Mar 262013

Last Saturday, Lummi Island’s own Whitney Thomas of led a three hour workshop on our favorite local spring plant—nettles. This workshop, graciously co-sponsored by The Lummi Island Heritage Trust, started with a foraging expedition on the Curry Preserve where we learned when and how to harvest the nettle. We then moved to the Heritage Trust office where Whitney showed us how to make nettles tea, infusions, decoctions and pesto. We lunched on fresh nettle pesto and crackers. The health and medicinal benefits of nettles are many and i wish more people could have taken advantage of Whitney’s knowledge. However, she is available for private consultations and can formulate herbal remedies based on your specific need. Check out her website.

Here’s what’s coming up on the Grange Country Living Series.

Mike Moye—Chain Saw Safety and Maintenance. April 6 10-12pm Mike has agreed to repeat his well-attended chainsaw safety and maintenance class. Show up for this one. Held at Mike’s shop at the end of Constitution (east side of S. Nugent)

Whitney Thomas— Herbs for Cleansing, Detoxification and Wellness. Cleavers, Dandelion and Elderflower. April 13 10-1pm. $25 fee. Date subject to change. Location TBD. Call 758-7997 for more info.

Karen Kupka—Rag Rug Workshop. April 17, 6:30pm Grange Hall. Limited to four people. (Three spots still available. Note: incorrectly reported as scheduled on April 16.

Judy Olson—Soap Making. April 20, 10am to 12 at the Grange. More details to follow.

The Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement—End of Life Workshop. April 23. 7pm to 8:40pm at the Grange. It is a free workshop about making end-of-life choices. Participants will learn why advance care planning is important; how to chose someone to be your durable power of attorney for health care;  how to talk to loved ones and doctors about your preferences for end-of-lifecare; and how to complete advance directive paperwork.

Janice Holmes—Artisan Bread Making in an outdoor oven. May 4, Sat. noon to 5,  2722             Westshore. $5 fee. Janice is a graduate of the San Francisco Baking Institute. Class                                   size 6. (5 spots still available).

Mary Stack—Cheese Making. May 19- 1-4pm. Grange kitchen

Whitney Thomas—The Heart: Wild Rose and Hawthorn flowers. June 8 10am to 1pm. Date     subject to change. $25 fee. Location TBD. Call 7587997 for more info.

Diana Pepper —Self care with flower essences and accupressure points. June 15, 10:30-12:30 at Tree Frog Farm. $5 fee.

Whitney Thomas—Herbal First Aid: Yarrow, Plantain and St John’s Wort. July 6, 10am-        1pm. $25 fee. Date subject to change. Location TBD. call 758-7997 for more information

Additional workshops are in discussion.

Mar 062013

Oregon Homestead squash

When Carol Deppe wrote The Resilient Gardener she really got me thinking about what I wanted to plant in the garden to truly provide real food for the longest period of time. Her formula consisted of duck eggs, beans, corn, potatoes and squash. This would provide her protein and carbohydrates and lots of calories over a long period of time. Beans, corn, potatoes and squash all being foods that store well months if not longer.

Her squash of choice was a sweet meat, the Oregon Homestead squash, a large, rich tasting winter squash which, I believe, she developed. She claims that this squash will keep until the following summer if stored properly. I have no reason not to believe her. Following her storage recommendation (against the living room wall) our sweet meat squash are still delicious. We may not last till summer as there are only two left.

The first year I tried to grow this squash I ran an experiment that didn’t work well and only ended up with one squash. I replanted those seeds, also gave many away, and this past season ended up with about a dozen sweet meats. This actually seems like an adequate amount for us but am going to try and increase the number of squash produced. Expect if we had more we would eat more.

This really is a terrific squash. And, as Carol Deppe points out, one squash produces a serious amount of food with flesh that can be three inches or more thick and a small seed ball producing a copious amount of fat, white, nutritious seeds.

We prepare it in a straight forward manner, steaming it and eating it with a bit of butter. It has a wonderful creamy texture and we don’t seem to tire of it.

Extending the gardening and eating season is the next challenge. Growing veggies using the Carol Deppe formula works for us and food stacks up in the pantry for eating during the winter. It’s fun to be able to put a meal on the table in March that consists primarily of garden food. Last night: Oregon Homestead squash, steamed nettles/kale combo, shallots and cabbage in a stir fry. We could last a long time on squash, beans and cornmeal with a few potatoes thrown into the mix. And this winter we had volunteer arugula for the entire season along with some corn lettuce for salads.

If the mineralization that I’ve been blogging about works as advertised, the resilient gardener’s diet should help us survive many winters to come in good health.

Seeds from one squash