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About urbanforager

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  • Birthday 08/30/1968

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    gardening, baking, hunting, writing, wild food foraging, herbal wellness, etc!
  1. Hello all! I had a nifty experience this morning I thought I'd share with you all. I recently came into a bit of money, and was able to pay off ALL of our credit cards (thank you Aunt Marj!). When I went out to get in my car to go to work this morning, the windshield was covered with frost. I haven't yet put the ice scraper in my car, and I was running a bit late, so I rummaged in my purse and found the cancelled credit card. And you know what? It does a DANDY job of scraping frost off a windshield! Guess I'll hang onto that card for a while longer!
  2. I'll have to get DH to upload the pics. And a quick update -- we had the first package of deer steaks from this doe last night for supper. I think she must have spent her entire life just lounging around the forest reading romance novels and eating bonbons, because she was just the tenderest thing I have ever tasted. The steaks were backstrap-tender, I'm not even kidding.
  3. Do you think you could use horehound candy instead of just the plain sugar? It's a thought....
  4. So on Halloween, since I am a writer of ghost stories, I had a book signing to go to. This one was at a nearby Barnes & Noble. I was pretty excited, as I'd never yet managed to get myself into that particular store for a signing before this. So I dressed up in a nice skirt (courtesy of my wonderful sister), a white shirt, and black heels (courtesy of the same sister and our mad shopping trip in September). On the way to the store, I noticed a nice-looking (read: not too smashed-up) doe at the side of the road. I didn't have time to stop and check her out before the book signing, so I made a mental note of the place. The signing went GREAT; I sold a few books, made some new friends, and a good time was had by all. In the parking lot afterwards, I transferred the spare tire from the trunk of the Cougar to the backseat. I was ready to go get my deer. Back on the highway, I turned around and came to a stop just in front of the deer. I backed up a bit, turned on my flashers, and carefully got out to see what was what. She was another ginormous doe (see last November's Saga of the Roadkill Doe for details). Without going into details, she had obviously been hit, but she wasn't damaged too badly. I took a step back, considering her size. I grabbed a leg and gave it an experimental tug. No WAY was this girl going into the trunk intact; she was just too heavy. I zipped up my leather jacket (I WAS wearing a white shirt, after all), took out my ever-present pocketknife, and started to field-dress her. I'd gotten her unzipped up the front, and was starting to fiddle around inside trying to get the windpipe down far enough to cut it out, when the state trooper pulled up. He coasted to a stop and put his disco lights on. I (quite sensibly I thought) put my knife down and kept my blood-covered hands where he could see them. Now, I don't get dressed up very often, so when I do, I tend to forget that I'm wearing really nice clothes. Like heels. And a skirt. At the side of the highway. The trooper got out of his car, and I smiled. "Hi there!" I said brightly. "I found this nice roadkill doe -- I'm not the one that hit her -- and I'm just field-dressing her so I can get her into my trunk." The trooper shoved his hat up on his head. "I gotta tell you, this is not what I expected to hear when I got out of my car." "Well, it's true." I gave him my most brilliant, oh-I-do-this-every-day smile. He said, "Hmm. Why don't you just sit tight for a minute, and I'll call this in." So there I was, sitting on the guard rail, legs crossed ladylike at the ankles, my skirt waving just a little in the slight breeze, hands covered in blood, while a cop car idled mere feet away from me with its lights going. I can honestly say that I have never been in a situation quite like that before. After a (long) while, he came back. He gave me the song-and-dance about having to go to the DNR website to report having taken a roadkill deer (which I already knew about). I said I would. Then he said that he was just a little worried about me field-dressing a deer at the side of the road. "You never know which car is going to be driving along with some kids in the back seat, and they're gonna look out and see you cutting Bambi's guts out." Heh. Snerk. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I mean, oh, officer, I hadn't thought of that! Do you suppose you could help me drag her down off of the road just a bit? He went and got a pair of latex gloves out of the squad car (cough*wuss*cough) and helped me drag her down there. Then he got back in his car and drove off, leaving me to my work. I got the deer field-dressed (and darn, that's hard to do when it's just you). Finally I dragged her back up to the car and opened the trunk. I snagged my phone, and that's when I saw that I had missed a call from DH. I called him back. "Hi honey. I'm almost done. I just have to get her into the trunk, and then I'll be on my way home." I struggled womanfully with the deer, trying to get her up and into the trunk. Even without her innards, she was still over a hundred pounds of dead weight. "What was that? I didn't hear you. Say it again." (Somehow I missed the muffled giggles at that point.) Unbeknownst to me, DH was out at lunch with some friends