Survival News

Hugel/swale technique for fruit orchard with pigs in the understory

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 01/01/2015 - 10:03
Hello,
A first post here. First an intro, then a plan summary, then a question. We have a small homestead (7 acres) that we have a cider orchard started on (Don't Quit Yer Day Job Orchard) and are finishing our house. What fun to raise children, build a house and try to farm at the same time. Really though we are blessed with all of it. We have several acres on a sloping hillside that was logged about fifteen years ago. Currently it has some usable timber for lumber, and of course we will use everything on it in the hugel beds once we get the swales made. The summary of our plan for the first part of land to use the swales is to install the them, plant fruit trees, understory plants, and then get those going for at least one year before bring the pigs into the area. Also, we plan on only about four pigs maximum on this two acre area. Not sure if we'll section it off into smaller paddocks but that would seem likely. The goal of feeding the pigs is that once the trees are producing we will be sharing much of the fruit with them. I think Sepp would be pleased.

Here's the question, eventually: in his Permaculture book, Sepp goes into how swales alone are fine for gently sloped terrain but on steeper terrain you'd be looking at forming terraces, then installing swales on the downhill side of those. Considering that, I'm interested in asking someone here who is experienced installing terraces and swales who knows what percentage grade is sort of a recommended practice for installing these terraces. I understand that each site is different as are soil and rock combinations. I should also include that where we're at here in Appalachia, zone 6b, we have a a lot of sandstone "tumbling loam". There is a lot of rock and while we get 45" of annual rainfall (excellent), the rocky soil drains pretty well. How well I couldn't tell you. Rainfall does run off at a certain point as it sometimes rains for d-a-y-s. A good problem to have. All the more incentive to build a good system for water retention. Really looking forward to it all.

Hugel/swale technique for fruit orchard with pigs in the understory

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 01/01/2015 - 10:03
Hello,
A first post here. First an intro, then a plan summary, then a question. We have a small homestead (7 acres) that we have a cider orchard started on (Don't Quit Yer Day Job Orchard) and are finishing our house. What fun to raise children, build a house and try to farm at the same time. Really though we are blessed with all of it. We have several acres on a sloping hillside that was logged about fifteen years ago. Currently it has some usable timber for lumber, and of course we will use everything on it in the hugel beds once we get the swales made. The summary of our plan for the first part of land to use the swales is to install the them, plant fruit trees, understory plants, and then get those going for at least one year before bring the pigs into the area. Also, we plan on only about four pigs maximum on this two acre area. Not sure if we'll section it off into smaller paddocks but that would seem likely. The goal of feeding the pigs is that once the trees are producing we will be sharing much of the fruit with them. I think Sepp would be pleased.

Here's the question, eventually: in his Permaculture book, Sepp goes into how swales alone are fine for gently sloped terrain but on steeper terrain you'd be looking at forming terraces, then installing swales on the downhill side of those. Considering that, I'm interested in asking someone here who is experienced installing terraces and swales who knows what percentage grade is sort of a recommended practice for installing these terraces. I understand that each site is different as are soil and rock combinations. I should also include that where we're at here in Appalachia, zone 6b, we have a a lot of sandstone "tumbling loam". There is a lot of rock and while we get 45" of annual rainfall (excellent), the rocky soil drains pretty well. How well I couldn't tell you. Rainfall does run off at a certain point as it sometimes rains for d-a-y-s. A good problem to have. All the more incentive to build a good system for water retention. Really looking forward to it all.

Hugel/swale technique for fruit orchard with pigs in the understory

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 01/01/2015 - 10:03
Hello,
A first post here. First an intro, then a plan summary, then a question. We have a small homestead (7 acres) that we have a cider orchard started on (Don't Quit Yer Day Job Orchard) and are finishing our house. What fun to raise children, build a house and try to farm at the same time. Really though we are blessed with all of it. We have several acres on a sloping hillside that was logged about fifteen years ago. Currently it has some usable timber for lumber, and of course we will use everything on it in the hugel beds once we get the swales made. The summary of our plan for the first part of land to use the swales is to install the them, plant fruit trees, understory plants, and then get those going for at least one year before bring the pigs into the area. Also, we plan on only about four pigs maximum on this two acre area. Not sure if we'll section it off into smaller paddocks but that would seem likely. The goal of feeding the pigs is that once the trees are producing we will be sharing much of the fruit with them. I think Sepp would be pleased.

Here's the question, eventually: in his Permaculture book, Sepp goes into how swales alone are fine for gently sloped terrain but on steeper terrain you'd be looking at forming terraces, then installing swales on the downhill side of those. Considering that, I'm interested in asking someone here who is experienced installing terraces and swales who knows what percentage grade is sort of a recommended practice for installing these terraces. I understand that each site is different as are soil and rock combinations. I should also include that where we're at here in Appalachia, zone 6b, we have a a lot of sandstone "tumbling loam". There is a lot of rock and while we get 45" of annual rainfall (excellent), the rocky soil drains pretty well. How well I couldn't tell you. Rainfall does run off at a certain point as it sometimes rains for d-a-y-s. A good problem to have. All the more incentive to build a good system for water retention. Really looking forward to it all.

Goosegrass, Cleavers, Bedstraw

Eat the Weeds - Wed, 12/31/2014 - 01:12

 

Galium gallops in and out of season. Photo by Green Deane.

You don’t find Goosegrass. It finds you.

Goosegrass, Galium aspirine

Covered with a multitude of small hooks, Goosegrass, Galium aparine (GAY-lee-um ap-ar-EYE-nee) clings onto almost everything it touches. In fact, it clings so well you don’t have to take a bag with you to collect it. I usually just grab a bunch and touch it to my back pack. Instant stick. Indeed, the real headache with Goosegrass (aka Cleavers, Bedstraw, Stickywilly) is cleaning it of debris. It hates to let go of anything (which means a ball of it makes a good sieve.)

