May 19 2012
Here’s another little update from this spring. Since getting back to the US I’ve been fairly involved at the Teaching Drum Outdoor School as there is a special family year-long program happening here. Also, wild leeks were ready to be harvested and several of us went fishing for suckerfish during their spawning run. This year turned out to be a particularly good run, and we ended up getting in large quantities over the course of several days.
The picture above shows a larger size female sucker fish. For the community here, one way of showing our appreciation for these beautiful fish that feed us is to return the first-caught fish unharmed into the water. And, making sure that we don’t cause any unnecessary suffering – fish taken out of the water are immediately killed with a blow to the head.
Sucker fish are bottom feeders that spawn in spring when the water temperature is about 50F (about 10C). They seek out areas with gravel or rock substrate, oftentimes in creeks or rivers, in which case they migrate in big schools which makes it easy to catch them.
In this picture, a landing net is employed to catch spawning suckers. Under certain conditions, catching them with bare hands can also be quite effective.
A mature leek patch. In my opinion, one of the tastiest wild edible plants around here which is also available before most other greens are in season. When broken up and thinly spread, they can dry within a few days of sunshine. If they’re strung individually they can dry even faster though this method is very time-consuming when working with larger amounts.
Spring time in the Northwoods…
On another note, I’ll be in Alaska for the summer and probably won’t get around to write much here during that time…so I’ll probably get back to writing after my return in late summer. Wish you all a nice green season!