Archive for the ‘rivers, lakes and water’ Category

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

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

Dam out

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

I sent this e-mail to my council people, and the mayor. This is up for decision tomorrow, a rush to judgment on a very controversial issue. It would be good to have a decision, but there has been no new info, reports are still trickling in, nothing to justify a sudden decision.
And in my defense, I am on first name basis with John and Mike, so the informality is reasonable.
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Dear John, Carsten, and Mike,

I don’t think I’ve had a chance to talk to you about the Argo dam. I’ve looked at the information from the Huron River Watershed Council, I’ve canoed the entire length of the Huron except for two lakes, I’ve talked to people pro and con. And my conclusion is the dam should be removed.

We know that dams are archaic, and not good environmental stewardship. This is an issue for the entire watershed up and down the river, not just Ann Arbor and certainly not just the rowers. The science says take the dam out. The economics say take the dam out. The environmental reasoning is the river is best served by being unrestricted. The proper thing to do is to begin to remove dams. Improving this dam in this day and age makes no sense at all. It is not looking at the long term needs of the river and the environment.

Process wise, a sudden rush to decision after all this time makes no sense. If you were waiting for more information, have you gotten it? I don’t think so. Is there a report, a study, or the results form a public hearing that make this the right time to decide? Not that I’ve heard. And certainly bringing a proposal to council with less than a weeks notice, after clearly hearin ghtat this is something that people care about passionately and with clear polarization, means you need to be very pro-involvement on the decision making process.

Please vote no on the dam in proposal.

At least object to the process so that the proper procedures can be followed. A rush to judgement now will create more negative feelings over not just the decision but the sudden rush to subvert a proper process.

Thanks for listening.

A short canoe trip

Monday, October 12th, 2009

This was a throw the canoe on the car and head out in the hours after I finished work and before it got too dark and cold. It was sunny, not really warm, and the colors are coming to a peak.

There is an easy put in up river from Maple Rd off huron River Drive. Another canoe was just ahead of us, and a red 1974 VW bug had a rack on it that probably held the tandem kayak we saw as we set out.

The paddle sup river was easy, even with a headwind. But many distractions, including a pretty open Honey Creek. When we last navigated it we were stopped early on by a log across the creek. We made it to a little waterfall that provided aural ambiance so we stopped and ate a snack, and enjoyed the sun.

There was a crabapple leaning over the water that had those tasty yellow tiny apples. So I picked a lot. Gary went after some pickerel seed, which I hadn’t realized is edible. Apparently one wat to eat it is roasted, and added to something like granola.

The rosehips were a bit off, so no gathering of those. I already knew the sumac was lacking i flavor form teh recent rains. Gary spotted some watercress, and once rinsed with good water that was a nice treat. i pulled up a cattail and found about an inch of edible enjoyment. That isn’t much from a whole plant, so we gave up on that.

On the way back I took some fall photos, a few turned out nicely with the shadows and reflections from that late day sun. When we got to the railroad bridge crossing the river I wished out loud for a train. A in a few moments, the whistle was the response. A short passenger train arrived soon after that. Something about being on the river when a train goes by – I find it thrilling.

The sun dipped behind the trees and it got a bit chilly. Time to put out. Just a few hours, simple, peaceful, and beautiful.

My small triathlon

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I have something to prove to myself. It is about being 50, it is about my mom being so weak and sick when she was 50, it is about my brother being seriously ill, it is about my health problems with severe anemia for so many years, ending in 2001.

I have found that I have to exercise. If I don’t my blood sugar is wacky, I don’t sleep as well, and I just don’t feel good. Being active feels great. And the threshold of “good” to “great” comes at about an hour a day, 5-7 days a week. So I do it. Because I have to, because I want to, because I like it.

