Monday, September 26, 2011

A Technical Aside

I keep reading about people not being able to comment.  I had a similar issue a couple of months back.  I am not sure if using an Open ID would eliminate the issue.  Regardless, here is what I have been able to figure out on my own.  When you wish to leave a comment:
  1. Log out of Blogger.
  2. Type you comment and submit.
  3. It will ask you to log in ... go ahead, but DO NOT CHECK the "Keep Me Logged In" check box.
Note:  Sometimes, you may have to hit enter a couple of extra times.

I hope this helps.  Please send share this with all of the bloggers, or blog readers, you know.  Please, leave a comment if you find it helpful.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Late Summer Gathering Stroll

Today, I spent some time harvesting some of the wild plants near our home.  I woke up a few days ago with my head filled with thoughts of gathering some Japanese Knotweed root and some Stinging Nettles.  Unlike our previous experiences with knotweed, I intended to make some tea with the root, and maybe a tincture.  The nettles are for cordage.

I have been reading a lot about knotweed for the last few days.  I already knew that it is used for treating Lyme disease.  The most common reservatrol supplement, the compound thought to be effective against Lyme, is actually derived from knotweed. It is my belief, however, that one is better served eating the whole plant rather than a derivative. While science has been able to isolate specific compounds, I can not help but wonder if the other supporting nutrients do not make the natural form more effective. It is certainly less processed.  The book Healing Lyme discusses the protocol, using the roots of the plant, in detail.  Of course, I also discovered that knotweed, and its derivatives, is useful for treating heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, high cholesterol, and constipation.  All of this is in addition to being a nutritional power house - it contains vitamins A and C and trace minerals.

I brought the Japanese Knotweed home and rinsed it off.  I have watched several videos about processing knotweed roots over the last few days.  I decided that our teacher's, Mike Dimauro's, method was the best choice for me, because it used the least technology ... a knife, water, and some elbow grease.  I simply cut it into little pieces with my Mora knife.  Some I dropped into a pan of water to make a tea.  The rest I put into a canning jar and covered with vodka to make a tincture.  The tea was delicious with no sweetener or anything else.  Wendy thought it tasted like potato tea.  Additionally, we now have 1 quart (~1 litre) of Japanese Knotweed tincture in the cabinet (right next to the pint of rendered raccoon fat).

I tend to go overboard sometimes.  Now, while harvesting the Stinging Nettles, I cut a bunch of stems.  When I stopped I realized that I had gathered way too many to carry.  Besides, my arms, bare because it was too hot for a sweatshirt, were already burning with the sting of the nettles.  I needed some cordage or a rope. 

Alas, I did not bring one.  So, I made one with materials on hand.  I looked around  and decided the most likely candidate was the tall grass.  I grabbed handfuls of the grass and started twisting.  I have never made a thick piece of cordage before.  Most were yarn sized or thinner.  Today, I wanted to make a rope.  So, much to Precious's dismay, I twisted and twisted, and twisted for a while.  I ended up with a rope about 7 feet (2.5 meters) long and about and 3/4 inch (20 millimeters) in diameter.  It was perfect for tying the bundle of nettles. 

Wendy and the neighbors were impressed.  The neighbors actually commented that their boys had all been in boy scouts, one even an eagle scout, and none of them could make a rope like I had.  Have I mentioned that I like making cordage?!

It felt like a productive day, in spite of the fact that it only took me a total of an hour or so.  I find on this, my MooseBoots, journey that I need to do things.  I feel the need to act, not just research and read.  I satisfied that need for today.  I have been watching the vines growing nearby though ... feels like a basket is in the future.

Thank you, Universe, for your abundance, your beauty, and your support in my growth and development!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Rabbit Skill Share

A week or so ago, Wendy and I hosted a rabbit skill share for the local permaculture group.  The primary topics were Backyard Rabbit Husbandry and Hide Tanning.  We were fortunate enough to have made several new friends and share some of the things we've learned.  We are so grateful to have had this opportunity to connect and share.

I was amazed at the diversity of backgrounds of the attendees and delighted with the common desire to work with nature instead of against her.  There were people who were thinking about raising rabbits for meat and there were people who already had rabbits, but were just getting started.  We wandered around our little quarter acre homestead and talking about our experiences with raising rabbits, things like sexing the rabbits and separating the males and females before they reach maturity, housing and winterizing the hutches, foods, and slaughtering.  Neither Wendy nor I believe that we have all of the answers, but we have made a lot of mistakes ... er, had a lot of learning experiences ... along the way.  Raising Rabbits is a great book, and Wendy and I learned a lot from it, but there is something to be said for being able to ask someone, in person, who has done it.

Then, we shared an amazing meal.  People had brought their favorite potluck dishes to share.  Wendy and I had smoked, on the grill, two rabbits that we had butchered a week before when we showed some other friends how to butcher rabbits.  Everything was so delicious.

We were quickly running out of daylight by this point, so I hurried through a demonstration on hide tanning.  We had on hand 11 green hides, 5 tanned, but not yet dried or softened hides, and many hides that we have tanned, or had tanned, over the years.  Each participant was invited to take a hide home to tan, we even provided the alum for them to do so.  Again, while I learned to tan by reading Back to Basics and everything I could on the internet, I find it much easier to learn from a person who can answer my questions.

As we had run out of time for everyone to work on a hide, I promised to put together an eBook documenting the tanning procedure that I use.  I have added it as a link on the left side bar.  Feel free to download it.  I am offering it for donation only - you decide what it is worth.  I would love some feedback on ways to improve it or any questions you may have.  Wendy and I are also talking about putting together a few other eBooks on rabbit husbandry and butchering.  We are open to other suggestions.

It appears that, while I continue to grow on this MooseBoots path, I am also being called to share what I know with others.  I have heard it said that the best way to really learn something is to teach it to someone else.  I, in fact, did pick up a gem or two during this skill share - don't stretch the hides when they are too wet because they will tear very easily.  Of course, the ultimate purpose of learning, I suppose, is to share so that others can grow, too.  I wish you abundance and happiness on your journey.