odiousgambit's Blog

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The White Man's Footprint - Delicious?June 25th, 2018 at 6:20:14 am


My successes as a forager are spotty, as my previous post about mushrooms admits. One area I've done pretty well with, though, is encouraging wild greens to grow in my unpoisoned yard. If you want to imitate that*, your first sign of success is a healthy proportion of dandelions. If you've got them coming on [and live in my general area], look next for wild onions, dock, and this white man's footprint, supposedly so-named by our aborigines because it sprang up wherever white settlers showed up.

Yes, it is an invasive plant, sometimes also called the 'driveway weed' and indeed I have a healthy patch of it on the edges of my driveway where it is gravel. I won't use it there, as some of the advice out there is to never forage near vehicle exhaust zones - plants pickup the bad stuff on roadsides etc.

If you want to promote it, it should be called 'the plantain herb' - I would have done that but it is more fun to run the other names past the reader. The above site makes some nice claims, "itís super nutritious, easy to identify, has no poisonous look-alikes and it is used as medicine"

For wild greens, I almost exclusively use them cooked. As I say, checking into this one is new for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

*as a percentage of readers, that probably rivals the chances of 18 yo's in a row

June 25th, 2018 at 6:29:30 pm
Buckhorn. Arkansas chain gangs used to remove it from the sides of the road back when they had chain gangs, that is. Also removed the Paw Paw which is now known to be tasty and have significant anti cancer properties, particularly anti breast cancer.

I would agree as to exhaust pipes and leaded gasoline. Don't know about todays unleaded world though. Pb can certainly remain in the soil for quite some time.

Cars belch lead, dogs pee, maintenance men spray insecticides .... what is safe anymore?
June 26th, 2018 at 12:10:14 pm
Agree with Flea on not worrying about worrying. I mean, sure, the weed growing out of the local asphalt plant, go ahead and skip that. But whatever puffs onto my own weeds from my own vehicles can't be any worse than working in, on, or around them. At least I wouldn't think so. Then again, I don't worry much about that type of stuff because it's not my life's work. I just welded some galvanized pipe because WGAS; if it were my job where I'm doing it all day, then maybe get the respirator.

Mainly here to just recognize the sentence "unpoisoned yard". Good for you, man. I was just having this fight with my neighbor, who suffers from affluenza. He came from and turned into one who has the nasty green van at his house monthly. Can't figure out why his yard looks like dog s#$%. It's like, dude, it's nature. There's gotta be a balance. "Look at your yard with all the white shit!" Yeah, it's called "clover". It's a natural nitrogen pump returning goods back into the soil. That's why my yard is whole and lush whereas yours is "all grass", except where there's nothing but dirt. "Pah!" he tells me.

If a dude has to wear gloves and gas masks and is legally required to post signs and alert the neighbors, how in every single hell can this hit your brain as a "good thing to do?"

Wonders never cease. Keep it up, OG. Don't post much but still here reading.
June 27th, 2018 at 3:50:26 am
You guys have me wondering if the warning about roadsides comes from the days of lead in gasoline and people are just still repeating it.

as for people who use the lawn services, yeah, I hate to see that even from afar. I guess they have their reasons, but it's hard for me to tune into them. If my property would be worth a bit more with a golf green lawn, I am still the type that would ask "OK, I spend this horrendous amount on it for years, which has got to be more than I get back in property value, no?" You never know with buyers, some might view a bad lawn like a bad roof and wouldnt consider such a place. So the bottom line for me is, I don't care about that, but I do care about poisons; lastly, it turns out I get things to eat in return [tho I'm sure you have to be some kind of nut - so be it]
June 27th, 2018 at 9:24:18 am
>and people are still repeating it...
Probably. Think of all those lasagna gardeners who used newsprint and colored advertisements to make "soil" for their food plants. There is lead in much of that stuff, but they are not falling over dead from eating their home grown carrots.

Its like that millionaire who decided to build a spaceship (the kind you build with earth filled tires) in the New Mexican desert. He was rich so rather than get the tires for free from some used tire dump he bought hundreds of brand new clean tires from Michelin. Well, he can afford to.
June 29th, 2018 at 8:29:08 pm
Listen, man, I'm not knocking farmers whatsoever. But if you examine closely modern farming, it's all f#$%ed up. The chemical run off, the soil erosion, what we do for a head of lettuce, that is nutty.

You're taking advantage of a naturally occurring and self sustainable source. And, it appears, you are gaining spiritual and mental vitalization because of it. About the only thing nutty about that is the fact we view it as nutty.

Good on ya.

