Winterizing Your Mower

Winter will soon be officially here! With the leaves all down and snow flying (depending where you are) it’s time to put away the lawnmower.

I was watching a video that says the mower engine is a fairly simple mechanism. therefore, only a few simple tricks make a spring start very easy. The gas makes its way to the fuel bowl by gravity. From there it moves through the carburetor where a very small tube allows it to be mixed with air by virtue of the venturi effect. The venturi effect is caused by the air being drawn into the engine.

It is the plugging of this very small hole that usually causes malfunctioning. Therefore, after warming up the lawnmower, shut it off, drain or pour out the remaining gas, then start it up and allow it to run until it quits on its own.

This should allow you an easy start next spring. The same principle applies to the snowblower!!

Have a great day, Tim

Winterizing Small Engine Machinery for Winter

Wow, another season of lawn maintenance has passed and wintery weather grips us! It’s a great time to winterize small engines on your lawn mower, weed eater, hedge trimmer etc.
A couple of simple interventions will make your spring start up a breeze.
1. Change the oil in your 4 stroke machines.
2. All machines -Pour out all the remaining fuel, storing it in a fuel safe container. Now start the machine and let it run until all the fuel is gone and it stops on its own. Store these machines in a weather proofed location and one which is not heated. Heated air becomes very dry and parches the fuel system potentially rendering it inoperable.
Look forward to touching base in the spring as we prepare to get started for another season.
Tim

Food security and Bio-intensive farming

Please find the link to a very good online course. This has been used repeatedly to improve peoples lives.

The in depth teaching on how soil works, agricultural basics, how the body works, our food as our medicine, nutrient density etc. This action packed video series provides a great education to promote change by answering the big one – WHY??

If you are involved in community development and food security, this is a must see. Get it while it’s hot!!

https://www.udemy.com/join/login-popup/?next=/organicgardeningtrainingcntr_organics4orphans/?utm_source=email-Pro&utm_campaign=_._cn_Program-Receipts_._us_AllAll_._tl_T1_._tg_n_._et_2_._eg_4_._la_en_._&utm_medium=Program-Receipts_FreeCourseEnrollment_AllAll_T1_n&utm_content=udemy.5963665&data_h=&utm_term=FREE_COURSE_ENROLLMENT

Papaya and Sick People

When we decide to explore plant based medicine, safety is the number one consideration. Mission critical is do no harm.

Many years ago, while working in Uganda, a friend with connections agreed with this hypothesis. He commissioned a scientific study to determine the LD50 of papaya.

LD50 is the lethal dose which kills 50% of the subjects. This test is performed using laboratory rodents. Not very nice but progress is costly.

Following are the results and recommendations. Please consider this scientific evidence as you consider recommending papaya for your patients. I believe they will thank you. I have benefited big time from this. I eat a 3-4 inch square of fresh leaf daily while in the tropics. My stomach is very strong as a result!! No missed days of work or missed nights sleep for emergency visits. No staying close to the washroom. No smooth muscle relaxants. Just smooth sailing!!

The link below goes to an LD50 study done at the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda

Pleaf.pdf

Of Grape Leaves and Bulrush flowers…

The heat this spring/early summer is putting the pressure on for harvesting.

This week we will explore fox grape leaves and bulrush ie cattail flowers.

Fox grapes are the wild variety you see growing on fences, up trees and around hydro poles. They have heart shaped leaves, serrated edges and may be lobed; they have small, purple berries in August through October. This post will focus on the leaves, as the fruit can be used as any grapes but need extra sugar.
Following is a link to an excellent article on the health benefits of grape leaves.

http://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/eating-grape-vine-leaves.php

Fox Grape Leaves

I harvest the leaves as early as possible in the spring and after the leaves have unfurled. I check the under side for snails and other insect activity as they seem to be quite popular with bugs!!
I simply put them on a piece of paper or plastic and let them dry in the house. When dry I pound them ie put them in a large can and used a rounded end stick to pound them, like people pound grain to make flour using a mortar and pestal. Then I put them in the blender to make a powder. No recommendations yet on how to use them!!

Bulrush flowers are way ahead by calendar this year due to warm weather. Following are a couple of picture so I can explain (a picture is worth a 1,000 words!)

Narrow Leafed Bulrush

Narrow Leafed Bulrush

Broad Leafed Bulrush

Broad Leafed Bulrush

The first bulrushes to flower are the narrow leafed ones. The flower should be picked while it is still green and hard along its full length. These flowers start to release their pollen by swelling from the top down. The flower on the left (in the first photo) has started to release its pollen, I picked the right hand one which still had some of the paper on it. The paper is easy to remove, just grasp it and pull up. Narrow leafed bulrushes have a gap between the flower and the larger piece which becomes the head commonly associated with bulrushes.
The broad leafed have no gap between the flower and the base. You can see it where the color changes. It is not difficult to figure out in the field.
I just break the flowers off at their base, put them in the freezer, and cook them in a roasting pan with meat and other fixin’s. Boiling them in salty water for 5 minutes also yields a tasty treat. I am going to try pickling them this year. I call this lowland asparagus as the taste is slightly similar. Try it, maybe you’ll like it!!

Here is a good article about the health benefits:https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/cattail.html

When eating this delight, please note there is a stringy core which you need not eat.

I like to harvest my plant material away from highways and heavily traveled routes due to toxins from exhaust fumes and other vehicle fluids.

