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  • morel mushrooms

    Morel Mushroom Hunting

    It’s spring in Minnesota when the trees are sporting their new green leaves and the ground is warm and damp. It’s also time to get into the woods and look for morel mushrooms. Morel hunting has become one of my favorite springtime traditions. My husband Adam, introduced me to morels several years ago. I still […] More

  • dandelion and lemon wine

    How To Make Dandelion Wine

    I wish I knew decades ago what I know now about the medicinal and nutritional benefits of dandelions: I remember my dad spending hours trying to get these sunny little “weeds” out of our suburban lawn. But savvy homesteaders, foragers, and DIY-ers know that the flowers, leaves, and roots of dandelions are edible. The greens […] More

  • jack-in-the-pulpit

    Jack-In-The-Pulpit: A Beautiful Flower With A Weird Name

    Growing up in the 1960s, just about everyone in my class at school went to church, and most churches were similar in layout, including, at the front by the choir, a pulpit. So, when the lessons turned to studying the wildflowers of Ontario, the one plant which captured our attention was the Jack-in-the-pulpit. The teacher […] More

  • false solomon's seal

    Homestead Stories: What’s False About False Solomon’s Seal?

    “False Solomon’s seal? What’s that? And why is it false? What’s the real thing?” Questions. Always lots of questions. Each new discovery on my country property opened up a new page of learning, understanding, and appreciating. I had been studying the knee-tall foliage that arched over my flower beds. With oval-shaped leaves draping along the […] More

  • wild grapes

    Wild Grapes

    31Among the wild food just waiting to be plucked from open fields, deep forests, lush riverbanks and country roadsides, wild grapes have got to be a favorite. If you’re a fan of the delicious fruit, you’re not alone. It turns out that humans have likely been gathering grapes for 15,000 years before we were cultivating […] More

  • bird in pussy willow shrubs

    Homestead Stories: Growing Pussy Willows

    “What is that yellow fluff covering the bush in the corner?” I asked. It was my first spring living in the country, and I still had a lot to learn. I had been watching the snowdrops and the crocuses do their early spring color display, and I was keeping an eye on my lilac bushes, […] More

  • trout lily

    Homestead Stories: How I Accidentally Grew Trout Lilies

    When I first moved to the country, I was amazed at the bounty of both wildlife and wildflowers. I had a big job ahead of me—tidying the forested part of our property. I wanted to clear out the brambles and remove the garbage that had been randomly dumped in a place the previous owners believed […] More

  • wild strawberries

    Foraging For Wild Berries

    If you are looking to find berry variety beyond what your local grocery store or farmer’s market offers, you can look to berry foraging to seek and find a delicious array of berry options in your backyard or further afield. When you forage for berries, you’ll learn about your environment, connect with nature, and diversify […] More

  • wild asparagus

    How To Harvest And Transplant Wild Asparagus

    Asparagus has gone wild! Foraging for asparagus is easy and fun. When it’s asparagus season, you can dodge the high prices at the supermarket just by going out and harvesting some for yourself. Where To Find Wild Asparagus My favorite spring vegetable is wild in every U.S. state and most of Canada. Asparagus grows wild […] More

  • purslane

    Purslane: Weed Or Delicacy?

    Have you seen this plant in your garden? If you have, you probably have a lot of it. It’s purslane, one of the most persistent weeds in North America. Have you seen this leafy green in your salad? It’s purslane, a leafy green that was enjoyed by early Americans like Martha Washington. It was cultivated […] More

  • basil in pot

    Everything Basil

    Of all the herbs, basil is by far my favorite. The sweet, subtle aroma washes over me like velvet. And the taste? It certainly embellishes many of my savory dishes with flair. The benefits of this luscious herb are multiple. And the best part is that it’s easy to grow, both indoors and out. Consequently, […] More

  • acorns in hand

    Eating Acorns: From Foraging To Cooking & Recipes

    This summer, my family and I moved to our homestead. We were not able to get a garden into the rocky, wild ground, but somehow we’ve had a fantastic fall harvest and have started accumulating jars of dry goods from the plenty. How was this possible? One surprising word… acorns. When we had first discussed […] More

  • white orchid in winter

    How To Care For Orchids

    “You should be advised, sir,” the clerk advised my husband, “that when the blossoms die, it doesn’t mean the plant is dead. It does go through a dormant stage. And don’t over-water.” My husband smiled as he paid for the purchase and accepted the carefully wrapped plant to bring home. “Not to worry. My wife […] More

  • jerusalem artichoke tubers

    Jerusalem Artichokes

    I first discovered Jerusalem artichokes about four years ago in Arkansas. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw the 5-foot stalk with a yellow flower that looked like a miniature sunflower without the seeds. I flipped through my edible plants book, surfed the web, did some research and was pleased […] More

  • thimble berries in hand

    Cultivating Thimbleberries In The Homestead Garden

    Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus Nutt.) is a common bramble plant found growing in the wild on sunny, sub-alpine, mountainous slopes and avalanche tracks from Alaska to California. In fact, thimbleberries are a circumpolar fruit that grows wild in Japan and Russia and all but the most southern regions of North America. Red when ripe, thimbleberries may […] More

  • Our Dead Trees Became Living Fungal Art

    Fungi are remarkable, and after many trees fell in our yard we discovered the beauty of living fungal art. Trees–they’re beautiful when healthy, but even long-living, solid trees can meet an untimely end. When we moved onto our one-acre country lot, we were thrilled with the bits of forest that surrounded our house. Not only […] More

  • Plantain Weed

    Learning about Mother Nature’s edible and healing plants is a critical component of living a sustainable, self-sufficient, and prepared lifestyle. Broadleaf Plantain Broadleaf Plantain, commonly pronounced plan-tin, is a “common” weed that most folks recognize. You likely see it in your lawn, but chances are you don’t know its name. However, there is nothing common […] More

  • How To Make A Healing Salve From Backyard “Weeds”

    Before I was interested in natural ways of healing, I had no problem reaching for the common OTC cough syrups, ointments, and multi-syllabic pills available at my local big box store. However, as I learned more about the side effects of synthetic additives, petroleum-based ointments, and hormone-disrupting chemicals, I started wondering about the safety and […] More