of ours, and had just put the phone on speaker. And that's how the entire lunch crowd at Steak-N-Shake heard my next words. "I just don't know how murderers DO this! I've already got the plastic bag down to line the trunk, but I just can't get her in! Goshdarnit, she's HEAVY!" I decided that the deer wasn't going to get lifted into the trunk if it was just me doing it. I eyeballed the distance from the ground to the trunk, and from the ground to the front seat. "I'm tempted to just shove her into the front seat at this point." I took the plastic garbage bag out of the trunk and laid it across the passenger seat. By this time, DH could hardly breathe. "Just strap her in with the seatbelt!" "That's the plan." Great minds really DO think alike. "I need both hands for this. I'll call you back." Just before I hung up, I heard DH howl, "I SO need pictures of this!!!" I dragged the deer over to the passenger side. That's when I realized that with the guard rail in the way, the door didn't open very far. At all. I had very little leverage, even less than when I was trying to manhandle the carcass into the trunk. I pushed and shoved, but I just couldn't get her into the front seat, which was more than a little disappointing to me. I had already been looking forward to having really unusual company on the drive home. At this point, if someone else had stopped, I was fully prepared to yell, "Now what did I TELL you was going to happen if I heard the phrase 'are we there yet?' ONE? MORE? TIME?!?!?!?" But no-one stopped, so the joke was lost. So the deer wasn't going into the front seat either. I decided to go with Plan C, which was to drag the deer back to the trunk, then stand there looking forlorn until someone stopped, then ask them to help me. Plan C actually worked. After another (long) while, another police car pulled up, a sheriff's deputy this time, and turned its lights on. He got out of the car, and I said, "Oh, am I glad to see you!" (In a new situation, I like to take the initiative.) "I've got this deer all field-dressed, and I've been trying to put her into the trunk, but she's just too heavy for me to get her in all by myself. Could you possibly help me?" The deputy looked me up and down. In addition to my still-blood-covered hands, I had streaks of blood all down my shins from where the deer had leaked on me while I was dragging her from the trunk to the side of the car, and back to the trunk. "I gotta tell you, that is not what I expected to hear when I got out of the car." I sighed. "Yeah, I've been getting that a lot today. A little help? Please?" He pulled a pair of gloves from his pocket and took the hind legs. I cradled the deer's head, and together we heaved her into the trunk. "Have a nice day." "Thanks officer!" I shut the trunk and got back into the car. Back on the road, I turned the radio on. There was a classical greatest hits tape in the player, and I hit seventy listening to Strauss' "Blue Danube Waltz". Oh yeah, there's nothing like listening to the Beautiful Blue Danube when you've got a dead deer in your trunk. I got home with no further incidents. I pulled into the driveway, and DH unloaded the deer from the trunk, plus he hung it up for me to butcher. What a guy. I strongly considered leaving the garage door open while I cut up the deer -- hey, it was Halloween, and what better way to freak out trick-or-treaters, amIright? -- but I was good, and shut the door. Now I have a freezer full of nicely processed deer meat, and the dogs are looking very primal gnawing on their leg bones. And yes, I did change out of my nice book-signing clothes before I went out to the garage to butcher. And yes, DH did get pictures.
  5. [quote name='Pixie' date='Aug 23 2010, 05:27 PM' post='340150' We have been cleaning thier ears with cotton swabs, and giving them olive oil drops. I figure there must be something that I can ad to the olive oil that will help. Garlic? rosemary? Chrysanthemum? tea tree? The only advice I have to add is to try mullein flower oil. It's supposed to be good for earaches in humans, so I'd bet it couldn't hurt in a dog or cat. Mullein flowers are past their prime now (they bloom in July where I live), but you should be able to get some at a health food store, if you can't make it yourself. Good luck with your furbabies!
  6. Of course! I'd love to! I've been wild food foraging for ... okay, for a really long time. I'm always happy to share the knowledge.
  7. Hey all. Remember about two years ago when I asked for help identifying a plant I thought was some sort of pin cherry, only I couldn't post pics because I didn't have a phone that would do that at the time? I found out what that bush is, and it's not what I thought it was. It's not a cherry of any sort. It's autumn olive, or autumnberry. And once I identified it, I see it alllll over the place at the park in town. (Huge expanse of green space, horse trails, etc.) I happened to get the book Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer. Not only did he help me identify wild black cherry, he also solved the mystery I'd been wondering about for two years. And now I know another wild edible! Yay me! The autumnberry is supposed to be amazing, and good for stuff like jelly and fruit leather. (I'm planning on wine, there's so darn much of it.) The berries are orange and very sour right now, but you can tell the flavor underneath is good. They come ripe at about the same time as highbush cranberries. Oh, and the black cherry juice? Is going to be made into jelly along with the extremely early elderberries. Yum!
