Archive for the ‘wildcrafting’ Category

Talking to Plants

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

About 30 people came to the class tonight titled: “How to Talk to Plants and Avoid Giving the Impression of Lunacy”. Here are the highlights, and one important point I forgot to include.

First, that talking to plants implies lunacy and you might as well give it up.
The communication process takes many forms including visual cues (wilting, leaf discoloration), chemical signals to other plants, taste, smell, visual, how other plants respond, vibrancy, etc.
Plants also ask for what they need by virtue of where they grow, triggering water release if possible (olla irrigation again – the plants trigger additional osmotic release by root growth and pulling water into the roots), and also responding to nutrients in the soil.
How you perceive plant communication is a function of knowledge, observation, possibly synesthesia, and Gladwell’s ideas of Thinslicing also come in to play. As does Neuro Linquistic Programming, although I didn’t mention that by name. So while I may describe an interactions in words, I recognize that the plant does not use words.
Being in relationship with plants is part of our DNA.
We also talked about Findhorn and plant Devas, the suggestion that utilizing that understanding is especially meaningful with psychoactive and other more powerful plants, that synthesis and other potentizing may remove some of that connection.
Finally, I spoke of the Gaia Hypothesis and how seeds are truly awesome and bring us to a state of wonder.
I forgot to mention a simple beginning of relating to plants, starting with trees that have patience. Of course. I would have liked to also talk about the difference between annuals, biennials, and perennials and relating to them.
There is a tree in Wurster park that is a few hundred years old, with a great view from a hill to the city below. I find that just hanging out with that tree, maybe with your back against the trunk, is a very special experience of communicating with plants. Certainly natures wonders – and that tree is one – can inspire thoughts and feelings that are unique in what they communicate.
I loved teaching the class, and am glad so many came from so many places in the world!

Bibimbap – My Best Variation to Date

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Yesterday we had sort of a bibimbap, except it is technically something else since I’m told the word means “mixed rice” and I used left over quinoa. Fresh garden vegetables are what really made it extraordinary. Here is what I did, in order.

I minced garlic scapes, and onion tops (the walking onions that would have become sets for new onions). Added to that were green onion tops, chopped. I also chopped carrot and beet thinnings – meaning tiny roots pulled from the garden to provide more room for the oters to grow. I steamed some kohlrabi, lamb’s quarter and sorrel greens (almost any greens could be used), and set them aside. I started frying two eggs for each person in a bit of olive oil. The most cherished part of all was very lightly steamed fresh pea pods. Then I steamed the left over quinoa.

Each bowl was assembled with the grain, then raw and cooked vegetables topped with the eggs. Served with kim chi (I had some from The Brinery as I didn’t have any homemade) and Sriracha hot sauce. A side salad of coleslaw made from fresh picked and grated kohlrabi bulbs – dressing made from mayo, red wince vinegar and some spices – completed the meal.

Bibimbap is lovely to look at – the pale grain, bright green veggies, yellow egg and red hot sauce – and texturely pleasing as well. A great combination of soft grain crisp fresh vegetables and toothy greens. The kim chi and hot sauce are set off by and add substantially to the simple ingredients. I think the fact that you have to actively mix it all together is another subtle positive to this dish.

You can eat it often with infinite variation. A perfect summer dish as well as a warming winter creation. And of course, a great way to incorporate greens – wild or domesticated – into a meal.

Make Your Raised Beds Tall

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

I’ve been doing raised bed gardening for over 40 years. I started in Jr. High when I planed a “French Intensive” 4 x 4 foot garden in my parent’s side yard. My enthusiasm waned over the summer, but it did produce a reasonable amount of food and I loved the “Intensive” idea.

When I bought my house 30 years ago, I took out the front yard – which was small – and brought in lots of straw and landscaping timbers that were about 4 inches in diameter. I removed the sod and double dug the whole yard. That was a months work. I was able to borrow a sod tool – it cuts the sod then scoops it up. that helped. I double dug by removing the first foot of soil and piling it elsewhere, flipping the next foot to the top level, and gradually flipping and loosening two feet of dirt all the way around.

I the result was beds about 8 inches higher than before, and place for vegetables. The area on the near side of my walkway I planted flowers and herbs so that the vegetable part would be more hidden from anyone coming down the street or to my house. More on that later.

As the years went by, I tried a few different styles to enclose the raised beds. But I stayed with the basic principles, no wider than four feet, and never ever allow anyone or any animal to step foot in the beds.

About 15 years ago, I started buying pallets of retaining wall blocks, about 1 foot wide and eight inches wide. I bought all “seconds” at half price. They were available each spring, as they started up production of the blocks and the colors weren’t exactly right. So they were about $1 each. Over the years I ended up with close to $1,000 of these concrete pieces, that can be stacked to make a wall, and that are designed to curve as well. I created beds in teh front yard that were a bit abstract, but that curved around the yard with narrow (too narrow it turns out) paths in between. I also built planters at the end of the driveway, which I have recently taken down and used to build my beds higher.