Morel FrustrationMay 10th, 2018 at 5:23:16 am
For years now I have hoped to be able to add Morel mushrooms to the list of things I forage for. But I am so far foiled again this year; one of the things "they" say is to look at a place that's had a forest fire. Bingo! one near me took place in a state wildlife management area. This is the second Spring since it burned so this year I was checking it out even more carefully, but 'no luck'. I did mistakenly think they would be coming out late this year due to a cold Spring - apparently they are unaffected by that - and so I looked most intensely after the season had already started. On the other hand, it is supposed to be still going on for a while, I'll still be looking .

Seems to me I should have had success by now. It seems to be one of those things you can't learn from articles etc., you have to find somebody who knows where to look and learn from them. Being a forager, I look constantly at what is growing everywhere I go outdoors, and I swear by now you'd think I would have spotted some just by accident if nothing else.

Here is a list of things about them:

*I fear eating wild mushrooms, and would never think it was safe to think you've identified *most* mushrooms correctly without an expert to confirm it. The scariest part is you can eat poison mushrooms and feel just fine ... till a few days later when you then get sick, and could die.

*Morels are an exception: they are distinctive enough that foragers, though warned, only need to be somewhat careful. There is such a thing as a False Morel that you are not supposed to eat, but it apparently is not as dangerous as all that. In some places they eat them apparently due to less toxicity locally and for the exact species. It doesn't really look all that close to the same, so just having a pamphlet or a look at an article is enough to avoid it.

*Additionally, the Morel seems to be the only mushroom that comes out that early in the year. As for my own experience, during the peak season I see no mushrooms at all, whatsoever, of any kind coming out of the ground; even the types growing on dead trees look like last year's remnants. The False Morel season might overlap a bit, being deemed a spring/summer grower while the Morel is early Spring mostly. In that early period it seems the real Morel will be what you see if you see any [I'm trying to confirm that]. I have come across False Morels later in Spring [yep I can find those].

May 11th, 2018 at 3:21:16 am
Most mushroom brokers in rural areas will be a good source of information as to what they are seeing. Just don't ask too specifically about exactly where or from whom.

Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

Careful about the knife you use to slice mushrooms, any toxin can adhere to it.
May 11th, 2018 at 3:21:16 am
Most mushroom brokers in rural areas will be a good source of information as to what they are seeing. Just don't ask too specifically about exactly where or from whom.

Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

Careful about the knife you use to slice mushrooms, any toxin can adhere to it.
May 11th, 2018 at 5:38:13 am
>Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

ha ha! believe me I can't totally shake apprehension. God knows what my wife will say if I find some [I guarantee she will not join in when it comes to eating them].

here are some links I won't show to her



May 12th, 2018 at 4:44:08 am
Botanical nomenclature is difficult particularly when common names apply to several different items in different areas.

Also there are differences between various parts of a plant and great differences as to time of the year.

Often other items growing nearby can render some item toxic. Recall perhaps the humorous comments about the Coconut Crab, an obvious delicacy, but one that if its diet includes sea mangoes will give a man a super-huge erection followed by a heart attack. Mushrooms are the sex organs of a fungus and eating foraged mushrooms will always be an adventure. Vanadium and chromium play significant roles in human nutrition and many foods show preferential uptake for minerals in their environment. Even if you recognize the fungus, you may not notice items growing nearby.

Our Current Clue VariantNovember 21st, 2017 at 3:13:20 am
Miplet's custom weapons/suspects/rooms distributor will be key .


the modifications:

*the boardgame rules are the 2002 rules as there is a pdf file for them, see below. We have used these rules except as noted below.

*In a new variant, players solve suspect, weapon, room, and day of the week.

*Additionally, there are more secret passages. Such a passage exists now in our variant between rooms opposite each other, with a passage between Dining Room and Library but none connected to Billiard Room. Also, there are no passages between adjacent rooms etc.

*no dice, instead players move from one spot to another by declaring their move. A forum thread will be used for play and comments.

*We do not bid for which character we will play, this is chosen in a random process.

*The order of turns goes clockwise along the official board starting with Miss Scarlet as per the board game rules.

*In order that each person gets the full compliment of cards, none getting extra cards, dummy players will be used as needed. These will only say if they can or cannot disprove a statement. They donít move or make suggestions. Thus there will always be 6 players, including these dummies. This all possible thanks to Miplet.

*When someone makes a suggestion, Miplet's software is used and it nicely handles the disproving [or the confirmation] - this is done automatically but follows official rules.

*Play will stop when a person who is not present is supposed to take his turn... "what to do" in the event of someone failing to continue play? ... any 'official' way was dropped and there was never a case of intolerable suspension once we had Miplet's software, but it seems now by vote we can change the player to a 'dummy' if necessary.

*Once a player takes his turn , the results are to be posted in the thread.

