In-Season Recipes: Tricks for Light, Fluffy Multi-Grain, Wild GrainPancakes

Griddlers, flapjacks, griddlecakes, hotcakes, latkes, crepes, pancakes: I love ’em all. Especially when they’re made with flavorful flour from wild and unusual grains or home-grown starchy vegetables. But, what I don’t love is the heavy, or gummy texture you tend to get with such ingredients. With years of experimenting, I’ve found a few “tricks” that get a light fluffy texture with all the added flavor and nutrition.  And while these make delicious cakes, especially with real tree-sap syrup (Maples aren’t the only game in town, you know) and heaped with forest berries, what I really love is the convenience they … Continue reading In-Season Recipes: Tricks for Light, Fluffy Multi-Grain, Wild GrainPancakes

Nature Art Patterns for Home and Landscape Design

(Bag End, from the LOTR movies) Between your ears and behind your eyes you hold profound pattern-recognition software, the most powerful “computing” tool known to man, evolved to a high degree of effectiveness over massive spans of time. And it’s purpose: to allow you to THRIVE. (Will Worthington) This refined equipment allowed your ancestors to seek and find places of prosperity and build beloved communities there. The patterns they saw spoke to them in visions and the thunderous voice of revelation: “you are home.” (Rima Stains, one of my favorite artists: http://www.thehermitage.com) This equipment behind our eyes and between our … Continue reading Nature Art Patterns for Home and Landscape Design

Orchard Quality Organic Fruit with No (ZERO!) Spraying ("No-spray" Permaculture Orchard)

Want high quality, organic fruit without spraying? Bagging works. Simple as that.  To the left, is a peach, just pulled from a “wedding favor” bag (which you can see to the left) flawless and beautiful. Never once sprayed with anything. Let me tell you, it was delicious as it looks.  To the right, a fruit that looks just like my buddy Jerry. Heh heh, just kiddin’ Jerry. From the same branch on the same tree, but not bagged. It’s almost impossible to find a piece that hasn’t been burrowed through or bitten into. No good for anything but scaring small … Continue reading Orchard Quality Organic Fruit with No (ZERO!) Spraying ("No-spray" Permaculture Orchard)

Low Maintenance, Resilient "Food Forest:" A Case Study

There’s a stretch of bike path in McHenry Illinois where the wild has long been attempting to reassert herself. It’s a place where many come to forage on berries, wild fruits and vegetables, one I’ve written about many times as an “unofficial” community forest garden tended lightly by those who come to share in the harvest.  And those who do harvest this site have much to share in. With almost no mainteance, the site produces a wide diversity of fruits and vegetables, including strawberries, black raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, chokeberries, highbush cranberries, particularly nice wild grapes, elderberries,  black walnuts, hickory nuts, … Continue reading Low Maintenance, Resilient "Food Forest:" A Case Study

Reviving the Gift Economy

(As a reminder, we will be having a free tour this Sunday at 9:00 AM, with a focus on “Water Wise Forest Gardening.” For information, please see http://www.VanKalPermaculture.org)  When we’re two or three years old, the very first thing we are taught is to give. In our families, we are shown how to give. We learn that when we receive something that we really cherish and we really care about, that it is the first thing we should give up, because our community is to be cherished on that level. Our people and our land is be cherished on that … Continue reading Reviving the Gift Economy

Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas

If you like to pucker, then you’ll want to get acquainted with the sweet-tart flavor Cornelian Cherries.  The Cornelian Cherry Dogwood, Cornus Mas, is a native of west asia and carries an ancient culinary pedigree, being pickled as “olives,” used as gourmet floral-scented preserves, and even as the orginial sweet-tart “sorbet” in Persia. “Floral, complex, intriguing, distinctive, rich, unequaled” are often found in the long strings of adjectives writers use in describing the flavor of the cooked fruit, when sweetened or added to alcohol.  In the Great Lakes landscape, (it’s hardy throughout the Great Lakes Region) it grows to a … Continue reading Plant Profile: Cornelian Cherry, Cornus Mas