Remember, if in doubt leave it out. Also, mother nature has a cornucopia of treats for you!! Got any good stories for me?

Tim

Prickly Predicament – Pickled Thistle Flowers!

Eating thistle flowers sounds like a job for giraffes or some other tough tongued critters.
During the cold days of winter I enjoy eating these chewing treats – the flavor, to me, is wonderful.
The flowers should be harvested when most are still not blown, that is, most are still buds. You will find many are infested with spiders, aphids, spit bugs and a host of other insects. But don’t despair. There are many which are clean – those are for you, the others are for the bugs.
Put on a pair of thick gloves. I used a thick leather glove. Just pull off the bud clusters that you want. The point here is do not try to harvest the flower buds one at a time – too time consuming – and the small stems are okay to eat. Want fiber in your diet? You’ve got it.
I put all the buds and bud clusters into a plastic sieve with big holes and give a bang on the wall outside – so any spiders fall out. Spiders curl up into a ball when startled so this allows them to escape.
Next, wash with running water under the tap. Put in a pan. Add vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar), water, sugar, your favorite spices and seasonings and bring to a boil, allow to simmer a few minutes to soften the thistle buds and put into sterilized jars for your winter pleasure – in my humble opinion!
Some of my experiments have ended up in the compost heap but I have also discovered some pretty good wild treats! Either way the price is right.

Next time we will explore mother natures free greens – wild lettuce. Yum, yum.

Tim

Mother Nature’s Planting sprouts…

Dandelions are ancient history and new treats are popping up the garden. Here’s one of my favourites…

Lamb’s quarters are especially tasty fried up with onions on a bed of rice, in my humble opinion, of course.

If you like charts, here is a link to a bunch of nutritional ones…

http://skipthepie.org/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/lambsquarters-raw/compared-to/spinach-raw/

There are oodles of great reports on how to collect, store and prepare this free veggie on the internet. I have even pickled the seeds which are delicious in mid winter.

Please take ample time to correctly identify your wild treats. If in doubt, leave it out!!

Happy foraging. What are your plans for the big grocery bill savings? I’m planning my next excursion to Haiti on mine!

Tim

Mint – Refreshing Taste, and Healthy

Mint tea or mint flavored drinks hot or cold, are my faves.

Great for drinks, seasoning and condiments

Great for drinks, seasoning and condiments

All mint family plants have square stems which helps identify them. There may be 13 to 18 different plants in this species – with varying flavors! Peppermint makes a nice iced tea treat for summer evenings.

Here’s a great little article on growing mint –

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-dos-donts-of-growing-mint-147458

Mint is also super healthy. I credit it with keeping me cold free this past winter. Try out this info –

http://www.livestrong.com/article/263229-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-mint-tea/

Picking is very simple – harvest the leaves and stems before flowering. Cut them off cleanly so the plant heals quickly. If flowers forms, nip them off. Flowers can also be dried for seasoning and drinks.
I dry mint on a piece of paper or plastic.
After drying, I put the material in the blender to make a powder. This takes up less storage space. I stop and start the blender numerous times, pushing the material down when the blade is stopped, in order to overcome bridging in the blender container.
Good luck! Enjoy the hardy, healthy flavor of your favorite mint treat!
Tim

Upcoming treats and natural foods from mother nature – june berries and bullrush, aka cattail, flowers

Curled Dock – powerhouse vegetable

I call this veggie curly dock, it seems so much more fun!
Curled or yellow dock is your best friend if your looking for greens full of protein. This easily identified edible is rich in vitamin A and protein.
The leaves become bitter as they age, so early picking saves you from puckering!

Curly Dock

Curled dock comes in a variety of species, they vary in bitterness and sourness.
It can be used fresh in salads, or eaten as a boiled vegetable. Change the water several times when boiling to reduce the bitterness, according to Lee Allen Peterson’s Edible Wild Plants book. ISBN 0-395-31870-X. I enjoy dock as one ingredient in a stir fry, with onions, of course! I also pickle it along with other spring wild edible plants like wild mustard. These pickles are very enjoyable in the bitter cold winter months – they bring spring a little closer when summer seems so far way.
Happy picking and remember, if in doubt, leave it out.

I have found that correctly identifying herbs can take several years. By watching them through their life cycle, ie early leaves, flowering, seeding phases, I have become very familiar and confident. Just need to make sure not to become overconfident!! Rubbing the leaves between my thumb and index finger to get the scent is helpful sometimes for identification. Also, locating sources of plants takes time. A Sunday afternoon drive or taking a different route home from work can yield great picking locations. Be sure to ask the landowner if it is private property!

Tim

Dandelions and Your Health

Everyone loves to experience those cheery yellow flowers in their lawn in spring – yah, right!
Well they definitely have great qualities. You may find them beneficial to your physical and financial health – amazing way to fight the high cost of fresh veggies.

Following is an article on the nutritional benefits of dandelions.

Dandelion Flower Health Benefits

Here is another more in depth article – just makes you want to get out there and pick dandelions!

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html”>

All these nutrients are stored up in the flower buds as well. If this is your preferred method of eating them. I like pickled flowers and flower buds – delicious!

Mother nature is a treasure trove of goodies. We need to educate ourselves, try a few ideas and get the benefits. Some of my ideas have ended up in the compost pit, so don’t be reticent to try yours!

Tim

PS Just enjoying my first ever cup of dandelion flower tea. Very pleasant!!

%d bloggers like this: