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Friday, July 25, 2014

A New Beginning





Alcatraz Island in San Francisco California
Mill Creek Canyon with Daniel Suelo and Brandon Kiss!
Pictographs of the Anasazi 
Rafting on the Deschutes River in Maupin Oregon
Snow in June on Mt. Hood near Portland Oregon
This arrived In Indiana just mere days after I got back! THE VAGABOND- Created by Nathanael Hopkins from Adelaide Austrailia. Thank you friend for your generous gift! I will share it with as many people as I can! 
                                        http://www.thevagabondcomic.com/

Traveling west this spring right after the fall has turned out to be the single most eye opening experience in my mere 24 years of existence. I'm not the same person I was when I left. I have been traveling for over 3 years, homeless, as a vagabond, as a seeker, and often without money. Always looking for greener grass on the other side of the road so to say. After visiting Moab Utah, Las Vegas Nevada, San Francisco California, Vancouver Washington, and Portland Oregon, what have I concluded? ~Happiness and contentedness is found within you~ The same ideology I have been told time and time again by fellow travelers, monks, and wise elderly folks I have known my entire life. I have even preached these same words, only to fail at following through with them. What was my problem??? How did I go astray??? Incompetence in my own abilities, negativity, and fear of the unknown??? Partly.

I lived and traveled with a dear friend of mine for almost a year. We done everything together. Side by side, making plans to go to places far and abroad, living life together to the fullest! Seeing new cultures, making new friends, and just becoming new entities all together. In the back of my mind, I had other thoughts though. As much as I wanted to continue on this journey of mystery and excitement, I had to stop completely. My ability to travel and live simply wasn't the conflicting factor, but more or less the will to adapt to a new way of life just isn't in me. In the long run, my inability to learn new languages and my desire to remain close to family and friends, in the land I am ever so familiar with and have come around to love dearly- would effect not only my quest for happiness, but my partner's quest as well. Hindering both of our dreams. As hard as it was, I knew it best to let my partner follow her dreams, and for me to return to a way of life that I would find ever so fulfilling. S.L.F, I wish you the best on your journies. With much appreciation for everything you taught me, and for the opportunities you gave to me share my knowledge, I leave you with this:
Remember who you are and never forget it. Never let go of your dreams for anything.
Who are you?

"There's no meaning to a flower unless it blooms."-Yamanaka Ino



Quietly on a gloomy Tuesday morning, I hitchhiked out of Portland on I-84 east straight through Idaho and into Salt Lake City in one ride by a Mormon missionary named Jane Smith who's generosity and kind words are seldom matched. From there, a trucker named Jeff picked me up and dropped me off in Newton Kansas where I decided to hang out of about half a day to find food and potable water, as well as a nice shallow stream to wade into! From there I thumbed a ride just outside of Wichita Kansas where I got stuck at a truck stop for about a day and a half. Here I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. What is the best way to ease this great mystery of life and truly find fulfillment???

I'm stuck out here in the the middle of fucking nowhere, getting rained on, all alone, with no hope left to be found within me. Shivering, I just sat down. I could have died in this spot, and everything would have ok. Everything would have unfolded just as it was supposed to in this time and place. Such is the way of the universe, so let it be. No one mourns for the deer bloated and covered with flies in the ditch off to the side of the road. Why should I be held to a higher regard than this? We're all the same natural beings anyways. If I ever make it out of here, I am calling my family I thought. I just wanted to hear there voices so bad. As all hope is lost, being mentally and potentially reduced to common roadkill, a man pulled up in a truck and told me to get in. He was headed to Wichita.
-With no hesitation, I called my family, and they wanted to purchased a bus ride for me.
~straight into Fort Wayne Indiana. I gladly accepted their offer.


As I sit here writing this, quite some time has passed since I have been on the road. I have reconnected with family, friends (making some new ones in the process) as well as some positive hobbies I have long since abandoned throughout my nation wide travels. After pondering and thinking about ways to find fulfillment and happiness in its truest form, nothing has ever made more sense than it does now. I know what the key is. I know what the answers are, and they are more simpler than I have ever Imagined.
~Do what makes you happy!!! It really is as simple as that. This whole time I have been aimlessly wandering around the United States, seeking the answers I have already had written down this whole time. Stored right here within me. I never even had to leave!!!!!! I regret nothing of course. The friends I have made and experiences I have had and shared are priceless! When It comes down to my character and moral fiber, behold! This is what I strive accomplish. It always has been.

