Thursday, September 01, 2005

August 31, 2005

"I found myself looking more closely at what went on around me." - Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time

Wild grapes – I found two small, poorly formed bunches were laying on the hood of the truck when I walked outside this morning.

I can remember asking my father when I was young if they were edible and got “Fox grapes?!?” as an answer, which suggested to me that they could not possibly be edible. And naturally, it never occurred to me at the time that my father, who knows quite a lot about the outdoors, could possibly be wrong about such a thing. In fact, for years after I knew wild grapes were edible, I still assumed that “fox grapes” were some kind of sub-species or different variety that were not edible simply because of my father’s offhand comment from about 40 years ago. (This is yet another example of the dangers of assuming. You’d think by now I’d learn not to do this, but apparently I’m not trainable in such matters).

Even after finding the phrase “none are poisonous” when doing a little research about this plant, I was still hesitant to eat one. Animals certainly don’t have that same hesitation. Virtually every local animal and most of the birds are fond of them.

And I'm afraid I must admit that I still haven't eaten any. At this point in my life, I would be willing to try them should I ever find a bunch that is ripe and reachable. But usually when I find them they are in the state they were in when they were on my car hood--dried up little stones of what used to be grapes.

I’ve made wreaths from the vines on occasion, but it’s not as easy to do as it seems. The worst part is gathering the vine, the easiest part is making it into a circle, so if you can make the wreath without finding and gathering the vine itself, it might not be too bad to do.

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