Sunday, November 29, 2009

Seeding the garden

Lest anyone think foraging in New England is over, it's not. At mom's over the weekend, we made some burdock oyaki (fried mashed potato pancakes stuffed with burdock/carrot/soy sauce mixture). I also gathered and dried a bunch of mint, and almost went for some mussels, but stayed vegan thanks to high tide.

I went "seeding" this morning along the Charles because I'm going for a "natural" garden in the style of Fukuoka next year, where I encourage all the great weeds of the area to grow in my garden. So, I gathered seeds of milkweed, burdock, evening primrose, and lamb's quarters, and put them in my garden.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Beech trees, nettles, black robes

Some highlights from my recent trip to The Netherlands.

* An hour at the Sauna Deco. I asked the lady at the front desk if they had bathing suits in addition to the towels for the spa, which was "co-ed" but primarily men > 50. She replied, "NO! we are totally nude!".

* Black robes worn by the entire thesis committee for the defense I was a part of. This was good because it hid the fact that I was wearing brown cords and looked like hell compared to everyone else in their suits and ties. The Q/A session was pretty funny, one questioner heavily citing his own research, and someone fainting on stage towards the end of the session.

* Tilburg forest filled with beech trees, black berry brambles, and nettles. And some weird running competition that I asked an older couple about and they replied things like: "Chops" and "Clogs" and "Warande" and I of course said yes, yes, yes as if I had any clue what they were saying.

* The coffeehouse scene is weird. People go in there and roll huge joints and really make a big thing about it. It's kind of like, listen, you're just rolling a joint, take it easy. Man, they go to town though, with their props and all. Flower shops selling tulip bulbs also carried pot seeds. I almost bought some but didn't want any trouble getting back into the good old U S of A.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

2 Hauls

While everyone was in town this weekend (Brian, Shannon, Alex) we still found some time for foraging. Shannon, west coast forager famous for almost poisoning a dinner party of botanists, joined me both times. The haul on the first day out was a grocery bag full of oyster mushrooms. The haul on the second day, at the end of a walk in the Fells, was 2 bags of quince fruit, ripe and not too buggy. Sometime in the next 36 hours (before Holland trip) I need to find some time to chop them up. Call it global warming or something else, but foraging is still going strong. Burdock, plenty of greens (a bunch of beautiful ox-eye daisy rosettes), and evening primrose roots too still abound.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cantaloupe Dune

Two foraging highlights from my research retreat weekend in Gloucester.

1) A cantaloupe plant growing on a beach dune with a viable cantaloupe that I took. I ended up eating the whole thing later that day (it was salty, as expected for fruit growing on a beach) since the meeting started at 2 and no food was served until 8 -- that's a long time for a 95%vegan to go without food.

2) Big bands of kelp on the shore. I ate some of that raw and took a bunch home and dried it. It's already successfully gone into one soup.

Also grabbed some autumn olives and wild mustard greens, which were growing abundantly along Atlantic Road.

Retreat was very nice, even if the staff were a tad freaky. The Addams family or something going on there.