Category Archives: foraging

Simple Living: Directing Rainfall, Eating Mallow Wheels & Making Shade

February – March 2014

Plants: Mallow, Sea Buckthorne, Sapodilla, Blackcurrant, Gooseberry.

Creatures: Utah the Doggle (a peculiar cross between a dog and a fraggle)

Simple Living: Hare Droppings, Papayas in Raised Beds & Wild Olive Tree Adventures

It’s December 25th. The tomatoes have completely overgrown their beds and are almost ready to be pulled, the celery is loving all the rain, and the sweet winter fruits are ripening. I find a surprising new source of free fertilizer right under my nose. Papayas I planted from seed just a few months ago are growing and flowering in their raised bed (compost over gravel).

I then venture into the wild looking for olive trees, and find plenty. Avoiding the ardent mushroom pickers down below, I also stumble onto an old abandoned olive grove on the mountainside.

Please excuse the poor video quality, the new phone I’ve been using is really not cutting it – Had to leave a lot of great stuff out because the video was too dark/grainy/motion blurred, making this a personally disappointing instalment. I’ll try to get another video device before continuing.

This is the companion video to the ‘making quick water cured olives’ vid I posted earlier today. I decided to separate them since most people looking for olive curing guides aren’t interested in the other stuff.

Simple Living: Water-Curing Olives Quickly (By Cutting Them)

I demonstrate another water curing method with olives I foraged for. This method is harder work than the previous method I demonstrated, but the olives will be ready to eat much sooner.

A lot of people don’t eat salt, so this is a healthier alternative to eating traditional olives.

The more you change the water, the quicker they’ll cure. If you only change it once a week, it’ll take at least 4 weeks. If you’re changing it twice a day, they’ll be ready much sooner. You’ll notice the water will change colour to purple very quickly.

When the water begins to remain clear for a couple of days, taste an olive and see if they’re ready. It’s up to you how much to leech them. I personally leech until all the bitterness is gone, but some people like them slightly bitter.

Different sizes and varieties might have varying results. The shelf life of olives made using this method will be much shorter than with other methods, so refrigerate.

Update: 6 months later, and the olives are still good to eat, stored out of the fridge in a dark place.

Simple Living: Wildflowers, Fruits and Errands of Spring

A compilation of clips taken between early March to late May. Mustard straw is cut and used as mulch, wild flowers such as rock rose and lavender are in bloom, the raised beds are hooped and shaded, and spring fruits bloom, fruit and ripen.

Some of the edibles featured in this video: Mizuna, Rocket / Aragula, Early Peaches, Loquats, Red Mulberries, Collard Greens, Pak Choi, Purslane, Cucumber, Medlar, Pears, Celery, Rainbow Chard, Sea Beets, White Mustard.

Some of the wildflowers: Spiny Broom, Iberian Milk Vetch, Dandelion, Star Thistle, Terebinth Blossom, Rock Rose, Lavender.

Simple Living: Picking a Wild Salad

While foraging, I make a quick wild salad consisting of sea beets, corn marigold greens, yellow mustard leaves, mallow leaves and flowers, dandelion greens, prickly lettuce, smooth sow thistles, sourgrass, wild water-cured olives and lemon juice (from a street tree).

I wrote a brief article about a bad experience I had with Youtube’s
automated copyright violation system, and a company called
“Rumblefish”:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/02/26/2141246/youtube-identifies-birdsong-as-copyrighted-music

Basically, their system identified this video as containing copyright
infringing music owned by Rumblefish. They put ads on it, with the
proceeds of the ads going partly to Rumblefish, partly to Google.

Since there’s no music in my video, I disputed the claimed copyright
violation, and Rumblefish was sent a link to my video to check it and
see if Youtube’s automated system had made a mistake.

They checked the video, and told Youtube that there was no mistake,
and that they do own the music in the video. So the dispute was
closed, and there was seemingly nothing else I could do.

But I wrote an article about it on Slashdot, and somehow it went viral
today, spreading all over the web, and Rumblefish backtracked,
released my video and sent me an apology.

