Foraging for Snow

Who would've thunk it?  That closing the door to one great big black hole of a person could open up so many others?  I mean, I sort of thought it would be a one for one exchange of doors, at best.  I had thought that last year would be irreparably tinted by all of the surprise, sadness, and anger of my break-up.  Instead, it was, by a long-shot, the best year of my life.  Good people, jobs, and happiness rained down upon me like nothing I've ever experienced.

When you are blessed with the opportunity to rebuild your life from the ground up, the world is fresh with dew.  I feel like the luckiest person on earth to have been blessed with so many new career opportunities, all having to do with my passion, foraging.  Last year was the year that I started foraging for restaurants, working with chefs, combining my love of the outdoors, my obsession with wild foods, and my desire to eat well.  At the same time, I was surprised to have been offered a job to write for a magazine on the same subject.  One door closes, an infinite number open.

Yesterday, as I stretched out in a big puddle of wintry sun with the kitteh, I took count of all the scars I obtained in 2011.  There is the scar on my hand from a cooking mishap.  A few scratches from cats and bushes and weeds and fences.  I've several scars from my monstrous six week run of poison ivy.  There is also the scar from where I fell down the mountain while mushrooming, and gashed open my shin.  That one is purple, and it seems it will forever remind me of king boletes.  Then, I suppose it bears mentioning, there is the scar etched over my heart.

Actually, it's not worth mentioning.  That is my past.  The ghost has been exorcised.  Goodnight moon, goodnight ghost.

What is worth mentioning is my present, my delicious happy present.  After I fell down the mountain and was all busted up, I was exhausted and a little defeated.  My friends rallied around me.  They took me aside, and told me in no uncertain terms that they would be my ICE (in case of emergency) contacts, and that I was required to tell them where I went each and every time I headed into the hills alone.  As an only child, as a single girl, I cannot even begin to express how it felt to know that those people were willing to stand up for me, even in a life-threatening emergency.  Honestly, it colored my whole world.

I've no doubt that my greatest blessings in 2011 came in the form of people.  I can only explain it as magic, as infinite open doors, that so many amazing souls came into my life.  I'm telling you, it's far beyond mere chance, the sheer number of dear friends who entered my life, and just when I needed them most.  I needed them to re-educate my soul as to what it meant to be genuinely and unfailingly supported, I needed them to remind me what it meant to have faith in humanity, I needed them to fill my heart to the brim with love.  My doors are wide open.

Sigh.  It is January, and this place were the high desert prairie meets the great Rockies is brown and snowy, with a little more brown thrown in for color.  I'm spending a lot of time hibernating with the cat and contemplating life, and very little time foraging.  So be it.  For every thing, a season.  I'm enjoying the view out those open doors.

Grownup Snow Cones

I have, however, been harvesting quite a bit of snow lately.  Go ahead and snigger, all of you Pacific Northwest fat hogs who are rolling around in mushrooms at the moment. You win.

A few weeks ago, my friend Laura mentioned that she had been enjoying grownup snow cones/ slurpies.  That is, liqueur poured over snow.  That was a facepalm moment for me.  Why hadn't I ever thought of that?

So much of the fruit that I put up during the growing season got preserved as liqueur, so why not finally enjoy it?  I've been happily tasting my way through the pantry.  Takes quite a bit of work, foraging for all of that snow.

Here's the skinny.  Take your favorite pint mason jar, and pack it with snow.  Really cram it in there.  If you need to be warned not to eat yellow snow, perhaps you aren't yet ready for grownup snow cones.  Next, pour on your liqueur until the snow looks to be about 1/3 saturated.  Stir, slurp, enjoy!

My three favorite grownup snow cones so far - coffee, elderflower, and snowgaritas.

Cheers!  Let's raise a glass to even more open doors in 2012!


Speaking of booze... have you combined something wild with alcohol?  Beer, wine, mead, infused-alcohol, tincture, or elixir?  Excellent!  You need to share the goods with the Wild Things Round Up.  Simply send your recipe to by the end of the month.  Everyone is invited to join in the fun!  Wild Things is meant to inspire those who might otherwise be too afraid to forage, so please, share your happy experiences and recipes!


  1. Why did this post make me want to cry?
    I'm happy for you Butter.
    I've always been one that liked her scars too...
    well at least the story behind them!
    Enjoy your snow cones, all we got here is sun, sun and sun
    I envy you!

  2. Did I ever tell you that we made snowcones in 3rd grade with maple syrup while reading Little House on the Prairie? No idea why I haven't thought of this latest permutation either, so thank you Laura!! BUT we do have some new ingredients to play with... let's all do a snow dance!

  3. great post butter, very inspiring... ate a fresh dandelion flower yesterday, yep, here in th' foothills- keep searchin and thanks for all th' great posts, rico and beth

  4. That was one of the most beautiful things you've ever written, love, really. It made me all teary and I think my heart just swelled up a bit with love for you.

    Happy new year. Here's to scars and pain and friendship and support and mountains and wild things and all things good in the world.

    (ps. I'd kill for a grown up snow cone right now :) )

  5. Pretty words =)
    Hey, I'm supposed to be rolling in mushrooms right now?


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