Recap of Mother Earth News Fair

I don’t know what happened to April, it just came and went in the blink of an eye!! So I must apologize to my readers for not blogging much the last two weeks.

Many cool things happened this month. We had the launch of our Herbal CSA with 10 shareholders and the distribution of the Spring Herbal Basket –

Spring CSA

A couple weeks ago, at a last minute decision, I drove to Asheville, NC to the Mother Earth News Fair just to meet Rosemary Gladstar – the most famous, amazing, inspiring herbalist of all!!! Of course I did some of fun stuff too, I was there anyway. :)

If you ever get the chance to go to one of these fairs, I think the next one is in Pennsylvania, you MUST! Holy Moly homesteading/farming/herbal classes galore and the shopping – ahhhhhhh!

I met a few folks from Mountain Rose Herbs – here is Josh in the booth. They gave out samples of herbs and lots of stickers!!! I even got a stack of stickers for the Herbal Notebook Class – of course with their permission. :) You can buy some of these sticker on their web site for about a buck – awesome.

fair mrh

The first class was on Herbal Beauty Products – loved it! It was with Sue Goetz, author of Herb Lover’s Spa book. She gave a bunch of fabulous recipes out. Here is one –

Bathing Blend Recipe

Whole organic oats – my guess would be 1/2 cup

Lavender – 1 T

Lemon Verbena – 1 T

Rose Petals – 1-2 T

Add to a muslin bag or a cotton sock. Tie to the faucet and let very hot water run over it. Then add cool water to the temperature you prefer. Sit and enjoy a relaxing soak!

Next I went to a Wild Foods class – yep right on target! The guy’s name was Alan and I can’t for the life of me remember his company…..oh wait No Taste Like Home. Here is his website. I want to go on one of his amazing adventures!

fair wildfood

He gave us a list of the top 100 wild foods – ramps, acorns, ants(hell no!), puffballs, purslane, apples, beautyberry, hawthorn berry, sassafrass leaf….the rest in the link.

here ya go! FOODS

I learned about mushrooms from Mushroom Mountain and purchased some Reishi(Ganoderma) spawn to innoculate some logs. Yippee!

I saw Dr. Christopher’s son from the School of Natural Healing.

fair dr c

David Christopher did an entire talk on comfrey. It was eye opening to learn all the different ways comfrey(Symphytum officinale) can be used and to not be so afraid of the the PA’s(Pyrrolizadine Alkaloids). It is used for bruising, broken bones, slipped discs, sprains, muscle pains, severed fingers etc…He explained that the Symphytum officinale is lowest in PA’s, especially the larger older leaves and how it can be taken internally on a short term basis without negative effects unless someone was also taking many pharmaceuticals in which case could affect the liver. Soooo I think I will use Comfrey internally but probably just for my family until further investigation. :D

Oh and if you wanted books – mega amounts of homesteading books.

fair books

fair books too

And one I need to save for –

fair book

My HIGHLIGHT of the day? Meeting Rosemary Gladstar of course, and getting one of my books signed!!! Oh my was I ever excited – you can see it in my face! rosemary was as sweet as she looks, so friendly and chatted with me as if she already knew me. Sigh…oh to go study with her one day. I can dream can’t I?

fair rose

Snapped a pic of her talking to someone else

chatting

chatting

signing my book

signing my book

Happy Faces!

Happy Faces!

She even asked if we have met before – ahhhhhhh. Well maybe she saw my face as one of the new contributor on Herbal Living for Mother Earth Living?

Well off to do errands and gardening!

Enjoy the rest of your day, folks,

Anne-Marie

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Marvelous Morel Hunt

My share

My share

This week was my first real morel hunt. A couple days ago I found one morel, just one but yesterday we found about 50!

Whoa!!!

Whoa!!!

My friend Stephanie, fellow plant and wild foods geek like me, and I went on an afternoon hunt for morels. She had been looking before so she knew where to look better than I did. Here I was thinking they had to be near the big trees, the elms, the poplars and guess where the majority were found? Amongst the privet patches! Privet…the tree that grows out of nowhere and eventually cover a few acres in no time at all.

Well privet is not very tall and quite bushy so you just can’t walk underneath, you gotta crawl. Ummm….yeah we must be die hard wildcrafters when I wear the snake proof boots so I won’t get attacked by snakes and then wind up crawling on hands and knees to get those almost out of reach morels and risk being face to face with a snake. :D

Can you find it?

Can you find it?

Broken mushroom cap but see the hollow stem?

Broken mushroom cap but see the hollow stem?

