Friday, August 23, 2013

Walking on the roof of hell gazing at the flowers.*

photo of Spring grassfire
Hi! Thanks for stopping. Today we're up to question 5 of the bioregional quiz. Here it is: "5.    When was the last time a fire burned in your area?" The first challenge is to decide what's meant by "in your area." In our back yard, we've already burned several brush piles so far this year. Somehow, I don't think that's what's meant by the question. Minnesota is known for grass fire season each spring. There is usually one or more local grass fires that comes within a mile or two of the house each season. Does a mile or two constitute "in your area?" Or, is the question framed from the perspective of Westerners who have to deal with forest fires that cover thousands of acres and more? Does it refer to things such as controlled burns, used for prairie restoration and/or major forest fire suppression? Or, does it refer to major conflagrations such as the great Chicago Fire or, right up the road but separated in time, the great Hinckley Fire? Perhaps we'll find question 6 more straightforward. Shall we try?

"6.    What were the primary subsistence techniques of the culture that lived in your area before you?" The area where I live is about midway between historically identified Ojibwe villages (to the north) and Dakota villages (to the south). Each of these cultures used hunting and gathering and horticulture as subsistence techniques. Over time, as white settlers invaded the area, each of these cultures became increasingly dependent on trade with the white culture. I find it questionable, however, if that fits a reasonable definition of primary subsistance technique. (YMMV) My primary references are: North Country, The Making of Minnesota and Mni Sota Makoce, The Land of the Dakota.

This brings us to question "7.    Name five edible plants in your region and their season(s) of availability." I hope you'll be able come back tomorrow so we can compare notes on our answers. Rants, raves and reflections served here daily.
*Gary Snyder