Maybe it's similar to your interests! If so, then please, feel free to take notes:




Small Home Living-

Equipped with solar electricity system, a well water system, and a composting area. A wood burning stove will not only give me access to heat in the blisteringly cold winter months, but will allow me to cook meals with ease, and allow me to boil unsanitary water year round. As for preservation of food, eating fruits and vegetables raw right out of my garden is paramount. For all other foods, salting and dehydrating edibles will be key, especially in the winter months.  My quarter acre property will be of a decent enough size, allowing wild and native plants/games to flourish unhindered. Growing fruit trees and vegetables are a must for anyone wanting to homestead, making the majority of my food intake to be from food I have grown organically.
All cultivated around the place of my residence.

I will be able to recycle food from waste bins as well since I'm living just outside of the city. Donating my produce to people in the vicinity is also in my itinerary of things to do once my property is established. Being off grid, there won't be any bills to pay. Except taxes. So living this way will allow me so much free time to volunteer labor for free, as I will only have to actually work a few months of day labor out of the year to make ends meet with my most basic needs. Using refuse items, borrowing and lending items are also in the plan! When all else fails, thrift shops will always be here to help me along.
Crafting items found in wilderness areas are never out of the question either. Simple.




Transportation-

As much as I want to get a vehicle, they just aren't cost effective. Gasoline, insurance costs, not to mention the hustle and bustle of daytime traffic, and the potential for legally binding liability issues to ensue every time an individual operates a car or truck. I just don't see it as a viable option in the sense of transportation in the way I am living. The amenities of down town, the waterways, and the local nature preserves/woods are just a stones throw away from my place of residence, so I see an opportunity to be the example of sustainability I wish to see in the area. Not to mention the world. I opt to walk, to cycle, or to take the local bus into areas I wish to reach. With just a backpack, either filled or empty, I can accomplish everything, and even more so, on my list for that particular day in general. Just try to keep up! Maybe even a 49cc scooter will come my way, but it isn't a personal goal of mine. I will always gladly accept any gift that is freely given.
Granting I can use it or re-gift it!



Cultivating Life-

I have always wanted to grow mass amounts of produce not only for my self, but for others as well. Teaching people the ways of growing organically, and to teach the ways of giving. Using natural compost/natural insecticides, and watering my produce with nutrient rich river water and collected rain water as well. ~I often find myself trying to change the way people look at their food and diet~ What's not used will be gifted to the needy, gifted to people who have more than they could ever use, and even sold under  pay-at-will terms! These funds will go to the taxes on my property and any other needs within the community, becoming a sort of retirement plan for me in my old age.

In Switzerland for example, it is common for people to exchange produce with others, all from their back yards, locally, and within their immediate communities. Cutting out the middle man all together! As we have become so dependent on grocery stores and processed foods, remember this line by a survivalist named Eugene Runkis: Food doesn't come FROM the grocery store, it goes TO the grocery store! Upon locally controlling our food supply, we not only help preserve the wild land lands that are all too often destroyed for agricultural profit, we increase our health by eating the way nature intended. Simply. We also connect with the people in our communities, making happier communities, decreasing depression from living in isolation void of human contact, and simply having fun! Our problems aren't system problems, be it politics or laws, but lack or culture and this sick idea of commodity. Our time is now! Break the chains of wanting endlessly for a living and start living for a living. Right here, right now, within the same communities we rest our heads every evening. Get involved!!!



Be your own supermarket!!!!
Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants-

I am going to provide a list of edible and medicinal plants I currently and will continue to use throughout my life. I have found these plants in every single state, making them worthy of knowing due to their mass availability. These plants have been used for thousands and thousands of years by mankind Oddly enough, a lot of people in our age haven't even taken a notice to them, though they grow within view right at the tips of our feet! These can be found on road sides, parks, wooded and vacant areas, as well as in yards of about any residence! I fully plan to grow and harvest these on my property for daily use. Check them out:

