A blog about eating locally, healthier living and discovering more sustainable practices... Join me on my journey as I explore new and healthier ways of living, while supporting those in my community who do the same.
Recently, I have gone on a number of hunter/gatherer adventures to seek out new sources of sustinance. Since I have vowed to remove myself from the factory farming grid I have had a lot of time to rethink where and how I get my meat. And I'm not the only one... I have heard from many women who have either tried hunting or are interested in trying. Are you one of those women? I would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts here.
Do you hunt/trap/fish? If so, what do you hunt/trap/fish? Where and by what methods?
What were your thoughts on hunting 5 years ago? What are they now? Has your idea of hunting, etc changed over time? If so, why? Include as many details as possible. If you do not want to post your comments in this public forum, please feel free to email your thoughts at: email@example.com
I look forward to hearing your stories.
After our early morning goose hunt and a hearty breakfast, my brothers and I headed back to the house. On the drive home we were talking about the excitement of the morning when something caught my brother's eye and in his excitement, he nearly swerved off the road. "Ducks!" he yelled excitedly. I didn't get it. Yeah, so. There are ducks everywhere. Apparently, in Manitaba there aren't. I looked out into the farmer's field of corn, a rarity in these parts, and sure enough there were ducks. Huge flocks were flying about and landing in an unseen area in the middle of the field. My brother pulled over and stared into his binoculars in awe. He informed me that ducks are really hard to find around there, even though their numbers are at a record high. He was very excited. Duck hunting was quite possibly his favourite type of hunting. Hannah lifted her little head, exhausted, and looked up to see what was going on. If all went well, this was going to be a big day for her. We continued on home while my brother called his duck hunting buddy to let him in on the excitement.
It was decided that while two of the guys cleaned the geese we got that morning my brother and I would drive out to the farm and ask the farmer for permission to hunt his field. Manitoba farmers are used to being approached by farmers and some even charge a fee for access to their property. When we arrived there were a group of men chatting around a tractor. My brother got out and spoke to them. I could see the one guy shaking his head, but my brother persisted. Moments later, he climbed back into the truck and smiled. He'd told the farmer that it was a family thing that we tried to do together and since it was Thanksgiving he'd be helping us keep our family tradition. The farmer yielded, but said that we could only walk in with our gear and had to clean up after ourselves. The fields were wet and he wasn't sure where the duck hole was, but he didn't want trucks tearing holes into his field. This meant a 1-2 mile hike through neck-high corn and possible marsh. Were we interested? Hell ya!
An hour or so later we returned. This time there were six of us and Hannah; four hunting and two watching. We trekked one after the other through the field. The sun was really warm that day, uncharacteristicly warm for Manitaba. There had been a lot of rain that summer - record highs, I believe - this was evident in the middle of the corn field. The soil between the rows was wet for the first half of the walk, until suddenly it was closer to marsh than cornfield. Birds of all kinds flew in and out of small marshes. We looked for the biggest one and set up camp. The boys put out a couple of decoys called "flyers" since they had motorized wings that made them look like actual birds coming in for a landing. My brother hid deep within the corn and started to call. If I'd thought he was good on the goose call, his duck calling skills blew me away. He sounded just like a duck in the marsh. There was no action for a while, but as the sun lowered toward the horizon the ducks began flying in in droves. My brother called while the other guys stood poised with their shotguns. My brother's wife and I sat on overturned pails and ate sunflower seeds in silence. As they came in they fired at the ones nearest them, watched where they dropped and waited for Hannah to return them to their sides. Hannah was in duck heaven. For a retriever, this is as good as it gets.
By the time the sun went down the boys had filled the day's numbers and it was time to call it a day. We gathered up all of the birds, the spent shells and made our way back to the trucks. As we walked it got darker and darker. By the time we reached the trucks we were faceless behind the lights of our Petzl headlamps. It had been a good day. Hannah curled up in the back of the truck, exhausted. To end the Thanksgiving festivities, we planned a wild dinner and a bonfire. That night, around the fire, we talked about wildlife and our love of the outdoors, while sharing a truly wild meal of walleye fish we'd caught that weekend, duck hor d'oeuvres, pulled slow-roasted goose and leftover moose roast. It was truly one of the most amazing Thanksgiving's I've had in years.
