Thursday, June 4, 2015

Part 140

Everyone leaves eventually and sometimes they don't mean to ... but then sometimes they do.  Mary may have wanted someone to listen to her but seems she has even less of a tolerance level for people than I do ... or maybe it is attention span ... or maybe she is just afraid if she stops for more than a little while she won't have what it takes to keep going again.  That last is what she said anyway.

I mean she was nice about it.  We shared the bear meat though she took most of it for the dogs who seemed to be bottomless pits.  She just got ready to go and just left ... what Dad used to call having an itchy foot.  So I'm alone again.

And I do mean alone because the women still aren't back.  This is the fourth night they've been gone.  I expected one, maybe two, but not four.  On the third night Mary suggested that perhaps it was a test and I figured that was possible, I mean anything is I guess.  You think you kinda have a feel for what someone will do but I thought for a while there that maybe I didn't.  But after Mary left I changed my mind again.  Something has happened.  I don't know what, but something definitely has.  They gave me too many lectures that were too real for me to really believe that they intended to be gone twice as long as their worst case plan was.

And this is the part that didn't get covered.  The part about what to do if they don't come back, like it was unthinkable that none of them would.  Why I didn't think that must mean that I still have some stupid left in me.  But I don't want to be any more stupid than what I've already been.  Stupid can get you in trouble.  Stupid can get you dead ... or worse, chomped and infected.

I've been giving it some thought.  First off I don't want to get in trouble for going AWOL; I may be a contractor but I did sign a paper to do a job and don't want to get a bad reputation.  Second off ... or secondly or whatever ... it is too soon to give up on them.  Worst case could be just a lot worse than they figured it would be and what if they are expecting me to be here as a fallback position?  What if maybe one or more of them got injured on their way back here?  If I leave they could be in a lot of trouble.

But I can't be a fallback position if I don't have any supplies left and that is exactly what is going to happen if I don't take some action.  I've sat around on by bumper long enough waiting for something to happen, waiting for the women to come back.  I haven't been the waiting around type since early times in the city and even then half the reason I was always getting in trouble was because I was trying to do something, anything, to make things better.  But I know what I'm doing now ... most of the time ... and I'm just not going to wait around anymore.

I mean I am going to wait around ... I'm just not going to wait around doing nothing.  I've worked it out; some of it anyway.  It came to me while I talked with Mary ... or listened to her talk at me.  It's early June, time to get off my bumper and get ready to prepare for the winter.  I hear winters around here are pretty ferocious; different from the Northern Woods but just as bad.  We are at higher elevations around here so the cold is going to come sooner and last longer and the wild forage is going to reflect that.  I have my notes from Marty and Mary got a kick out of teaching me some more.

If the women come back and things still go according to plan after that we will be out "in the wild" until the end of June or so.  We'll go back for a week of RNR and then be sent back out here someplace.  Mary said mid-July is when things really take off and you only have about a month or so to really get what you can against the hard times.  But even now, early in the season - or at least this is what Mary is calling it - there are things you can gather for the future.

Already know all about the arrowhead and cattail.  You can't really preserve the arrowhead but it is available for most of the year anyway.  The cattail I know all about already and I started collecting and preparing that today.  I need the starch anyway to make what buckwheat flour I have go further.  Mary also showed me wild onions, morels, something she called Indian Plums, and fiddleheads.  My goal is to use as little of the military food as possible to see how far I can get.

In fact my dinner tonight was fiddleheads with morels.  I steamed some fiddleheads until they were tender-crisp then I took the morels and chopped them and dry-fried them to get rid of most of the water in them.  I drained the little bit of liquid in the pan off and then put a little bit of butter powder and some of the olive oil in the skillet to saut√© the mushroom.  I tossed the fiddleheads back in there and then seasoned it with a little bit of salt and pepper and yum yum.  I almost ate too much.  Mr. Svenson would have said I was full as a tick.  I hope where ever he and the rest of the Singing Water people are at they are safe and healthy and doing what they need to to get set for next winter.  It seems a long way off but Mary said it would be here before you know it.

Tomorrow I've got a project that I'm not sure is going to work but it might and there is enough that it is worth trying.  I am going to pickle some fiddle heads.  I still have the jars and stuff that those nasty pickled turkey gizzards came in.  And I've got a super big pot from the military cooking kit that came with my cart.  Mary showed me some wild dill and told me how some of the people in local settlements do it.  I canned with Mom so I should get this right ... I just hope the lids re-seal.

I'm also going to dry some morel mushrooms and wild onions so that I can have them off-season.  I'm pretty sure I can use the reflector oven for that, shouldn't be any worse than drying cattails which is how I did it at my cabin.  The wild plums aren't ripe yet.  In fact some of the trees are still in bloom so I might miss them in this area but I should still be able to get them in other areas.

And the other thing I'm going to do tomorrow, if the women don't show up, is I'm going to set me a fish line and set some snares.  Most of my snares will be for animals but I have an idea after listening to some of the stories that Mr. Svenson told that I can make man-sized snares as well.  The only thing I'm worried about it maybe snaring something bigger than I can deal with ... like another bear.  That's all I need.

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