Tag Archive: roadkill


Orientation Travel Productions and Dutch host Thomas Acda go on a “Roadkill Road Trip” around North Yorkshire with yours truly!

.

orientationSpent a wonderfully full day on a warm and sunny Summer Solstice filming a pilot episode with the Orientation Production team of five wonderfully funny folk from the Netherlands.

The host, Thomas Acda, is a well known rock star, song writer, actor and comedian.  He is making a series very similar to that of Anthony Bourdain; traveling the world, meeting new and interesting people and having epiphanies through culinary experiences.

The day was spent foraging, exploring the beautiful countryside, looking for roadkill, cooking it, chatting and having a fun time.  We ended around a camp fire with some fantastic friends/ local musicians.  We certainly showed them some good old Yorkshire hospitality.

Sorry, not allowed to post anything else until the program is aired on mainstream Dutch TV this year.  Will post links ASAP.

.

*******************

.

Making a “How To…” film for the ‘MUNCHIES’ food Channel!

.

IMG_1042“How To Cook Roadkill” for the MUNCHIES food Channel.

I spent a very pleasurable half day with two guys from VICE / Freemantle Media UK making a show for their “How to…” series.

MUNCHIES chronicles the wide spectrum of the global culinary experience. They liked how I combine roadkill with various forms of cookery styles and ingredients and asked if I would cook for the show. I enjoyed links to the other episodes so said yes!

I made two of my “Feral Fusion” recipes using squirrel - “Southern Fried Squirrel” & “Squirrel Pot-Stickers Dumplings”.  They were very tasty and the show promises to be pretty funny, lol.

It should be ready to view online in a few months with a working title of “From Tarmac to Table!”.

freemantlemedia ukCan’t disclose anything else because it hasn’t aired yet but will post the link ASAP. X

.

*******************

.

Making movies for ‘Woodlands TV’!

claudia nye mugshotLately I have been making movies with the ultra talented Claudia Nye.

Originally from Argentina, Claudia is a Scarborough based, award winning BAFTA nominated documentary film maker with 21 years experience in the field of media.

Her work ranges from broadcast (BBC/Channel Four) to private and public Commissions (Film Council/European Fund), through facilitating community based projects with the youth, and teaching in FE and HE sectors.

These movies are for Woodlands.TV and should be ready to view online in a few months.

Can’t disclose which films are being made yet but will post the links ASAP. X

.

*******************

woodlands_TV         films for web claudia nye                   woodlands_Master logo

.

.

.

DISCLAIMER… Before I start I have to say that I hold NO responsibility for anyone getting sick from eating Roadkill.  I offer my experiences and knowledge here freely, I do not make myself accountable for anyone else.  YOU make a choice, YOU take responsibility.  If in doubt, ask someone else’s advice who knows what they are doing, or just leave it well alone!  With that said….

.

“Don’t Eat Flat Furry Roadside Snacks Before Last Diagnostic Smell Check”

.

Is it still fresh?

What most people visualise when they think of roadkill.

.

I get asked many questions, one of the most common is “How do you know it is safe to eat?”

I have in the past written plenty of long-winded explanations but I felt it was time to create an “Easy to Remember” ROAD-SIDE ROAD-KILL HEALTH & SAFETY CULINARY CHECKLIST! 

.

Okay, at this point there may be some eyebrow twitching or full-on belly laughs…. “Health and Culinary you say? In the same sentence as Roadkill???   Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!”…. but seriously, you will be surprised at how healthy roadkill can be.

Wild food foraging isn’t about being poor or desperate, its about being in tune with nature and our bodies.  Some of its benefits are that it uses less packaging, less chemicals, less food miles and contains less pollution; it is cruelty free; it fosters biodiversity; our bodies ‘understand’ these natural foods, therefore cancer and other physical ailments are minimized because our immune systems are boosted naturally.

.

Fresh Wild Rabbit Dumplings with Nettle and Sorrel Stuffing!

Fresh Wild Rabbit Dumplings with Nettle and Sorrel Stuffing!

.

I asked some “wordsmithy” friends if they wanted to help me to create a  humourous mnemonic.  Mnemonics are memory devices that help learners recall larger pieces of information, especially in the form of lists like characteristics, steps, stages, parts, phases, etc.  For the list I had in mind this was the perfect tool.

My dear old friend Mark “BUZZ” Busby did me, and all you fellow “Splatter Spotters”, very proud indeed with this…

Don’t Eat Flat Furry Roadside Snacks Before Last Diagnostic Smell Check”

Thank You Buzz!  You’re a genius! 

.

Soooo!  That is the quick and easy way to remember the essential pointers:

‘Damage’, ‘Eyes’, ‘Fleas & Flies’, ‘Rigor Mortis’, ‘Skin’, ‘Blood’, ‘Law’, ‘Diseases’, Smell’ and last but not least ‘Climate & Cooking’.

.

Damage

roadkill20n-1-webAvoid animals that have been badly damaged or ruptured internally.  Check the animal carefully before stuffing it in the boot of the car (gloves are recommended and a plastic bag or tarp).  If you saw the accident happen then you know it is definitely fresh.  If you didn’t, only pick up those that have ‘bounced’ from being hit cleanly once, preferably to the side of the road, and with someone else’s car, lol.  Obviously, don’t pick up something that’s been run over a couple or ten times, looks sick or abnormal!!

Eyes

black rabbit eyeWhat do the eyes look like?  Are there any eyes at all?

Carrion birds arrive at the scene of a road traffic accident quickly and especially first thing in the morning.  Eyes are soft, succulent and easy to pluck!  If there is still an eye left on the underside check  it to see if it is still clear.  Cloudy eyes can indicate that it isn’t fresh anymore.

 

Fleas & Flies

flies on foxThis is easy to remember – “FLEAS GOOD!  FLIES BAD!”.  Living & active fleas are a good sign of freshness – fleas will soon evacuate a cold dead body.  If you feel squeamish about fleas a 24 hour spell in the deep freeze will finish them off.

Flies will find a carcass quickly, especially in warm weather.  You may find tiny clusters of fresh long, white, oblong shaped eggs around the eyes, mouth, or other orifices.  This is not so bad if you don’t intend to eat these bits and the eggs have only just been laid.  If you are not sure about this or anything else mentioned so far, leave it be.

Do do not pick anything up that is old enough to be crawling with beetles, maggots or other larvae.  be wary of ticks that may carry Lymes Disease.  Contain ticks on a deer carcass whilst in the car using a sheet or plastic tarp.

 

Rigor Mortis

rigor mortisA stiff animal could just be in Rigor which means it’s still fresh, but keep in mind the previous tips when judging time of death.

The rate at which Rigor Mortis sets in will depend on several factors such as the animals physique, cause of death and the climate.  Different sources give different figures, but very broadly and in ‘average’ circumstances with roadkill it begins from 1/2 hr (bird) – 24 hrs (deer).   It becomes complete in about 12 hours or more.

Then the body relaxes again, this time as a result of decomposition. This is known as resolution of rigor.  The stiffness in the muscle tissues begins to decrease owing to the enzymatic breakdown of collagen that hold muscle fibers together. This phenomenon is also referred to as “Aging of Meat”.  This aging effect produces meats that are more tender and palatable, hence the ‘hanging of game’!

 

Skin

Rabbit-FurDoes the skin have fur or feathers attached to it?  Give fur a gentle tug to see if it is still firmly rooted in the skin.  You don’t want chunks of hair falling out easily.   Alopecia could be a sure sign that the carcass is too old or that the animal was suffering from a disease.

The skin will move freely across the muscles if the carcass is fresh.  Black or purple marks can indicate where the animal has been hit, these are okay, but you may want to cut the severely bruised bits of meat away before cooking.

 

Blood

roadkill badgerThere shouldn’t be that much blood on a carcass suitable for eating.  A bloody mouth or nose is fairly normal.

Ideally any blood needs to be fresh, wet and bright red.  Blood or no, you should use gloves to handle dead animals, you still have to get back in the car and touch the steering wheel, your passengers, packed lunch, etc.  Always keep a stash of wet wipes handy!

 

Law

The-LawGenerally, the UK is pretty good at allowing folk to dine from the road.  Farmed animals like sheep and pigs belong to someone so they should be reported.  Wild animals aren’t classified as ‘owned’ unless they’re specifically being farmed, in which case they need to be on land secured by fencing, so you’d not be likely to hit them.  If found on the road they are “Fair Game”.  Domestic animals like cats and dogs should also be reported.

I am no expert on the laws of other countries, so check yourself if you really need to know specifics.

 

Diseases

Tuberculosis-virusDo Your “Zoonotic” Disease Homework!  It is essential to research the kinds of diseases certain wild animals can catch or carry and what signs to look for.  Very rarely do they transfer to humans if proper procedures are followed.  Avoid giving anything you are NOT unquestionably sure about to YOUNG CHILDREN, the ENFEEBLED or PREGNANT WOMEN, just to be on the safe side.

Cooking the animal thoroughly above 70 degrees centigrade is highly recommended and boiling point will kill practically all nasties!  That includes ToxoplasmosisBovine TB, Myxomatosis and even Rabies!!

I would be wary of eating badger from the road at the moment…. farmers who view badgers as health threats are putting their poisoned animals by the roadside to make them ‘look’ like roadkill… so be warned.  I am not touching badgers for a while.

 

Smell

sniffing the deadListen to your nose… if it smells rotten, don’t take it!

You can tell a lot by smell before you start to butcher.  Smell and flavour in all meat is a combination of age, exercise, species, breed and diet.  Wild animal meat can smell quite strong and ‘gamey’.

Fat is also the home of any weird or odd smell you might find in wild game; and because of its unsaturated nature also meas it goes rancid faster.   Don’t ditch good wild fat though, it is very high in important vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.

The varied diet of a game animal means that any fat-soluble ester or terpene or other flavour molecule that critter has metabolized will end up on your dinner plate.

If it smells okay on the outside but when you open it up it smells much more than just gamey don’t eat it.  Intestines have their own unique scent which you get used to and can judge accordingly.  Mild gas, urine and a bit of poop may be normal too, so use your instincts on all this until experience tells you otherwise.

Male animals in rutting season can be very ‘musky’ and not palatable.  No surprise there!  lol.

 

Climate & Cooking

snow roadkill deer warningCold and dry climates are better for freshness; nature makes a great fridge and freezer sometimes.  Be careful in warm and hot weather – bugs find the dead quickly and meat spoils easily.

Consider how long the animal will be stored in a warm vehicle after you have claimed it.  Use the cooler parts of the car, for example NOT in the passenger foot-well with the floor heater on full.  I have put a small animal in a plastic bag before now and secured it tightly on the outside of a wound-up window!  Looked weird but it worked wonderfully!

