Desert Honey Cake

Desert Honey Cake

My Desert Honey Cake is based on the traditional Scottish Whisky Cake, but with the addition/substitution of readily available bioregional ingredients such as mesquite flour and pine nuts. I feel that the earthy, malted flavor of mesquite flour blends beautifully with the peaty, slightly smokey flavor of good  scotch whisky to make a rich, complex, and wild treat perfect for Autumn and Winter. My apologies for not having a specific picture of the cake, but my family loved it so much, it got eaten up before the camera could make it to the scene! I’ve also made an elixir of pine needles, whisky, and honey  to use in the place of the straight whisky, but you can do it either way, just remember to taste the batter and adjust to taste.   Ingredients: 1...

Winter Wildcrafting, Roots Music, and An Evergreen Liqueur

Winter Wildcrafting, Roots Music, and An Evergreen Liqueur

Some may feel trapped indoors during the cold moons, but I enjoy both the warm respite by the wood stove and the chilly adventures out into the Junipers and Pines to gather lichen, evergreens, and take pictures of the ice glistening against the moss, lichen, shelf fungi, and a thousand different textures of bark and needle. Cold as it has been in these mountains for the last several weeks, sometimes dipping down to -20 F, I’ve still been wildcrafting when the fancy takes me. Corkbark Fir from the higher mountains packed solid with snow, Desert Cypress from the middle elevations, and sticky chunks of gold and amber tinted Pine resin blown from trees by recent heavy winds. The Corkbark Fir will be macerated in a good whiskey, before being blended with strong...

Evergreens and The Longest Night: A Solstice Celebration in Pictures

Evergreens and The Longest Night: A Solstice Celebration in Pictures

Last night while I laid back in our old wood-fired clawfoot tub and felt the giant snowflakes falling on my face in the dark I was entirely consumed by how beautiful and precious these long nights and cold air are to me. All around me in the evergreen forests of my home, the snow fell silently and the ice grew a little further over the surface of the river that runs through the center of the canyon. While I’ve always enjoyed the quiet and beauty of Winter, it seems to me that this particular cold season is the most pleasurable and lovely I’ve ever experienced. Part of this is no doubt simply due to how much I needed the slowing down that this time of the year brings for our family. Another aspect is my deepening relationship with the special medicine...

Wild Things Roundup: Acorn Sweets by Kiva and Loba

Wild Things Roundup: Acorn Sweets by Kiva and Loba

This is a post by both myself and Loba for the Wild Things Roundup which is focused on Acorns for November From Kiva Our family had a wonderfully wild foods infused Thanksgiving this year that was especially rich in roasted Acorns and White Fir, as Oak and Fir trees are common plants in the canyons and mountains of our bioregion. Despite the fact that there was not even a single acorn on the Oaks this year because of the severe drought the SW has been experiencing, we had enough stashed to create an incredibly tasty Thanksgiving dinner. For this Acorn themed Wild Things Roundup, I’m including recipes by both Loba and I, and all sweet! While our family isn’t particularly sweetener centered, we decided that the holidays are a great time to share these...

The Wildest Rose: On Thorns, Tangles, Tenacity and Sweetness

The Wildest Rose: On Thorns, Tangles, Tenacity and Sweetness

This post is part of the July Wild Things Roundup, a great blogparty-type event created and hosted by my student Rebecca of Cauldrons & Crockpots and Butter of Hunger & Thirst focused on recipes and info about foraging wild foods. I always enjoy all the great posts they put together for each month but thus far hadn’t been able to make time to participate myself. With July’s theme being Wild Rose though, how could I NOT join in? Also, if you don’t already follow the aforementioned blogs, I highly recommend them. I work with Rosa spp. extensively in my practice and have a personal affinity with it. Every May I hike through riparian canyons and mountain meadows in search of one of my most beloved plant allies. The most common local species...

Weedwifery: A Feral Approach to Folk Herbalism

Weedwifery: A Feral Approach to Folk Herbalism

With the current drought here in southwestern New Mexico only getting worse right now, I have never been so grateful for widely available, locally abundant, feral as all hell weeds. So much of the land in every direction is eerily brown and dormant despite the warm weather. There are very few birds or insects compared to a normal May in the canyon. And from photographs, you’d be likely to think it’s Winter right now. The quickest way to get a fix of lush green is to find a perennial waterway like our lovely San Francisco River running just below the mesa our cabins are situation on and…. checking out the weeds in people’s yards, in vacant lots and other disturbed areas. Some of these species are native, some are not, but what unites them...