Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trout, Fiddleheads and Japanese Knotweed--what more can a man ask?

What a difference two or three days make, especially in spring when wild edible plants are popping up all over like mushrooms after a September rain.

Friday, my efforts resulted in a handful of tiny ostrich ferns and some false Solomon’s seal to nibble on, plus some Japanese knotweed shoots. Not a bad haul, but nothing to put meat on the bones either.

Today, Tuesday, I picked a half-bushel of dandelions from my front lawn and a similar quantity of ostrich fern fiddleheads from a nearby stream. This grand effort took the better part of a day and was precipitated by the knowledge that rain is coming and will stay with us for at least three days, precluding any wild plant harvesting. At least for me, that is.

I wrote a friend the other day and concluded my message by saying, “life is good.” And for me it is.

Yesterday, after knocking off a column for the outdoor magazine I write for, I decided to head out and try and catch a rainbow trout. I had heard that rainbows were plentiful in a certain section of river.

Knowing where these silver-and-raspberry colored trout usually hold, I headed to the scene of past successes. It took much effort to crawl down a rocky bank, with loose rocks and clinging brambles, but finally I reached the bottom.

My hunch paid off. My efforts resulted in two, gorgeous rainbow trout, taken on artificial lures and ultralight spinning tackle.

Before leaving, I picked a bunch of Japanese knotweed shoots and put them in my fish creel.

Talk about a good day. And add today, with the bounty of fiddleheads and dandelions. For someone like me who lives rather close to the bone and depends upon seasonal offerings such as this, I must reiterate my closing salute to my friend: “Life is good.”

Before leaving, let me say that "NLO" wrote, telling me how excited she is in finding some of the wild plants that we discussed in this weekend's adult ed class in Gardiner, Maine. Well, NLO, I am equally as excited. I always get a thrill when people new to foraging for edible wild plants find something new. It is my pleasure and honor that I was able to assist you in this worthy endeavor. Thank you, NLO. And keep up the good work.