When you get to your final destination prepare or preserve your carcass ASAP.

As mentioned earlier, cooking the animal thoroughly above 70 degrees centigrade is highly recommended and boiling point will kill practically everything!

.

.

As you can see, you need to know what you’re doing, but it’s not rocket science!! 

If in doubt, ask someone else’s advice who knows what they are doing, or just leave it well alone!

.

.

close up curious pigeonsSooooo!  Should you try it?

If you can stomach the thought of eating roadkill, and are confident you can pick out the animals safe for consumption, then I’d urge you to give it a try.

If you’ve ever eaten pheasant, hare or rabbit in a restaurant, paid a small fortune for the privilege and almost broken your teeth on the buckshot, you’d probably relish the chance to eat your gamey goodness without the fear of fillings afterwards!

Eating properly examined and prepared roadkill is definitely healthier than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most supermarket meat is today.

Road traffic casualties never knew what hit ‘em – if you pardon the pun!  They did not experience what it was like to be factory farmed, castrated, de-horned, or de-beaked without anaesthetics, they did not suffer the traumatic and miserable experience of being transported long distances in a crowded truck, and did not hear the screams and smell the fear of the animals ahead of them on the slaughter line.

.

Ethically, I know what I would rather eat!

.

oh deer

.

To see other of my blogs relating to this subject follow the links…

 

“WILD MEAT” – Wild Food & Roadkill Preparation & Preservation Workshops

.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Roadkill Recycling, Eating and Artwork…

.

TB – “TOTAL BOLLOCKS!” – My Rant on the Plan to Unnecessarily Cull British Badgers.

.

TUFTY-TASTIC “Red” Squirrel Sausages – Casting lessons from the “Roadkill-Sausage Queen”.

.

.

.

 

 

I get so many questions…

Is it safe to do what you do?

How do you know what to look for?

‘WHY’ do you do what you do?

There are others of course, so I have compiled a page dedicated to the most ‘frequently asked questions’ copied and pasted from various interviews and emails.  I hope you find them useful, informative, or just plain entertaining!

Just scroll down to find one that best fits your curiosity.

.

(DISCLAIMER… Before I start I have to say that I hold NO responsibility for anyone getting sick eating roadkill.  I offer my experiences and knowledge freely, I do not make myself accountable for anyone else.  YOU make a choice, YOU take responsibility.  Thank you. )

.

These questions were asked by writer and journalist Louise Tilloston, who was doing an article on ‘Extreme Frugality’.

.

Q.1 – Roadkill.  How we do we know it is still fresh? 

Is it still fresh?

Is it still fresh?

Most people think of dirty pancake looking flat red mush  – what I call “Tarmac Jam” – when they think of roadkill and this is far from the truth.  But, how do you really know how fresh it is?

.

  • If you saw the accident happen then you know it is definitely fresh.  If you didn’t, only pick up those that have ‘bounced’ from being hit cleanly once, preferably from the side of the road.

.

  • Avoid animals that have been badly damaged or ruptured internally.  Check the animal carefully before stuffing it in the boot of the car (gloves are recommended and a plastic bag or tarp).

.

  • Good basic indicators of optimal freshness are:
  1. Clear eyes & both eyes are still there.  Birds peck the eyes soon after death or first thing in the morning.
  2. Living & active fleas – fleas will only live on a living body.
  3. Fresh, red un-clotted blood – if any, but a bloody nose is common.
  4. Fur that doesn’t come loose when you pull it – alopecia is a sure sign of age or disease.
  5. Smell – if it smells revolting don’t pick it up.

.

  • Rigor mortis sets in within a few hours, then the body will relax again maybe days later, so if it is stiff it could be still fresh, but keep in mind the previous tips when judging time of death.

The rate at which Rigor Mortis sets in will depend on several factors such as the animals physique, cause of death and the climate.  Different sources give different figures, but very broadly and in ‘average’ circumstances with roadkill it begins from 1/2 hr (bird) – 24 hrs (deer) it becomes complete in about 12 hours or more.  After about 72 hours, the body relaxes again, this time as a result of decomposition. This is known as resolution of rigor.  The stiffness in the muscle tissues begins to decrease owing to the enzymatic breakdown of collagen that hold muscle fibres together. This phenomenon is also referred to as Aging of meat. This aging effect produces meats that are more tender and palatable, hence the ‘hanging of game’!

.

  • The skin will move much more freely across the muscles if the carcass is fresh.

.

  • Listen to your nose… if it smells rotten, don’t take it.  If it smells ok on the outside, but when you open it up it smells very iffy don’t eat it.  Mild stomach gas is usually ok and a bit of poop may be normal too, so use your instincts on this until experience tells you otherwise.

.

  • Cold climates are better for freshness; nature makes a great fridge sometimes.  Be careful in hot weather – bugs find the dead quickly.  Do do not pick anything up with maggots or eggs all over it.

.

  •  Obviously, don’t pick up something that’s been run over a couple of times!!

.

  • It is also essential to research the kinds of diseases certain wild animals can catch or carry and what signs to look for.

.

  • Cooking the animal at boiling point thoroughly will kill practically all nasties!  That includes Toxoplasmosis,  Myxomatosis and even Rabies!!  But do your homework!

.

As you can see, you need to know what you’re doing, but it’s not rocket science!!  If in doubt, ask someone else’s advice who knows what they are doing.

.

Q.2 – Should you try it?

If you can stomach the thought of eating roadkill, and are confident you can pick out the animals safe for consumption, then I’d urge you to give it a try. If you’ve ever eaten pheasant, hare or rabbit in a restaurant and almost broken your teeth on the buckshot, you’d probably relish the chance to eat the gamey goodness without the fear of fillings afterwards!

Eating roadkill is definitely healthier than meat laden with antibiotics, hormones, and growth stimulants, as most supermarket meat is today. Road traffic casualties never knew what hit ‘em – if you pardon the pun!  They did not experience what it was like to be factory farmed, castrated, de-horned, or de-beaked without anaesthetics, they did not suffer the traumatic and miserable experience of being transported long distances in a crowded truck, and did not hear the screams and smell the fear of the animals ahead of them on the slaughter line.  Ethically, I know what I would rather eat!

Wild food foraging is about more to do with being in tune with nature and our bodies.  Some of its benefits are that it uses less packaging, less chemicals, less food miles and contains less pollution; it fosters biodiversity; our bodies ‘understand’ these natural foods, therefore cancer and other physical ailments are minimized because our immune systems are boosted naturally.

To view the article online click here.

.

.

These Questions and Answers were taken from an interview with Dr. Daniel Allen

To see the blog in relation to this follow this link

.

Q.3 –  What was it that made roadkill initially appealing as a source of food?

I remember long ago my father preparing game  in the kitchen, so I wasn’t fazed by seeing dead animals and was used to eating rabbits and pheasants from an early age. I was fascinated by the butchering process and tried to make things from the bit of fur, feet and feathers that were left over (my Dad found it amusing, but my Mum thought it was dirty, lol).

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed collecting bits of nature and turning them into something else.  As a young adult and an artist who enjoys working with organic and animal materials, I would stop and inspect dead things at the side of the road (UK and abroad) to see if I could learn something about the animal and to see if I could salvage anything… often this is the closest you can get to truly wild animals.  The encounters were always a mix of sadness and fascination.  When an animal was only recently killed, I was curious about eating it, as it seemed a shame not to waste it, however, popular ‘roadkill’ taboo and worry about disease prevented me from doing so.

Eight years ago I saw the car driving in front of me hit a pheasant.  It bounced to the side of the road.  I stopped to pick it up.  “Why couldn’t I eat this?”, I thought.  It was exactly the same bird you would buy in a country butchers, but minus the lead shot! Butchers tend to ‘hang’ pheasants for about a week, so this was definitely fresher than those.  It was perfectly intact so I took it home, and prepared and ate it.  It was delicious and I derived a huge amount of pride and satisfaction from what I had done.  I was living in the country, but still felt like a ‘townie, and this simple act made me feel more in tune with where I was living.  I felt more akin with my environment.  And it was a free meal! Bonus!

Five years ago I began to learn and practice taxidermy using roadkill.  I was in contact with lots of dead animals and the same question kept popping up – why can’t I eat this?  In most cases the meat was inedible, or my lack of knowledge about the animal and any diseases it may carry prevented me from eating it.  Again, it seemed like such a waste!  This was an organic, free-range, pesticide-free, growth hormone-free and cruelty-free piece of meat – this is better than what you would buy in a supermarket!!  It was also something I hadn’t tried before and it had the element of the ‘exotic’.  I have always had an adventurous culinary curiosity and tried all sorts of street food in far-flung places around the world.

So I educated myself and began eating roadkill on a regular basis.

.

Q.4 –  What is your opinion of pre-packaged meat?

When I see a tray of pre-packaged meat I often wonder how the animal had been fed, looked after, respected and finally slaughtered.  Did the animal suffer?  What has been pumped into it?  Is it full of antibiotics and growth hormones?  What food had it been eating?  Do I want this piece of meat in my body?

If I could afford it, I would only buy organic meat, always.  Ideally I would prefer to eat only animals that I had reared, slaughtered and prepared myself, and this is my long-term goal.  Unfortunately, I still have to rely on shops and supermarkets, and occasionally I buy the odd piece of meat that isn’t organic, especially if it looks very good and has been reduced heavily in price – better to eat it than see it go into the landfill.  It seems such a waste of a life.

I would not however buy ‘cheap’ anaemic looking pieces of flesh that have obviously been pumped full of water and synthetic additives to hide the fact that it was raised in battery conditions.

.

Q.5 –  Have you ever found injured animals and had to dispatch them?

Occasionally I have had to do this with rabbits and pheasants at the side of the road, but luckily not very often.  I do not like to see animals suffer.  If I can not save its life, I will dispatch it and it always find it sad. I find it hypocritical if I am not able to do this, when I am more than willing to eat meat.  Your average carnivorous human would eat far less meat if they had to participate in the entire process from beginning to end, and that isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion, environmentally and ethically.

Just two days ago my partner found an injured owl.  It had a broken wing.  We called around and took it to a local vet.  They couldn’t save its wing, so had to put it down.  It was a huge shame and a beautiful bird.  We really wanted to save it.  We asked if we could have the bird for taxidermy reasons, but the vet said no.  The bird went to be incinerated.  What a waste!  We questioned if what we had done was the right thing.  We could have quickly and respectfully dispatched the bird ourselves had we known that the wing was not repairable and then we could have eaten it, and recycled the rest of it. Instead it was injected by humans with poisons in an artificially lit bright room.  It must have been afraid.

