The Omnivore’s Delight Diet Challenge!

Join us wont you?

New England Resilience & Transition Network

Some members of the New England Resilience & Transition Network will be piloting an “Omnivore’s Delight Diet Challenge”! We’ll discuss how this will work on Thursday, September 8. Register here to join us then. Read more about the diet below and in the Food Solutions New England Food Vision (PDF).

Quoted from the Food Solutions New England Vision (PDF), pages 12 – 14

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.01.10 AM


For a 2,300-calorie diet, the USDA’s MyPlate recommends approximate daily intake of vegetables (3 cups); fruit (2 cups); grain (7.5 ounces); and dairy (3 cups) —with room left over for a small addition of oils, fat, alcohol, and sugar to fill out the calories. The Omnivore’s Delight diet generally follows MyPlate guidelines, with three notable exceptions (discussed below): dairy, fish, and alcohol. For protein, the calculated average intake of 2.1 ounces was applied.

Vegetables. Vegetables are nutrient-dense…

View original post 770 more words

Funny Little Bee


, , , , ,

green-sweat-beeEvery now and again I catch a glimpse of a funny little bee. I see it here and there. Once hanging out on a Calendula flower outside my favorite store The Natural Grocer (has Boocha kombucha on tap and a chicken salad to die for) and another time on the windshield of my Vue. I have yet been able to get a photo of it. The funny little bee is being very uncooperative! How very rude!

I told the fireman, oh excuse me the Chief (the fireman was promoted to Battalion Fire Chief) about the silly little bee and he did not believe me and questioned my sanity, again (it’s an on going discussion we have lol)!

As some of you know I have recently become a beekeeper. I bought my bees from McFarline Apiaries in Vermont, figuring that since I’m in Massachusetts bees from Vermont will have a hardier constitution and the ability to withstand a harsh New England winter (and so far this has proved to be accurate). Currently there is one very active and thriving hive with plans to add a nuc this next spring.

The bees hang out in an organic community garden New Eden at The First Parish Church of NewburyThe church has Our Secret Garden, a pre-school that is associated with it.

Our Secret Garden Indoor/Outdoor Nursery and Preschool (OSG) is a nature-based center aimed at nurturing children of all abilities to care for themselves, each other and the earth in a quality educational program. OSG is committed to environmental stewardship, believing that every child has incalculable worth and can make a positive difference in the community and in the world.

I had the great pleasure of speaking with the kids about the duties of a beekeeper. We spoke about what I did, looked at my gear and made beecandy, which the kids will help feed to the girls for winter. We then walked quietly to the hive (well as quietly as 5 to 8 yo can be). The girls were flying in and out and doing what the foragers do, but the kids noticed that there were bees sitting near the entrance not flying. I explained that they were guard bees and they were protecting the hive. The pre-school has its own garden and the kids took great pleasure in showing me what they had planted and where they played. As I was walking around with one of the instructors some of the children came running over to say that they were playing beekeeper and guard bees and the beekeeper kept chasing the guard bees. These kids just kill me! Every time I think of it I giggle.


So back to the funny little bee. When one thinks of bees we think yellow and black as the color scheme. Although, and it might be a product of my imagination, I remember seeing black and white bees that we called king bees. I have not seen them for many many years, which leads me to think I might have imagined them! The funny little bee I’m talking about is green and shiny. When I first saw one I was sure that I really didn’t see it. It was a long time before I saw another one and this made me think that they could be solitary bees, if that is at all possible.

A sweat bee, insect family Halictidae. Photo credit: Alicia Alexander

A sweat bee, insect family Halictidae. Photo credit: Alicia Alexander

Well apparently it is possible and the funny little bee is one of them. They are called Common Eastern Sweat Bees. They’re mostly quite small, anywhere from one- to three-eighths of an inch in length, with some species only a few millimeters in length. Most sweatbee species look quite colorful, from a shiny green to a vivid blue color, but there are other species that are brown and even red. They’re all quite active during spring through midsummer, as they’re gathering pollen and food for their nests, which they commonly build as burrows in the ground. Some species of the Sweat Bee are active early Spring and Early Winter. These bees aren’t aggressive but the female sweat bee will sting if handled roughly. The males will bite or pinch with their mandibles that are similar to leaf cutter bees. Both are considered to be painless.

These funny little bees are quite fascinating, here are some interesting facts:

  • A Sweat Bee Gathering Pollen and Nectar from a Poppy

    A Sweat Bee Gathering Pollen and Nectar from a Poppy

    They take their common name from their affinity for human sweat.

  • Sweat bees are small (at least to us) and tend to measure between 3 and 10 millimeters in length.
  • They tend to be glossy black, but some have exoskeletons which are gorgeous shades of metallic gold, green, purple, or blue.
  • The social behavior of sweat bees runs the entire gamut of bee conduct: the University of Florida Department of Entomology Website states, “species can be solitary, communal, semi-social, or eusocial.”
  • Most species of sweat bees live together in a simple underground tunnel-hive where they act more like roommates than like city-states
  • Sweat bees mass-provision their larval offspring—which is to say they stick a mass of pollen inside a waterproof cell, place an egg on it, and seal then it off until a functional adult emerges (as opposed to honey bees which lovingly feed the larva as they develop).
  • Halictidae species are immensely important to flowering plants.  They are critical pollinators for many wildflowers, crops, and fruits.
  • Not all sweat bees are virtuous workers: some species are cleptoparasitic and lay their eggs on the pollen masses accumulated by another species of bee.
  • A handful of these little bees are outright parasites in the manner of the parasitoid wasps.

