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Mid America Buckskinners Info Page
Women's Corner


Memories

~by~
Florence "Mama" Seward

Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas
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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn




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Memories

In the days before riding lawn mowers, brush hogs, herbicides and pesticides, there was food growing everywhere, to be had for the picking.

In the early spring my Mama got a brown paper peck sack, her paring knife, and we went out to pick "greens". That is, she would pick greens, I would pick wild flowers. She told me about lambs quarter, dock, dandelion, and other plants good to eat. My parents grew big vegetable gardens, and Mama canned many jars of vegetables, but the fresh greens of early spring were a treat. The plants grew in yards, along roads, in alleys--everywhere. In those days you could literally "live off the land".

Dad was a coal miner who walked a few miles to work every day. His miner's dinner bucket was made to hold about a gallon of water in the bottom, since there was no drinking water in the mine. There was a deck for sandwiches. On top of the deck was a pie pan, then the lid.
Dad gathered wild edibles he saw on his walk home. There were mushrooms and strawberries in the spring; dewberries, blackberries, and gooseberries in the summer; and hickory nuts and walnuts in fall. Dad's dinner bucket sometimes had more in it when he came from work than when he left.

Wild fruit has more flavor than any other. Sweet juicy strawberries, big dewberries, and black berries are well worth the work it was to pick them. Fresh berry shortcakes, pies and cobblers are very good. Mama would make plum butter and jelly from wild plums, and jelly from wild grapes.

Dad and my brothers went hunting for rabbits and squirrels when they were in season. Mama would fry the young rabbits and squirrels. The older rabbits were ground with fat pork, seasoned with salt, red pepper, and sage, to make sausage. The older squirrels were stewed with onion. The broth was thickened with flour to make gravy.

When someone found a tree where bees had made their home it was robbed of the honey. Usually they found enough honey for several families. The honey was shared by all that helped gather it.

Those days are gone forever, I'm afraid. The pesticides kill the good insects right along with the bad ones. There are not nearly as many bees to pollinate the plants now. The herbicides kill the wild edibles along with the noxious weeds. The brush hogs let nothing grow but grass. The "weeds" we used to eat are not there any longer. It is a real shame we must lose all these good things in the name of progress.

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If you want to plaver, do so. Hey, Mama!