The joke is that the older you get the taller your garden should be. Well, if I had it to do over I’d have them tall decades ago as well. They now range from 3-5 rows high, so about 2 feet or a bit more. The blocks are wide enough you can sit on them or even stand, and since the distance is never more than 2 feet to the center everything is easy to reach.

At the lake I have another garden, with 20 raised beds so far, and all but four of them (which are planted with blueberry bushes) are also two foot high, but put together with inch thick boards as the sides, and 2×2 or 2×3 posts in each corner that the boards are screwed into. That gives some protection if you are dragging hoses or electric cords around the gardens, the taller corner posts stop you from pulling that into the garden and onto delicate plants.

This time I knew the importance of wide paths, and had the space to do it. The beds are all three feet apart at the lake. Wide enough for a lawn mower, as well as stray pumpkin vines that might make a run for it.

In both cases, it is pretty easy to then get great dirt or even pure compost and just fill up the beds. At the lake garden, the soil is awful. It was dredged up from the lake bottom, and then a sheet of black plastic was put down, followed by sod. My parents “improved” the garden soil for years, but it never really flourished. Filling the raised beds with pure compost trucked in form The Ann Arbor Composting Facility has been great. It isn’t organic, being city compost, but it is organic since it’s compost. Either way, it grows great plants. Just to give you an idea of the scope of things, we have trucked almost 20 yards of compost into Chelsea, Ann Arbor, and Warren for the three gardens we maintain.

For my Ann Arbor garden I also bought 9 yards of dirt long ago from a local nursery. That has done well. And in the beginning, that was what also introduced some great weeds into my garden. Weeds that I can eat or harvest for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.

Each year, I “tilth” the garden by using a pitchfork to fluff up the soil and remove the grass and weeds I don’t want. I say each year but will also admit there are some years parts of the garden have gone unplanted. Life goes on. One year the garden was very neglected, and I ended up with a beautiful crop of goldenrod. I was able to make tissanes, tinctures, and dry some of the flowers for later use. It looked and smelled wonderful.

I did all of this on my own, and when Tom came along he wasted no time giving advice and pointing out where I could make improvements. And of course we started using the Olla irrigation system he designed.

He also looked at the garden where I was growing flowers and herbs and asked why I was giving up the spot with the best light to non-edible plants. I had to stop and consider. Why indeed? I hadn’t thought about that in almost 30 years. Since the time I was trying to hide my vegetable garden and not offend anyone with front yard gardening. Well, there was my answer, and of course the reasoning behind it is now obsolete. There are plenty of front yard gardens in Ann Arbor, and times have changed radically. I don’t have to hide anymore. I moved the plants that were there, and ended up producing an amazing patch of kale that overwintered and fed be for more than a year.

I believe raised beds are the best. Since they are never walked on, they remain fluffy and easy for roots to grow deep. They are easy to plant, and maintenance of the soil is also decreased. They work well with Ollas. They are physically more comfortable to work than being on the ground, they can be planted more intensively, they are easy to amend with compost or good soil, and they are also lovely to see. If you add a couple raised beds each year it is a manageable project.

In about 40 years I’ve gone from a single raised bed of 16 Square feet to over 500 square feet of gardening space. I can grow most of the greens and veggies I will eat all winter, as well as fresh food all summer. I love the gardening shortcuts – the primary two are the Olla watering system and the tall raised beds.

And now I’m caught up on back tweets…

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Follow my tips and ideas on foraging and medicinal foods twitter.com/wildcrafting
And with this post, I’m caught up – next post will be the current tweets.