In most States in the USA, it is illegal to take roadkill, and often, by the time it is collected by the authorities, the meat is unfit for human consumption – What sort of ridiculous laws do we have in the West that allows good meat to go to waste, when there are so many undernourished people in our own countries, let alone in poorer countries?

.

Q.6 –  What have you eaten, and is there any meat you wouldn’t eat?

I have eaten all meat that has been put before me that is fit for human consumption (Japan and the Far East in general is a great place to try out new and exotic foods and if the locals eat it, then I will.)  I will try most animals I have found dead if I am confident that it wouldn’t poison me.  (My only close shave was eating a dead penguin in Patagonia).  I travel extensively and to remote places – culinary experimentation is a passion of mine.  I have eaten many kinds of insects.  I like different textures and flavours.  I would not kill-to-eat someone’s domestic pet, but have probably been served it without my knowledge in various countries and accepted it graciously.  However, I would eat anything in a survival situation – including your grandma!  Lol.  I do not, and can not, eat Marmite though.

.

Q.7 – Can you describe a normal days foraging?

Most finds are opportunistic, especially when they are animal.  I always have plastic bags, rubber gloves, a sharp knife or my ‘skinning kit’ in the back of the vehicle.  The places where certain fish, crustaceans, molluscs, plants or fungi are to be found, are often recommended by a friend or similar enthusiast. More often than not, these are closely guarded secrets!  On foraging trips such as these, I go deliberately and thoughtfully armed with what tools I need to collect and contain what I hope to find.  If  I were to plan a day’s hike that included opportunistic wild food foraging, I would first pick a scenic and interesting spot, armed with a plastic and paper bag (paper for fungi), a sharp knife, gloves, my mini pocket foraging books and a camera.  If my partner is with me and carrying a big backpack we will take the tent equipment, cooking apparatus and sleep and dine al-fresco.

.

Q.8 –  Why not buy meat from a supermarket, or raise your own livestock?

As I mentioned before….

Unfortunately, at this time I cannot avoid having to shop at the supermarket and local farm shops and butchers, so do buy the occasional and preferably organic item from there.  I prefer not to encourage factory farming so I promote local farm shops and friends who grow their own to sell or barter.

Our long-term goal, and one we are actively researching, is to purchase a large plot of land, probably not in this country.  We plan to develop our own organic garden and vegetable patch and breed, raise, butcher and process our own livestock.  We plan to produce our own self sustainable energy, and be totally ‘off-grid’.  We hope to include like-minded people and those who want to learn all about self sustainability and living simply with nature.

On a political note:

Apart from this country’s weather, we don’t want to settle in this country as Central and Local Government clearly do not want to encourage this lifestyle, as they would not be able to take their 30-50% fee (in taxes) on our efforts – to fund their greedy, environmentally unfriendly and dangerous schemes of imperialism and manipulation and exploitation of us wage slaves and poorer countries.  (ooops, lol, bit of a rant there!!)   Most people who run our country, be they politicians or captains of industry are morally corrupt or just plain ignorant of their actions that are leading to the destruction of our planet and unnecessary suffering of millions of people around the world. I do not wish to support such people and so living off-grid in a country that will allow this lifestyle is our goal – and we wish to share this and support others around the world in similar ventures.

.

Q.9 – What is your favourite roadkill recipe? 

I do not have a favourite as such; I love to experiment all the time.  If I were to choose a versatile dish that could accommodate any kind of meat no matter how small then it would have to be, ‘Chinese/ Japanese Dumplings’, ‘Terrine’ or a ‘Pate’.

.

Q.10 – When did you first use roadkill in your art, and why?

I first used roadkill bird feathers to make a brooch when I was a child; I found them beautiful and wanted to recycle them. I felt an almost spiritual connection with that animal.  Later in life I discovered what shamanism and animism meant, so began to understand why I had always felt this way.

After a trip to Australia in 2001 I made a necklace from roadkill kangaroo claws.  Roadkill was all over the place in the outback – I had my partner at the time stop at the side of the road every time I saw a bleached white skeleton.  He thought I was mad sawing off the claws – he didn’t understand my art or curiosity with death.  I saw a rare resource and an opportunity to create something beautiful out of something that had passed away and was decomposing.  I see beauty in the whole cycle of life.  Death is so taboo in many societies and the fear of death makes it ugly.  I strongly disagree.  It can be a beautiful transformation, like the changing of the seasons.

.

Q.11 – How does the public generally respond to your art?

Until recently I owned an art gallery in Harrogate that specialized in authentic Tribal artefacts and ethnographic curiosities.  The response from the public was mixed.  A lot of people didn’t understand it, but many had the nerve to come in and browse and ask questions.  They were snared by the stories of these beautiful and sometimes eerie looking objects and fetishes, which were anthropologically fascinating, tapping into the myth and magic of other cultures in remote far away places.  Kids especially loved it, and I went to schools with an armful of artefacts and taught a kind of ‘anthropology for kids’.  Afterwards, we would make masks and other tribal objects.

The gallery was a success, but unfortunately my relationship with my partner and co-owner was not and it closed down in 2007.

Whenever I have a studio to work from, I make sure that at times it is open to anyone curious enough to question what I do.  My last studio was in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.  Once every 2 months, me and the other artists in the building had an ‘Open Studio’ evening for members of the public.  My studio room (which I practically lived in) was quite different to everyone else’s and very weird to the uninitiated.  The walls were covered in old tribal masks and animal skins, pictures of female gladiators and goddesses, and scarified and tattooed faces.  I had a glass case full of interesting tribal jewelry from all over the world and an extensive specialized library.  There were taxidermy projects in progress on the tables and I was more than happy to explain and chat about anything they saw.

After meeting me and listening to my stories about how and why I think the way I do, they left my studio with a deeper respect for, and understanding of, the objects I transform

.

.

These question & Answers were taken from an interview with http://www.takepart.com/article/2011/12/28/true-story-roadkill-cook

The True Story of the Roadkill Cook

.

Yes, she eats animals killed by cars, but extreme forager Alison Brierley says her lifestyle is healthy—and good for the planet.
.

Q.12 – TakePart: We have to know—how did you start eating roadkill?

Alison Brierley: I first ate a piece of roadkill when a car in front hit it about eight years ago on the way home from work. It just bounced off the car and it landed. I thought, “I’m going to check that.” When I went out, it was dead, luckily. I just thought, “I’m going to eat it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s exactly the same bird you’d get at the butcher’s minus all the lead shot.” So I took it home, prepared it, and it was fantastic. Then five years ago I started eating roadkill regularly and experimenting more and learning more of the taxidermy side of things for my artwork.

.

Q.13 – TakePart: And what was that first animal?

Alison Brierley: A pheasant.

.

Q.14 – TakePart: Who taught you to cook?

Alison Brierley: The cooking side of things I’ve just learned as I’ve gone along. As I’ve grown up I’ve really been interested in food and because I’m a meat eater I think it’s my responsibility to actually be acquainted with the animal I’m eating, which means butchering it and learning from scratch, instead of finding some sanitized package on the supermarket shelf already done for me.

.

Q.15 – TakePart: Was there something that prompted you to start eating roadkill regularly?

Alison Brierley: Because I was using more animals in my artwork, I was handling a lot of meat, and what was going through my mind was, “Why can’t I eat this?” So when something was really fresh I actually decided to eat it. I learned about the animal first, like any diseases that it might carry. I got in touch with people who used to eat it themselves, asked them their opinions, and just gathered as much knowledge as I could before I actually started eating the roadkill. Before then, I just used to dispose of the carcasses to nature and keep the skins and feathers and whatever I was using [for my art], but now I try to go tip to tail. I try to eat and use everything.

Alison uses roadkill in her art too. Here, squirrel testicle earrings custom made for a bride.
.
Q.16 – TakePart: What kind of roadkill have you eaten so far?

Alison Brierley: Staple roadkill in the U.K. are rabbits, pheasants, hares, deer, squirrels. Foxes, badgers, those kinds of things, I’ve processed and worked with, but their meat has never been in great enough condition to eat, which was a shame. Badgers especially can carry bovine TB, so you have to be very careful.  Occasionally, although illegal, farmers kill badgers with poisons and leave them at the side of the road to look like roadkill.

(Abroad is much trickier, due to different climates, but when it is cool and dry deer, kangaroo, rhea and penguin have been firm favourites!)

Q.17 – TakePart: You mention that you got advice from people who’ve eaten these animals themselves. Is there a community of people who eat roadkill?

Alison Brierley: There’s not quite a community. It’s still quite a quirky, eccentric thing to do because we’ve just been so socially conditioned that it’s dirty food. When people think of roadkill, they instantly think of this flat thing on the road that’s been run over 10 times by a tractor or something and that is totally inedible. Then people realize, “Hang on, what she’s preparing looks like it’s just gone to sleep—there’s hardly any injury on it whatsoever.” That’s the kind of roadkill that you look for, stuff that hasn’t been ruptured.

As far as friends go, we do have a community of people who love to go camping and be outdoors in nature, and that’s where you tend to skill share and find out a lot about country ways and cookery, like cooking whole pigs in earth ovens.

(Just recently I took part in a programme filmed by Beyond Productions’.  I gathered an elite group of foragers, hunters and craftsmen and women, all familiar with roadkill in one form or another.  The list of Roadkill Collaborators id here

.

Q.17 – TakePart: I heard that you’re a nomad, is that true?

Alison Brierley: Me and my partner are both nomadic. We’ve been traveling for a long time. The last time I had a permanent home was five years ago. I owned an art gallery in Harrogate. It was very normal, apart from that it was all to do with tribal art. Me and my partner are both avid backpackers, so we do a lot of traveling into remote places like the Amazon and Papua New Guinea. We stay with tribes. I’ve got a keen interest in anthropology and I just love different cultures and how they cook and what they eat and their relationship to their food as well.

.

Q.18 – TakePart: Is that how your interest in foraging, recycling and ecology grew?

Alison Brierley: Yeah. I think when you’re traveling and you don’t have a lot of possessions and you’re not surrounded by bills and house and possessions and clutter, you have more of a chance to interact with the environment. So we’ve decided to stay nomadic until we find a piece of land where we actually want to put down roots and build an eco-home and start a small community of our own, where like-minded people can come and skill share and learn off the land. That’s the plan—to be totally off-grid and eco.

.

Q.19 – TakePart: Right now are you staying with friends or camping?

