Fiddleheadin’

When I got up this morning, the rain had quit, there was fog in the channel, and blue sky above the fog. Emailed the office to say I would be in in the afternoon, grabbed my cork boots and rain pants, stuffed my back pack with my plastic Costco nut jars, unplugged the car, and headed to my fiddlehead honey hole. Saw a couple deer on the way up the mountain. There was fog in the valley, but it looked like it would burn off as I headed across the muskeg. I passed either coyote or wolf scat that was solid deer deer hair as I headed down to the big creek. And a single skunk cabbage flower up in a little bowl of muskeg.

The rain had the creek running a bit high, so could not just cross in my rubber boots and walked down stream till I found a tree that had fallen across the river. Nice to have the corks (spikes) on the boots as I walked across an otherwise slippery log. The fiddleheads I saw down along the creek were already past picking. The devils club buds were pickable along the creek, but as I worked my way up the other side to the mountain side, the buds were too far out to pick. I started to worry I’d waited too long as I broke onto the open mountainside. I saw lots of fiddleheads already up and unfurled. As I looked closer, I saw the young fiddleheads I was looking for coming up alongside the ones already unfurled, and just had to train my eyes to look for the younger shoots. I filled up jar after jar. The fog burned off, and as the sun got higher, the hooters hooted from high up the hill.  It took about an hour to fill up my jars with fiddleheads. There were nettles and twisted stalk among the fiddleheads, but I left those for another day.

After work, I used the magic trick to clean the fiddleheads. Fill a pillow case a third full, tie an overhand knot in the case, and put in the clothes dryer on air fluff for 15 minutes. I put half of what I picked in the pillow case and into the dryer. As I got the second batch ready, I heard the clothes dryer thumping change rhythm.  I opened the door to check and. Uh oh. The knot came untied. The fiddleheads were in the dryer. Everywhere. And remarkably clean. I pulled out the fiddleheads into a bowl, and collected all the chaff I could out of the dryer. There was quite a bit left that was damp and stuck to the dryer drum. So, what’s a guy to do. I turned the clothes dryer back on, with the heat on, and presto.  Five minutes later the chaff had dried and I got the rest out with the vacuum hose. The second batch I tied multiple knots with a shoe string, and that one stayed tied without incident.

For dinner, I sauteed some fiddleheads, and use them and some moose sausage to top a pizza. Not bad.