Duck Hor D'Oeuvres
These tasty bits need to be planned ahead as they need time to marinate.
4 duck breasts, cleaned & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Marinate duck breast cubes for 1-2 days in a marinade of your choice.
Wrap duck in bacon (we purchased our from the Hutterite colony next door), bits of vegetables of your choice, and hold together with a toothpick.
Place on the highest rack and BBQ on low until the bacon is done. Alternatively, if you don't have use of a BBQ, you can roast them in the oven. Roast them in a pan with slots for the bacon grease to run out.
Don't expect these hor d'oeuvres to last long! They're a delicacy around our house.
I have always loved pesto and recently discovered that it is ridiculously easy to make at home. The ingredients are simple and can be mostly be found locally. Pesto sauce requires the following ingredients: fresh basil, grated parmesaan cheese, olive oil, pine nuts (or walnuts) and fresh garlic.
In anticipation of making pesto, I purchased two large bunches of basil from the farmers' market yesterday. When I mentioned my plans for the day to a good friend she asked if I made my pesto with Parmesaan cheese. I nodded. "Then you'd better come downstairs with me," she said with a smile. I followed my friend to the basement where she and her husband kept a second fridge for storage. From somewhere inside she produced an enormous piece of cheese that I knew had come directly from Italy. Her husband's side of the family was entirely Italian and returned to their home country quite often. Apparently, you can bring up to 40 pounds of cheese back in your suitcase. I gratiously accepted her generous offer and watched as she sliced a large piece off the wedge and stuffed it into a bag.
Once I was back home I was excited to begin. I hauled out the bigger of my two food processors and all of the ingredients. The garlic I'd bought from Uphill Farm on the Wellington County Rural Romp would be perfect for this pesto. The only non-local ingredient (aside from the cheese) was the olive oil, but since there is no such thing as local olive oil, I don't worry about that. Finally, I got out the nuts I had purchased. I used a combination of pine nuts and walnuts, since pine nuts are ridiculously expensive. Local walnuts are available from Grimo Nut Nursery on Niagara-on-the-Lake. I have never been to the nursery itself (but I'm hoping to go there in the next couple of weeks), but you can order a variety of nuts through the mail.
Pesto keeps fresh for up to a week in the fridge, but who wants to eat all that delicious pesto in a rush? I decided that rather than preserve the pesto in jars and then be forced to eat it quickly, I would freeze it in ice cube trays and pull out a few whenever I wanted to. Here's the recipe I used for my pesto. I tried it last night and it was a hit!
2 cups of fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesaan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts (or walnuts)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
Chop basil leaves in a food processor. Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic and blend again. Add about 1/3 of the Parmesaan cheese. Slowly blend while adding about 1/3 of the olive oil. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor so everything gets mixed in well. The pesto will become a thick, smooth paste. Serve with pasta, oven-roasted cherry tomatoes, and crusty bread.
In the past couple of days weird things have happened - all related, but unrelated. On Wednesday, I received a message on my blog from a reporter at the Globe and Mail. She's writing profiles of people who she refers to as "industrial food drop-outs." Interesting. She called me and asked a number of questions about my food choices, why I choose to eat locally and where I get my groceries. Apparently, she had found my blog and liked it. That was nice to hear.
That same day I received a telephone call from someone at OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs). She had also read my blog and was following me on Twitter. A group of videographers are putting together a piece on the local food movement for their website. They wanted to ask me about my food choices, what eating locally means to me and where I get my groceries. Interesting. They're set to come to my house sometime next week to check out my cupboards, my fridge and my freezer in the basement.
If that wasn't enough, the next morning I get a message from Sarah Elton, author of Locavore, asking me about my urban (rural) root cellar. She's writing a piece for the Globe and Mail and I had responded to one of her questions on Twitter.