Last week was a bit more extreme. I figure I went from the approx. 6-7 hours a week of good exercise to about 30, In three “events”. First was the Baseline Lake Swim. A mile long, it took just over an hour. That felt great. I swam a couple times the day before, but this was the first long swim of the year. The next day was the bike ride from Chelsea to Ann Arbor. There was the trip to the start point, about 4 miles, the back and forth to downtown Chelsea, and the actual ride from Chelsea to the Townie Party. So something over 20 miles, about 2 1/2 hours.

Walking and biking and other activity the next few days, then Friday and Saturday about 10 hours of paddling each day. And not just la-dee-dah float down the river, but hard maneuvering steering pushing and pulling the water to put the canoe in the right place. Hard work.

The plan was to finish the canoe trip with a bike ride, (about 27 miles) and I had to give that up so that someone would be alert enough to drive. I remain disappointed in that, but it was the logical best choice.

So three different sports, all a little on the side of extreme, or at least slightly pushing it for the normal sort of active person. I like it. I wish I had 30 hours every week to have that much fun, to be that active, to prove something to myself.

I did it.

And it felt good, and it felt like I could do more.

I feel a little awkward talking about it. I don’t really mean to brag, but I also am feeling pretty proud. I’ve always had the sense of failure in my athletic and physical abilities. That’s what I grew up with. I pretty much like this feeling of not failing, of actually being strong and able. It makes me look at and think about my body in different ways. Good ways. Happy ways.

What made the mini-triathlon possible was the participatory nature. I wasn’t alone for any of it. Doing the swim, the bike ride and then the canoe trip with great company and support made the difference. So I’m looking forward to more community based athletic challenges, that fit within my range of what I can do. And I’ve also found that just hanging out with people who find this to be NORMAL is a huge obstacle overcome as well.

Thanks to everyone who was part of my active week!

Canoe trip to the Betsie River

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Another Canoe trip with Gary. This time we went some distance to a river, and planned to both canoe and bike. Drop the bikes at the end, drive to the beginning and leave the truck, then come back on bike and drive to the canoe. Well, it was a good plan.

This trip was high on expectations on what we could accomplish, and low on knowledge about what we would find. Luckily, the beauty and serenity of the area was much more than I expected, and the timing was way off as to what we could do.

The drive north started with a parking lot traffic jam on US 23 so we jumped ship and went up Whitmore Lake Rd. to 36 and around on dirt roads – added a lot of time to the trip. We got in late enough that we just went straight to Frankfort to drop off the bikes at the Marina next to Betsie Lake, then to a DNR campground down a long dirt road to just above the Grass Lakes Flooding dam.

We had eaten dinner in the truck on the way, so set up, and to sleep. I had just gotten a new mosquito netting canopy from Bivouc, so we tried it out and slept under the stars except it was pretty cloudy and lots of trees. The frogs were loud and persistent all night long. But a pleasure to be out with no tent, by the river, and there were hundreds of frustrated mosquitoes. That’s a good thing.

An early start, with scrambled eggs augmented by dandelion, plantain, and grape tendrils. We left the truck by the sign-in station, paid a fee to cover the night as well as leaving the truck, and canoed a few minutes before the first portage.

That was quick and easy, and then we were down the river.

This is a very bendy twisty river! The water was over all a bit low, so we were all over the river picking out the high water spots, then also navigating around hundreds of trees, (thousands of trees?) and then the natural twists and turns of the river. It may be a 45 mile river, but I imagine we went at least twice that far since we crossed back and forth from bank to bank all day long.

That added a few hours to the time it took to paddle.

The upper part is considered the easy stretch as well. It was slow, well maintained (nearly all trees had been cut so there was some passage) but we never really knew where we were. We kept waiting for Thompsonville, and realized finally we had passed it far far back.

The river changed back and forth from gravel to sand to clay and back. It began with the lovely long weeds all pulling downstream, few rocks, and very clear clean water. The trees were also changeable, we saw tall tall aspens, lovely cedar forests, maple forests, hugely tall cliffs, and also the low marshes.

