My Fur Collection, Slavery, and Other things to think about.

I have done a lot of exciting things this year. If you haven't, then take a second to think about that. You only get one shot at this life. You need to make the most of it.

To be alive, you need to be active. If you want to maintain your ability to function - mentally and physically: then it's important that you learn how to deal with change. Change provides growth. Sometimes it's painful growth, but it provides growth. The opposite of growth is decay. I'm guessing you would rather not describe your life as a state of "decay."

With that said, let me share a little bit of the adventurous things I have done this year.

I am on a mission to try every edible wild food in my area. I have tried all of the goodies listed here - and many more that I haven't yet added to the list!

If you forage for wild foods, then you know that their availability can vary. This year there were no wild plums or black walnuts for humans. We had rain and cold weather while they were flowering and the yields were terrible, so I left the few stragglers for animals. There is also a timeline for when things are edible. Even the same plant may be poisonous in one season but edible in the next.

Milkweed is one of those plants. This year I was prepared and I ate the tender flower buds just as they emerged and the immature pods for the first time (silk and all!!) The flower buds were good (like broccoli) but the immature pods were amazing!! AMAZING. Like asparagus but different. And the white silk inside was really yummy too.

Throw away any wild foods books that tell you milkweed is bitter. That means the author is just regurgitating information (The Forager's Harvest and all other work by Samuel Thayer is highly recommended.) Milkweed is not bitter. Other plants that look like milkweed may be bitter. Or really old and past prime milkweed may be bitter. But not regular old milkweed.

It's delicious and required no butter or anything special. I just boiled it in salted water (just one boil not 2 or 3 like some books recommend!) and it was delicious.

Milkweed, wild plums, hackberries, asparagus, nettles, maple syrup and sumac are now my all time favorite wild foods. Berries too, of course, but they are not so "unknown."

We also ate duck eggs for the first time. And ramps. And garlic mustard.

And I was finally able to collect some beautiful wild salsify blooms for my table. My husband was speechless. He is a dandelion hater and to him, these were just giant versions of them. But they are not. Edible like a dandelion, yes. But totally different and totally beautiful!! I love these!

This year, I also discovered the salvage store. It's a store where thrift stores donate their "unsold" items to be sold one last time for salvage. Then the salvage store sells them overseas to be turned into fibers - threads, yarn, blankets, insulation.

For less than $100, I have been able to completely revamp my whole wardrobe. I now have jeans, coats, snowpants, boots, shoes, career wear, sweaters, and tops to last a life time. Seriously!! I've also found a bunch of great things for my kids. My husband, not so much.

But it's more exciting than that. First of all, I am just amazed at what people throw away. All of the clothes I have bought have been like new. Some still had tags on. But I came upon some exciting finds. Furs. I have never in my life bought a fur item.

I shudder at the idea of someone skinning an animal just for the fur. If you kill it, then you must use all of it. That is, of course, not what happens on fur farms. But, people do in fact buy furs. And then they toss them out when they are done with them.

I can't be the only person in the world
with a basket full of fur, right?
Luckily, a lot of those fur laden garments get donated. And when they end up in salvage, I feel like it's my DUTY to rescue them! I have collected so many fur pieces. Some are used in my home for decoration.

Some I have sold to people on ebay (because...I had a lot of furs and I want them to be used/loved not hoarded or trashed.)

And some I used to transform my winter jackets!

Here are all my coats that contain real fur:
Yes, I love the color red. I wear a red jacket almost everywhere. My spring jacket is red too. Kind of like the girl in Schindler's list.

And yes, all of these jackets came from the salvage store. I paid less than $5 for all of these coats. They are name brands. They are basically new. And now they have fur!!! Rabbit, mink, fox, coyote.

So how do I feel wearing fur AWESOME? I love them. They are soft and cozy and warm. AND I know I rescued them. I rescued them all. Even the coats. I could have bought just one of these coats for $40 or $50 (maybe more, I haven't shopped in a store in a LONG time).  Imagine I went to the store and bought a new coat for $40. These 4 coats would have been ground up into insulation. What a waste! But for just $5, I bought 4 jackets and transformed them into something I found beautiful.

I love coats. I live where winters are cold and sometimes all people ever see of you is wearing a coat. I could wear pjs all day and people wouldn't even know because the coats don't come off! So I have a lot of them.

This year was good for me. I went through a lot of heartache and loss. Big losses. Big stress. Big pain. But when I finally made it through all that, I am stronger and happier and healthier. I've fought my way through some tough issues.

I have been training and I've become a really good shot with a pistol. I even got over my fear of shooting shotguns. I am going to get my conceal/carry permit soon.

I have been training my son in strength and conditioning for wrestling season and in the process I have become stronger and more conditioned.

This year, my father was institutionalized and it has been very difficult to process. He has always complained about his life and felt as though he was a slave.

That's because he was. And still is. Now maybe more than before. I have had moments of slavery too. Slavery to money. Slavery to "the system." Slavery to my own bad attitude and feelings. No more!

My dad may continue to choose slavery - and it seems most of the world is content to live in some form of slavery - but not me. Think about it for a while.

Think about why you do the things you do.  How you decided what you like or don't. Why you choose your political affiliations. How you choose the food you eat. What's in the food you eat? What are your children being taught at school? What are you teaching your children?

This is a hot election year and people are divided on all sides. I see it this way:

There is a lot going on in the world that is attempting to divide humanity. Black versus white. Rich versus poor. Democrat versus republican. Male versus female. Young versus Old. It is all BOGUS. It's all garbage. We are all the same. We are all just trying to make it in this world.


It is as true as ever. And it's important!


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