Sunday, April 13, 2014

Trying Something New

For us, it's baby-steps with most things. We'll try something, and then, slowly try to incorporate it into our lives, if it's something we think will move us closer to how we want to live. Like eating local, gardening, raising animals for food.

We've been doing plant identification for years, but only in the last few have we incorporated wild foods into our diet. While, initially, we didn't, necessarily, consider maple sap as a foraged food, we do, now. This year, we harvested enough sap to make two gallons of syrup. It was a short year, but that's the way it goes with foraging. Some years, there are tons of wild apples. Some years, not much to speak of. It's a take-what-you-can-get-when-you-find-it kind of lifestyle, and it's never the same, which means that our foraged diet is incredibly varied.

But, that's okay.

We're always learning, and as late-life foragers, we know that we'll never learn it all. Like we're not really very comfortable with our knowledge of mushroom foraging, and while we've had some success with a few mushrooms, mostly, we just eat other stuff.

This year, with regard to tapping, we're trying something new. It was our neighbor's idea, actually. We were pulling maple taps the other day, and she asked us when we were going to tap her birch tree ... and make beer.

So, we did. The birch sap is flowing, like crazy. It takes 100 gallons of birch sap to make on gallon of syrup, and so we won't be boiling the birch sap to syrup, but we will be doing as she requested and using the sap for beer. We have several recipes in Stephen Buhner's "Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers" that we're excited to try.

Worst case, we'll have a few dozen bottles of beer no one except Deus Ex Machina will drink ... and a new lesson in what works.

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