Source Citation

  • (MLA 7th Edition), Johnson, Bill. “Sweat bees.” Horticulture Magazine July-Aug. 2011: 12. General OneFile. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.
  • Wayne Ferrebee, Ferrebeekeeper Blog, Nov 10, 2011, Sweat Bees
  • Duke Farms Living Habitats, Bees
  • Texas A&M, Agrilife Extension, Alicia Alexander IPM Intern – July 23, 2015 Sweatbees
  • Bee Progress, March 16, 2009 – What is a Bee Nuc

To the Guy Flying a Confederate Flag in Exeter, New Hampshire

This rang true and echoes my thoughts on this flag.

Emily C. Heath

I saw your truck parked in front of the Rite-Aid, right by the Dunkin Donuts. Two large Confederate flags were attached to the back of it, waving in the wind. The American flag was, incongruously (and in violation of the flag code), in the center. And, I have to confess, I don’t get it.

Part of me wanted to ask obvious questions: You know you are in New Hampshire, right? And, you know New Hampshire was not a part of the Confederacy?

11709431_400316456841007_5791455240479926301_nI ask this because I’m not so sure you do. Here we are in a northern town, a place that gave her sons up to the Union Army and lost them on the battlefields of the Civil War. A place where locals organized early against slavery and led the charge against it across the country. A place where 150 years ago that flag would have been seen as…

View original post 521 more words

Herbal Remedies For Cold Weather Issues


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,




As some of you know I am a Medicinal Herbalist and one of the organizers for The North Shore Permaculture Group. NSPG uses Meetup to schedule get-togethers and classes. Some of the members have been asking (cajoling, demanding and a little begging) me to do some herbal classes. So I caved and offered this class. To be honest I like nothing better than to talk about herbs!

When making herbal medicines you will need a kitchen and one of our members graciously offered her home. We gathered in the kitchen, she has the perfect set up to conduct a class of this type. Nothing better than spending a morning playing with herbs, talking, and hanging out with friends and like minded people. Before I even started I made the woman who’s house we used promise me to keep me on track! She agreed and did a pretty good job at it. I did fight her though, as I can talk!i

I made mention to the group that after this class you will look at your local food stores in a different light. That the food you eat is the medicine you need. Remember that old saying you are what you eat?! In this country we have a maker of poisons in charge of our food sources and food related diseases are on the rise:

  • Food Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity

It is paramount that you get the freshest, organic if possible and non-GMO foods available. The best would be to buy local and support your local farmers.

For this class we made the following:

  • Elderberry Syrup
  • Lemon Ginger Tea
  • Golden Milk
  • Master Tonic
  • Thieves Oil

The Elderberry Syrup was begun before the class started as it needed to simmer for a hour and a half before finishing. So as that was simmering I commenced by discussing the properties of the ingredients we would be using. I will not get into that in this post, but I will follow up later with each of them. It is very important to understand and know these as you should never just take something because you heard it works. Also, and I can’t stress this enough, herbs work with your body to heal itself. You must also take steps to help yourself! For instance cinnamon helps lower blood sugar, but if you are morbidly obese and you do not try to lose weight or continue to eat foods that you should not, the cinnamon is just not going to help. What I am trying to say is that herbal medicine is not like conventional medicine. You just don’t take a pill and be done.


  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) (Purchased at Market Basket in Seabrook, NH my grocery Store)
  • Chili Pepper, hot whole Capsicum annuum (Market Basket)
  • Cinnamon, stick & essential oil Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Attar of Herbs in Harrison, NH)
  • Cloves, powdered & essential oil Syzygium aromaticum (Market Basket, Liberty Natural)
  • Eucalyptus, essential oil Eucalyptus globulus Labill (Liberty Natural)
  • Elderberry, Black, dried berries Sambucus nigra L. (Mountain Rose Herbs)
  • Garlic, cloves Allium sativum (Market Basket)
  • Ginger, fresh Zingiber officinale (Market Basket)
  • Honey, raw local (the only honey you should use)
  • Horseradish, root Armoracia rusticana (Market Basket)
  • Lemon,fresh & essential oil Citrus limon (Market Basket)
  • Onion, fresh Allium Cepa (Market Basket)
  • Rosemary, essential oil Rosmarinus officinalis (Liberty Natural)
  • Turmeric, fresh  Curcuma caesia (Market Basket, yes believe it or not, it carries fresh turmeric root)


The recipe for Elderberry Syrup that I really like is from Wellness Mama, it is easy andHomemade-Elderberry-Syrup-Natural-Remedy-for-Colds-and-Flu delicious. Please check out her other recipes and remedies.
How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Flu Prevention
Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
A simple natural remedy with a big nutritional punch.
Serves: 8+
  • ⅔ cup black elderberries
  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 2 T fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (I get mine from The Farm at Eastman’s Corner, my bees are not yet ready to give honey)
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries (or compost them!) and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Ta Da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.



We did not make Thieves in this session, but I had already made some and wanted the group to be introduced to this wonderful blend. Some of the members had previously heard of Thieves and knew where the name and recipe had come from.

Basically story is that during the Black Death, bubonic plague,  spice merchants would mix this blend of oils and douse cloths with it.  They would then wrap themselves with the doctored material and then they would go to the homes of the plague victims while not really a very ethical nor legal act to do, it was quite exciting to learn that they themselves did not contract this highly contagious disease.

I use Liberty Natural essential oils I find their quality is above thievespar. I do not recommend nor endorse Young Living. I also do not take eos internally as I believe that they are much to strong to do so. Remember essential oils are the highly concentrated volatile oils from the plant. When and if you research the blend, Young Living EO are all over this. The blend far outdates the company, they did not come up with this as much as they would like people to believe.