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Harvested about 30 pounds of Jerusalem Artichokes. They are kind of wild – they grow where I don’t want them and come back every year. 5:15 PM Nov 5th, 2009
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If you have greens that are tasty but bedraggled make them into herbal vinegars. http://www.holisticwisdom.org/hwpages/herbalvinegars.htm 12:33 AM Nov 4th, 2009 *****
Found what I believe is garlic mustard. Right place, right shape, more mustard than garlic taste, didn’t know it would grow 3 times in 1 yr. 5:00 PM Nov 3rd, 2009
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On my walk I found bee balm just beginning to regrow. It was very fragrant so easy to ID. Picked some to season dinner. Similar to oregano. 4:59 PM Nov 3rd, 2009
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Hickory nuts. Plenty of trees in and around Ann Arbor. Gather, crack with a hammer of shoe, pick out the meat, enjoy. They also freeze well. 9:03 PM Nov 2nd, 2009
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Also made it through my first frozen gallon of maple tree SAP. That worked really well. Took freezer space but otherwise very easy. 8:08 PM Nov 1st, 2009
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I label things with date, name, and place so I can remember picking. Today black rasp. July 7, from The Big Playground. So long ago now… 7:41 PM Nov 1st, 2009
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Already enjoying frozen black raspberries in oatmeal each morning. I add them right at the end of the cooking. Add raisins almonds earlier. 7:38 PM Nov 1st, 2009
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Comfrey leaves help heal cuts, general wounds, AKA “knitbone”. Applied externally or as a homeopathic remedy. Midwives often use for tears. 8:52 AM Oct 31st, 2009
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I’ll want comfrey in a few weeks after surgery. Pick leaves now before frost, infuse for a day, discard leaves, freeze infusion. Healing. 8:32 AM Oct 31st, 2009
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One option for misc. wild roots, leaves, and other is kim chi. Burdock and dandelion root with carrots, greens, wild onion is my best yet. 8:30 AM Oct 31st, 2009
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When the sap runs, maple trees will drip sap. So it is never too late to find a tree to tap. Just have to wait until Feb. or March! 9:44 PM Oct 30th, 2009
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ID those maple trees now – the leaves will soon be gone. I have a hard time figuring out trees in winter. 9:36 PM Oct 30th, 2009
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Ground Cherries seem to be ripening in the window, even in this dark wet weather. 9:33 PM Oct 30th, 2009
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I’m attending Ignite Ann Arbor 2 — http://bit.ly/iquTY and presenting about why I tweet. 15 speakers 5 min each 8:47 AM Oct 29th, 2009
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Tasted some rosehips and they were very bland, Needs more frost. 2:50 AM Oct 29th, 2009
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No dew berries this year so far. They are a pale blue raspberry like fruit that ripens in October. Found them along a creek last year. 2:48 AM Oct 29th, 2009
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Lunch of fried sweet potato, wild garlic greens, found onions, dandelion greens, with tahini and balsamic vinegar on pasta. Lovely. Yummy. 2:46 AM Oct 29th, 2009
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Picked ground cherries, not all of them are ripe. They are considered poisonous until they ripen, so I’ll try a windowsill and hope. 2:45 AM Oct 29th, 2009
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Yellow dock roots can be harvested now, made into oil, used for bruises, scrapes, bone bruises, and more. Oil takes 6 wks to make. 10:07 PM Oct 24th, 2009
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Yellow dock is still hanging in there, so you can make pesto from the leaves. It is OK that there are rusty looking spots. That’s normal. 10:05 PM Oct 24th, 2009
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I have been gifted with quinces. I don’t know yet what I will do to them other than cook and sweeten. Quince paste looks interesting. 10:32 PM Oct 23rd, 2009
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Made chamomile and calendula salves with my med school class. They had fun, enjoyed the hands-on part. Open minded positive group. 3:52 PM Oct 23rd, 2009
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The new issue of the people’s food co-op newsletter has my article on herbs used with cancer and heart disease 2:18 PM Oct 22nd, 2009
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Valerian grows very easily, spreads like crazy, root is used in the tincture for insomnia, muscle spasms, relaxation. It affects me strongly 10:23 PM Oct 21st, 2009
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Having back spasms, will take a little valerian tincture in water and sleep. We made it this week, too soon, so I’ll use last years. 10:22 PM Oct 21st, 2009
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Still time to sign up for Free class on Menopause – Thursday 7 pm Crazy Wisdom thanks to People’s Food Co-op 10:20 PM Oct 21st, 2009
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The last free event I’ll be doing this year is Nov 6 Ignite Ann Arbor on twittering about wild foods. http://igniteannarbor.eventbrite.com/ 1:01 AM Oct 21st, 2009
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Another free class Saturday at the Reskilling Festival, I’ll be helping people brainstorm about building a root cellar. 12:59 AM Oct 21st, 2009
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Free class Thursday on Menopause and Herbal Allies – the good news. Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, 7-8:30, sponsored by The People’s Food Co-op 12:58 AM Oct 21st, 2009
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Dug up Echinacea and Valerian roots, my med school class turned that into tincture, 103 proof vodka. In 6 weeks it will be ready for use. 12:56 AM Oct 21st, 2009
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2nd year wild carrot has turned into Queen Ann’s Lace, tall flower, the root is woody, and beginning to deteriorate. No use at that stage. 11:09 AM Oct 20th, 2009
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It is a great time to harvest wild carrot roots. The first year plants will have a nice solid, pure white root. Smells like carrot. 11:08 AM Oct 20th, 2009
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Was invited to pick buckwheat. A little late, many seeds had fallen, but it was different. Now, to remove the hulls and have flour. 10:16 PM Oct 19th, 2009
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Found a few goldenrod flowers still, picked a few and missed the yellow jacket also enjoying them. She stung me, oww. Apis and baking soda. 10:15 PM Oct 19th, 2009

More Tweets – Just Two more to catch up

Monday, January 18th, 2010

This and another 40 or so will put me up to date on my missing tweets. Follow me on twitter.com/wildcrafting for daily updates.

