Tuberous sunflower (Helianthus tuberosus)! 🌻 This plant creates yummy edible tubers full of pro-vitamin A, vitamin B complex, and the minerals calcium, iron (very rich in this mineral), magnesium, and potassium. 💪 The tubers are largest in the late fall, after the stems of the plant have died, and in the early spring, prior to the production of new shoots. These plants grow vigorously and tolerate low to moderate levels of human collection quite well. We cook this food for a prolonged time to aid the digestive process of lots of inulin (our best defense from colon cancer!). This is a food of the Cherokee, Cheyenne, Dakota, Huron, Iroquois, Lakota, and several other peoples, now including us. 😋 Also, the stalks can be used as spindles for hand-drill! 🔥 Read more in #ancestralplants Volume 2. PS—This is NOT an artichoke from Jerusalem. 🙄
The last few moments of Arthur Haines’ Fall Foraging class—digging evening primrose & tuberous sunflower while speaking about how harvesting within the framework of traditional ecological knowledge can sometimes benefit the very plants we dig up. 🌻 We had such a great time with you all this weekend— harvesting wild grape, autumn olive, ground cherry, black walnut; processing acorns and rice; making reishi medicine; practicing hand-drill; and best of all— eating @cheffrankyg’s autumn olive BBQ pork! 🔥 Thank you all for your excited energy to learn about wild food and medicine. Come back soon for the Wild Food Thanksgiving! ✌️
Fox grape (vitis labrusca)! 🍇 Full of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, pro-vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) phytochemicals! We are making a juice that will sit overnight and in the morning, we’ll decant the yummy juice from the sludge at the bottom (the sludge contains all of the tartrate crystals that sometimes cause irritation). In the next couple of weeks, we’ll go out to harvest more to make a mead and possibly, to try using the mashed fruits as a purple dye! 💜 #ancestralplants
Whoooo other than this cute owlet can convince you to protect the forests? 🦉
But seriously guys, how are you actually giving back to the land in the destructive time we now live in? The land that over and over again gives you precious food and medicine. 🍁🍄🍒 This land needs you. Right now.
I mean, are you listening to the news? Protected areas are under attack. We can’t just rely on our government. We also need to take responsibility and be fierce protectors of our place.
I’d love it if you helped us protect Maine, but I (and possibly this owl too) really want to encourage you to start giving back in a real and meaningful way — protect the land around you. Or donate to your local or nearby land conservation organizations to do this.
This land here is one of the largest swaths of undeveloped land north of the Lewiston/Auburn, Maine, a major metropolitan area. 🌲🌳 A wildlife corridor for bobcat, moose, black bear, deer, great blue heron, coyotes, and many other species, including this northern saw-whet owlet. 🦅🦌 And $580 buys one acre of this land so that bit of the Earth may grow into an old growth forest. 🌎 But even $10 will help, honestly.
And remember, 100% of the money you donate goes directly to purchasing land unless you specify otherwise! What other organization can say that? 🤷♀️ Link in bio. 🐻
The Sandy River aka “amossuhkati”— The Smelt Place, according to the local indigenous. This is a Class AA River, a designation denoting her pristine clean water. 🌊 It’s been told that Atlantic salmon used to migrate up these waters prior to the dams downstream. 🐟 This is also the place Arthur grew up 👦🏼 and in his opinion, “the coolest place”. We have a lot of fun here, climbing on rocks and floating in the current! 😀
We are super grateful to still be harvesting wild rice this year despite difficulties arising regarding the harvest of this grass! 🌾 In the past few years, many people have started ricing without developing relationships with the plant or the people who have come before them. Unfortunately, our eagerness to go ricing has resulted in a full on ban within wildlife management areas across Maine. 🚫 The department of inland fisheries and wildlife planted these stands for hunting waterfowl 🦆 and the state biologists seem unfamiliar with humans harvesting wild rice and the fact that this food can actually benefit from human interaction. Further, there is not enough of this nutrient dense food for all who may be interested in gathering. 😬 We are kept awake at night struggling to reconcile these issues surrounding wild rice stands and pray for peaceful resolution within the community. In the meantime, we remain grateful for this healing grain and our time spent in these stands gathering. 🙏
Mountain cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) are ripening now! Go find them on the mountaintops. ⛰ You’ll get movement and avoid urinary tract infections 😁! We harvested these on the slopes of Katahdin and we have been eating them in wild rice with maple sugar, butter, and salt for a yummy breakfast! 😋
Stolon, Lord of the Standing People, hard at work for @newenglandwildflowersociety. 😁 Photographing a rare boreal and sub-alpine grass in Baxter State Park. 🌾 This land was purchased and protected by Percival Proctor Baxter,
Former Governor of Maine. Mr. Baxter wrote of the land: “Man is born to die, his work short lived; buildings crumble, monuments decay, wealth vanishes, but Katahdin, in all its glory, shall forever remain the mountain of the people of Maine. Throughout the ages it will stand as an inspiration to the men and women of the state." Had this place remained in Wabanaki hands, it wouldn’t have needed protection. But because it was taken, it then needed protection from industry and we are grateful for Mr. Baxter’s purchase. Because this land inspires us to protect our forests. 🌲⛰
