Monday, January 23, 2012


I am really into ethnobotany right now , okay well there isn't a time when I' m really not into ethnobotany lol , however I do love other areas of natural science of course natural history and ethnobotany seems to be a predominant topic .
Ethnobotany is basically the relationship between people and plants , ethno being people race culture , botany being the study of plant or plant science .
I guess I tend to really enjoy the study of relationship don't I ;-)

So this week look what my dear friend Mary sent me ☺ she said this woman is a mirror image of me and I should not belittle what I do ;-)
I love my friend Mary she is always , always an inspiration and never uses the word can't with me lol
she is a big gentle energy ball of encouragement
so yes she found this Dvd which you can actually watch online for free if you have media player . my computer has messed up and I don't . However my library has this Dvd !!
I do hope it came in today
Below are some books I really enjoy and a few I have yet to read . sorry I have no links right now I just do not have time to look them all up but I think you can make out the titles quite clearly from the pics .

I really really like the books by this fellow ! some of them are extremely pricey but I am blessed my library has them all !

Again as with most things I am really much into local . what has been given here rather than using fossil fuels to import items from round the world .

Even if your library does not have many plant or animal , bird guides , thy should always have the guides for local botany and such . If they don't then request them over and over again . people should learn the local plants for healing , spiritual , and also to identify poisonous plants as well .yrs ago our 2nd ds ate mushrooms from the woods after a lady took us in the woods mushroom picking . ds and his little friend went off to pick on their own ! he was only 5yo at the time .
we'd no idea what he'd eaten . the hospital was at a loss . He had bad dreams all night 1 I'm not sure if it was brought on by the mushrooms or the stress from the whole ordeal .
Now we know about mushrooms !

However I think you are either a mushroom person or you are not . ds16 knows mushrooms he picks all the time , he grows his own mushroom . I just know not to eat any ! lol I do know a few very common ones so if lost in the wild I could pick .
This book was a bit expensive but well worth it . ds has a mushroom guide it is like his bible but I do not know the name of it . If you are really interested in it I would b happy to get the name for you

This is a book I have yet to read and so looking forward to it

As I've written before I am just so very curious of how Indigenous peoples gathered and worked with plants . My mother is where I get this from I think she and my sister both studied anthropology for yrs . She was saying how so much we have learned and focused on the hunting aspect of the hunter gatherers not the gathering . Lol I am a gatherer !
I love to learn how people found , collect , store and prepare all these plants be it for food , medical or spiritual it just intrigues me to no end

Again Daniel Moerman 's books are just such a wonderful source of information

I had thought this book might be to new agey or way out there for me . I tend to only like really historically factual based books when it comes to most subjects I am very traditional and want the root source , to know the how and why peoples came to the conclusions they did .
This book is not bad I've re-ordered it from the library as it has been many yrs since I last read it .
Later I am off to find more Ethnobotany info for children ☺

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cabbage roll cassarole

preheat oven 350

I made this for my dh the other night .The real goal had been to make him cabbage rolls. My dh loves Ukrainian food ☺
usually we make a cabbage roll casserole with the scrapes of cabbage left over from making rolls . However you can also make it as an easy cheat to save a bit of time in that you need not roll and fry each cabbage roll ;-)

First off I took 1/2 pack of bacon and chopped it raw and fried with 2 chopped onions . I then threw in lean ground beef and browned them altogether .
Now this is something about cabbage rolls . some people use raw ground beef and some use cooked . I chose to cook mine always because I just am to worried to start off with putting raw meat in the roll.
I should say that this is also the time I put on 2 c of raw long grain rice to cook 20min.

Once browned I added one can of dices tomatoes. and add salt & pepper .
I don't like garlic in cabbage rolls but you can add if you like

I cooked my cabbage how I would if I were to be making rolls just so You can see the method .
Normally if I'm just making casserole I'd chop the cabbage now and cook already chopped .
put a big pot of water on to boil and core your cabbage .

Place Your cabbage in the boiling water and place lid on .
The cabbage will slowly steam cook and You can then peel the leaves off one by one as they cook ☺

Okay this is a step only the good and old time cabbage roll makers do and it is a key step in great flavour ;-)
many people skip this because it adds another task to the job or people don't know of it .
Add butter to your cast iron pan

Pick off the leaves and place in butter

. Brown the leaves in the butter .
As I mentioned I normally would've chopped the cabbage up before cooking .

