Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

More tweets to catch up with

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

The next batch of un-blogged tweets. I’ll expand them on tonight or tomorrow.

Had some bread made by a friend, Lamb’s Quarter’s seeds mixed in. Sort of like poppy seeds, gentle flavor, nice texture, slight earthiness 4:59 PM Jan 4th
Wild greens are heart healthy – the greener the better. Eat more greens, stay out of the ER. Just my idea for a healthy New Year! 7:35 PM Jan 3rd
Walk in the woods pre-empted by taking my brother to ER. No wild foods there. Nothing green but scrubs. They didn’t ask about diet or herbs. 7:34 PM Jan 3rd
Some mushy rotting crab apples on a walk, not much else. Spent more time looking down careful of ice than looking around watching for food. 3:23 PM Jan 2nd
I’m starting now saving plastic jugs, ID trees, each tap hole is about 10 gallons sap most years = 1 qt syrup. I plan to tap about 6 trees. 6:19 AM Jan 1st
You can tap any maple, as well as birch and sycamore. Sap can be used as is – or boiled for syrup. More stats 6:15 AM Jan 1st
Mich produces over 90,000 gallons of syrup each year. Multiply by 40 to count sap production. Takes 40 gal sap to make 1 gal syrup. 6:13 AM Jan 1st
Maple syrup is the first farm crop harvested in MI each year. Hoop houses may change that… but the season usually begins next month! 6:11 AM Jan 1st
Left over acorn and buckwheat black raspberry pancakes. It has been good year for wild food and learning to tweet! Thanks for following. 7:46 PM Dec 31st, 2009
1 more reason I like natural unprocessed stuff- I’m more sensitive than many. Blogging bad reaction to cleaning product 4:30 PM Dec 31st, 2009
But HBC is a source of vit C mid-winter. This week they were the worst ever. Maybe time and desperation would improve the flavor. 6:50 PM Dec 29th, 2009
Found and tasted some High Bush Cranberries out in the woods. Oh they tasted really truly awful. They have a flat seed – and red berry. 6:48 PM Dec 29th, 2009
Back to blogging on That was some writer’s block, glad it is over. 10:19 PM Dec 28th, 2009 from TweetDeck
Finally heated and strained 5 big jars of honey with lots of comb. Left from rescuing a wild hive this spring. Big mess, sweet reward. 9:31 PM Dec 27th, 2009
Every bit of maple syrup leaves me counting the days until the sap runs again. Maybe 60 or about. Love these pure simple tastes. All year. 9:23 PM Dec 27th, 2009
The ultimate in local foraged/gleaned pancakes. Outstanding. Acorns add a very interesting multi level taste. Just not something I’m used to 9:21 PM Dec 27th, 2009
These will be pancakes with multiple stories. I’ll experiment with my sourdough starter in place of baking soda for next time. 12:42 AM Dec 27th, 2009
Later today, will combine handpicked buckwheat with acorn flour, homemade butter, last years maple syrup, local eggs, raspberries, for wow! 12:39 AM Dec 27th, 2009
Gleaned buckwheat in Oct. Winnowed recently, grind in mill with hulls, the hulls are then sifted out easily. Foraged Buckwheat flour! 12:38 AM Dec 27th, 2009
I have a few spots of garlic mustard I will watch into the winter – how long can it live ? How cold can it get? How durable is this pest? 10:36 AM Dec 26th, 2009
Under that snow lurks garlic mustard, alive and well and also edible. Add to other pot greens, small bits in a salad, it is tasty still. 10:34 AM Dec 26th, 2009
Dog Nala found sumac in my pocket and ate it – the Vit. C taste made her wince and lick her lips but she kept nibbling. Wild dog. 8:50 AM Dec 25th, 2009
Sucked and licked the berries, friend took it to make sumacade – soak fruit in cold water, ideal with sun, but time will have to do. Vit C 8:48 AM Dec 25th, 2009
Earlier in the week found vibrant staghorn sumac fruit bursting with flavor. Wow! Glad now we picked it as this rain would delete flavor. 8:46 AM Dec 25th, 2009
Bad weather for dogs. Nala wasn’t interested in freezing rain at all – but nature calls and she had no choice. Back under the blankets now. 8:44 AM Dec 25th, 2009
The best were less than 1/4 inch, growing by the river. Almost missed them. The yukky hips more profuse, and nearby. Have to taste to know. 8:16 AM Dec 24th, 2009
Yesterday sampled 3 different rosehips. The smallest was exclaim out loud good. Sweet, lemony, nice texture. Other two bland and bad. 8:14 AM Dec 24th, 2009
My cookbook “Spinach and Beyond Loving Life and Dark Green leafy vegetables sold over 30 copies this week. Largest sales in over 5 years. 9:23 AM Dec 23rd, 2009
And the taste difference between old flour and newly milled flour is amazing. Fresh flour still tastes alive, not like dust. 8:31 AM Dec 23rd, 2009
Seeds store better than flour. The ideal is to have the “berries” of the grain, and grind as needed. Healthy oils and nutty taste are saved. 8:30 AM Dec 23rd, 2009
Chenopodium (lamb’s quarters) are the green to the left – better as a green than as grain. Greens can be blanched and frozen 4 winter eating 10:24 PM Dec 22nd, 2009
My foraging friend tried cooking up lamb’s quarter seeds tonight. Result: hard, slightly burned, lots of work not much to be excited about. 10:23 PM Dec 22nd, 2009