Alison Brierley: We have a motorhome, so we actually live in our motorhome and we drive it wherever we like. If we don’t like the view one morning, we can change it. It’s quite nice. When we visit friends, we take our house with us. We love it. It’s a great lifestyle. It suits us very, very much. Although, we will be renting in a beautiful little village up on the moors in Yorkshire to have a baby and nest-build for a little while.

.

Q.20 – TakePart: What’s your favorite roadkill to cook?

Alison Brierley: I love eating hare. Hare is very special to me. Pheasant is a staple food. We eat lots of pheasants and lots of rabbits in springtime [laughing]. There are sort of seasons for different types of roadkill, and my fellow loves venison. We actually both love venison because you can get a huge amount of meat off one animal and it lasts for ages, but my favourite delicacy is the really weird stuff, like insects and the stuff you get in foreign countries that nobody else dares to try. I like to shock myself.

Q.21 – TakePart: What’s the most shocking insect you’ve eaten?

Alison Brierley: A live bamboo worm. It popped in my mouth and it was just like a big sack of milk, and that kind of freaked me out. But it didn’t taste bad at all.

.

Q.22 – TakePart: What’s your least favorite food?

Alison Brierley: There’s only one thing I really dislike. I can eat anything apart from Marmite. I hate Marmite, and Vegemite as well. I keep trying it, thinking “This is the only thing I don’t like, so I’m going to keep trying it.” And I still really don’t like it.

.

.

Last but not least…

Q.23 – What is the law on taking roadkill?

Finally, a few quick notes about the law…. but I am no expert, so check yourself if you really need to know specifics.  Generally, the UK is pretty good at allowing folk to dine from the road.

I would be wary of eating badger from the road at the moment…. farmers who view protected badgers as pests are putting poisoned animals by the roadside to make them ‘look’ like roadkill… so be warned.  I am not touching badgers for a while.

“The ownership of wild game is determined by where it dies and not who bred it or released it. For example, a pheasant killed on a public road cannot be claimed by anyone, nor can anyone be prosecuted for claiming it. The rumour about picking up a bird that has been killed by the car in front was an explanation as to how to kill a pheasant and not be charged with trespass in pursuit of game. As the bird died in a public place a charge of trespass cannot be brought to bare”.

.

(The following is borrowed from a thread on a forum about the roadkill law in the UK which I think is really useful)

“Wild animals aren’t classified as ‘owned’ unless they’re specifically being farmed, in which case they need to be on land secured by fencing, so you’d not be likely to hit them.

However, you have a limited sense of ‘ownership’ to wild animals while they happen to be on your land – thus if you wander onto an estate and kill one, that’s theft/poaching, but if it leaves the estate of its own free will and wanders onto a road, then it becomes property of the owner of that land – i.e the roads department.

Legally, you could now be prosecuted for theft by the roads dept, but since they don’t generally mind folk tidying the roads for free, they probably never would.

The ‘don’t take it if you hit it’ rule comes about from the explicit offence of ‘driving deer’ with a motorised vehicle – i.e chasing/killing deer with a motor vehicle is automatically an offence unless express permission has been sought from the land owner.

So, legally you are likely to be ok to take anything you hit (apart from deer, or protected animals like badgers), if you seek permission from the roads department to take their property away.

However, the one major issue in all of this is that only people holding public liability insurance are allowed to deliberately kill animals on public highways, in case they get it wrong and the injured animal runs under /another/ car and injures the passengers.  Thus you’re definitely breaking the law if you find an injured deer in the middle of the road, and decide to dispatch it.  You /could/ drag it onto private land next to the road and dispatch it there, but then of course you’re killing an animal on private land without the owners consent which is poaching!

For the specifics on deer, see:

Deer Act 1991 (England & Wales)

Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 (Scotland)

Humane Dispatch –  Deer-Vehicle Collisions (UK Government Guidelines)

****************************************************

“KALI’S PANTS – AKA – NICE BEAVER”

Shamanic Shakti Beaver & Pike Merkin

.

SAY “NO” TO FEMALE CIRCUMCISION.

“KALI'S PANTS - AKA - NICE BEAVER” – SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER FUR MERKIN – VULVA ART

“KALI’S PANTS – AKA – NICE BEAVER” – SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER FUR MERKIN – VULVA ART

.

“KALI’S PANTS – AKA – NICE BEAVER” – Made from recycled materials

(Completed 2009)

.

“Kali’s Pants” started off as a joke!  At the time I had an opportunity to recycle a piece of an old vintage fur coat – made from real BEAVER!

I had the idea of making a furry ‘Merkin’!  Ohhh, the jokes were flowing, lol!

Even though there was humour running through my idea, it still had the usual shamanic undertones of a serious work of art and genuine attempt at self-realization/actualization.

.

BEAVER SYMBOLISM

  • Clearer understanding of our subconscious thoughts and dreams
  • Ability to mould our thoughts more constructively to suit our needs
  • Determination to follow our dreams
  • Diligence to keep and reach our goals
  • Balance and flexibility concerning ourselves and our expectations
  • Take time for self, friends and family. The people in our lives are most precious

.

*******************

.

My finished piece looked great and was named – “NICE BEAVER” - inspired by the classic quip from the legendary Leslie Nielsen from the movie  “The Naked Gun”.

.

nice beaver, frank drebben

.

[Jane Spencer climbs a ladder]

Lt Frank Drebin (played by Nielsen: Nice beaver!

Jane: [producing a stuffed beaver] Thank you. I just had it stuffed.

.

(click on the picture to see the clip on youtube!)

.

.

It was during a visit to a friend’s house that the furry ‘bikini-bottom’ performance art piece “Nice Beaver” was re-named “Kali’s Pants”. 

My friend and I often swap oddities and make things from dead bits, this occasion was no different.  The addition of a predatory Pike jaw bone, a handmade red velvet vulva that I quickly whipped up and a piece of Dragons Blood incense to intensify ‘potency’ made ‘Nice Beaver’ take on greater spiritual and emotional meaning!  It became a thing of power.  It made one wince.

It was re-named after the fearful and ferocious form of the Dark Mother Goddess –  Kali.

.

The Dark Mother Goddess Kali

“Women do not only ‘give’ life, they ‘take’ it also”. 

.

An obvious aspect of ‘Kali’s Pants’ – AKA – ‘Nice Beaver’ needed addressing – the fact that this vagina had TEETH!

It felt perfectly natural that this particular merkin should have them – and that I needed to take a little ‘time-out’ for some serious introspection!  lol.

.

“The Vagina Dentata is an image or an attitude being reclaimed by women in the world today, that of the aggressive, powerful female who is a danger to any man who seeks to conquer or oppress. Women are reclaiming their metaphorical vagina teeth and are prepared to bite back!”

.

Vaginal teeth motifs exist in myths, stories and jokes all over the world, showing up as a symbol of aggression and revenge in women.  The idea of a vagina with teeth dates as far back as Greek mythology and is rooted in the idea that the female body has hidden, dangerous secrets and that a man who has sex with a woman may risk castration.

.

teeth-movie-poster2

.

“KALI’S PANTS – AKA – NICE BEAVER” made her debut art performance at one of my regular festivals the same year, and the response was dramatic and dynamic!

.

Since then, when the mood takes, she has empowered the occasional Women’s Gathering and Shakti Dance.

I have also decided to use her to ‘figure-head’ my protest against FEMALE CIRCUMCISION.

.

"Kali's Pants" - aka - "Nice Beaver"

She currently resides on my sunscreen in the van, lol.

.

As with much of my work, I aspire to gently push the experiencer, including myself, to question preconceptions and socio-cultural taboos by creating something beautiful and compelling from something dead and/or socially repulsive.

.

*******************

.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT ‘VAGINA DENTATA’

.

(taken from an excellent article with further links – read on…)

.

‘Vagina Dentata’ is a widespread, archetypal fear to be found in mythology, symbolism and faiths worldwide. It is evocative of a subconscious belief that a woman may devour or consume her partner during sex, believed to be aroused by the mouth-symbolism of the vagina. Sigmund Freud, who coined the term, said, “Probably no male human being is spared the terrifying shock of threatened castration at the sight of the female genitals.”

Visions of a gaping, hungry vagina lined with rows of sharp teeth have been predominant throughout especially patriarchal societies, representing the fear the destructive man has of being conquered by what he seeks to oppress. 

“Metaphorically, every vagina has secret teeth, for the male exits as less than when he entered.” said Camille Paglia in “Sexual Personae”.

Risen with the belief they are superior to women, the weakness and impotence felt after the moment of ejaculation awakens unconscious fears of having been devoured. It is a belief in many cultures that the man expels his energy in ejaculation, while the woman draws it into herself, and adds it to her own energy.

  
In ancient civilisations, women do not only give life, they take it also. Dark Goddesses are the manifestation of the warm, nurturing womb, and the devouring gateway to the afterlife.  The Norse Goddess Hel ruled over Helheim, whose gateway was a vagina, or ‘yoni’ and the Christians, who adopted Hel’s name into ‘Hell’ for their afterworld, often depicted the gateway to Hell as lined with teeth, and looking very much like female genitalia. The Indus symbol for women was a comb, which was symbolic of the vagina dentata. The vagina having the same capacity to consume as the ocean – also a feminine symbol – and whose waves were said to be teeth. 

Vagina Dentatism and its prevalence in religions (readers advised to visit the below link to what Barbara Walker says about it, for a more complete overview of these) would seem to be mankind’s fear of being conquered, of being weakened and taken back to what he was as a mere foetus, germinating within the womb.

This fear continues today, now taking the form within art and pop culture. Picasso, among others, had depictions of the vagina dentata is his artworks, movies such as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Candyman and even one episode of Batman, where Poison Ivy’s giant Venus fly trap engulfs her victims, contain vagina dentata imagery and it is a popular area of study for feminists, theologists, mythologists and historians.

.

 *************************

.

“THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE”

SHAMANIC FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT

THE 'HAREY' PURSE - SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT

THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE – SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT

“THE ‘HAREY’ PURSE”

SHAMANIC ROADKILL FERTILITY FETISH OBJECT.

Vulva and Vagina made from recycled materials and a roadkill female hare.

(Completed in 2009)

  H2840032   H2840031   H2840030

This project began in 2009 during a weeklong ‘walk-about’ following the death of my father and shortly after the decision to start a family with my current partner.

I found the hare at the side of the road only 20 minutes into my lone travels around the North of England and Scotland.

She came with me the rest of the way, my travelling companion,  and bit-by-bit, she was eaten, shared, processed and learnt from, becoming part of the journey, and touching every person we came into contact with, in a deep and meaningful way.

I was studying anthropology at the time, having been fascinated with tribal customs and fetishism for many years.  I was absorbed in the study of magical practices and, in particular, fetishes.

