Foraging with Wildman Steve Brill and Paul Nison

Posted on 29th June 2010 in Wild Edibles

Would you be able to identify sheep sorrel? Believe it or not, when you hold a sheep sorrel leaf by the stem so that it droops downward it looks like a sheep’s head! A long face flanked by two ears!

How do I know this?  I just watched a 10 minute YouTube video filmed by Paul Nison of a wild edible foraging class led by Wildman Steve Brill. Sheep sorrel, wood sorrel, mulberry trees, and June berries were among the plants identified and tasted in this short clip. Wish I could have been there–because I am sure I have some of those plants and a whole lot more in my back yard! Wonder if anyone in Sudbury conducts wild edible foraging classes?

 Watch this episode of Paul’s Raw Life Health Show.

 Visit Paul’s online store.

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Red Clover

Posted on 14th May 2010 in Garden, Wild Edibles

We have just built nine more raised beds to double the size of our garden. After filling them plus three more in the greenhouse and topping up all the existing beds, we still had soil to use. Where should it go? We didn’t really want to make more beds right now and we certainly did not want to waste the soil we had paid hard earned bucks for, so I told hubby to put the extra soil on top of the compost pile to help feed the microorganisms working on that project for us. Since a large part of that 10′ x 10′ pile was made up of long bamboo sticks, I figured the soil would trickle down through them and fill up the large air pockets in the pile. Perfect for composting.

When hubby had finished moving the leftover soil to the compost pile, he told me the soil was 2 or 3 feet thick. Wow! I had no idea we had that much soil left! It looked to me like another garden waiting to be planted so I spent the week trying to figure out what to plant there. Strawberries was the first thing that came to mind and that’s what I told hubby. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized it might be difficult to harvest them–given that the pile has a shaky foundation of bamboo brush, oak leaves, and partially decomposted vegetable matter from last year’s garden. Hmmm. Well, procrastination has always worked for me before…

Now I know what to do! I had read somewhere that clover is good to plant as a cover crop on unused garden areas for many reasons. One of them is to keep the soil from drying up and blowing away in the wind. Another is to provide “green manure” for the soil you are building for a future garden. You grow it, you dig it in, then you plant a regular garden. And you get a really good excuse to procrastinate…

Another reason to plant red clover is that the leaves and the flowers are good food! Most people don’t think of clover as food so it should also be a good preparedness strategy. I’ve just been reading Linda Runyon’s fourth issue of the Wild Times Newsletter that I subscribed to at Of the Field. In the article entitled “Wild Foods from the Adonirack Woods,” Linda describes harvesting and using red clover.

I think I can handle drinking a cup of tea made from 4 or 5 red clover flowers and mixing a few chopped clover leaves into brown rice, and I happen to have some clover seeds for sprouting in the fridge right now, so off I go to seed my clover patch.

Have a great weekend!

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Lambsquarters

Posted on 18th April 2010 in Garden, Wild Edibles

I did it! I did it!

I ate a lambsquarters plant!  These things popped up all over my garden last year and I suspected they were an edible weed, but since I didn’t know for sure I kept pulling them out. Being a weed, of course, that did not deter them in the slightest and so I already have a good crop of them this year in my greenhouse.

Being the good student I am, I applied Linda Runyon’s instructions for trying a plant for the first time. These instructions are found on page 22 of her book “The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide”:

After checking your field guides,

1) Snip a piece of the plant and roll between your fingers and sniff. Discard if objectionable. If you like the smell, then rub the tiny piece on your GUMS, above your teeth.

2) Wait 20 minutes.

3) CHECK for burning, nausea, stinging, itching (all allergy results). Poisonous plants USUALLY produce one or more of these symptoms.

4) If no untoward reaction results, take another tiny bit of the plant and make a weak tea. (Place piece in teacup, pour boiling water over, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Ingest a small amount.)

5) Wait another 20 minutes. Check for signs of irritation. If none, then reheat the tea and sip slowly.

You know what? It was delicious! Lambsquarters will make an excellent addition to my salads.

Something else I found out about lambsquarters on the internet was that the roots (once you’ve cleaned off the soil) make good soap! I rubbed the tiny root between my fingers and it did feel slippery, like soap does, so I am looking forward to collecting a quantity of them and washing my hands after a few hours of gardening–which should be any day now. Of course, once my lambsquarters get bigger there will be more root material with which to wash my hands and more leaves to put in my salad.

I can hardly wait!

Connie Lacelle

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Eat the Weeds

Posted on 18th March 2010 in Wild Edibles

I’m bad. But in a good way. When I find an awesome resource I tend to spend hours exploring it instead of going to bed and getting my rest. Last night was a case in point. I (re)discovered a YouTube channel called “eattheweeds” in which host, Green Deane, teaches about things that are growing in his back yard and elsewhere in his vicinity and teaches us how to “itemize” it. He is very knowledgeable, entertaining, obviously a gifted teacher.  If the channel had been a book I would have to say it was a page-turner and I couldn’t put the book down. Hence the numerous videos I watched last night.

