“What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from? That’s my answer.”Michael, The Good Place
“The only task worth doing is fully dismantling and replacing the system.”Jessa Crispin, Why I am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto
Applying mindful laziness to your fall garden clean-up
I’m a lazy gardener. I don’t pull weeds. I don’t harvest the kale and lettuce that’s going to seed. I don’t till the plot where I’m planning on planting fall vegetables. That’s too much work, it’s way too hot, and, besides, the bees enjoy the weeds and kale flowers, and my chickens will gladly do the tilling for me.Read more
Banish blandness by planting a wide selection of herbs
The first food I ever attempted to grow was herbs. One winter while living in Toronto, I bought some small clay pots, soil, and chive seeds. I planted the seeds, watered them, placed them on my south-facing windowsill, and waited. My mouth watered at the thought of adding fresh chives to my soups, rice, eggs, and salad.Read more
Adapted from Pascal Baudar’s The Wildcrafting Brewer.
- 4L (1 gallon) glass jar (plastic will do)
- measuring cups
- thin towel or cheesecloth
- rubber band
- large mixing spoon
- resealable bottles
- 4 L (1 gallon) of de-chlorinated water (you can pour the water out the night before and leave it on your counter—the chlorine will evaporate by morning)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup starter (e.g., ginger bug)
- foraged (edible!) ingredients such as: flowers, herbs, bark, leaves, needles, cones, seeds, berries, etc.
Notes on Foraging (aka., Wildcrafting or Gleaning)
- Never eat anything you don’t know or recognize. Some plants are poisonous.
- To ensure its health and longevity, and to share with others, take no more than 1/3 of each plant.
- It is not recommended that you forage plants from along roadsides.
- Forage plants from areas where people do not use pesticides.
The flavour (and colour) of your hike soda will change with the seasons. Experiment with flavours by combining multiple plants—it’s fun to figure out what plants taste good together…and which ones do not.
- About a week before you make the soda, you’ll need to make a ginger bug. You can also get a ginger bug starter from a friend.
- Go on a hike to gather your ingredients. You will want enough ingredients to fill 1/2 of your jar (that’s about 4 cups).
- If needed, separate leaves/flowers from stems, roots, and other inedible parts.
- Wash your ingredients, shake out excess water, then stuff everything into your jar.
- Put 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water in a bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Once sugar is dissolved, add the starter (ginger bug).
- Add the sugar water, ginger bug, and the remaining water to your jar.
- Stir everything together.
- Cover the top of the jar with cloth and rubber band.
- Place jar in a warm place to ferment. Active fermentation (seeing bubbles) should start within 48+ hours. Let the jar ferment for 2-5 days. The longer it ferments, the more bubbly and less sweet it will be.
- Once it has fermented in the jar, strain the liquid through a sieve and compost your ingredients.
- Pour soda into resealable bottles. Put in a warm place and ferment another 1-3 days.
- Place bottles in the fridge to slow fermenting.
- Enjoy within 2 weeks.
- Caution: open bottles over a sink or outside. Hike soda often continues to ferment in the bottle so can become very explode-y.
Using wild ingredients to produce truly unique, truly local beers
IPA beers make me sneeze. The higher the IBU (international bitterness unit), the worse I get. My face gets flushed. My sinuses clog up. After a mere bottle or two I get nauseous.Read more
Adapted from Pascal Baudar’s The Wildcrafting Brewer.
Not much maple syrup flavour remains after fermenting. This beer tastes a lot like a straightforward ale—dandelion is quite bitter. Experiment with sugars. I’ve substituted syrup for molasses, which resulted it a more porter-like beer.
I like to add something slightly floral like spruce tips or yarrow or chamomile to offset the dandelion.
Pick dandelions just before the flowers open—though you can add a few flowers to the recipe, too.
So far I’ve found I haven’t had to prime before bottling as fresh dandelion residue continues to ferment once bottled.
This ferments to about 3.8 – 5% ABV.
To learn more about the basics of home brewing, equipment, and terminology, check out Charlie Papazian’s The New Complete Joy of Home Brewing.
Makes about 1 gallon of beer.
Before you make your beer, you’ll have to make a wild yeast. Learn how on the Wild Yeast page.
- 1 gallon de-chlorinated water
- 1 lb maple syrup
- 1/2 lb fresh dandelion greens
- 14 g dandelion root, toasted/dried
- 6 g dried spruce tips
- 1/2-3/4 cup wild yeast
Brew the Beer
- Clean dandelions. Separate leaves from roots.
- Chop dandelion roots. Roast in oven at 300˚F, stirring often, until the root is dark and crispy (about 15-20 minutes or so).
- Combine ingredients in a big pot—reserve 2 g of spruce tips.
- Bring to a boil. Boil for 25 min. At 25 min, add remaining spruce tips. Boil for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool wort to 21˚C (70˚F).
- Strain. Pitch wild yeast.
- Pour into fermenting vessel and add an airlock. Ferment in a warm place (15-27˚C) until bubbling subsides significantly (about 10 days after active fermenting starts).
- Bottle. Enjoy after 1-3 weeks.