odiousgambit's Blog

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Two different world views, you might sayAugust 12th, 2018 at 8:36:09 am
Just identified that I have wood sorrel growing in my unpoisoned yard. I thought it was a type of clover, but it has yellow flowers. Ran across two different ways to look at this:

"Woodsorrel can easily take over a lawn and it's important you remove it before it sets seed. Try to remove it in winter, when it's dormant. Mowing is ineffective because the plant can still grow and set seeds because it's low-growing. Pull dormant plants out of the ground and then dig or till the area to break up the roots. Repeat this whenever you see new seedlings. You will have to patch the lawn after you've removed the woodsorrel. If you mow a lawn with seeds from this plant, rinse your mower before using it on another piece of lawn that does not have the weed.

Chemical Remedies

If you decide to use a chemical, [blah blah blah]"

from https://www.hunker.com/12490705/lawn-weed-with-a-clover-leaf-small-yellow-flower

View #2

"Wood sorrel is an incredible thirst quencher and is refreshing to eat. The leaves, flowers, and immature green seed pods are all edible having a mild sour flavour that some say resemble lemons. Wood sorrel can be added to salads, used in soups, sauces and it can also be used as a seasoning. Wood sorrel tea when cooled can make a refreshing beverage especially when sweetened with honey. In moderate dosages, wood sorrel is cooling (refrigerant, febrifuge), diuretic, stomachic (soothing to the stomach, relieves indigestion), astringent, and catalytic."

from https://www.ediblewildfood.com/wood-sorrel.aspx

From my own perspective, I'd love for this plant to [nearly] take over my yard. For the height it currently is, I see no need to mow it. I usually don't mow clover patches, but they need to dominate so they aren't half filled with grass. This one really fits the bill for that. And guess what? I'm going with the ediblewildfood.com folks and their view of things.

first image from second link above
next image a picture I took with the cell phone

August 12th, 2018 at 7:20:14 pm
Isn't that carillon lovely?
What? I can't hear you over those darn bells?

There are always two views of anything. However no matter how attractive you find one particular item, do you really want a monoculture? That is what made the Irish Potato Famine so devastating.

Pasadena or at least the older parts of Pasadena has small houses on small lots but there is one family who for almost twenty years has used their home and yard for a permaculture operation that feeds not just their large family but much of the neighborhood soup kitchens. You don't need much space but you do need variety.
August 13th, 2018 at 5:54:57 am
>do you really want a monoculture?

well, that's why I said "nearly". It certainly can replace all the grass, I pretty much think grass is way overrated as you can tell

I still want dandelions, real clover, wild onions, different types of dock, plantain herb, pokeweed, and dandelion relatives to grow but I don't think the sorrel will crowd all that out. And wildflowers. The dandelion relatives are interesting, they'll be close enough looking to dandelions early on, but then realize you haven't seen the flowers [some other flower usually comes up, but not superfast like dandelion]. Hard to identify sometimes, but they have to be edible otherwise people would be getting into trouble thinking they are dandelions.

Some of these greens that come up I'm a little wary of. Many are phases of wildflower. One concern is what you might call the "rhubarb problem"; 'they' say not to eat rhubarb leaves as the presence of oxalic acid is too high, and I think a forager could accidentally run into something else with that problem. Interestingly, though, there are some now who think the rhubarb leaves [not used for pie etc] got a bad rap in WWI, see link. If you shouldn't eat rhubarb leaves, you shouldn't eat carrots or spinach, etc, either! And then there are some things that have too much purging effect, like uncooked pokeweed.

August 13th, 2018 at 6:42:59 am
oh, forgot wild mustard ... really trying to encourage that to spread. The best wild greens for sure.
August 13th, 2018 at 9:00:59 am
Excessive rhubarb in the UK during the war was probably better than starvation. Oxalic acid is present in tea and you know how the British love their tea, so its not a bad thing per se. Rhubarb and Rhubarb-Strawberry pies are a great thing to have. Also salads but as with many things it depends on time of year, quantity and method of preparation. Wartime instructions had to be simple and straightforward without too many exceptions there was enough fears about invasions and bombings without inducing worries about the safety of home and community gardens.

What creatures do you observe eating this plant? That might be a way to prevent excessive encroachment.
August 13th, 2018 at 9:32:07 am
I'll have to see if anything eats it; we have a lot of rabbits about these days
August 14th, 2018 at 12:19:52 pm
also forgot chicory ... I encourage that too. around here you see it all over the place

if you let it get started, and then mow, it often comes back with a big burst of leaves, which I find very edible [I've confirmed the edibility of the whole plant]. The roots are well known as an adulterant for coffee.