*We don't use dice to move. To start the game a player begins in the corridor directly across from where situated on the perimeter. Miplet brilliantly realized this is all easier to understand if the corridor is placed outside as a circle around the rooms. A move of a piece down the corridor to get to rooms goes clockwise or counterclockwise, the only shortcuts being the secret passages. Otherwise a player moves from one "step" [in lieu of a better word] to the next adjacent step in corridor moves and can move 2 steps. Alternatively, a player could move one step and into a room if starting the move in the corridor or from the initial game-start position. Moving out of a room means moving out one step and then one more step can be achieved, but not a room since two steps in the corridor are thus taken. A player can just take one step if desired, but cannot step back into a room just vacated. Once in the room a suggestion and accusation can be made all as one turn.

*in the boardgame it makes no sense to move down the corridor if an accusation was intended, however using the Miplet app a player has to move before he can accuse. Note that sometimes a player's only move is "out of the room" so this need to move in the corridor at times, even on a move with an accusation, now eliminates a rule we had prior to using the Miplet app.

* a move into a room always ends the player's turn, after any suggestion. An accusation ends the player's participation, becoming winner or loser [the Miplet app takes over for answering suggestions]

*There is only one door to each room in this version.

*The doors cannot be blocked.

*For an accusation, as opposed to a suggestion, the player need not be in the room, or any room. It only needs to be the player's turn. I mention this as I have seen this misunderstood.

Link below is a pdf file for the boardgame rules [as a reference] as of 2002 below. Of course we will play with the above necessary modifications [or whatever is agreed on].


BBB's printable detective notepads: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1CcsLnUGEQpQ1BVdUhiX1FOVDg/view?usp=sharing

starting positions

Snakes and SpidersSeptember 4th, 2017 at 3:23:24 am
I wonder sometimes about 'experts" and the stuff they tell people.

They always say snakes "are more scared of you than you of them" and not to worry about the cowards, just let them get away from you.

The other day I watched a program about a guy picking berries who got bit by a big timber rattler. He is an old timer with old attitudes and talks about how evil the snake was; he shot it and said he did a good thing, the monster won't bite anyone else. The man got lucky or would have died of course. Now, I can hear the experts saying the guy's feelings were ridiculous, the snake isn't evil, just struck because it was defending itself. But I did ask myself just why that creature had to resort to that? A rabbit, mouse, deer, squirrel, any bonafide prey animal would have been long gone merely at the guy's approach.

We have a spider I see on our deck once in a while that is mean looking, it actually has claws on it that look like a lobster's. Some kind of hunting spider; I've never seen a big one, though, just little small guys, which makes it a joke. But I notice if you chase it away, it readily turns around and threatens whatever object you are chasing it with. Too funny, but where does that come from?

These kinds of creatures have an instinct other animals don't have - they know they can make other animals back off. When I was a kid I always killed any snake or spider I saw ... I am more live-and-let-live now.

Yesterday I was hiking in the woods and came upon about a 2 foot long snake laying across the trail. It seemed to be some kind of garter snake, and I instantly knew it was not a poisonous snake. I stopped and looked at it, but it was not taking advantage of its opportunity to skedaddle. I took my walking stick and encouraged it to move on, and was quite surprised to see it still be reluctant to go; it then shocked me by biting the stick! I used the stick to sort of pick it up and get it off the trail, at which point it moved a few feet and curled up, agitated and saying in snake talk "you want a piece of me, huh, huh!!?" Remarkable. There are certainly predators who would want to eat that snake, I thought the behavior was strange. No, I didn't kill it.

So I checked out snakes of Virginia on the internet, and indeed it seems to be the Eastern Gartersnake. From the description I eliminated the other possibilities, as those candidates are said to never bite, but the Gartersnake will, it says, if "molested". "Juveniles especially will perform this behavior and will strike so forcefully that they may completely leave the ground."

Wouldn't the snake be better served by fleeing instantly? At least readily move off the trail even if it was ready to turn around and defend itself? Why would it have an instinct to fight, to seem aggressive even? I just say snakes and such potentially have that instinct that comes from "they can make other animals back off". Just from their looks; it is an instinct to have some caution about snakes and spiders and, remarkably, even non-poisonous varieties retain in some instances an instinct to defend themselves in a way that is similar to aggression, as this proves.


September 4th, 2017 at 4:58:10 am
I thought we settled this question with those Python v. Alligator videos and Python v. Farmer videos and Monitor Lizard v. Dozing Tourist incidents.

It costs energy to flee and to find new territory. A good defense is often a good offense.
September 4th, 2017 at 8:35:38 am
I wonder if the Gartersnake is evolved from a poisonous variety, and remembers that [so to speak]?

I have seen a fox eat a snake it caught, and we all know hawks go after them. That wouldn't be the entire list. Just seems to me the details of this encounter don't quite make sense from the 'best practices' point of view.
September 5th, 2017 at 12:26:18 am
The Road Runner has the best solution: it does not eat a sleeping rattlesnake; it merely surrounds it with cactus leaves, needle side up.
July 8th, 2018 at 1:47:41 pm
Spiders. Traveling miles by flying on electricity. see today's science section of google news.
sure spiders can flee but that doesn't mean they are inclined to. Their eyesight and hearing is excellent and they often can indeed fight.

