. Plus, it seemed many older homeless people foraged the path too. I felt compelled to talk to them and ask them questions, but it didn’t feel like the right time.

Me and Captain Kiwi.

Okay. Enough rambling, time for:
Urban Scout’s Weekly Laundry List: #4

The Tipi feels better and better. As of late it has become full of fun wild materials that I will turn into tools.

Still drinking from the tap.

Played with fire.

Flora Food
Gathered a grip of greens this week: Miners lettuce (both regular and Siberian) , Stinging Nettles, young Oregon Grape leaves, Mullein leaves for tea, Spearmint leaves for tea, Bedstraw, and Dandelions.

Fauna Food
Squirrel! I know what you may think, “He did it! He killed his first squirrel!” Alas, I found this poor lady in the gutter; a victim of the road. Still, she did provide me with my first wild animal flesh of this project.

My bike tires keep popping, and I have to keep paying for replacements. Bicycles trap me in the monetary economy. Gotta figure that one out. Bike or no?

Coffee makes me smell bad. I can’t remember the last time I took a shower… have I unfairly blamed the coffee?

I watched The Adventures of Baron Munchausen with Sasha, because she had never seen it, and I wanted some inspiration. Again, renting movies for entertainment traps me in a monetary economy. Soon I will write a blog about how many monetary traps I have found. I did cancel my cellphone finally (despite my mothers demand I keep one).

My awareness ebbs and flows. I didn’t feel much skinning the squirrel, but later when I told the story of how I think it died, the crunched shoulder, the twisted pelvis and the blood-clot filled chest… I just can’t imagine the pain the squirrel must have felt when it died. It reminds me of the squirrel that I hit with the rock, that survived, probably in much pain, but still it survived. Squirrels show great resilience, and I honor and respect them. Someone who can primitively kill a squirrel must have skills, but I see no honor in the death of road kill. Cars stumble and fumble down the road like giant drunk bullets, killing anything in their path. To die at the hands of such a retched machine, to roll a painful roll into the gutter only to rot… How terrible for these animals. I only hope I can honor their spirits by using their bodies to provide me & those I love with sustenance. I find it interesting that I didn’t really make the emotional connection until I told the story of what happened, and in telling the story and describing where the squirrel got hit, I could feel it in my own body.

Did I meet last weeks goals?
I had to watch the stupid video just to see what I said I would do.

* Stone Axe – Because I broke the last one, instead of pecking this one I have abraded it. This seems to take MUCH longer, but I feel will work out better in the end. It still doesn’t look anywhere near done.
* Cook on a fire – I cooked the squirrel on a fire!
* Try to kill another animal using dead-fall – No
* Hot Rock Tea – No
* Cold rain water shower – No
* Tipi fire pit cover – No
* Plants – Gathered a ton o’ plants, so I’ll give myself a yes on this one.

Week 4 Score: 3/7 Go feral failure club!

Goals for Week 5:
* Burn Bowl. Make one dammit!
* Boil spearmint tea with hot rocks in burn bowl!
* Set up a dead fall, work on a snare.
* Work more on stone axe.
* Make spear blade.
* 5 more entries in the Rewild Field Guide

That wraps it up. See you next week!

*I wrote this blog in E-prime.*

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6 Comments on “Week4: Foraging a New Path”

  1. Would you be interested in doing a wiki article on miner’s lettuce? I’ve heard you yankees talking about that stuff, but I’ve never run across it before down here. Actually, I never ran across it in NYC either, so maybe it’s local to the PNW?

    I loved the story of the squirrel. You’re right, when I saw the pic, I immediately though, “SWEET, he did it!” Nice mislead. I like that it took learning and telling her story in order for you to feel connected with her life. You told it well. It reminded me of what Quinn says about how reading tracks and being able to tell the story from them… did something to us… made us spiritual creatures? I can’t remember. Sorry, I only got 2.5 hours of sleep last night. (Stupid baby). But anyway, thanks for telling her story.

    By the way, that Sasha is one hell of a woman, being able to speak your language in order to get you to take a bike ride with her. Maybe you should try bathing more often (via tap or rain barrel) in order to make sure you don’t drive her away.

  2. Scout, that seems like good advice about keeping Sasha around, she seems pretty nice.
    Anyway. There is a guy in SE portland who does free bike repair work for people. I think the name is Jacobsen Bike repair or something like that.
    He basically has a garage with a ton of bikes in it. People come in…he fixes their bikes, and they go away happy it seems.
    He is on SE Ogden at about 66th or 67th. He is a nice guy who likes to help people stay on bikes, might be able to hook you up with some tire liners or something to slow the rate of flats…
    Keep up the good work!
    You didn’t mention how the little lady squirrel tasted though?? inquiring minds want to know. Every time I have had to eat something like that I have been pretty hungry, I have always wondered what it would be like if I wasn’t quite so hungry as that… do tell…

  3. Thanks for the tip on the bike repair!

    I know it sounds trite, but squirrel really does taste like chicken. Gamey chicken. But chicken nonetheless!

  4. They make a tubless rim and tire. While it would take some “investment” you would go through less tubes and can patch the tire instead and keep it rolling for longer. Why are your tubes going flat so often? Is it actually something piercing it or is it a rim pinch? If the tube/tire is not correctly installed you can pinch your tubes quite often. I ride in forest park / streets every day and (knock on wood) have not had a flat since…well over year.


  5. Pingback: Meeting My Meat | Urban Scout: Rewilding Cascadia

  6. Hello!

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