Category Archives: travel

Foraging the Wharfe valley

Yesterday we decided on a whim to get the train to Harrogate and then walk the 14 miles back to Horsforth, traversing the Whafe valley. As usual we were armed with carrier bags, pen knifes, etc just in case. It was a beautiful day to walk through an equally beautiful landscape with hardly a sole around. We had not planned to forage but came across some edibles so decided to snap them up, what better way to remember a landscape, journey or view than eating it! Today I’ll make a simple wild garlic and sorrel pesto not the most exciting of foraged food but the greatest way to celebrate a brilliant day.

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Wild gooseberry bush

Though it’s a little early for gooseberries hopefully I’ll remember this bush and use it to plan another trip.

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wild garlic

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common sorrel

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Sea cabbage and the politics of foraging.

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Sea cabbage Brassica oleracea

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Not sure if this is a lucky accident or deliberate but useful having such a lush green veg by the back door.

Went for my first coastal forage of the year on Saturday armed with everything I’d need to collect a large haul of shellfish, so I was a little disappointed when I couldn’t find a single mussel. Tried a beach Ive never been to before, Staithes then walking along the beach to Port Mulgrave and back along the cliff tops. Its a beautiful place just a little further up the coast from Whitby.

However even though I was without protein I was delighted to find Sea Cabbage in abundance, for a plant which is quite rare it was everywhere. With such a profusion of plants I thought it would be fine to take a couple of handfuls but there lies the problem, not can I take but should I take? The media recently seem to be focusing in on the ‘gangs’ of foragers stripping the countryside of it’s native plants and fungi. Recently 15 people were in court for collecting fungi from Epping forest.

For those people who collect commercially I have no sympathy, nothing is going to give foragers a bad name more than people who turn a resource into a commodity. Like most wild food collectors I take what I need and only when I can see it in abundance not stripping a solitary plant or picking every fruit from a bush. Even if you take out the ethics and conservation issues it makes little sense destroying a harvest for the future, making sure there is enough to set seed or keep on producing means you can keep coming back to it, surely that’s the whole point of foraging? tapping into a resource not destroying it.

I think that as a forager you feel a sense of stewardship for an area, the life of the insects and birds etc which rely and have always relied on that patch are all part of it. Considering the bigger picture is important for me, I don’t need to pick and gather from the wild, I want to, I need to remember that I’m sharing this resource and it’s not just there for my benefit. Pick mindfully.

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A few of the rare wild greens.

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economy drive Day3

breakfastFinally a cash free day! I prepared myself, eggs from the bottom of the garden for breakfast- that’s from chickens not a new Tesco’s that’s popped up under the hedge. Lunch of pasta and store cupboard leftovers, all made and ready to go. There is also plenty of food for dinner later so no money need change hands today.

However that’s until we both have to leave the house, the car has been ruled out so the train it is. Here is my minor moral dilemma, not to sound like the Roger the Dodger of rail travel but sometimes on the 2 stop, 7 minute trip nobody checks your ticket. Meaning a saving of possibly £5 for the two of us. My OH decides to buy a return for £2:50 while I take a chance. We take the train get off nobody checks, I’m up but feel a little of a cheat. the day runs smoothly apart from a need to print some work, at a cost of 20p! my throat tightens, until a friend offers to print them as I did it last time, I sigh with relief and eat my lunch. Serendipitously while sharing the lift with the tea tray lady I cheekily ask if there are any biscuits left? to my delight there is a whole plate full which she kindly gives me, it feels like a very small victory.

I meet my OH in the park on the way home and we get the train together home again due to the rammed train no checks, I’ve had a completely free day without having to resort to a radical lifestyle change.

* disclaimer- I normally buy a train ticket

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pig husbandry

Excellent video, beautifully filmed just watch it

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The economy drive, DAY 1

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“That’s the last straw! we’re going on an economy drive.”

I’m not sure if the rest of the house got the reference, perhaps I watched too much TV as a child but I don’t care I’ve had enough. I can’t seem to blink without spending money at the moment. I know that  food, mortgage, warmth and the car all need paying for and I’m not about to live in a cave drawing Eastender’s on the wall and eating nuts but it’s getting too much, even when we all agreed on Sunday to survive on £20 this week (not including bills) it’s day one and we’ve failed! and that’s my point life’s getting too expensive.

We had agreed on living on £20 for the week, just as an experiment, to see what happened, to see where the money goes. It’s not so scary it takes a little commitment but not much danger, there’s probably more food in the house than I realize and I could probably do without a lot of things (keep repeating booze is not an essential..)

Here’s what happened, my OH get’s downstairs, there’s no porridge, cereal and she’s gluten free so no toast, so she has scrambled egg, using 3 of the six eggs we have- the chickens are not laying as regular at the moment. She then decides to get the train instead of driving to work which cost around £8 a week instead of £20 petrol. Ok at this point we’re winning.

As she leaves the house I realize she has not taken a packed lunch! First fail. I think ah well that’s OK she’s saving on the train and not using the car, until I remember it’s the last night of her upholstery class, meaning she needs to drive there and pay £12:50 for the class. Cutting a huge hole in the £20 budget.

I’m at home all day, so get the stove on and live like a Hobbit in the front room, boiling the kettle and making both breakfast and dinner on the stove, trying to feel that it’s making a difference. I use 2 eggs bread, pasta found at the back of the cupboard and the remains of pesto in the fridge.

We have what feels a decadent dinner of roast beef and the trimmings – bought at the weekend- my OH admits to spending £2:50 on her dinner but drops the bombshell of £3:99 on cough medicine!

Bringing Mondays grand total to £20:69

69p more than what we agreed to live on for the week. I can see that this is going to be tougher than I thought. in the words of Sid James “If you’ve got it spend it and if you ain’t got it, get it!”

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