Huckleberry MadnessJuly 29th, 2017 at 4:47:20 am
It is certainly fair to consider me eccentric in many regards; as tends to be the case with eccentrics, I can actually take some pride in that. My huckleberry picking "Jones" is a case in point. Now that I am retired, I really do have the time to try to learn as much as I possibly can about the plants. I'm confirming that you have to be nearly certifiable to try to pick them in the South - apologies to those pickers in, say, Montana and those states where I believe it makes a lot more sense. Nonetheless, I continue to take the plunge and go whole-hog for it here in Virginia.

In the area here where I have lived for the last 4 years I have now reached the point where I know where to find nearby prime huckleberry patches that cover several acres altogether. Acres! I'd define a prime patch as one where the forest understory is completely covered with the plants to the near exclusion of any other plant; thick patches, in other words. I'm pretty proud of that, but it hasn't changed my mind as far as whether I think you have to be cuckoo or not. You have to realize that in the South, pickers are going to have to be out there in the hottest, nastiest time of the summer, fighting heat, humidity, ticks, mosquitoes, gnats, and even bears - the latter not really being a worry, they are hunted where I am talking about and fear humans along the lines of about 99.9%, but, "just saying." I suppose there's that one bear in a thousand to think about.

And furthermore, I am now able to confirm what I've suspected for a long time: they are stingy producers. Spending more time on research too, I recently learned that the plants do not rely on seeds to reproduce, they spread by extending their root network, depending on this to large extent. So if the berries get scattered far and wide, that's got to be the best thing for that method of dispersal. If a species wants the seeds to fall to the ground and *not* be eaten, as has got to be the case with acorns, then the plant is best served by overwhelming the possible consumers by ripening and falling close to all at once. On the other hand, if relying on being consumed and dispersed elsewhere, surviving the digestive track, then it is better to ripen in sequence slowly so that the birds and other creatures are not overwhelmed by numbers but instead waste no berries. There's plenty of evidence this is in fact exactly what is going on. A picker is constantly confronted with green berries, which nothing will eat, only to find when he returns that there are less berries but still few ripe ones on any plant. A plant with a dozen ripe berries on it can seem like the Motherload. Bear in mind I am talking about my experience in Virginia, someone else's mileage may vary.

Additionally, large sections of the patch can simply have no berries, green or otherwise. In fact, even where plants are producing, never do you see every plant with berries. One in five can be impressive. I used to be mystified by this, but now that I understand there is no imperative to produce berries, it makes more sense. The conditions in winter and spring I believe have a lot to do with whether plants fail as far as the berries. This spring did not have a late frost, which was good, but December had a warm spell that is said to have caused early blossoming with some other plants. My feeling this year was that this may have affected the large areas of the patches that just had no berries.

Another thing I learned this year is that the green berries stay green for a very long time, certainly every bit of 6 weeks green is possible. In the past I concluded you can't pick them green; once I even tried taking a bush home and seeing if I could simulate leaving them "vine on", so to speak, to ripen, but this failed. I realize now that I know it can be so many weeks before ripening that I possibly didn't give it enough time. This year I am trying again, giving them plenty of time. It sure would solve a problem if they can be picked green.

I'm still waiting for a patch of tall bushes to turn green; more on that later.

July 29th, 2017 at 3:27:22 pm
If the seed-containing berries are not for reproduction what is its purpose? Perhaps the fruit attracts certain birds that act as "protectors" of the plant against insect pests that might otherwise be present. Or perhaps the avian pruning is what stimulates the roots to extend further?
August 1st, 2017 at 4:06:41 am
>If the seed-containing berries are not for reproduction what is its purpose? .......................................
My thought is that they are for reproduction in far and wide dispersal, where the root network is not established.
August 3rd, 2017 at 8:21:59 am
certain animals require an undisturbed environment. Loons need an unimproved, untrafficked shoreline. Some birds require dense thickets of blackberries unpicked by passersby. It might be that some added creature is needed in your area for huckleberries to thrive.
August 3rd, 2017 at 10:25:23 am
>some added creature is needed in your area for huckleberries to thrive?

the plants are thriving, but I can testify that I have seen better berry production elsewhere. All places vary year to year and I have known of these spots for a short time only. As far as missing creatures, wild bees may have been knocked back, but it also would be due to weather [I have to believe]

Oh, one thing I picked up is that the plants need cross-breeding with other species of hucks to sexually reproduce - they are considered 'self-sterile'. However, this would not be the problem in the patches I know of, they are quite remarkably diverse.
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