Young tips raw or boiled 10 to 15 minutes make an excellent green and the seeds roasted are one of perhaps two plants that actually makes a coffee-tasting coffee substitute (without caffeine.) Galium is actually in the same greater family as coffee. Older plants become laced with silicon and are too tough to eat, though I wonder if they would yield a lubricant of sorts.

Goosegrass is so called because geese love it along with most farm fowl and livestock. It is not, however, welcomed everywhere. Its seed are prohibited or restricted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.  Kentucky calls it a threatening weed. The Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan list it as a noxious weed. Why not just call it lunch? There are no noxious weeds in countries that are starving.

Botanically Galium aparine means” milk seizer.” Juice from another member of the genus, Gallium verum, was used to curdle milk for cheese making.  Galium comes from the Greek word  γάλα  (GAH-la)  meaning milk. Aparine is from the  Greek verb  απράζω (ap-RAH-zoh) meaning to seize. Greek shepherds would use Goosegrass as a strainer for milk and other things. As a strainer you can bunch it up or make crosshatched layers.

Other colloquial names include: Clivers, Barweed, Hedgeheriff, Hayriffe, Eriffe, Grip Grass, Hayruff, Catchweed, Scratweed, Mutton Chops, Robin-run-in-the-Grass, Loveman, Tongue Bleed, Goosebill, and Everlasting Friendship.  The ancient Greeks called it philanthropon, “man loving”  from its clinging nature. It’s a fun plant to introduce to kids because it sticks to their clothes.

Goosegrass’ whorled leaves

Actually four Galiums are used somewhat regularly. Besides curdling milk the Galium verum’s blossoms were used for coloring and scenting cheese and butter with a honey-like fragrance. The flower tops are also used to make a refreshing drink. Galium mollugo, White Bedstraw, Revala, is one of 56 leaves added to a ritual dish in Friuli, Italy, and is now naturalized in the eastern US, the northwest but not the Deep South.  Galium odoratum is used for flavoring fruit cups and German Maywine. It is found in a hodge-podge of places in North America, part of the eastern US and Great Lakes area, part of the northwest, and Colorado. Check a USDA map for your area. The dried leaves are a tea substitute and the flowers are eaten or used as a garnish. Also listed has having edible leaves are: Galium boreale, Galium gracile, Galium spurium, and Galium triflorum. There’s also about a dozen endangered species, most of them in California. So, carefully identify your local Galium.

As one might guess the genus has been used for medicinal purposes. Dried Galium verum has some coumarin in it and has been used to treat bladder and kidney problems including stones as well as dropsy and fever. It also has citric acid (which makes it refreshing as a drink) and that might have anti-tumor activity. Some think it lowers blood pressure and is anti-inflammatory. It can also prevent scurvy. Native Americans used Galium pilosum to prevent pregnancy.  Goosegrass also strengthens your immune system and is good for you lymph system.

Galium triflorum and Galium uniflorum were used for the flu and as a diuretic.  The Cherokee used Galium circazans for coughs, hoarseness, and asthma. For respiratory problems the Ojibwa used Galium tinctorium. Galium triflorum was the most used medicinally. They used it as in infusion for gallstones and a poultice to reduce swelling. The ladies also used it as a perfume and for washing hair.  The root of the Galium tinctorium was also used for a red dye.

Locally, that is in central Florida, two Galiums are common, the Galium aparine and Galium tinctorium. They are fairly easy to tell apart. Galium aparine, the for-certain edible, has six to eight leaves in a whorls at a node. It prefers dry areas. Its white flowers have four petals. The Galium tinctorium, the smaller of the two, has four to six leaves in a whorl and likes damp places. Is white flowers have three petals (sometimes four.) While it would be nice if the Galium tinctorium were edible I have found no reference that says it is. If you know otherwise please let me know.

 Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Galium aparine: A weak square stem plant covered with little hooks that bend back towards the bottom of the plant. Feels scratchy and will cling to almost any texture. Leaves small and skinny, usually in a whorl around the stem, eight leaves at a time, lowest leaves petioled and roundish; upper leaves sessile, narrowly oblanceolate. Minute  four petal-white flowers on small stalks where leaves meet the stem (axils). Fruit a tiny two-lobed capsule, covered with fine hooks.

TIME OF YEAR: May to July in northern climes, early March in Central Florida.

ENVIRONMENT: A wide variety, rich moist ground to upland scrub, woods, thickets, waste ground beside trails.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Young shoots and or tip of older plants raw or boiled 10/15 minutes. Serve warm with butter or olive oil, sale and pepper. Or, let them cool and use them in a variety of ways, salads, omelets et cetera. Slow-roasted (low temperature) roasted ripe seeds when ground make a good coffee substitute without caffein. Older plans are not edible. Look for new growth in spring.

According to Professor Gordon Brown, Goosegrass is good for the lymph system.

EarthWalk - a Cocreative Residential Training Experience in the Foothils of N. Georgia

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:43
kaluna, our Healing and Learning Center is launching a new residential training experience this March called EarthWalk: Seeding Renewal. www.kalunacommunity.org/earthwalk. We invite you to join us for 6 months of Earth Centered living on the Old Whitestone Farm.

Come and find your feet on the kaluna EarthWalk; a circle of learners seeking to co-create an Earth centered cultural renewal. Through immersion in place-based village life, you will learn skills such as Eco-Farming, Permaculture, Primitive Living Skills, Herbalism, Natural Building, use of Appropriate Technology, Craft Production, inter-personal Community Development Skills and Mentoring. You will also engage in a process of introspective inquiry and experiential practice in order to deepen your understanding of self and its relationship to the natural world. Help us co-create something beautiful together.

