Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Saturday Archeological Expedition


Yep, it was an expedition alright; I had to walk nearly 200 feet from my truck! I’d been parked under a shade tree behind the local mall, while my wife walked around a bit, when the urge to answer nature’s call became strong enough that it seemed unwise to resist. Driving around the perimeter of the back lot, to get to the nearest burger joint, I noticed a mound of fairly fresh dirt and an eight-foot by 50 foot patch of bare ground from which the piled sod had been taken. It looked like they were getting ready to replace a storm sewer connection and had removed the sod before starting to dig ant deeper. So, on my way back from using the burger joint’s little room, I parked in the lot near where the soil disturbance was.

The Ohio River Valley was the home of Native Americans for many thousands of years, and they left a fair amount of sign here. I found several flint chips and one small arrowhead behind the current mall location  many years ago when they were converting the former grass-strip airport into the current shopping mecca. The river was only a couple stone-throws away from the dirt pile and the bare patch, and it had obviously been rained on a few times, so I figured they would be worth checking out.

The pickings were pretty slim, though there WAS some sign of an earlier time. Those times were represented by the small pieces of crushed limestone, asphalt and brown beer-bottle glass that occasionally showed up in the sandy soil. There was nothing from any earlier eras, however. It was clear that a lone white-tailed deer had slaked his thirst at the little puddle of water at the lower end of the shallow excavation. I say “he” since most does are either traveling with their young or with other does at this time of year. The goose poop was plentiful, but old. I saw the resident flock grazing along a small stream on my way to and from the burger joint.

What I DID find was a half-dozen poke plants about five inches tall. Had I taken a trowel or digging stick with me, I’d have brought them home to replant for next year. Maybe I can make it back before they bulldoze the place level again. I want to start a poke patch, since they’re perennials. I may try planting some poke berries, but existing roots would be my preferred method. Not today though. I’ve got a few pursley plants that I need to stick in the ground this evening anyway. Plus I’ need to do a little more work on the frame for my chainsaw mill. © 2013
-

9 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

I can send you some poke roots if you need them. I guess your variety is the same as ours, I try my best not to have a poke patch, it can take over our fields here. If a tiller cuts one up, all the pieces will start growing so if you have big roots, you can cut them in chunks. If you want to visit Virginia we will let you spend days digging the roots up, you might even get someone to pay you to do it. I assume you are going to feast on the shoots in the spring.

JaneofVirginia said...

Very cool, Gorges. It's always important to salvage whatever you can use. The best things in life really are free.

Sixbears said...

My Jerusalem artichokes are doing well, when a lot of stuff isn't. I think you are really onto something with your cultivated weeds. People won't even recognize them as food. I've been letting some "weeds" grow as they will be harvested soon.

Gorges Smythe said...

I remember well how I hoed in the garden and "cut filth" in the pature to try to keep the weeds at bay on the farm, SF. Now, I'm growing Jerusalem artichokes, and am adding pursley, and hopefully poke, all considered weeds by the local farmers! Call me strange! Actually, it's all part of my permaculture plan. Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll pas! LOL!

Yes, Jane, it's almost like "found money!"

That's sort of what I figure, Sixbears. Plus, they don't need honeybees to pollinate, since they were here before the bees.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Thinking along those lines, the essential weed to have growing and you probably do, is lambs quarters, one of the best greens that you can pick probably a little after your poke.

Gorges Smythe said...

I've never had any luck TRYING to grow lambsquarter, SF, although we used to get plenty of it in the garden edges and the barn lot.

Ralph Goff said...

Its interesting to find artifacts of a previous civilization. I have only ever found one small stone hammer head on this land. Now if I could just find that jackknife I lost this summer...

Angela said...

When we first moved to our farm my Granny went crazy picking poke from our yard around the creek. My husband keeps the grass cut pretty well that we are living here so I really don't notice it. We did plant some ramps back in the woods about 3 years ago. I had hoped to get some more roots to plant some more but didn't get any this year. Maybe next year!

Gorges Smythe said...

Ralph, I imagine things would be easire to find along streams or near springs, where animals go to water and people would tend to congregate and camp.

I don't know that we have any on this place, Angela; I should try to get some. With my luck, though, the deer would eat them all.