Wildcrafting tweets

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Follow me on twitter, or check here for retweets.
Here is what happened in the last week or so —

What to do with all the comfrey leaves before winter? Dry them for infusions to drink, apply as compress or bath in. Put in vinegar 6 wks.

Don’t forget the purslane. Great in salads. Also many gardens have Amaranth on their borders, tasty when cooked as a pot green.

Nala was let loose in a fenced garden. In no time she had found an ear of corn, shucked it, and was eating it cob and all. Dogs as foragers.

My apple trees at the lake are full of apples. A good year for them. Ugly and full of dips and bumps, but most important they taste great.

Ground Cherry, (Physalis alkekengi var. franchetii) nearly ready for harvest. Use for Chutneys, Salsa, like a tomatilla. Lots by my lake.about 24 hours ago from web

Made a salad from Farmers’ Market veggies, topped with grated orange and yellow carrots, flowers of Chicory, Goldenrod and Queen Ann’s lace.

Why go on about fruit trees? For some even that is radical – picking fruit from a “strange” tree. Eating what has fallen to the ground.

Wrap each pear individually in tissue for root cellar storage. Last year my stored pears were still good in February. Really good.

Haven’t yet mentioned pears. Many street trees are pear trees and the fruit is delicious. Make pear butter, slice & freeze for future tarts

Blogging about the HomeGrown Festival I will have a table, selling cook books giving reprints of the wildcrafting blog

My foraging friend reports picking 10 pounds of tasty apples from along Eisenhower Blvd. He just made one of his wonderful apple pies. And ?

The sumac pop was OK, milder than I would like. Apparently strong flavored juice/beverage to start is important. It is a learning process.

one of those tearjerk awww irresistable stories

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I can’t help it. Some of them are just too sweet. A facebook friend shared this one —- especially good for dog lovers. And elephant lovers.

The Green Fair

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

This was the fourth Green Fair for me as an exhibitor. And the first time I had a not so good location, a couple people couldn’t find me at all. Sitting (or mostly standing) behind a table strewn with wilting greens and books many people were curious about my purpose. Which is to encourage people to eat weeds.

That gets their attention. This year Nala also joined me, and she also drew people to the booth. Especially when she decided to stand on the table for periods of time. Well, why not? It always caused a rush of people to stop over. Marketing with my dog…. hmmm.

One of the interactions I especially enjoyed was a guy who saw the weeds and said his neighbor had lots he had been asking them to get rid of. When I said they were great, good for you, he was dumbfounded. His neighbor mostly has dandelions, so he quizzed me about them. And kept shaking his head as though this was a revelation.

He took a bunch of info and said he had to talk to his neighbor, and share this info about keeping weeds. Now this makes the whole hassle of dragging all that stuff downtown and spending ours in the sun worthwhile.

I had decided ahead of time that my major purpose was to give out cards and promote my new twitter feed — wildcrafting. Mission accomplished – I gave out 75 cards. I sold 10 books. And apparently talked to over 100 people! A couple remembered me from last year, and had follow up questions. That was cool. The twitter feed was a great answer to them, although of course not everyone twitters. But a couple said this might be a reason to start, up until then they hadn’t heard of any practical reason to twitter. I’ve had 5 new subscribers since last night, so that is a good sign.

Nala slept in until 10 am today – so I guess I wore her out with all the excitement. She was very good until the last 20 minutes when she lost it. I had brought treats, so I just gave her one every minute and we made it to the end.

