I can’t call myself a hunter gatherer, as I don't hunt, but I can call myself a fisher gatherer – with some restrictions.
I bought three fish trap permits this spring. One is for the trap thing I use. The others are for fish nets my brother plans to use. They’re probably more efficient than my trap.
There is something very satisfying even in putting the trap into the lake, not to mention catching something
– fish, I hope. I feel more connected to nature. I feel more in control of myself and my life in catching my own livelihood, so to speak. Even if it’s just two small perch I can fry in butter for lunch.
Reading this lake is difficult. We’ve been here for over 40 years and I still can’t read the lake. As a child, I learned to fish at sea, in the archipelago. So I learned to read the sea and the archipelago, the little gulfs, where the seaweeds were, the rushes, where the shallows were, where it got deeper etc. Our family used to spend a couple weeks in the archipelago every summer for about ten years. Rain or sun, it was Paradise! Waters were clear, seaweed that resembles bubble wrap abounded, the sun-hot rocks burned our little bare feet and there were plenty of fishes in the sea. We could rely on our daily catch for a meal. And the cliffs and the forest for wild berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries. Wild chives.
The family rule is: you catch it, you clean it. No problem there. When I was kid, father did the cleaning no matter who caught the fish. My brother and I would crouch by, following the process closely. The first time I cleaned a fish on my own as an adult I asked my young nephew to look on. He was always watching his grandfather clean fish so he would have been able to tell me if I was going wrong. As it happened, I didn’t go wrong.
The restriction bit comes in gathering. I will happily pick all blueberries that ripen on this property by the lakeside. I’m happy to pick the wild raspberries that grow around the huge birch in the field, even though there are nettles in between. I’m not too keen on going somewhere else to pick blueberries or anything else. Here, the comfort factor enters: the place may be too far away, I’d have to drive (a green factor), the weather’s too hot, the weather’s too cold, there are horseflies, mosquitoes, ticks. Not that our property is horsefly-free, mosquito-free or tick-free, but that’s a different matter. Being close to home I can always call it a day and continue later. If I’m further out it wouldn’t be that easy. I’m happy to buy what someone else has picked and support their efforts, help them make a living.
Mushrooms? I don’t do mushrooms. Apart from chantrelles.
So I guess I’m more fisher than fisher gatherer. And as to catching my livelihood, I pulled up an empty trap this morning, yet again. It's the fish trap soaking season. A good thing there is a pretty good food store in the village.
I'm Piisa and I will be sharing with you my thoughts on this and that, maybe even on whatever.