August 14th, 2018 at 12:59:26 pm
Chicory a/k/a Blue Dandelion is great stuff: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, antiviral effects... so many good things in it its hard to isolate the cause of any particular beneficial effect. During the civil war it was the South's "coffee" and often to this day coffee is served with chicory in the American south. Its often used as a liver cleanse particularly for males who have to get up several times a night.
August 16th, 2018 at 4:43:57 am
>>>the best wild greens for sure
Your reference to wild mustard is quite apt but don't focus solely on the leaves.
Have you ever had potatoes cooked in fermented wild mustard roots? Great stuff.
August 16th, 2018 at 5:02:29 am
Remember the roots are fibrous and inedible but fermented the brine becomes a wonderful flavoring agent for the potatoes.
August 17th, 2018 at 3:01:15 am
I make homebrew and even use yeast for bread, but have never tried to ferment other things. I've heard of it.

The White Man's Footprint - Delicious?June 25th, 2018 at 6:20:14 am


My successes as a forager are spotty, as my previous post about mushrooms admits. One area I've done pretty well with, though, is encouraging wild greens to grow in my unpoisoned yard. If you want to imitate that*, your first sign of success is a healthy proportion of dandelions. If you've got them coming on [and live in my general area], look next for wild onions, dock, and this white man's footprint, supposedly so-named by our aborigines because it sprang up wherever white settlers showed up.

Yes, it is an invasive plant, sometimes also called the 'driveway weed' and indeed I have a healthy patch of it on the edges of my driveway where it is gravel. I won't use it there, as some of the advice out there is to never forage near vehicle exhaust zones - plants pickup the bad stuff on roadsides etc.

If you want to promote it, it should be called 'the plantain herb' - I would have done that but it is more fun to run the other names past the reader. The above site makes some nice claims, "itís super nutritious, easy to identify, has no poisonous look-alikes and it is used as medicine"

For wild greens, I almost exclusively use them cooked. As I say, checking into this one is new for me. I'll let you know how it goes.

*as a percentage of readers, that probably rivals the chances of 18 yo's in a row

June 25th, 2018 at 6:29:30 pm
Buckhorn. Arkansas chain gangs used to remove it from the sides of the road back when they had chain gangs, that is. Also removed the Paw Paw which is now known to be tasty and have significant anti cancer properties, particularly anti breast cancer.

I would agree as to exhaust pipes and leaded gasoline. Don't know about todays unleaded world though. Pb can certainly remain in the soil for quite some time.

Cars belch lead, dogs pee, maintenance men spray insecticides .... what is safe anymore?
June 26th, 2018 at 12:10:14 pm
Agree with Flea on not worrying about worrying. I mean, sure, the weed growing out of the local asphalt plant, go ahead and skip that. But whatever puffs onto my own weeds from my own vehicles can't be any worse than working in, on, or around them. At least I wouldn't think so. Then again, I don't worry much about that type of stuff because it's not my life's work. I just welded some galvanized pipe because WGAS; if it were my job where I'm doing it all day, then maybe get the respirator.

Mainly here to just recognize the sentence "unpoisoned yard". Good for you, man. I was just having this fight with my neighbor, who suffers from affluenza. He came from and turned into one who has the nasty green van at his house monthly. Can't figure out why his yard looks like dog s#$%. It's like, dude, it's nature. There's gotta be a balance. "Look at your yard with all the white shit!" Yeah, it's called "clover". It's a natural nitrogen pump returning goods back into the soil. That's why my yard is whole and lush whereas yours is "all grass", except where there's nothing but dirt. "Pah!" he tells me.

If a dude has to wear gloves and gas masks and is legally required to post signs and alert the neighbors, how in every single hell can this hit your brain as a "good thing to do?"

Wonders never cease. Keep it up, OG. Don't post much but still here reading.
June 27th, 2018 at 3:50:26 am
You guys have me wondering if the warning about roadsides comes from the days of lead in gasoline and people are just still repeating it.

as for people who use the lawn services, yeah, I hate to see that even from afar. I guess they have their reasons, but it's hard for me to tune into them. If my property would be worth a bit more with a golf green lawn, I am still the type that would ask "OK, I spend this horrendous amount on it for years, which has got to be more than I get back in property value, no?" You never know with buyers, some might view a bad lawn like a bad roof and wouldnt consider such a place. So the bottom line for me is, I don't care about that, but I do care about poisons; lastly, it turns out I get things to eat in return [tho I'm sure you have to be some kind of nut - so be it]
June 27th, 2018 at 9:24:18 am
>and people are still repeating it...
Probably. Think of all those lasagna gardeners who used newsprint and colored advertisements to make "soil" for their food plants. There is lead in much of that stuff, but they are not falling over dead from eating their home grown carrots.