Harvesting gets more and more scant – but roots are still a great feast. Burdock (look for leaves with no flower stalks), dandelion are 2 9:27 PM Nov 27th, 2009
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When you harvest for bark, take vertical strips. If you gird the tree (go around) it dies. Except cork trees. But that is not a local tree! 6:39 AM Nov 25th, 2009
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we have slippery elms around here, but I’ve never harvested from them. Bark is powdered and used to stop colds, sooth colon, nutritious. 6:38 AM Nov 25th, 2009
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Just sniffed oil drops on surgical gauze. A bit formal – but some concessions can be made for the setting. Totally completely effective. 8:36 PM Nov 22nd, 2009
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Used peppermint oil to control post-surgery nausea. Read studies that said it worked, 1st and only chance to try. Amazing. Would wild mint? 8:31 PM Nov 22nd, 2009
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Using st. john’s wort oil topically to keep shingles at bay. Made from flowering tops gathered in June, farmer’s field. In Olive oil. Works. 8:29 PM Nov 22nd, 2009
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witch hazel grows in clumps of small trees. This must be ornamental var. as friend says he saw only one tree. And it fruits b4 it flowers. 11:40 PM Nov 21st, 2009
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friend walking my dog came back with witch hazel flower. blooms in Nov. fringy thin yellow petals. not edible but tinctured for astringent. 11:36 PM Nov 21st, 2009
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home from hosp day early – oatmeal made with maple sap – not syrup frozen from last season. And black rasp. No hosp. food at all. 12:50 PM Nov 21st, 2009
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No more tweets until Sunday at the earliest. Combining the best of conventional and alternative therapies, to be nourished and heal fast. 9:44 PM Nov 18th, 2009
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Woods today filled with young garlic mustard. Bad. And young strawberry plants – promise of good things in the spring. Good. 9:42 PM Nov 18th, 2009
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catnip is making a go of growing in this warm weather. Herbal tea, dry for cats, add to cooking greens for flavor change. Soothes stomach. 1:24 PM Nov 18th, 2009
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It took about 2 weeks for my root cellar to stop smelling like dead mice. The down side to food storage. Those mice are amazing. Destroyers. 9:50 AM Nov 18th, 2009
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I think I will miss the woods more than anything. Good motivation to get well soon. I just can’t be inside too long.. lots grows in the cold 9:46 PM Nov 17th, 2009
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Hope to be back next week, posting ideas, recipes, philosophy, info on medicinal herbs, and herbs I’m using to nourish and heal. 9:44 PM Nov 17th, 2009
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I will be indoors for a week or two recovering from major abdominal surgery. It may be hard to twitter about wild things for a bit. 9:42 PM Nov 17th, 2009
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Lots of dandelions. Craving tahini. Combines well – recipe http://moonfieldpress.com/pages/samplerecipes.html from my cookbook. 9:41 PM Nov 17th, 2009
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Burdock root infused overnight, strained and used in baths for soothing skin care, for itching and luxurious sensations. Freeze 4 later use 11:30 PM Nov 15th, 2009
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tomorrow – final comfrey leaf harvest. For herbal vinegar 4 minerals, and decoction to preserve by freezing. Wound healing used externally. 11:27 PM Nov 15th, 2009
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Soup made from Jerusalem artichokes, chestnuts, garlic and brussel sprouts. Pureed artichokes, 40 cloves garlic for 3 gallons. Tasty. 11:06 PM Nov 15th, 2009
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Long walk but not much to eat. Comfrey still growing strong. My bees are a bit troubled, warm weather but no flowers. That’s hard for them. 5:00 PM Nov 14th, 2009
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Still avail. roots of dandelion, burdock, chicory, wild carrot; yellow dock leaves (think pesto); apples, crabapples; acorns, black walnuts 9:05 PM Nov 13th, 2009
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Did more talking about wildcrafting than doing it today. Encouraging urban maple syruping, listing wild plants still harvestable. 9:02 PM Nov 13th, 2009
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Tincture of St. John’s Wort oil is ruby red, just beautiful. Used for shingles, nerve pain, anti-viral, and Seasonal Affective Disorder more 9:32 PM Nov 12th, 2009
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Productive day dealing with previous preparations. Decanted St. John’s Wort oil and tincture, vinegars of pine and comfrey, echinacea tinct. 9:30 PM Nov 12th, 2009
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Evidence for Echinacea in small doses all anecdotal. My published article http://www.holisticwisdom.org/hwpages/echinacea.html 8:33 AM Nov 11th, 2009
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Taking home made Echinacea purpurea tincture daily – 10 drops in water – as prevention against misc. viruses. Made from roots, 3 YO plants 8:31 AM Nov 11th, 2009
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Drinking nettle leaf infusion – eating dandelion leaves – enjoying yellow dock leaf pesto – wild pears – ground cherries not ripening 8:29 AM Nov 11th, 2009
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And, sometimes conventional medicine is necessary and profoundly helpful. Best solution? Combine the two. Alt. and Conv. 8:28 AM Nov 11th, 2009
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Health Insurance nightmares interfere with life & happiness, including posting on wild food. Sorry! Do it yourself medicine is more peaceful 8:26 AM Nov 11th, 2009
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Use dried rosehips with other herbs for tea, infuse with lid 20 minutes or a couple hours. Nice color, taste, and vit. C. 9:00 AM Nov 8th, 2009
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Found some rosehips? You can dry them. Dry the flesh, not the seeds, on a tray in any airy warm place. Store in jars with lid. 8:59 AM Nov 8th, 2009
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The Nov. Herbal Wisdom class has been postponed. It will be January 28th, on using herbs for cancer and heart disease. 8:57 AM Nov 8th, 2009
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Rosehips – nibble on the red flesh, avoid the barbed seeds inside. Great source of Vit. C 3:24 PM Nov 7th, 2009
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Canoeing – found a few rosehips to nibble. Not much else, so just enjoyed the warm sunny weather and being on the water. 3:23 PM Nov 7th, 2009
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If they’ve been frosted, it will be too late. Not the right flavor to spend time preserving. 11:42 PM Nov 6th, 2009
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I will be looking for unfrozen garlic greens and chives tomorrow. Forget to dry some for the winter. 200 degree oven, into well sealed jar. 11:41 PM Nov 6th, 2009
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Ignite2 went well, love to talk about wildcrafting with people who never considered it, or who remember their g-mother doing it. 11:40 PM Nov 6th, 2009
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As of this moment, just 32 free tickets left for ignite2 http://igniteannarbor.eventbrite.com/ So about 500 people will be there. Cool. 12:08 AM Nov 6th, 2009
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I am explaining my motivation and passion for this twitter experiment at Ingite2, Friday night, 7 pm. 5 minutes, 20 slides, auto advance 12:06 AM Nov 6th, 2009
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Eat ‘chokes raw like water chestnuts, baked and mashed with potatoes, boiled in soups, stir fried is awesome, very versatile. Nutritious 2 5:18 PM Nov 5th, 2009
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I’ll put some in sand in the root cellar. Last year the mice got to them, this year taking measures against mice so there is hope. 5:17 PM Nov 5th, 2009
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To store Jer. Art. don’t remove the dirt, put in plastic bags in the produce drawer of your refrig, I’ve had some last almost a year. 5:16 PM Nov 5th, 2009 *****
Harvested about 30 pounds of Jerusalem Artichokes. They are kind of wild – they grow where I don’t want them and come back every year. 5:15 PM Nov 5th, 2009

