Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sassafras Tea, Polk Salat, a Hog Wallow and RATS!

This is Polk Salat!

More Polk Salat

This is Sassafras.  Note the leaves.

More Sassafras to dig.  You only use the roots.

This year's turkey hunt proved to be a very interesting time.  Twice I drove through Tellico Plains and up the mountain to a friends far near a place called Rafter.  No luck on the hunt, but did manage to rescue my friend's barrell of fish food which the bear had rolled off the dock and down into the creek.  Then I've been to the cabin three or four times - mostly to ride the Kawasaki Mule.  Three trips back, I spotted so much polk salat that I just decided to take a "mess" of it home for Frances to cook.  I was not sure she would want to cook it because it is quite a process to make sure that you don't get poisoned on the stuff.  She WAS DELIGHTED and made enough from the first picking to serve us four meals of those delicious greens. 
In addition, I spotted some sassafras growing right beside the trail and decided I would like some tea.  Again, Frances WAS DELIGHTED.  I dug enough roots that she made about 3 gallons of tea.  For those who may not know, it tastes a LOT like Root Beer without the carbonated water.  Today I dug more sassafras and brought home for her to boil and make tea with.  Just in case you don't know, it's delicious hot or cold. 

My friend, Eddie W. has not been with me to the cabin for about three months, but was available today.  He has a great love for the outdoors too.  We first drove along the trail where I had collected polk salat before and where I had dug sassafras roots.  At the top of the mountain we got hung up on a high spot and had to rock the machine so the wheels would touch the ground.  He climbed into the bed of the Mule and jumped a few times while I backed off.  Then, do you believe I drove over the same hump in the trail?  Well, Yes.  And No - we did not get hung up again!  Just having a little fun with ya. 

After eating lunch we drove down a different trail in a different direction where we saw Polk Salat in abundance.  I decided not to pick anymore because it looks like it's about gone to seed.  I really don't know that much about it - but I don't think you are supposed to eat it after a certain stage of growth.  With my friend along I was a little more brave as we jumped brush and logs and went down trails I had not explored before.  What FUN!
Do you see the hog tracks in that mud?
 Then for our last trail we drove to the top of a knoll and looked down in front of the Mule and spied a muddy spot on the road with hog tracks in it!  It looks like there are tracks all over that section of the mountain.  I must go back again and get serious about harvesting a wild hog.

Back at the cabin - I'm having trouble with rats.  I'm not talking mice.  I'm talking rats.  The rats have eaten half a bar of Zest hand-soap; they have chewed up one of my bed-spreads; they have chewed on my recliner; they had started building a nest under the kitchen stove!  In the process they had chewed on one of my wicker chairs anc collected bambook to add to their pile of cotton behind the stove.  I had set mouse traps to no avail.  I finally bought some D-Con and some glue boards.  Caught four BIG rats on glue boards and took them out and put them out of their misery - plus four mice.  One mouse was found today, already dead.  So the D-Con is working.  I cannot imagine why, all of a sudden, the rats decided to invade the place.  Whew!  What a mess.  If you have any suggestions - I need help!