A highlight the first day was finding a bank with ripe wild strawberries mixed with red raspberries. The strawberries were immediately eaten, the red raspberries saved for later pie. Gary loves black raspberries more than anyone I’ve ever known, we didn’t find a one. But later we found abundant service berries as well, and the birds had not eaten them. We filled a container of berries.

Looking over some cattails more closely, we discovered chocolate mint growing with them. Picked a bunch of that and meant to make tea later, but instead they came home with me. It was a great pick me up smell though as I got tired.

St. John’s Wort was everywhere and in bloom. It was great to see one of my favorite plants so present. I already had lots at home making oil and tincture, so I just picked a bit for pleasure.

We just kept paddling and paddling, eating fruit and nuts and drinking lots, so lunch was very late. Avocado sandwiches were welcome with some homemade mustard Gary made from poor man’s pepper plant, and some homemade vinegars and other tasty ingredients. All on homemade sourdough bread I had made the day before. That was when about the only photos were taken, Gary had a quick nap while did a little texting and tweeting. Recharged, we headed on for a few more hours until we were in the state forests and found a place to pull the canoe up for camping.

Once again, it was a place made more lovely by the total lack of ANYONE else on the river. But why? Sure it was Thursday, but I’m constantly amazed that i end up doing things and being places that no one else is doing or being. The second day we found a few paddlers in tin cans, the obligatory cooler of beer. A few more serious kayakers, and maybe four people fishing – one woman. That’s on almost 45 miles of river. As we got closer to Frankfort, more and more tents on the river banks, but even then only about 6-7.

We found a great place to camp, not to much poison ivy, and a walk revealed ramps in flower and we dug up a few. This was after dinner, or they would have gone into the pot. Tomato soup, with potatoes, zuchini, and onion. And an array of spices from Gary’s camping supply.

Birds are a huge part of every canoe trip, and we had the usual Great Blue Heron flying ahead of us down river. Lots of Little Green Herons, Cedar Wax Wings may have been the most prevalent, and Gary spotted the amazing Piliated Woodpecker flying over us. There were two, I saw them as odd shaped fat looking big birds, he got the positive ID. We had just gone by some of their obvious holes in the trees, so I was hoping to see them and knew they were around.

Of course many ducks – the shy wood ducks, the common ducks, and a lot of what he called a Blue WInged Teal Duck. We chased a lot of those down the river as well.

We also saw a few muskrats and evidence of beaver activity, one really large piled up house. Looked like a lot of work! We’re pretty sure we saw two river otters, slow, sleek, moving very unlike a muskrat. Very early on a deer broke out of the woods and jumped across the water to the other shore just a bit in front of us. Wow!

A creature that sure looked like a mink was on the other shore as we set up camp the second night. We had no trouble with animals in camp, and the second night we started out under the mosquito netting again. Just as it was beginning to get light, the rain started, and got very intense even with the trees above us. Gary acted fast, leaped up and set up the tent, I got really cold really fast, and was glad to crawl in to that shelter and get warm again. He had also set up the pie almost ready to bake the night before, so that it was just a matter of adding berries to the crust, some thickener, and some sweetener. I had brought agave syrup for that. So he assembled the pie, and cooked it just outside the tent using his baking set up.

It wasn’t long before it was ready. Breakfast — service berry red raspberry and blueberry (I brought those) pie with forest made crust. Wow. Sitting in the tent as the rain finished, eating this wonderful creation bit by bit, anticipating another long day on the water, that was truly a high point for me.

We packed up the wet stuff, and headed off. We were still fast and strong, which was good because we were only half way to Frankfort and the bikes, The river flows southwest then curves north and west, and the second half is considered the more challenging.

Now I understood how easily we could tip being caught up on some log or brush, and either panicking or making the wrong move. We also had a few totally blocked passages. We were able to just go over a few logs by speed and pushing over. But we came to one were the canoe would fit, but no people. So I did my first climb over the log and let the boat go under.