I had just a little time to see a few other people’s tables. It was very lovely, very positive, a really affirmative time encouraging ideas and exploration and inspiration. So sweet. A great Ann Arbor event. My left arm hurts from pulling my little cart downtown and back (and maybe from lifting over 100 gallons of milk in the morning for the cow share group). I’ll work on it.

The weather was perfect, not too hot, not to windy, although I wish I was in the shaded spot. Next year perhaps.

wild things

Monday, May 25th, 2009

It was a good weekend for wild food. The usual suspects were rounded up and consumed – stinging nettles for a couple of meals, sauted with potato and wild garlic was especially nice. Also scrambled with wild garlic, dandelion, mustard, and topped with raw chive dandelion and violet blossoms.

A pasta salad included the wild garlic, fresh asparagus sauted in a bit of olive oil, ume plum vinegar olive oil and goat cheese. Leftovers of the salad were improved by adding dandelion greens, more blossoms dominated by dame’s rocket, mustard, and chives.

Gary and his daughter Irene arrived for dinner, with ramps and brownies made from last year’s black raspberries. We wrapped potatoes in the ramps with a bit of olive oil and put them into the coals of the fire. On top of the coals we cooked tofurkey brats and asparagus mixed with olive oil and coarse salt. Not wild, but still wonderful.

In the morning I picked rhubarb from the patch that has been growing with no assistance for the last 25 years – added that to oatmeal and raisins. With a but of honey and raw milk that made a good start to the day, especially combined with the extra potatoes and ramps from last night refried with olive oil.

And every meal is better gazing out at the lake. We had taken the canoe and rowboat out with the dog to watch the lovely sunset, this morning two canoes and three people to enjoy the still water and harvest cattails. Gary and I pulled them up root and all, he cut off the top leaves and near the root. Nala joined in and seemed to know instinctively to chew past the tough outer layers to get to the softer heart. She chowed down on a number of them, and tried to steal the ones that Gary had prepared in the bow of the canoe.

This dog is eating dandelions – leaves or even better she pops the flowers into her mouth, and will go through a whole patch of flowering plants and leave them headless. I watch what she eats and she has good instincts. She avoids oniony flavors, which are not good for dogs, and gos for greens and fruits. I had left a peach in the boat from Saturday afternoon, she hunted that down and enjoyed the whole thing.

On shore we peeled the cattails down to the soft center, which left a huge pile of peels and a small pile of hearts. Those were cooked in homemade butter, and the remaining ramps. To round out the meal I pulled out crackers and a tapanade of peppers and artichoke hearts in a jar. Irene and Gary had also made ginger beer from wild ginger they had harvested, combined with a bit of store bought Zingiber root.

The cattails were soft and sweet, very tasty with no after taste, a little slippery, clearly a starch, but with a unique flavor that was very lovely and mild. The ginger beer was a huge success – a very subtle sweet taste and I could have drank much more. Just wonderful.

I brought home rhubarb to freeze, it makes such good crisps year round, and it is great to discover how good it is in oatmeal! The freezing is easy, just throw it in a bag and label the year.

It is good to have the free food, but especially the variety of tastes and the fun of harvesting and eating with others who enjoy the novelty. And that includes Nala, who will certainly be begging for cattails again. Who knows, she may learn to start harvesting her own.

The other fun art of the harvest was the newly hatched damsel flies which were all over us, and the drago fly we got to watch newly emerged. Spring is well under way.

Now that was fun

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

A warm spring night, just over a dozen friends on the front porch, a vegetable tomato based soup, freshly made sourdough bread with homemade butter, and a bit of a birthday treat of strawberries and mangoes with improvised chocolate sauce.

There was actually a lot of traffic on the court last night, with friends visiting everyone on the street. There was room for sitting and standing as people came and went. The bees were visited by nearly everyone, and we were all glad they seem so happy and —- busy. Like bees are supposed to be.

The soup was simple, but yet got rave reviews from a couple of people. Sauted chopped onions, add carrots, broccoli, celery and quartered mushrooms. 1 can each pureed and diced tomatoes, a can of garbonzos borrowed from my neighbor, salt, freshly crushed pepper, a bit of chili powder – and the critical ingredient freshly ground cumin.

The chocolate sauce was inspired by the thought of ripe mangoes and one of my many friends named Laura brought organic strawberries. A few minutes later I made a roux of fresh ground flour and butter, added some cream off the top of a jug of milk, a handful of chocolate chips and a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder, and a tablespoon of raw sugar. It had a few lumps but capped the meal. Add in a candle standing up in a bowl of strawberries, and that gave us the inspiration to sing happy birthday to Gary.

