Archive for August, 2009

Wildcrafting tweets on bees, acorns, tasting fruit

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Follow me on twitter, or check here for links to my annarbor.com blog and a summary every ten tweets or so.

I found a single dead honey bee clinging to a goldenrod blossom. A good death? But a strange death. They work themselves to death in summer.

I tasted an unripe quince. I do not recommend the experience. Even my dog spit it out. Patience. Wow was it sour!

My foraging friend has started texting me when he finds interesting wild food. I like that use of technology. Sassafras was a recent alert.

Mulberries still dribbling in. I’m amazed. Picking up acorns as I find them, got an OK to harvest from a neighbor on Liberty just now.about 20 hours ago from web

What are the chance I’ll be able to find lots of acorns if I go to streets with names like Oak, Oak Valley, Oakdale, Oakridge, and Oak Way?

I’ve been just tasting crabapples, just biting in to taste. Taking real bites of regular apples avoiding the wormy spots. Lovely tastes.

Blogging annarbor.com on how to make acorn flour http://bit.ly/SeKCN

Tasted some of the early Staghorn Sumac fruit. A taste treat to suck on, I mostly spit out the actual berries. Sumac Soda pop? I’ll try it.

I actually found a few ripe mulberries. They were pretty tart. So I shared them with my dog, Nala. It is the latest I remember seeing them.

I picked some white pine needles today. Will cover with vinegar. I hear the results taste like balsamic vinegar. I’ll know in a month.

Wildcrafting blog on annarbor.com http://bit.ly/rRZ8x

Dating update – it’s a work in progress

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

It has been a while since I’ve written about my experiences with on line dating. There are many things I’ve been reflecting on.

I’ve had a string of bad dates, with a few more positive experiences lately. What makes a bad date? He lied about who he is and what he is after, there is obnoxious pressure to be physical way before it has anything to do with building a relationship (but he pretends it is…). Political distance – he is way too conservative – and the no shows.

Within the last week there have been a couple of those. One at the last minute called to say he had cold feet, jumping into dating is too much at this point. OK, glad for the honesty, the timing sucks since I had just walked in a pouring rain downtown to meet him and was standing in that rain when the phone rang. Another total no show, he set up the date a month ago, confirmed at noon day of, where to meet would be set later, and never heard from him again.

A basically unknown person stands me up, breaks a date, and I’m depressed and feeling rejected. It isn’t logical, it clearly isn’t about me, but my mood is depressed for a day or two afterwords. There are so many illogical things about this dating stuff.

Like attraction. I met a guy and looked at his hands, and it was a total turn off. I knew we had no future. That seems really shallow to me, not at all how I imagine I am or want to be. But there it is – something inside just switched him into the “friends only” group. No going back. That just seems really weird to me, but how can I deny it? Later, I can figure out the energetic issues and see some small reasoning but at the time I was just thinking this is a really strong reaction, and how shallow a person am I?

And then I wonder about how I come across and think these guys trained to respond to thin women and models and porn stars — I have no chance of ever being attractive to anyone ever. Because if I’m this shallow, the men I meet may be worse.

I’m also surprised to be encountering a whole pocket of men into polyamory, bisexuality, and more. I’m just not going to go there. I’ve said many times, I’m hopelessly heterosexual. Politically and practically I would like to expand that, but it isn’t going to happen. I’m just not wired that way. My romantic connection is to men, and only men, and that’s just the way it is.

Same with monogamy. I am only comfortable with romantic involvement with one guy. It is all I can focus on. Expanding beyond the one is just not comfortable, not pleasant, not in my chemistry. I don’t like it and never have. I’m really clear, one guy at a time, one focus, one clear energy channel that gets deeper and stronger. So I’ve affirmed that I’m a traditionalist in that sense. And said no to a number of men who have profiles that say they are looking for multiple at a time relationships.

And men who are bi. I had my heart broken and dreams crushed 20 years ago, I was in love with a man who was bi. And he was in love with me. We were goofy sickeningly wonderfully happy with each other and it was wonderful. And then he had to realize he was gay, not bi, and of course that was the end. I don’t want to ever go through that again. It would take a lot of work to trust a guy who thought he was bi. It is just too much to risk. Because in the end, I could never be enough for him, I’m not OK with him “stepping out” and I just don’t see how it could work.