Later the portage around a total log block was unlikely – undercut high bank on the left, marsh and wetlands on the right. A lot of logs were all jammed tight against an extra large one, but enough of a platform that I felt very comfortable getting out, helping Gary pull the loaded canoe over, and then getting back in. Another skill learned and practiced!

Gary did one on his own while I filmed from the bank. A newly downed tree with full live foliage, the canoe went under, Gary climbed over, then picked me up on shore.

Reading the river got easier, naturally reacting to steering became the norm, and also understanding Gary’s moves finally came clearer. Finding water deep enough was a continual process, I even began to understand where to go and find it. And see it.

It rained a bit the second day, and was cold and cloudy until late afternoon. We were working hard enough it wasn’t much of an issue, but I had not dressed or prepared for cold. Another lesson learned.

The only other dam, at Homestead, was a pretty easy portage, and we sat and ate peanut butter sandwiches, as well as cheese and mustard sandwiches. People kept showing up, watching the dam overlook, and leaving, one guy wanted to talk about canoeing so Gary did that while I walked down river and found a private place to pee.

After a day and a half in the wilds 1/2 dozen or so people seem like a crowd… nice to not have other people around and no canned music, only trees and green stuff to look at. There were a few houses, and one spot with a lot of RVs parked right on the edge. But mostly isolated “log” cabins (made from processed lumber — too uniform to be real to my eye) and busted up docks.

Some serious erosion every once in a while, some of the houses clearly looked in danger. And some were way high on cliffs. Gary enjoyed the many swings (like on m front porch) on stands right on the edge of some of the cliffs. You want that swing to be moored in, and you can’t jump of!

I ended up spending a few hours singing every song I could think of. I just liked the sound in the wild areas, and it was nice to slowly focus on breathing and resonance and sing with the rhythm of paddling and watching. It just felt good, and Gary didn’t object, so that was a pleasure. Fok songs, protest songs, Monkees, Beatles, a very odd assortment I’d say.

We took more breaks the second day, needed them. But that also meant we took out at almost 7 pm in Frankfort. The river end did remind me of the Huron near lake Erie. More open marshes, no more towering trees and forests, more islands and snaking tributaries coming in from all sides. There was also more wind and waves.

We had a long but pretty easy paddle into the lake, but had fortified ourselves on the first bridge before the lake with dinner. Cold beans, wrapped in tortillas with hot sauce. The Fig Newmans, chocolate, most of the fruit, the nuts, and other food was gone.

We found the bikes, took out at the public marina there, and Gary went off on bike for the truck. Our thinking was that he would be able to ride much faster without me, and someone (me) would need to be a bit awake for the long drive home.

About 2 1/2 hours later, a tired and in his own words “loopy” Gary pulled in. I was getting cold and just beginning to worry. No worries. Loaded, he got an ice cream, I had done my chocolate peanut butter cone a few hours before.

We made the drive but were both really tired, it took a lot of focus to be safe and also keep going.

I’ll blog more details later. Just wanted to get some basics down early.

Wildcrafting posts including Northern Trip

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

You can follow me on twitter, or read the tweets here. I post every 10 tweets.

# wildcrafting
Yarrow bug repellent worked well in the woods. Lasts a short time tho. Yarrow flower tops in vodka, 6 wks, strain dilute w/ H2O, spray on.less than 5 seconds ago from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
About 30 people wandered through the wildcrafting class during Reskilling festival, 15 stayed, most new to actually eating wild foods. Fun.less than 5 seconds ago from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
Further north not only is St. John’s Wort in perfect bloom but it is also everywhere. Saw more of that than almost any other flower.about 8 hours ago from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
picking service berries and red raspberries from a canoe for later pie. Lots of them on the river.4:30 PM Jul 17th from txt

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
found wild strawberries n of a2. Th best treat. Wild chocolate mint for later tea and stir fry seasoning.4:28 PM Jul 17th from txt