The link that I took this picture from is a Young Living Distributor. While I do not use their oils, the info from this link is accurate and a great list!

This mixture can be mixed with either carrier oils or witch hazel which I place in a spray bottle for easy use.

Ingredients: All but the carrier oil are essential oils

  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

In one cup of EVOO I mix 1/4 tsp of each of the eo’s. So this mixture would be very easy to make more or less. Mix the blend well and place in the vessels that you are going to use. I always use glass as the eo’s like to eat plastic also, just don’t use plastic. Natural remedies should be with natural substances.

Thieves is great to spray into your hands, rub them together, and then inhale deeply (you will just sigh in satisfaction). I will then wipe my hands on tissues or handkerchiefs to use when blowing my nose. I will also spray or rub the oil onto affected area, ie… throat or chest.

The next concoction we put together was my “go to” tea… one that even the Fireman will drink. On a side note, the Fireman is now the Battalion Chief as he was promoted while I was away running amok and causing unrest. This tea will make you feel better quickly and it tastes great too.


Lemon/Ginger Tea… This tea can be hot or cold. Feel free to make a big batch up and heat or not. The medicinal qualities of this does not depend on temp.


  • Lemons, fresh**
  • Ginger root, 2″ piece chopped
  • Cinnamon Stick, 2″ piece broken up
  • Honey, Local Raw 2 tsp
  • 2 cups water
    • Additional add-ins
      • Turmeric Root, 2″ piece
      • Green or White Tea
      • Herbs (for whatever ails you)

Now repeat after me… only use fresh lemon, only use fresh lemon and only use fresh lemon (the substance in the “real Lemon” bottles have no medicinal qualities to them as they have been processed out of it). For this recipe you will be initially using the juice, but save the peel as the peel and the juice have the same active constituents.

all-about-raw-honeyTo a non-reactive pan add the water, ginger and cinnamon stick and bring to a rolling boil. Once reached lower heat and simmer for 15 min. If adding Turmeric, and honestly why not, do it at the initial stage and chop it like the ginger. While this is simmering, to a cup add the honey and the juice from half of a lemon*. Remember to set the spent lemon aside. Once the 15 minutes of simmering has passed, decant the liquid into the mug with the lemon juice and honey. If the use of tea or other herbs are desired, add them to the mixture after the 15 min of simmering. Delicate herbs and teas are to be steeped (added to the hot water that does not have a heat source under it). Let these then steep. For tea (Camillia sinensis) three to six minutes for green and one to three minutes for white. Other herbs such as; yarrow, chamomile or lavender steep for 10 to 15 min.

When making an addition brew you add the spent lemon to this go around. Use fresh ginger, cinnamon and/turmeric and discard the previously used (in the very least I add them to my compost, but they could be dehydrated and or ground and added to just about anything).


* Lemons that have a rough or bumpy peel or rind has more pith. Those that have a smoother skin have more juice. Yeah you should be with me when I walk into the produce section. I basically give a class to someone there. Market Basket in Seabrook, NH should hire me! Also, to get more juice out of any citrus fruit, roll it on a hard surface while applying pressure. If you use a microwave you can heat the fruit for six minutes and then roll it.

** Lemons and Limes have the same constituents and are interchangeable medicinally wise.

Master tonic, aka Fire Cider 

To make this in a large amount I would suggest you use a food processor and since it takes about 3 to six months to effectively macerate and you should always have some of this on hand use a food processor. This preparation smells amazing while you are making it!  I always just want to eat it and have to stop myself and kick-up my self control! The smells from all of the mixtures had the husband of the house asking if we would stay and cook supper!

Since we had a good size group I asked one of the members to do some math and increase the portions to make enough for all. Yes folks you have to do math. I always say if you can do math and science you can both cook and prepare herbal remedies!

You may want to wear gloves during the preparation, especially when handling hot peppers, because it is difficult to get the tingling off your hands! Be careful, its smell is very strong, and it may stimulate the sinuses instantly.


  • 24 oz /700 ml apple cider vinegar (always use organic)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 fresh peppers, the hottest you can find (be careful with the cleaning – wear gloves!!!)
  • ¼ cup grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder or 2 pieces of turmeric root


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, except for the vinegar.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a Mason jar.
  3. Pour in some apple cider vinegar and fill it to the top. It is best if 2/3 of the jar consist of dry ingredients, and fill in the rest with vinegar.
  4. Close well and shake.
  5. Keep the jar in a cool and dry place for a minimum of three months. Shake well several times a day.
  6. Your master tonic is ready for use. You do not need to keep the tonic in your fridge. It will last for quite a long time, ACV has an indefinite shelf life.
  7. Once the tonic is used up, dry the solids and add them to soups, rice or anything.

Extra Tip: You can also use it in the kitchen – mix it with some olive oil and use it as a salad dressing or in your stews.


  1. Caution: The flavor is very strong and hot!
    1. Extra Tip: Eat a slice of orange, lemon or lime after you take the tonic to ease the burning sensation and heat.
  2. Gargle and swallow.
  3. Do not dilute it in water as it will reduce the effect.
  4. Take 1 tablespoon every day to strengthen the immune system and fight cold.
  5. Increase the amount every day until you reach a dose of 1 small glass per day (the size of a liquor glass).
  6. If you struggle against more serious disease or infection, take 1 tablespoon of the tonic 5-6 times a day.
  7. It is safe for pregnant women and children (use small doses!) because the ingredients are all-natural and contain no toxins.

