Spring is here and it is time to get outside!
Here at The Homestead Box, we are passionate about providing our families with fresh food that we grow, raise, or gather. Having a stable, local food source is at the top of most homesteaders list, and we want to take advantage of all of the sources available to us. This month is all about tapping in to the “uncultivated” food source. We regularly fill our freezers and pantries with fresh fish, meat, greens, nuts, fruits and berries. With this month’s box let us show you how to get started.
Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast by Hank Shaw
This book will serve as your guide and inspiration, not only for this month, but for seasons to come. Hank Shaw is a chef turned author, that hunts, fishes, gathers, and grows most of his own food. Not only that, he shares how he uses those fine ingredients to prepare fine meals for your family. In this book, Shaw covers how to get started in foraging by finding easy plants that can be found in backyards and local parks. He not only covers identification of those plants, but how to safely process and prepare them.
In the second part of this book, Shaw covers fishing. Fishing is a great way to tap into an easy and fun food source that requires little in terms of equipment. You can get a simple cane pole or a rig costing hundreds, but concepts remain the same– find a body of water and learn it well. With a little practice, you can be eating fresh fish on a regular basis almost anywhere in the country.
Part three covers perhaps the most intense part of tapping into this uncultivated food source– hunting. If you eat meat, hunting is a great way to fill the freezer. The US has tons of public land, and with websites like Outrider.us, access to hunting grounds can be easier than you think. We will be covering some of the Topics on our YouTube channel and here in the Blog later this month. Also stay tuned for a LIVE interview with the author, Hank Shaw, later this month.
Hoss Tools Garden Satchel
This little beauty keeps finding ways into our daily use here on the Homestead. We included it in the box as an all purpose tote and gathering bag, but has flexed into many different roles. The all natural canvas can be waxed or dyed to suit your needs. It can be rolled and stuffed into a backpack or behind a car seat for that unexpected forage. When we are ready to head out to find some greens, tubers, or berries, we tuck our water bottle, mosquito spray, digging tool, and gloves into it and head out. A great tip is to keep this kit ready to roll so that when you find some good weather and some spare time, you are ready to go. Other uses we have found are in the garden. Its a great place to store seed, small tools, and irrigation fittings. We’ve also been known to carry nails and tools around for small repair jobs.
Hoss Tools Over-the-Shoulder Harvesting Bucket
This is the “big brother” to the Garden Satchel. When you find that giant grape vine, or grove of wild plums, this fruit hauler fits the bill. Again, it is just as useful in the garden when your tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and squash are ready. Due to the ergonomic design, you can carry heavy loads with ease. With little or no modification, it makes a great stripping basket for fly fisherman.
The Lesche Pro Digging Tool
Versatility comes to mind when describing this tool. It’s design is a variation of a Hori Hori knife which is designed to dig, scrape, and cut all sorts of natural materials. This makes it an ideal foraging tool. With this beast and your Opinel No. 8, there is little that can’t be harvested. Make sure to sharpen you Digging tool and keep it sharp. Try not to store in the sheath for long periods of time if the tool or the sheath is wet.
Fishing, foraging, and hunting takes place outside. As awesome as the woods and streams can be, it pays to be prepared for what mother nature can
dish out in the for of sun and pests. We included a few items to keep you protected so that you can have better experience in the outdoors.
Otterwax Mosquito Spray
As with all of their products, this mosquito spray uses all natural ingredients. It also smells great. The best way to avoid mosquito bites is to cover up, but having a repellent really helps. We like to cut out the harmful chemicals, so this all natural solution fit the bill.
Black Strap Industries Daily Tube
This simple tube can be the difference between a terrible outing and a great one. It is essentially a super versatile piece of head gear. Weather you need to protect your head, face, neck, or ears, this tube has you “covered”…Get it? It is also made in the USA–always a plus.
Silly Goat Soap Company: Comfrey Salve and Poison Ivy Treatment
We love working with small homesteads. This family run business created some great products for those who work with their hands. The Comfrey Salve is perfect for those who abuse their skin. Small cuts, insect bites, or just dried and cracked skin will all benefit from the comfrey and plantain in this salve. In addition to that, we have included some Jewel Weed based Poison Ivy Treatment. Just as we advocate for learning to find the beneficial plants of the forest, we urge you to learn the nasty ones as well. If you should happen to come in contact with poison ivy, this salve should help to relive some of the symptoms.
So there you have it. A simple, quality kit that will put you well on your way to finding the food that requires no tilling, fertilizing, and no watering. Garden space is precious, so there is no need to grow something you can just go gather. In addition, fishing and hunting free you from fencing and feed cost. Before we jump back into gardening, we wanted to take a month to educate ourselves on Fruitful Foraging.
-Sam with The Homestead Box