Foraging

Berry Song, A Story For Us All

Berry-picking season is an amazing time of year. Sweet wild strawberries, Soapberries and Saskatoons are all summer-time treats.

Through a Dark Wood

Jenifer Davidson, Yukon artist, has been creating art for as long as she can remember. More than a hobby, It’s benefitted her mental health.

Northern Food Fusion

I am a lover of adventure and fine tastes – a forager of the wild world. The life I live is close with nature and so is my diet. I am a Gwich’in Inuvialuit Caucasian woman living in the far north, and a student of natural medicine. My elders taught me about the healing gifts …

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Why I Love Little Birds

The view overlooking Bennett Lake, after summiting my first mountain, while accompanying a friend on his goat hunt, will stay with me forever. The noise of the wind through the high passes, blowing clouds through the huge expanses below always leaves me feeling a little haunted. The huge span of tundra, the winding rivers, the …

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Know Thy Microclimate

I’ve put a lot of miles under me this spring between Victoria, B.C. and the Klondike Valley, and had thought I would be riding the green wave north. It is true that there were more leaves out on the Gulf Islands than there were when I arrived at home in Mount Lorne, but in between, …

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Tonic or toxin?

Ah, arnica. Renowned for its power to soothe sore muscles, sprains and bruises, and a common gateway drug into the wonderful world of the do-it-yourself apothecary. Most often it is in the form of arnica oil, where the bright yellow flower heads are wilted and then used to infuse oil that can be used in …

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Death by Camas

Yes, a new form of torture has been developed, involving an unrelenting repetition of a single passage from the Myth of Sisyphus – what? C-A-M-A-S? So, not Albert? Oh…sorry about that. Let’s begin again. I love the flowers of death-camas. I love their Dr. Seussian protuberances, like false noses in bizarre and marvelous shapes. This …

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What Not to Eat: Water Hemlock

When I first began eating wild mushrooms, I was studying squirrels. I watched which mushrooms they picked to stash in trees, and figured that whichever ones they ate were probably not (or not very) poisonous. These days I know a little more and am glad I didn’t base my entire wild diet on this type …

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Pancake Tuesday

Seasonal eaters, whether they are gardeners, foragers, or locavores reading the labels at the grocery store, know that the lean time of year isn’t during the dead of winter. Then, storerooms are still stocked with plump sacks of potatoes resting contentedly beneath jars of pickled beets that glow like rubies in the dusty shine of …

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Nourishing The Heart

As the days lengthen and I embark on ever-longer forays out into the world, I remember  wistfully the easy goal of foraging. Foraging itself is not effortless, but during the snowless seasons the decision to do so is. It is simply part of the reason I wander — both the carrot and stick that goad me onward.  In the winter, it takes extra effort to get away …

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Clandestine Crabapple Caper

Yesterday the sun sank behind the mountains at the same moment as the final round of applause burst forth from the tents lining the roundabout at Shipyard’s park — a poetic end to the farmer’s market season. Well, the end of Thursday markets at least; this year, the Saturday affairs will continue through the end …

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Off The Beaten Path

I was re-routing some electrical cables through some bushes the other day, and what did my little eye spy? Not one, but two beautiful Agaricus mushrooms, one quite large and already flattened out like a pancake, the other with its veil still intact. This combination is ideal for identification. I promptly sliced them off at …

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Home writ large and small

Ah the glory days of a Northern summer!It’s the few short weeks when I take the covers off of the garden beds (always ready to run out at night should the temperature dip), and the days when the lakes are swimmable (not just dip-able). It’s the season of outdoor festivals, hiking and camping trips, and …

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Beginner’s Mind

My lack of birding skills used to be a secret shame. When it did come out, it was with an embarrassed acknowledgment that despite a background in biology and an intense love of nature, I was at best a “crap birder”. That, however, was inaccurate. I was no kind of birder, for I had given …

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The Wild Abundance of Food

It’s only recently that most people have forgotten how to forage for food. For thousands of years, First Nations communities across Canada lived on food provided by nature. Berries, barks, plants, flowers and herbs were cyclically harvested for food and medicine. Colonization changed the relationship between people, the land, and wild foods but a forager’s …

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