Saturday, September 16, 2006

More food on sticks

Long-time readers of this blog know I have a thing about food served on sticks. As for readers who have stumbled in more recently, how's it going? Stick around, click a few links, make yourself at home. If you are really patient you might read something that will make you snigger a bit, learn something useful or perhaps both at the same time.

Uh, but I digress. Back to food on sticks! Okay, I know what you are thinking: Merriwether was at some county fair over the weekend and gorged himself on batter-fried moonbat or something weird like that. Nope, that ain't it (though moonbats dipped in boiling oil are a lovely treat). This time I'm talking the original food on sticks. Yep, eating leaves, bark and berries!

For over twenty years I've been practicing the skill of finding wild edible plants and I am confident that if you and I get lost in the woods I won't starve. Now there are hundreds of websites devoted to finding/identifying edible wild plants. Search Google or Yahoo or and you be hit with a pethora of spinach subsitutes. Master their information and you'll finish you backpacking trip heavier than when you started.

But being humble (okay, lazy), I'm not going to try and teach you all that stuff, especially since I have readers from all over the world. What grows here may not grow where you are so this would just be a waste of your time (uh, kind of like the last three paragraphs).

So, instead of teaching you what you can eat out in the wild I'm going to show you where to learn which plants you can eat in your own yard! Won't that be cool? So now when rampaging space mutants destroy our civilization, you can just graze through your yard (and the yards of your neighbors if you are that sort of cold-hearted bastard) while everyone else dies and agonizing death by starvation (and perhaps radiation poisoning). Most likely you know the names of the plants in your yard and if you don't someone nearby can probably help you out. If not, I recommend you rip out all the plants, cut down all the trees and start over from scratch. If you do know the names of your plants go HERE and start learning what's for dinner!

Using that page, let's go nosh Ravenscar. It turns out that currently I have the following edible plants in my yard:
Loblolly pine
Japanese privet (aka ligustrum)
Heavenly Bamboo
Yaupon holly
Canna lilies
Bearded irises
Elderberry trees
Sedums ("stonecrop")
Day lilies
Loquat tree
Live oak
Burr oak
Pin oak
Silver maple
Wax-leaf myrtle
Chinese pistache
Star jasmine
Virginia Creeper
Society Garlic

Yep, looks like we have plenty of food. Bring on the killer mutant space aliens!

Adventure! Excitement! Eating leaves!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Tocsin

It had rung many times before.

We had fair warning from the previous attacks. The first WTC. The USS Cole. Assorted US embasies around the world. Threats shouted and effigies burned.

Then five years ago the tocsin ran more loudly than it ever had before.

The towers fell. The Pentagon was broken.

2996 were killed.

According to Islamic traditions you must first give the non-believers a chance to convert. If they become muslim they are welcomed as brothers. If they don't they are to be killed. Recently, Osama bin Laden offered Americans a choice, either convert to Islam or die.

Here is my answer: go suck pork.

Stand firm America.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fear of Trees

Play It Smart. If you think what you are doing is not the smartest, you are probably right.
-Mountian biking safety tip.

"It will be fun"." Clark said. "It'll be a thrill!" Clark said. "I've biked this trail a bunch of times, it's real easy!" he said.

I figured he knew what he was talking about and so at 7am Labor Day morning we headed up to Huntsville State Park. It was my first time to this park even though it's really close. This park turned out to be amazing! It completely encloses the man-made Lake Raven. This lake was designed from the ground up to be a prime fish habitat and the woods around it haven't been logged since the fifties. It has a swimming beach, camping areas, canoe, paddle, and fishing boat rentals and even guided horseback ride.

The trees are huge and several beautiful hiking trails pass underneath them. Mountain bikes are allowed on one of these trails which loops for 11 miles up and down hills, through thick sand and over massive tree roots.

Beautiful, isn't it?

After going less than five miles I had to pull over and rest otherwise I was going to throw up. I hadn't felt that nauseous from physical activity since my weight-lifting days back at SDSU. I seriously though I was going to pass out. My thighs were only a little tired but I was gasping for air like a chain smoker. Note to readers: McDonald's Yoga DVD does not increase cardiovascular capabilities! It's resulting flexibility does however allow you to tuck into a nice, tight ball as you fly through the air after hitting a giant expose root while careening downhill on a poorly equipped bike, in case you wondered if the DVD would be of benefit to you.

You know what, I don't want to talk anymore about the trail biking. I'll just say we made it back to Clark's vehicle after about two hours, much much later than the others who started out at the same time as us. After resting a bit we both decided it was too early to return to our wives and kids so we decided to re-do the trail. Only this time we walked it.

I liked that a lot better.

It's a great trail to walk. What before went by in a panic striken blur or vomity haze could now be enjoyed! So here, enjoy:



Supposedly alligators...
Damn that $500 fine!

From swamp to woods.

A goblin caught by the sun.

On the edge of thick and dark.


All in all, Huntsville State Park is one of the most diverse and family-friendly parks (especially if you like Tejano music) in the Houston area. It has camping, fishing, RV hookups, tent camping areas, fishing, swimming, trail biking, hiking, live alligators, boat rentals and very entertaining park rangers. I'm going back but, uh, without my bicycle...

Adventure! Excitement! Poor cardiovascular condition!

Rough Men

Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
-George Orwell

There are two things one can say to our rough men and women. The first is "Thank You". The second is, "Can I play with that?"






It was time to introduce Miniwether to real heroes. We've read stories about monsters with glowing red eyes that bite and hurt people. Monsters that attack and tear. Monsters that take people away forever. But all these stories also have heroes. Miniwether has cheered for Beowulf, yelled for the Monkey King and clapped for Luke Skywalker. Saturday she got to meet real heroes. Men who stormed ashore in Normandy. Nurses who patched people together in the Pacific, women fighting over in the Middle East. She got to wear their helmets, touch their rifles, and give them hugs. They told her stories of real monsters and real battles. For five hours she watched and listened and asked questions and got LOTS of attention.

She also found a cool locust.

Sadly, Miniiwether didn't want her picture taken with any of the soldiers. I guess she wanted to talk and play with them rather than pose with them. That makes sense. They had some really neat toys!!

I hope she remembers that day for the rest of her life.

Adventure! Excitement! Rough Times!