Sunday, January 8, 2023

Birch Polypore

With cold and flu season in full swing I spent some of my holiday break foraging for immune support around the homestead and one of my favorite go to mushrooms for this has become the Piptoporus betulinus aka Birch Polypore... though some updated science will direct you to its new taxonomy of Fomitopsis betilina. This mushroom was made famous by the Ice Man discovered frozen in the Alps in the 90's and his presence dated back 5,400 years ago. In his possession was this mushroom that was also found in his digestive tract. The benefits of this mushroom are that its properties are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral as well as having immune-boosting properties. 

I found it most accessible by slicing it into quarter inch slices and simmering it for 2-3 hours. The potency seems to withstand a couple batches and I usually spruce its bitterness with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dribble of homestead maple syrup and a dash of dried ginger powder.

Simmering is better than a full boil and I usually strain it gently and label it so I know what and when I made it.

It is a very easy mushroom to forage as it doesn't have many if any "looks-a-likes" and it seems the birch logs I used for our garden beds are a great source for finding them but any forest with a decent stand of birch trees should reap some opportunity to find some. The most likely spot to uncover it is on fallen birches or almost dead standing birches.

Stay healthy and don't let a little frost and snow keep you from spending some time outside!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Winter Thoughts.

As we move into 2023 and leave the holiday season behind, we take a moment to reflect on this past year and project light, focus and hope into the next. 

2022 was a year of hills and valleys. 
Struggles and triumphs. 

Happy lil holiday tree courtesy of Celebration Tree Farm !

Pulling down our seasonal trimmings to store away till next year and embracing the dark cold days of winter, our minds are spinning with projects and plans for the new year. Seeds are being acquired & organized, beds are being laid to rest with straw and this unpredictable rollercoaster of temperature swings that has become more consistent rolls along bringing with it rain, ice and snow across the landscape, confusing us, challenging us and telling us, we are not in charge.

In my pursuit of wreath making supplies I happened upon a bin full of discount bulbs at our local greenhouse. At $1 a bag and knowing we had a random stretch of 50 degree afternoons arriving with some rain that week, we took advantage of the opportunity and tucked over 400 bulbs in for a long winters rest in hopes that spring will bring forth much color and beauty when its needed most!

Along with the crocus', daffys' and tulips bulbs we also managed to fill a bed with a few of our favorite garlic varieties before dressing them with the remaining few wheelbarrow loads of last years compost and finally laid a blanket of straw bedding.

 My intentions for the winter are to concentrate on finishing up a few painting commissions, creating more art, setting up a proper mushroom lab, continuing to strengthen our knowledge of the land we inhabit and the flora and fauna we share it with and enjoying some downtime with my family.

I hope the season finds you full of light and hope.

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