More Tweets Repeated Here

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Follow me on twitter.com/wildcrafting or read here every few days. I’m still catching up form not posting since mid-October.

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white pine needles harvested all year. In winter, white pine infusion good source of Vit. C. Tastes like turpentine though. And diuretic! 9:36 PM Dec 21st, 2009
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reminder – white pine needles in jar, apple cider vinegar to top, non metal lid, wait 6 weeks = white pine flavored vinegar with + minerals. 9:35 PM Dec 21st, 2009
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Comparing balsamic vinegar and homemade white pine needle vinegar. B. is more “oaky” WP the apple cider taste comes thru. WP is surprising. 9:21 PM Dec 21st, 2009
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OK things are covered with snow. U can still ID wild carrot, chicory, burdock, mullein, and so many others, ready for early spring finds. 6:40 PM Dec 19th, 2009
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Foraging is walk outside when something wonderful could happen any moment. Even this time of year. Like High Bush Cranberries! 3:34 PM Dec 19th, 2009
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From “Why Animals Make us Human” by Temple Grandon. Anticipation = pleasure. Being outside and expecting “treats” is reinforcing. And basic. 3:32 PM Dec 19th, 2009
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Temple Grandon writes of primitive “seeking behavior” creating pleasure. My point exactly, why foraging is deeply rooted and makes us happy. 3:31 PM Dec 19th, 2009
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I think the only place that sells SJW oil locally is The People’s Food Co-op. Many people are unfamiliar with the oil, just know tincture. 8:05 AM Dec 17th, 2009
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Made from local flowering tops of Hypericum Perforatum. Look for it in mid June. Cautions with internal use of tincture or pills. Not ext. 8:03 AM Dec 17th, 2009
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Huge difference in pain relief and nerve sensitivity. I love this oil. Fantastic for shingles outbreaks as well. Topical use only… 8:01 AM Dec 17th, 2009
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2 days w/out topical St. John’s Wort oil on incision and discomfort increases. Last 12 hours with, clear improvement. A small experiment. 7:59 AM Dec 17th, 2009
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Still processing tasks to complete from summer and fall. Frozen cattail pollen to sift, acorns to process, buckwheat to hull. Winter work. 11:38 PM Dec 16th, 2009
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Because it is in our nature to gather wild foods. We evolved that way too. When you give in to that deep need, foraging is deeply satisfying 7:27 PM Dec 15th, 2009
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How you feel when you add wild foods to your diet may be a first indicator. My body says YES! A deep primitive response is also satisfied. 7:26 PM Dec 15th, 2009
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If we evolved with certain foods, do we deal with them differently than recently adapted and “improved” foods? May take a while to know. 7:21 PM Dec 15th, 2009
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One theory is that wild foods are more digestible and with better nutrient uptake. Because cells respond slowly to change and hybrid foods. 7:20 PM Dec 15th, 2009
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My foraging friend ground the wild “pepper” with wild mustard seeds, homemade vinegar, made an interesting condiment. Flavorful! 4:17 PM Dec 14th, 2009
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Saw some “Poor Man’s Pepper” seed pods dried by a path. Still has that peppery great flavor, but bit wet tasting as well. A treat on a walk 4:15 PM Dec 14th, 2009
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On hand now I have jams of black raspberry, quince, red raspberry, strawberry, blueberry. Also pear butter, apple butter. All gifts. Yum. 6:34 PM Dec 13th, 2009
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Jam is also an unusual treat stirred into hot tea, herbal or most others. Use it in lots of places you might use honey , sugar, etc. 6:32 PM Dec 13th, 2009
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With all the jam I’ve been gifted with it is time to make thumb print cookies. Buttery nut cookie, make hole with thumb, fill w/ jam, bake 6:30 PM Dec 13th, 2009
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Friends have had freezer failures and are making more jam from berries that thawed. Next year consider drying as another option. Low tech. 6:27 PM Dec 13th, 2009
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Found a confused pussy willow on my walk. Soft fuzzy buds . Even pussy willow has salicin, used for headaches and pain. Extracted from bark 2:40 PM Dec 12th, 2009
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If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his or her wages? … The rare leafy green joke… I collect them no matter how bad. 9:20 AM Dec 12th, 2009
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Interested in hands on learning? Location in Ann Arbor and Chelsea MI, no$$, work exchange only. DM with your e-mail. 2 apprentices needed 9:06 AM Dec 12th, 2009
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Thinking of spring: two gardens to plant, and the wild harvest starts with maple sugaring Feb or March. Seeking 2 people 4 apprenticeship. 9:03 AM Dec 12th, 2009