Th last but not least and my favorite drink is Golden Milk! I love the creamy spicy taste. It is my new go to on those cold winter days (like when your town/state gets hit by a blizzard that lasts two days and dumps up to three feet of snow)


Ginger & Turmeric


Golden Milk


  • Turmeric Root, fresh chopped or grated** (powdered can be used 1/4 tsp = 2″ piece)
  • Ginger Root, fresh resh chopped or grated** (powdered can be used 1/4 tsp = 2″ piece)
  • Black Pepper, ground a pinch
  • Honey, Raw and local (always always always), 2 tsp
  • Coconut Milk* 15 oz can
  • Coconut Water

gmilkIn a  sauce pan add coconut milk, turmeric, ginger and black pepper and bring to a slight boil then simmer for 20 minutes. The liquid will turn a lovely golden color and the smell… oh the heavenly smell! I add the coconut water to thin out the mixture, but you can leave it out if you like a thicker drink. Add the honey once you decant the liquid into the mug and enjoy! It is as easy as that!


* You can use any milk animal or plant. Do not use soy, we over use it and our thyroids just can’t take it!

** If and when grating either of the roots/rhizomes no need to peel, just wash them and grate away!

I use a small crock that came with my seven quart crock-pot to make this and have it gentle heating away.




Harvesting Seaweed in the Rain


, , , , , , , , , ,

As far as the eye can see!

As far as the eye can see!

As one of the Organizers of the North Shore Permaculture Group I am tasked with setting up meeting that promote all things permaculture. To this end I recently scheduled and a held a class on harvesting seaweed on May 17th. Now in New England Spring is often referred to as Mud for the amount of rain that we get. I started getting questions about what we would do if it rained on the day of the planned harvesting. My reply, “You get wet, so dress for the weather“! There were originally eleven people signed up for the class and we ended up with five of us hardy folk ready to grab this gift from the sea. I started out by explaining to the group about what seaweed that we would be encountering. It was slightly  difficult as not only was it raining, but it was quite windy too.

Sea lettuce

Sea lettuce

Green Algae

Ulva lactuca

Common name: Sea lettuce

Description: Ulva lactuca is a bright green sheet that closely resembles Monostroma spp. and Ulvaria spp. Ulva is two cells thick while Monostroma and Ulvaria are only one cell in thickness. Ulva can be differentiated from Monostroma and Ulvaria by the fingerprint test. If fingerprints can be seen through the translucent plant, it is Monostroma or Ulvaria. If they cannot, and the texture is similar to wax paper, it is probably Ulva.

The shape of Ulva is quite variable; some specimens are almost circular or oval while others are narrow and elongated. Plants have a fine, silky texture with waved or ruffled margins.

 Ulva is found in a variety of places-on exposed rocks, in tide pools, and in quiet shallow bays near the low tide mark. Ulva thrives in estuarine, nutrient-rich waters and may be dense in salt marshes and on mud flats where fresh water is abundant.

Foraging: Sea lettuce is an annual or a pseudo-perennial (most of the seaweed dies back and the plant is regenerated by a residual basal material). Young plants should be harvested in early spring for taste and tenderness. Blades are cut or plucked from rocks at low tide. Drifting plants may also be harvested if fresh.

Uses: Ulva is occasionally used fresh in salads, but is more often processed before eating. Ulva is prepared and eaten in the same manner as Porphyra (see page 14), but is not considered as much of a delicacy. Sea lettuce has also been used for burn treatments.

Processing: Sea lettuce may be washed in fresh water, drained, and dried for use as a seasoning (similar to Porphyra). It is also used fresh as a fodder or dried, milled, and added to animal feed.

Nutrients: Very high in iron. High in protein, iodine, aluminum, manganese, and nickel. Also contains starch, sugar, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, soluble nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur, chloride, silicon, rubidium, strontium, barium, radium, cobalt, boron, and trace elements.



Brown Algae

The Fucaceae

Common names:

Knotted wrack (Ascophyllum spp.)

Rockweed, bladderwrack (Fucus spp.)

Description: There are several species of the genus Fucus, and one species of Ascophyllum with several different forms or “scads.” The Fucus species generally have dividing, Y-shaped, flattened blades with a prominent midrib. Fucus species may reach 2 or 3 feet in length and are not easily distinguished from each other.

Fucus vesiculosus has paired air bladders within the blades that “pop” when they are stepped on. These bladders keep the seaweed afloat so its photosynthetic tissues are more effectively exposed to sunlight. Breeding receptacles are football-shaped structures at the tips of the plant-orange if male and olive-green if female.

F. spiralis lacks bladders and has twisted fronds and numerous tufts of dark brown hairs scattered across the surface. Recep-tacles at the tips of the plants are “winged”–having a narrow, shelflike tissue bordering each one. F. distichus (subspecies edentatus, evanescens, and fileformis) are distinguished by the shape of their receptacles, which are 2 to 4 inches long and have a pointed tip.

Ascophyllum has long fronds without a midrib and narrow, unflattered, straplike blades with air bladders that grow singly and are scattered throughout the plant. Receptacles are small, pea-sized, yellow structures (found during the winter) along the length of the plant and attached by short stalks. A. nodosum has been reported to have a life span of about 20 years and is the dominant species of the sheltered and semi-exposed intertidal zone.

Habitat: These algae form the prominent “rockweed” zone of the intertidal region in northern New England. This is the generally dark brown area that is very slippery to those walking on rocky shores and ledges.