Acorns are very high in tannins, which make them very bitter and astringent when eaten raw. They need to be boiled or roasted, or both to make them palatable. The sweetest nuts come from the white, burr, and chestnut oaks. The black, pin, and red oak acorns are bitter. Tannin can be used for skin ailments, such as poison ivy. Natives have used tannin to tan animal hides.Collect the acorns in the fall, when ripe. Remove shells and caps. The shells will come off easier if you first slit them with a sharp knife. Boil the acorns whole for at least two hours, changing the water each time it becomes light brown in color. This boiling removes the bitterness and they become pleasantly sweet. You will find, after this boiling, that they are quite dark brown in color. Toast in a 350 degrees F oven for another hour. They can then be eaten as they are or ground into flour.
Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D. Dandelion contains protein too, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years and used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression. Seeds grow readily in your garden, planter boxes, or pots. If you collect them wild, try to choose ones you know have not been subjected to pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals. The ones in your lawn are not the best. Pick them instead from a mountain meadow or abandoned lot. Seeds can be bought or you can gather them from the familiar puff balls you see each summer. Dandelion leaves can also be found fresh in some health food markets or as a freeze-dried herb. Dandelion tea, capsules, and tinctures are also available. 
Cancer – Dandelion acts against cancer to slow its growth and prevent its spread. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer. Diabetes – Recent animal studies show promise that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also regulate blood pressure. Cholesterol – Animal studies have shown that dandelion lowers and control cholesterol levels. Gallbladder – Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages. Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling. Immune System – Animal studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi.


One of the reasons I'm so fond of wood sorrels is the taste. It's deliciously sour, but in a pleasant, non-bitter way. It reminds me of lemons, and in fact, the French used to blend dried wood sorrel with sugar and make a "lemon free lemonade powder."

As with most sour vegetables, it's very high in Vitamin C and has medicinal properties (see below.)

It's very refreshing on hot days. Since it can often be found along trails, it is a perfect mid-hike thirst quencher. The leaves, flowers, green seed pods, and roots are all edible, raw or cooked. It can be eaten straight out of the ground, added to soups, made into a sauce, or used as a seasoning. As a seasoning, it provides a lemony/vinegary taste to whatever it's added to.

It's been traditionally popular as a compliment to fish, and makes a great stuffing for fresh fish on the campfire (yum!) In lieu of a blender to make "lemonade powder," you can just boil it with sugar, then let it cool, and you'll have a sweet sorrel tea that tastes similar to lemonade.

It has diuretic, antiscorbutic (which means it treats scurvy) and cooling properties. The cooling factor is very useful in treating fevers. The diuretic property can help with urinary disorders, and it has been used to treat hemorrhages. HOWEVER, it should NOT be used by anyone with kidney disorders or rheumatic disorders. The oxalic salts are also bad for people who suffer from gout.

It's soothing to the stomach, relieves indigestion, can produce an appetite, and can help stop vomiting. It also acts as an astringent, which constricts blood vessels...useful to help stop bleeding. Sorrels are attributed with blood cleansing properties and are sometimes used by cancer patients.

Pineapple weed is native to many areas of northeast Asia and North America, including the state of Colorado, where I live and where my mother-in-law and I observed it growing.  It is a hardy weed and grows in poor, compacted soils; thus, pineapple weed can be a good indicator of where the soil has been compacted or recently been disturbed.  It thrives where there is not much competition from other indigenous plants, which is why so far I have not observed it growing very far away from where humans have previously cleared the land or continue to compact the soil with vehicles.  The plant grows from 2 to 16 inches in height, and flowers from March through September.

Native Americans used Matricaria discoidea for a variety of medicinal and cultural purposes.  Medicinal uses include treating gastrointestinal upset and gas, infected sores, fevers, menstrual pain and postpartum anemia.  Many Native American nations also used pineapple weed as a perfume, insect repellent, preservative, jewelry, and in sun dance and sweat lodge ceremonies.

I was delighted to find out that pineapple weed is edible – and not only that, it makes a good herbal tea! According to several sources, one can make pineapple weed tea by steeping a small handful of young flower heads in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.  Following these directions, I made a cup of this tea myself, which tastes like a sweeter version of chamomile tea – delicious! 

Unlike some of their fellow cruciferous vegetables, mustard greens have not been the direct focus of most health-oriented research studies. However, mustard greens have sometimes been included in a longer list of cruciferous vegetables that have been lumped together and studied to determine potential types of health benefits. Based upon several dozen studies involving cruciferous vegetables as a group (and including mustard greens on the list of vegetables studied), cancer prevention appears to be a standout area for mustard greens when summarizing health benefits.

