Bush foods, those delightful snacks that nature provided truly about all about us but you need to understand what it is you are eating if you don’t wish to end up at the doc’s explaining just what it is you have done to yourself.
I am on a mission! I have a want to learn all about the foods in nature’s supermarket, which abounds all about us. It is a slow and careful process of course as it should be, try to learn from those around you if you can. As a child I could never understand why it was that anyone would plant so many trees in parks and the like, mostly ornamental. Why not plant nature’s fruits and foods that could feed the hungry and homeless souls in this world, a free bounty for all and sundry from hungry kids to those less flush with funds?
Largely we are ignorant of what nature has provided around us, we walk about blind to the simple fare that God has provided and our expectation is that if it doesn’t come off a shop shelf, wrapped, unblemished and sprightly clean then it is inedible. Even such things as wild peaches are ignored and they make delightful deserts and pies in camp.
I first realized this when my kid’s friends gained a fascination in our chooks. Eggs…? Really do come out of the bum end of some bird. Milk…? Really does come from an udder, under a goat or cow. It isn’t made in a carton or in some magical way that is divorced from nature as the kids are often led to understand.
Our kids learnt very early in life how to fish. We didn’t have a great deal of money in the early days due to the industrial mayhem caused by certain union representatives who thought more of a long week end at the races, than of men struggling to feed families… this in the late 1970’s when Unions wrought mayhem. Now I know that will upset some but I have no love of such power hungry egotists… if it doesn’t work… dispense with it! A simple philosophy I apply to life and at that time it applied to Union Reps I had dealings with.
But fishing… now that was how The Man kept our kiddlets fed and thriving while the strikes of the era ravaged the wages and lives of families and so the young boys learnt to fish as in due course. They fortunately now think nothing of tossing a line, gutting a fish and building a fire on the banks of a river to cook lunch.
The Baby Boy took to this entertainment into his lunch hour on Breakie Creek in the centre of Brisbane’s bustling commercial area and managed to attract the attention of everyone from brash burly bikies (he worked at Harley Davidson agents at the time) to curious tourists. They in general thought it a curious pursuit even though it was an ancient tradition… simply fishing.
I could never understand why anyone would find it a curious pursuit after all eating and feeding yourself is a normal part of life? But then, we live in a world where people think that if it isn’t bought… it doesn’t exist or it has little value.
Hubby and I have now moved into the Grey Nomad way of life, a life that is closer to nature than living at home and in this… we are also closer to a simpler lifestyle and in the arms of nature’s bounty. Gathering the foods around us does not only extend to the rivers and fishing, it also extends into the environment and looking for native foods, which can be found all around.
Things like wild peaches, blackberries, lilly-pilly berries and other fruits of the bush and forest although always remember that you are in competition with the wildlife so if your wondering why the blackberries seem a bit thin, sit quietly and watch.
It is best to begin simple with the foods you can readily identify and in the age of the internet it is a simple thing to take a picture of fruit and bush, wait for when you have an internet link and research before you snack! Learn as you go and when in doubt… research or ask someone who can help.
The Grey nomads are a wonderful lot usually and many of the freecampers understand the pleasures of the simple bush. One of the nicest things I think is the practice of burying seeds and encouraging the growth of bush foods. Often around the free camps you will find wild pumpkins growing where someone has buried seeds, or other seeds such as melons, which have been surrendered to the tender mercies of opportunity. A good place to bury seeds is in the shallow cold ash of a camp fire where if it rains, water will gather and there is much less completion from other plants.
Nature’s bounty is a wonderful thing and it is something which commercialism has carefully trained us to ignore. Now I am not suggesting that you get out there an shoot to kill anything that moves in an endeavour to put something different on the dinner plate… be it for the dog or for yourself.
What I am suggesting is that you open your eyes, stop, look and teach the youngen’s how to survive in a world devoid of commercial and processed products… after all it is all this high processing and additives in our foods that is slowly killing us. We need to change our expectations and become more the gardeners and nurturers in the wild that God put us here on Earth to be, it is after all what was intended in the gift of our very intelligence.
Make it your mission to understand the bounty around you and you will be teaching kids to care and nurture the world around them. We may need this our world around us some time you know. Feeding yourself and caring for the land that gives us life… this is a skill that everyone should share and be taught. It was a skill that the old traditional owners of our land knew well, but sadly that time has now mostly passed and we more often than not reach for the supermarket shelves.
To read more on posts about freecamping… pop over to the “Oldies at Large” collection and have some fun.