EarthWalk - a Cocreative Residential Training Experience in the Foothils of N. Georgia

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:43
kaluna, our Healing and Learning Center is launching a new residential training experience this March called EarthWalk: Seeding Renewal. www.kalunacommunity.org/earthwalk. We invite you to join us for 6 months of Earth Centered living on the Old Whitestone Farm.

Come and find your feet on the kaluna EarthWalk; a circle of learners seeking to co-create an Earth centered cultural renewal. Through immersion in place-based village life, you will learn skills such as Eco-Farming, Permaculture, Primitive Living Skills, Herbalism, Natural Building, use of Appropriate Technology, Craft Production, inter-personal Community Development Skills and Mentoring. You will also engage in a process of introspective inquiry and experiential practice in order to deepen your understanding of self and its relationship to the natural world. Help us co-create something beautiful together.

EarthWalk - a Cocreative Residential Training Experience in the Foothils of N. Georgia

Appalachian Permies - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 14:43
kaluna, our Healing and Learning Center is launching a new residential training experience this March called EarthWalk: Seeding Renewal. www.kalunacommunity.org/earthwalk. We invite you to join us for 6 months of Earth Centered living on the Old Whitestone Farm.

Come and find your feet on the kaluna EarthWalk; a circle of learners seeking to co-create an Earth centered cultural renewal. Through immersion in place-based village life, you will learn skills such as Eco-Farming, Permaculture, Primitive Living Skills, Herbalism, Natural Building, use of Appropriate Technology, Craft Production, inter-personal Community Development Skills and Mentoring. You will also engage in a process of introspective inquiry and experiential practice in order to deepen your understanding of self and its relationship to the natural world. Help us co-create something beautiful together.

Bacon and Turnip Scramble Recipe

1/10th acre farm - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:53

Turnips get a bad rap, but they are delicious when prepared properly. This bacon and turnip breakfast scramble is sure to satisfy even the most discerning taste buds.

The post Bacon and Turnip Scramble Recipe appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.

Hollies: Caffein & Antioxidants

Eat the Weeds - Sun, 12/07/2014 - 00:37

A holly fruiting in December along Bay Street in Savannah, Georgia. . Photo By Green Deane

Holly Tea With Vitamins A & C

Ilex cassine, Dahoon Holly

This time of year in the South — late fall, early winter —some of the hollies are so scarlet with berries that even the tourists can spot them while doing 85 on Interstate 95, if they bother to look. The hollies, usually Ilex cassine, resemble red torches beside the roadway. Their brilliant berries are food for woodland creatures. You are not a woodland creature, so leave the berries alone. However, the leaves of some hollies can be carefully made into a tea, with or without caffeine. The leaves also have vitamin A and C and are packed with antioxidants.

Ilex glabra, the Gallberry

The often-preferred holly for decaffeinated tea is the gallberry, Ilex glabra (EYE-lecks GLAY-bruh) which means smooth oak. Why oak? Well, it’s a bit of a linguistic fudging. There is a European oak tree that resembles the holly and it was called … in Dead Latin, Ilex, or the Holly Oak. So when hollies were being named, their leaves were like the holly oak so Ilex became their genus name even though hollies are not oaks. It’s just one of those things one can expect from a dead language only academics like, whereas the older Greek, still spoken, is doing well and is not misnaming plants. Also called the Inkberry — because of its non-edible black berries, and the Bitter Gallberry — dried gallberry leaves taste exactly like orange pekoe tea, except, as mentioned, without the caffeine. But, now a bit of qualification:

Ilex vomitoria, the Yapoh Holly

The Yaupon Holly, which has the highest caffeine content of any plant in North America, is called Ilex vomitoria  (EYE-lecks vom-ih-TOR-ee-uh.)  Yeph, it means what you think it mean: vomiting oak but we know it is really vomiting holly… still not pleasant.  Native Indians used to make an every-day caffeinated drink from its young leaves and twig tips. However, for solemn ceremonies they would boil up an intentionally strong brew only for the men to drink. The fellow who could hold the concoction down the longest was entrusted with important missions. Osceola means “yapon singer” meaning he could hold the stuff down the longest, which brings me back to gallberry.

Ilex nana, a dwarf I. vomitoria

To make gallberry tea, just collect some leaves, air dry or dehydrater dry them (that’s important) then roast them in a slow oven until golden, then crush. Pour hot water over them, let them seep for two minutes, and enjoy. Unfortunately, while that tea tastes just like regular tea, and has no caffeine, it does not like me. I seem to be the only one but it is the first plant I’ve run into that causes me problems. If I drink Gallberry tea within 40 minutes I have to go pray to the porcelain god.

Traditionally Yaupon was processed differently. The leaves were kiln dried then powdered in mortars. Some of the powder was put in a bowl and cold water poured over it and allowed to sit a few minutes. Then hot water was added. Some writers say the ceremonial brew was made from green Yaupon that were used fresh, read not allowed to dry. Roasting, however, does increase the availability of the caffeine.

Ilex pendula, a weeping I. vomitoria

Dr. William A. Morrill. a plant PhD, wrote in 1940 there are two ways to make holly tea. One is to boil the cured leaves like coffee, not seep them like tea. (Cured means oven dried or steamed.) But, of the Yaupon, he said the best holly tea was to use an equal mix of chopped brown dry roasted and steamed green leaves (remember you must dry them first, then roast or steam.)  I got his information from a crumbling, out-of-print book. Only you and I know it. While Yaupon Holly tea does have a lot of caffeine it is practically free of tannin, which reduces bitterness considerably. It is also full of antioxidants which are good for you.

