Plant Devotions in Smoke: Bioregional Plant Incense

Plant Devotions in Smoke: Bioregional Plant Incense

~This post was written for the Smoke Theme of the Wild Things Roundup~ Finished block of incense made with Piñon resin, Juniper berries, Red Cedar heartwood, Douglas Fir needles, Rose petals, and much more. The rising smoke of fragrant plants has long been considered the food of gods and ancestors by humankind. Throughout the centuries, it has retained the connotation of sacred space, magic, and the sensual. Even now, just the description of white smoke rising from an ornate censer can evoke images of ancient temples and forgotten rites. This is no surprise given the power of the olfactory system over memory, dream, and desire. For the modern American human, however, the word incense may be more likely to bring to mind the suffocating stench of chemical infused...

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...

Of Smoke and Spice: Two Teas for the Cold Moons

Of Smoke and Spice: Two Teas for the Cold Moons

On this windy November afternoon I brought a thermos of my favorite smoky chai and a crisp mcintosh apple with me to a small copse of Alder trees and Wild Roses by the river. Listening to the breeze keening through the Pines on the mountain above, I sat down in the soft leaf litter and leaned against the silver barked  trunk. All around me, the air was thick with the musky-sweet smell of Autumn turning rapidly to Winter. On the ground, the rust and copper colors of fallen Oak and Maple leaves provided a stark backdrop to the lush green of young Mountain Nettles (Urtica gracilenta) that continue to persist and have been providing our family with nightly meals of Nettle soups and Nettle breads. Frankly, I’m not sure there’s much in this world better...

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...

Summer’s Spice: Beebalm Flower Infused Honey

Summer’s Spice: Beebalm Flower Infused Honey

Summer’s Spice: Beebalm Flower Infused Honey It won’t be long now until the first brilliant purple flowers of Beebalm explode into bloom here in the Canyon. Locals call this gorgeous wildflower either Oregano de la Sierra or just Wild Oregano. Because yep, it tastes spicy and rather Oregano-like. The botanical name of this particular species is a bit long, being Monarda fistulosa var. menthaefolia, but really, any Monarda species will work just fine for most medicinal, culinary and other uses. The specific actions will, however, vary with the exact flavor and impression of the particular plants you work with. There can be quite a bit of taste variation through the genus of Monarda, all are aromatic but some veer more toward the sweet end of the taste...

Rich, Sweet & Wild: Acorn and Pine Nut Infused Butter

Rich, Sweet & Wild: Acorn and Pine Nut Infused Butter

Most of my readers well know my fondness for the sweet, rich taste of New Mexico’s wild acorn. This smooth dark nut from the evergreen woodlands of the Southwest’s middle mountain ecology is often prolific and a great favorite of local wildlife. And with good reason, as this little nutrient powerhouse is both delicious and deeply nourishing, providing us with fat, protein and a plethora minerals…. The problem with acorns and with the SW’s other great nut, the pine nut, is that they’re small and take damn near forever to shell a sizable enough amount to make much food. With this in mind, I’ve been experimenting with various ways of concentrating and extending the flavor. I was recently trying to figure out how to best send the...