Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bear With Me

Collecting food can sometimes be a real challenge but for those that are determined to succeed the idea is to just never give up.   I suppose I could learn a thing or two from my competition here as he seems to be willing to cross any line to get his just deserts.

I just never seem to hang around for as long as it takes to get the choice bits whereas this  bear is obviously more determined than I am.

I suppose I have to learn to stretch outside my comfort zone if I'm going to reach the heights that this fellow has attained.  After all isn't the ultimate goal to get that great tasting collected meal? 

Besides who doesn't enjoy hanging out in the outdoors ....

Saturday, May 29, 2010

James Bond Movie Title Or Just An OCTOPUS?

I would have kept this little guy if I hadn't previously read the following instructions on how to prepare Octopus:

1) Turn the octopus inside out just as you would do with a pair of socks.
2) Clean the octopus under warm running water for approximately one minute.
3) Remove the beak (little hard ball found at the centre), the eyes and the ink sack.
4) Turn the octopus right side out again.
5) Boil the whole octopus in enough water to cover it entirely. Most octopus cook within one hour. A good way to determine if it is ready is by inserting a knife blade where the octopus head meets the legs. If the blade yields with no resistance the octopus is done.
6) Rinse the octopus in cold water and remove the slimy parts.

Imagine if we had to turn cows or chickens inside out in order  to clean them ...  All those that would have become Vegans raise your hands .....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fact Or Fiction?

   I'm assuming that all those that live by the sea have heard the ol' wives tales about only harvesting oysters during the months that have an "R" in them ...  For those that live too far away to have heard of this myth one of the reasons is/was that during the "non-R" months the oysters are spawning and therefore not at their prime.  Another reason was that it was thought to be too warm to safely collect and then transport them.  As you can see here my picking partner doesn't give a damn what the myths are ....  It's May and we just finished picking dinner off the beach at Nanoose bay.  Fresh oysters and clams do make a tasty meal. 

Just the same I'm a little concerned that we came across three fairly large crabs that were dead on the beach ....

Maybe there IS something to the myth?

Monday, May 24, 2010

In the Eye Of The Beholder?

 They look so damn inviting and photogenic they just have to be edible .... right?   Well if you read the literature on Amanitas it should be apparent that all that looks good isn't always good for you.  On the top is Amanita muscaria which has an edibility description of:  *** poisonous containing both sweat-inducing and mild hallucinogenic poisons which can cause delirium and coma ***.  Next is Amanita pantherina which has an edibility description of:  *** very poisonous, sometimes deadly ***.  The first words of caution that I was given when I started to collect wild mushrooms was "learn the poisonous ones FIRST!"  The rest may only make you slightly ill if you have an allergy to them.  Best advice I have had in some time ....

Friday, May 21, 2010


    We could hear the buzzing before we got to the nest and it was obvious the wasps weren't happy about us being so close.  My "shrooming" partner couldn't resist I guess and to my amazement he gave the nest a poke with his hiking stick.  It's been a few years since I moved that fast but when I saw about fifty cranky wasps come tumbling out of the bottom of the nest I was on my way ....  DAMN fast I might add...
       As we continued on our way I pondered on just how much inbreeding had occurred in his lineage.  There's more than enough ways to get hurt while out hunting mushrooms without inviting a bunch of angry wasps into your airspace.  The one thing we did agree on was how weird it was that they had built their nest on something as unstable as a fern frond.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oysters Anyone?

   Not the seafood type of Oysters but just as tasty ...  and the price is right.  While not exactly free when you take into consideration the current price of gasoline  but well worth it just the same.  Not only do Oyster mushrooms  look good but they pair exquisitely with most foods.  Also one must keep in mind the benefit of all the exercise you get tracking these critters down which at times can be very difficult! 
After all they don't just grow on trees you know ....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sand in The Diet?

   Nothing like a little grit in one's diet to aid the digestion.  It's May in Nanaimo and the low tides are during the daylight hours making clam harvesting much more enjoyable than stumbling around the beach in the dark.  With a limit of 75 clams per person it's not hard to make a very tasty and thick clam  chowder.  My trusty "Wally World" garden rake direct from China that I bought for four dollars  makes a perfect "clam gun" and even the lead laced paint doesn't seem to bother the clams.  Now all that is needed is to get up a good head of steam and find that bottle of seafood sauce in the back of the refrigerator .... 

Just exactly how many calories is in one of these little dioxin catchers?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Fly" Fishing?

It appears I'm not the only one that is spending time in Colliery dam looking for a free meal. This heron must have heard that fisheries had recently stocked the dams with the usual 10 to 12 inch trout and was determined to "collect" his share. (  I know ....  an assumption on my part that it was a male).  As I walked by the look he gave me was ....  " I could outfish you while standing on one leg ...."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saskatoons or Serviceberries

   As a child spending summers on my grandparents farm in Southern Alberta I had spent many a day picking pails full of Saskatoons.  Recently I spotted a bush for sale in a nursery south of Duncan and had to have one.  Last year I harvested about 20 berries off that bush and decided to get another couple of bushes this year.  Shortly after the bush came into flower this year I happened to be walking along a logging road looking for Morel mushrooms and came across this bush.  Damn!!!  That's a Saskatoon bush in the wild.  I had no idea all the years I have lived here on Vancouver Island I could have been picking wild Saskatoons ....  The really good news is they have way more antioxidants than a good shot of Crown Royal ....