Hey friends. I'll be selling some stylin' winter caps at two upcoming craft fairs and I may bring along some unique hats for babies/kids. First at Bike Craft, an event put on by BikePortland.org on Dec. 5th. Here is the flyer:
The following weekend on Dec. 12th, I will be selling hats at the Handmade Bazaar. It will be held at Mississippi Studios 3939 N Mississippi Ave. from 11 am to 4 pm.
Also wanted to mention this Tweed Ride happening in Portland on Jan. 30th. Sounds cool. I'll try to attend in my finest Harris Tweed!
Monday, November 16, 2009
This is a video of a bicycle trapping workshop that I led last winter through TrackersNW of Portland. As discussed in my last posting, I ran the same workshop last week. Participants came along on a bicycle trap line for nutria. A trap line is simply a bunch of traps set in a variety of locations by a trapper to catch fur-bearing animals. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has a specific list of what animals are considered fur bearers and are legal to trap. Some of these animals, such as nutria, have an open season for trapping, meaning they can be trapped anytime of year. This is because of some of the reasons I described in my last post.
We caught two nutria at one of the two urban farms I set traps at. (I would like to emphasize that I was the only one setting the traps because I was the only one with a valid furtaker's license. ODFW requires that a person study a packet of info and pass a written test in order to be issued a furtaker's license.) We then returned with our catch and skinned them, prepared the hides for tanning and butchered the carcass and cooked up a bit of the meat. Most folks seemed pleasantly surprised at the "chicken- like" taste of the meat. I have been asked, and often wondered myself, whether the meat from these critters is clean enough to eat being that they are semi-aquatic and spend much time in Johnson Creek, which isn't known for being clean. My opinion is this: Eating a bit of this now and then can't be too harmful because the nutria are feeding mainly on clean organic crops and grasses at the farm where they reside. They are not eating fish and so, I assume, are not bioaccumulating toxins the way tuna, salmon and other seafood (that folks pay top dollar for) does. I would like to find someone who could do the research to see what toxins may be present in urban animals such as, nutria, raccoon, opossum and squirrel. These mammals are plentiful in Portland and sometimes even overpopulated, and I think could offer a healthy source of meat for humans. Think of it as free-range sources of meat, fat, and fur. : )
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I was just checking out Rivendell's website and came across this rad hat that they are selling made from 40% New Zealand Possum Wool, 50% Merino and 10% Nylon. Check out the link and read about it. The New Zealand Possum is different from our native opossum and was introduced there years ago. Unfortunately it causes a lot of damage to the native flora and fauna of NZ so people are trying to wipe them out. This is much like the nutria (Myocastor coypus) here in the US which causes much damage by eating up massive amounts of wetland vegitation and pushing the native muskrats out of their territory.
It just so happens that I will be leading a workshop through Trackers NW of Portland this Tues. and Wed. where we will cycle out to a farm in the Portland area where the nutria devour many of the farms crops. Here we will speak with the farmers, do some tracking for the little buggers and then set traps. The following day we will pedal back out early in the morn and check our traps. If we catch some of these big rodents we will ride back with them on our racks and skin and process them at TrackersNW. Participants will learn about the ethics of trapping animals and how to do it responsibly and how to skin, butcher, and tan the hide of a small critter.
I often think about this idea of native and non-native or invasive species. The reality is that the nutria or the NZ possum is not evil, it is just doing what it does best and it is a master of survival because it can prosper and multiply in many environments. However, it brings sadness to me to see the native species be killed off and lose them potentially forever. The reality is that nature has a way of balancing itself out and what I am witnessing is this process. Someday, the nutria may take the place of the muskrat over much of North America and it is silly for us to fight this change. I say we need to embrace these species and realize that they are capable of providing much for us and for others. For example: abundant sources of fur, meat, fat for humans and predatory animals. (Last year while trapping nutria, I came upon a bald eagle feasting on one of the nutria in my traps.) Which brings me back to my excitement about this NZ possum fur hat that Riv is selling. The makers of these hats are making use of an abundant renewable resource, unlike polyester and other plastic fibers made from oil. If life gives you lemons make some fuckin' lemonade my friends!