Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growing Local Conference

Okay I'm not quite hyped up as I was on Sunday the day after the Growing Local Conference .
But yes still inspired & full of hope ☺
I actually only got in for one day under the subsidy as one day was booked full .
The ceremony began on Thursday evening with intro and so beautiful Hoop Dance .
I'd not seen the Hoop dance in close to 20 yrs so it was something .
 The guest speaker for the opening was Winona Laduke .She is a speaker & activist along with many other roles.
Her speech was really good my interest of course peaked when she began speaking of community growing Indigenous foods , teaching & feeding kids etc. It was very inspiring to keep on plugging away to establish connections within our own community and teach & learn together .
It was beautiful to see so many First Nations communities represented and I hope soon others from our area will catch on too ;-)
As with many conferences the day was broken into sessions . There were a few I did not get to see which I really wish could've been repeated .However I do not regret any of the sessions I did chose as all were informative .
The first workshop was about wild gardening . Yes I do this already but I learn knew things all the time . What I learned was new plants , that was a bonus , what was not really much help is the plants are mostly prairie & southern MB plants , which we are not in either the prairie or southern section . However new info may lead to help another so best to store it away in my brain for further use perhaps ☺
What I realize is that we need teachers up in our area ! and yes I honestly believe we can do it . The most info I received was on how to make use of time within a workshop , what ideas do use etc.
I can see teaching people how to use product from the Boreal forest in a sustainable way for medicines & food .
Then I thought I could also do a whole other workshop on spiritual food !
So I'm thinking of ideas for Indigo & I to put together .
I also really want to work on finding a local market to sell our teas and medicines etc.
He has a ton of chaga he found ☺
The 2nd workshop session was really great because it was from a Cree Nation in SK and how they have begun and expand a gardening program over the last I believe 5 yrs . They've 60 acres and began gardening 2 acres to start. with help from a fellow out of the Uof SK over the yrs they have increased the garden size and those employed . all people are paid . They hire 10 new people each yr , every yr those who stay on get a raise in wages . they then can train other workers. The goal in the beginning was to help the community feed itself . Now they began to sell the access food grown to the town nearby . They are building a new storage / packaging facility too.
They hope to expand into livestock at some point too.
 What I was a tad disappointed in was the lack of mention of Indigenous foods if any to be grown . the potato was the main crop spoken of .
All in all though it was very uplifting to hear of communities success to support themselves which as we become less and less global we are going to have to return to communities be more self sustaining especially for future generations .
My last session was about root cellars . The man presenting turns out I knew him from ages ago. They live in an intentional community .
Okay he is brilliant like my dh ;-) however what I found is he is not the best of presenters. I think he'd have done well to have a young spunky speaker along with him . However I did learn most of what root cellars do need , humidity & ventilation keep water out etc.
he said stone would be an excellent material to build a cellar with .
anyway I really enjoyed myself .
I really liked all the speakers & presenters very much . I got to hang with my dear friend Mary because she was volunteering .
I met new beautiful people as well .
So I was left with some new ideas & lots of hope for tomorrow to come

Tree books & pages

I have slowly ( very slowly ) been trying to finish up the info pages on my blogs . These are the tabs at the top of the blogs . I had fully intended to get them all up and done when I began blogging but many have been empty for , dare I say several yrs .
So I have added some info to each page on this blog and today I got my scanner working again . so added these fav books of mine I received via my Mum over the yrs . some have been extremely helpful in the homeschool too for those children we've had who are interested in arborealogical studies .
anyway just a quick update to let those who follow know ☺

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sustainable Wild Crafting

As we get closer to our goal of moving .I am getting deeper into my understanding of my call as well of the call as a family to go deeper into our life of Sustainable

I feel more and more the need to teach & educate others in our area about proper methods of harvesting from the forest . The purpose of wild crafting .
To teach people not to harvest to access . To harvest with a gentle touch as much as possible . To know the proper times of yr. and amounts which can be safely harvested .
The area in which my family is from has gone through periods of economic hardships . Decline in population at times then boosts in both economy & population.
That is life , up & down .
I notice a difference though from my great and grand parents time . Now I know there always have been people who do out of greed throughout history . Yet I see a change in both how the cottagers in the area wish to live in an sustainable way as do the majority of local folk.
A cottage has gone from a 1-2 room dwelling to a huge city type dwelling . People become used to convenience rather than trying to give it up .
People sell land to attain money rather than live off it . People want ATV and satellite tv .
Locals get used to they should have a $20k truck because that was what they've become used to .
There no longer is train nor bus service . Everyone drives and their children drive and their children's children drive .
My Mother & I are worried for the area not only by development but people seeing the forest as a cash crop in the wild crafting industry .
There is nothing more saddening then to come upon an area of old growth forest ravaged for a certain medicine and 1550-200yo trees left behind . That is not the traditional way to pick medicines .
When we pick the trees we are also conscience of the forest floor , the moss has purpose , the bear berry and winter green etc. my ds and I counted 21 moccasin lady slippers one yr. We try and be aware of all our forest friends big & small.
Wild crafting purpose for us anyway is to self sustain our family first .
Then if we can help community , teach others so they can help their own families .
Then if other local communities within the city need help obtaining local product we can help too . Yet I feel the need not to be global with this to remain local because I truly feel Creator gave all peoples enough to self sustain . Yes at times people have had to migrate because of weather conditions , following herds etc.
I also have a feeling our children's children and future generations will not be able to have access as swiftly and easily to plants from other continents . So it is best we learn to use what we have here so they too can pass on these wisdoms .
So the best way to learn and do wild crafting are
find others who know and share your same passion .
use local books on native plants be they field guides , dvd or books on ethno botany .
Try and get as much info you can from original peoples of the area how they hunted and gathered .what puirpose did they use materials for . How did they harvest and sustain themselves .

learning together as a family & teaching little ones

gathering together different food sources more and more is my goal be it berries for teas , syrups and hearty meals . I very much want to learn how to harvest wild rice .

gather flowers

different items can be used for medicinal and cosmetic use such as bath teas , creams , hair oils & bath salts

we gather as much that has already washed up on the shore  or fallen  in the forest

Different items are gathered at different times of yr.

