MID-SUMMER FORAGING EVENTS 2017

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Urban Foraging with It's a Wild Thing

Urban Edibles – June 9 and June 23

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Plant Pop-Up Shop

155 James St. S. Hamilton ON

It’s so very rewarding to know how many edible and medicinal plant-friends are surrounding us every day, even in places where you wouldn’t expect them; with this awareness we can find beauty in every moment. And there is something to be said for knowing that, in an emergency, you’ve got some plants to get you through. When we meet the plants, a whole world opens up; and you’ll notice you’ll be recognizing more and more as time goes by.

Drop into the store, open from Wednesday to Sundays, to pick up some of our wild-foraged products! Shop has popped up for the month of June only!

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Forest Bathing – Breathing the Wisdom of  Trees 

June 10 2017

11:15 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

1670 Gore Rd, Puslinch ON

Forest Breathing combines the therapeutic aspects of Forest Bathing with the ancient practice of Yogic breathing (Pranayama) and can inspire, heal and change your life on unimaginable levels – from balancing your nervous system and purifying your organs, to deep relaxation of all parts of the body, energetic healing and an opening of the heart.

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Canadian Survival Expo – 5th Annual Preppers Meet

July 7 – July 10, 2017

Grey Rd 25, Desboro, ON

Join the Annual Preppers Meetup and Zombie Survival camp for a day or the entire weekend for jam-packed survivalist training events, fun activities, vendors and great people within the preparedness community at the 5th Annual Preppers Meet. Designed for beginners with no gear or skills to advanced prepping veterans this event is a  collaboration where you will connect, learn and network in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere within a wilderness setting.

Jennie will be there to sell her wild food teas, herbals and gourmet products, and will be offering a wild-edibles foraging walk; as well, she’ll be on hand to identify and chat about plants you find during your visit.

Upcoming Autumn 2017: 

  • Private and Group Foraging Outings, Picnics, Workshops – Please contact Jennie for availability
  • Foraging the Autumn Harvest
  • Black Walnut Harvest
  • The Food and Medicine of the Ginkgo 
  • Roots 
  • Forest Breathing
  • Herbal Antibiotics Study Group Part I– Pathogens and The Systemic and Non-Systemic Herbs
  • Herbal Antibiotics Study Group Part II – Immunity and The Synergists; Using your Medicine

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Slippery Elm Lozenges

Slippery Elm Lozenge

Slippery Elm Lozenge

Slippery Elm bark and root-bark make a throat-soothing compound that is also wonderful for an agitated tummy or colon. First Nations people used the inner bark to make a nutritious gruel for babies. In late pregnancy, I used the root bark to help prepare for birthing, as this is another traditional use for this root (use only in the last trimester, however).

Slippery Elm Lozenge

How to Make Slippery Elm Lozenges to Sooth a Sore Throat or Ease a Sore Tummy.

In a deep, medium-sized bowl, put about an ounce or two of slippery elm powder.

Add raw honey*, stirring until it forms a thick paste, and that when squeezed in your hands, won’t stick. Keep adding honey or Slippery Elm powder until the desired texture is achieved. I powder my hands with the Slippery Elm, just as I would if I were baking bread, to keep the paste from sticking to me.
*if you wish, you can gently warm the honey to liquefy it if it is too solid to easily stir.

Roll the paste into balls. They can be the size of a marble, or slightly smaller.

Now, roll the balls in Slippery Elm Powder to coat them.

Store in a sealed container – a glass jar or tin. These will keep for up to ten years.

I find that my children love these “lozenges” so much that they don’t last long in our cupboards, although, being made with raw honey, they could theoretically last for 10 years or more. They would work just as well with Marshmallow Root – both are herbs that sooth a sore throat and have been used by opera singers and orators to enhance the voice. We sometimes add a dash of cinnamon, licorice root powder, or, in the case of tummy troubles or constipation, senna root powder, as both Slippery Elm and Marshmallow are soothing as well to the G.I. track.

If you wish, you can combine these little goodies with the benefits of licorice root, kelp powder, or marshmallow root. Raw, locally produced honey and elder-flower syrup add sweetness and immune-boosting potential to the mix. These really do work! And they are great for the voice, as well – slippery elm has long been used by opera singers for a clearer note when singing.

Dried Yarrow

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Atlantic Sea Finishing Salts

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Keep an eye out for our homemade herbal products, like the awesome finishing salts made with locally foraged herbs, shown here:

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Green-Belt Kids

Sales of these salts go directly to the creation of the Green-Belt Kids program: a children’s garden project to teach food security to thousands of children in the Niagara Escarpment region over the next few years. This project is in the planning stage. (If you wish to support Green Belt Kids, please contact me!).

It’s a Wild Thing forager’s salts and wild teas can be purchased right off the shelves at Centro Garden in Downtown Burlington.

