Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Have Much To Be Thankful For

Right about this time of year, I become quite appreciative of all the good food that I either caught, grew or picked in the wild. The Highland Scots have a saying that kind of sums this up in a nice way: “A fish from the river, a staff from the woods and a deer from the moor, three thefts no Gael was ever ashamed of”       

Of course in our case here in America, we needn’t steal a fish or a deer and in Maine, we have more than enough wood to supply staffs for all. But still, the saying illustrates what was important to those braw, kilt-clad lads across the pond.

And speaking of all that good, wild stuff, I am everlastingly grateful to those who pioneered the art of food preservation and brought it to the current level of technology. Now, we can have wild greens, picked fresh in spring and summer, frozen and served at any time of the year. The same goes for fish and game. Vacuum-sealing machines keep air out and freshness in.          

My freezer brims with frozen goodies from the woods (or the moors, if you will), the streams, the ocean and even my own garden. And my shelves are lined with home-canned goodies, such as goosetongue and dandelions. And of course, garden stuff too goes into canning jars. I particularly enjoy my home-canned carrots.

While somewhat demanding, it was enjoyable and rewarding to gather and process all these wonderful things. And now, while reaping the fruits of my previous labor, I can relax and contemplate the wonderful blessings available to us all.

Today at noon, my meal consisted of mackerel fillets, fiddleheads and corn-on-the-cob. The mackerel were placed on ice as soon as the came off the hook, taken home, filleted and sealed in vacuum bags. The fiddleheads were given equal care and the corn was from my own garden. All in all, it was a taste of summer on a raw and dreary winter’s day.         

Now, during the holiday season, I like to mull over my blessings and give thanks for all the lovely things that the good earth provides. And likewise, I hope all readers of Wild Plants And Wooly Bears, wherever dispersed, have a chance to sit down, relax and count their blessings too.

Season’s greetings and my best wishes for a happy, safe and prosperous new year for all.


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