Food Independence

Daphne prepares a mountain of purple and green snap beans.

Daphne prepares a mountain of purple and green snap beans.

Today I harvested wild chamomile to set aside for winter tea. I also harvested another few pounds of tender lamb’s quarter that was choking out a zucchini plant. As I went back to the cottage, I decided to stop by the Potato Patch to see if the season’s new potatoes are at last ready. The drought has slowed their growth–they are two weeks behind–but they are finally ready, so I harvested several pounds of tender new potatoes and several Spanish onions and red radish to go with tonight’s dinner.

As I walked into the cottage, I saw Arielle had decided to make tonight’s dinner and she was just rehydrating a pot of Jerusalem artichokes. I handed her the potatoes to have instead and as I was walking away, it occurred to me. This year we managed to grow 100% of our food. We were just getting to the last of the chokes when we reached the first of the year’s potatoes. If I were to put in, oh, say an eighth of an acre of sugar beets, we’d meet all our sugar needs, as well. And we have meat ready to butcher, as well, 50 of our 100 annual free range chickens, plus geese and ducks. And we have been in our own cheese and dairy since early spring.

We can be 100% food independent!

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Grandmother Birch

A truly ancient birch or massive proportions, growing in a secret place deep in the Old Wood.  Unlike the forest service, I will not cut it down to see how old it is.

A truly ancient birch of massive proportions, growing in a secret place deep in the Old Wood. Unlike the forest service, I will not cut it down to see how old it is.

Arielle and Daphne both accompanied me on an extensive hike through the Old Wood, and we found this ancient grandmother birch. Such ancient trees are networked by their roots to thousands of trees within hundreds of yards. They communicate with one another through that network, enabled by symbiotic fungi forming subterranean mychorrizal links, and through those links they share carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients as well as communicate each others’ health and other information. Who knows what dreams pass among the slow, green minds of trees, and such grandmother trees form invaluable networks of an old forest.


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Nothing Like the Feel of a Well Stocked Wine Cellar

wine racksYears and years worth of home-brewed wine and thousands of books a dozen feet away in the cottage’s library, many of which I haven’t even read yet. All stocked and ready for the zombie apocalypse.


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Two Days of Wildwood Wandering

Beaked hazelnut, a delicacy in these parts. Elusive, but only if you don't know where to look.

Beaked hazelnut, a delicacy in these parts. Elusive, but only if you don’t know where to look.

I’ve made two extensive hikes into the Old Wood east of Twa Corbies Hollow in the last two days. I’ve probably covered about 20 miles of ground. Some amazing finds include hazelnut groves about 2 weeks from ripening, heaps of wild and sweet raspberries, acres and acres of wild blueberries about 3 weeks from harvest, same for elderberries, and it’s a high population year for grouse so I’ll be hunting them soon.

It was also a chance for Daphne to learn why she needs a compass as we were in deep woods and several times I asked her to guide us to the next point on our trip or point the way back home and at no time did she get it right. She is a bit stubborn about this but I think I finally illustrated to her why she needs to learn to use a compass and she finally complied. So, I’ll get her a compass next month and start teaching her how to navigate by shooting bearings. She’s used to BC where one could always see a mountain and navigate by that and this notion of travelling in thick bush without directional reference is new to her. But it takes most people by surprise.

The down side is it’s been a very dry summer since mid-June. We did not encounter one wild mushroom except bracket, so dry it was only fit for poultices and tinder.

I got some great pics of two abandoned homesteads lost in the forest, one from the early pioneer days, another from the early 20th century. And I got some great shots of the Dead Forest and many wild herbs and plants. I even came across a grouse rooster strutting and fanning but (as has happened every time I try to photograph one) the moment I pulled my camera from my messenger bag, it darted into the thicket. I swear, if I pointed the 12 gauge at one, it would pose for me, declaring, “Hey! When you cook me, make sure I look this cool!”. But point a camera at one and they run away and vanish.

All in all a good couple days, though. But I think I’m going to park my rear for the rest of the day, enjoy a nice dinner and put off starting to build the new horse pasture til tomorrow. So here I sit with a pint of ice cold scrumpy, relaxing, writing and reading . . .

(The image below is beaked hazelnut, almost ready for harvest.)

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The Wildwood Way Update

wildwood way promoThe Wildwood Way” is completed and has been sent to the publisher. There are many steps before publication, and ultimately a manuscript must pass muster at eachand changes will be made. It all gets very hush-hush, so shhh! Don’t tell anyone! About ten lovely images were contributed, and thank you to those who provided them. This is by far my most comprehensive book on the spirit and wonder of living well with Earth, with over a hundred photos, dozens of lessons on living wisely with Nature, and many new stories on the living magic and lore of the wild. Keep abreast of my website for upcoming news.  I will take a few weeks off then it’s on to my next writing projects.

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Primitive Progress

aboriginal wolves

A quick comparison of the “progress” of the modern world compared to the “progress” of the primitive world.