Backyard Finds

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How to Harvest Black Walnuts for Nutmeat

Collect your black walnuts from trees that are away from polluted areas, between late August and early October, depending on when they ripen in your local. You know they are ripe because that’s when they begin to fall off the branches. All you need to do is pick them up! Wearing old gloves or reusable rubber gloves helps to avoid staining the hands with the black-brown juice of the husks. The walnut should be intact (not sampled by squirrels or run over by a car, for example) and free from mold – however,  it’s okay if the husk is turning black and even rotting – looks aren’t everything! We are interested in whats under the husk, right?

 

De-husk: If the husks are fairly clean and still green, you can save them and use medicinal value to make an herbal tincture. Otherwise, you’ll need a place to discard them away from flower and vegetable gardens, and not in the compost heap if you will use that compost for your gardens – the chemical, juglone, which is what makes the juice (and your hands) turn black is present in the husks will inhibit the growth of many plants (ferns and wild ginger don’t seem to mind, though).  I usually toss the husks where  around any unwanted weeds. Worms hate black walnut husk, so again, no husks in your garden as the worms will try their best to get away!

It’s best to remove the husk somewhere outside; it’s a really messy process. You’ll want to wear gloves, old clothing, and rubber boots. Rotting husks can easily be removed by hand; squeezing and breaking off the husk should do it. Or, gently tap the husk with a hammer, making sure you don’t hit hard enough to crack the shell. Don’t worry – it’s REALLY hard to crack the shell – just be a little bit careful.

 

Rinse: Use a metal or plastic container and agitate those nuts. A hose with spray attachment works well. I also use a clean plunger for best agitation. The juice from the walnuts can stain enamel, so don’t do this in your bathtub! Pour the now-black water where ever you are trying to get rid of unwanted weeds. Repeat the whole process until the water is clear. Again, if there are worms around, they’ll come out of the soil trying to avoid the juglone – I keep a spray bottle nearby to mist off any worms I’ve bothered and try to relocate them. I love worms and want to keep them in my garden!

 

Dry: Hang in a clean place in a mesh bag (like what fruit and veggies sometimes are sold in) for two weeks or up to two years. If you hang it outside for a few days, it may help the nuts ripen well, but you’ll need to watch for squirrels!

 

When you are ready to shell the black walnuts: Fill a sink or container with water, and drop the dried nuts in – the ones that sink are good, while the nuts that float should be discarded. Next, place the good nuts, one at a time, on a hard, clean surface, and use a hammer to split the nuts. To avoid getting pieces of broken shell in your face, cover the walnut with a clean cloth before cracking the shell. Next, use wire cutters to break the sections into smaller pieces to release the nutmeat. Keep the shelled nuts separate, and carefully go over the meat to look for any pieces of shells you may have missed. Remove them and wash the nuts to catch any last bits of shell or debris.

 

Drying the nutmeat: Lay on a cookie sheet to dry – or salt them and roast them at 320-350 degrees in the oven.

 

To Store: When dry, put them in a sealed container and store in the freezer for up to a year.

Seed Bombs

Seed Bomb

Seed Bomb

Seed bombs are a way to revitalize a neglected area of land.
Only use native seeds – never plant invasive species. You will need to do the research on what plants are best for your area.

What is your goal? Beautification? Pollinator Plants? Food for songbirds? Soil Enrichment?

Where to Re-Seed?

Observe the land for a long period of time, so you can see if the land is appropriate for your native seeds.
Questions you might ask could be:

Who does this land belong to – do I have a right to spread seeds here and what is the implication if I do?

Will the plants be moved down or torn up by city workers?

Are the plants invasive species (don’t plant them!)

Are the plants native to this area?

Is this a clean and safe area for these native seeds to grow?

Is it an appropriate habitat?

What is the soil like – dry? marshy? clay?

Is their enough sun/shade for these native plants to grow?

Seed Bomb

How to Do It

Red and brown clays contain rich minerals that help nourish seedlings and protect them in a compact ball until conditions are right for them to germinate. There are many recipes for seed bombs out there, this is one variation:

Combine 1 part seeds with 1 part compost in a large container. Add 1 part powdered red or brown clay* (the kind ceramists use) and mix. Gradually moisten with water until you have a pliable, but not soggy, mass. The right consistency is one that holds a ball shape without sticking to your fingers. Pinch off a hunk of clay about the size of a penny (for small balls for a garden area) or a loonie (for larger balls for land rehabilitation). Roll this between your hands until it forms into a tight ball. The sphere should be about 3/4 to 1 inch (2-3 cm) in diameter.

Let the balls dry on newspaper or in an empty egg carton (easy to transport) – about 36-48 hours. Store in a cool, dry place until ready to sow.
The best time to sow is in late winter or early spring. Throw about 10 balls per yard (.83 square metre). Provided you choose the correct habitat, they’ll begin to grow when the time is right.

You can get clay from:
The Pottery Supply House Limited
1120 Speers Rd, Oakville, ON L6L 2X4

Note:
*If you can’t get clay – try using flour – mix it in when the compost/seed mixture is dry… add water… mix until it becomes pliable and hold a ball shape… add more flour if needed. Flour can make the balls go moldy if they don’t dry out quickly. You may need to help them out by putting them over a heating vent or put a fan nearby to remove the moisture.