The form of I. vomitoria that has the most caffeine is the Weeping Holly or Ilex vomitoria var. “pendula.”Feeding” it nitrogen also increase the amount of caffeine.  The ornamental holly, Ilex nana (EYE-lecks NAH-nuh) is a female dwarf version of the I.

Ilex opaca, American Holly

vomitoria. Ilex schiller/schilling is a male dwarf version of the Ilex vomitoria. A tea of either made from dried leaves is caffeinated. Of the two, here in the South the dwarf versions is the most commonly encountered. As a landscape plant they are actually much easier to find than the parent Ilex vomitoria., depending on where you live.  The Yaupon holly was a very popular drink into the late 1800s. Why it fell from favor is not known though coffee might have had something to do with it. In the 2009 Journal of Economic Botany an article recommended Yaupon become a commercial crop again, especially considering its high levels of antioxidants.

Ilex verticillata, Winterberry Holly

If your dwarf holly has black berries (and is not the Ilex glabra) and grows upright (pencil like) then you have Ilex crenata, a common northern landscape holly. I don’t know if that is consumable.  Two other hollies, however, make good tea without caffeine: the American Holly, Ilex opaca ( EYE-lecks oh-PAY-kuh) and Ilex verticillata, (EYE-lecks ver-ti-si-LAH-tuh.)

The American Holly was a popular tea during the American Civil War.  Interestingly, the American Holly and the English Holly were used to clean chimneys because of their stiff, toothy leaves. Holly branches and leaves were tied together into a large bundle then attached to the middle of a long rope. The rope was fed down the chimney and the bundle pulled up and down until the chimney was free of soot and other deposits.

Ilex aquifolium, English Holly

The Dahoon Holly is the full-sized tree used most often for landscaping. It’s very leafy and with lots of berries. American Holly is the one found most often in Christmas wreaths with curly, pointy leaves.  If the wreath hasn’t been sprayed, you can recycle it in your tea cup. And, while holly tea is fine and dandy — for most, he says with envy — let me remind you: Don’t eat the berries. They are mildly toxic to an adult. Twenty to 30, however, is a lethal dose for a small child. I have seen hollies planted in landscaping around primary schools here in Florida. Now ain’t that brilliant. The Dahoon Holly, Ilex cassine (EYE-lecks kuh-SIGH-nee) makes a tea without caffeine but it is the least recommend of them all.  It can cause headaches and can be laxative.

Ilex coriacea the Large Gallberry

One little aid in identification of all hollies including the gallberry: They will have at least three or more points or “tooths” on the leaves, minute in the gallberry, like tiny, tiny, soft thorns, makes it kind of look like the Boy Scout salute. If you take a very close look at the gallberry picture, you can see the points on the leaves. All hollies have them, sometimes obvious, sometimes very muted and rudimentary, but there none the less. The Dahoon Holly will have toothless leaves and leaves with teeth though those with teeth the teeth are usually on the upper part of the blade.

The English Holly, or European Holly, Ilex aquifolium, (EYE-lecks a-kwee-FOH-lee-um) found in Europe, is a common landscape plant in the United States and is naturalized in Ontario and the pacific coast California to Alaska. You’ll know it when you see it, it looks like the American Holly

Yerba Mate, Ilex paraguariensis

except it often has an edging of yellow or white around the leaf. Its leaves have been dried for tea, the roasted berries used as a coffee substitute (doubtful and be cautious) and the berries are also used to make a brandy. Ilex latifolia leaves are made into tea in Asia, the seeds into a coffee. The jury is out on Ilex cornuta (EYE-lecks kor-NOO-tuh.) The Chinese have a lot of herbal applications, the tea is supposedly a contraceptive for women, and whether the berries are edible or not is iffy. I mention it because the Ilex cornuta var Bufordii is a common landscape plant sold at home do-it-yourself stores in Florida. Yerba mate, the most common drink is South America, is made from the Ilex paraguariensis. ( EYE-lecks para-gwar-ee-EN-sis)

One more thing…there is another gallberry holly, called Ilex coriacea  EYE-lecks kor-ee-uh-KEE-uh.)  It has reddish twigs and the leaves have little spines on them, whereas the gallberry has dimples usually. The I. coriacea grows much larger — a small tree to fifteen feet is possible —and there are some reports the berries are edible, hence the nickname Sweet Gallberry. Gray’s Manual of Botany says the berries are “in an axil, soft and pulpy when ripe, dropping in autumn, said to be edible.”  While I have seen the Sweet Gallberry in north Florida near the headwaters of the Santa Fe River  it has never had any berries on it for me to try.

 Cassine is from an American Indian name for a plant with similar fruit. In early writings both the Dahoon and the Yapon were called CassineOpaca means shady because the plant can grow in some shade. Verticillata means in a whorl and coriacea means leathery.  Cornuta is bearing horns or spurs, usually the flowers. And aquifolium means …. holly-like leaves… THAT certainly took imagination.

Incidentally, gallberry is considered a quality and consistent source of bee nectar in Florida and is the top third or fourth producer of honey. If a bee can like it, maybe you can, too.