No snakes were seen – thank God! Stephanie and I were covered in sweat, dirt, sand, stuff from the bushes but we were happy, we scored two baskets of marvelous morels!

morel3

So back to the environment for morels. Evidently, they don’t have one particular place to grow. These were found, like I said in a privet covered patch but in a sandy, loamy soil close to a river. Also – remember to go with someone experienced first so you don’t pick a false morel which is poisonous. A real morel is hollow all the way through whereas the false morels are not. Plus the real morels have a honeycomb appearance to the cap and look like tall hats or little trees, the false ones are round.

I cooked some of those babies up in butter, garlic and pepper and they were delicious!!! Guess we’ll eat some more tonight. :)

Here are a few recipes for using morels.

Alaska Morels…in Pasta

Here in south central Alaska, I get tons of morels. I find them from the end of May thru the first part of July in most any area that has a large percentage of birch trees. Never anywhere near pockets of spruce trees. I have gotten as many as 200 in just a few hours of picking but usually stop after 70 or so. That’s about all my dehydrator will hold. Most are of the honey colored and dark brown varieties and range in size from 1-1/2″ to 4″ tall. I like to take the larger ones and slice them in half, dredge them in egg batter with a few dashes of salt and habenero powder. Coat them with flour and fry them in butter.

The smaller ones go into a sauce for pasta as follows:

2 leeks – sliced thinly
2 scallions – sliced thinly
2 dozen or so smaller (1-1/2″) morels- cut in half
3/4 cup good champagne
2 lg tbsp of sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 – 5 tbsp butter
salt – pepper to taste
1 tsp chopped fresh lemon basil

Saute leeks and scallions till just transparent. Add morels, salt and pepper and saute till liquids stop coming out. Turn heat to high and add champagne being sure to scrape bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to med., add sour cream and whipping cream and cook till reduced slightly. Add fresh lemon basil remaining to heat for 2 – 3 more minutes. Pour directly over cooked Angelhair Pasta!

Courtesy of Gary Koski – Anchorage, Alaska

Wood Family Favorite in a butter entrée

This recipe has been the Wood family favorite for many years. You can substitute the crackers with flour if so desired.

1 big haul of fresh morel mushrooms
2 lbs real butter (or margrine)
1 doz eggs
1 box saltine crackers

Mushroom Preparation – Wash and cut fresh mushrooms into quarters, slicing long way. Soak in large bowl of salt water to remove and kill all those little pesty critters. Leave soak in refrigerator for a couple hours.

Read the rest here at THE GREAT MOREL

Asparagus and Morels ***Especially since the asparagus are coming up!

Experienced hunters know that asparagus is a tasty combination with morels. If you’re not familiar with this pairing I suggest you give it a try. You’ll be surprised how delicious, yet simple, this recipe is.

Asparagus recipe for morel mushroomsMorel recipes are often served with some sort of meat or animal product. Yet this is an easy creation that lets non-meat eaters enjoy the fresh fungi as well. Replace the butter with olive oil for a truly vegetarian recipe.

  • 1/2 lb fresh morels, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 bunches asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot pieces, garlic, morels, and asparagus. Cook until the morels are browned and the asparagus is tender, usually 8 to 10 minutes.

Too easy! *****From Mushroom Appreciation***

 

Do you have a favorite way to cook them? Please share in the comments below.

Thanks and enjoy the beautiful day ahead –

Anne-Marie

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Wild Violet Ardor: Whipped Honey Butter

bellavistafarm:

I am so doing this with all the abundance of violets right now. Enjoy this delicious post from Danielle Prohom Olson and visit her blog :)

Originally posted on gather:

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“Don’t let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine.” Anthony Trollope

Valentine Day is gone, but for those still in the mood for amour, there is a lovely little woodland aphrodisiac blooming right now – the Violet. Today we associate this demure little beauty with primness and old lady perfumes – but it has not always been so – in ancient Greece its aroma was said to “torment young men beyond endurance” and it was used by courtesans to scent their breath and erogenous zones. Affiliated with Venus and love from time immemorial, the violet (according to the American Violet Society) was the original official flower of Valentines Day – not the rose.

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Growing wild in the Northwest, Viola sororia only grow a few inches high and are found in shady forests or wet areas each spring.  They can also migrate into urban areas and are…

View original 519 more words

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Happy Easter: The Story Of Passionflower

Happy Easter to all of you! In preparation for my wishes to you this morning, I was reminded of the story of passionflower.

Since medicinal plants are pretty much my life now, I thought this story was perfect for today – please share it will those near and dear to you as we remember and celebrate the reason for Easter.

passionflowers AM

Passionflower – The Passion of Christ

passionflower symbolism

Passion Flowers have been associated with the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as well as the Passion of Christ. The latter association led the missionaries to name the flowers “Passion Flowers.”

The ten petals and sepals, to the Spanish, represented ten disciples present at the crucifixion. (excluding Judas and Peter)

The three stigma represented three nails that held Christ to the cross.

