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20 October 2008 @ 11:36 am
a new approach to the future emerging  
I noticed it's been almost two weeks since I wrote here.

It makes sense, because I've been shocked into a directionless state by the financial situation, which had to affect me greatly because I'm already semi-retired. In fact, just last week, I made yet another liquidation of yet another investment into cash. And, again, I didn't lose any money, but it is still very scary to be so extremely un-diversified.

The good news is, I am "liberated" from monitoring the markets, and, I need not and can not do anything but wait (perhaps for a long time) for the hyperinflation to begin.

During this deflationary lull, which might last for years, I can focus on life itself rather than money.

Also, whenever the hyperinflation begins, I already know what I will do, so there's no need to follow the news as much as I have for the last six years.

I will just make an assessment about once a week of whether the tide has turned or is about to, and then just ignore all of this for another week or so if nothing's changed.

I've made great progress in 2007 and 2008 solidifying an appreciation and love for the people and animals and places that are part of this life committed to simplicity that I now live.

Things that were scary and uncertain because I was still learning them are now familiar and pleasant. Plants and trails and waterways feel safe and homelike to me now. Houses and heated cars are not really parts of my life anymore. I can stay warm and dry and protected and interested in my surroundings whether I am walking along the Great Miami and downtown (my front yards) or farther away out on the bike trails or on the Ohio River or down next to the Mississippi River at Natchez and down toward Point Breeze.

Maybe I'll start taking the Greyhound to Cincinnati several times per year to visit Suellyn and develop more familiarity and love for the riverfronts there.

Maybe I'll take walks in downtown Columbus before I visit Dad every three weeks, like I used to do in the good old days before I got so bitter about everything and everybody. I also used to go to the big libraries at OSU and do research on things that interested me. Now there's the internet making research so much easier, but maybe there can be some new "rituals" I can begin as an excuse to visit those places again.

Meanwhile, I'll still have many days like Saturday -about yet more new learning out in the fields and woods.

This time the learning was about what I'm calling "salvaging" rather than foraging, as a way to get free food outdoors.

Specifically, I took the bike trail out to the open country east of Jamestown, and at spots where the soybean and corn fields are right next to the trail and where the crops have just been harvested, I "salvaged" these foods left behind on the ground by the combines:





The first picture shows the little corn cobs that were still wrapped in husks when I found them.

And, in the upper left are some more Jerusalem Artichokes I dug up from a big patch of these near the corn field just a few feet off the bike trail.

Once I unwrapped the little corn cobs, I just used my thumb nail to get all the kernels to fall into the dish.

The corn will store for a very long time because it's already hard and dry. And, it tastes really good as a crunchy snack, and as a meal cooked in water.

The soybeans in the second picture are after they were shaken out of the little fuzzy pods that were left in the field when the combine wheels ran over some of the plants.

I can make Tofu and oil and many other good foods from these. I look forward to many more learning experiences with soybean preparation and recipes.

Finally, here are two of the fourteen trays of Chestnut, Burr, and White Oak acorns I am drying in the sun on my balcony:



The tray on the left are out of the shells, the others are still in the shells but the caps are off all the shells. (These two trays are White Oak.)

I now think the harvesting and shelling and storing of acorns is extremely easy, and if they are slightly bitter, the leaching is very easy too.

But acorns taste like cardboard, even when they are not bitter. Well, maybe not that bad, but it seems that when you forage, the easier the work, the less reward to the taste buds. (Things like walnuts taste wonderful, but they aren't worth the effort, and Hickory nuts are impossible to find in any quantity before the squirrels get all of them. And other easy things like Jerusalem Artichokes taste good but they don't have enough calories to use as a diet staple.) So, to solve these dilemmas, I am learning how to make the easy stuff taste better, which is fun and rewarding.