The next part is the politics and interests. Oh, I have such a list. And I am still sorting out what really matters, from what I think matters. Can’t be a republican. That is clear. Can’t be working against the things I work for. Abortion rights, gay rights, access to birth control information and products, justice, equality, feminism, separation of church and state, free press, alternative education, health care reform, the list is longer. Those things really matter, and my most intimate friends predominantly are all on the same page.

The vegetarian and broader food thing is interesting. I’ve been dating non vegetarians and I’m Ok. What seems to matter more is food awareness. Where does it come from, how can we not be cruel to animals, the body/mind awareness and connection. A palate that has developed beyond white bread, white sugar, and slabs of read meat. The further developed the better. The greater the awareness the greater the attraction. Awareness of local food issues, why we support local farmers, there is a thoughtfulness I put ahead of exactly what is eaten. And I guess I believe people who are eating a lot of red meat don’t get it. Within this framework, I’m more comfortable with hunters than those who pick up steaks and burgers at the supermarket. Which can seem like a really weird thing for a vegetarian to say. Makes sense to me.

Yet, vegetarians taste better. It’s a continuum. Energetically speaking, a poor diet weighs heavily energetically. Hard to be close to.

I think the interest in life long learning is more important than the what that is being learned. There is a certain openness and excitement about exploring and adventures and jumping into challenges that is essential. At this age, many men are beginning the “shutting down” part of their lives. When I encounter them, I run away.

Why list these things and go on and on? Well, I do get a fair amount of interest still. More men than I can take the time to date and explore. Because even 1-2 dates a week is time consuming. I do try and weed people out before much time is invested. And I’m constantly questioning the basis for that weeding. And learning more about myself in the process. I’m a writer, I learn a lot about myself by writing. And there are a few people who enjoy reading it, and a few who find helpful for what they’re going through.

I remain an optimist. One in a million is possible. I also am tired. I’d like to get on to the work of building a relationship, and learning within that context. If it were to happen today, I’d be happy to give up dating forever. At some point, I will write my last dating update and then the real work and wonder begins.

Wildcrafting tweets – acorns, goldenrod, mullein

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Here are the last few tweets, and links to the annarbor.com blog. Follow me if you’d like. I’ll be posting an expanded version of the tweets on annarbor.com later today. I’ll need to photograph some Mullein first! You’ll want to read it to find out how a toilet can help with acorns.

Met another urban beekeeper who believes in encouraging hives in the city. We agree mentoring newbies is the way to go. Education is key.

Sitting next to a friend who has used mullein stalks for a hand drill friction fire. Fire with no matches. Will try it.

Yellow Mullein flowers on tall stalks used as oil for earaches but hard to find enough to harvest at once.

eEvery apple tree seems to offer a unique taste sensation. I’ll try as many as possible. Occasionaly I find perfection.9:49 PM Aug 21st from txt

Blogging on ethics and wildcrafting http://bit.ly/1tfs

Taste those apples that are beginning to drop. Any of them might be ripe, many will be really tasty. Carry a knife to cut and avoid worms.

I’ve never noticed goldenrod to this extent. And there are hundreds of bees in bee heaven, little legs heavy with golden pollen. Lovely.

On my walk today just missed being hit by falling acorns. May be big year for those. I’ll gather and make flour. Lots of work, nutty taste.

Latest Blog at annarbor.com encouraging dandelions and letting your lawn go, a forager in England who uses road kill http://bit.ly/b575f

Blogging my Wildcrafting Tweets

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Here are the last few tweets, follow me if you’d like! The expanded verion of these tweets is posted as a blog on annarbor.com

Search under wildcrafting, or my name, or use the links below.

All parts of the dandelion are edible. Try leaves in your salad, cooked with kale, I made a Greek Spinach Pie with dandelions, not spinach.

Some dandelions are bitter, some not. Depends on type, time of year, part harvested and stage of growth – before during or after blooming.

An hour show Fergus the Forager on wild food and roadkill http://bit.ly/iY6Px check it out – from England

Latest blog post on annarbor.com – making soda pop at home. http://bit.ly/3SoZaH

Mowing the lawn is a little painful. Mowed around St. John’s Wort, over beautiful plantain, and wanted to rescue dandelion and yellow dock.

The soda puzzle is partly answered by the shape of the container and the quality of the seal? All new to me, but one bottle is great.

Blogging about herbal vinegars http://bit.ly/12uTsP

So far, it appears my efforts at making carbonated juice (soda pop) are failing. Calling in expert advise for tweaking ideas. Yeasty flavor.