The five anthers the five wounds of Christ.

The tendrils are said to represent the whips used in the flagellation.

The many fringes represented the crown of thorns in the passion story. Bosio counted 72 fringes or filaments, which according to tradition, writes Vanderplank, is the number of thorns in the crown of thorns.

This powerful symbolism has led to the inclusion of the Passion Flower among the ornamentation of various churches, such as in stained glass window designs, altar frontals and lectern falls.

But the Passion Flower is sacred even outside the Christian world. In India, for example, the flower’s structure is interpreted according to the story of the five Pandava brothers, with the Divine Krishna at the center, opposed by the army of one hundred at the outside edges. The pigment of the blue Passion Flower is said to be associated with the color of Krishna’s aura.

Interpretations vary in literature. A poet of the time explains that this flower was used to persuade Indians of the power of the cross. The passion flower, he writes, was a witness at the crucifixion.

References – http://www.passionflowerpower.com , http://www.bellavistafarm.wordpress.com, http://www.altnature.com

Have a Blessed Easter!

Anne-Marie

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Asbestos Awareness Week April 1-7

I was asked to share some facts about asbestos with you for this week since it is Asbestos Awareness Week. We all know asbestos is a carcinogen but there are some facts that you may not know:

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring microscopic mineral that can be a health hazard when it’s in a friable, or crumbled or broken, state. When asbestos becomes friable, it becomes airborne and can be easily inhaled. When asbestos is inhaled, it’s sharp and rigid fibers stick in soft tissue in the respiratory system and can lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer.

Where is asbestos found?

Asbestos is a mined mineral, but it can be found above ground naturally too. Because of it’s desirable commercial uses, asbestos was used liberally in the construction of homes, schools and other commercial and industrial buildings. Asbestos was once used in over 3000 consumer products, including common household items, some of which may still be in use today.

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jackie/5-ways-to-show-support-during-asbestos-awareness-week.htm#ixzz3WLPpswtO

AsbestosAwarenessWeek

You can also find more info here

Top 7 Reasons to Prevent Asbestos Exposure: 7 Reasons for 7 Days

  1. Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen and there is no safe level of exposure.
  2. Asbestos fibers can cause asbestosis, lung and gastrointestinal cancers, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. The average life expectancy of a mesothelioma patient is six – twelve months.
  3. Asbestos diseases have a 10 – 50 year latency period from initial exposure to development of disease.
  4. Chrysotile asbestos accounts for nearly 95% of asbestos mined and exported today. The top five asbestos producing countries are Russia, China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Canada.
  5. 55 countries have banned asbestos, but the U.S. and Canada have not.
  6. The World Health Organization estimates that 107,000 workers die annually from exposure to asbestos. Asbestos has been mined and used in a broad range of products, materials, and applications including construction, insulation, shipyards, and many other industries.
  7. Asbestos fibers can be nearly 700 times smaller than human hair and are odorless, tasteless, indestructible fibers that can remain suspended in the air for seconds.

What can you do to support Asbestos Awareness Week?

  • SHARE! Share information about the dangers of asbestos with your family, friends, and loved ones over dinner, on your social media accounts, on your website, etc.
  • Follow along with the events of the 11th Annual ADAO International Asbestos Awareness Conference on April 17-19.
  • Learn about the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, an act that will provide greater protection to citizen from dangerous toxins (including asbestos), and tell your senator to vote Yes.
  • Donate to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization to invest in asbestos education, advocacy and community support today.
  • Join the conversations on social media by using the hashtag #AsbestosAwarenessWeek

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jackie/5-ways-to-show-support-during-asbestos-awareness-week.htm#ixzz3WLQ6a8Nz

Please share this important info with at least one person.

Thank you friends –

Anne-Marie

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Recipe for Herbal Smoking Blend & Contest!

Last Christmas I gave my brother in law an herbal smoking blend for his pipe and he loved it! So he asked me to make a bigger batch of it this week. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can always order a blend pre-made from Mountain Rose Herbs.

The herbs in the blend are relaxing, non addictive and legal. :D Here is a bit of info for you on each of the herbs that I use and the recipe will follow.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) –  this herb is actually healing to the lungs for respiratory problems , clearing out the lungs, encouraging expectoration and soothing to the throat.

Damiana ( Tunera diffusa) –  A relaxing, blends especially well with mullein. It’s a nerve relaxer, mood enhancer and a digestive stimulant. Also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – A delicious flavor enhancer to any blend. Full of antioxidants.

Marshmallow Leaf (Althaea officinalis) – Is used to help ease sore throats and dry coughs mainly as a tea but soothing in a smoking blend.

Skullcap (Scuttelaria lateriflora) – a comforting herb to relieve nervous tension and relax the body.

Gather all your herbs!

Gather all your herbs!