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Started the day with buckwheat pancakes with black raspberries, picked June 28, and my own maple syrup from last Feb. Memories & great food 9:01 AM Dec 12th, 2009
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Continuing to use St. John’s Wort oil on my incision , numb areas beginning to itch and have more feeling. Facilitates nerve regeneration. 7:04 PM Dec 11th, 2009
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Chenopodium, Lamb’s Quarters, is one plant to save seed to cook as grain or grind for flour. But huge work in preparation. Small return. 3:49 PM Dec 9th, 2009
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Wind is helpful to separate the wheat from the chaff – or any other seed with husks you saved foraging. But 50 MPH today – too much. 3:47 PM Dec 9th, 2009
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This will be my rare plug. Buy directly from me – http://bit.ly/852ANW and I can personally autograph. I’ll twitter recipes this winter. 9:17 AM Dec 8th, 2009
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My cookbook “Spinach and Beyond: Loving Life and Dark Green Leafy Vegetables” includes wild greens and how to use them. http://bit.ly/8x3tvT 9:14 AM Dec 8th, 2009
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My foraging friend stashed his for wine making, mine will mostly go on top of oatmeal. Added at end of cooking. Or cornbread, or pancakes. 7:36 PM Dec 7th, 2009
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Unearthed the large stash of black raspberries from the back of freezer. The color, taste, and even smell at this time of year is heaven. 7:34 PM Dec 7th, 2009
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The job of controlling and eliminating invasives is overwhelming. Eating them is a reasonable part of a needed larger strategy. cooperate 4:57 PM Dec 6th, 2009
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I would hate to see many of them be totally eliminated. For now, we are all working to stop the spread and that is important. Next – ? 4:55 PM Dec 6th, 2009
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Invasives are often powerful herbal healers and good food. Is there a conflict? Mostly I just find where they are trouble and harvest them. 4:53 PM Dec 6th, 2009
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Just now found my direct tweets- so apologies for not responding b4. Not sure what I wasn’t seeing, my other account they showed up. OK now 4:52 PM Dec 6th, 2009
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The hard frost this am knocked out a lot of greens, but even wilted you can eat for a few days. Cook first. Some taste better after a chill. 9:02 PM Dec 5th, 2009
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http://bit.ly/4tQ6g4 links to article on wildcrafting in Sweden. 9:00 PM Dec 5th, 2009
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Cold frames, hoop houses, greenhouses, are good for weeds and wild food not just intentionally planted plants. Extend the season! 8:47 PM Dec 4th, 2009
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You can place ground cover fabric, AKA reemay, over your more tender weeds and extend the season. Also easier to find greens in the snow. 8:46 PM Dec 4th, 2009
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In Dec. any fresh edible green is a great thing. A little added to a recipe goes a long way. Esp. with a strong wonderful garlic taste! 11:15 PM Dec 3rd, 2009
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Saute in oil, mix with sour cream, add to baked potato. Sliver into butter, use garlic butter on bread and bake. Add chopped to marinade. 11:13 PM Dec 3rd, 2009
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Garlic mustard recipes: tear into small pieces, add to salad greens. Add to stir fry. Add to other greens boiled or steamed. …to be cont.. 11:11 PM Dec 3rd, 2009
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If you can pull up the roots with the garlic mustard &discard them, you’ve done a good deed. They create soil environment that hurts trees. 6:12 PM Dec 2nd, 2009
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I was munching on garlic mustard today. Expect it to be around most of the winter, it is a green you can uncover from snow and ice and eat. 6:11 PM Dec 2nd, 2009
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With the ground not yet frozen, you could still ID Echinacea from the stalks with cone like flowers, dig the root, clean, chop. 8:27 PM Dec 1st, 2009
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My Echinacea root was put into 100 proof vodka. 6 weeks later now ready to decant. 10 drops a day in water to stave off flu, colds, and crud 8:25 PM Dec 1st, 2009
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Picked more comfrey leaves today, topical healing for friend – recent childbirth. Soothing and healing for tears, make liquid extract. 10:18 PM Nov 30th, 2009
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Ever made pesto in December? Find a few sheltered leaves from dandelions yellow dock (especially), plantain, and treat like basil. In Dec.! 10:15 PM Nov 30th, 2009
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So happy to be out walking, even if short. Dandelion greens stay edible nearly all winter – I’ve found and eaten in Feb. Flowers even. 11:20 PM Nov 29th, 2009
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A gallon of maple sap makes about 8-9 bowls of oatmeal. So I had a months worth of oatmeal breakfasts frozen in plastic milk jugs. Sweet. 10:10 PM Nov 28th, 2009
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buckwheat pancakes made with maple syrup from the tree next door last Feb. was great way to start the morning. 10:07 PM Nov 28th, 2009