I also took my meat tomatoe mix and added rice to it . Mix all up and it is ready to roll or layer in casserole

Line the bottom of casserole with some juice from a can of tomatoes

Layer first with chopped browned cabbage , then layer with rice meat mixture .
keep layering ending with layer of cabbage

Now top with Tomatoe juice or more diced tomatoes .some people usually this is a German custom add thick cream to the juice .Some cheat and use canned tomatoe soup but I personally think it tastes gross .

Top casserole and cover , bake for 1/2hr -45min on 350 oven , as it is all already cooked it just needs to heat up well and let the flavours blend .
Like soups the flavour gets better over night ;-)

So below I saved one cabbage leaf to roll

simple easy , just scoop mixture onto cabbage leaf and roll

Then place in pan with butter and brown on both sides . Place rolls  in roaster or casserole don't forget to put juice on the bottom so they don't stick . Top them with the tomatoes juice as I did the casserole and bake the same in a covered pan .

Dream Pillow workshop

So , I thought I'd pop in to let those who follow my blog here that I am putting up a workshop on what dream pillows are and how to make them if anyone is interested in joining in .
Just go to my other blog The Cunning Crone 
where I have posted the intro info ☺  

Monday, January 9, 2012

In Hopes of Soap ☺Making Lard

Pork Fat

Yes , I have hope !
This was all spurred on and inspired by Melodie's soap giveaway post over on her blog

I had stored pork fat in my freezer since early Autumn .My sil and I planned to make lard then soap.
We'd read it is best to do the lard making in cold months as one needs to have the stove on all day and in summer months that can get very warm .
Of course this also was a very good excuse to procrastinate even more . with birthdays &winter holidays more excuses came . with time going by it also leads to lack of confidence , doubt that one could actually do this .
Well Melodie is one who does farmy type things all the time .
Yet what Melodie is far more than that , she shares and in a way that leaves one feeling "hey , I'm going to try that too !"
There are many blogs especially in the homeschool world with blogs by women who do it all. Often more often than not one is left that we don't do enough , and even worse these women some how always do it right .
Not Melodie !
I have great faith that dh & I can try farming . for me being a wild woman organized farming terrifies me !
just as I've written I'm a wild gardener I suspect I'm a wild farmer too lol
Melodie helps me feel and have hope it is okay to try and get this most of the time it probably will work out ☺
So my latest attempt was to get out that lard and go for it  .
I looked up a few recipes for rendering lard . The first book I read was in Carla Emery's book
and then a few websites  
I found I liked the wet method best for the pan I liked the best . 
I also found I like oven much better than stove top but I think two reasons factor into that outcome . @1 my fav pan is long and rectangular so best fits in the oven #2 the pot I used on the stove top was aluminum and the rind, meat stuck to the bottom of the pan . 
So I hauled the pork fat out of the freezer I then cut it up. Now another thing I found was I cut the pieces to big . I don't think I would do the grinder thing either as it would then make so many little floaty bits .My pieces were okay but hard to get hard good cracklings from .They have however made excellent treats for the birds & the dogs !

This is the pan I like the most . It is a heavy metal rectangular pan with high sides I found at the MCC thrift. It is usually used for canning . If you have access to a rural farm area try and visit any local thrift stores as this is where and how you can acquire such items .
I also used the dutch oven but I think I need not have added water to this batch as it cooked much slower then the pan .it was good though the heavier pots seem to have less problems with sticking .
It took a good few hrs of slow cooking for the water to evaporate and the fat to begin melting

I then would drain off the fat from the pans as it melted about every 1/2 hr after the initial heating of the fat and pan .Once a pan was full  & at room temp. I placed it in the fridge to get solid

I made 4 bread loaf & 2 cake pans full of lard .
what I would like tips on is . when it comes to storage . what to do. It was a bit messy taking it out of the pans .I think next time I might not scoop it out but try and cut it out and wrap in parchment paper . or line pans with parchment ? I need to have my pans for others use so I can't store the lard in them . So I scooped it into containers and bags .
So that is it !
There is hope for soap I think ☺