Wild Food Profile: Milkweed + Fried Milkweed Pod Recipe

The Druid's Garden

Monarch catepillar enjoying a milkweed feast--they know the good stuff when they see it! Monarch caterpillar enjoying a milkweed feast–they know the good stuff when they see it!

I love the summer months for foraging wild foods.  One of my very favorite wild foods is Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca).  Around here, the pods are just beginning to form–and its a great time to explore this delightful wild food.  They have a light vegetable taste, maybe something like a sugar snap pea–very tasty and delicious.  In fact, this is one of the best wild foods, allowing you to have four different harvests from the plant at four different times during the spring, summer, and early fall.

Ethical Harvesting and Nurturing Practice

With the excitement of harvesting from common milkweed, however, comes a serious responsibility.  New farming techniques over the last 20 years have eliminated many of the hedges that used to be full of milkweed.  Because of this issue, the monarchs have been in serious…

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Thick-legged Flower Beetle

Ahwww beautiful 🙂

rambling ratz

This beetle must have one of the best names in the animal kingdom – the thick-legged flower beetle, Oedemera nobilis.photo of flower beetle

It is quite apparent why it has been given this moniker, just look at those thighs! It is only the males that have these swollen looking thighs.flower beetle

The females are rather more mundane.beetle on orange flower

The larvae grow in hollow plant stems emerging as adults to feed on open structured flowers. In my garden they seem to particularly enjoy the rock roses.flower beetle

They do seem to prefer hot sunny days, perhaps to show off their iridescent green metallic jackets.flower beetle

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Walking Meditation Garden with Hugelkultur Beds

The Druid's Garden

As a practitioner of permaculture and as a druid, I am always looking for ways to work with the land to create sacred and ecologically healthy spaces.  That is, to create self-sustaining ecosystems that produce a varitey of yields: create habitat, offer nectar and pollen, systems that retain water and nutrients, offer medicine and food, create beauty and magic.  But conventional gardens, even sheet mulched gardens, can falter in water scarce conditions.  So building gardens long-term for resiliency and with a variety of climate challenges in mind is key.  At the same time, I am also looking to create sacred gardens, that is, not just places to grow food (which is simple enough) but to develop sacred relationships and deepen my connection with the living earth. Given all of this, I developed a design for a butterfly-shaped garden that would use hugelkultur raised beds and allow for a space…

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Ashy Mining Bees

Glad to read a new article :p

rambling ratz

The ashy mining bee, Andrena cineraria, is described as being one of the easiest of the solitary bee species to identify. This is how I know one when I see one. black and white bee on white flower

They are black with two ashy grey bands, the males and females are similarly marked, but the females are larger and the males have tufty grey hairs around their face. You can submit a sighting here.black and white bee on white flower

They fly between early April and June. They nest in the ground, sometimes in groups, in lawns and flower beds. They prefer sandy soil and a sunny position.black and white bee on white flower

They feed on a wide variety of blossoms and flowers. In this instance there were four of them feeding on cow parsley. There were also many other bees and hoverflies at the same time, but cow parsley is also a useful food source for butterflies and moths.black and white bee on white flower

Cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, is…

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LIFE STAGES: WHEN YOUR KITTY GETS OLD

Mollie Hunt: Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and more

0103151417ce-cc-cp LITTLE 2Beach New Years 051 - Copy068 - Copy

What happened? It seems like only yesterday my cats were young, playful, and ready to take on the world. Now even Little, the baby of the bunch, is going on 10. Big Red, the stray I rescued at age 4 to 5 is now thought to be older than we surmised, putting him up around 12. Tinkerbelle was 10 when she came to me – never a kitten though thoroughly kittenish in spirit – but that was 5 years ago and now she’s turning 15. They all qualify as senior cats, and as such, require a different regimen of care.

I am a senior, too, and have a lot of sympathy for the concerns of the elderly (of any species). As we age, our bodies don’t work as well as they used to. We get diseases such as diabetes and kidney problems; we have pain in our joints. Some of us…

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A Summer Solstice Sunrise Observance Ritual

The Druid's Garden

Summer Solstice Sunrise from the Water Summer Solstice Sunrise Progression from the Water at Yellow Creek State Park on the Summer Solstice 2017

My alarm goes off at 4:00am.  I’m conveniently camping right along the lake shore, after having spent the evening watching the sunset on the eve of the summer solstice with members of our grove. My kayak is ready to launch, and I roll out of my sleeping bag and slip it quietly into the still, dark water. The starry heavens are brilliant in their glory, the moon a crescent low in the sky. But just as I begin to paddle, the first light on the horizon is present. The mists rise up from the lake water–the lake is warm like bath water even though the air itself is much cooler on this summer solstice morning. I paddle through the mist, finding a good spot from which to watch the sun rise. The lake…

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