It's been a busy month or so with workshops. I've had the pleasure to teach primitive technology for 5 days of school programs. I do this for employment but I also do this to get the kids outside and interested in nature. Once you hook them on fire making or fishing or some other type of outdoor pursuit, that love will always be with them. I have always said, my fire pit will win out over a video game 9 out of 10 times.
I have 2 edible/utilitarian plant walks this coming week, I do enjoy doing these as I always learn something from the class. Speaking of plants, now is the best time to munch on all of the spring ephemerals.
The next Wilderness Survival workshop is May 6, 2023 at Pleasant Grove Park in Palmyra VA. 22963. There are still some spots left if you're interested. www.stevepullinger.com/wilderness-survival-workshop.html
Here's my next Master Naturalist article, it's on pine trees which is very timely with all the pollen on my windshield this morning.
Now that it's April and everyone's car is covered in yellow dust, let's talk about pine trees and their uses.
Pine tree pollen is extremely rich in nutrients, you can shake the emerging flowers/cones in a bag to catch the pollen or just brush it off of a clean, smooth surface. The pollen can be mixed with other flours or just put in soups as a thickener. The inner bark, cambium layer, can be eaten raw or roasted. Once roasted, they are similar to potato chips and they also can be ground into a powder and used for flour.
Pine needles are extremely high in Vit. C and make a really good winter drink when camping. Crush a handful of leaves, put them in a cup and fill the cup with water that is 160 to 180 degrees. After 10 minutes, strain the tea and add your favorite sweetener to make a very healthy and refreshing drink. I have made pine needle tea with Autumn Olive flowers, both steeped at the same time. After straining, I added a touch of Maple Syrup and it was really good.
Pine twigs are one of the best fire making materials. The lower limbs on most pines die but stay on the tree where they stay dry and easy to reach. All pine wood burns well as it contains the chemical terpene, the precursor to turpentine.
Pine resin/sap can be used for torches, mixed with wood ashes to make glue and it has medicinal properties as well.
Pine bows are the best material for emergency shelter building and when layered properly, they make a pretty comfy mattress.
So the next morning you're cursing the yellow coating on the windshield, think food !
Thanks for reading, Go out and try some new plants this spring !!
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