My husband had our 8-year old helping make breakfast for our Big Country Breakfast on Sunday. It was homemade biscuits with homemade gravy and scrambled eggs from our chickens. Ben was cracking the eggs and whisking them. He was adding the salt and pepper, and noticing that we are running low on salt. He suggested going to the Bonneville Salt Flats for a refill. (He is a little obsessed with the raceway there.)
Scott started to tell him about the Native Indians who lived in his hometown area of Pinole, CA, and Ben interjected, “I think I know this one.” He repeated the story back to his dad about the Indians going out to the San Francisco Bay during a low tide, placing sticks into the sand, waiting for the tide to come in and going back out again, then pulling the sticks out and harvesting the salt from the sticks.
This was the first time I’d heard the story, and I was shocked. How did they ever figure out how to do that? I wonder about so many things. Like, how did someone discover that the leaves of Rhubarb are poisonous, but the stalks aren’t? The easy answer is that someone got poisoned. But how did someone decide to try to figure out which part would be good, and which part wouldn’t be safe?
Being new to farming, I wonder about all sorts of things that are handed down as wisdom from people who have been doing this a long time. I think, how do they remember so much?
Scott just looked at me and responded, “How did we ever forget?”
And it strikes me what an awesome adventure we have embarked upon together. There are so many beautiful, natural remedies, and time-honored truths of living off the land, that have largely been forgotten by most of American culture. And we are embracing them, we are embracing the old way, the way of making our own cheeses, lotions and soaps from goat’s milk, raising our own vegetables, putting them away, raising our own chickens for eggs.
We have so incredibly much to learn. And it is amazing to see it from the other perspective of how have we forgotten so much?
photo from here