The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.
—Pierre Corneille (1606-1684)
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Before the holidays, I told my husband about a small colony of turkey tail lichens I’d found growing on some hemlock and alder stumps in the woods behind our house. Their numbers didn’t amount to more than a handful, and they were rather small, but I assured him that as soon as there were more, I planned to make tea of them.
It was then on Christmas Eve that Chris handed me a large, light package. Peeling back the red paper with snowflakes printed across it, I opened the box. Inside, was a basket—a lovely, multicolored basket with a beautifully tanned, soft leather handle.
I was correct to assume that this was no ordinary basket; the gift, as it turned out, is a harvester’s or market basket finely handcrafted with native vegetation and natural dyes by villagers in Northern Ghana (West Africa). What made this gift even more special, I later learned, was that part of the proceeds help supplement incomes in Ghana during the dry season, which helps with education and medical care.
I was still admiring the basket when Chris said, “There’s more!” Digging through red and green tissue paper, I pulled out a small mushroom hunter’s knife wrapped in a black leather sheath. The knife, with its 2 ¾-inch blade, and lemon-yellow handle topped with a small cleaning brush, will be used when collecting spring morels!
“Wait, there’s one more,” he said. Rummaging through more tissue paper, I reached into the bottom of the box and retrieved a small, 1 oz. package of turkey tail tea! I was surprised he remembered.
Christmas Eve, I sipped turkey tail tea—a drink I will savor until those in my own woods have expanded their colonies. As for the lovely harvester’s basket, it awaits wild food quests in which it will hold the bounties of spring!
During the past year, I have corresponded with so many wonderful people from every corner of the globe, and have enjoyed every moment! Again, I would like to thank everyone for a terrific year, and am looking forward to sharing more stories with you in 2013. Cheers and Best Wishes to All! 🎉
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
🌿Anyone interested in purchasing one of these beautifully handcrafted baskets or wishing to buy fungi products should visit Fungi Perfecti. (They have an excellent customer service.)
🌿To buy products directly, visit Ananse Village.