Fetishes – usually an object (anything from a small stone carving of an animal to a carved wooden penis) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly: a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence. The use of fetish objects is worldwide and from the beginning of recorded history – from Cave Man to modern Christian!

H2840008 H2840035

Over the following 16 months (it took a while for an old bird like me to conceive, lol) her bulging vulva was slowly stuffed and filled with little sacred objects, each having special significance: a carved penis from a dear friend; a small piece of chalk flint from the phallus of The Cerne Abbas Giant; a fossil spiral; a shell; a sculptured clay zygote from another dear friend; and a bird’s egg.  Eventually, I couldn’t fit anything else in her.  She dangled in the window of my motorhome as we drove along, bobbing away to music and the rhythm of the road surfaces, up-front and part of our lives – makes a change from fluffy dice!

A LITTLE BIT OF SYMBOLISM…

“Traditionally, the Easter Bunny, actually a Hare, was said to lay eggs at Easter. This concept is, of course, very strange to our factual minds, however, taken symbolically, the Egg not only represents Potential, but also the Cosmos and the very ground of Being from which we spring–no pun intended! One only need think about the Cosmic Egg and the Druid’s Egg to begin to get the full scope of this metaphor. No wonder then, that the Hare was at one time, considered both male and female. To produce the Cosmos, both must be present.

This union of masculine and feminine makes the Hare an excellent symbol for marriage.

Other associations with the Hare, that I won’t go into now, are witchcraft, or in ancient societies, with the seer or shaman–the Hare is also the trickster figure in many stories, who outsmarts Winter and Death…

Overall then, the Hare is a symbol of many things, all involving balance, Life, creative potency, regeneration, fertility and eternity. This symbolism manifests in associations with Springtime, the Dawn, the Moon and Sacred Fire, the Egg, the Circle and Infinity symbol, Marriage, Androgyny and Hermaphroditism, as well as Madness, Genius and Inspiration (which seem to go hand in hand).”

My ‘Harey Purse’ is a highly energised and striking object.  I feel an affinity with this ancient and symbolic animal.  She has inspired (and provoked) many since her creation, humbly as have I.

Thank you dear Hare for being a huge inspiration.  Thank you dear Dad for being an even bigger one.  Thank you my darling son and partner for being a source of constant joy and self realisation.

1 day old, his first bath after being born in the same pool.

One day old Max with Daddy, enjoying his first bath after being born in the same pool.

Dad, me and Mum in Amsterdam celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary

Dad, me and Mum in Amsterdam celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary

limetree hare

The carving on the ‘Hare Stone’ at Limetree Farm, Grewelthrope, Ripon.

As with a lot of my work, I aspire to gently push the viewer, including myself, to question preconceptions and socio-cultural taboos by creating something beautiful and compelling from something dead and/or socially repulsive.

Look out for blogs on my other ART projects – SHAMANIC ROADKILL CAPE, PLACENTA  ART & COOKERY, PLACENTA BOOTIES,  PLACENTA DISCO-BOOTIES, SHAMANIC SHAKTI BEAVER MERKIN, ANTI  BADGER-CULL TRIP-TIC, ROADKILL SQUIRREL TESTICLE EARRINGS  , BURNING-MAN ASARO MUD-FAMILY PERFORMANCE ART &  JAPANESE WISHING TREE

“BEYOND BELIEF”

Scottish Foraging Adventures and Roadkill Collaborations for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS

Beyond Productions logoThe Australian based company ‘Beyond’ has made many popular TV shows and documentaries.  Beyond, a respected and award-winning independent production company based in Sydney, Australia, is producing a new series for Discovery Networks International provisionally entitled ‘Extreme Worlds’.

Discovery Channel logoThe series is shooting across the globe, and will comprise of 12 one hour episodes featuring three or four stories each. It will air in 209 countries and territories across the world, reaching an anticipated audience of over 1.3 billion.  Each episode will have a theme that looks at subcultural movements and exciting, unusual and enlightening belief systems or ways of life.

They wanted to explore the phenomenon of eating roadkill and certain attitudes towards the self sustainability aspects of being nomadic.  There are many symbolic, cultural, moral and ethical meanings and values of eating & recycling ‘accidental meat’, as opposed to the ‘factory farmed’ kind.

A band of talented individuals then got together to make a program….  To read the whole blog click here!

Special Thanks

 “THE ROADKILL COLLABORATORS”

or, maybe preferably

“THE ACCIDENTAL MEAT COLLECTIVE”

 In alphabetical order, first names first… 

 

 Alison Brierley – Nomadic Shamanic Artist, Road Kill Recycler & Life Skill Liberator

 Using roadkill bones to make jewellery - BoliviaAlison works with organic materials in an often shamanic nature, a resourceful recycler she transforms wildlife and dead animals such as road kill in an attempt to use everything, she dislikes waste.  She harnesses these methods to honour birth, life, sex, death and renewal, her practice also involves wild foraging, creating a deep connection with the environment by surviving from the land.  Themes in her work stem from nature as well as anthropological and ethnological studies of tribal cultures, these are informed by her extensive travelling.

Alison often works with schools and the wider community on projects, working alongside others to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions.

“During filming for EXTREME WORLDS I will be exploring ideas of survival and self-sufficiently, especially in a nomadic context.  I will recycle road kill (and Max’s placenta, lol) to prepare food, create useful and artistic objects, encouraging interaction, participation, education and activism.   I will share my knowledge with anyone who genuinely wants to learn more about living a simple life, appreciative of each others gifts, and connected to, nature”.

Ali, is nomadic and her home is on wheels.  She practices ‘simple living’.

“Our long-term goal is to live off-grid, ever evolving and be totally self-sufficient”.

http://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/

………………….oOo……………….. 

Bill Wiseman – Our Acting Spokesman for the Revival of Ancient Crafts

Bill has a lifelong interest in ancient crafts and several years’ involvement in experimental archaeology.

Bill acted as a ‘volunteer villager’ in the early days of WestStowAnglo-SaxonVillage in Suffolk, demonstrating ancient crafts to visitors.  He has recreated artefacts from various ancient civilisations for both ornament and practical use.  He has built and used an Iron Age loom (still has it), can spin using drop spindle, weave and make pots using Iron Age methods.

He has made several flat and longbows, and is an excellent archer.  Bill is a true craftsman and passionately enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to younger folk, as he firmly believes these are things that should not be lost.

Thank you dear Bill for your patience, kindness, calmness and wealth of knowledge. It is an honour to learn from you.

………………….oOo……………….. 

Ebony Andrews: Postgraduate Researcher and Natural Science Enthusiast

Ebony Andrews - Postgraduate researcher and natural science enthusiast.Ebony is currently undertaking PhD research into the interpretation of museum taxidermy collections at museums located in the North of England. She is also a seminar tutor at the University of Leeds.

Formerly a taxidermy assistant for National Museums Scotland, Ebony is trained in the preparation and tanning of animal skins for museological purposes. She has worked with a diverse range of species, from large and charismatic exotics to more common native species and everything in between. In addition, as a volunteer at various museums over the years, Ebony has gained experience in the conservation and restoration of natural science specimens which has contributed to her developing knowledge of taxidermy and taxidermic techniques.

As a Fine Art graduate and self-confessed ‘craftsperson and maker’ rather than ‘artist’, Ebony has exhibited at a number of venues across the UK including the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and at various sites across London amongst others. Her practice, both in art and research, is strongly influenced by her interest in the political and ethical discourses on the relationship between humans, nature and the natural environment. Working closely with animals has led her on an interesting, and at times emotional journey which is in a constant state of renewal and re-evaluation:

‘How I feel about animals and their habitats has shifted dramatically over the decade in which I have been working both with, and on them. Today issues relating to animals and their environments can provoke strong ethical and moral questions, as indeed they should, and I think it’s crucial that we reflect upon our relationship with the natural world to investigate why’. 

Along with her enthusiasm for nature and the natural world, particularly its preservation, Ebony is also interested in how cultural institutions construct and perpetuate notions of individual and collective identity through the interpretation of history, heritage and memory.

………………….oOo……………….. 

Fergus Drennan – The Roadkill Chef, Wild Man & Wild Food Experimentalist and Inspiration Engineer

Sten - The Suburban BushwackerFergus Drennan is a broadcaster, writer and educator on the delights of food foraged from the wild.

Best-known for his BBC programme “The Roadkill Chef”, Fergus runs courses for schools and clients on foraging and preparing wild food.

An enthusiastic and experienced forager, working with wild plants as a gateway for exploring issues connected with sustainability, ecology, mental and physical health, spirituality, creativity and life purpose. He is an evangelist for the promotion of wild foods, with the ability to connect you directly with nature – and help provide a rooted sense of place and belonging.

Fergus, on the 1st of May, will be embarking on an incredible journey – to spend an entire year in the UK living 100% entirely on foods foraged himself!  His supporting website will be a resource packed full of free information on Wild Food, what you can do with it, and free videos regardless of whether or not you wish to donate, but please support and sponsor him.  This is knowledge we need to preserve and re-learn.

http://www.indiegogo.com/one-year-total-wild-food
http://www.wildmanwildfood.co.uk/index.html
http://wildmanwildfood.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/fergustheforage
https://www.facebook.com/fergus.drennan

 ………………….oOo……………….. 

Fraser Simpson – The Happy Haptic – Bone Carver, Wild Food Forager & Chef 

 

fraser Simpson - The Happy HapticFraser is enthralled with the haptic .  Taking what is intrinsically a valueless, readily available material, bone, he sculpts beautiful objects using a few basic hand tools most of which are to be found in “granddad’s shed”.

He draws his inspiration from a broad range of interests but his main influences are anthropological, symbolic and the mathematical structures of nature.  His work is inspired by the many anonymous artists working in bone since, archaeologists maintain, art began, including:

The Original Cave Man, Many Tribal artisans around the world, Scrimshanders, French Prisoners of War, Netsuke Makers.

Fraser is currently working on building interest in bone carving through a series of workshops, exhibitions and lectures.  He is also making the first tentative steps in collating a book on the subject matter.

Fraser’s art harks back to a life more simple when time itself seemed slower and more readily available. A time that can be recreated, he has found, through the practice of bone carving.  He is currently working on a project using the bones from the Ox Roast in Windsor which was held to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

He is also a director of Artists.ltd.

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=4&doc=5

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=11&doc=17

………………….oOo……………….. 

Jonathan McGee – Professional Photographer

Jonathan Mcgee - Professional PhotographerJonathan is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and was invited along to join the Roadkill Group to document the process and provide coverage for Beyond.  Jonathan has a good working knowledge of the environment and foraging having grown up in the countryside.  He has a passion for cooking and helped the team prepare and assemble the great feast that marked the end of this gathering.