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
Still collecting wild chive, garlic, onion greens – chop and dry in low oven 200 degrees for 2 hours, turn off, leave overnight. Put in jars12:56 PM Jul 16th from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
I’ll have photos happening once I’m blogging for annarbor.com That goes live next week – I’ll send out the link. These tweets with details.7:34 PM Jul 15th from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
Plantain is easy to ID just now, it is in flower and then seed. Look in the grass, straight up stalks with tiniest white flowers, 4-6 inches7:33 PM Jul 15th from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
Free Herbal Wisdom Class- Herbal First Aid & Prevention for Your Pet. Thurs July 23, 7-8:30 Crazy Wisdom. PFC sponsors, Linda Diane teaches7:32 PM Jul 15th from web

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Linda Diane Feldt
wildcrafting
Basics – dandelion leaves. Some are bitter, some are less. Add to salad or pot greens. High in vit A, calcium + minerals, liver nourisher.

Community Events

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I’ve been part of three very varied and pretty significant community events yesterday and today. Certainly worth noting, and also celebrating events that are intended to build community, acknowledge the importance of community, and to just have fun as a group.

The Annual Huron River Watershed Council Baseline Swim was Sunday morning. Over 40 people swam, and then there were kayakers, canoeists, and a few others in boats to keep us safe. I love it when the motor boats appear in the channel, rev up for a high speed launch into the lake, and the sheriff roars over and stops them dead in their tracks. Yeah!! Swimmers win for that one hour.

Some used the swim as a race, and some of us just enjoyed the perfect morning. I wasn’t the last this year. But I was the slowest. The last to finish got in the water well after me!

So I swam a mile, and loved it.

Today, I joined Mark Braun for his Joybox Express bike ride from Chelsea to Ann Arbor to the Townie Party before the Art Fairs. It was a great ride, straight down Jackson Road, all the way to Main Street. More than 25 people took part. We caused some back up going through the construction on Jackson, but that was also the point!

I dive my truck to the lake with some stuff and my bicycle. I left the truck there, and took off on my bike to Aberdeen Bike Store, where the group ride would begin. I was cruising down the wide shoulder of M-52 in my highest gear, and when I went to shift to an easier gear it wouldn’t shift. And it just wouldn’t. I got off and tried to do it manually, no luck. So I biked into and through town unable to shift.

I feared I would miss the ride, but a sweet guy at the Aberdeen Bike shop immediately set to work, diagnosed the problem, put on a replacement shifter, and hardly charged me. And said if I didn’t have the money with me I could come back and pay for it. Fabulous service. And the shifter works better than ever! And what immense luck, to have it break on the way to a bike store. I’m very lucky.

The third event was the townie party. A much more massive thing — but similar idea and energy. I enjoy it until I got too tired to stay longer. But I was grinning like a mad woman from how good it felt to do the ride.

Inspiration, fun, connections made, and a very feel good experience from all three events. And it is so much fun to bike or swim or hike (or parade!) with a bunch of people. I really enjoyed these events. I feel tired and well used.

I do love Ann Arbor (and nearby as well…)

Huron River Watershed Council River Swim

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Please join me for the one mile swim at Baseline Lake, Sunday July 12. I swam last year and it is a rare opportunity to safely swim across the lake and back (normally there are too many fast boats). With a kayak and canoe escort, as well as Sheriff Dept. Boats it couldn’t be easier. I was the slowest swimmer that day, and it was still really fun. I would love to have some company this time! No charge, all in fun, and a pleasant way to start the day. It begins and ends at teh UM Sailing club. Register with the HRWC by going to the web site, or call 734-769-5123 ask fr Margaret, tell her I sent you. Her e-mail is msmith (at) hrwc.org

The water is a bit choppy (wind and waves are common) and while you can be picked up if needed, you should be used to swimming for about an hour. I just canoed across this lake a few weeks ago, across where we will swim. It is a large lake, an interesting part of the Huron River! Let me know if you want more info.

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.