I’m still finding mulberries to eat on my walks. A wonderfully long season.

Another blog entry on wildcrafting http://bit.ly/IDD36

Camped out last night, in a few minutes found amaranth, clover flowers, lambs quarters, alfalfa flowers to add to Thai dinner. Yeah Greens!

A fun part of wildcrafting is figuring out what to do with what you find. It promotes creativity and wild food imagining. Mayapple a hit!

I made mayapple juice. A musky, citrusy, tropical flavor, very unusual, very pleasant and all four of us liked it a lot. Would like more..

Latest Wildcrafting Tweets

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Here are the last few tweets. You can follow me on twitter, you can also read the expanded tweets on annarbor.com, search under my name or wildcrafting, or follow the links on the twitters!

Camped out last night, in a few minutes found amaranth, clover flowers, lambs quarters, alfalfa flowers to add to Thai dinner. Yeah Greens!

A fun part of wildcrafting is figuring out what to do with what you find. It promotes creativity and wild food imagining. Mayapple a hit!

I made mayapple juice. A musky, citrusy, tropical flavor, very unusual, very pleasant and all four of us liked it a lot. Would like more..

Friend bit her gum, I picked plantain leaves, (not related to banana) chew, place on damaged area, less pain, more healing, very soothing.

I keep bees, but they are as wild as can be. How to convince 20,000 + stinging insects to do what you want? Want what they want. Profound.

All the fuss about chickens, there are a number of back yard beehives, and it would be great if there were more. We need the bees!

I’m a beekeeper, have a hive in my back yard that was rescued from a garage wall. 10 people helped move them in Apr. They are thriving now!

Just observed 6 different types of bees and 2 different wasps on my goldenrod. I guess it is an important food source!

I got a lovely photo of some goldenrod to post to the annarbor.com blog. It is so lovely it has to be good for you! http://bit.ly/3CS4yo

http://bit.ly/3CS4yo latest blog post

I like to eat wild greens just after a rain – no additional washing. The low ones get splashed, they sometimes get muddy and I wash them.

Latest Wildcrafting Tweets – garlic and bee balm

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

You can follow me on twitter, or check here because I post every ten tweets or so.

Earlier in the year the green wild garlic leaves can be used in place of cloves. Milder, sweeter, and wilts when cooked – great spring green

Unsure what you found is garlic? Scratch and sniff. Nothing else around here looks, smells and tastes like it except wild onion, also safe.

Noticing a lot of wild garlic setting bulbs. Look for a garlic like bulb 1-2 foot up on a stalk. Both the top bud and the root can be used.

Was gifted with a lot of borage. Not sure what to do with all of it, but drying will work if nothing else comes to mind.

Next Wildcrafting blog http://bit.ly/4V41p

The goldenrod is about ready for infusions. The vivid flowering tops can be steeped & enjoyed. The mints also available, also dry for later

My whole house smells like bee balm. Kind of like oregano. Interesting. What dreams might it inspire? Pizza? Spaghetti sauce? Will report.

It’s a bit humid, so I’m drying bergamont (bee balm) in a 100 degree oven, picked yesterday. Turn on for 15 minutes, turn off. Check, repeat

http://bit.ly/VVjX Latest blog entry for annarbor.com

AnnArbor.com

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

The good news, the content is getting very interesting. The bugs are working out, and it is becoming an interesting and even valuable news and community information source. This may indeed work. I like the people involved, and they have hired some excellent reporters. A few of the blogs are a little stilted and similar, but I can see that is beginning to change. People are finding their voice. There is such passion and creativity that is being focused and channeled. I look forward to expanded topics. I will enjoy getting to know these creative and passionate people.

The news stories are also coming into the format – more immediate, longer, responsive, meaningful. It is an adjustment. Important stories are being played up, and sports are not in your face demanding headline attention which I was afraid of. A nice balance so far, and there are noticeable improvements regularly. Great start.

But —
Customer service? My experience, it doesn’t exist. I can’t get a paper delivered, and I can’t get anyone to respond. And that is just bizarre.

There is no customer service for annarbor.com and no one seems to care. I have been trying to get my subscription honored and have had no luck. I’ve tried.

I’ve called customer service over a dozen times. I e-mailed the publisher, I left messages with the district manager and also the regular manager (4 messages to him). I got the carrier’s name and called him. I wrote three e-mails to the customer service e-mail listed on the site.