This is the notice Youtube sent me after Rumblefish reviewed my dispute:

“All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their
claims to some or all of its content:

Entity: rumblefish Content Type: Musical Composition”

I did email Rumblefish to complain, and posted a thead on Google’s
help forum, but they didn’t do anything until my article on Slashdot
went viral and woke them from their slumber.

So they’ve now released my video and removed their ads, but for a while they were making money from my video. I think if this were made more public, Google would be forced to change their system and this would stop happening. Rumblefish and other similar intellectual property companies have been gaming the system like this for a while now, and this is just the first time the public outcry has been big enough to force them to correct their behaviour.

Simple Living: A Stroll in the Forest, Foraging Mastic, Carob & Strawberry Tree Fruit

I experiment with using cardboard boxes as mulch in the orchard and touch on some frugal uses for September’s gifts from the forest: leaf mould compost to start seeds, and moss for rooting cuttings.

I also sample a hearty selection of wild Autumn fruits as I wander the woods. I even come across some tree-cured olives still hanging on their trees many months after ripening.

I stumble onto a strawberry tree that has ripe fruit already; an astounding mutation considering that all the other strawberry trees I’ve seen won’t ripen their fruits until December-January. Just another example of the diversity apparent in wild seedling trees.

Finally, I happen onto another naturally-occurring edible tree guild, and before I head back to the cabin, I take a look at four ancient olive trees that were planted in the same hole. Truly the epitome of efficiency.

Wild plants featured in this instalment:

Golden Oak Tree “Quercus alnifolia” – (Acorns edible after leeching)
Mastic Tree “Pistacia lentiscus” (Edible berries & gum)
Strawberry Tree “Arbutus adrachne” (Edible berries)
Olive Tree “Olea europaea” (Edible after processing)
Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Carob Tree “Ceratonia siliqua” (Edible pods)

Simple Living: Harvesting Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Summer Apples, Foraging Wild Sumac

Wild plants featured in this instalment:

Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Red Ink Plant / Poke Berry / Poke Weed “Phytolacca Pruinosa” (Not edible)
Iberian Milk Vetch “Astragalus lusitanicus ssp. orientalis” (Not edible)

Heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes:

Tropic VFN (Heat tolerant variety)
Black Cherry (smoky tasting, my favourite cherry)
San Marzano (perfect plum tomato, good for sun drying)
German Orange Strawberry
Currant Sweet Pea
Principe Borghese (the nipple tomato – great for sun drying)
Roma
Ailsa Craig (shared with a mysterious tomato-eating creature)
Gardener’s Delight (a prolific red cherry tomato, makes up the majority of my harvest)

Cucumbers:

White Wonder / Bianco Lungo
Lungo Verde degli Ortolani
Mediterranean

From the orchard:

Anna Apple
Persimmon

Simple Living: Wandering Around the Orchard and Garden in June, Eating What I Find

I take a stroll around the land in the summer heat and sample the delicious morsels I find. An unfortunate young hare had the same idea, but ran into my cat.

The wild edibles I find in this instalment are: lamb’s quarters, amaranth, prickly pear pads, purslane, wild kale, mallow, prickly lettuce and chamomile.

Sunflowers are featured as a green manure plant as well as a companion plant for shading cucumbers in the hot summer. Basil is used as a companion plant with tomatoes.

I also take a look at one of my second-year bell pepper plants, and munch on a couple of tomato varieties: Currant Sweet Pea, and an unknown cross between Black Cherry and something else.

You might notice the sparse foliage on some of my tomato plants. This land was a tomato plantation sometime before I bought it, and the soil still has disease in it, so I’m forced to strip any diseased leaves off each affected tomato plant to stop it from spreading and killing the plant.

Next year I’m going to have to plant my tomatoes on virgin land higher up on the mountain and work on curing the affected soil. My girlfriend told me she heard that old-timers planted onions and garlic to leech disease out of their soil, so I’m currently trying to find out more on that, if anyone has any information.

This is only my second year working this land, and I couldn’t be happier with it so far. There are more than 80 fruit trees (everything from apples to mulberries to mangoes), and they’re all thriving. Now that the annual green manures have reached the end of their lifecycle, it’s time to start planting perennial native green manures, but more on that later.

My goal is to guide this land into a sustainable Mediterranean food forest using adapted permaculture ideals.