Morals & Morels

One thing we do need to be aware of is over harvesting.





When spring takes its turn and transforms our snowy wonderland from the clean, white landscape to a slippery, muddy mess opportunity strikes for the various flora and fauna. As the new years growth takes a hold of the Earth we get to see the once cold, white world change to a sweet smelling, beautiful Eden full of life and sound.

One of my favorite things to look for come April and May is the wild morel mushroom. I live in an area heavy with black morels and they are incredible! The texture and patterns that make up the body of this most interesting of fungi can steal away ones imagination.

When picking these choice edible mushrooms I like to use a mesh bag or colander for gathering them into. This allows any bugs that may be upon the prize to wiggle out and drop off as the mushroom dries and helps with the airflow to facilitate drying. Some people will use them fresh, some like to dry them out for later and some like to soak them in a salty brine to drive out any remaining critters that could be still inside. If they are there, you will see them in the bottom of your brine bowl.

Morels prefer disturbed areas in pine and poplar forests where I am. Mostly higher than 500 meters above sea level. I find mine in the 700-1000m range but I do see them much higher too at work. As I do my work in silviculture, rehabilitating the forest after the loggers finish, I especially find the spring morel in the burned off areas. These are prime locations to pick mushrooms and the higher you go in elevation the later in the season you will find the fresh morels.

One thing we do need to be aware of is over harvesting. If you leave some of the older, less fresh and desirable caps you will ensure that there will be more to come in following years. The one thing we don’t want to do is destroy the value of future harvests by being greedy today. I added an Amazon affiliate link below to the exact field guide I use to identify mushrooms when I go out picking. It’s a good one!

I filmed a YouTube video of us finding morels a couple years ago. I picked 15 lbs that year and decided it would be fun to show everybody what to look for when out picking. Yum! ~Scott




Savings with Cedar

My record for walking out of the bush so far is 33km. I’d suggest avoiding the need to do that in the future.





Over the last few years I have cut a few hundred fence posts. You see, to buy a 4″+ thick and 7′ long post here it is about $7 each. That adds up! In order to save money I go out and cut my own posts. I choose cedar because around here they are plentiful and they are resistant to rot. Typically I can find the tops of the older trees with the harder wood left over from the logging operations. This is good as the younger, skinnier trees won’t last as long in the Earth. Plus I save them from being burnt up in the slash piles and keep their carbon out of our atmosphere.

When I cut my posts I look for an area where all the tops have been brought to the road side in preparation for piling to burn. When the logs are processed road side rather than at the stump I get the easier pickings. I choose 6″ posts if I can and cut them 9′ long (a store bought post this size would run ya $15 each). I pound them in with my excavator 4′ into the ground so I get an ultra sturdy post. I use my chainsaw to make a point on the fat end. When it comes time to put them in I use a 6′ long crow bar with a chisel tip to stab a hole into the ground and work it around a bit to open up a small cone shaped hole. This gives a guide to hold and direct the post as I tap it with the excavators bucket.

It is good to peel the bark off them for not only looks, but it also helps them last longer. A two handled draw knife is the tool to do this best. Leave them stacked up off the ground for a year and cedar bark practically peels itself. This is wonderful. With my range fence I didn’t even bother to take the bark off, they will still last a long time bark on. Usually every time I go firewood cutting I manage to bring back a few good poles or posts. And when I find a nice spot where I can get a full load of posts… well the firewood has to wait for the next trip. The poles save me three times as much money than the firewood does haha, that and they are harder to come by. Put 35 or 50 posts on your truck that you would have to other wise pay $10+ each for and the savings sure adds up!

Just be sure to be safe, learn how to use a chainsaw safely and let someone know where you are going. My record for walking out of the bush so far is 33km. I’d suggest avoiding the need to do that in the future. Haha. Oh and make sure you aren’t stealing someone’s wood. Get permission and be very sure not to take marketable timer from the sites. That will keep you out of trouble.

Have fun!  ~Scott




Jake’s “mouse”

I still wish I kept that squirrel and trained it to collect Fir tree cones for me. I can sell those by the pail full for good money. Live and learn.





So this one cool fall night, October 24 2016, our youngest son Jake comes sheepishly into our bedroom doorway to tell us about a little critter that has made it’s way into his room. Being that it was past their bed times and the fact that the two of us were snuggled up in bed as well, not wanting to be disturbed, we weren’t really excited about this development.

“What is it Jake, why are you out of bed?” I ask.

“There’s a mouse on my bed.” Jake whispers in his own mouse like voice.

“well just flick it off the bed and one of your cats will deal with it.” I said, wanting to get back to our snuggle.

Now to this Jake just looks at me with wide eyed horror. But he does leave us alone for a short time only to return a few minutes later. This time he informs us that it is still there but now on his window sill as he stands there in his pj’s quietly. I think to my self ‘how does a little mouse get up on a window sill?’

So I figure I better get up and settle this problem for him so I can get him back to sleep. Upon entering into his room we look at his window sill and see nothing. Quickly though I hear Ally belt out “Holy S#!t, that’s not a mouse!!”

It was a big grey flying squirrel hanging from the top of the window. And it is freaked right out! Hahaha. So me being me I grab it hoping it won’t bite. It bit, I felt his teeth go right to the bone. I’ve handled many smaller rodents, bats, squirrels and snakes that the cats bring home but never anything this big. Usually a little bite is no big deal here. So I drop it and go for my skidoo mitts.

After donning the necessary safety gear, a mitt, I take our newest visitor into the kitchen for it’s mug shots before releasing it on the terms it is never to come back inside our home. He bid us farewell with the flick of his tail and made off into the night.

I still wish I kept that squirrel and trained it to collect Fir tree cones for me. I can sell those by the pail full for good money. Live and learn.

~Scott




Day one with the blog

Our hopes are to be able to share and learn some of the much needed tips, tricks and techniques of living the “land rich, live poor” lifestyle.

So today is day one of our first blog at the homestead. Five years in now on the land in central British Columbia, Canada we have gathered a good many funny and even some useful stories about life in the sticks and starting from bare land.

As we continue to share our experiences and adventures I will try to add in a few stories from my grand parents and their set ups in the day on the Canadian prairie. Our hopes are to be able to share and learn some of the much needed tips, tricks and techniques of living the “land rich, live poor” lifestyle. haha. Along the way we will be having links to videos about how things have been done, what we do to get along today and small hobbies that add to the richness of our lives.

Feel free to look around and give feed back or comments on what you think and maybe how we can improve the experiences we have together here. I also have started a YouTube channel dedicated to our lifestyle if that may of interest. Please feel free to check it out.

Enjoy!   ~Scott