As of last night, both kayak frames are lashed up. They just need some floorboards before we varnish them and start the skinning process. Mine is on the right, Brian's on the left.
I'm not a big salad eater. Actually, that's an understatement. I've only managed to eat one salad in my entire lifetime. But, ever since I took some wilderness survival classes back in January and February, I've been curious how some wild plants taste. While mowing my yard yesterday evening, I decided to try three of them that I had identified earlier.
First, I pulled up a good size clump of wild garlic or onion. Not 100% on either, but it had a strong odor somewhere in between the two and I've read you really need to make sure that smell is present or it could be something quite poisonous. I'm gonna lean more towards garlic, due to the round leaves. So that's how I prepared it. I followed a basic recipe for baked garlic in butter and light Italian seasoning. I spread it on bread and it had something like a cross between a garlic and a potato taste to it. Maybe too much butter was used. I don't know. But it was OK.
As the garlic (or onion) was baking, I washed the greens. First the purple deadnettle, then the dandelion. I tried the dandelion raw and cooked like you might do spinach. Boiled till soft. It was better raw, in my opinion. I also tried it with balsamic vinegar.
The purple deadnettle gets it's sinister sounding name from not having a sting like stinging nettle does. Being a member of the mint family, it has a slight mint smell to it and it's square stems won't have you cussing like it's very distant cousin will. Which, stinging nettle is also edible. But it has to be cooked to kill the sting. I hope to make nettle beer with it later this spring, given the time.
The deadnettle I cooked like the dandelion. It was pretty tasteless. About how I imagine eating cooked grass might be, from the smell. Both the deadnettle and dandelion might be OK in a soup or stew with other things. If you were in the woods and killed some sort of small critter and added it to your pot, you might throw these in for added nutrients and filler.
Also, it's smart to do some research before you eat something you're unsure of. I looked at quite a few pics online before trying these. It took a couple weeks of buildup before I felt comfortable with the idea. That could be because they weren't of a carnivorous nature or it could be the wild part, not exactly sure. It took about as long to build up to eating a plate of spinach a while back and that was store bought. it also helps to pick yourself up a good field guide for your area. One with photos, not just line art and descriptions.
The verdict on eating these weeds: yes, they're edible, no, I won't be eating them often. But, at least I know I can if I'm ever stuck somewhere in the woods for any great length of time.
Friday, we dropped the kiddo off at her grandparent's, hit the road by 3:30 PM and made it into Hermann right at 7:00. After checking into our room at Harbor Haus Inn, a nautical themed B&B, we walked around town, settling on dinner at a place called The Concert Hall and Barrel Bar. I had a great steak sandwich and a dopplebock beer from the local brewery, Tin Mill Brewing Company.
Then, we walked out over the bridge over the Missouri. We stood and listened to the surging water below and had the chance to stand over a train passing a few dozen feet below us. You could feel the wind off of it and the rattle of the tracks.
After that we hit up a bar called The Bank Bar at Schiller. Housed in an old bank building. It was nice and low-keyed. I was drinking a glass of Norton by the Adam Puchta Winery, with an owner of the winery sitting about ten feet behind me. The owner of the bar was a nice guy. We talked to him quite a bit that evening.
Saturday, up about 7:30 AM. Down to the inn's dining hall for a communal breakfast. The dining hall was completely decked out in nautical pieces. Three boats along the ceiling, a Meramec johnboat, a rowboat and what appeared to be an old Rob Roy-like canvas canoe. We also stopped for a doughnut at a little mom and pop bake shop.
After breakfast, we drove out to Adam Puchta Winery and sampled their wines. Buying a couple bottles before heading back to town. It was the only place we drove to. Everything else being within a mile or so of our B&B and easily walkable.
Tin Mill Brewing Company was next. I got another dopplebock, Abby had a pilsner. I also picked up a tee shirt after doing the self-guided tour. We sat out in their beer garden and finished off our brews.
Then it was across the street to Hermannhof Winery. Where we picked up several bottles of wine and a summer sausage to go with the Irish cheddar and water crackers that we had brought with us. We sat under a pavilion next to the creek running through the property. It was pretty awesome, really. The weather was not hot, the rain was magically held at bay and our day couldn't get much better.
Somewhat buzzed, we trumped back to our room, dropped off the bottles and leftover food, then made the half hour walk over to Stone Hill Winery. With Wurstfest in full swing, crowds were gathering quite a bit. We didn't bother much with all the sausage eating part and stuck to the wine. Avoiding much of the lines in the process. We did take a cellar tour, which was great. It included a private tasting (A woman named Claire was our tasting host and she was very nice. We liked her a lot. We saw her again the next morning in a coffee shop). Also, with a sharp nudge from my wife and half a bottle of Vidal Blanc in me, I got to help in a very drunken bratwurst making demonstration.
While walking back to the B&B, we stopped in a little mom and pop restaurant for a late lunch. Abby had their German special and I had an open-face roast beef sandwich. It was the perfect meal to sober up to. Once we made the inn, we crashed out for an hour and a half.
Then it was up out of bed and down to sit by the inn's firepit, next to their parking lot. We hung out down there and polished off a bottle we'd been working on earlier. A dozen or so highly intoxicated locals joined us. They were hammered, but really funny. We had all the intention in the world of heading back out to the bars, but opted for a casual stroll around town and the riverfront. Then back to the room to read and crash out again.
Sunday morning, up for breakfast at the dining hall again. Checked out, then we walked around town, got a coffee at an internet cafe and then a second breakfast at the fire house. It was funny to be socializing with so many septuagenarians. But, we met a lot of nice people there and no one seemed a bit bothered by our age or my tattoos.
After the firehouse, we were off to Hermannhof again. We polished off the cheese, sausage and crackers, as well as half a bag of kettle corn and most of a bottle of chambourcin. Then walked around to some shops and back to the car.
It was a great trip. We had a lot of fun and it was nice to hang out with just the two of us for a change. Still, we missed the kiddo enough to leaver a little earlier on Sunday and head back south. Missing the wiener dog derby in the process. Oh, well. Here's a few more pics from around town.