To most, dandelions growing in the garden is not-acceptable. “What an unsightly weed”, some think. But, for those in the know, dandelion is full of valuable uses, from medicine to coffee substitute.
I admit, i am not a big fan of the dandelion greens, sow thistle being more my flavor, but the roots do have some good uses when properly prepared.
Here is a good article on dandelion root uses
When Should I Harvest Dandelion Roots?
Dandelion roots are best harvested from late fall through early spring, when the plant is dormant and has stored up energy in the root.
If you attended Dirttime 12, you were treated to a class on steam pit cooking by Stone-age skills instructor Chris Morasky. Really, though, if you’ve attended a clam bake, that’s all it really is.
At its core, steam pit cooking is nothing more than a pit with hot rocks, followed by food, then green vegetation then covered with dirt and allowed to sit. The moisture from the vegetation helps in the steaming process and keeps the food tender.
Okay that sounded really basic, so here is a little more in depth article that covers this type of cooking. Not only will it turn out delicious moist food, but it is always a crowd pleaser.
The steam pit is one of those traditional cooking methods that is a fair bit of work, but it’s also worth the trouble. If you’ve been to a real Luau or a New England Clam Bake, you have enjoyed the results of a steam pit (or steam mound).
One of the things I teach in my firemaking classes is the efficacy of alcohol as a fuel for firemaking, stoves, etc. In fact, I demonstrate how even the lowly hand sanitizer, so commonly carried by many, makes great fuel that is easily started with the spark of a ferro rod.
Something that I’ve been doing for years, though not of my invention, is the alcohol paint can heater. When paired with denatured alcohol, it makes for a clean burning emergency heater, or even stove.
This article will show how simple and effective this easily made emergency heater works
Trail snacks, for eating on the move are extremely popular amongst outdoor enthusiast, be it backpackers or paddler, or anytihng in between. In fact multi million dollar business make a living on just supplying that side of the market. Their is a small segment of the community that still prefers to make their own trail snacks, something customized to their tastes, or simply because it is just plain ole fun to be a mad scientist in your kitchen.
Many are familiar with the energy rich food that parched corn (pinole) is, a popular staple of primitive cultures. But, with so many other options available to us today, it’s no wonder the wild inventions that inspire within certain people.
Most of us are familiar with the big mustards—black mustard, wild radishes, birdsrape, etc. The big leafy greens are common in stores, to boot. But, the mustard family is also comprised of other mustards, who at first glance one would not recognize as a mustard, their leaves barely looking like what we are accustomed to seeing. We’re talking about the tansy mustards, swinecress, hairy bittercress, and others.
One of my favorite wild green author’s, Green Dean, has written a great article discussing this often overlooked variety of mustard
There are numerous little mustards that show up seasonally populating lawns and fields with spots of green against dead winter grass, and then they are gone. Their variety is rich and variations many.
This week, a cacophony of coughs, sneezes and complaints about sore throats and stuffy ears can be heard throughout our house as a pesky cold runs its course through the family.
A common home remedy for soothing sore throats is lemon juice mixed with honey; however, that isn’t always so easy to swallow, especially if you’re a kid. That’s where these tasty little sore throat candy drops come in.
The inspiration for these comes from the Herb Candies recipe found in the book Eat Well Feel Well by Kendall Conrad, (affiliate link) which by the way is a really great grain-free, refined-sugar-free cookbook, if you like cooking somewhat on the gourmet side. Since I am incapable of following any recipe exactly, I ended up with something a little different, but just as yummy.
This past weekend, I assisted Christopher Nyerges in a talk he gave at a local library. One of the useful, renewable items Christopher shared was newspaper bricks [they were brick shaped, due to the tool that made them]. These bricks, he said, were used as fuel for fire, much more efficient burning than just loose newspaper tossed in the fire.
It is estimated there are over 56 million newspapers sold daily. That is an awful lot of waste after folks are done reading them. Then when you count the mountains of junk mail, in the form of grocery advertisements, that one receives daily, that number compounds.
Instead of just wasting and throwing away those papers, how about turning them into something useful, that is ultralight weight and efficient? Enter the newspaper log.
Non-professionals go to school and are called “Students”. Working Professionals go learn something and it is called “Professional Development”… I guess it is less embarrassing for the egocentric professional to call it professional development. Whatever you choose to call it, continued education is paramount. And in this Bushcraft community, it is equally, if not more, important to keep up with learning as we tackle and challenge mother nature.
I’ve been a long time student of Mors Kochanski, though I’ve never met the man. I’ve followed his writings and videos and pretty much take to the bank, without much vetting, what knowledge he shares. Why? Because he has a proven track record and often backs claims with the science of why. So, when the man, on video, says if his house caught on fire, these are the seven books he would save , out of the many hundreds he has, I stop, listen, take note, and go after.
Most fans of woodcraft/bushcraft are familiar with the popular “Alone in the Wilderness”, the cabin building adventures of Dick Proenneke. Following that genre, however, is another more obscure film, “Dead River Rough Cut”.
Dead River Rough Cut follows to longtime woodsmen friends—Bob Wagg and Walter Lane— as they carve out a living in the wilds of Maine, hunting, trapping, fishing, and logging with oxen.
Though some of the language can be a bit rough for some viewers, students of woodcraft/bushcraft, should watch this video. It really explores the solo life of a backcountry woodsman.
One of interesting things, for me, about this movie is their beaver trapping and how they built their sets, dug through the snow and ice, and set the traps. It was also interesting to see how these woodsmen used oxen in the snow to haul and transfer their lumber.
Though winter is quickly winding down, it is still plenty cold in many parts of the country, with some rather freakish cold weather in some areas not typical of such extremes.
While most people, in those cold areas, know how to properly dress themselves for such extremes, the fact is there are many who are ill prepared, often to their detriment. It doesn’t have to be so, however. With a little proper knowledge and preparation, even those not wise in the way of the cold can better compete with mother nature. Who better to learn from, than those who live their lives below zero.