F. spiralis is found at the upper level of the intertidal zone, F. vesiculosus forms a band toward the middle, and F. distichus subspecies are found in tide pools in the high intertidal and extend into the shallow subtidal zone. Ascophyllum prefers shores protected from heavy wave action and may also be found in tidal pools of salt marshes. Some of the less common forms of Ascophyllum (i.e.. A. nodosum ecad scorpioides) are free-living, growing unattached and often entangled in Spartina salt-marsh grass.

Foraging: Ascophyllum and Fucus are perennials. Because they grow slowly, it is best to collect them after they have washed up on the beach after a storm.

Uses: The main uses of Ascophyllum and Fucus are as fertilizers, soil conditioners, and sources of micronutrients in animal feed supplements. Studies have shown that seaweed fertilizers promote plant growth by supplying necessary minerals and growth hormones, and by improving soil structure. Studies have shown that when these seaweeds are used in animal feed, cows produce more milk, chicken eggs have better pigmentation, and horses and pets are generally healthier. These seaweeds are also important packing materials for shipping live lobsters and marine bait worms. A special form of Ascophyllum called wormweed (A. nodosum ecad scorpioides) is a gold-colored seaweed with very fine fronds that grows in localized areas and is used exclusively for the sand and bloodworm bait industry.

Processing: Local farmers gather rock-weed for use as a fertilizer and soil conditioner, and simply bury it in their gardens. When used as an animal supple-ment, the algae are dried in commercial dryers to 10 to 12 percent water content and milled to various particle sizes. Some is processed into liquid fertilizer. Alginates are extracted chemically and used in bulking, gelling, and stabilizing processes. Products using alginates include charcoal briquettes, cosmetics, ceramics, cheese, paint, asphalt, rubber tires, polishes, toothpaste, ice cream, and paper.

Nutrients: Very high in magnesium, and high in protein, vitamin A, iodine, bromine, and phosphorous. Also contain sugar, starch, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, calcium, sodium, sulfur, chloride, silicon, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, cobalt, titanium, hydrogen, molybde-num, lead, barium, boron, radium, and trace elements.

Kelp helping to harvest!

Kelp helping to harvest!

Laminaria longicruris

Common names: Oarweed, kelp

Description: This brown kelp has a very long, narrow stipe (which may be 6 feet long) transforming into an elongated, flat blade with no midrib. The stipe becomes somewhat swollen and hollow before it joins the blade. Blades are fairly thick in the midsection, thin and a bit ruffled at the edges, and may be 6 to 30 feet long and very wide. Laminaria has a large branched holdfast. Plants range from olive-tan to olive-brown.

Habitat: A dominant plant of the coast, it grows in dense forests below low tide mark, from the shallow subtidal to deep water along much of northern New England’s shores.

Foraging: Peak harvest for Oarweed is in April and May. Blades are harvested by cutting with a knife or sickle at low spring tides.

Uses: These kelps are a prominent source of algin and food in the Oriental market. Traditionally they have been a source of iodine and potash. Their stipes were used to open wounds, aid in cervical dilation, and induce abortions. Oarweed is harvested in Maine for health food stores where it is sold as “kombu.” Prepared plants may be cooked as a vegetable or added to soups. As with the other kelps, oarweed is a natural source of monosodium glutamate.

Processing: Oarweed may be air- and sun-dried (or smoke-dried over a woodstove) and sold whole or milled and sold as seasoning.

Nutrients: High in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and trace minerals such as manganese, copper, and zinc. Also provides chromium, instrumental in blood sugar regulation; and iodine, essential to the thyroid gland.



Red Algae

Porphyra Species

Common names: Laver, nori

Description: There are at least four species of Porphyra in northern New England waters: P. umbilicalis, P. miniata, P. Ieucosticta, and P. Iinearis. They are red algae, with color ranging from dark brown and nearly black to reddish-purple.

P. umbilicalis is most prominent with broad, very thin, papery, translucent blades, which are one cell thick. Its species name umbilicalis (meaning ‘of the navel”) comes from the fact that the small holdfast is usually centrally located and the membrane tends to have a pinched appearance where it joins the holdfast.

Habitat: P. umbilicalis is found in the upper and mid-intertidal zone on rocks and mooring balls in protected waters. P. miniata, a bright rose-colored species, is found at or below the low tide mark. P. Ieucostkta is smaller and usually grows on kelp fronds and rocks in the shallow subtidal zone. P. Iinearis is also small, has a narrow blade, and grows to be 2 to 3 inches long. It is found in turbulent, coastal waters in the upper intertidal zone.

Foraging: The peak harvest for Porphyra is early to mid-spring. Fronds are tough by summer. It is harvested by plucking the seaweed from rocks at low tide.

Preparation: Porphyra may be air-dried or pressed into thin sheets. To air dry, seaweed is washed quickly in cold, fresh water and hung on a clothesline or spread on screens to dry in the sun. Porphyra can also be toasted over a charcoal fire, broken up, and added to soups and sauces. For use in Japanese cuisine (especially for “sushi”), certain species of Porphyra are pressed and dried into paper-like, 3-gram (.11 ounce) sheets, 18 x 21 centimeters(7.09 x 8.27 inches) in size.

Uses: P. umbilicalis and P. miniata are air-dried and used in soups, in lever bread, and as a seasoning for many dishes. Some Porphyra species (such as P. Iinearis, which has a taste very similar to the Japanese species P. tenera) are commonly used as a wrapping for sushi, a Japanese dish. Nori has antiscorbutic properties (prevents and cures scurvy), is used as an antibiotic, and reduces blood cholesterol.