Jonathan is very skilled and extremely passionate about his photography and this comes across in his work.  He has a talent for connecting to his subject and is able to provide unseen coverage in an artistic and documentary style regardless of subject matter.  He was great to watch at work, so energetic and enthusiastic, his process was unobtrusive but still very exciting to be part of.  He is passionate about his art and it shows in the images he captures.

@: jonathan.m.mcgee@btinternet.com

www.jonathanmmcgee.com

www.shootingphotography.co.uk

facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography

facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits

T: 07805575547

 ………………….oOo……………….. 

Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator

Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator Kathryn is a professional Natural Therapist who is additionally well practiced in creating and running Sweat Lodges.  She also runs workshops in drum making using ancient and traditional methods.

It was when she moved to Northumberland in 2002 that she first encountered usable roadkill initially just picking recently dead pheasants from the road and taking them home to prepare for dinner. A few years later, having hit a deer by accident, she then had to have it dispatched due to the injuries it sustained. She took it home, gutted it in the bath and, due to a lack of space had the local butcher cut it up.  All the meat was used and the hide was used to re-cover her djembe.

Never wanting to be wasteful, she enjoys creating beautiful objects from what nature puts her way.  She also enjoys the health benefits of natural food such as roadkill compared to factory style farmed meat.  A strong and amazing woman, passionate about being respectful of all living things.

kathryn.libby@live.co.uk

………………….oOo………………..

 

Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator and member of the Human Race.

 

Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator,

“These different aspects of who I am and what I can offer and share in the world continue to rebalance and integrate as I flow through and live my Life …. I enjoy making things happen particularly in collaboration with others”. 

Linda draws from her rich and varied background as an artist and therapist having trained in deep tissue bodywork, humanistic psychology, counseling and art therapy alongside a life-long interest in natural medicines and the healing arts.

She is constantly exploring different ways of working with energy whether that be through hands-on healing work, the visual arts or exploring Labyrinths, Land Energies and the Elements to promote curiosity, peace and personal transformation.

Her artwork is an emotional and intuitive enquiry – drawing from, and fulfilling, a deep answering and longing – which provides a map of her psyche.  At those times when she gets the image just right, something deeply satisfying happens – a bit more of her fits into place.

As intuitive healer, she offers individual sessions of intuitive massage and bodywork to help maintain balance and well-being, allowing greater energetic flow within all our systems and promoting greater self understanding.

A dear friend and sensual wild woman – I can vouch for her ‘magic’ hands!!  lol.

www.lindaking.org.uk

www.celebratewomen.org.uk

lindaking3@btinternet.com

 ………………….oOo……………….. 

Mother Malarky – Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker  and Forager

Mother Malarky - Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker and ForagerAfter 30 years as a “veggie”, Mother Malarky decided to change and live according to her beliefs.  She became committed to using whatever the Universe puts in her path.

Her respect for living animals means only killing to eat, not for sport, and respect for a dead animal means utilising every bit of it, and doing so with gratitude.  She has a strong sense of community and skill sharing.

She is experienced in the entire process of butchering, skinning, cooking & eating roadkill.  She has an immense knowledge of flavours and recipes.  A Wild and Witchy Woman!  ‘Magic’ happens in her kitchen!

http://www.wildshamanicdrums.blogspot.co.uk/

http://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/tufty-tastic-sausage-making-lessons-from-the-roadkill-sausage-queen/

mothermalarky@hotmail.co.uk

………………….oOo……………….. 

Sten  – The Suburban Bushwacker: Hunter, Forager and Adventurer

Sten - The Suburban Bushwacker.A tubby suburban dad (his words, lol) watching hunting and adventure shows on TV and wondering “Could I do that?”… 

… Well, YES! He can!

Well known for his TV appearance with Paul Merton, amongst others.  A prolific blogger and adventurer.  He chronicles his life whilst learning how to Forage, Hunt and Fish for food that has…

“lived a life I would wish for myself – Wild and Free!”

His blog is the story of the journey between fat-dad to bushwhacker-dude, how and why he collects kit, learns skills and gets inspired by adventure storytelling.  When suburban life doesn’t get in the way, he has a few adventures of his own.

http://suburbanbushwacker.blogspot.co.uk/

suburbanbushwacker@gmail.com

………………….oOo……………….. 

Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena is a passionate environmentalist, educator and historian who achieved a Certificate in Permaculture in 2006 and graduated from the Open University in 2008 with a BSc(Hons) Environmental Studies.

After many years working as a psychiatric nurse and primary school teacher she decided to follow her heart and start a business working with willow, recycled materials and as a living historian.

Serena is a multi-skilled crafts-woman and an amazing cook.  Thank you for showing me how to drop spindle and use a peg loom…. and for the cakes!!  Nom! Nom! Nom!

www.serenahodgson.com

serena@serenahodgson.com

………………….oOo……………….. 

Tina Langshaw – Creator of Beautiful Things

Tina Langshaw - Creator of Beautiful ThingsTina is an amazingly warm, creative and generous woman.  A natural healer and nurturer, she is knowledgable in alternative therapies and traditions.

She’s an experienced performer and organiser of large events and arts and crafts workshops.  She also enjoys foraging, preserving, and making her own household products and cosmetics.  She is deeply connected with nature and the art of recycling.

Tina is an amazing cook and inspirational cake maker.  She is a dear friend and a privilege to know.

A quiet and private person who shows her ‘cheeky’ side in small groups.

“Loves hugs, wine and cake!”

………………….oOo………………..

Simon Wray – 3D Digital Artist

Simon Wray - 3D Digital ArtistSimon Wray graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 2005 and has worked as a 3D Digital Artist since that time.
Concentrating in the fields of animation, visual effects and motion graphics, he uses cutting edge technologies to bring ideas to life.  Simon has a strong admiration for nature and the environment and enjoys spending time in the countryside, particularly in his native Yorkshire Dales and further afield in Scotland. As a keen photographer he enjoys spending time outdoors photographing all types of animals, insects, plants and fungi. Through his nature photography Simon unites his digital skills with his interest in animals and their habitats.
Simon is open-minded when it comes to food and is always keen to try new things: “Eating animals that have been accidentally killed makes rational sense to me. In life they live a happier, healthier existence than the vast majority of animals reared for food today. They are often organic, not to mention free. We are making use of animals that would otherwise be left to decay, while reducing our reliance on big supermarket chains, not to mention our carbon footprint”.
In his spare time Simon enjoys mounting biking across challenging terrains and is currently planning a coast to coast ride for later in the year. As a seasoned cyclist he is rarely phased by a snowy cycle to work on a cold winter’s morning!

………………….oOo……………….. 

  Hope you enjoy the show!!  

………………….oOo………………..     

    

“BEYOND BELIEF”

Scottish Foraging Adventures and Roadkill Collaborations for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS – Now renamed “FORBIDDEN”

forbidden snip

I am contacted quite often by people interested in my ‘free spirited lifestyle’, artwork and personal angle on wild food foraging, ethical meat-eating and, of course, roadkill.  Sometimes they want to get to know me personally, other times they ask me to be a contributor or consultant on various matters I have special knowledge on.

Anyhow, I was contacted recently by a Researcher from Beyond Productions (Discovery Networks International) who are working on a new series called ‘Extreme Worlds’.  The Australian based company ‘Beyond’ has made many popular shows and documentaries. I personally used to watch their series ‘Taboo’ on the National Geographic Channel years ago.

Taboo - National Geographic

Beyond, a respected and award-winning independent production company based in Sydney, Australia, is producing a new series for Discovery Networks International provisionally entitled ‘Extreme Worlds’.  The series is shooting across the globe, and will comprise of 12 one hour episodes featuring three or four stories each. It will air in 209 countries and territories across the world, reaching an anticipated audience of over 1.3 billion.

Each episode will have a theme that looks at subcultural movements and exciting, unusual and enlightening belief systems or ways of life.

“Well, that’s us then!”  lol.

They wanted to explore the phenomenon of eating roadkill and had been looking at my blog site.  They liked my ‘sass’ and attitude towards the self sustainability aspects of being nomadic and the symbolic, cultural, moral and ethical meanings and values of eating & recycling ‘accidental meat’.

On a recent trip to Scotland and the Orkney Islands.

‘It’ started as a bit of a program about Marcus and myself, living as a new family with high hopes for a different and more alternative future, living off the land, close to nature and doing what we can now, to make that change possible.  Our philosophy on life being one of kindness and inclusion of others, self sustainability and zero waste, all the time respecting Mother Earth, everything on her and trusting the flow of things.

It was then suggested that it would be a lovely idea to have a feast on the last day of filming and include like-minded friends, all eating our foraged foods. I liked the sound of that.  I didn’t feel precious about the whole filming thing anyway, and very nearly sacked the whole thing off a couple of times – it’s a lot of work!!  What was important though was the ‘message’ and it needed to be voiced by friends of sound knowledge, credibility and experience, so we didn’t look like a bunch of redneck, hippy dippy nutters!!

Stereotypical Redneck Nutters

The Media can’t helping being slaves to sensationalism – we don’t have to be.  Despite the odds, I believe one can be authentic in media, depending on the production company, and get a very important point across as to how we are wrecking our planet and what we can do about it. For us, this is to live as peaceably, gently, non-materialistically on our beloved planet which invariably means not conforming to the norm – The norm being, in my opinion, drastically sick and, without change, terminal – for the myopic human race at least, probably taking half the other species with it!

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” –  J. Krishnamurti

As it happened… serendipity cast her magic wand over this band of would-be collaborators.  Instinctively, late one night, alone in those magical early hours sat by a crackling fire, I looked at my list of dear friends and kindred spirits and wondered if I could add a few more to it – a bit of ‘fresh blood’, lol.  I boldly emailed a few people whom I had either met briefly in the past, facebooked or messaged occasionally.  All of these people I admired and respected for what they do.  I was becoming very excited about an opportunity for us all to meet, learn and grow in the hope that one day in the future we may help and support each other, as part of a community/collective with common goals, all hoping for a better and more sustainable existence!  I felt invigorated, instinctual, inspired – and everyone accepted my invitation.

Special Thanks

I know we can’t talk much about it now, however, I hope everyone agreed that we were a band of individuals who felt a personal connection with each other and blessed to be part of a Wee Scottish Adventure!  An inner and outer journey! This was a chance to be close to nature and each other, to respect, inspire, include, share, care and co-create.  We attended with open hearts, mindfulness and responsibility for our own experiences, our effect on the group and the spirit of our gathering.  We had huge fun, some of it totally bonkers as you might imagine!!  In the words of our dear Ebony…

“…you just couldn’t make this shit up!!”