Its like that millionaire who decided to build a spaceship (the kind you build with earth filled tires) in the New Mexican desert. He was rich so rather than get the tires for free from some used tire dump he bought hundreds of brand new clean tires from Michelin. Well, he can afford to.
June 29th, 2018 at 8:29:08 pm
Listen, man, I'm not knocking farmers whatsoever. But if you examine closely modern farming, it's all f#$%ed up. The chemical run off, the soil erosion, what we do for a head of lettuce, that is nutty.

You're taking advantage of a naturally occurring and self sustainable source. And, it appears, you are gaining spiritual and mental vitalization because of it. About the only thing nutty about that is the fact we view it as nutty.

Good on ya.

Morel FrustrationMay 10th, 2018 at 5:23:16 am
For years now I have hoped to be able to add Morel mushrooms to the list of things I forage for. But I am so far foiled again this year; one of the things "they" say is to look at a place that's had a forest fire. Bingo! one near me took place in a state wildlife management area. This is the second Spring since it burned so this year I was checking it out even more carefully, but 'no luck'. I did mistakenly think they would be coming out late this year due to a cold Spring - apparently they are unaffected by that - and so I looked most intensely after the season had already started. On the other hand, it is supposed to be still going on for a while, I'll still be looking .

Seems to me I should have had success by now. It seems to be one of those things you can't learn from articles etc., you have to find somebody who knows where to look and learn from them. Being a forager, I look constantly at what is growing everywhere I go outdoors, and I swear by now you'd think I would have spotted some just by accident if nothing else.

Here is a list of things about them:

*I fear eating wild mushrooms, and would never think it was safe to think you've identified *most* mushrooms correctly without an expert to confirm it. The scariest part is you can eat poison mushrooms and feel just fine ... till a few days later when you then get sick, and could die.

*Morels are an exception: they are distinctive enough that foragers, though warned, only need to be somewhat careful. There is such a thing as a False Morel that you are not supposed to eat, but it apparently is not as dangerous as all that. In some places they eat them apparently due to less toxicity locally and for the exact species. It doesn't really look all that close to the same, so just having a pamphlet or a look at an article is enough to avoid it.

*Additionally, the Morel seems to be the only mushroom that comes out that early in the year. As for my own experience, during the peak season I see no mushrooms at all, whatsoever, of any kind coming out of the ground; even the types growing on dead trees look like last year's remnants. The False Morel season might overlap a bit, being deemed a spring/summer grower while the Morel is early Spring mostly. In that early period it seems the real Morel will be what you see if you see any [I'm trying to confirm that]. I have come across False Morels later in Spring [yep I can find those].

May 11th, 2018 at 3:21:16 am
Most mushroom brokers in rural areas will be a good source of information as to what they are seeing. Just don't ask too specifically about exactly where or from whom.

Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

Careful about the knife you use to slice mushrooms, any toxin can adhere to it.
May 11th, 2018 at 3:21:16 am
Most mushroom brokers in rural areas will be a good source of information as to what they are seeing. Just don't ask too specifically about exactly where or from whom.

Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

Careful about the knife you use to slice mushrooms, any toxin can adhere to it.
May 11th, 2018 at 5:38:13 am
>Always set aside a portion of foraged mushrooms to aid the poison control center and/or county coroner.

ha ha! believe me I can't totally shake apprehension. God knows what my wife will say if I find some [I guarantee she will not join in when it comes to eating them].

here are some links I won't show to her



May 12th, 2018 at 4:44:08 am
Botanical nomenclature is difficult particularly when common names apply to several different items in different areas.

Also there are differences between various parts of a plant and great differences as to time of the year.

Often other items growing nearby can render some item toxic. Recall perhaps the humorous comments about the Coconut Crab, an obvious delicacy, but one that if its diet includes sea mangoes will give a man a super-huge erection followed by a heart attack. Mushrooms are the sex organs of a fungus and eating foraged mushrooms will always be an adventure. Vanadium and chromium play significant roles in human nutrition and many foods show preferential uptake for minerals in their environment. Even if you recognize the fungus, you may not notice items growing nearby.

Our Current Clue VariantNovember 21st, 2017 at 3:13:20 am
Miplet's custom weapons/suspects/rooms distributor will be key


the modifications:

*the boardgame rules are the 2002 rules as there is a pdf file for them, see below. We have used these rules except as noted below.

*In a new variant, players solve suspect, weapon, room, and day of the week.