More tweets to catch up with

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

The next batch of un-blogged tweets. I’ll expand them on AnnArbor.com 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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You can tap any maple, as well as birch and sycamore. Sap can be used as is – or boiled for syrup. More stats http://bit.ly/8z5Llo 6:15 AM Jan 1st
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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
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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
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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
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1 more reason I like natural unprocessed stuff- I’m more sensitive than many. Blogging bad reaction to cleaning product http://bit.ly/82EmB4 4:30 PM Dec 31st, 2009
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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
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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
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Back to blogging on annarbor.com. That was some writer’s block, glad it is over. http://bit.ly/5QM0V4 10:19 PM Dec 28th, 2009 from TweetDeck
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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I’ve been remiss

Monday, January 11th, 2010

… and haven’t been posting the latest tweets. So I’ll do 25 at a time for a bit and catch up. Here are the last 25 – most recent is at the beginning.

Uncovered garlic mustard from packed snow. A little less vibrancy, still tasted great, lost some intensity. But it is alive, -1 F the day b4 1-11-10
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Late afternoon spotted a dead great blue heron in a stream, Mary Beth Dole Park. They are always around on foraging trips on the river. Sad. 1-11-10
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Some squirrel is going to find these nuts and be really really happy. Or deer, or just about any creature. High fat in winter – good thing. 1-10-10
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Later in the day and my foraging friend is returning his acorn stash to the woods. They are mostly spoiled, but good enough for squirrels. 1-10-10
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Acorn hulls on my stairs and living room rug. Squirrels? No, my dog is finding dropped acorns and eating them. She is as weird as me. 1-10-10
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Wild foods have a profoundly low carbon footprint. No fertilizers, no pesticides, no transportation costs. Most prep is slow and low tech. 1:35 PM Jan 9th
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Oatmeal with ground flax seed, frozen berries, homemade raw milk goat yogurt, honey from my bees, almonds, raisins, cinnamon = best brkfast 5:53 AM Jan 9th
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The berries in my oatmeal this am are mulberries, picked 7-9-09. In ’09 the mulberries lasted an amazing 2 months. I ate some every day. 5:50 AM Jan 9th
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I may not be into appliances, the the Cocoa Latte Machine is a fave. Heats infusions, cider, hot chocolate, froths, perfect temp & blending 5:29 PM Jan 8th
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My new favorite way to prepare cider – grind cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg and add to the hot drink machine – heats & blends 5:28 PM Jan 8th
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Good time to look over the stored food and consume. I had forgotten 2 gallons of home made apple cider in the outdoor freezer. It’s time… 5:27 PM Jan 8th
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Nettle season is early may. But I have lots in the freezer to enjoy all winter. And buy dried from the co-op, steep 3-8 hours. Rich. 3:18 PM Jan 7th
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Most of the nettles I pick I cook or blanch and freeze. My favorite patch has been taken over by garlic mustard. Which is tasty & inferior. 3:17 PM Jan 7th
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I’ll need to transplant a lot of them for the new garden space. And then I will ask male visitors to water them. They need lots of nitrogen. 3:13 PM Jan 7th
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Warmed up some nettle tea infusion after a long walk in the snow. I bought the dried nettles, but I am growing them in Chelsea. Next to Lake 3:12 PM Jan 7th
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Still accepting e-mails this wk from people interested in work exchange apprenticeship starting w/the maple syrup season. 2-5 hrs a week. 1:09 PM Jan 6th
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Free Ann Arbor class on herbs for cancer and heart disease Jan 28 sponsored by PFC taught by Linda Diane Feldt. Register at the Co-op 1:07 PM Jan 6th
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The black berries you will see in winter are often Buckthorn. They are also toxic. Good resource here http://bit.ly/6DaVdm to learn more. 4:50 PM Jan 5th
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The honeysuckle nectar dripping from the flowers is a treat mid summer. But the berries are mildly poisonous. 4:43 PM Jan 5th
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Lots of red honeysuckle beriries in the woods right now. DON’T eat them. The only edible var is Lonicera caerulea and has a blue berry. 4:41 PM Jan 5th
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This is a food I have not yet tried. Where is a female Gingko tree in A2? http://bit.ly/8G7Dn0 I think I found one on the old W side once? 2:40 AM Jan 5th
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Another error – that should be chopped ginger. But it is true, around here it is also shopped for. 2:47 PM Jan 4th
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Simmer 2 inches shopped ginger root 1 qt water , use lid, 20-30 minutes. Add honey. Tastes great, good to prevent colds, drink it outside! 2:46 PM Jan 4th
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Long walk in the winter woods – not local and not wild, but Ginger tea with local honey was so wonderful to enjoy in the cold. Made the walk 2:45 PM Jan 4th
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Long walk in woods, spotted more rotting crabapples but the Vit. C flavor was there and it had a nice initial taste. Nibbled, not eaten. 2:00 PM Jan 4th

