Entocuisine: A Passion for Wilder Edibles

0013729e4abe0bb544562cby Paul Landkamer – Show Me Oz

Several years back, a distinguished-looking lady came into our library with some questions. Her formal, quiet school-teacherish (which she was) manner seemed in stark contrast to her request for information on fried grasshoppers and sources of supply. When she made her request, I remembered buying chocolate-covered ants, bees, grasshoppers and caterpillars back in the early ’70s when our Golden Valley, MN Byerly’s carried ‘em. Byerly’s doesn’t carry them anymore. The teacher’s request didn’t shock me like it did some. It turned out the teacher was going to serve fried grasshoppers to some of the more daring teachers for a back-to-school function or something like that –quite possibly in remembrance of the big Warrensburg grasshopper feast from my earlier post. Several librarians and I jumped on the project.

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Wild Walk: Goldenrod

goldenrodby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

Although the meadow below my house is still lush and green, I can see fall working its way into our lives.  I see it in the falling golden leaves of the black walnut trees and in the burning-red leaves of sassafras and sumac. And even though the meadow is most definitely green, it is also suddenly dotted with the purple and gold blossoms of asters and early goldenrod – plants we sometimes love to hate.

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Multiply Your Plants the Cheap and Easy Way!

2013 5-12 The Herb Garden (1)By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over, but I can tell by the ragged look of the garden that fall is on it’s way.  Even so, there’s plenty of gardening left to do before winter’s chill sets in.  Among my favorite fall chores is propagating perennial herbs and flowers using techniques like stem cuttings, layering, and division to generate tons of new baby plants the cheap and easy way.

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OCA: Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ crops!

Organic Consumer's AssociationCritical Action Alert! from Organic Consumer’s Association

Take Action Now to Stop Dow’s “Agent Orange” laced insecticide!

On August 6 (2014), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over the objections of 50 members of Congress, and more than 500,000 citizens, scientists, farmers and health professionals, moved one step closer to approving Dow’s new Enlist “Agent Orange” brand soy and corn crops.

The crops are engineered to withstand massive doses of Enlist Duo herbicide, concocted from a combination of 2,4-D (used to make Agent Orange) and glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

The USDA has admitted that approval of Dow’s new crops will cause the use of 2,4-D to skyrocket from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. Scientists predict worse.

Dow’s 2,4-D is already the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. It’s been linked to a host of ills, including birth defects, infertility, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and cancer.

It’s unconscionable that the USDA would approve these crops. Yet the agency is less than 18 days away from doing just that. Unless we stop it.

Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ crops!  

The Sound of Nature

Barred Owl in the RainBy Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz -

This morning I woke at 4:00 am.  The crescent moon was high in the eastern sky casting it’s milky light into the open spaces on the edge of the woods. In the deep shadowy crevices the cicadas and crickets wound down the night’s exuberance in a fading farewell hum.  I stood at the open window, basking in the slightly cool breeze coming down the mountain and relishing the silence when suddenly a series of piercingly eerie shrieks broke the spell.  The suddenness of it startled me, but my instinct was answer with my own crazy whoop and scream, which would surely have woken the house. Instead, I silently searched the branches of the tall, dark oak beside the house for the Cheshire Cat of raptors.

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Seed Saving Time: Ripe Seeds and the Float Test

Tomato seed float test - Jill Henderson - Show Me Oz at wordpressby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

George Washington once said, “Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind.” Indeed, there is nothing quite as frustrating as spending weeks planning, preparing, and planting seeds that never germinate.  Sometimes the seeds are just old or have been improperly stored.  But more often than not, poor germination is the result of harvesting unripe seeds.  In this week’s Show Me Oz, we’ll talk a little about the best time to harvest seeds for proper germination and  I’ll show you a quick and easy way to check certain seeds for ripeness using “the float test”.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Easy Refridgerator Picklesby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

After several years of extreme summer heat and drought, this year we decided to give the cucumbers the  most fertile spot in the garden and trained them to climb a 10 foot tall trellis.  Before they ever reached the top (and crawled on to the roof of the house!), they were producing an abundance of fruits.  Needless to say, we have had to come up with quite a few novel ways to prepare cucumbers, but nothing beats a classic crunchy dill pickle for long-term satisfaction.   In this week’s Show Me Oz, I’ll share a few pickling tips and tricks and the easiest, most laid back pickle recipe ever!

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Violets and the Great Spangled Fritillary

Fritillaries on Milkweedby Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz

I know I promised this article a couple of weeks ago, but between blackberry pickin’, the garden and seed saving classes, I just couldn’t get back to it.  But while we were up berry pickin’, we saw lots of butterflies – including the Great Spangled Fritillary.  Of course, I love all butterflies, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Fritillaries because of their softly muted-orange coloration and complex wing patterns in brown, black and silver.  I had been wanting to entice more fritillaries to the garden but wasn’t sure what to do, so you can imagine my excitement when I realized I had already done it!

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