Nutrients: High in protein, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B1 2, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Also contains manganese, fluoride, copper, zinc, sugar, starch, and trace elements

Irish Moss

Irish Moss

Chondrus crispus Common name: Irish moss

Description:This red alga has large clumps of fan-like fronds, 3 to 7 inches tall. The fronds are flattened and may be narrow, branched, curled, or twisted. Several blades arise from a single holdfast and the tips of the blades are rounded. The color varies with locality and season, ranging from white, when washed ashore on beaches, to green and dark purple-red.

Habitat: Chondrus crispus occurs abun-dantly on rocks or horizontal ledges at or below the low tide mark and-in the shallow subtidal zone. It grows in sheltered, open coastal, and estuarine sites with strong tidal currents. It has also been found in water as deep as 60 feet.

Foraging: Irish moss is a perennial and is at peak for harvest in spring and summer. Harvesting in the summer is best for high vitamin A content. This seaweed is raked by hand at low tide from small boats or cut with sickles by wading out in shallow water. Storm-cast seaweed is often harvested from beaches.

Uses: As a source of the valuable carrag-eenan, this alga is of great commercial importance. When Chondrus is dried and boiled in water, carrageenan is extracted. Carrageenan is a gummy substance made of very large molecules that remain dispersed and suspended in liquids without settling to the bottom. It is used primarily as a thickener, stabilizer, and gelling agent in food and food products (jello, ice cream, salad dressings, chocolate and evaporated milk, pudding, frozen desserts, etc.), pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, cosmetics, paints, and textile sizings.

Chondrus was given its common name, Irish moss, because residents in County Carragheen, Ireland, discovered about 600 years ago that a handful of the seaweed cooked with milk and flavored made a delicious pudding. (See recipe for Irish moss pudding on page 27.) Irish moss gelatin (made by boiling the seaweed in water and straining it) has been used as a soothing remedy for ulcers.

Processing: Carrageenan is extracted by boiling the algae.

Nutrients: High in protein, vitamin A and iodine. Also contains sugar, starch, vitamin B1, iron, sodium, phosophorus, magne-sium, copper, calcium, soluble nitrogen, bromine, potassium, chlorine, sulfur, boron, aluminum, and trace elements.

False Irish Moss

False Irish Moss

Mastocarpus stellatus

Common name: False Irish moss

Description: False Irish moss is a small stiff plant, growing in tufts 2 to 3 inches tall with flattened and often curled blades. The terminal surfaces of the blades are covered with irregular “lumps” that enclose micro-scopic reproductive cells. It is usually dark red to brown in color and grows densely on rocks, forming a thick carpet.

Habitat: This seaweed, along with Irish moss, forms a distinct zone at the fringe of the low intertidal zone, between the rockweeds above and the kelp below. False Irish moss grows better on sloping and vertical rocky substrates, while Irish moss is more often found on horizontal ledges. Mastocarpus grows in areas of strong tides and minimal surf action.

Foraging: Mastocarpus stellatus is usually harvested incidentally with Irish moss.

Uses: Its major use is as a source of carrageenan. It has been used medicinally for coughs and chest and stomach ailments.

Processing: Like Irish moss, it is boiled and carrageenan is extracted from the aqueous solution.



Palmaria palmata

Common name: Dulse

Description: Dulse is deep red or purple. The blades are flattened and broad with numerous forks. Lobed segments make the plant appear hand-shaped, thus its name palmata meaning “of the palm.” It has a tiny, disc-shaped holdfast and widens almost immediately into tough, leathery fronds. Dulse grows to 1 foot in length.

Habitat: This is a common red alga growing near or below the low tide mark in somewhat protected bays with strong tidal currents. It grows best on long sloping ledges. It is also commonly found growing on the stipes of kelps.

Foraging: Dulse is a perennial and is at peak for harvest from late spring to mid-fall. It should be collected in mid- to late summer for high vitamin A content and early to late fall for high vitamin C . It is harvested by cutting the plant from rocks at low tide.

Uses: Dulse is used exclusively for food.

Preparation: Dulse is simply spread out on the ground, air dried, and then packaged in plastic bags for distribution. It may be eaten directly as seaweed “chips” or added to soups, sauces, salads, and relishes. Some dulse is also dried and ground for use as a seasoning.

Nutrients: Very high in protein, iron, and fluoride and vitamins B6 and B12. High in potassium, iodine, and phosphorous. Also contains sugar, starch, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, soluble nitrogen, yeast, bromine, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, sodium, radium, boron, rubidium, manga-nese, titanium, and trace elements.

White, S. and M. Keleshian. 1994. A field guide to economically important seaweeds of northern New England. University of Maine/University of New Hampshire Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. MSG-E-93-16.


This go around we were gathering for the garden but I did explain to the members that all of the plants were also edible for human consumption. This will be a meeting for another day. If one is gathering for that purpose it needs to be done when the seaweed is freshest and an optimal time would be after a storm.

I had checked the tide schedule and found that the low tide for May 17th at Hampton Beach NH was at 8:00 am. So I set the class for 8:30 to make sure that the gathering would not be compromised by the surf. The day was gray and in the beginning a driving rain which actually started to let up almost immediately. The location that I most often harvest from is at the end of the beach. Here is a line of rocks that prevents the tractors that clean the beach from entering. Which means that there is always plenty of seaweed for the taking. What we had harvested did not even make a dent to the piles. Deb gathering   I had asked that the members bring empty buckets/containers to hold the seaweed. So there were many buckets to fill. All of which took about 15 min to finish off. It takes longer to get to the beach then it does to gather the seaweed. Then came the lugging of the heavy buckets back to the road and the loading up of the vehicles. It really is a simple as that!

