Re: [Nature-Studies] Hurricane fun

From: Noah
Sent on: Monday, October 29, 2012 5:57 AM
How do you distill pine oil in the woods?

Thanks, Noah

Guarden las semillas y lleven palas.

From: Hugh <[address removed]>
Sender: [address removed]
Date: Sat, 27 Oct[masked]:12:11 -0400
To: <[address removed]>
ReplyTo: [address removed]
Subject: [Nature-Studies] Hurricane fun

Hurricane Sandy reminds me that the Chinese word for “crisis” is made up of two characters, the first means “danger”; the second “opportunity.”

Right. After you batten down the hatches check your supplies, it's time to harvest everything you can before the wind blows it away.  I'm cutting my amaranth and lamb's quarters. To be quick about it I'm just gonna cut the branches and stuff them into plastic leaf bags the separate the seed during the storm.

Go collect a bunch of crab apples, any size color or shape. I brought home some pea-size yellow ones last weekend. Crabapples are all over right now. Save them to bring  out to the camp out, or ...cook them during the storm and fill the house with a wonderful smell. Just put them in a covered pot with a bit of water. Cook until very soft then put then through a ricer, or let them cool a bit and squish them through some mesh by hand. You now have Crab Applesauce which you can sweeten to taste with whatever you want to use. If you want Crab Apple-butter, also add some warm spices (cinnamon, mace, a touch of pepper, wild ginger (or calm ginger), sassafras root, cardamom, whatever floats your kayak. Cook it until it's thick and Voila! If you have picked some REALLY bitter crabapples you can throw in some regular apples to tone in down or to expand the recipe. Either way it's really good and if you put it into little prepared mason jars you have yourself unique Christmas presents.

While you're out you could gather Fall nettles and chick-weed and such, but they will probably survive the blow okay. Any nuts or seeds will likely blow away. I'm going to find some white oaks (look for the oak leaves with rounded leaves) and harvest a shopping bag full of acorns. One of the easiest ways to do this is to find an oak that overhangs a parking lot. With a broom and shovel you'll get a ton in no time flat. Separate the acorns with little holes in them, the bugs got there first. You can clean out the trash while you're enjoying the howling wind. It's okay if they've started to sprout a bit. Don't shell them until you're with in a couple of days of preparing them. Come to think of it, this might be the perfect time to let nature wash the tannins out of the acorns. Shell them then bust up the meat up a bit. Then put it a mesh bag and put that in a pot or clean bucket filled with water (so it doesn't blow away). Let Hurricane Sandy rinse the acorns for a few days. Oh yeah, the easiest way to bust up the acorns is to put them in a burlap bag and run over them a few times with the car. Plan B; put on your boots, crank up some late 70's punk and do the pogo on 'em.

The high winds will bring a bonus of falling trees and large branches. Gather up Cedar and Birch bark for great tinder and starter fuel and to distill into oil. Black birch twigs and pine needles are particularly pleasant for tea. If you want to distill some pine oil this will be a golden oppritunity. OR you could gather up said bark and branches and bring it out to the French Creek camp-out and we'll distill it there.

One more notable benefit of the Hurricane will be mushrooms. Yum....

Be safe and enjoy nature's opportunity, 
Hugh Brenner

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