And no one will call or e-mail me back.

I didn’t get my last two papers, the other two were late (4 days for one, 5 hours for the other) and delivered by a manager, not the carrier.

I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced such a total customer service fiasco before.

It is just totally bizarre.

Now I’m told (today) it is no longer possible to get last Sunday’s paper.

Why doesn’t AnnArbor.com have any customer relations people? Calls are sent to Jackson, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. The people who answer don’t work for annarbor.com, don’t have any authority or ability to do anything other than take a complaint, and I get to listen to ads for the FLint Journal while on hold trying to get some answers (and papers). They can’t provide any service.

The people in Jackson seem to be the nicest, Flint coming in 2nd.

Why won’t anyone working for annarbor.com return calls or e-mails? Isn’t that part of a manager’s job – to address and solve complaints?

And mostly the satellite people try to help but don’t have the correct info, don’t have any options other than to send a fax, and can’t get a paper delivered. They can’t provide customer service.

AnnArbor.com needs to hire people to do customer service. And train them to follow up on every complaint. And, I think they might consider firing the company who is doing the delivery. Because they don’t care, and they don’t make themselves visible or responsible, or responsive. And that is the most important part of a company that is providing a service. Being responsive to customer’s requests and complaints.

My complaint has gone beyond the lack of delivery. It now includes that customer service for annarbor.com is abysmal, because it is non-existent. Outsourcing this critical component rarely goes well.

Even though I said nice things about the content, and mean it, it isn’t enough. AnnArbor.com needs good customers to survive. If you treat us this badly, you lose us. Nothing could be more obvious, and yet here we are. It is just bizarre. Why would a company trying to be innovative and successful make such a mistake? I am just baffled.

I’ll update if something positive happens. Two weeks of total failure can’t go on much longer, can it?

Homeopathic ER

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

A well done jab at alternative medicine. I loved it. Because if you can’t laugh at yourself then what is the point?

Wildcrafting tweets

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Here are the latest tweets. Follow me if you’d like!

The Mayapples are ripe. First taste ever. Like apple, mango, citrusy, little bitter, tropical, tart, very unusual. Maybe juice them?

Picked a few tiny milk weed pods – under 2 inches. Cooked with three changes of water and it tasted very nice, clean, mild, pleasant. New.

I found the first ripe wild apple of the season. Near Barton Pond. So tasty! So fall is on the way if the apples are ripening.

blog – http://bit.ly/PYhVA

Stay tuned for next steps. I’m still researching recipes, I have a few days. 5 Pounds berries, 1 gallon juice. Jelly bag to strain.

That makes a concentrate. (Can freeze for later use) To use add 3-4 parts water for each part concentrate. Next step, add lemon and yeast.

Learning to make my own soda from berries. First -make berry juice. Boil with just enough water, use stick blender or mash, strain, sweeten.

Still eating mulberries off the local trees. Seems like a long season for them. Cool weather. Looking for a black berry stand.

Expanded tweets http://bit.ly/kJSAd

I’m Voting for Mike Anglin Tomorrow

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

First, I encourage you to vote if you are in Ann Arbor’s 3rd or 5th wards. I’m supporting former councilperson Kunselman, because of the chickens, because of his position on the Argo Dam, and because Greden seems arrogant and unfriendly.

In the Fifth Ward, I support Mike Anglin. Mike has been approachable, reasonable, and interested in hearing from his constituents. I appreciate his lone vote against the parking garage, and being willing to go against the flow. We have all democrats, we need some diversity to keep council debate healthy and open. Mike has done well in that role.

The attendance issues seems to be greatly overblown. Mike has missed just one of the 41 council meetings, 1 of the 37 caucuses, 1 council work session out of 15, perfect attendance on Liquor Control meetings, has gone to 11 of 16 Parks Advisory meetings, perfect attendance for Audit Committee meetings, perfect attendance for Taxi Board meetings, missed one of the three Brownsfields Board meetings, and his worst record are for two groups – attended 3 of 10 meetings for Washtenaw Area Transportation Study and 1 of 5 Environmental Commission meetings.

So of 151 meetings he could have attended as a part time representative, he actually attended 131. And the major ones were covered. I think calling him absent is inaccurate.

Mike is likely to even better as a 2nd term representative. He deserves the chance, especially now that the overt disrespect and sabotage have come to light. And as one friend said she is voting for Mike Anglin just to piss of Greden. Hey, that works for me too.