Baking in Ashes

It feels wrong not to know basic survival skills our ancestors knew. We’ve let too many fade from our collective knowledge. I try to do my part by learning outdoor skills the pioneers used, so I was thrilled to receive an antique book, Camping and Woodcraft, as a gift. Horace Kephart wrote the first edition … Continue reading Baking in Ashes

Raspberries in the Garden

 I am fascinated by our ancestors' ability to forage for wild foods. I get a thrill whenever I find wild onions, ramps, mushrooms, and even pawpaws. Today the raspberry bushes behind the garage drooped beneath the weight of the red and purple berries.  My bucket filled in no time.      My challenge was to bake … Continue reading Raspberries in the Garden

A Walk in the Woods

Early June sunshine and pleasant temperatures brought people out to the Hickory Creek forest preserve walking path. Many bicyclists zoomed past and didn’t stop to chat or sample the strawberries just beginning to ripen in the sunny fields. Dog walkers and joggers nodded or smiled, but didn't stop either. Everyone had their their job to … Continue reading A Walk in the Woods

Wild Food – Ramps. What’s a Ramp?

In early April the woods behind my house look dead and hopeless. I wait for the day when a patch of brave lime-green leaves poke through the damp forest floor to signal life amid the ugliness. I thought perhaps they were a non-flowering variety of lily-of-the-valley until a fellow hiker on Manitou Island pointed out … Continue reading Wild Food – Ramps. What’s a Ramp?

Wild Food – Morel Mushrooms

I’ve detested mushrooms all my life and cringe at the memory of the slimy buttons in chop suey. That is until two years ago when I fell in love with morels. On a backpacking trip to Deem Wilderness in southern Indiana, Doc, a fellow hiker spotted a few of the honeycombed fungi at the base … Continue reading Wild Food – Morel Mushrooms