A Wild One
These days, I find that there are just a few things that get me really excited. By which I mean SUPER! JAZZED! FIST! PUMPS! HAPPY DANCES! That sort of thing. One of them is interspecies communication. Yes, the possibility of humans having viable relationships and dialogue of some sort with non-humans is profoundly intriguing to me. I’m also, and somewhat similarly, really into the entire notion of learning to mimic natural ecosystems and biological behaviors to heal ourselves and our planet (“Biomimicry” is the fancy pants term for this concept). And, in the same camp, wild foods, wild foraging, wild everything, really, gets my heart pumping, my pulse quickened.
When you couple those three things of supreme and abiding interest to me with a newly developing friendship with someone that shares those interests, well, shut the front door. I’m smitten. Such is the case with Karie Reinertson of Shelter. I met Karie and her partner Rob Maddox back in November, at a gathering I was throwing for my book Handmade Gatherings. The event was held at our mutual friend Natalie’s urban homesteading supply store, Small Terrain.
I first noticed Karie for her dress. It had pockets, and pockets on a dress is seriously speaking my kind of fashion language. It wasn’t just the dress, though, that drew me to her, stellar though it was. She had a pervading calm, and an innate compassionate she exuded that made me want to learn more about her. And I’m so very glad I’ve had the opportunity to do so. Karie and Rob are at the helm of Shelter, a purveyor of handmade goods created to be worn, used, and loved. When Karie learned I was on the hunt for a foraging bag, she offered me a sample of one she’d been developing as a bespoke item for Small Terrain.
We gave it a trial run this week, after discovering a patch of ramps growing adjacent to the small creek that runs beside our house. The bag is extremely well crafted, with every detail attended to so as to ensure deft and dependable foraging. Here’s the bag’s description, as detailed on Shelter’s website:
Made of a durable waxed canvas with leather straps, and a large, two-chamber removable and washable liner. Enough pockets in front for your hori hori knife, Opinel, and whatever else you may need. Pockets on each side for jars so berries or fragile specimens can be taken home safely to identify. Pocket on the back for your field guide. Adjustable leather shoulder straps with pads for comfort. Straps on the bottom of the backpack for willow and twig collection.
The description is completely on target, minus one small omission, which is that it’s gorgeous. Functional? Absolutely. Beautiful? Damn straight. We used the bag to gather ramps, and then carried it around with us as we foraged for wild violets, dandelions, and fiddlehead ferns. Not only did it serve our foraging needs and pursuits imminently well, it was sublime to behold, all the while. We came home with our fore, soft-boiled some eggs, sautéed the ramps, and paired both with a mashed potato & oat flour pancake, covered in wild violets and topped with cumin lime creme fraiche. Boom! Wild goodness, all up on your dinner plate.
Foraging season is upon us, big time. I’m excited beyond measure. Gather your bag, find your trowel, and let’s get to it!
*Wild foraging is a lovely, natural, primal thing to do. That said, if not done in an manner that is both ethical and sustainable, there won’t be anything left to forage in the future. If you have the fortune of foraging for ramps, I encourage you to please check out this link on doing so in a responsible manner before grabbing your foraging bag and trowel.