Nala had her stuffed kong, and this time I had the foresight to stick it in the freezer so it lasted far longer. It was full of some very old cashew butter and kibble. She didn’t get to steal any food from anyone.

I suppose this is the third “season” of Friday dinners, and I enjoyed it totally. Taking a few breaks was good, inviting more people even better. And even though it was great to hang out here in warm weather, being at the lake is even more so.

“You will always be surrounded by true friends” is my Treo generated fortune of the day. Couldn’t be more true. Although “surrounded” may be open to interpretation. Three of the people who came last night will be in California in just a few short months, 2 1/2 months actually. One by one the “last time” events with each of them are passing. That’s hard.

I’m certainly finding a lot of new friends recently, but those people who have been here for a while, we’ve been through times together, we know each other’s hard stories, those are special friends. And it is harder when they are further away. Not as easy to go out for Zingerman’s chocolate cheesecake on the spur of the moment. Or a walk. Or dinner on the porch.

But the pull to visit California soon grows stronger!

Nala breakthrough

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

I got Nala just after she turned two. She came with this weird habit of dancing away whenever I wanted to put a leash on her. It was her favorite game, and her most annoying trait. She escaped a few times, before I had her more figured out, and catching her wasn’t possible. Although she did approach other people who were able to grab her. Taking her ot the dog park requires an unknown amount of time, since never know if I can get a leash on her to take her home.

Yesterday, she came when called. While loose in the fenced area of the lake cabin.

I gave her a lot of cheese and hope she associates the two things.

And, that meant she had more time to play with her new dog friend Waldo.

Hey, it only took 1 1/2 years.

I’ll try for a repeat soon. With cheese.


Sunday, April 12th, 2009

I had a great bodywork session Friday morning (received, not given) followed by picking up the raw milk, eggs, and cream for the week for my friends and I. After getting a few things done I was off to the lake for two days.

Spending an hour just cleaning up a winter’s worth of mouse poop is very focusing and worthwhile work. And that I did. It was only after that chore that I felt comfortable cooking dinner. Simple tofu, onions, broccoli with rice. But I haven’t been cooking much the last three weeks so it was very nice ot have a simple meal.

I found chives and garlic grass in the garden, so added them to my meal as well. Great to be able to pick something to eat – even if it is a small contribution. I’m just finishing up the dried chives from last year, a first that was so wonderful all winter long!

Nala let me sleep in, so a slow start to Saturday, visited with some friends, Nala go to run full tilt with her new buddy Waldo who is a standard poodle. I love watching her play – she is intense and comes back breathing hard and grinning.

I almost didn’t take the kayak out, but so glad I did. The lake was pretty calm, and the water is still high. Some wind, but that just makes it fun. It is always great to explore the paths in the reeds at the end of the lake, there were two nesting geese. So I steered clear of their areas. The lake is constantly changing, in both obvious as well as subtle ways. I just make note of it, the new branches fallen, the heaved docks, the status of the weeds and the erosion of the banks. Looking for birds and turtles and fish and water clarity. It is always different. Even the light at different times of the day, because I’m watching, because I’m calmer on the water, I enjoy the sky and clouds and how the sun is shining more out there.

I did enough carrying and moving of firewood that my muscles feel it. Starting the clearing and organizing process that has to happen each year. Especially when we’ve had two massive trees taken down and all the debris to deal with! And the shed deteriorates further, the willow leaves an amazing mess of branches and vines.

It is an overwhelming amount of work, but with help and slow and steady focus, it gets done.

I do feel more integrated, more whole, less bitchy, more hopeful. Pretty simple. Pretty quick. If I’m out of sorts and out of balance, the water always helps. In a few weeks it should be warm enough to swim. The peace of the summer. It is almost here.

Lots of Nature

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

I had a number of adventures Saturday, and lots to report. I headed out to the lake early on, to meet one of my many friend’s named Laura for Kayaking. I had a chance to turn on the water after a long winter, and found no sign of leaks cracks or damage to any pipes. That is a huge relief. I got the hot water heater up and running, and no problems there as well. The water was rusty and didn’t taste very good, it needs to run for a few more hours I suspect before it begins to be pure and clean.

The place is a bit of a mess, things blown around, branches from the willow all over, and of course branches from the trees that were taken down all over. We have a pile of brush the size of two cars – that is normal cars, not may car 😉
Lots of bonfires in the future!

