Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Stalking the wild asparagus

County Grounds, Food, UWM engineering school

 I know where the biggest stand of wild asparagus in Wauwatosa is. The spears haven't started peeking up yet, but when they do they will look like this:



I'm not sharing with anyone. But here's a hint for the resourceful forager: it's on the County Grounds, in a spot that's likely to be graded out of existence when the bulldozers come through to flatten things for the UWM engineering campus.


Most of you are probably too young to remember the book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus," by Euell Gibbons. I read it with great enthusiasm but never managed to learn enough to live off the land around me. Roasted a chicory root or two: the resulting "coffee" was awful.


But even with little knowledge, you can find berries, wild onions and garlic, and Jerusalem artichokes on that piece of land. And the domestic rhubarb that hides each year behind a growing wall of thorns.


Being "old" now, I fear few strangers. And when I run across the rare teenager skulking through the woods nearby, doing whatever teens who don't love the woods do in them,  I stop him and point things out. "Have you seen the owls?" or "Ever tried a gooseberry?" gets a startled response, but they usually look politely toward where I point before fleeing.


So much of this will be gone soon. I wonder how to make people see what those of us who love the wildish places do when we look around us. Someone has to show you before you have eyes to look and see. 


Who's showing the kids? And if no one does, who will care about it? I think about this even when talking to people my age who grew up outdoors, building forts and watching wildlife, but who now see only empty space where buildings could be. More and more I think our new rule should be "no child left inside."


And no adult, either.


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