Voyageur’s Blog

Ask a voyageur a question

Here’s a blog to answer your questions, like what was life like during the 1800s in French Canada? Like who could or couldn’t be a voyageur? How big the canoes were? What trade goods they carried? What different furs were worth? What they used for medicine? I’ll answer these and more in the “A Voyageur’s Life” blog. Click on the button below to ask your question or go to the “Contact” section of this site — I’ll find the answers.

You can eat that?

The U.S. Army Survival Manual’s first chapter said, “With few exceptions, everything that grows from the soil or that walks, crawls, or swims is a potential food source.” WOW! Up to then, I’d only thought about plants. The book included useful tips on how to capture...

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Is either wild plant edible?

Your quiz for today: Is either wild plant edible? Make a guess for each of the choices below. Your answer could be one or the other — or neither or both! Glad I researched this — I would have made big mistakes by eating some of these. 1. Cattail or Blue flag iris/lily...

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Morels, and fiddleheads and ramps, oh my!

Steve and Wendy Gessell lent me the “U.S. Army Survival Manual,” a wonderful read. It reminded me that people can live many days without food, if they have water. (Good — my fictional paddlers have plenty of fresh water at hand. But it won’t fill the paddlers'...

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Sumac "lemonade" and frozen cranberries

Sumac berries infused in water tastes like lemonade! Diane and Robert Davis told me about this last spring. I had to wait until late summer before I could harvest the seed heads. (Amazing discovery: Even cutting them made my fingers taste tart!) Tip #1: Harvest the...

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What edible wild foods could André eat?

(Spoiler alert) In “Treacherous Waters” Book 2 of The Chronicles of an Unlikely Voyageur, André and his canoe-mates run out of food and need to forage for spring edibles. In researching this, I learned lots of fun info and realize that, of course, other inquiring...

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The Witched Canoe #2

  In print, the tale of the Flying Canoe, La Chasse Galerie dates back to 1891 but it was an old tale then and told across Canada. It's told about French-Canadian lumbermen as well. Logging as a career probably came after that of canoe paddling/fur trading. There's...

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Nikki Rajala - Author No wonder Nikki Rajala writes about voyageurs—her French-Canadian ancestors paddled birch bark canoes on many fur trade brigades. One great-great wintered for 16 years in fur posts west of Lake Superior and threads of family stories infuse this book. On Girl Scout canoe expeditions as a teen, she explored Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. Nikki loves rendezvous re-enactments, reading fur trade journals, visiting museums, tasting voyageur foods.

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