I will reiterate here about how to harvest this seaweed. Do Not take the plants that are still attached to the rocks. You could do irreparable damage to tidal pools and sea life habitats. As you can see from the pictures there is no need to harvest in this way!




Seaweed Selfie

Seaweed Selfie


Sigmund and the Seamonsters, Using Seaweed in the Garden.


, , , ,



Ok so I am dating myself! I watched Sigmund and the Seamonsters when I was a kid. This posting is not about seamonsters, but seaweed and the use of it in the garden. It’s just that when I am gathering it the clumps remind me of the show.  Living in Salisbury, Massachusetts I have easy access to this wondrous gift from the sea! Well easy as in I am about two miles from the ocean, but I can’t get it off Salisbury’s beach. It would seem that we keep our beach free of seaweed and I have to drive over the border to Hampton, New Hampshire and harvest it on their beach. The hardships I have to endure!

I have been told by a few people that harvesting seaweed is illegal and from people that I feel should be in the know. I have not been able to find any statutes that say just that. I did find the following pertaining to New Hampshire:

Collecting Seaweed
Section 207:48
In Night. If any person shall carry away or collect for the purpose of carrying away any seaweed or rockweed from the seashore below high-water mark, between daylight in the evening and daylight in the morning, he shall be guilty of a violation.
Source. 1973, 532:10, eff. Nov. 1, 1973.

One of my friends from Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group was approached by a police officer and all he said to her was take it all and thank you for cleaning up the beach. She was a bit deflated as she was ready to do battle!


When harvesting please take what has washed up on the beach and do not take that which is attached to rocks in the tidal pools. These are habitats for many sea animals. It is also best to harvest at low tide and right after a storm. The first time I went to harvest I headed to the beach (when I say this, I mean my town’s beach Salisbury) and went down to the sand only to discovered to my dismay, no seaweed! The town takes great care to keep the beach clean. So I then start driving up the coast and cross over into New Hampshire (remember I live on the NH border).

Now NH does not really have much of a coast, I believe only 27 miles of it and most of that is rocky and very hard to get to. I drive to Hampton which is the second town from the border and one of three that have any beach to speak of (Seabrook, Hampton and Rye).  Hampton is the easiest to harvest from and I found a bounty at the very end of the beach. I had five five gallon buckets and it took me about 15 minutes to fill the buckets and head home. What I had ocean306kelfly_003_repnot been aware of was the friends that would be coming with it! As I was driving I happened to glance up and could not see out the back window! It was something out of Creature Double Feature (again dating myself)! I will admit, I kind of freaked out! There were flies all over the back window. Apparently there are Seaweed Flies, also known as Kelp flies. I pulled over and opened the back of the car and released a cloud of them. When I got home I just left the doors open for a couple of hours. Probably would of been a good idea to next time use lids on the buckets.

I’m a Permaculturist and when gardening we work with the Earth, use only manual tools (no machines only for very large jobs) and dig once. My plan was to make raised beds and use the seaweed in one of the layers. I dug double trenches, also called bastard trenching (called this because it is a bastard to do!!!).  I set the soil aside and started layering:

  • rotting logs
  • maple leaves
  • coffee grounds
  • eggshells
  • alpaca manure
  • seaweed
  • then the soil from the hole


The mix above breaks down and forms a great foundation that does not need to be dug again only fed. I have already picked up the alpaca manure and this next weekend I am giving a class on harvesting seaweed for the North Shore Permaculture Group. I will layer the manure then compost and finally the seaweed as mulch. Seaweed is very beneficial to the soil and the plants that will be growing from it. Always always always remember the most important factor in gardening is the soil! Being from Massachusetts I grew up on the stories of how the Native Americas taught the Pilgrims how to plant with seaweed and fish.

  • Enriches the soil: Seaweed is a broad spectrum fertilizer that is rich in beneficial trace minerals and hormones that stimulate plant growth. Seaweed is high in carbohydrates which are essential building blocks in growing plants, and low in cellulose so it breaks down readily. Seaweed shares no diseases with land plants.
  • Boosts lethargic plants: Seaweed fertilizer contains an abundance of fully chelated (ready to use) micro-nutrients which can be readily absorbed by plants without any further chemical decomposition needed.
  • To use for a mulch you need apply multiple times and rather a deep coverage as it will shrink.
  • Using seaweed for container gardening I would make a tea this would lessen the impact of too much salt in a small local:
    • Fill a five gallon bucket with seaweed and cover with water and let sit in a sunny location for a few days. Strain the liquid out and use in your containers.




Are you a Locavore?



[loh-kuh-vawr, ‐vohr]


a person who makes an effort to eat food that is grown, raised, or produced locally, usually within 100 miles of home.

2005; loca(l) + -vore, on the model of carnivore, herbivore
Where does your state fall? Be proud New England we rank in the top 20.
  • Vermont (1)
  • Maine (2)
  • New Hampshire (3)
  • Rhode Island (6)
  • Massachusetts (11)
  • Connecticut (20)

Shout out to relatives across the country:

  • Idaho (12)
  • Colorado (21)

Why be a Locavore? To me it just makes good sense. Our friends over at EcoWatch have some great reasons.

Supports local farms: Buying local food keeps local farms healthy and creates local jobs at farms and in local food processing and distribution systems.

Less travel: Local food travels much less distance to market than typical fresh or processed grocery store foods, therefore using less fuel and generating fewer greenhouse gases.

More freshness: Local food is fresher, healthier and tastes better, because it spends less time in transit from farm to plate, and therefore loses fewer nutrients and incurs less spoilage.

