This is a blog about the pursuits of Naturalist Alan Russo to incorporate all things Natural, especially Plants, into his daily life. Living close to Nature has always been a passion of mine and I try, with natures help, to live a Healthy lifestyle for myself and for the Earth.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Teasel Update #2

Well, the Teasels have come to their end. They are dried up and all brown. Though this is the reason I planted them in the first place, it is sad to see them go.
 Now comes the fun part, harvesting the seeds. When they first turned brown I tried to get some seeds but only a few came out. I was disappointed thinking they just didn't produce as I thought they would. I decided to just leave the plants be and see what happens. A couple of weeks later while I was mowing around my garden I banged into one of the plants that had drooped over the lawn and my mower literately got covered in seeds! I got very excited and when I was done mowing I grabbed a bucket to see what I could collect. I bent over some plants into the bucket and banged them against the side and got a ton of seeds.
 I am very happy with the amount of seeds I collected, but of course I have way more than I need if you are interested in growing Teasel I have some seed available here: http://ethnobotanist128.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html
 I have already tested the seed and it looks like every one sprouted ( they are too small to count). If you are interested in growing some get some seed here: http://ethnobotanist128.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html .
 The other cool thing about Teasel is, once you collect the seed, you have these really cool dried flower stalks to use in arrangements or other crafts.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's Sumac Time Again!

 The days are getting shorter, the mornings cooler, but the heat is still upon us. I can see signs of Fall everywhere I look. Things are defiantly winding down (except my lawn won't stop growing!) This is Sumac season in my part of North Carolina.
 I have two large "Winged" Sumac on my property. One I planted myself from a plant that started growing right next to my propane tank. I let them grow because I love the way Sumac looks in the Fall with the red berries and the red leaves, not to mention how useful they are. Plus, that one plant hides my ugly propane tank! Most people consider them weeds and have no problem poisoning their homes and our water supply to get rid of them.
 I have written on making Sumac Aide before, http://ethnobotanist128.blogspot.com/2011/09/sumac-aide.html so I am not going to go into detail on making Sumac Aide again, so check out the previous post if you have never made it before. This is just a reminder to get out there and collect your berries before all the good stuff is washed away by a late summer rain!

Winged Sumac Drupes

The "Wings"
Berries covered in Malic Acid
Soaking the Berries to dissolve the Malic Acid
Sumac Aide!
Other types of Sumac make a much redder drink than my Sumac does. If you use Staghorn Sumac Berries, be sure to strain out the tiny hairs through a tea strainer or they may irritate your throat. For those who are thinking about all the other stuff that might be in your drink, insects, bacteria etc., once you have your drink made you can now boil it to kill anything if you like. I just drink it as is most of the time but I boiled it this time so I could seal it in Mason Jars to keep it longer. Also heating it and drinking it as a tea with a little Honey is delicious! 
 As always, be sure to identify your plants correctly. There are many plants in the Fall that have red berries so be careful. Also, Sumac is very common along roadside transition zones and in drainage ditches, stay far away from these toxic environments when you collect.