All this local food interest got me thinking - are my cupboards, fridge, freezer and root cellar presentable? Am I who I say I am? Or, am I living a lie? It's true that for a while I was so hardcore local that I felt overwhelmingly guilty when I even bought a lemon. Since then, though, I've let some things slide. I don't think that they expect everything in my cupboard to be local, but maybe they do. So, I decided to do a little kitchen overhaul - clean out my cupboards, so to speak. And here's what I found:
There is a LOT of stuff in my cupboards. A lot of food I'd been given by a friend's mom who moved away. Things like rice, rice, pasta and rice. None of it local. None of it organic. My baking cupboard is bursting with packages of sugar, graham cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, herbs, spices, flour, bran, etc. Some are local. Some are organic. Some was even grown by me. But most of it was not. There is much work to be done in the dried goods department. The cereals are all organic, the flour is local, as are the peanut butter and honey jars. I even have organic, local rainbow popcorn in there. But what about the oils, vinegars, boullion cubes, and spices? Could I do without those?
Then I opened my fridge. The condiments looked guilty. How did these things make their way into my fridge and did I actually ever use any of them? Not really. The fruits and vegetables in my fridge, however, were all purchased at the Guelph Farmers' Market, making them 100% local and almost 100% organic. Not too bad.
My freezer is another story altogether. I am quite proud of my freezer. There is not a single company logo in my freezer and it's full! Yay! I don't have to clean the freezer out. It is filled with bags of local blueberries, strawberries, apples, peaches, and nectarines. There are packages of vegetables preserved from my garden. The meat is either wild game (duck, goose, deer, and fish) from Manitoba, meat I've purchased from the Hutterites, or meat from Magda Farm. Three cheers for the freezer!!! 100% local. There are about 40 old yogurt containers filled with homemade soups of every kind. Those soups were made with ingredients that I either grew myself or purchased from the Farmers' Market. Now that is something to be proud of.
Finally, my pride and joy - the canned goods cupboards. Every summer I can just about anything you can keep in jars. One look in my cupboards had me grinning from ear to ear. Brightly coloured jars of pickles, asparagus, tomato sauce, apricots, peaches, pears, beets, hot peppers and roasted red peppers line the shelves.
Yes, there are some things in my cupboards that I'm not so proud of, but a thorough investigation of them all proved that there was much that I could be proud of. Bring on the cameras OMAFRA, my cupboards are clean!
At 5:30 am on Thanksgiving Monday morning, my alarm rudely awoke me and told me it was time to get into my gear. It was so early - there wasn't even a hint of light in the sky. My brothers were already in the kitchen, snacking on goose pepperettes and drinking coffee, when I poked my way into the kitchen. My eyes reluctantly opened as I pulled on the camoflauge gear they'd given me and sipped on the hot coffee my brother had made. Within 10 minutes we were piled into the truck and heading off to the field we'd scouted the day before. This was the morning of my first goose hunting trip and even though I was extremely tired, I was more than a little excited. Hannah, my brother's little black lab, lay sleeping on the back seat of the truck. She was going to have a busy day. As we drove in silence, I stared out the window. To the north, aurora borealis danced across the starlit sky. It was the most perfect morning for the hunt.
The field we'd scouted belonged to a farmer whose land was just outside the perimeter of Winnipeg - closer to the city than the boys would have liked. We parked on the side of the road and loaded the quad with our gear by the light of our headlamps. A heavy fog had settled over the land which we silently hoped would lift before the arrival of the birds. When everything was loaded up, we all piled onto the quad and drove out over the foggy field. Hunting laws say that you can't start until 30 minutes before sun-up. That gave us about 30 minutes to pick our spot, lay out about 100 decoys and lie in wait. It was going to be tight.
The boys picked a spot with a windbreak on one side where I could safely hide in the scrub and watch. I had opted not to hunt this time since my training with firearms was extremely limited. Hunting geese requires enough skill that I felt it would be more dangerous than anything. Together we laid the goose decoys, approximately 100 of them, strategically around the field. In the soft light of dawn they looked real, even to my eyes. Once the field was staged, I went off to the field to sit on an overturned bucket, hidden beneath layers of camo, and waited for the arrival of the geese.
It didn't take long. As the fog slowly lifted and the stars gave way to the sun the honks of the geese could be heard in the distance. My brothers lay quietly in their blinds, guns poised, with Hannah by their side. Goose blinds look like camoflauge sleeping bags. Hunters lie in them to hide their shape. If the geese see them they just won't land. My brothers tell me that some geese are smarter than others and some days they're alert, other days they're oblivious.
