Back in August, my good friend and brother in bushcraft, Sticker, finally got a job. He had been searching long and hard for one. I am very happy for him. He's glad to be back at work, but it has not afforded him much time for bushcraft, working swing shifts and all. I know he misses it and I miss having him join me on Saturdays for some great bushcraft adventure or mis-adventures. I miss the comraderie and the fellowship that comes with sharing that common interest. I can't wait to see what his next knife will be, or his next pack, or to share with him my latest kit build and some new finds.
I miss my friend. But I can't help but to continue to go out into the wild and to explore and to search and to find and to play and have fun. I need the dirt time. I need to get out. I want to show my brother all the new things I've found out there, in the wilderness, passed all the civilization, down by the river, or out on the prairie. I am happy to just be out there. But I still miss my friend. I hope he makes it back to bushcraft.
Out on a recent hike, I passed by a part of the prairie that is in the state park I frequent. Earlier in the year, around the 4th of July, this part of the prairie was ablaze with a fire that had been set by the use of fireworks by one of the patrons of the park. He didn't know any better and set the fire by accident with a stray bottle rocket.
In a curious turn, as I hiked pass on this occasion, the prairie was ablaze again only this time by the changing colors of the sumac plants that had recovered enough from the July fire and were now turning their glorious fall colors. Truly the prairie was starting to recover.
As fall was fast approaching, my thoughts turned to continuing to discover just what wild edibles were still left after a summer of enjoying all the great black raspberries, wild strawberries, basswood leaves, cattail, nettle, wood sorrel, crab apples and many other trail side treats too numerous to mention.
This time of year the black walnuts are just at their peak. They are so tasty and I cannot remember a time that they were this sweet. You can make an entire meal out of them, they are so very filling.
After collecting several and shucking the seeds out of them, I ate until I was satisfied and wondered if I should collect even more to make a spot of tea later. I will definitely keep that bush in mind for the next hike, as the rose hips will remain for some time and be good even into winter and after the first snowfall.
Even though the fall brings with it the beauty of its changing leaves, there is also the golden shades of colored sunlight as it filters thru the autumn birch leaves. The ever changing skies remind us of the passing summer, with its stormy looking clouds while at the same time can also change to show us the high, icy cirrus clouds that will accompany winter.
By now, even some of the more dangerous plants of summer, begin to show a beauty that tends to deny their evil nature. I have found that even poison ivy likes to join in the party by changing its colors.
All things considered, it has been a great fall so far, and I have continued to enjoy all of it and its splendor. I think fall to be my favorite time of year for the most part, though spring in Minnesota would follow as a close second.
Bushcraft of course helps me to enjoy it. It draws me to woodlands, it works to complete me and give me peace of mind. The kinship I have found with the landscape as I have found it, has made my little part of the wilderness my home. It does not matter what season it is, I have lived and experienced all of them here in my woodlands.
Winter will be here soon enough, and yet I know I will find life out there. Not a cold and barren landscape, but something inviting. There will be new things to see, discover and to bring back and share. And I promise to bring you along my friends. Until next time, Happy Exploring.