Laura found a dead turtle in the water, partly decomposed. We tossed it out further. It had a very high round shell, not a painted, not a slider, it may have been a snapper but I’m not sure. It was about five inches long, so an older one.

The wind was high, the sun was up, it was work to get the kayaks to the end of the lake. Once there we spotted a red wing blackbird right away – and he was a brilliant black with red/orange contrast. We thought about going into the channels at the end of the lake but no only had the paths moved but there was a Canadian goose already sitting on a nest, and very perturbed to have us find her. She stayed on the nest, but her neck was stretched out in a clear sign of fear and hostility. We backed out quickly.

Just about then a sand hill crane came overhead, very low, and it’s beautiful sandy wings and red banded head were crystal clear as it cam into land in the grass. It may have been just 15-20 feet away. It was silent, and awesome.

The mute swans were a ways away, and didn’t pay an attention to us at all. After a bit of time to meditate and consider mothering and our mothers who have passed on we let the wind whip us back down the lake. Going to that spot is an annual event for me, today is the 16th anniversary of my mom’s death, and many of her cremains are there at the end of the lake.

It was a fast ride to come back to the dock, and very fun, although we were a bit wet from being splashed by the waves and exposed fingers that got wet were almost painful.

I had a quick lunch in the sun looking over the water, and took off for park Lyndon, just 3 miles away. The trail there is marvelous, passing through beech/oak forests, pine trees, aspens, and I think I saw tamarack last time but not this time. I ended up on a trail the had three boardwalks (one heaved up at a steep angle from a tree that fell). On the first part of the path, there was an ant hill boiling with black ants. The huge mound had about four openings/exits and each had clusters of solid ants pouring in and out in circles about 3 feet in diameter. It was just solid moving mass of ants. Nala and I were on the path, at least 5 feet away, but she started picking up her feet as they began to find us.

I had no idea the ant populations would be so great this time of year. It was a jaw dropping sight.

The woods was quiet and then the sandhills were nearby, and their cries were load and frequent. I love that sound. I was glad the trail I was on seemed to be bringing me closer, and Nala went into a frenzy of hunting and tracking that was odd for her. I don’t know what she caught scent of, but she was desperate to find it. She pulled us after that scent for at least 10 minutes before she let it be.

She was fully loaded with her dog back pack carrying all of my stuff (water, phone, fruit, keys, etc.). So she was getting a work out!

I ended up on a road, a passing stranger said it was Embry. So instead of proceeding, I turned to go back along the same path. My sense of direction is pretty bad, and I had no idea where I was actually. So I went for the safe course. On the way back, the sandhills were again loud and wonderful, and came in to land as we watched from the boardwalk. There was also an area with frogs calling desperately for love. I had lumped all those early frog calls together as spring peepers, but was recently corrected by an on-line correspondent. He let me know that the earliest calls are Chorus Frogs, with a sound like dragging your nail across a comb. Then the peepers start, later the other frogs and ending with the bull frogs.

Sure enough, some of those calls had that staccato call that could be like a comb sound. Chorus frogs. Never heard of them before, so I’m happy to have that bit of information! Some were clearly the clear sound of the peepers, but I could hear both.

That walk was about 90 minutes, so back to the car to the cabin to check on the water and think about if I wanted to stay the night or make a visit and head home. I left the option open, but considered that I would have to do a lot of cleaning and it owuld be a cold night and morning with possible snow.

Off to visit one of my other many friends named Laura, and her new home. A lovely place on a good chunk of land, and at this time of year on a lovely seasonal pond. She was visiting some neighborhood horses, so Nala and I walked over to hang out with the horses, and it turned out, chickens.

Nala went nose to nose with a painted pony, and was also thrilled to find a whole field of horse manure. I minimized that experience. She really wanted to play with the chickens, it was fun to see them all get behind the rooster when she tried to charge the coop. Again, I spoiled her fun by keeping her on a tight leash.

I headed home to enjoy the comfort here, and to wake up warm and cozy. But still ignore e-mails, phone and hide out as much as possible. My need for time off is larger than it has been in a long while. But the day spent exploring and active was a great solace. And later today I’ll be at the Festifools. I may leave Nala at home so I can fully enjoy it – my plan is chocolate ice cream cone and a silly hat.

Dolphin Behavior

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A friend on Facebook posted this. When animals play, let alone create their own playthings and teach others, something special is going on. We dismiss dog and cat play as practice for hunting. Hey, it’s what they know. But they can learn to play in so many other ways as well.

This is a great video