Bad Forager: Mistaking Hemlock for Fennel

...ibble. I will also put lots of emphasis on tasting and smelling everything an experienced forager identifies for me. Those senses have long memories, and are hard to fool. Some notes on hemlock: I’ve always been wary of baby hemlock. It likes to grow where chickweed grows, so its easy to pull up a few hemlock sprouts along with young chickweed, and it doesn’t take much fresh hemlock in your salad to make you very sick. The main poison...

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How to Remove Bees From a Tree

The Los Angeles Fire Department responds to the North Hollywood bee incident. Photo: LAFD. First let’s cover how not to remove bees from a tree. My beekeeping mentor Kirk Anderson described an incident that took place this week in North Hollywood, What happened was a HUMAN was cutting his tree down. It came down alright, with the bees that were in the tree. The bees didn’t expect or enjoy the trip to the ground. The home owner ran wi...

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Bisphenol-A

Above, the bisphenol-A or BPA molecule, a type of plastic found in all kinds of products including baby bottles, plastic food containers, Nalgene bottles, some wines (from the plastic stoppers and the lining of fermentation tanks) and the lining in metal cans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it’s safe, a viewpoint contradicted by at least 100 studies. The problem: BPA is a endocrine disruptor linked to a host of problems, acco...

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Polyculture

...late maturing varieties. 4 weeks after sowing you can pull some of the first radishes, because they grow fast. As you eat those, put the cabbage seedlings in the holes. 6 weeks after sowing you can eat the lettuce. First as a baby lettuce mix, later in its more mature leafing form. Pull out entire plants to make space, so things don’t get too crowded. Continue this way until the soil warms up. As you eliminate lettuce plants, begin to put b...

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How to Cook Broadleaf Plantain

...so bitter and heavily veined, so I prefer to collect it as a medicinal herb. I infuse it into oil that I put into salves and creams and I use it as a fresh poultice on itchy bites and hives. But eating it? Meh. I’ll put baby leaves in a salad. Erik has sprinkled the leaves on pizzas--and I’ll eat anything on a pizza. The seeds can be collected and used in seedy applications. But all in all, the flavor and tough texture of plantain lef...

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Alternatives to the Funeral Industrial Complex

...into the horrific tales of abuse, theft of dental fillings, reusing graves, etc. The good news is that there seems to be a growing alternative funeral movement. The monks won their court case. And I have a feeling that as the baby boomer generation begins to grasp its own mortality, we’ll begin to see more changes. Either that or the funeral industry will start marketing fake green burials (they probably have already). What prompted this ra...

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Saturday Linkages: Alphabet Birdhouses, Ancient Cheese and the World’s Worst Cookbooks

...cides in Tap Water to Rise in Food Allergies http://inhabitat.com/new-research-links-pesticides-in-tap-water-to-rise-in-food-allergies/ … The world’s worst cookbooks: http://yuckylicious.blogspot.com Does Costco Destroy Baby Manatees? MoJo’s Eco-Doom Headline Generator http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/12/mother-jones-fake-headline-generator … For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter: Follow @rootsimple...

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The Return of the Fraternal Society

...ritual.” That is, just a social club with some strange outfits and, in the case of the Shriners and after-hours “side degrees,” some silly rituals like riding a fake goat or driving around in tiny cars. The baby boomer generation simply did not join fraternal organizations and membership swiftly declined until just recently. To some extent, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have fulfilled some of the roles fraternal...

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Deep Bedding for Chickens

...time, the floor of the coop and/or run becomes a deep soft deposit of compost. Ours is sort of like quicksand. We throw all sorts of stuff in there–kitchen scraps, huge stalks of bolted lettuce, armloads of nasturtium, squash rinds–whatever goes in vanishes within a day or two. The hens peck at it until all the good stuff is gone. Then they trample it. Then they bury it. It all becomes one. Wear and weather break down the bedding, so...

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Giveaway: What’s your favorite tip?

...vestock, foraging, cleaning, cooking, building, general common sense–really, it can be just about anything. And the tip doesn’t have to be big and profound. Something like “X is my favorite variety of winter squash” is just fine. You can also tell us of a mistake you’ve made, something you’ve learned the hard way–a mistake is just an inverse tip! This way, the comments on this page will be a fascinating r...

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