 Special thanks go to the following people  who very generously gave themselves up to make our weekend a truly wonderful and authentic experience.   I would also like to thank the film crew.  They were very professional, open, honest and made the experience lots of fun! 

                                     Thank you.                           

              ………………….oOo………………..  

Above all…

Marcus and Max

I want to thank the most amazing man I have ever known – Marcus!!  Without him NONE of this would have happened.  Thank you for your strength, your support, wisdom and belief in me.   You make me feel excited about life, love and the future – about what we can create together (and I’m not just talking about  ‘Mooster’, lol).

Thank you for being an incredible man and deep, open-hearted father.  I love you so much.  xxxxxxxxxxxxx

………………….oOo………………..

 

“THE ROADKILL COLLABORATORS”

or, maybe preferably

“THE ACCIDENTAL MEAT COLLECTIVE”

 In alphabetical order, first names first…  

 Alison Brierley – Nomadic Shamanic Artist, Road Kill Recycler & Life Skill Liberator

Using roadkill bones to make jewellery - BoliviaAlison works with organic materials in an often shamanic nature, a resourceful recycler she transforms wildlife and dead animals such as road kill in an attempt to use everything, she dislikes waste.  She harnesses these methods to honour birth, life, sex, death and renewal, her practice also involves wild foraging, creating a deep connection with the environment by surviving from the land.  Themes in her work stem from nature as well as anthropological and ethnological studies of tribal cultures, these are informed by her extensive travelling.

Alison often works with schools and the wider community on projects, working alongside others to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions.

“During filming for EXTREME WORLDS I will be exploring ideas of survival and self-sufficiently, especially in a nomadic context.  I will recycle road kill (and Max’s placenta, lol) to prepare food, create useful and artistic objects, encouraging interaction, participation, education and activism.   I will share my knowledge with anyone who genuinely wants to learn more about living a simple life, appreciative of each others gifts, and connected to, nature”.

Ali, her partner and child are nomadic and their home is on wheels.  They practice ‘simple living’.

“Our long-term goal is to live off-grid, ever evolving and be totally self-sufficient”.

http://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/

………………….oOo……………….. 

  

Bill Wiseman – Our Acting Spokesman for the Revival of Ancient Crafts

Bill has a lifelong interest in ancient crafts and several years’ involvement in experimental archaeology.

Bill acted as a ‘volunteer villager’ in the early days of WestStowAnglo-SaxonVillage in Suffolk, demonstrating ancient crafts to visitors.  He has recreated artefacts from various ancient civilisations for both ornament and practical use.  He has built and used an Iron Age loom (still has it), can spin using drop spindle, weave and make pots using Iron Age methods.

He has made several flat and longbows, and is an excellent archer.  Bill is a true craftsman and passionately enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to younger folk, as he firmly believes these are things that should not be lost.

Thank you dear Bill for your patience, kindness, calmness and wealth of knowledge. It is an honour to learn from you.

………………….oOo……………….. 

Ebony Andrews: Postgraduate Researcher and Natural Science Enthusiast

Ebony Andrews - Postgraduate researcher and natural science enthusiast.Ebony is currently undertaking PhD research into the interpretation of museum taxidermy collections at museums located in the North of England. She is also a seminar tutor at the University of Leeds.

Formerly a taxidermy assistant for National Museums Scotland, Ebony is trained in the preparation and tanning of animal skins for museological purposes. She has worked with a diverse range of species, from large and charismatic exotics to more common native species and everything in between. In addition, as a volunteer at various museums over the years, Ebony has gained experience in the conservation and restoration of natural science specimens which has contributed to her developing knowledge of taxidermy and taxidermic techniques.

As a Fine Art graduate and self-confessed ‘craftsperson and maker’ rather than ‘artist’, Ebony has exhibited at a number of venues across the UK including the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and at various sites across London amongst others. Her practice, both in art and research, is strongly influenced by her interest in the political and ethical discourses on the relationship between humans, nature and the natural environment. Working closely with animals has led her on an interesting, and at times emotional journey which is in a constant state of renewal and re-evaluation:

‘How I feel about animals and their habitats has shifted dramatically over the decade in which I have been working both with, and on them. Today issues relating to animals and their environments can provoke strong ethical and moral questions, as indeed they should, and I think it’s crucial that we reflect upon our relationship with the natural world to investigate why’. 

Along with her enthusiasm for nature and the natural world, particularly its preservation, Ebony is also interested in how cultural institutions construct and perpetuate notions of individual and collective identity through the interpretation of history, heritage and memory.

………………….oOo……………….. 

Fergus Drennan – The Roadkill Chef, Wild Man & Wild Food Experimentalist and Inspiration Engineer

Sten - The Suburban BushwackerFergus Drennan is a broadcaster, writer and educator on the delights of food foraged from the wild.

Best-known for his BBC programme “The Roadkill Chef”, Fergus runs courses for schools and clients on foraging and preparing wild food.

An enthusiastic and experienced forager, working with wild plants as a gateway for exploring issues connected with sustainability, ecology, mental and physical health, spirituality, creativity and life purpose. He is an evangelist for the promotion of wild foods, with the ability to connect you directly with nature – and help provide a rooted sense of place and belonging.

Fergus, on the 1st of May, will be embarking on an incredible journey – to spend an entire year in the UK living 100% entirely on foods foraged himself!  His supporting website will be a resource packed full of free information on Wild Food, what you can do with it, and free videos regardless of whether or not you wish to donate, but please support and sponsor him.  This is knowledge we need to preserve and re-learn.

http://www.indiegogo.com/one-year-total-wild-food
http://www.wildmanwildfood.co.uk/index.html
http://wildmanwildfood.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/fergustheforage
https://www.facebook.com/fergus.drennan

 ………………….oOo……………….. 

Fraser Simpson – The Happy Haptic – Bone Carver, Wild Food Forager & Chef 

 

fraser Simpson - The Happy HapticFraser is enthralled with the haptic .  Taking what is intrinsically a valueless, readily available material, bone, he sculpts beautiful objects using a few basic hand tools most of which are to be found in “granddad’s shed”.

He draws his inspiration from a broad range of interests but his main influences are anthropological, symbolic and the mathematical structures of nature.  His work is inspired by the many anonymous artists working in bone since, archaeologists maintain, art began, including:

The Original Cave Man, Many Tribal artisans around the world, Scrimshanders, French Prisoners of War, Netsuke Makers.

Fraser is currently working on building interest in bone carving through a series of workshops, exhibitions and lectures.  He is also making the first tentative steps in collating a book on the subject matter.

Fraser’s art harks back to a life more simple when time itself seemed slower and more readily available. A time that can be recreated, he has found, through the practice of bone carving.  He is currently working on a project using the bones from the Ox Roast in Windsor which was held to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

He is also a director of Artists.ltd.

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=4&doc=5

http://www.artists.ltd.uk/content.asp?id=11&doc=17

………………….oOo……………….. 

Jonathan McGee – Professional Photographer

 

Jonathan Mcgee - Professional PhotographerJonathan is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and was invited along to join the Roadkill Group to document the process and provide coverage for Beyond.  Jonathan has a good working knowledge of the environment and foraging having grown up in the countryside.  He has a passion for cooking and helped the team prepare and assemble the great feast that marked the end of this gathering.

Jonathan is very skilled and extremely passionate about his photography and this comes across in his work.  He has a talent for connecting to his subject and is able to provide unseen coverage in an artistic and documentary style regardless of subject matter.  He was great to watch at work, so energetic and enthusiastic, his process was unobtrusive but still very exciting to be part of.  He is passionate about his art and it shows in the images he captures.

@: jonathan.m.mcgee@btinternet.com

www.jonathanmmcgee.com

www.shootingphotography.co.uk

facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography

facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits

T: 07805575547

 ………………….oOo……………….. 

 

Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator

Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator Kathryn is a professional Natural Therapist who is additionally well practiced in creating and running Sweat Lodges.  She also runs workshops in drum making using ancient and traditional methods.

It was when she moved to Northumberland in 2002 that she first encountered usable roadkill initially just picking recently dead pheasants from the road and taking them home to prepare for dinner. A few years later, having hit a deer by accident, she then had to have it dispatched due to the injuries it sustained. She took it home, gutted it in the bath and, due to a lack of space had the local butcher cut it up.  All the meat was used and the hide was used to re-cover her djembe.

Never wanting to be wasteful, she enjoys creating beautiful objects from what nature puts her way.  She also enjoys the health benefits of natural food such as roadkill compared to factory style farmed meat.  A strong and amazing woman, passionate about being respectful of all living things.

kathryn.libby@live.co.uk

………………….oOo………………..

 

Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator and member of the Human Race.

 

Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator,

“These different aspects of who I am and what I can offer and share in the world continue to rebalance and integrate as I flow through and live my Life …. I enjoy making things happen particularly in collaboration with others”. 

Linda draws from her rich and varied background as an artist and therapist having trained in deep tissue bodywork, humanistic psychology, counseling and art therapy alongside a life-long interest in natural medicines and the healing arts.

She is constantly exploring different ways of working with energy whether that be through hands-on healing work, the visual arts or exploring Labyrinths, Land Energies and the Elements to promote curiosity, peace and personal transformation.

Her artwork is an emotional and intuitive enquiry – drawing from, and fulfilling, a deep answering and longing – which provides a map of her psyche.  At those times when she gets the image just right, something deeply satisfying happens – a bit more of her fits into place.

As intuitive healer, she offers individual sessions of intuitive massage and bodywork to help maintain balance and well-being, allowing greater energetic flow within all our systems and promoting greater self understanding.

A dear friend and sensual wild woman – I can vouch for her ‘magic’ hands!!  lol.

www.lindaking.org.uk

www.celebratewomen.org.uk

lindaking3@btinternet.com

 ………………….oOo……………….. 
 

Mother Malarky – Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker  and Forager

Mother Malarky - Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker and ForagerAfter 30 years as a “veggie”, Mother Malarky decided to change and live according to her beliefs.  She became committed to using whatever the Universe puts in her path.

Her respect for living animals means only killing to eat, not for sport, and respect for a dead animal means utilising every bit of it, and doing so with gratitude.  She has a strong sense of community and skill sharing.

She is experienced in the entire process of butchering, skinning, cooking & eating roadkill.  She has an immense knowledge of flavours and recipes.  A Wild and Witchy Woman!  ‘Magic’ happens in her kitchen!

http://www.wildshamanicdrums.blogspot.co.uk/

http://alisonbrierley.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/tufty-tastic-sausage-making-lessons-from-the-roadkill-sausage-queen/

mothermalarky@hotmail.co.uk

………………….oOo……………….. 

