Making Blackberry Wine

blackberry_mashing

Blackberry wine is not only incredibly inexpensive to make, it’s fun, makes a great gift, and is an excellent product to barter with. The recipe below makes a tasty wine and is very hard to mess up. Every September I pick as many blackberries as I can, put them in ziplock baggies, and throw them in the freezer for a rainy day. This winter, rainy days were not as prevalent than in the past, so it wasn’t until last month that I got around to…

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Circumnavigating Lopez Island

Last weekend found me with perfect weather and nothing better to do than circumnavigate Lopez Island. Along the way I met Alan of ArtOfHookie.org, ran aground, hit a log, lost my hat overboard, rescued a lost dog, and had a great time. Friday Winds were forecast on Friday at 12 mph from the southwest and a slack tide. I have a healthy scepticism this time of year that the weather will behave anything like the forecasts. This turned out to be an excellent example of…

Foraging: Lady Ferns

Lady Fern Fronds

My new favorite wild food this year is Lady Fern, and right now it’s just starting to spring out of the ground. This easy to identify, easy to cook, tasty wild treat will be in prime harvesting season for the next two to four weeks. Any of the voluminous field guides on plants in the Northwest will be able to help you competently tell lady fern apart from its sister species. The easiest fern to mistake it for is Bracken Fern, which is also sprouting…

Mating on Cypress Island

Moored in Eagle Harbor

As I headed across the opening of the harbor, I was rewarded with the sight of a bald eagle gliding low over the water with a fish clasped in its talons. A couple seagulls were screaming bloody murder, which meant they thought the eagle stole it from them somehow. Shortly after pulling the dingy up to the beach, I crouched down to reset my GPS. At the familiar chirp of a bald eagle, I looked up to see three eagles flying in my directions –…

Infrastructure Independence

Infrastructure Independence

I’m increasingly feeling that I should focus my blog on promoting a lifestyle of … I’m not really sure what to call it. Cruising? Living aboard? Off-grid tiny houses? ‘Infrastructure independence’ is the best phrase that comes to mind. The point is this: I believe the root of ‘the problem’ with our world today exists in our infrastructure. Most people today still live the lifestyle of the industrial age: Income obtained from a single job, paying taxes to a central government. Groceries obtained from a…

My Last Hunt?

deer hunting

This weekend was deer hunting season on Guemes Island. A friend of mine has ten acres, much of it working land, and she invited me over for a little pest control. Another friend and I eagerly went over to hunt. One of the things I love about hunting is the excuse to go sit in the woods before dawn. Deer and other big game are most active at dawn and dusk, so that is the best time to be in the woods. In fact, the…

Clamming in Washington

Clamming in Washington

One of the main focuses of this blog is on foraging. We’ve published several articles on clamming over the last couple years and they are consistently read. This inspired me to dig a little deeper into the state of clamming education. What I found is that there is almost no good books teaching people how to clam! Clamming in the San Juan Islands I myself learned to clam through a combination of trial and error, education from friends, and education from those good Samaritans that…

How to Prepare Stinging Nettle for Freezing and Recipes

how to cook stinging nettle

For every plant, foraged or otherwise, there is a prime window for harvest. Proper food preparation is the key to enjoying them year round at the peak of ripeness. Stinging nettles are no different. This article shows you how to prepare stinging nettle for freezing and use in recipes throughout the year. One of the first edible plants to sprout from the ground in spring is the stinging nettle. For me, it’s the first real sign that spring is around the corner. In the Skagit…

Wild nettles, Cattail Stalks, Dandelion Greens – Spring is here!

IMG_2257

It is nearing the end of March and while I have a dozen boat projects pending, I also have home and yard tasks that need done. I was doing my first spring lawn mowing and found a great batch of dandelions growing in the yard and along the street, I picked a few. I then looked around a bit further and found the beginnings of my nettle patch starting to leaf. I picked a few greens from around the house and then decided to take…

Early Spring Edible Nettles

edible_nettles

Foraging season has officially begun! Yaaaaaay! I’ve been anxiously watching for some sign of new growth on my morning walks. Today I was treated to two awesome sights: stinging nettle buds and indian plum sprouts! Stinging edible nettles are an early spring plant that are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound relied on this plant for these nutrients. Not only are they healthy, they are one of the truly tasty wild plants. You can read a short…

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