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Berry Berry
Foraging Notes from the Roof of Umurica
While Boomers cut their lawns, Gen-Xers rage at the machine, and Millennials conduct virtual debates, some people are trying to lay in food for hard times while the rest wave their various magic wands of delusion.
Vitamin C is half the quality and three times the price as last year, so I harvested rose hips and mountain ash berries, drying them for tea.
Zinc is sometimes hard to fine, so we picked a bushel of elderberries and canned elderberry syrup for winter cold medicine and pancakes for kids.
I use a net bag for lacrosse gloves to forage with and have picked black current, choke cherries, Oregon grape and june berries as well. There are also red alpine currents and gooseberries, which the animals got to before me. The way the birds and beer and deer went after the rose hips and choke cherries and elderberries this year and last, my host is thinking this might portend another harsh winter in the Rockies. I sort the berries while watching documentaries with Bob and dry and store the berries in onion and shallot net bags from the grocer.
The animals are wolfing down the rose hips like crazy down by the river and on the mountain. So I have mostly picked Mountain Ash berries, which are related and eat well fresh, tasting like orange rind.
There is one tree on the mountain above me and one tree in the valley. But one tree yields from a gallon to a bushel of these berries.
The Colonel up in the Cascades and his neighbor, a namesake of mine, have built a shed to park the camper under that they let me stay in last January so I won't get so wet. The Colonel wants some juniper berries to season his bear meat. I went out to Rockport, a lake in the desert hills where the Weber River is damned, and found thousands of juniper trees, each one yielding between a gallon and a bushel. The ones near the lake are larger and have larger berries.
The juniper berry is the main botanical for gin. Although the European version is preferred. They have Vitamin A and C and are used as emergency food by mule deer, who prefer other food. You are not supposed to eat many of them or they can hurt your kidneys because they are internally like a little pine cone. They are mashed and used in meat marinades.
The evergreen foliage and according to one source, the berries as well, are used by Amerindian healers in sweat lodges and for making steam to be breathed in to treat lung ailments.
Below is another ruse of these buries. They have a white powder that grows on them—it is yeast.
How to Make a Wild Yeast Starter
Sat, Sep 19, 12:08 PM (4 days ago)

We have picked and bottled, carrots, beets, green beans, five types of berry syrup, many quarts of tomatoes, bought and bottled peaches and pickles and have picked and dry-stored squash, rhubarb, onions, garlic and many of the above-mentioned berries. The chickens eat the scraps.
I checked, inventoried and rotated the existing dry goods and mostly just stirred, poured, washed bottles and screwed on lids during the canning. It has been a very nice experience helping people put back food for the winter.
All this despite arsonists spotted and arrested nearby—redacted of course—and 831+ human caused fires in Utah...
Making vinegar out of the apples and finishing the carrot harvest is next. Most of the planting beds have been turned and manured and we might be digging ground for a potato field...
As always, I will miss my time in the high country.
To think, three months ago I was ducking PIGs and hoodrats in Harm City and a month from now I'll be on Guilt Safari in Portland.
Life is strange.
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Add Comment
HuerfanoSeptember 23, 2020 6:58 PM UTC

James, I have a request unrelated to the post, but I think it might be useful to visitors to the blog.

I've got many years of Karate, but zero grappling/wrestling experience. What's a good way to get some experience? I've got Judo and JJ schools in my city, but, well, it seems they mostly market to those wanting fitness, and I'm looking for substance in dealing with real situations on the streets.

Thanks, H.
responds:September 23, 2020 11:33 PM UTC

Will answer as an article tomorrow.
LaManoSeptember 23, 2020 5:58 PM UTC

Who would have guessed that a city boy like you, who I imagined getting all his food from urban groceries, heavy toward Hot Pockets, Frozen Tamales, and Chicken Nuggets ...

... is out doing the roots, nuts, and berries thing like a wild bear that has learned how to use Mason jars and sealing rings?

Good on yer! Me, I've got a big garden and do some freezing and canning, but I typically cultivate the things I want. Like we all agree on ... the situation we find ourselves in has made Prepping, once the province of wild-eyed expecters of the Apocalypse, into a normal, everyday activity. And we'll be better people for it!
responds:September 23, 2020 11:30 PM UTC

Thanks, Man and a good harvest.

Everything is almost in up here, except the meat.