Sten  – The Suburban Bushwacker: Hunter, Forager and Adventurer

Sten - The Suburban Bushwacker.A tubby suburban dad (his words, lol) watching hunting and adventure shows on TV and wondering “Could I do that?”… 

… Well, YES! He can!

Well known for his TV appearance with Paul Merton, amongst others.  A prolific blogger and adventurer.  He chronicles his life whilst learning how to Forage, Hunt and Fish for food that has…

“lived a life I would wish for myself – Wild and Free!”

His blog is the story of the journey between fat-dad to bushwhacker-dude, how and why he collects kit, learns skills and gets inspired by adventure storytelling.  When suburban life doesn’t get in the way, he has a few adventures of his own.

http://suburbanbushwacker.blogspot.co.uk/

suburbanbushwacker@gmail.com

………………….oOo……………….. 

Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian

Serena is a passionate environmentalist, educator and historian who achieved a Certificate in Permaculture in 2006 and graduated from the Open University in 2008 with a BSc(Hons) Environmental Studies.

After many years working as a psychiatric nurse and primary school teacher she decided to follow her heart and start a business working with willow, recycled materials and as a living historian.

Serena is a multi-skilled crafts-woman and an amazing cook.  Thank you for showing me how to drop spindle and use a peg loom…. and for the cakes!!  Nom! Nom! Nom!

www.serenahodgson.com

serena@serenahodgson.com

………………….oOo……………….. 

Tina Langshaw – Creator of Beautiful Things

Tina Langshaw - Creator of Beautiful ThingsTina is an amazingly warm, creative and generous woman.  A natural healer and nurturer, she is knowledgable in alternative therapies and traditions.

She’s an experienced performer and organiser of large events and arts and crafts workshops.  She also enjoys foraging, preserving, and making her own household products and cosmetics.  She is deeply connected with nature and the art of recycling.

Tina is an amazing cook and inspirational cake maker.  She is a dear friend and a privilege to know.

A quiet and private person who shows her ‘cheeky’ side in small groups.

“Loves hugs, wine and cake!”

………………….oOo………………..

Simon Wray – 3D Digital Artist

Simon Wray - 3D Digital ArtistSimon Wray graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 2005 and has worked as a 3D Digital Artist since that time.
 
Concentrating in the fields of animation, visual effects and motion graphics, he uses cutting edge technologies to bring ideas to life.  Simon has a strong admiration for nature and the environment and enjoys spending time in the countryside, particularly in his native Yorkshire Dales and further afield in Scotland. As a keen photographer he enjoys spending time outdoors photographing all types of animals, insects, plants and fungi. Through his nature photography Simon unites his digital skills with his interest in animals and their habitats.
 
Simon is open-minded when it comes to food and is always keen to try new things: “Eating animals that have been accidentally killed makes rational sense to me. In life they live a happier, healthier existence than the vast majority of animals reared for food today. They are often organic, not to mention free. We are making use of animals that would otherwise be left to decay, while reducing our reliance on big supermarket chains, not to mention our carbon footprint”.
 
In his spare time Simon enjoys mounting biking across challenging terrains and is currently planning a coast to coast ride for later in the year. As a seasoned cyclist he is rarely phased by a snowy cycle to work on a cold winter’s morning!
 

………………….oOo……………….. 

 …and last but not least – our beautiful baby boy – who is an absolute joy!  We have been truly blessed by a child who is soooo happy to be born.  He lights up our life!  We knew it would be good, but we never realised just how intensely wonderful and amazing being a parent can be.

“Thank you Mooster”!

 Maximus Vladimir Speer - The Mooster!

Well, that’s it for now!   –  Hope you enjoy the show!!  

………………….oOo………………..     

    

During our last venture around Mainland Scotland, Skye and The Orkneys, we called in to see a dear friend of ours – Mother Malarky.

.

Mother Malarky - Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker and ForagerMother Malarky was one of my very first roadkill mentors and we always look forward to playing with dead things whenever we get together, be it learning how to taxidermy in her kitchen, skinning moles on the beach or holding impromptu roadkill workshops in a field somewhere!

It was at her house one evening in front of the fire that my beaver-fur bikini-bottom performance art piece “Nice Beaver” was re-named “Kali’s Pants” after it took on a greater spiritual and emotional meaning – and the addition of a pikes jaw bone from the Malarky mantelpiece and a handmade red velvet vulva, lol.  Ahhhh, some friends you just know you can be yourself with. lol.

.

Ahhhhhh, Roadkill Squirrel Sausages - TUFTY-TASTIC!Well, one fine day back in October we descended on Ms.Malarky and her beloved fella.  We have always managed to make magic in her kitchen and this time was going to be no different.  Amongst other things, Mother Malarky is a fantastic cook, shamanic drum maker, wild food forager and roadkill recycler.  I have learned many things from her, and on this day, she taught me the fine art of sausage casting!  Yayyyyyy!  I had always wanted to do this, ever since I was a kid watching random folk on the ‘Generation Game’ totally fluffing it up.  Many a time since then I had wanted to make sausages but never had the equipment.  I often make terrines or pie and dumpling fillings out of small random bits of roadkill, but you can just about put ‘anything’ in a sausage.   Ahhhh, happy days, and Ma Malarky has just the tool for the job.

.

carol cooking pike sausagesMalarky has now been dubbed The Queen of Roadkill Sausage Making.  Since purchasing her wonderful sausage machine she has just about ‘sausaged’ everything she can get her hands on!  Even Ozzy the cat and her beloved fella have stayed well out of the way!  lol.

.

Now…first we had to decide what kind of sausages we wanted to make so we had a rummage in Pandora’s Ice Box.  A mammoth task!  This is a freezer I wish I had, it has more surprises than a ‘Forest Gump’ box of chocolates, everything but the mammoth.  It feels like Christmas opening the lid… well, it does to a dead thing lover like me, lol.  Every time she finds something on the road, and if the law allows, it goes straight into her ‘special’ freezer.   On this day she decided we will make squirrel sausages and she dug three out of the freezer. Two greys and one red.

.

A word about Squirrels and the Law….

red+squirrel The red squirrel is a protected species in the UK and is included in Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) (amended by the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000). It is an offence to intentionally kill or injure a red squirrel or intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any structure or place a red squirrel uses for shelter or protection, or disturb a red squirrel while it occupies such a place.
Therefore you must be very careful about when and where you fell any trees. See the section on felling advice for more detail.

grey-squirrelThe grey squirrel is regarded as an invasive non-native species following its inclusion under Schedule 9 of the WCA. Grey squirrels are also listed in the IUCN international list of 100 worst invasive non-native species. This highlights the damage that grey squirrels cause to our native flora and fauna; a problem severe enough to be recognised at a level of global significance. As such, the grey squirrel is regarded as a pest species and is afforded no protection under the WCA. Under Schedule 9 of the WCA, it is illegal to release a grey squirrel into the wild, or allow one to escape.

This means if you trap one, you are obliged to humanely dispatch it. You must not let it go as this act would be illegal.

Anyone who carries out, or knowingly causes or permits any of the above acts to occur could be committing an offence.

NOTE: ALL THREE OF THESE WERE ROAD TRAFFIC CASUALTIES.  IF THAT WERE NOT THE CASE WITH THE RED SQUIRRELS I WOULD NOT BE SO STUPID AS TO WRITE THIS BLOG!!

Of course we would rather see these sweet creatures hopping around quite happily alive and kicking, we would rather eat veggies than see them dead, but  this was an exercise in ‘Waste Not Want Not’ guided by our moral code and ethical stance on foraging.  We respect Nature’s delicate balance and Natural Law.  The eating of Red Squirrel could be a controversial issue, but we do “controversial” very well and are both up-to-date on the latest conservation and foraging laws in England and the UK.  We support the various efforts to save the Red.  We still love th grey though, he is still a beautiful creature and can’t help what colour he is.  Ultimately, they both taste pretty much the same!  Life and Nature is all about change at the end of the day!

Here is a well-informed page relating to Foraging and the Law by ‘Roadkill Chef’ and friend – Fergus Drennan – Wild Man Wild Food.

.

Okay, that said, let’s get on with some sausage making!! Yayyyyyy!!!

.

me and malarky making squirrel sausagesIt was hard and cold work de-fleshing the tiny squirrel bones, but the meat is easier to work and mince when frozen, so prepping took a while. We added ‘red’ things (smoked paprika & sundried tomatoes) seeing as there was a tiny amount of Red Tufty in the mix, and to give the finished bangers a red colour.  Eventually we got to putting all the mixture through the machine and into the castings, which were actually made of Collagen and pretty easy to work with. This bit was fun and I found it hard in the midst of my enthusiasm to work slowly, lol. I wanted full speed and maximum comedy – just like the old days watching the Generation Game! Anyhow, Ms. Malarky reined me in and we produced a huge amount of wonderful sausages that were absolutely TUFTY TASTIC!  Hence, the name was born.

.

close up pike sausage in the panThe following morning we were treated to some of her POACHED PIKE sausage for breakfast with homemade chestnut bread and damson sauce. They were absolutely delicious. If you don’t know already, a pike is a predatory fish found in the UK and is not eaten much these days. Sometimes, it can be a bit ‘bottom-of-the-river’ tasting and has bones as vicious as its teeth! But, these sausages were soooo delicate in texture and flavour, poached to perfection.

.

One day, when I have the kitchen space, I will definitely acquire a sausage machine!

.

RECIPES TO FOLLOW… you won’t be disappointed!

.

Not long after we made Roadkill Sausages for the Beyond Production team whilst filming the ‘Food’ episode for ‘FORBIDDEN’ on the Discovery Channel.

The photographer Jonathan Mcgee has an eye for capturing the moment and a fab sense of humour, lol.

.

carol and me sausage making for discovery channel.

Beyond Productions logo     Discovery Channel logo

.

TUFTY-TASTIC RED SQUIRREL SAUSAGES – Sun-dried Tomato and Smoked Paprika.  (Gluten Free)

PRE-POACHED PIKE SAUSAGES – With Methy Leaf and Thyme.  (Gluten Free)

PHOTO GALLERY

On our recent trip to Scotland and beyond!   Preparing black birds in Malarkys kitchen for the artwork "Till Death Do Us Part"   "Kali's Pants" - aka - "Nice Beaver" Performance art piece   Scraping a snakeskin - Taxidermy workshop in a field somewhere   Outdoor Roadkill bunny workshop

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 780 other followers

%d bloggers like this: