Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mountain View bounty

Julie and I went to the Bean Festival in Mountain View, AR recently, and though the festival was pretty amazing, the best part was scoring a bunch of wild foods.  The first day of the festival we parked downtown behind some of the main street buildings in an area designated as public parking.  We went to check out the music and see what else was going on and then returned to the car later in the day.  We noticed two women with bags picking something off the ground near our car and we asked them what they were doing.  They said they were gathering pecans.  I never would have even thought to look for them because I've never seen a full grown pecan tree in person.  I suppose it's possible that before the festival was over I might have noticed some of the trees around town or the one under which our car was parked, but I was grateful to have had the two women bring them to our attention.  Upon looking up we noticed the only large trees shading the parking lot were pecans.  Julie's eyes lit up and I thought she might pee her pants when she realized the amount of free pecans that we could potentially get.

Looking around we noticed two more stately and venerable trees on the other side of a chain link fence where there were more cars parked.  After Julie started gathering pecans I began to wonder if we were ever going to get back to the festival.  I seriously thought she had forgotten about the festival entirely and was now determined to spend as much time gathering nuts as possible.  Julie loves getting free food in this way--gleaned from wild plants.  She has been known to go nuts gathering autumn olive berries. 

Our total wild fruit and nut score--including a heaping bushel basket of pecans

We did get back to the festival, but only after spending at least an hour and a half picking and gathering pecans.  The husks on the nuts had just begun to open, dumping delicious pecans on the ground.  With the help of a stick we were able to knock even more nuts from their shells onto the ground.  Some of the neighboring trees were climbable so we climbed up and picked the nuts directly.  A man came out to tell us that the parking area was his land and though he didn't mind us gathering the nuts, they wouldn't be any good if we picked them before they opened.  It turned out this wasn't true.  All the nuts we got turned out to be fine and all of them have been delicious so far.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Homemade pot rack

I made this pot rack recently out of some metal from an old harrow that was sitting rusting out on our land.  I'd been searching for some scrap metal to fill the purpose when I finally got the inspiration from the antique field implement half buried in the ground and fully obscured by the underbrush.  With a couple of chain lengths and some hooks I was able to put together this more or less upcycled pot rack.  I really like the way it turned out aesthetically, but more important, having the rack has freed up a lot of space in my cupboards for storage of other stuff.  It's also much easier to get and put away pots when they are hanging above you.