  8. Say, that's a good idea. We've got a great gun shop in town; perhaps I'll ask there. And running an ad in the Tradin' Post couldn't hurt, I guess -- I'll have to figure out the logistics of that one. Thanks for the advice!
  9. Hi all! I hope someone can help me out with this. I posted a while ago that I had "harvested" a lovely roadkill doe last November. I skinned her out, and she had the most gorgeous winter coat on her. I cleaned the skin and salted it very well, and it is currently rolled up and sitting in my attic. The weather's starting to get warm (starting!), and I know I have to get this skin out and deal with it somehow. The thing is, I have absolutely no time to tan a hide right now. I had, like, eight book signings in April alone, and my summer weekends are booked up. I have book signings scheduled out into November, no joke. That's good for me and my books, but baaaaad for this beautiful doeskin. Can someone please, please tan this hide for me? I am perfectly willing to do lots and lots of barter. It's not very heavy, so I don't think it would cost a huge whole lot to send it somewhere and back. I'd really love to have it tanned so that the hair remains on it -- I'd like to use it as a lap blanket in the winter. If anyone responds to this post, Bless You. I don't want this hide to go to waste, but I really don't have the time to attend to it in the foreseeable future. Thank you soooooo much!
  10. I don't think it is weird at all. We do butcher our goats and we be willing to sell/barter/trade you a goat skin, however we do not have any that we will be butchering any time soon so I cannot help you right now. I hope you are able to find one. See, I really need to check in more often.... I see that your reply to my original post was in mid-December. Are you now (end of May) approaching goat-butchering time? I'm an urban (well, urban-ish) kid, so I don't know when these things happen. Please let me know, and I swear I'll check this thread from time to time!
  11. All this stuff I've been making is made with the flowers of the dandelions. It's very labor-intensive, because you have to separate the flower petals from the green base. (That's the only batch of wine I have EVER had to throw away -- the first batch of dandelion wine I ever made, I left the green part on. DO NOT DO THIS. ) You can use the dandelion syrup on pancakes, or in baklava (I've got a recipe for that). Like I said, the stuff I made got waaaaay overcooked. I'll be starting a batch of dandelion cordial on Wednesday, which calls for some honey, so I'll use the overcooked syrup for that purpose, since it's about that consistency now. Oh, and the dandelion fizz and herb (nettle and dandelion) beer? Tastynice!!!!! I can't wait 'til it's aged properly and I can pop a few bottles in the fridge to chill! MMMMMmmmmm!
  12. Oops ... came home just now and went to bottle the dandelion syrup that I had left on the stove to cool when I went to work. Guess I cooked it a leeeetle too long, 'cause instead of dandelion syrup, I have dandelion honey. Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with that!
  13. This weekend, I went out into the woods. I have finished: a batch of dandelion jelly (8 quarter pints and a bigger jar that will be used right away that I didn't bother to seal), a batch of dandelion fizz (because that elderflower champagne last year was just SO wonderful), and a batch of dandelion syrup. I am still in the middle of: violet syrup, a batch of herb beer (small beer, like the dandelion fizz, with dandelions and nettles), and a batch of lilac wine. I picked the lilacs from a huge bush in some generous soul's backyard. The aroma of the blooms just about knocked me over from ten feet away. You should SMELL my kitchen at the moment. I'm seriously considering another Wild Foods Feast this Friday, because I have MORE DANDELIONS to use up. Tentatively on the menu: dandelion cornbread, nettle lasagna (because eating them plain is yummy but ...err...fuzzy, 'cause of the little hairs. Nobody likes them as a plain potherb), a venison roast from last December's roadkill doe, a salad with violets and redbud blossoms, garlic mustard and poke greens, and elderberry... something-or-other. And probably the ever-popular raccoon. And maybe dandelion pancakes with lemon curd. Man I love spring!!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!!
  14. MMMMmmm...weeeeeeds... Seriously, has anyone else here tried nettles? Or milkweed? I like milkweed shoots even better than green beans. Wow, they are GOOD. Loves me some lambs quarter, too. I pick bunches of nettles every spring and dry them for use throughout the year. (They don't sting once they're dried.) I make my kombucha every Sunday morning, and that's what goes into the pot with the tea and sugar -- a generous fingerpinch of dried nettles. If I'm thinking of it, I'll crumble some into soups, too.
  15. Okay, now I'm picturing how I can use all the kombucha vinegar that I have sitting around 'cause it's WAY too sour for me to drink straight!
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