Keying out Ilexes in Florida:

Group One

Leaves thin, membranous

Leaves evergreen, entire or rarely denticulate, fruit dull purplish
to black, plants of south Florida only ….. Ilex krugiana

Leaves deciduous

Leaves pubescent on most of the upper surface, margins serrate
Leaf blades elliptic with a rounded leaf base, 6-9 cm long….. Ilex amelanchier
Leaves smooth on the upper surface, margins crenate to serrate
Leaf blades oblanceolate to ovate, 2-6 cm long, margins crenate ….. Ilex decidua
Leaf blades elliptic to ovate, margins serrate to crenate
Leaves with conspicuous veins, flowers and fruit appear singly or
in clusters up to 3, in the leaf axils….. Ilex verticillata
Leaves without conspicuous veins, flowers and fruit appear
clustered from spur shoots ….. Ilex ambigua

Group Two

Leaves coriaceous, evergreen
Fruit red to yellow, Leaf blade with sharp pointed teeth, these are usually regularly
spaced ….. Ilex opaca
Leaf blade entire, crenate or serrulate, Leaf blades with a rounded apex ….. Ilex vomitoria
Leaf blades with a sharp, pointed apex
Leaf blades 1-4 cm long and usually less than 1.5 cm wide,
margins entire, tip sharp pointed ….. Ilex myrtifolia
Leaf blades generally longer than 4 cm and wider than 2 cm,
may have a few teeth at the tip or with a single sharp
point ….. Ilex cassine
Fruit black
Leaves crenate, leaves often cupped, 3-5 cm long
….. Ilex glabra
Leaves with a few small teeth, leaves somewhat cupped, 4-7 cm long
….. Ilex coriacea

 

 

In the Garden: What to do in December

1/10th acre farm - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 17:24

Here we are in the last month of the year. There's plenty to do in the garden to make the springtime garden more manageable. Here's what I do in the December garden.

The post In the Garden: What to do in December appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.

Cranberries, Lingonberries

Eat the Weeds - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 01:12

Cranberries are naturally very nutritious and very sour.

Get Your Annual Vaccinium Every Year

Frozen cranberries are just as sour as fresh ones.

I know that because when I was a kid skating on frozen ponds in Maine the clinging cranberries above the ice were a nibble of sorts. We never identified them or told anyone, we just kind of assumed they were edible and that was that. Kids are that way, which is a good reason to channel that propensity towards organized foraging.

My next youthful cranberry surprise came when one day I discovered cranberries don’t have to grow in water. I found a patch atop a small hill watered only by rain. They were still sour.

Fresh cranberries

Cranberries are such a common commercial crop that few people ever think of collecting them in the wild. Unfortunately cranberries have also become identified with mostly Thanksgiving leaving the berry to languish the rest of the year, its only saving grace to be made into juice to reduce urinary infections. One of my favorite uses of prepared cranberries is to add them as flavoring to a mix of wild rice and chopped walnuts. The character of the cranberries makes it a delightful dish.

There are three or four species of cranberry, and as usual, botanists don’t all agree with their classifications and distinctions. The most common in the eastern US and northeast is Vaccinium macrocarpon (vak-SIN-ih-um  mak-roe-KAR-pon.)  Others include Vaccinium oxycoccos or Oxycoccos palustris (common in Europe, Asia and northern Canada)  Vaccinium microcarpum or Oxycoccos microcarpus (Small Cranberry) found in northern Europe and northern Asia. There is also Vaccinium erythrocarpum or Oxycoccos erythrocarpus which is found in the upper elevations of the Appalachian Mountains and in eastern Asia.

Skating on ponds in the winter.

Vaccinium macrocarpon means “big cow fruit”  or maybe “Big dark red fruit.”  Vaccinium was the ancient Roman name for the bilberry, also a Vaccinium and vaccinum does mean of or from cows. Why it is associated with cows no one, tellingly, ever said. A different view is that cows have nothing to do with it at all. Vaccinus may be a corruption of the Greek word hyakinthos, which means purple or dark red.  There are similar words in other ancient languages.   “Big dark red fruit” makes more sense than “big cow fruit.” The name “cranberry” came from “crane berry” which early New Englanders called the plant because they thought it resembled a crane.  Canadians called it mossberry. Cranberries were called Fenberry by Old World English, since fen means a marsh.  Some Native Americans called Cranberries Sassamanash or Ibimi. They were used for food, medicine and dye.

Lingonberries in Lichen

Because of pictures of commercial operations at harvesting time, people think cranberries grow in water. Usually commercial operations are flooded at harvest time or to cover the plants and protect them from cold weather. As I mentioned I found a patch near my home in Maine growing on a low hill. About 95% of commercial cranberries are processed into juice drinks, sauce, and sweetened dried cranberries. The remaining 5% are sold fresh.  Fresh cranberries can be frozen and will keep more than a year (I have several pounds in my freezer.) They can be used directly in recipes without thawing. Cranberries are a significant crop in Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Quebec, southern Chile, the Baltic States, and in Eastern Europe.

Cranberries are cousin to bilberries, blueberries, and huckleberries, which are all Vacciniums. All berries with a crown are non-poisonous, but they are not all palatable. Closely related and worth mentioning is the Lingonberry, Vaccinium vitis-idaea, (VYE-tis eye-DEE-ah.) It is also called the Mountain Cranberry and Low Bush Cranberry. Unlike cranberries Lingonberries are not a commercial crop but are collected in most countries around the top of the world, Canada, Scandinavia, Northern Asia  et cetera. The many recipes below work with either Lingonberries or Cranberries.

What vitis-idaea means is a good guess. The standard interpretation by botanists who only speak English is that it means “Cow Grape from Mt. Ida”  (in Greece.) That really doesn’t make sense to me. Another view is that it means “Dark Red Grape of Mt. Ida” … closer but no cigar in my view.  My guess is that it means “dark red grape above all.”  Ιδία (ee-THEE-ah) in Greek means above all and the Lingonberry, which likes to hug the arctic circle, certainly grows above all.

 Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: Low growing mat, usually less than one foot. Small, glossy, leathery leaves, bronzy in spring and dark-green in summer, white to pink, tube-shaped four-petaled flowers in clusters and followed by a dark red, edible fruit.

TIME OF YEAR: Fruits ripen in September or October.

ENVIRONMENT: Likes sandy soil, will grow in bogs or dry land.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: Many, whole or as a sauce. See some recipes below. They can also be eaten fresh on the trail or picked frozen off the bush, but they are sour.

