Monday, September 26, 2011

Foraging for Letterboxes Event September 17, 2011

Our event on September 17 was a success, I was so happy to see so many old friends and new faces eating, boxing, exchanging, stamping, and even participating in our silly foraging games! I have read AtlasQuest's FAQ on attending an event, I wonder if a FAQ will be added for throwing an event. Robert and I planted 56 letterboxes at Day Pond State Park in Colchester, CT. Some were just out for the day, some are out for a month, many are available forever. We used the park's trail maps to plant several series in a way that makes them all hike-able in one continuous loop. Again, I want to extend thanks to my stamp contributors, Sea Maid, GollyGee, Mojo612, and Wild Turkey.

The day was cool and crisp, a preview of autumn. I had a few wood contributors to keep the stone fireplace roaring all day, and the kids had a blast roasting marshmallows. The off-site Wild Weeds Walk was attended by a small group and one very curious child. We examined sumacs, wild grapes, autumn olives, and looked at out-of-season wild strawberries, wild carrots, yarrow, black cherries and false solomon's seal plants. It can be fun to see what is available in a single field that we like to visit several times per year for different edibles. The kid who came with us was willing to try everything I offered, all being sour or bitter. I am pretty sure that he liked the autumn olives the best, since kids love that sour, puckery flavor. I hope everyone learned a bit!

We planted a fast and fun series around the pavilion, Crazy Silly Nuts that included a bonus game where you had to identify one of an assortment of nuts using the stamped images. It was only available for the day, and will be relocated in the future at a permanent spot. Then I had another bonus stamp available for hikers to try to stump Robert or I by bringing back a nut, berry or mushroom for us to identify. Most folks managed to stump us with a mushroom, and all efforts were rewarded! Another series featured Edibles Around the World, like lotus, figs, and Texas dewberry. Mushroom Hunting Tools is a quick, temporary add-on with Mushrooms, a fun series of 8 edible mushrooms we like to hunt. Wild Animal Foraging features common animals that are hunted for food. For an easier walk, we had Super Foods planted on the Yellow Trail near the pavilion, along with Thor and His Vittles. How to Identify Sassafras was set up a bit differently, by logging into the main box and looking for the microboxes behind suspicious rocks in the immediate area.

Mini Biscuit Sandwiches for Potluck
We offered wild food jellies and jams for sale, and had event patches made by Moritz Embroidery. I still have some left, if anyone is interested in buying one for $3.00. They did a great job, and I would recommend them in an instant. For the potluck, Robert cooked a venison stew over the grill, and we made some sweet shortbread-jam cookie bars. I also made two kinds of mini biscuit sandwiches: a pine pollen biscuit with cream cheese and grape jam, and a ramps greens biscuit with garlic mustard-seed mustard and a piece of cooked kielbasa, or for the vegetarians I made the ramps greens biscuits with cheddar and roasted garlic and ramps jam. For refreshment, we made a big thermos of Sumac-Ade from sumacs and agave syrup.Our many potluck contributions were greatly appreciated!

Overall, we were tired at the end of the day, but we were happy with the event. Maybe we'll do another event in a couple years? We look forward to the event in Maine at Thomas Point Beach every year, and we'll be out for the February party by Mojo612 this winter. Hope to see you all around!


Kristina said...

I have always wanted to forage for letterboxes. I heard about them about 3 years ago, but never went looking. How fun!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Have you ever tried geocaching? I've found letterboxes that have been incorporated into geocaching. It's quite fun. It's all a big treasure hunt, which is why I like it. Stop by my blog and check it out sometime!

The 3 Foragers said...

We have had some of our letterboxes "geotrashed" by uninformed cachers. Thay take our handcarved stamp and replace it with some piece of plastic trash. Very irritating, as we clearly label our box as a letterbox. We have stumbled across many geocaches while out in the woods hiking or foraging.