Vinland Shore

Category: Hunting & Gathering

Thunderstorms & Bounty

 

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plentiful bushes ready to be harvested

The last few days there have been thunderstorms consistently; this morning there was a break and I decided to go into the woods to gather some blueberries. I went about a kilometer from my home where I used to go as a child, as I followed the bushes further into the woods filling my canister I became slightly disoriented as I kept my head down and picked away at the bushes. There was an abundant supply of berries and it appeared as no one had been there before me. It seems people don’t go out and do these things as much anymore.

I should not have to explain the benefits of blueberries to anyone, but in short they are a incredible source of vitamins and minerals. Blueberries are known to prevent vision loss due to aging. In fact, the British Air Force during World War 2 claimed that when they ate blueberry jam regularly their vision seemed to be enhanced and their eyes adjusted more readily to darkness. As well blueberries have been shown to improve circulation related problems such as headaches, memory loss. Solution to digestive problems and urinary problems such as kidney stones or infection.

As for preservation of the fruit, the most readily available method would be drying them in the sun, provided you can keep the birds away from them. Also freezing them works fine as well, or making them into jam or something similar. I will probably have eaten mine long before that’s necessary.

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the storm that rained me out

As I progressed the rain came again, but I didn’t want to give up on my objective. Every turn I made into the woods I found more and more waiting to be plucked. Then the thunder returned and I still didn’t want to turn away. At last when I felt ready to head home I had forgotten how I came to where I was, I’ll refer to this as “gatherers hypnosis” but it was an excellent way to pass the afternoon. I quickly found my way back to the road, and was left in awe of the thunder. I will go back as soon as possible and gather some more, and if you know of these in your area you should as well. It’s hard to say how long it will be until we are forbidden from such things, for our own safety of course.

berries after cleaning

berries after cleaning

Le Bon Sauvage

 

an example of art created by ignorant 'primitives'...

an example of art created by ignorant ‘primitives’…

Primitive is a word that has a lot of negative connotation in recent age, the word even lost its true meaning. At its base being associated with ideas that we deem to be uncivilized, savage, inept, or simply ignorant. The opposite is true the original word meant exactly that…late Middle English (in the sense ‘original, not derivative’): from Old French primitif-ive, from Latin primitivus ‘first of its kind,’ from primus ‘first. We then are no different from our forebears, we gather still around fires and recite poems, and tell stories just as our ancestors did. Were they not considered primitive? Yet they most certainly developed tools, language, created art and music. The idea that we are so far removed from our ancestors is one that is swathed in modern reconstructions of what man used to be, terrified for ourselves to be associated with those primitives

Indeed we are meant to believe that we are something completely disconnected from our forebears. This idea is constantly imprinted on us from a young age by science, and media, also absurd reconstructions. The word Neanderthal is most commonly combined with ideas of barbaric ignorant savages. We however are most certainly smarter now right? Perhaps it needs to be said that everything we consider that binds us to the modern world, all our contrivances be it computers, modern medicine or science are not part of man inherently however merely creations, extensions of the self. If we were to be laid bare of these luxuries and left to our own devices in nature after some time would we not bare any resemblance to our Palaeolithic ancestors?

clearly a specimen completely removed from modern man...

clearly a specimen completely removed from modern man…

The travelogue “Histoire de la Nouvelle-France” (History of New France) published in 1609 by Marc Lescarbot about his expedition to the French exploration of Canada entertains the idea of “le bon sauvage” (the good wild man) discusses the indigenous population of what was to become Canada. Lescarbot remarked that the savages enjoyed the privilege to hunt game, a privilege of the time only granted to hereditary aristocrats in France. It is interesting to note that regardless of how primitive the indigenous population was they still had more freedom. Lescarbot, although being a scholar and associating with men of his own calibre was still not as privileged as these native men in his own society.

The ‘idealized’ idea of the noble savage was one that was expressed throughout the colonization of the Americas. Peoples’ who had not yet been corrupted by civilization or dogmatic religious beliefs and simply existed to exemplify the nature of humanity’s innate spirit. This was in the period of sentimentalism where modern Europeans lacked the lifestyles to still understand that there was a non-inferential moral conduct so absent of choice and consequence was their lives. Clearly there was a sense of guilt about the way people lived. Despite the era of romantic writings of the primitive man, there still is a lot of insight to be gained from these viewpoints in this period.

It’s quite clear that modern Peoples even in the 17th Century saw something genuine and natural in the lives of the indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Something that was lacking from their own civilized existences, powerful in assets, yet powerless when it came to their own nature. Their relation to the natural world and to themselves as man was absent. It’s an absence that is still felt in the modern world, and it’s an absence that can’t be filled by any number of machinations that were possessed three hundred years ago, or even today.

The same noble virtues of natural existence were present in our history as well. The same virtues that European explorers exalted in the Americas as the “noble savage” perhaps he did not know it yet, perhaps he was afraid to applaud his own nature, but those virtues were buried deep inside him. There was an aching in the heart to come back to the natural world. Perhaps some of us are so weak that we would perish in the natural world, still there are some that thrive in nature. Others are still conjoined to the modern world, and would do anything to protect what slowly destroys them, and In spite of this rush to their own oblivion.

So why is it still the word primitive is such a dirty one? Scholars hundreds of years ago saw the virtues of the so-called primitive life. The solution to our metaphysical crisis is in front of the world, yet so many people are blind to it! Or refute our own nature outright as barbaric ignorant of the truth. It frustrates me endlessly how easily our natural aspirations as humans are neglected. We are primitive man still; we should not neglect ourselves any longer. The sooner we begin to regard ourselves and our ancestors in as one and the same, then the sooner we can achieve reconciliation with our true selves, and thus ethereal harmony.

...or perhaps I myself am an ignorant primitive...

…or perhaps I myself am an ignorant primitive…

Woodland Eating

hare
In a previous post I had spoke about living in a self-sufficient manner, and I spoke about how many people would consider this life to be a near impossible feat as a result of how accustomed we are to living in a modern age. This is something I often think about, and a dream of mine is to finally be able to live as close to this as possible and to rely on the outside market for goods and tools as little as is possible. I recall a great deal from my childhood in gathering berries and things from the forest. As well as planting vegetables in the field we had tilled outside my home.

In addition I recall learning how to snare rabbit along their trails throughout the forest. It is a extremely simple task to create a wire snare for the task of capturing hare, and they are  a great nutritional source; very high in protein. However you cannot survive solely on them because of their lack in essential fatty acids which would result in protein poising. So it would not be wise to try to survive on a diet of rabbit meat alone. The taste of the meat depends on the age and time of year they are captured or killed. The diet depending on the season in which they are killed of course affects the flavour of the meat. I’ve only ever eaten rabbits that have been captured or killed in the wild so I cannot comment on the taste of rabbits that would be raised or bred on a farm. Pelts from rabbits can also be utilized to craft clothing and accessories if you are so inclined.

Tracking a rabbit path or “lead” is a skill that can be easily learned by anyone willing to do so. You can typically spot a well beaten rabbit lead on the forest floor fairly quickly. As well you can learn to see where they have been feeding on short growing alder, and other small bushes. It will have a distinctive edge to where it’s been bitten off. It is good practise to take your wire and run it back and forth along a spruce tree or a pine, as it will remove any kinks from the wire and also help cover any scent you may have left on it. If you think there may be too much room for the rabbit to pass on either side of your snare you can cut off branches and drive into the ground as an obstruction. Although they have a keen sense of smell otherwise they are not too intelligent.

Along with other things you can harvest from the forest rabbits are an extremely reliable food source as they breed very quickly and are rather simple to catch and clean.

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