This connection between mustard greens and cancer prevention should not be surprising since mustard greens provide special nutrient support for three body systems that are closely connected with cancer development as well as cancer prevention. These three systems are (1) the body's detox system, (2) its antioxidant system, and (3) its inflammatory/anti-inflammatory system. Chronic imbalances in any of these three systems can increase risk of cancer, and when imbalances in all three systems occur simultaneously, the risk of cancer increases significantly. Among all types of cancer, prevention of the following cancer types is most closely associated with intake of mustard greens: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Detox Support Provided by Mustard Greens

The detox support provided by mustard greens includes antioxidant nutrients to boost Phase 1 detoxification activities and sulfur-containing nutrients to boost Phase 2 activities. Mustard greens also contain phytonutrients called glucosinolates that can help activate detoxification enzymes and regulate their activity. At least three key glucosinolates have been clearly identified in mustard greens in significant amounts: sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

If we fail to give our body's detox system adequate nutritional support, yet continue to expose ourselves to unwanted toxins through our lifestyle and our dietary choices, we can place our bodies at increased risk of toxin-related damage that can eventually increase our cells' risk of becoming cancerous. That's one of the reasons it's so important to bring mustard greens and other cruciferous vegetables into our diet on a regular basis.

The Antioxidant Benefits of Mustard Greens

As an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), and manganese, mustard greens give us high level support for four conventional antioxidant nutrients. But the antioxidant support provided by mustard greens extends far beyond these conventional nutrients and into the realm of phytonutrients. Hydroxycinnamic acid, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and kaempferol are among the key antioxidant phytonutrients provided by mustard greens. This broad spectrum antioxidant support helps lower the risk of oxidative stress in our cells. Chronic oxidative stress—meaning chronic presence of overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and cumulative damage to our cells by these molecules—is a risk factor for development of most cancer types. By providing us with a diverse array of antioxidant nutrients, mustard greens help lower our cancer risk by helping us avoid chronic and unwanted oxidative stress.

Mustard Greens' Anti-inflammatory Benefits

As an excellent source of vitamin K, mustard greens provide us with great amounts of a hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrient. Vitamin K acts as a direct regulator of our inflammatory response. While glucobrassicin (a glucosinolate found in many cruciferous vegetables, and the precursor for the anti-inflammatory molecule indole-3-carbinol) does not appear to be present in mustard greens in significant amounts, other glucosinolates present in mustard greens may provide important anti-inflammatory benefits and are the subject of current research.
Like chronic oxidative stress and chronic weakened detox ability, chronic unwanted inflammation can significantly increase our risk of cancers and other chronic diseases (especially cardiovascular diseases).

Mustard Greens and Cardiovascular Support

Researchers have looked at a variety of cardiovascular problems—including heart attack, ischemic heart disease, and atherosclerosis—and found preliminary evidence of an ability on the part of cruciferous vegetables to lower our risk of these health problems. Yet regardless of the specific cardiovascular problem, it is one particular type of cardiovascular benefit that has most interested researchers, and that benefit is the anti-inflammatory nature of mustard greens and their fellow cruciferous vegetables. Scientists have not always viewed cardiovascular problems as having a central inflammatory component, but the role of unwanted inflammation in creating problems for our blood vessels and circulation has become increasingly fundamental to an understanding of cardiovascular diseases. While glucoraphanin (a glucosinolate found in many cruciferous vegetables, and the precursor for sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate with important anti-inflammatory properties) does not appear to be present in mustard greens in significant amounts, other glucosinolates present in mustard greens may provide important anti-inflammatory benefits and are the subject of current research.
A second area you can count on mustard greens for cardiovascular support involves their cholesterol-lowering ability. Our liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to product bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in our gall bladder, and when we eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When we eat mustard greens, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of our body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, our liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon our existing supply of cholesterol, and as a result, our cholesterol level drops down. Mustard greens provide us with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether they are raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw mustard greens improves significantly when they are steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed mustard greens was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), mustard greens bound 34% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fiber).

