Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Story About A Bear

Welcome, all new readers visiting us from Four Pounds Flour. Welcome all old readers, and middle aged and young readers as well. My name is Mark, and this is the never-before shared story behind the story.

Months ago, probably last November or so, I was watching a Nature special featuring bears. I don't know the theme or region of the story. I don't know what kind of bears it was about. What I do remember was the bear walking along in the woods and picking out all the good edible plants. It was fascinating to me to see a simpler life form who can just walk through the forest and find food. They don't have thumbs or wallets or even grocery stores, and they get along just fine.

Few modern Americans can do what this bear can, myself included. Of course you may contend that the bear can't use a blackberry or file a 1080 form, but I don't think the bear really cares. It was watching the bear roam around eating that the inspiration for this challenge came about - to see if I could eat for a month on what I could cultivate myself. I mean, I know that dandelions are edible and that some part of cattails are too, but what other food is out there? It all comes from some place, but where? I let the idea fester in my mind for a few weeks. Finally I brought it up to my wife - she enjoyed the idea as well. She did suggest that I start out with a week instead of a month to see how that goes first. I spread the idea around to a few more people, who also thought it was a great idea.

Fast forward 8 months, and we are on the eve of the beginning of the challenge. I and 2 other households of my family members are going to, for the next week, eat only what we have farmed, fished, hunted, or foraged for.

Truthfully I have already gained what I wanted out of it in the preceding months. It wasn't my intention to turn my whole family agrarian but now we all have gardens growing in our yards. I also have a sizable plot at my in-laws. I can walk through a garden, point at a plant and say, 'your beets are growing nicely.' There are at least a dozen or so wild plants I can identify. I am still a fair hunter at best and a terrible fisherman, but I am excited to open my palette to a week full of natural culinary experiences.


  1. And best of luck to you all! I cannot wait to hear all about your week of adventures!

  2. This is a very brave project. Bears can do it but they have a million years of instinct and lessons passed one bear to another. we broke that teaching thread long ago.That said... purslane is delicious and those evil giant thistle weeds and burdock have delicious roots, you can make real marshmallow out of mallow and there is always nettles! I look forward to hearing about your week. Good luck!

  3. Thanks Mark! That was a great story. I'm excited about starting the challenge. The food exchange was fun. I had a fun day today with my friend in celebration of Carolyn's birthday. I'll start my challenge week tomorrow.