Cranberry Sauce

4 cups cranberries

2 cups sugar

Wash berries, add sugar, stir thoroughly and cook slowly without additional water (just what is on the berries from washing).

Boil 10 minutes.

Spiced Cranberries

(A good pickle to serve with meat or game)

5 lbs. cranberries

3-1/2 cups white vinegar

2 tablespoons cinnamon or allspice

1 tablespoon cloves

Boil for 2 hours.

Place in hot sterilized jars and seal.

Cranberry Orange Relish

Ingredients

4 cups (1 lb) cranberries

2 oranges, quartered (seeds removed)

2 cups sugar

Instructions

Put berries and oranges (including rind) through food grinder (coarse blade).

Stir in sugar and chill.

Makes 2 pints.

Keeps well for several weeks stored in refrigerator.

Cranberry Pie

Ingredients

1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell

1 cup Cranberry Berry Sauce (see recipe)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Cook berry sauce and cornstarch until thickened. Cool and keep for top.

Cook sugar and 1/3 cup water to soft ball stage (238ºF). Add gelatin softened in 1/4 cup water. Slowly pour this syrup over stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly. Add salt, lemon juice and almond extract, continue to beat until cool. Beat cream and combine with egg white mixture. Pour into pie shell. Chill. Spread cranberry Sauce over top and place in the fridge until serving time.

Cranberry Coffee Cake

Instructions

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in an 8-inch square pan.

Spread 1/4 cup of sugar over the melted butter

Combine

1 cup cranberry sauce

1/2 cup pecans, chopped (or walnuts)

1 tablespoon grated orange rind.

Spread this mixture over sugar.

Sift together

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

Cut in 1/3 cup shortening until it resembles corn meal.

Beat 1 egg and add 1/2 cup of milk. Add to dry ingredients, mix only until all the flour is dampened. Turn into pan on top of partridgeberry mixture. Bake in preheated 400º oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack for about 45 minutes, then turn upside down on a serving plate. Serve warm.

Cranberry Bread

Ingredients

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Juice and grated rind of 1 orange

2 tablespoons melted shortening

1 egg, well beaten

1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts, other if you desire)

1-1/2 cup partridgeberries

Instructions:-

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.

Combine orange juice, grated rind, melted shortening and enough water to make 3/4 of a cup, then stir in beaten egg. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing just to dampen.

Spoon a layer of batter into a greased 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan, spreading evenly; sprinkle cranberries over this layer, add more batter, sprinkle with berries, then repeat until all is used up. Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool. Store over night for easy slicing.

Steamed Cranberry Pudding

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, melted.

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour (1 pastry flour, 1 bread flour)

(Note:- I use all-purpose flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk and water

1 cup Cranberry sauce

Instructions

Sift together, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Beat egg and water-milk mixture together. Stir into dry ingredients. Lastly, add vanilla and melted butter. Mix well. Pour into a greased mold, cover or tie waxed paper over the top. Place on a rack or trivet in a deep kettle, pour in boiling water to half the depth of the mold and cover kettle. Steam for 2 hours, replenishing water (if necessary) with boiling water to original depth. Served with heated cranberry sauce OR sauce may be put in the mold first and batter added and the whole steamed together.

Cranberry Crumbles

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/2 cup flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 cups (1 lb) cranberry sauce

Instructions

Mix oats, flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Place half this mixture in an 8″x8″ greased baking dish. Cover with cranberry sauce. Top with rest of mixture. Bake in a preheated 350ºF for 45 minutes. Cut into squares, while hot. Serve topped with scoops of vanilla ice cream or with cranberry sherbet. May also be served cold as cookie bars.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cranberry Punch

Ingredients

1 quart berries

6 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 quart ginger ale.

Cook berries in 4 cups water until soft.

Crush and drain through cheesecloth.

Boil sugar and remaining 2 cups water for 5 minutes, add to berry juice and chill.

Add fruit juices. Just before serving, add ginger ale.

Cranberry Muffins

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup 2% milk, soured

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

11/2 cups cranberries

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Combine milk and oats.

2. Mix egg, oil, and sugar.

3. Mix dry ingredients.

4. Add berries to dry ingredients till coated.

  1. 5.Mix all ingredients just till blended.
  2. 6.6.Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Cranberry Salsa

*  12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen

* 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

* 1 bunch green onions, cut into 3 inch lengths

* 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

* 2 limes, juiced

* 3/4 cup white sugar

* 1 pinch salt

DIRECTIONS

Combine cranberries, cilantro, green onions, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a medium blade. Chop to medium consistency. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature.   

Looking for the perfect home in KY

Appalachian Permies - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:52
Howdy, ya'll.

My wife and I are looking to move and start a homestead and permaculture design in Kentucky, preferably near Lexington where her entire family lives. We'd like to live rural on no less than 5 acres, and preferably more than 10. We have two kids, ages 5 and 7, who go to public school. While we are considering homeschooling, we aren't commited to it, therefore we need to be in a good school district - which makes finding a town that has reasonably priced residences on several acres very difficult. For the most part it seems we can have land or we can have a good school, but getting both is tough unless you've got a million bucks to spend, which we don't. Jobs are not an issue, as I work at home for myself.

Two areas we've found that seem to meet our criteria are Danville and Versailles. Are there any other hidden gems that Kentuckians can point me to within a 50 mile radius of Lexington (and preferably much closer)?

Thanks!

Looking for the perfect home in KY

Appalachian Permies - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:52
Howdy, ya'll.

My wife and I are looking to move and start a homestead and permaculture design in Kentucky, preferably near Lexington where her entire family lives. We'd like to live rural on no less than 5 acres, and preferably more than 10. We have two kids, ages 5 and 7, who go to public school. While we are considering homeschooling, we aren't commited to it, therefore we need to be in a good school district - which makes finding a town that has reasonably priced residences on several acres very difficult. For the most part it seems we can have land or we can have a good school, but getting both is tough unless you've got a million bucks to spend, which we don't. Jobs are not an issue, as I work at home for myself.

Two areas we've found that seem to meet our criteria are Danville and Versailles. Are there any other hidden gems that Kentuckians can point me to within a 50 mile radius of Lexington (and preferably much closer)?

Thanks!

Looking for the perfect home in KY

Appalachian Permies - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 13:52
Howdy, ya'll.

My wife and I are looking to move and start a homestead and permaculture design in Kentucky, preferably near Lexington where her entire family lives. We'd like to live rural on no less than 5 acres, and preferably more than 10. We have two kids, ages 5 and 7, who go to public school. While we are considering homeschooling, we aren't commited to it, therefore we need to be in a good school district - which makes finding a town that has reasonably priced residences on several acres very difficult. For the most part it seems we can have land or we can have a good school, but getting both is tough unless you've got a million bucks to spend, which we don't. Jobs are not an issue, as I work at home for myself.

Two areas we've found that seem to meet our criteria are Danville and Versailles. Are there any other hidden gems that Kentuckians can point me to within a 50 mile radius of Lexington (and preferably much closer)?

Thanks!

5 Easy, Homemade Infusions

1/10th acre farm - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 09:24

Homemade items make gift giving a meaningful act. In this post, I'll review how to make five easy infusions that are shelf stable, so they're ready to go any time of year for those unexpected moments when a handmade gift is just the thing you need.

The post 5 Easy, Homemade Infusions appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.

Protect Cold Weather Crops with a Cold Frame

1/10th acre farm - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 09:59

A cold frame can help you to continue growing through fall, winter, and spring. Learn about cold frames and other structures to grow a four-season garden.

The post Protect Cold Weather Crops with a Cold Frame appeared first on Tenth Acre Farm.

Wild Rice husking machine

Wild Harvests - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 14:04
My brother produced this fun video of my bicycle powered Wild Rice husking/hulling machine.



I designed and built it myself with the help of my dad. It is made from a recycled 55 gallon steel drum with sheet rubber glued to the inside. Stainless steel rubber coated paddles rotate inside the drum and rub the hulls from the grain. These paddles are bicycle powered and spin at 100-120 rpm while an electric fan blow the chaff out of the drum. Further winnowing and hand picking is required to separate the remainder of the chaff and a few kernels that make it through with their husks in place. 


© Wild Harvests 2011-2012. Wild Harvests by T. Abe Lloyd (http://www.arcadianabe.blogspot.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.blogger.com/profile/15355814866987311366.

Complete Guide to Cannabis Extracts

Smokable Herbs - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 19:04
Marijuana is the single most popular recreational drug in use today around the world. For hundreds of years, consumers of cannabis have used this weedy flowering plant to relieve stress, entertain themselves, heighten experiences and just generally have a good time. Smokeable Herbs is proud to present a 3 part exhaustive list of marijuana extracts, …

Complete Guide to Cannabis Extracts Read More »

Complete Guide to Cannabis Extracts

Smokable Herbs - Sat, 11/01/2014 - 19:04
Marijuana is the single most popular recreational drug in use today around the world. For hundreds of years, consumers of cannabis have used this weedy flowering plant to relieve stress, entertain themselves, heighten experiences and just generally have a good time. Smokeable Herbs is proud to present a 3 part exhaustive list of marijuana extracts, …

Complete Guide to Cannabis Extracts Read More »

Roses

Eat the Weeds - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 07:00

Roses have the classic five petals. Photo by Green Deane

I’m not sure I found wild roses or they found me.

Growing up in Maine the local soil was usually either ground-up glacial sand or clay which is decomposed feldspar, or ledge. Not much of a choice if you’re a plant. We had sand, over ledge with a thin veneer of topsoil. And in that sand grew wild roses, Rosa rugosa. Long and stringy with pink petals and bright yellow centers and thorns, lots of thorns. I do recall, however, having a difficult time as a kid reconciling that the wild roses in the field behind the house were related to the roses in flower shops. They didn’t look like each other that much but the wild roses did have a hint of rose aroma. I grew more interested in roses when I learned the rose seed hairs were the original itching powder.

Rosa rugosa hips

If you’ve read my series on Edible Flowers you also know that I once delivered flowers. I had been accepted to law school and needed a job to tie me over until classes started so I delivered flowers. What an eye-opening experience! I went in thinking it had to be a wonderful job because you were delivering joy everywhere… wrong… oh so wrong. It was amazing how many women refused flower deliveries, or took them with a huge air of suspicion. And of course, there were all those deliveries to funeral homes. But most interesting were the roses. They were big and beautiful and absolutely without any aroma. None. They were bred for size and color and in the process the aroma disappeared. We had to spray the roses with artificial rose scent just before delivery, every delivery. AND… you did not spray the roses in the delivery van or get any spray on your or you’d smell intensely like roses for days, literally. Not surprisingly we carried several different spray-on scents so the grand and lovely hybrids of various genera would smell like the original thing. Rose, however, was the most powerful and long-lasting. (By the way, some flower arrangements that were not accepted were kept so they would wilt and die only to be sold for 40th birthday deliveries.)

Rose petals for perfume

Let’s start at the top of the rose and work our way down.  Petal flavor depends on the type, color and conditions of raising. They can range from tart to sweet, spicy. Darker ones have stronger flavors. Remove any white portion of a petal. That will be bitter. Petals can be added to salads , desserts, beverages, used to make jelly or jam and be candied. Rose petals are used to flavor tea, wine, honey, liqueurs and vinegar. Rose oil is used in perfume making and requires a ton of petals to get one cup. Rose water is used in cooking and is an eye wash.

Rose Hips are False Fruit

Rose hips are a false fruit. If you have a true rose its hip is edible but they differ greatly in flavor and size. A frost improves flavor. Sap from a fresh hip can be used like sweet syrup. Soft rose hips can be put through a food press to remove seeds and their hairs. If you wet that pressed mass you can run it through the process a second time. Dried hips have to be rehydrated to be pressed. The resulting puree is dark red and tasty. It’s used to make syrup, jam, chutney and various sauces. Dried rose hips are used to make a fruity tea that is high in Vitamin C, some 50 times higher than citrus. They also have vitamins A, E and K.  Seeds, the true fruit of the rose, are diuretic.  You can also grind the totally dry rose hips into a powder to be added to breads, cookies, cakes and desserts. Now, you might be thinking “I’ll just eat the entire rose hip.” Don’t eat unprocessed rose hips. Better is to run the processed hips through a filter to removed the seeds. Remember the itching powder? If you consume unprocessed rose hips you can get what the Aboriginals called “Itchy Bottom Disease” from the hair on the seeds.

In some species the leaves are eaten, mainly in Europe and Asia. Very young shoots are edible cooked. Buds can be pickled. Among the edible species and their cultivars are: Rosa acicularis, Prickly rose, Rosa arkansana, Low Prairie Rose, Rosa blanda, Labrador Rose, Rosa canina, Dog Rose, Rosa carolina, Pasture Rose, Rosa chinensis, China Rose, Rosa cinnamomea, Cinnamon Rose, Rose x demascena, Damask Rose, Rosa fraxinellaefolia, Ash-Leaf Rose, Rosa gallica, French Rose, Rosa gigantea, Manipur Wild Tea-Rose, Rosa laevigata, Cherokee Rose, Rosa macrophylla, Bhaunra Kujoi, Rosa moschata, Musk Rose, Rosa multiflora, Multiflora Rose,  Rosa nutkana, Nutka Rose, Rosa pimpinellifolia, Burnet Rose, Rosa rugosa, Rugose Rose, Rosa villosa, Apple Rose, Rosa virginiana, Virginia Rose, Rosa woodsii, Wood’s Rose, Rosa Blaze, Blaze Rose, Rosa Bucbi, Carefree Beauty Rose, Rosa Rhonda, Rhonda Rose, Rosa Sea Foam, Sea Foam Rose, Rosa The Fairy, The Fairy Rose.

Rosa is Dead Latin for rose. It comes from the Indo-European Sanskrit word “vrod” which means flexible.

Recipes

Rose Petal Drink
Petals from 3 full-bloom roses
5 cups water
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. sugar
Boil water. Add rose petals and lemon juice to the boiling water, turn off heat and let stand for 6-10 hours. Drain into a pitcher. Discard petals. Add sugar to the rose water and stir. Let cool in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve.
recipe from Maragrita’s International Recipes.

Rose Petal Syrup
4 cups rose petals
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
red food colouring (optional)
Simmer rose petals with water and sugar for one hour. Add drops of red food colouring to get desired colour. Strain through a fine sieve. Bring back to the boil and put in hot sterilised bottles. Recipe from ABC.net.au/Hobart

Rose Petal Tea
1-1/2 cups rose petals
3 cups water
honey to taste
Choose fresh rose petals. Strip the flower gently under running water then place the petals in a saucepan. Cover with the water and boil for 5 minutes, or until the petals become discolored. Strain into teacups and add honey to taste. Serves 4.

Rose hip leather. Photo by Wild Food Foraging.

Rose Hip Leather

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (1 Litre) of rose hips

Preparation:

Just after a frost is the best time to gather rose hips. Snap off the tails as you pick,or later when you reach home. Spread the hips out on a clean surface and allow to dry partially. When the skins begin to feel dried and shriveled, split the hips and take out the large seeds — all of them. If you let the hips dry too much, it will be difficult to remove the seeds. If not dry enough, the inside pulp will be sticky and cling to the seeds. After the seeds are removed, allow the hips to dry completely before storing or they will not keep well. Store in small, sealed plastic bags. These will keep indefinitely in the freezer or for several months in the refrigerator. They are packed with vitamin C and are good to munch on anytime you need extra energy…or a moderately sweet nut-like “candy.”

Making Puree:
Use soft ripe rose hips (the riper they are, the sweeter they are). It takes about 4 cups (1 Litre) of rose hips to make 2 cups (480 ml) of puree. Remove stalks and blossom ends. Rinse berries in cold water. Put them into a pan and add enough water to almost cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Press through a sieve or strainer. All that does not go through the sieve is placed in the pan again. Add a little water, enough to almost cover, if you want a thicker puree, add slightly less. This time heat but do not boil so vigorously. This will dissolve a little more of the fruit so that it will go through the sieve. Press again and then repeat the process one more time. By now, most of the fruit should have gone through the sieve leaving only seeds and skin to discard.

Drying Puree:
Line a cookie sheet, 12 by 17 inches (30 by 42 cm), with plastic wrap. This size cookie sheet holds approximately 2 cups (480ml) of puree. Spread puree or fruit leather evenly over the plastic but do not push it completely to the sides. Leave a bit of plastic showing for easy removal. Place on a card table or picnic table in the hot sun to dry. If the plastic is bigger than the cookie sheet and extends up the sides, anchor it with clothes pins so it will not flop down and cover the edges of the leather. Puree should dry in the sun six to eight hours.

Recipe Source: Cooking Alaskan By Alaskans (Alaska Northwest Books)

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