On our way home from @me_primitive_skills “Introduction to Sapmi” 8-day trip in Sweden! Best time ever! 😁 We visited with several Sami (one who is still herding reindeer); caught lake whitefish with a net (illegal in the states!); observed a magical showing of the northern lights; frequently ate reindeer steaks and moose burgers 🍔 (you can buy wild meat and wild berry jams in every grocery store!); harvested endless amounts of crowberries, blueberries, and lingonberries (aka mountain cranberry) everyday from the literally never ending carpet of berries 🍒; saw moose, Siberian jays, ptarmigan, reindeer, and fox among other wildlife 🦊 ; and even swam above the arctic circle (hormesis at its finest 🌬). The perspective shared from the Sami was enlightening and we could not have made the connection without the assistance of our guides from @me_primitive_skills . We really had such a ‘proper’ time, we’re already making plans to go on this trip again next year! 🏕
Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra)! This plant has so many uses; it is mind blowing! 🤯 Most commonly, elderberry is one of our major cold and flu medicines. 🤒 The fruits work through antiviral and immune-stimulating properties, with plenty of research supporting its efficacy. Not just a medicine— the fruits can be cooked or dried and eaten as food rich in pro-vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, and polyphenol antioxidants (start with a small amount to see if your gut is compatible). The fruits are also a purple dye. 💜 But wait, there’s more... 🤪. The flowers are an anticatarrhal, meaning it rids the body of excess mucus, especially in the sinus area. 🤧The leaves and inner bark can be used as a vulnerary for minor skin problems. The leaves can also be used as an insect repellant and a decoction can be used as an insecticide. 🐜 The stems and branches can be used for hand-drill as well as spiles for tapping trees. 🍁 The hollow stems can be used as straws for coal burning spoons and bowls and for creating blowguns. And many First Nations peoples craft popguns for their little ones with the hollow stems! Woah. Truly the elder of berries. 🙌 #ancestralplants
Arthur & I are excited to announce we’ll be hosting the 11th Annual Wild Food Thanksgiving this year!
This potluck event will take place here at Wilder Waters Community in Canton, ME.
Bring a dish that includes wild food; the more wild ingredients, the better. 🦀 🦌🍄 After our meal, Arthur will be giving a 45-minute talk, “How We See Water”, to kick-off our “Rewild the Androscoggin” campaign! 💧
Mark your calendars for November 11th and RSVP on Facebook! 🦃
“Everything was so present-focused.
Today people [in Western societies] go to mindfulness classes, yoga classes and clubs dancing, just so for a moment they can live in the present. The Bushmen live that way all the time!
And the sad thing is, the minute you're doing it consciously, the minute it ceases to be.” —James Suzman, author of Affluence without Abundance.
Photo: Map lichen on pink granite.
Bunchberry (Chamaepericlymenum canadense)! If you’re hiking or climbing anytime soon, you’ll be sure to find this easily identified herbaceous dogwood. 🧗♀️The fruits, a cluster of red-orange drupes (a fleshy fruit with a single seed) are edible raw. 😋The fruits can also be dried and pounded or cooked whole into breads. 🍞 They were and are eaten by the Abenaki, Alaska Eskimo, Algonquin, Cree, Hesquiat, Potawatomi, Salish, and other native groups. The Hesquiat, Hoh, and Quileute used this species as a special food for certain ceremonies. Read more about bunchberry in Ancestral Plants Volume 1 (available as an e-book)! 📚
We’ve been up in @baxterstatepark lately collecting rare plant seeds for @newenglandwildflowersociety and we bunked with one of the rangers this time out. These are a handful of the rocks people leave at the summit of Katahdin that this ranger routinely hikes off of the mountain. ⛰She also hiked out a large #mainegnome along with these rocks. I (Sara) sympathize with the offerings and the attempt at ceremony being made here. But is this the impact we want to have—acrylic paint and stickers (aka plastic) on rocks? Perhaps next time a simple thank 𝔂𝓸𝓾 to the mountain might be worthy enough? 🌄 Or rather, a time-laden wooden carving you handcrafted to discretely slip back into the ground cover? 🍂This would be a selfless gratitude, one not yearning for immortality or recognition. We are and can be a part of this magic in a grounded way. 🙌 Our every step has impact— let’s make sacred steps on our mountains instead of careless ones. 👣
And don’t even get us started on the human poop in the middle of the trails that the ranger picks up several times a day. 💩
Samara holding a chub, aka fallfish, that she caught. 😀 As our connection to place strengthens, Samara’s does too. We teach her the names of whose surrounding her and the way to be with these creatures. 🐟 Without this knowledge of whose here, this may just end up generic space to her. When we don’t know whose who, we find someone who can help us identify the life around us. This way, the life may become familiar to our children and this space becomes place and eventually, home. 🌎
The Recovering Ancestral Skills class was “rejuvenating” in the words of one student during our closing gratitude circle! 🙏 We learned of dead fall traps, hemlock bark basketry, friction fire, mushrooms, plants, stalking, awareness, and cordage among other topics covered. 🍄🔥 Things also got weird in the forest with bandanas for a brief moment. 😉 @primaldoc immediately knew during this awareness exercise when the camera was pointed on her! And we won’t forget our game of hide and seek! 🙈 We are so grateful for all of the students who came—you all are so inspiring and energizing for us. Come back soon. 🦅