From inside his blind, my brother called the geese in. He practices his goose call like a avid musician and he's exceptionally good at what he does. I've seen flocks that threatened to fly outside of their line of site change directions because of his call. It was incredible to watch.
When the geese fly directly overhead, the boys pop out of their blinds, guns in the air, and shoot. When the birds drop to the ground Hannah takes off at top speed and grabs them in her mouth. She has been trained to retrieve birds by following commands through a series of whistles and hand signals. She's amazing to watch. She'll bring back a bird whose body is close to the same size as hers, wings beating her in the face as she runs. My brother snatches up the bird, twists its neck so that it doesn't suffer any longer, and places it on the ground next to the blind. Hannah sits attentively awaiting her next task.
Goose and duck populations are at an all-time high so if you're worried about their numbers, you shouldn't be. They are, in fact, considered vermin in some places. A licensed goose hunter in Manitoba is allowed to shoot up to 6 geese per day. There are hundreds of thousands of geese in the Manitoba at this time of year, so filling this number wasn't difficult. Ducks Unlimited supports these hunts because they help control numbers, educate people about conservationism and promote a healthy respect for wildlife. There are currently programs for women hunters available through Ducks Unlimited and I am seriously considering joining. I just need to get my hunter safety.
When their tags were filled a few hours later, we packed up all the gear, said a quick thank you to the farmer who had let us hunt his land, and headed into town for breakfast. The geese would be cleaned later and cooked up for dinner. I couldn't wait to try my brother's famous slow-cooked goose breasts.
I've posted a little video of the goose hunt, taken from my iPhone. I hope you enjoy it!
Stay tuned for my another blog in the "Hunters are Locavores, too" series. Next: duck hunting
Slow-cooked goose breast
Clean and place two large goose breasts in a marinade of your choice for several hours or overnight. Slow-cook on low for a good eight hours. Once done, the goose will pull apart like pulled pork. You can eat it on sandwiches or on its own. Wild goose meat is red in colour and has a full-bodied flavour. It goes well with herb flavoured brown and wild rice, corn on the cob and any of the fall vegetables. An apple flavoured dessert really compliments this meal, as does a nice bottle of red wine. Bon appetit!
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, is probably best known for its history of effectively crippling local economies. So, its announcement to support the sustainable, local food movement comes as a huge surprise. The first three articles I read online had me literally scoffing out loud. But, given the sheer size of the corporation, any positive changes it makes could lead to widespread results. The question is, will all of the results be positive?
Here are some of the changes that Walmart has proposed:
Walmart plans to double the amount of locally grown produce it sells by the end of 2015 (reaching a level of 9% in US stores)
They plan to sell $1 billion in food produced by 1 million small and medium sized farmers by the end of 2015
They expect to raise the income of local farmers by 10-15%
They have promised to provide training to 1 million farmers and farm workers, providing education in areas such as crop rotation and sustainable practices (they estimate 50% of those educated will be women)
They plan to encourage the production of more food using fewers resources, while producing less waste (why doesn't this practice apply to ALL farmers they purchase from, local or not?)
Walmart says they will now ask suppliers about the water, energy, fertilizer and pesticide use per unit of food (but will they supply those details to consumers?)
They also plan to focus on the two major contributors to global deforestation: palm oil and beef production (promising to purchase & use products from those who use sustainable practices)
Even more ambitious are the numbers for Canada - Walmart plans to boost local food numbers to 30% by the end of 2013
Walmart hopes to encourage local farmers to return to growing fruits and vegetables that used to grow in that region, ie. more heritage varieties ( How will the-lord-over-all-that-grows, Monsanto, feel about these *coff* heritage seeds?)
The questions this announcement doesn't address is whether or not the use of GM foods will be allowed and whether or not customers will be privy to the information collected by Walmart. It's all well and good to say that you are going to ask someone about their practices. It's another thing altogether to act responsibly on those answers. I'd really like to know what Walmart considers sustainable and whether or not an annual income increase of 10-15% is really considered enough. What kind of hidden costs are involved in signing a contract of this magnitude with Walmart? And, what will Monsanto have to say about the use of 'heritage' seeds? Call me skeptical, but their plans sound too good to be true.
Even though I'll still never shop at Walmart, I'm giving them half a thumb up for effort. Any change affected by such a huge corporation is bound to go far. There are plenty of people who shop regularly at Walmart so there is huge potential for good here... but, if you're anything like me you're thinking "What's the catch?"
