Tuesday, 26 August 2008

foraging for food

We are getting in to foraging. Walks have taken on great purpose when we are looking for things to eat. My wee girl loves this. Picking blueberries was especially tasty and we ate them straight from the bushes and walked home with stained hands and mouths. We also tried mushroom picking but gave up as we really needed someone experienced to come with us and show us what not to pick. I didn't want to take any chances and poison the family.

We are keeping an eye on the brambles (blackberries) watching them ripen slowly. When they are ready we will pick them and make crumbles and jam. There is an apple tree nearby we collect apples from to make chutney. Foraging is one of the great delights of autumn. It feels so wholesome to go out with the kids, pick food and then eat it.

Most summers we put our boat out on the loch and go trout fishing. We just didn't manage this year as we are so busy with the house build and my husband has been away loads. 

There are a few locals who occasionally go out at night to hunt deer. They just take 'one for the pot' and fill the freezer, pass some out to neighbours. They usually go when the estate manager is in the bar drinking. One renowned poacher is also a hill-runner. He was out on the hill one night when he heard footsteps coming nearer. He hid his shotgun up high in a tree and broke into a run towards the footsteps. As he ran past, the estate manager asked him, "In training for the hill race?" to which he replied, "Aye."

I will never forget the time when I first moved to this village. There had been a clay pigeon shoot on and then a big drink taken in the local hotel. Prizes of game were awarded to the best shots. I went home to bed early and was woken up at 1am with a big party going on in our cottage. My husband had brought back the entire pub it seemed. He ended up going to bed and I was left with the party.

Next morning I was woken with banging on the door and the window. An angry wife had tracked down her errant husband and brother-in-law to our house. They were asleep together on the sofa bed. I had insisted they stayed rather than drink-drive. I have never seen anyone jump out of bed as quick as that man did when he saw his wife's face looking through the window at him. "How did she find me?" She got the two of them going quick smart.

I went through to the kitchen to see a whole side of smoked salmon lying on the floor and then in the back porch I was met with the sight of a hare tied at the hind legs dangling from the window latch. A single bullet wound to the head and blood drips on my floor. I could only laugh. Country life! Well no-one claimed the smoked salmon so after about a week we ate it and the hare went to a neighbour for skinning and butchering and he returned it to us diced. Hare casserole it was then. 

1 comment:

Frog in the Field said...

Middle daughter came home with lots of bluberries for me last week..mostly squashed on the rear of her white trousers!! Pest!