Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 142: A Month of Cake and Clams


April tides further fueled my passion for the ocean and all that she has to offer. I spent a lot of time on the beach this month taking advantage of low tides and filling my freezer with clams and oysters. I have approximately 2 weeks of protein stored away for lazier times. I even collected and dried several batches of seaweed to snack on in the evenings instead of popcorn.

The boys and I dug tons of clams. I love my clams, but clams are not a convenience food. I mean, you don’t steam up a batch and eat them in your car on the way to work, or at least most people don’t. Clams are basically a sit-down meal, but I’ve found a way to take my clams to go. Clam Jerky. To be exact, its horse clam neck jerky, but that doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? Clam jerky is my new beef jerky. It’s wild, pure protein, low-sodium, easy to make, better for me, and simply delicious.

Along with my routine foraging and fishing, my siblings and I hosted an anniversary party for my folks and a 70th birthday celebration for my father. Throwing a party for 200+ folks was more work than any of us imagined. It nearly killed me, but with the help of YouTube, I survived.

I’ve come to rely on U-tube, absorbing short clips ranging from gutting a deer to making coconut-pecan frosting to tanning a hide to rolling out fondant. The free education floating around on the Internet stuns me and makes me question the practical value of my formal education and residual student loan payments. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on my butt in a classroom, I’ve always been a fan of experiential learning, where I can roll up my sleeves to get my hands dirty.

With Youtube at my side, I’ve grown more confident, perhaps to a fault. It’s also made me frugal, almost to the point of being “cheap.” I see little reason to pay for services I should be able to handle myself. So, I tackled the anniversary invitations, some of the food, and a monster of a cake. I put about 30 hours into the building of a five-layer, fondant covered cake with calla lilies, and I learned how to do the whole thing step-by-step by watching video clips. The cake turned out well, but despite my success, I never want to do that again. I have a new appreciation for cake decorators and understand perfectly why wedding cakes range from $3 to $12 per slice.  I understand, but I’ll never pay those kinds of prices. Frugal or cheap? I walk a thin line.

With the anniversary behind me, I’m looking forward to slowing down a bit in May. I need to stay home, tend to my greenhouse, repair the chicken coop, clean house, and catch up in the yard. But if I know me, I’ll fill May up with more foraging activities, new learning opportunities, travel and adventure. I do love my fine and wild life.

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