To make wonderful projects together

the children make homemade beads and other crafts

dh and I make walking and prayer sticks

wise owl has some wonderful wood work too

adventure boy also has some projects he works on

the clay oven is something we have yet to perfect

the forest provides much for home decor and children's play things .

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Body Odor ~ Oh Yeah

Yep , it happened .
I stink ! something horrid too . similar like cat urine or at times even skunky .
I have been struggling with this issue since the onset of Menopause .
Not peri , but yes that dreaded meno .
I began having night and day hot sweats . I gained weight .
With all that , came , you guessed it sweat .
Not just sweet scented summertime sweat . Nope horrid stinky to much bacteria sweat .
I am not an anti sweat person nor am I an anti body odor person .
When my dh comes in from all his hard hot work I love his scent . When he worked out of town for long periods I did what many women do , save his shirt so I could sleep with it at night or when feeling low sit quietly on my bed and take in a nice long whiff
One of our boys has a stinky sweat problem but unlike me the chlorophyll tabs seem to have helped .
I am a person who barely ever sweat , I loved the heat , I spend hr upon hr in the rays of the sun raising children , tending gardens , picking berries. Longing for MX .
Then the age of 45 set in . I tried my salt stick which had always worked and nothing . I also now have to wash my pits each and every morning !
By the days end I stink something awful .
Then it happened !

The Lemon !
Blissful sunshiney lemon .
All it takes is the gentle squish to release some juice and then rub under my arm pits .
Stink gone !
yes it does mildly sting . I find blowing gently just a few seconds cools it and I'm fine .
There are a ton of self made deodorants out there that look great . However I am so happy with this I take up a fresh lemon half to the bathroom , I can leave it for up to 5 days it is fine it naturally seals and dries out on top .
So I wash , lightly pat dry and apply my lemon juice by rubbing the lemon half on the armpit .
So dh says I need ingest more vinegar . He is right of course . blah .
so I'm determined to eat 1-2 T of cider vinegar each day to try and get this bacteria down within my body .
However even so the lemon is working and great .
A lady had told me yrs ago about lime and I dismissed her . Yet it makes sense lime kills bacteria too . We would use it to treat water in MX all the time .
So for now this is it for me .
I'm not sure if it would bleach the underarm of a shirt perhaps ? I never have bothered to check being mostly a plaid shirt gal my fashion sense does not call for unstained clothing . However some women work in the office place like our dd25 so further investigation would be a benefit .
Here is a recipe for some natural deodorant using baking soda, oil and cornstarch . It is warned that the oil can stain clothing .
anyway that is about it for now but from one stinkaholic to another ( come on I know I'm not the only one . right ? ) the lemon is doing the trick ! come nightfall no stinky what so ever .
Oh and just a tip . Do not , I repeat do not place juice on freshly shaved pits nor if you have been scratching !

Saturday, February 4, 2012

And we have Ginger Beer !

Yes we do Lol !
I posted for our plans to celebrate Imbolc that I was going to attempt making ginger beer
I did not want to list the recipes for items until we'd actually given them a go .
Well they all worked out wonderfully especially the gingerbeer .
Now as I mentioned this is not the fermented kind which my sil makes from the Wild Fermentation Book not everyone is like she and her brother my dh .He loves vinegar hence me making cider vinegar in Autumn .Nope I maybe can handle a mild rice vinegar that is it .
Gingerbeer to me is like a sweet bubbly drink .
My Mum said her Mum always made ginegr beer and kept it in a big hige crock in the celler . It was non alcoholic and not fermented as my grandparents abstained from alcohol .

So when looking for recipes and crafts for Imbolc in my Irish Festivals Book what did I see ? !
Yes a recipe for Ginger Beer ! How on earth did I miss this ! I've had th book for many yrs and never saw the recipe til now !
So I tried it and it worked !
My ds24 said it was a bit to yeasty so I might cut back the yeast . Then dh said no just switch bread yeast for brwers yeast .However I doubt my Gramma had brewers yeast she would've just had bakers yeast I'm sure .
So here is the recipe
ST.Brigid's Day Ginger Beer
1 handful of ginger root
1lb sugar or 2 1/2c sugar
5 litres water
1/2 T bread yeast
2 lemons
1/4 T cream of tartar

slice or grate ginger root , also grate lemon peel and juice lemons .

add to a large bowl with sugar and cream of tartar

Boil the water and pour into bowl disolving sugar . Cool until hand hot .
Meanwhile sprikle yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar into 1/2c lukewarm water and let sit 10-15min
then stir and add into bowl mixture .

Cover the bowl with a cloth and let sit 24 hrs .

Then syphen or strain liquid from bowl into bottles . I ended up getting some of the ginger strips in the bottle but it actually looks nice when floating in the cup later on .
Bottle and store in a dark cool place for 2-3 days .
Then it is ready to serve !

Warning , open it up over the sink the very first time Lol .It does fizz like mad .
So there it is easy breezy You can do it too .
I think this would be really nice in summer months as my Mum remembers it . Served with a sprig of wild mint to chew on .