To me, the word 'forage' usually conjures up images of forests, walking sticks and wicker baskets. It also implies searching at great length and possibly coming up empty-handed. There are no guarantees in foraging. So, when I decided to 'forage' for wild mushrooms around the property I thought it would have involved more work. Lucky for me I could see the treasures - giant puff-balls - from the comfort of my kitchen. Not much of a mushroom foraging expedition, if you ask me.
The giant puff-ball is quite the spectacle, as far as mushrooms go. The fruit body can range from 5-80 cm across, although ones of much larger proportions have been recorded.
You should only pick specimens when they are young and white in colour. Tap the top of the mushroom and listen for a hollow sound. You can check its age by cutting through; the knife should pass through crisply, without tearing the flesh. If the outer wall breaks away to expose spore mass it will turn yellow in colour. Do not eat puff-balls that are in this stage.
Giant puff-balls grow in pastures and woodlands from early summer through to late autumn, although if the weather is very dry they will not grow at all. If you're lucky enough to find a giant puff-ball chances are there will be many others nearby. They grow in the same place year after year, so be sure to keep track of where you find the fruit.
Since there is no satisfactory way to store puff-balls it is recommended that you consume them within 3 days. They can be stored in the fridge, provided they are wrapped in plastic wrap. Likewise, they can be cooked into dishes and frozen for later consumption.
Before eating, wipe the mushroom clean with a damp cloth and slice into pieces. Puff-balls work extremely well in all mushroom dishes, particularly soups and stews. You can also fry them up with eggs and bacon or dip them in beaten eggs and breadcrumbs and lightly fry in bacon fat.
If you are uncertain about a species of mushroom DO NOT EAT IT. Quite often edible wild mushrooms have a poisonous sister mushroom that can cause either extreme discomfort or death. Do careful research and ask an expert if you're uncertain. It should be noted that the giant puff-ball does not have a poisonous twin sister and is easily identifiable.
In my neck of the woods the mere mention of hunting is met with looks of disgust and disbelief. How could anyone kill an innocent animal for food?
I grew up in Manitoba, a hunter's daughter with a big heart. I felt sorry for everything that died by my father's hands and held private funerals for them when he wasn't looking. Silly, I know, but I was a sensitive kid.
As I grew up I got used to the sight of dead animals and blood, and although I would eat wild meat, I never joined the family hunts. My brothers have made a living off of hunting. They own their own outfitting companies and when they're not running their businesses, they're guiding for someone else's. My dad has designed and manufactured a muzzleloader bullet that “kills on contact.” He was so disturbed by the suffering of animals that he vowed not to hunt until he could produce a more accurate bullet.
When I tell my friends here in Ontario about my family in Manitoba it's like telling them that I'm related to Charles Manson. Immediately following the looks of disbelief, come the questions and speeches and unsolicited opinions. People often assume that hunters are gun-toting hillbillies who kill merely out of sport and do not respect nature. This couldn't be further from the truth.
This spring I decided to join my brother for the Manitoba spring bear hunt. I'd heard all the stories but had never joined him in the bush. I didn't go to actually kill anything since I am untrained in firearms safety, have barely shot a gun and do not possess a hunting license. I went merely to observe. Bear hunting required full camo - face, hands, everything – Scent Lok clothing and a pair of hip-waders. The bush behind my brother's house in rural Manitoba looks like rainforest in some spots and the area we hunted was like nothing I had ever seen before. I walked a 1/2 mile through swamp and moss up to my knees. Mosquito swarms were as thick as Hamilton smog on a hot day and they were hungry. Moss clung to trees like dirty laundry thrown haphazardly in the wind. The sun shone down hard. Sweat ran down my back in streams. Or, were those wood ticks? I couldn’t tell anymore. When we arrived at the clearing, my brother pointed to a tall, almost-dead conifer tree. It had a zillion branches coming out every which way and he instructed me to climb it. I looked at him incredulously. Climb? In hip-waders? Most hunters would have used screw-in metal steps, but my brother wasn’t most anything. The old sibling rival in me accepted the challenge knowing that if I made a fuss I’d never be invited out again. As ridiculous as it sounds, being invited was a huge honour and I didn’t want to screw it up. Impressively, I quickly and quietly climbed some 20 feet up the tree.