Plantain is one of the most common herbs found growing in North America. It can literally be seen growing out of the cracks of sidewalks and roads, found on the majority of homeowners lawns, cultivated or waste ground and even in places where there is little sun. Not only is this plant abundant everywhere, it is present for good reason. There is an old saying that plants grow where they are needed most. In the case of plantain, it is clear that this plant is greatly needed in the urban societies we live in today, as we suffer from many illnesses in which this plant can offer help. The plantain is a clumped perennial herb which grows to about 10cm in height. These plants form dense, slender, 3-30 cm long spikes, with conspicuous yellow stamens that stick out, blooming from May to September. There are two types of plantain; a) common plantain (as seen in the diagram) and narrow-leaved plantain which have narrower leaves with several prominent ribs. Generally speaking, these plants can be found growing nearly everywhere in Canada. The following are some of the plants common food and medicinal uses. 

Food 

It is easy to pull this common weed from the garden without even realizing that it is probably more nutritious than most of the leafy greens we tend to eat. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads and sandwiches; however, as they age they become stringy and rather tough, sometimes to the point where they cannot be eaten without cooking them. In cooking the leaves, this improves palatability, whereby making it possible to remove some of the tough fibres. Also, chopping the leaves into finer pieces render it easier to eat.


Many people believe that the taste resembles that of Swiss chard. Further to this, the seeds can also be dried and ground into a meal or flour for its use in making bread or pancakes - an excellent way to save money on groceries and fuel your body with quality nutrients. Plantain is rich in magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Medicine

The leaves as well as the juice have been widely used as topical substances in poultices and lotions for treating sunburns, stings, insect bites, snakebites, poison ivy breakouts, rashes, burns, blisters, and cuts.

Furthermore, the leaves have also been heated and applied topically to swollen joints, sore muscles, sprains, and sore feet. Interestingly enough, Plantain is a common folk remedy in many part of Latin America for treating cancer. It has also been used for many centuries in treating sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and mouth sores.

Studies have shown that plantain has anti-inflammatory effects, and it is also rich in tannin (which helps draw tissues together to stop bleeding) and allantoin (a compound that promotes healing of injured skin cells). Further studies have indicated that plantain may also reduce blood pressure, and that the seeds of the plant may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Plantain seeds were also widely used as a natural laxative, given their high source of fibre. Teas made from the plant, were used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, intestinal worms, and bleeding mucous membranes. The roots were also recommended for relieving toothaches and headaches as well as healing poor gums.

Other Uses
It is believed that plantain tea was used as a hair rinse for presenting dandruff. 
The rather strong fibres within the leaves were also used for making thread, fishing line and even cloth.



Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a common weed in cultivated soils throughout the United States. You won't find purslane in the supermarket or health food store (yet); you'll have to discover it in the wild, which is very easy to do if you look during the summer. In the country, look in gardens. In the city, look in flower beds and planters.
With its thick red recumbent (laying on the ground) stalks and its small fleshy green leaves, purslane looks like a tender succulent, not a hardy annual whose seeds find it easy to survive long cold winters. When you find purslane, harvest it by cutting the tender tips -- as little as one inch or as much as eight inches, depending on the size of the plant.

Eat fresh purslane alone dressed with olive oil and vinegar or lightly sauteed in butter, or add it to salads and soups. TryPurslane Pickles (recipe below). Or cool off with Purslane Gazpacho (recipe below.)
Herbalist James Duke says purslane contains up to 4000 ppm of the omega-3 fatty-acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA); that means a 100 gram serving (between 3 and 4 ounces) contains 400 mg of ALA. Purslane-fed chickens lay eggs that have twenty times more omega-3's than regular eggs. Eating purslane is tastier, safer, and more effective than taking omega-3 supplements. To increase the effect, Duke suggests adding walnut oil to your purslane.
Purslane counters depression. It is one of the five herbs -- lettuce, amaranth greens, lamb's quarters greens, and watercress are the other four -- richest in antidepressant substances. Purslane is a superior source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phenylalanine, and tryptophan, all of which are known to moderate the effects of depressive brain chemicals.

Purslane is loaded with nutrients. A single one-cup serving contains all the vitamin E you need in a day, as well as significant amounts of vitamin C and pro-vitamin A. Purslane is one of the very best sources of magnesium. One cup supplies your minimum daily need of 450 mg. Lack of magnesium is associated with diabetes, migraines, osteoporosis, hypertension, and asthma.
And, that one cup of fresh purslane gives you over 2000 mg of calcium and 8000 mg of potassium. Women who take calcium supplements do nothing to strengthen their bones. Women who eat foods rich in calcium -- such as yogurt, stinging nettles, and purslane -- have flexible bones which resist breaking.

