Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The urge to start foraging - instinct??

It is that time of year again..... The air has that certain chill again and is filled with a sweet, heavy and rich scent of damp earth and decomposing plantmaterials. Birds are gathering to start their migration. Grasses have turned a golden yellow and seem to reflect their colour on everything around me. Fog rolls across the land, depositing their moisture on everything it touches, leaving the surfaces wet and glistening in the light. The sun still has warmth left in it, but the shadows and evenings are destinctly getting longer..
There's a magical vibe of change everywhere....

Every year it happens again; at the end of summer and the beginning of autumn I have this strong urge to start foraging. There's this abundance of food everywhere, but much of it is out of reach; either because it simply isn't mine or I do not yet have the knowledge or skill to collect it.


I see many ripe berries and mushrooms, wondering if they are edible, am excited whenever I come across species which I know to be and yet I do not take more than a handfull, thinking the animals will be needing it harder than I will. I can not look at a flock of passing geese, without at some point thinking that a few of those would make some good meals for me and my family and I wonder what they'd taste like. The same goes for deer or even cattle! I see myself stalking through the woods and meadows, hunting, killing and even dressing an animal, to take home and feed those I call mine. I like looking at fields, filled with ripe wheat or rye, and seeing it being harvested, ground to flower and baked to bread befor my minds' eye. For as long as I can remember I loved to see, hear and smell the farmers harvesting their crops. As a young boy I could stand for hours next to the fields and just look and smell. and now, since we live here in Sweden, that urge has become even stronger, probably because we live and exist closer to the source now.
Unfortunately for many of these things I lack knowledge and skill or even permission. I do not know many mushrooms, I have no hunting- or gunpermissions, I have no crops to harvest or cattle to slaughter and I am so envious of those who do! I love to read about people, who do all these things and tell about it, either online or in books. But all that will change in due time and I will be joining them!
And in the long run I give in to this urge, do the modern version of the hunter/gatherer and end up buying the goods, preferably as close to the source as possible; flower, rice, frozen and canned meat and vegetables, dried fruits, and all the other ingredients to prepare our meals. We store a lot of bought "fresh" foods in glass jars, turn what ever fruits we do collect in jams and fruitjuices. I sometimes feel like a squirrel, stocking up his larder for difficult times to come. Even things like candles, matches
And it makes me wonder..... Is this harvesting, this stocking up and this preparing a product of the things I see and read about or does it go deeper? Is it a more fundamental need. An instinct maybe?


  1. Yap, I get the craze, too, it´s that time of year again! Completely agreed with you again...;-)

  2. I think it is instinctual as well. Same thing happens to me on a seasonal basis, it's usually more urgent as spring breaks, then again during harvest time in the fall.

    It also occurs near our hunting season as well, something in the air. A drive that comes from some unknown place inside, an urge to put my face in the wind, to follow a track, to make meat.

  3. I was just telling my wife a few weeks ago that "I feel like I should be harvesting something." :) I think it must be some kind of instinct. Right now it's limited to fish, berries, mushrooms, lichens and similar stuff, but I hope to hunt and raise animals in the future as well.

    Great write-up and pictures, Ron. You express very well what a lot of us are feeling!

  4. Thanks for the comments, gents!