My brother had advised me not to speak, lest I scare the bears away. So, I sat in the tree stand above my brother's and silently swatted at the 'skitters' that tried to settle on my face. I barely breathed as I stared into the clearing below. The first hour dragged. I must admit, I’m not very good at keeping quiet. When we used to play ‘Who can be the quietest for the longest?’ I always lost. I was dying for a book, Twitter updates, Facebook, a crossword - anything to occupy my brain. All I could think about were the zillions of things I could have been doing if only I weren't sitting up there in that stupid tree. How city kid of me.
After a while the noise in my brain started to settle. I stopped worrying and started taking in my surroundings. Soon, all thoughts disappeared and, as corny as it sounds, I became one with my surroundings. It's honestly the closest I've ever come to meditation.
Our camouflage outfits had been washed to remove all trace of human scent. Under the surface layer of camo, we were wearing a layer of Scent-Lok clothing to lock in any body odour. The layers seriously contributed to the sweat that I could feel trickling unfemininely down my back.
Nature continued its course, unaware of our presence. Birds flew in and landed on branches just feet away from my face. Squirrels made strange noises, chattering noisily in argument for hours. By the time the bears lumbered into the clearing in search of food, hungry after a winter of fasting, I had almost forgotten why we were there. They routed around, scratched their bony bums on trees, and snacked on scraps of food left on the ground and lucky me, I got to watch it all from the comfort of my tree stand.
My brother and I sat in that tree for over 5 hours without saying a word. He never raised his bow once, although the opportunity had been there. As a nature lover, it was, perhaps, the most beautiful five hours of my life. I felt extremely privileged for having been there.
When we got back to the house, my brother’s wife asked how the hunt had gone. I laughed. “I guess I can’t really count this as a hunting trip since we didn’t kill anything,” I responded. “Of course you can,” my brother insisted. “What do you think hunting is all about?” What did I think hunting was all about?
My brother offered me a beer and we sat around a bonfire talking about all we’d seen that day. We laughed at the chattering squirrels and looked up the birds we'd observed. I commented on the condition of the tree we’d sat in, the swamp we’d hiked through, and my frustration with the mosquitoes and wood ticks. At one time there had been five bears circling underneath our tree. We had been particularly entertained by the bear that had spent at least twenty minutes scratching his bum on a tree stump. We dubbed him “B-squared, or bald bum.” Weeks later my brother would text me to tell me that B-squared had been under his tree again.
Since I vowed never to eat factory farmed meat again, I have re-evaluated my stand on hunting. Hunting is natural and has been a part of life for as long as we have. What isn't natural is factory farming. My vow to eat local, organic meat from animals that have lived a long and happy life hasn't been easy to honour, given the options. But, how much more local, organic and fairly treated can you get than animals that have eaten only what Nature has provided and have wandered free all their lives? Hunters have a deep understanding and profound respect for nature - more so than many of the city people I know. The way I see it, hunters are locavores too.
Stay tuned for more in the Hunters are locavores, too series.
A while ago I was given the Versatile Blogger Award by a fellow blogger, Kim Meier. I am flattered and honoured that she chose me and my blog - Thank you, Kim!
Kim writes a blog entitled, "Gardening. Cooking. Eating. Discovering. Sharing. Ottawa". It is honest, fun and informative. She recently posted ab blog about smoked tomatoes - just one more thing I can do with all those tomatoes I grew this year.
So, here's how it works: First, I thank Kim for giving me this award. Then, I pass the award on to another deserving blogger.
There is no doubt in my mind who I am choosing: Kelly (last name unknown) who writes Eat Local London. Check out her frequently updated blog for tidbits on local food in the London, Ontario region. She visits local farms, tries new foods and even grows her own. Since she's been at this for a while, there's a lot there to read. Eat Local London is informative, entertaining and inciteful. Personally, it's my favourite blog to read. Enjoy!
Other blogs I enjoy:
Sheryl Kirby's Serious Eats
Sarah Elton's The Locavore Beer and Butter Tarts
Kristen Glasbergen's Peace, Love and Muesli
Joel Solish's The Community Foodist