Knowing plants vs. Identification of plants.

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Knowing plants vs. Identification of plants.

   I've been seeing a real trend lately(and perhaps it has been going on for a while but I had not noticed) with people purporting to "know" a plant, but then knowing absolutely nothing about it besides how to properly I.D. said plant and say its Latin name. This is not knowing a plant. Knowing a plant is a process that takes a long time.  I should clarify: Knowing a plant properly takes a long time.  No, not an interaction once or twice.  No not having harvested a plant for one season.  Real knowing, real absolute heartfelt understanding of a plant can be a process that takes years.  

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Field Notes with Jennifer DeMoss!

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Field Notes with Jennifer DeMoss!

 

Intro music- Down by the Glenside by the dubliners.
research jenn does
insect repellants
pretentiousness of scientific naming
plant communities
University of michigan biological station
Trees expanding their range
Dagobah
Dragonflies
2017 season is wacky
climate change
hope?
Tree diseases

Jenn Demoss facebook is the best way to get in touch with this wonderful being!
 

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You don't have to like everything.

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You don't have to like everything.

   An event I often recall when thinking about foraging in my early days,  is me choking down a sandwich with what must have been an inch-thick layer of Dandelion greens between some seedy whole grain bread.  I forced myself to eat it, and I even tried convincing my then girlfriend of the superb taste.

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Experiencing the Forest with Nicole McCalpin

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Experiencing the Forest with Nicole McCalpin

In this second episode of the Natural Flavors Podcast I talk with my friend and awesome mushroom photographer Nicole McCalpin.  Subjects discussed include:

  • Usefulness of scientific names of plants
  • experiencing the forest
  • Morchellas
  • what motivates us to get out there and forage
  • shinrin-yoku

I hope you enjoy this podcast and know that I am still finding my way with the details!

Find Nicole's amazing photography by looking her up on facebook or on Instagram under the name @mystic_jane.

You can listen below or right here

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On Invasive species with Levi Meeuwenberg

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On Invasive species with Levi Meeuwenberg

So it has been a long time in the preparation, but its finally here, my very own podcast: The Natural Flavors Podcast.  I have been plotting to release a foraging podcast for the past year and now I finally got all of the equipment and the tech stuff figured out.  So without boring you too much here, go to the link below and listen away.  

Keep in mind that this is my first podcast ever so there are a few quirks here and there that need to be fixed.  Thanks for tuning in!

Pass through this portal here!

 

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Nature is not stagnant

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Nature is not stagnant

     I find myself pondering lately the fluidity of all things.  The great unending change that is all of reality.  They say that the only constant thing is change, and I believe it's time that we forest-lovers, naturalists, hunters, foragers, hikers and outdoorsmen embrace this change.  Think back to your childhood, really think back.  Is the house you lived in the same?  Is the landscape surrounding your house the same?  Are you the same?  Are you changed?  What things do you notice?  It is questions like this that has me really pondering much of how we look at our ecosystems and our landscapes.

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Foraging in uncertain weather.

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Foraging in uncertain weather.

      Lately I have been thinking a lot about uncertainty.  Especially Uncertainty in the weather.  Today is December 2nd, and today I was nibbling on some autumn olives (Elaeagnus umbellata), and I also saw a few pictures of some huge oyster mushroom scores yesterday.  The reason this is so noteworthy, is because December is not usually thought of as a go to month for foraging.  Especially where I dwell, in beautiful Northern Michigan.  Typically, the only thing that is Foraged this time of year is some pine needles, or Chaga mushrooms.  Things that do not care about snow or cold.  

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What do we mean by foraging?

    Foraging, it is a very popular word these days among fancy foodies.  Everyone knows what foraging is, right?  Lately I'm not so sure about that. As someone that refers to himself as a forager, I feel like it is a duty of mine to challenge the status quo about what exactly it means to forage.  Especially when everyone thinks foraging means wandering in the woods grabbing random greens  Lets take a look..

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What is an invasive plant anyway?

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What is an invasive plant anyway?

  These days we hear a lot about how invasive plants are destroying our environment.  But how true is this?  What is a native plant?  Who defines these things?  What is a non-native?  Who defines these things?  What help does defining a planets inhabitants by their nativeness or non-nativeness give us?  These are questions, that while maybe make some uncomfortable, are very important questions to be asking in these times.  

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Strategies for improving your harvest

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Strategies for improving your harvest

Lately I have been giving a whole lot of thought to the concept of improving your harvest.  Whether that be through the use of tools, or in quickness of gathering.  I personally as a practice use minimal tools for harvest, but a few things are handy this time of year. 

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Sumac-Ade, a refreshment fit for Royalty!

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Sumac-Ade, a refreshment fit for Royalty!

Ahhhh, summer!  That special time when you wish you could remove your skin and sit in a pool of ice cubes!  

Oh, sorry, that is what I think of the heat anyway.  

Summer is hot, but fortunately, it seems that nature has given us something that, while not air conditioning, is very refreshing and marvelously delicious.  This something I am talking about is Sumac-ade.  Unsurprisingly it comes from the Staghorn Sumac plant, one of our areas most common plants!  

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Black Locust

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Black Locust

Robinia pseudoacacia or Black Locust is an amazing tree.  Let's do some inventory for how amazing this tree actually is......

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A note regarding rain dates.

So with my first plant class coming up this weekend, and a weather outlook that is not looking so encouraging, I need to clarify what I mean by bad weather.  I WILL still do the class if it is sprinkling and or raining lightly on and off.  I WILL NOT do the class if it is thunderstorming and or raining very hard.  That all being said, if Saturday does not work, the rain date is set for the following day, Sunday at the same time.  Now at the current moment the forecast is calling for thunderstorms on both Saturday AND Sunday. If this does happen, then I will have no choice but to relocate the class to the following weekend, Saturday June 4th.  Knowing the weather up here though, I find it hard to believe that it would actually thunderstorm two days in a row.  

 

We shall See.  I will call Oryana with an update on Saturday morning.  

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A horror story from the woods....

 There is a plant out there so invasive other plants only whisper its name.  So toxic to other plants it can rightly be called an evildoer!  It is poisonous to cattle, dogs, pigs, sheep, horses and is carcinogenic to humans.  It is known to produce and release allelopathic chemicals, which is a critical part in its ability to dominate other vegetation

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2016 class Schedule

So here we go folks, this is the current schedule of classes that I will be offering this year!

May 28th/Foraging walk, Grand Traverse Commons

June 25th/ Foraging walk, Location TBD

July 23rd/ Foraging walk, Location TBD

August 20th/Foraging walk, Location TBD

September 24th/Foraging Walk, Location TBD

October 15th, Foraging Walk, Location TBD

November 5th, Black Walnut Processing, Location TBD

I can guarantee that there will be additions to this schedule, Willow Basketry classes perhaps?  Rope making using wild plants?  Who knows!??  Do join me and learn how to wildcraft ingredients for your dinners!  

Prices will be listed on Events tab.  And I can now accept prepayment online!

 

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Wild Parsnip, Friend not Foe.

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Wild Parsnip, Friend not Foe.

Hello my dear friends.  This is My very first Blog post, and I have decided that I should rather like to dedicate it to talking about one of the best tasting of all of the spring "forageables": Wild Parsnip.  First things first, lets clear up one very annoying thing I hear far too often. People think that wild parsnip is some unruly plant secretly working for an evil organization seeking to cause you bodily harm. 

Click to read the rest of this post!

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