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Tuesday 20 October 2015

Himalayan Balsam Snack

I don't like invasive species of plants particularly ones that tend to take over, I have little time for them unless they are particularly useful, like bamboo, but generally they are anathema to me.
One that I really dislike is Himalayan Balsam, it grows everwhere even through the cracks in the pavement, but we can get our own back in a small way.. eat the seeds.

The seed pods of these plants pop, scattering the seeds over a fair distance so you have to be careful harvesting the seeds, not to shake the bush and thus help it propagate. Gently cup your hands round the pods and gently squeeze, when the pods are ripe they will pop in your hand

you can see here the tear drop shaped pods and the curls after they have popped to disperse their seeds

It doesn't take long to gather a handful and they are very tasty indeed and make a great wild food snack and they taste a little like pumpkin seeds. It's a good way to get your own back on this plant and get some wild food at the same time.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Fire with Spruce Resin Candles.

In coniferous forests it can be hard to find tinder but it shouldn't be hard to light a fire.

Find a tree with lots of readily available resin
get a few dry sticks and rub them in the resin to form a coating at one end, a spruce candle.
if you can add more resin do that, and align the sticks so that the resin is all in the center

scrape your ferro rod gently and gather a pile of the scrapings in the middle of the resin, once you've got a decent pile strike the rod onto the pile to ignite the scrapings
it may take one or two goes but once you get experienced at it you can do it first time most of the time.

once the resin is burning well you can move the sticks around like little candles or pile them in an area where you intend to have your fire and just add the kindling.