Builds more connected communities: Local foods create more vibrant communities by connecting people with the farmers and food producers who bring them healthy local foods. As customers of CSAs and farmers markets have discovered, they are great places to meet and connect with friends as well as farmers.

EcoWatch, Transforming Green: Which State Supports its Locally Grown Food, Brandon Baker, April 07, 2014 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Edited: 1/12/2018

Into the Hive I go!


, , ,


Finally! This afternoon I was able to fully get into the hive. The wind was crazy, but the temps were in the 70’s and just like any other week in New England tomorrow it will be raining followed by a week in the high 40’s. So today was perfect to take apart the supers and get a look at the brood.

After arriving at New Eden Community Gardens and pulling out all the equipment to get into the hive.  I realize that I do not have a full suit, but a jacket with hood and gloves and I am wearing shorts (I thought I had a full suit don’t judge). The gentleman that has his property (and magnificent gardens in his own right) bordering the community gardens stopped by, he is one of 13 people besides myself that help out with the bees. I explained to him that the hive needs a water source and how I was going to set up a dish with rocks so that the bees do not drown (well have you ever seen a swimming bee?). I told him that I would be putting something together when I got back from running home to grab some pants. He very graciously said that I could use his water as he was unsure if the water was running in the Community Garden yet.

Perfect example of a bee watering dish.

Perfect example of a bee watering dish.

Upon returning from home and dressed properly this time I find that the gentleman that I was speaking with had set up what I had spoken about. The bees thank you!

Before arriving initially I had made another half gallon of simple syrup with Fumagilin-B to get the hive over the hump before the blooming of plants. I also grabbed some matches to light the smoker. I had considered just using some simple syrup to spray the bees with but after researching this method, I decided to just stick with the smoker. Someone had put together some newspaper and sumac florets as fuel, there was also a waterproof container with matches. I grab all the equipment and place it in a basket, grab an empty super and the half super that had frames in it and to the hive I go. Yep it was heavy, but much like taking groceries out of the car. You will pull you shoulder out of its socket before making multiple trips! You all know what I am talking about!

I take the smoker and place some sumac in the bottom and then stuff some newspaper in. I grab the box of matches and promptly spill them all over the ground. Yep, perfect! I then try again and this time I am able to light the matches, set fire to the paper and then throw in some more sumac. I had recently watched a You Tube Smokervideo on the lighting of a smoker and how easy it is to keep it lit. Freakin liar! Such a freakin liar! I was able to get the smoker to stay smoking when I was done with the hive! I must of lit that thing about seven times before it stayed burning! To be honest, not really convinced that it helped at all! I will try it a couple more times to judge but I’m leaning towards not using it.

I put on the gloves; grab the hive tool, bee brush and smoker and step up to the hive. I smoke the front entrance and then I lift the outer cover to lay some smoke through the hole in the inner cover. This is when the smoker goes out the first time. I relight it and lay some smoke down the hole and place the outer cover back on. After waiting a little while I take the cover back off and lay it upside down. I then remove the inner cover and with it came the medicine frame that had been placed on earlier, the bees had glued it together. These were separated and scraped down to remove errant wax build up, propolis and dead bees. These were then placed onto the outer cover which had also been scraped down.


way too much honey

Now I take a good look into the hive and I am stunned! There is honey and way way too much of it. There is so much honey that I can’t pick up the deep supers and am having trouble picking up this half super. So I start by trying to remove one of the frames and it takes me a while because the bees have glued them together and to the super. After a bit of prying with the hive tool I am able to remove one of the frames. There are a few guard bees on it and a few dead bees. I scrape off the comb that had been built on the bottom and removed the propolis  and dead bees from the sides and then set the frame in the empty super. When I grab the next frame it collapses from the weight of the honey. This is when I stop what I am doing and make a quick call to Crystal Bee to see what I should be doing as I really have a mess on my hands. What I am told is that the honey must be extracted. Not all of it, because we want to leave some for the brood, but a large portion of it should be.

the hive

Continuing with the exploration of the hive, I stop here again and re-light the smoker three more times (grr). I am now onto the first of the deep supers, I am finding much of the same as the half super. It is completely drawn out and filled with honey. Hold on a minute, it has just occurred to me that as I write this, I realize that there is an extra deep super. Somehow between the visits another super has appeared. When I had first visited the hives there were two deep supers and a half one on the hive. I have pictures of it and can prove it. I went into the half super and one of the deep supers, then there were two supers left. I really would like to know who added the deep super.

So aside from this mystery, I encounter much of the same in the deep as was in the half. Honey honey and more honey and some of the frame collapsing. The next deep is where the brood and queen is. It is chock full of bees and quite heavy. I do not want to get into it yet because of the mess I am facing with the honey. So I set that aside and look into the bottom super. No honey, plastic frames and a black substance on some of the frames. It looks and feels dead, I’m not using it. I set the whole deep aside and clean out the bottom screen of hundreds of dead bees, very sad!

I place the brood super on the bottom with the two half supers next. I mix the undrawn and the drawn comb frames between the two half supers. The final deep is set on the top and the covers are placed back on the hive.

After cleaning up and putting out the smoker I head up to Crystal Bee to grab some new frames, wax, wire and a wire tool so that I can replace the frames that broke. I am hoping to get back into the hive, but it is suppose to rain tomorrow. The longer it takes me to get back into the hive the more the bees are going to run amok! AKA, just filling the crap out of the super.

I will be grabbing an extractor tomorrow and hopefully will be able to get that done, return the drawn out comb to the hive and get into the brood to see if I can identify her majesty!