Purslane seeds have been found in caves in Greece that were inhabited 16,000 years ago.
Does purslane have a place in your life? Remember that herbs are not drugs and they don't work in drug-like ways. Herbs nourish, strengthen, and tonify. Their effects are deep-rooted and may be slow to become visible. Because purslane is a food, it is generally considered safe to use it even if you are taking multiple drugs. As the effects of the purslane become apparent, and if your medical advisor agrees, you may wish to slowly lessen the amount and number of drugs and supplements you take.

Red Clover Herb is often compared to alfalfa both for its nutritional value and appearance. They are reported to have diuretic, expectorant, antispasmodic and estrogenic properties.
Red Clover herb is a blood purifier that increases the body’s production of urine and mucous and promotes menstrual flow.
Contain bitter compounds that increase the production of digestive fluids and enzymes, especially bile. These compounds also shrink inflammation and relieve pains. Red clover is an excellent herbal source of calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Red Clover Herb is high or very high on the following nutrients:


  • Calcium
  • Chromium
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Thiamine
  • Vitamin C
  • Almost every part of Cattail is useful or edible. In spring, when the flower spikes first emerge, the unripe, green female part is picked. These are often referred to as 'cobs' and indeed, they somewhat resemble baby corn on the cob. However, their inner core is quite wiry and can't be eaten. To prepare them, boil them for a few minutes until tender and season with salt and butter. They can be nibbled like corn on the cob, although this can be a little fiddly, since unlike corn, they are not very big. Another method would be to scrape off the tender, grainy part and mix it either with another grain, like Quinoa or Bulghar wheat, or, as Euell Gibbons recommends, blend it in a ratio of 2:1 with breadcrumbs, 1 beaten egg and perhaps a little cheese, season to taste and bake in a casserole. Imaginative wild weed chefs might dream up endless variations on this type of theme.

    If you did not raid the entire stand of cattails for their cobs you will soon afterwards be rewarded with a harvest of pollen. The pollen is the yellow stuff that develops on the male part of the flower, which is the skinny bit on top of the brown velvety female flower part. Pollen develops in quite plentiful quantities, so if you catch it before the wind distributes it in the surrounding swamp, you can easily collect a sizable amount. However, harvesting the pollen does require a little practice. The best method is to carefully bend the top of the spike over and cover with a paper or plastic bag (bread bags are great). Shake the stem vigorously. If you have a decent size patch of Cattails to harvest you should be able to quickly gather a pound or more. The pollen can be used like flour, although it is best mixed with regular flour. You can substitute up to 30-50% of regular flour in a recipe with cattail pollen. The pollen-flour imparts a fine flavour along with a lovely yellow colour to your cookies, pancakes, muffins or what have you.

    The rootstock can also be turned into usable flour, although the processing is quite hard work. First you have to pull them up from the swamp and clean them thoroughly. It is best to peel them immediately, as the outer peel comes off more easily while the root is fresh. Once cleaned and peeled the root is chopped into smaller pieces and dried. Finally the dried roots can be ground and sifted until only a fine flour remains that can be used for baking. Euell Gibbons suggests his own method of processing, which isn't a whole lot easier, but yields a better tasting flour (according to his account at least - I haven't tried this method myself to verify). His method starts off by cleaning and peeling the roots, just like in the previous example, but then, instead of chopping and drying them, he washes and crushes them in a bucket of water until all the fibres are separated and the starch has been washed out. Allowing the starch to settle at the bottom, one can separate the 'wheat from the chaff' as it were. The slimy water can be discarded. Fresh water is added and the starch is stirred up and washed some more. Two to three such rinses thoroughly clean the starch and refine it. On the last round allow the starch to firmly settle at the bottom of your bucket before you drain off all the water you can squeeze from it. The remaining flour can be dried or used immediately, as is.
    But even that does not exhaust the options for what this productive plant has to offer. When the young plants emerge and are about 2 feet high one can 'pull their hearts out' as it were - the inner white part of the young shoots is a tender delicacy, which can be eaten raw or boiled to resemble asparagus. The young plants develop from knobs that form on the rhizomes, and these too can be collected before they grow into actual plants. They can be eaten either raw in salads, or baked or boiled as a starchy vegetable side.