In the modern world of Canada a typical family or couple must work two FT jobs with an average two weeks vacation per year to make ends meet. They work all year to get a mere 3.8% of the year to themselves as vacation, which corporate overlords dole out as if bequeathing favors. If a person wants a home, it requires half a lifetime of effort to purchase. They work all their lives (til age 67 now, thanks to Harper, who made sure this rule did not apply to himself) to reach a point where they have a minimal pension and hope to be able to do what they want with their twilight years, failing to realize that the age or retirement was carefully calculated to assure a statistical average of 50% mortality within 7 years of retirement.  Along the way, they risk misery and mortality due to modern diseases such as cancer due to exposure to various toxins and the pathogen build up of overpopulation.

In the primitive world, persons worked an average of 2.5 hours per day to meet their daily needs. Once or twice per year, if they relied on a seasonal resource, they worked intensely for a few weeks to harvest that resource, i.e., the harvest of wild grain or the salmon run. They could take off and wander or pursue their interests at any time without consequence. If a person wanted a home, it could be built in a few weeks from wattle and daub or some other local resource. No one exactly retired but the village and family looked after those who could no longer work and their expectations of physical labor were reduced while at the same time, those elders became respected community members sought for their knowledge and wisdom and stories. Because population densities were low and the environment pristine, illnesses were rare, health and nutrition were far better and the average person lived as long as the modern human.

It wasn’t until about the Roman era when people began to pour into settled areas and fight over resources that the huge downturn of modern “progress” began to occur. It continues and it will only get worse because it is a losing game of greed and overpopulation combined with a personal failing to understand happiness as aspects of knowing when one has  enough and appreciating contentment.

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faerie ring

An example of a mushroom faerie ring.

I have had a difficult time finding a faerie ring to photograph for my upcoming book, so I am putting out another invitation for submissions. If you would like to have one of your photos featured in my next major publication with Llewellyn and seen all around the world, with full credit and a complimentary copy of the book, “The Wildwood Way”, please contact me.

Required: A photograph of a faerie ring. This could be a mushroom ring or a grass ring. Two images are provided below as examples.

An example of a grass faerie ring.

An example of a grass faerie ring.

Final Deadline: July 30, 2014.

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Monsanto’s Head Says Organic Gardening Is Bad for Earth

Wild chives growing along the edge of the Old Garden.

Wild chives growing along the edge of the Old Garden.

It’s weeding time in the gardens. The corrupt head of the FDA (you know, the former Monsanto board officer with a vested interest in Monsanto stocks that Obama appointed to look after your food) says that organic gardening is bad for Earth, and one of the reasons is it wastes labor weeding. For the record, we weed once per summer, just to help the young crops get a start. We defeat the weeds by “dense bedding”, which is a process in which you plant two dimensionally and a little too densely. The plants grow thick and choke out the weeds. Anyway, so those weeds are one of our main crops. This week we’ve harvested sacks and sacks of lamb’s quarter, which tastes just like spinach and is more nutritious. And since it’s a weed, it costs a zero to plant it or tend it. It’s a free extra crop of organic gardening. We’ve also harvested dock, burdock, sheep sorrel, field shamrock, creeping charlie, oxeye daisy, coriander/cilantro, rosemary, wild carrot and parsnip and heaps more for canning. Tonight will feature a salad of tender sheep sorrel, daisy leaf and Spanish onion tops. All those are free crops of organic gardens. (In the pic below are wild chilves, which we leave alone now to go to seed and reproduce themselves, another effortless crop of organic gardening.)

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Austrolorp Chicks At Last

Here are some of our little day-old Austrolorp chicks. Right after shooting this, I moved another 4 from the incubator to the brooder. One had just hatched so I’ll leave it to dry in the incubator another half day. 5 more eggs now hatching and only 3 eggs still have shown no signs of beginning the hatching process. But this could go on til tomorrow. As soon as the last Austrolorp egg hatches, I’ll fill the incubator with more duck and geese eggs.austrolorp chicks

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Biomass & Other Lies

biomassOften I write against “green energy”, which I am aware stymies many people who read my posts, website and books, but the reason is simple: because a lot of what is touted as green energy plays upon the ignorance of the general public and their aptitude for wishful thinking and their tendency to fall for trendy terms. Like solar panels despite the rare earths required to make them, and wind farms despite their detrimental effects on bat and raptor populations.

Nova Scotia is a province with a long tradition of government and big industry going to bed together and having orgies of bad ideas, and then like cheating spouses, lying to the public about it all along the way. “Biomass” is just such a scam.

And here is one of the NS government's supposedly sustainable biomass fuel clear cuts from the ground.  Every living thing has been ripped from the soil, right down to the soil.  Soon the top soil will wash away.  This land is devastated and will take many centuries to heal, if left alone.

And here is one of the NS government’s supposedly sustainable biomass fuel clear cuts from the ground. Every living thing has been ripped from the soil, right down to the roots. Soon the top soil will wash away. This land is devastated and will take many centuries to heal.  There is no undoing this.

In the biomass scam, “green energy” (notice that awesomely trendy wording) is created through the apparently harmless act of entirely denuding–right down to the roots–an entire forest and burning that forest in a biomass generator. I won’t mince words: the people from government officials to energy industry reps who brought it to you are knowingly and willingly lying to you when they tell you this is “environmentally friendly”. It is the equivalent of burning down the Amazon to grow cheap beef for MacDonald’s. There are few things more harmful you could to the land than biomass energy. The closest comparison I can think of is a massive oil spill or melting down a nuclear power plant.

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