Creative Sustenance

Culinary and other adventures in foraging, gardening, urban farming and more, in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Thunder and lightning are a beautiful thing

I'm lying in bed at 5:00am on Monday morning, catching the flashes of light from lightning and counting the seconds until the thunder that follows. 4-mississippi equals 4 miles away, that's how it works, yes? How many sounds are cooler than than the sounds of thunder and rain in the dawning light of morning? Well, maybe the sounds of thunder and rain on the roof of a tent, while your snuggled deep into a heavy, warm sleeping bag are cooler, but I'm in the house this morning and it'll do.

It's been three months since my last post on the blogsite here. Three months that went by in a blink it seems. It's been a busy spring, if you could reasonably call it spring. It's only been in the last week that it's felt like spring, with the trees budding and ramps popping up in the woods in the last five or six days. Everything is late. Don't even have the garden in yet, because it's been too cold. And now suddenly that it's warmed up in the last week I'm behind already.

We've been editing videos from last year, which has taken longer than I thought it would. But we've got some great footage. I'm even more impressed with Josh's film skills than I was before, if that's possible. I'm excited to get this stuff out there and to get rolling on more new stuff this year. Soon.

Big news, and the biggest reason I haven't stayed on top of the blog lately...started a new job. Working with the Wisconsin DNR right now as a Fisheries Technician for the county. That means I do creel surveys of fishermen (is it ok to call women anglers fishermen? "Fisherwomen" seems cumbersome. I think fishermen should be a gender-neutral term, so that's what I'm going with).

GIANT, cracking thunder! That one was closer than 4 miles.

Nice catch of steelhead and browns recorded while on the job.

I do angler counts at specific times along specific routes, interview anglers to see what they're fishing for, what they're catching, how long they've been out, what they're using, and so on; weigh and measure catches, look for tags and fin clips; write reports on each week's conditions and angler success. It's a great gig for me. I get to be outside and on the water. I work alone all day, and get to meet a lot of people, some of whom are pretty hardcore fishermen and have good tips and techniques that have proven successful for them, so I'm also able to increase my own knowledge base and mental tackle box, so to speak.

Daughter Cheyenne with one of the steelhead we caught last week.

I'm well into the groove of the job now, and now that spring seems to be really here at last, I'll get back to regular blog updates. In addition to ramps, several other wild edibles are starting to pop. I picked a small bunch of stinging nettles while fishing a few days ago, just enough for breakfast, and noticed that the ostrich ferns were beginning to make their appearance as well, so we should have fiddleheads soon. Trout lilies and Virginia waterleaf are up in force. Burdock and evening primrose rosettes are everywhere, and dandelions are almost thick in some spots...all in just the last few days. For as many years as I've been doing this, the wild edible thing, since I was a kid, I am still amazed, each and every year, at how quickly new green life bursts forth each spring. One day everything is brown and gray, the next day, boom! there's green poking through the earth! It always seems surprising.

Mayapples bursting forth!

Simple breakfast: stinging nettles & egg on toast.

My wife and I went for a long walk through a wood several days ago, ostensibly to look for morels, although I knew that it was still a little early for them in our area, given the late spring we've had. Maybe this week, if we can get a couple warm days to light a fire under their little mushroom behinds. Until then, there are more fish to be caught, plenty of other greens to make room in the fridge for, and a garden to plant. 

Going to shut my eyes and listen to the rain and thunder now.



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