I had been looking for information and good visuals about the usual suspects that are said to be growing in all our backyards (unless you kill them off with pesticides, yuk). Things like lambsquarters, chickweed, and purslane. I “know” they’re there, I just have not been confident about identifying and then using them. Now I know where to find the information so I can pluck up a suspect, bring it to my computer, look at a video, listen to Deane’s instructions, and decide whether to let the suspect’s remaining relatives live or put up a “not a weed” sign. Of course, if I had a laptop it would be better to take it out to the suspect’s location and identify it there so as not to kill a potentially useful food source…

One of my chief preparedness efforts is to learn everything I can about wild edibles, and I think you should, too. So let me post Deane’s Eat The Weeds YouTube and website links and let you get to it. Happy weed-eating!

Connie

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Bushcraft

Posted on 1st March 2010 in Bushcraft, Hebrew Roots, Home School, Wild Edibles

Whoohoooo! Today I stumbled upon an awesome new source of survival information! Well, who’s kidding who here? It might have been a “stumble” to me, but obviously YHWH led me to it! First a friend sent me an email by Tony Robinson announcing his new channel on YouTube, so of course I had to add it to my subscriptions.

For what it’s worth, I have a channel called Connie’s Solutions and my username there is ConnieSolutions; however, there are no videos to see yet. I thought that perhaps I might maybe eventually get around to making some videos to promote my homeschool products if I can ever find the time and can get my kids to help make videos with their camera equipment. If you care to visit the channel, though, you can quickly find videos by some of my favourite channel owners–such as Dehydrate2Store and Growing Your Greens. 

When I signed onto YouTube I “happened” to see some videos on bushcraft, so I decided to watch one or two just to see how good they were and figure out of these would be safe to recommend to you. One of the videos was called “Naked into the Bush…” so I thought, “Uh, oh. Better be really careful!” Turned out, ‘naked’ had to do with going out into the bush without equipment like knives and matches and food. Phew! I hope I never have to go out into the woods without any equipment, but whether I do or not these will be excellent skills to have in my survival arsenal.

In the second video I watched, David (with his wife Tam as cameraman) collected a straight stick, some dry wood and bark, and sharp stones with which to start a fire from scratch. He did not even use a knife–if the sharp stone did not do the trick, he found a better one! So I got to actually watch someone go through the process of making a fire without matches–all from the comfort of my own home. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture is worth many times more. Unfortunately, on this occasion the fire never started–but that’s life. Be prepared for failure on occasion! I will be looking for the video showing success!

Anyway, somewhere along the line the word “YHWH” caught my eye and I thought, “Aha! I struck gold! I knew ‘Tam’ sounded familiar!” So I watched a third video, this one on cattails because Linda Runyon’s book “The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide” refers to cattails quite a bit. In the video, David pulled up some cattails and showed their various parts and what can be done with them. More importantly, he actually ate some! It’s one thing to be told you can eat this or that, but to actually see someone do so helps to set your mind at ease.

Well, at this point I knew this was to be today’s entry in my preparedness-blog, so I went hunting for the website URL to give you. On the home page (YHWH’s Word of Faith) I found a link to the YouTube videos, among other things I have not checked out yet.  Perhaps that is today’s task…

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Survival Guide

Posted on 26th February 2010 in Wild Edibles

Are you prepared to find your own food in the wild when the economy crashes and/or you cannot buy it at the store? This is something that I have been greatly concerned about–so I bought a book by highly respected author Linda Runyon. The book is called “The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide” (used to be called “From Crabgrass Muffins to Pine Needle Tea”) and my copy just arrived. Last night I read Part I, Environmental Lifestyle, in which Linda introduces the reader to how she came to adopt that way of life and how she acquired her wilderness skills, information on gathering wild plants, how to store them for later use. I am thoroughly enjoying Linda’s humourous downhome style. You can check out Linda’s website at: Of The Field.

Here is a brief excerpt that caught my attention because I live in a cold climate:

“Due to a series of events, I learned to respect the Adirondack winter. The first incident occurred when I opened my eyes after a night’s sleep. My head seemed stuck to the pillow–my hair had frozen to the frost on the cabin wall! Frosted walls are a feature of life in the far north. A layer of ice 1/4 inch thick covers the walls most of the winter, brought about by intense cold, uninsulated buildings and potbelly heat. My side of the bed was against the wall, and that morning I was literally stuck to the wallboards. Warm water might have solved the problem, but one doesn’t always think clearly in a panic! Instead, a haircut solved the problem.”

I think one of my preparedness tools will be a head covering of some kind to sleep in!

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