Recipe: An unusual fall soup

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Last night I made soup based on a few tips from Peggy Lampron, one of my fellow bloggers on annarbor.com It was a leap of faith, and it was a great one.
I was making a few gallons, so I’ll give quantities for that size. It was improvised, so the ingredient amounts will remain a bit vague. I don’t think being exact will matter.
I took my large soup pot, added about 1/8 cup olive oil, and sauted five large leeks, washed well and chopped. As that cooked, I peeled about 8 medium to large sweet potatoes. I then chopped them into medium sized hunks.
I added about 1 1/2 gallons of water to the pot, and then the sweet potato chunks. I let that cook for about 45 minutes on medium high heat, covered.

I took about 5 or 6 pears, that were in not great shape. Quartered, and cored. I left the skin on.

When the sweet potatoes were soft, I used my immersion blender to blend what was in the coup pot. It made a very rich, thick, lovely soup. I let that cook a bit more, then added the pears as is. After they had cooked for about 20 minutes, blend again but not as thoroughly.

That was left on low heat. I pulverized some allspice, and grated some nutmeg and added that. That was the only spice, no salt, nothing else. When I served the soup, I had it out with a small bowl of raw goat milk yogurt. I swirled that on top of the soup when it was served. The white contrasting against the brownish orange color was very lovely. And the slight sour from the yogurt was a great contrast to the sweet soup.

This was a great soup for the sweet flavor, the interesting pear accent, the colors, and the texture. Very nice. I have enough left over to freeze, after feeding about 15 people. It should freeze well. Good use for pears at the end of their lives!

The latest tweets on Wildcrafting

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Follow me for daily wildcrafting updates via Twitter. Here are the last few twitters, most recent first. Look for an expanded edition of these posts on Ann Arbor.com either later tonight or tomorrow morning.
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Prickly pear fruit. A friend had some from south. Tasty, a bit slimy, and then there are the seeds. Sure are a lot of fruits in this world!

Autumn olive berries still tasty, if you can get there before the birds. Easy to freeze as well.

Tried to harvest or at least see cattail roots, but the stalks are too rotted to pull. Saw only dead parts, so not sure if anything edible.

Went through at least two grocery bags of apples, 1/2 again that much in pears. Over a quart of crabapples from last week, juiced whole.

My Champion juicer got a workout, did great with lots of fruit. Lots to compost and some pulp will go to making alcohol/vinegar.

Major processing in 2 hours over 2 gallons of cider and pear juice, also crabapple juice which needs some additives. But overall wow.

Picked a lot of comfrey leaves to make herbal vinegar. The med student class helped make it. They also tasted ginger and stinging nettles.

Danger! Danger! annarbor.com blog posting on wildcrafting http://bit.ly/117zAs

Picking up acorns. Picking up acorns. More acorns. I thought they were done, I was very very wrong. Lots more work still to do!

Pure sap (full strength straight from the tree) frozen for later use instead of water when cooking oatmeal, in bread recipes, or just drink.

Every maple tree in color makes me think of maple sugaring to come. Enjoying the syrup I made last year, and about to use the sap I froze.

Went for a walk and was tasting and picking up acorns etc. and the person I was walking with seemed uncomfortable. Wouldn’t try anything. Hm

I normally try to always use plant common name and Latin so there is no confusion. Hard to do with twitter I would run out of space so easil

My foraging friend shared acorn flour “acornbread” with me earlier. Dark, richer than normal, very nice and different. Interesting.

These are large tasty crabapples. I’d like to try juicing them. I like juice more than jam, and so many of these fruits jam is suggested.

Canoe trip on the Huron today. Harvested crabapples, pickerel weed seeds, cattail root tips, found watercress, still no wapato.

The recent rain washed away a lot of the flavor from the staghorn sumac fruit. Still a hint, but not the explode in your mouth tartness.

The pears are softening but the root cellar is too warm at 60 degrees. They are in the spare refrigerator, but they don’t seem happy there.

Recipe for layered polenta, SELMA Breakfast part two annarbor.com blogging http://bit.ly/4zYfk3

Photos & more from recent tweets http://bit.ly/AE5s1