HERBAL SMOKING BLEND RECIPE

1/4 cup Damiana

1/4 cup Mullein

a bit more than 1/8 cup Raspberry Leaf

1/8 cup Skullcap

1/8 cup Marshmallow Leaf

Mix together and keep in an airtight container. If you like it to be moist add a sprinkle of water before smoking.

Mix well.

Mix well.

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END of Contest!!!!!!

Alright – NOW if you received the newsletter earlier this month, you know about the contest for the copy of Grow It, Heal It book and I added a reminder about it last week. So the first person that tells me on this post, in the comment section the answer to the following question – you will be the winner.

Question – what plant has been mentioned most in all of the posts this month? Sometimes a clue is hidden in pictures. Good Luck!

Anne-Marie

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day With a Bit Of Folklore

Growing up in New York, St. Patrick’s Day was a BIG deal especially coming from a family that was almost half Irish. If you have seen any of my family on my mom’s side, almost everyone has or had red hair. Sigh…except me, my brother, my Gram and my Aunt Carol.

irish rose

We ALWAYS had corned beef and cabbage, red potatoes, giant size Irish soda bread and of course everything except the bread, was cooked in beer. All bars, restaurants & bakeries celebrated St. Patty’s Day offering all kinds of goodies. It was like Mardi Gras in the north. :D

When we moved to the south back in 1990, the next March we wanted to go out for St. Patty’s Day and eat corned beef. There was no where near us that served it, they looked at us like we were NUTS! On top of that – our little grocery stores at the time did not even sell corned beef to cook at home. What a bummer!!! That has changed as there is a corned beef cooking in ale in the crock pot as I write. I no longer eat it but my hubby and son do.

Someone posted a cute pic today about the holy trinity and St. Patrick. This in turn got me inspired to write this post. Weird huh… That’s me!

St Pat's

So why is the tradition a meal of corned beef and cabbage and other questions??? Well I found the answers to all the questions at International Times.

Contrary to what many people might think, corned beef and cabbage, a staple at almost any St. Patrick’s Day celebration, isn’t the national dish of Ireland. The custom was started in the U.S. among the first generation of Irish-Americans, according to Delish.com. Immigrants yearning for familiar tastes of their homeland craved boiled bacon, but had to settle for beef brisket, the cheapest of meat cuts.

Irish immigrants adopted a technique popular among Eastern Europeans of brining their meat, a method they encountered in New York. Cabbage was the least expensive vegetable at the time, so it, too, became a staple food among Irish-Americans. “Corned” simply refers to the size of the salt crystals used to brine the meat.

Shamrocks. In Catholic tradition, the shamrock represents the holy Trinity. Irish folklore says that St. Patrick, Ireland’s renowned Christian missionary, used shamrocks to explain the doctrine of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and how they represent three components of the same God. The shamrock became the national emblem of Ireland and is considered a good-luck symbol.

The color green. Green didn’t always represent St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, blue was traditionally the color associated with the famed patron saint. Given that Ireland has the reputation as the Emerald Isle, green was adopted as the national color and appears on the Irish flag. The wearing of green on St. Patrick’s Day became popular sometime in the 19th century and was a statement of solidarity with the Irish-American community, according to National Geographic.

Leprechauns. Leprechauns are wise beyond their years, bearded and notorious hoarders of gold, but what’s their significance to St. Patrick’s Day? The word leprechaun comes from an Irish word meaning shoemaker, according to LiveScience. In folklore, leprechauns are anything but dignified. Leprechauns traditionally play the role of tricksters in Irish storytelling. They can be ruthless, nasty and unpredictable.

Their connection with St. Patrick’s Day is purely American. People often dress up to look like leprechauns, but many Irish believe the image only perpetuates ethnic stereotypes and don’t appreciate the character being associated with the holiday.

Guinness. On St. Patrick’s Day, the number of pints of Guinness consumed around the world nearly triples. The renowned Irish stout, which originated in Dublin in the early 18th century, was brought to the U.S. hundreds of years ago along with the first Irish immigrants. It remains one of the most popular and successful beers in the world.

The beer appears black or dark brown to many people, but it’s actually a dark ruby red. Guinness is made of roasted malted barley, hops, water and yeast.

Parades. St. Patrick’s’ Day parades are part of almost every major holiday celebration in Ireland and beyond. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in 1762 in New York City and was meant to honor St. Patrick.

To this day, the parade has remained a true marchers’ parade. Floats and vehicles are not allowed in the parade, staying true to the holiday’s 18th century roots.

I just realized I have had no green on me all day long!!! My eyes are green, does that count?

Oh and if you like Irish Soda Bread – here is a recipe that my dear child has made – it is pretty darn delicious!!!

Enjoy your day –

blessing

Anne-Marie

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