    The only inedible parts of Cattails are the leaves, but even they have their uses. Cattail and reeds, for that matter, are important fibre plants. Cattail leaves can be collected, freed of their central spine and dried. Once dried they are re-hydrated to make them pliable before they are woven into matting, as used to be used for making seating of chairs, or woven into 'grass-baskets' or Panama style hats.
    However, having said all this about this amazingly versatile plant, there are a few things to consider before you delve into a Cattail foraging frenzy.
    Firstly, Cattails usually grow in slow flowing or stagnant waters, which are often highly polluted. In fact, cattails provide a valuable cleaning service by filtering out toxins from such murky streams. So harvesting the roots for example not only impairs Mother Nature's filtering system, but also means that these toxins will end up in your filtering system instead.
    Also, Reeds, Rushes and Cattails all help to stabilize river banks and stop erosion. Wetlands are a fragile and endangered habitat. Many species of waterfowl depend on them as a nesting place. 

    Crashing through the rushes and reeds during nesting season as you poke around for edible parts puts a lot of stress on the birds. Thus consider carefully when and where you are going to pick and what you are going to harvest.
    Personally I do not harvest any roots or shoots in order to avoid negatively impacting next year's growth. The pollen and the cobs are by far the safest and easiest parts to collect. Furthermore, it requires some skill to distinguish young Cattails from young Yellow Irises - which are poisonous, so unless you are an experienced forager and know how to distinguish these plants before their flowering parts appear, it may be better to leave those young plants alone.
    Last, but not least, Cattail is said to have a certain emmanogogue action and should therefore be avoided during pregnancy
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    Exploring Woods, Preserves, and Waterways-

    Acquiring a kayak has been on my mind every since I got back into Indiana. Having one at my disposal, I will be able to navigate through the various rivers and streams in the area. This will also give me the ability to access the abundance of resources available not only in the waters, but the resources available in the multiple wooded lots/parks along the rivers and reservoirs. When accessing areas where water transportation isn't an option, I tend to cycle or walk, take fields, roadways, and train tracks to these areas where learning, exploring, foraging, hunting, fishing, and inner reflection- my absolute favorite past times- can be performed with ease. Not to mention a means to live off grid and within the boundaries of a true and natural existence. Simply. Within nature, as it intended.


    The Maumee River- One of the three rivers that divides my city of residence from the east side

    The Lindenwood Nature Preserve- Located on the west side
    Fox Island/Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve- Located in the south side

    Metea Park and Cedar Creek- Located on the north side
    Having nature so close, no matter my location, the only problem I ever find myself having is deciding which area to explore on any given day. Decisions Decisions!



    Make every day a party to remember!


    Hosting Travelers and Creating an Intentional Community-  ~Within the Community~

    With all of the produce that will need tending to, and with all of the empty space I will have available, It only makes sense to start a micro intentional community. I want to see to it that any travelers in the area have a place to lay their heads at night while exploring the area. (Before they decide to head off into their next great destination.) As a soon to be member of a local farmers and growers collaborative called Plowshares, therefore, members of the community will have the option to be very very active in spreading the awareness of gift economy and the ability to be active in various local organizations, such as
    Food Not Bombs Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Indiana Rainbow Family, Young Urban Homesteaders,
    and the Save Maumee Grassroots Organization.
    Did I mention to reside on this property, all you will have to do is show up and get involved?
    ~IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING, CONTACT ME VIA GOOGLE+, FACEBOOK, OR LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW~
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    Reflection: An Afterthought-


    As I leave my hoboin and nomadic life behind, the wild in me will always remain:

    Even the wildest of animals are capable of being tamed.
    Even the blind in our society are capable of seeing the darkness around them.

    Through commodity, the darkness ensues.
    Through community, light of men shines through.

    Locality is key if we are flourish as a healthy and balanced species.
    The earth's ecosystem depends upon our compliance.

    When in tribes, the knife will always bind.
    When we divide, the blade becomes tainted in bane.

    In nature, balance is everywhere.
    Man and nature are one in the same.

    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”― Henry David ThoreauWalden: Or, Life in the Woods




    Remember who you are.