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Showing posts from June, 2015

Sap-solute Magic!

'If magic is to be found you will find it in the woods, you'll find it in the trees'

The name Birch is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word 'bhurga' which roughly translated means, 'tree whos bark is used to write upon' - a reference to it's use as a paper resource. This is just one of the many attributes of this common, very useful and delightful tree.

Birch are extremely common in northern temperate regions of the world. In and around Leeds birch can be found in pretty much all the woodlands, yet until this year (2015), I'd all but ignored this tree but for the beauty it lends itself to our parks, woodlands and wildlife. After reading posts and articles about 'birch sap', I felt that it was time to acquaint myself with this practice. So it was, early in March, I set about testing whether the 'sap was rising' or not. I headed to a local woodland and after locating a healthy tree and after seeking permission, I 'tapped' in…

Experiments & Adventures in Mead Making

My first encounter with 'Mead' was quite some years ago - a well known & commercial brew from the Northumbria region. It was a pleasant encounter but certainly not one which I exulted about from the highest tree tops. Since then, my mead drinking has been relatively limited. Then, in November of 2014, while 'foraging, feasting, playing' in Scotland, I was introduced to 'homebrewed' meads, lovingly and artistically created by my now friend and fellow forager, Andrew McFarlane, aka 'McMead'. Andrew, who 'husbands' bees at his home in South East England, creates his delightful beverages with the raw, unpasteurised honey produced by his bees. At the same time Andrew utilises his extensive knowledge of herbs and natural medicines, adding various wild herbal and edible ingredients into them. The first mead of Andrews I sampled was a Mugwort & Yarrow version and I was instantly hooked! The bold, gutsy, yet simple complexity had me reeling with…