*Additionally, there are more secret passages. Such a passage exists now in our variant between rooms opposite each other, with a passage between Dining Room and Library but none connected to Billiard Room. Also, there are no passages between adjacent rooms etc.

*no dice, instead players move from one spot to another by declaring their move. A forum thread will be used for play and comments.

*We do not bid for which character we will play, this is chosen in a random process.

*The order of turns goes clockwise along the official board starting with Miss Scarlet as per the board game rules.

*In order that each person gets the full compliment of cards, none getting extra cards, dummy players will be used as needed. These will only say if they can or cannot disprove a statement. They donít move or make suggestions. Thus there will always be 6 players, including these dummies. This all possible thanks to Miplet.

*When someone makes a suggestion, Miplet's software is used and it nicely handles the disproving [or the confirmation] - this is done automatically but follows official rules.

*Play will stop when a person who is not present is supposed to take his turn... "what to do" in the event of someone failing to continue play? ... any 'official' way was dropped and there was never a case of intolerable suspension once we had Miplet's software, but it seems now by vote we can change the player to a 'dummy' if necessary.

*Once a player takes his turn , the results are to be posted in the thread.

*We don't use dice to move. To start the game a player begins in the corridor directly across from where situated on the perimeter. Miplet brilliantly realized this is all easier to understand if the corridor is placed outside as a circle around the rooms. A move of a piece down the corridor to get to rooms goes clockwise or counterclockwise, the only shortcuts being the secret passages. Otherwise a player moves from one "step" [in lieu of a better word] to the next adjacent step in corridor moves and can move 2 steps. Alternatively, a player could move one step and into a room if starting the move in the corridor or from the initial game-start position. Moving out of a room means moving out one step and then one more step can be achieved, but not a room since two steps in the corridor are thus taken. A player can just take one step if desired, but cannot step back into a room just vacated. Once in the room a suggestion and accusation can be made all as one turn.

*in the boardgame it makes no sense to move down the corridor if an accusation was intended, however using the Miplet app a player has to move before he can accuse. Note that sometimes a player's only move is "out of the room" so this need to move in the corridor at times, even on a move with an accusation, now eliminates a rule we had prior to using the Miplet app.

* a move into a room always ends the player's turn, after any suggestion. An accusation ends the player's participation, becoming winner or loser [the Miplet app takes over for answering suggestions]

*There is only one door to each room in this version.

*The doors cannot be blocked.

*For an accusation, as opposed to a suggestion, the player need not be in the room, or any room. It only needs to be the player's turn. I mention this as I have seen this misunderstood.

Link below is a pdf file for the boardgame rules [as a reference] as of 2002 below. Of course we will play with the above necessary modifications [or whatever is agreed on].


BBB's printable detective notepads: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1CcsLnUGEQpQ1BVdUhiX1FOVDg/view?usp=sharing

starting positions

Snakes and SpidersSeptember 4th, 2017 at 3:23:24 am
I wonder sometimes about 'experts" and the stuff they tell people.

They always say snakes "are more scared of you than you of them" and not to worry about the cowards, just let them get away from you.

The other day I watched a program about a guy picking berries who got bit by a big timber rattler. He is an old timer with old attitudes and talks about how evil the snake was; he shot it and said he did a good thing, the monster won't bite anyone else. The man got lucky or would have died of course. Now, I can hear the experts saying the guy's feelings were ridiculous, the snake isn't evil, just struck because it was defending itself. But I did ask myself just why that creature had to resort to that? A rabbit, mouse, deer, squirrel, any bonafide prey animal would have been long gone merely at the guy's approach.

We have a spider I see on our deck once in a while that is mean looking, it actually has claws on it that look like a lobster's. Some kind of hunting spider; I've never seen a big one, though, just little small guys, which makes it a joke. But I notice if you chase it away, it readily turns around and threatens whatever object you are chasing it with. Too funny, but where does that come from?

These kinds of creatures have an instinct other animals don't have - they know they can make other animals back off. When I was a kid I always killed any snake or spider I saw ... I am more live-and-let-live now.

Yesterday I was hiking in the woods and came upon about a 2 foot long snake laying across the trail. It seemed to be some kind of garter snake, and I instantly knew it was not a poisonous snake. I stopped and looked at it, but it was not taking advantage of its opportunity to skedaddle. I took my walking stick and encouraged it to move on, and was quite surprised to see it still be reluctant to go; it then shocked me by biting the stick! I used the stick to sort of pick it up and get it off the trail, at which point it moved a few feet and curled up, agitated and saying in snake talk "you want a piece of me, huh, huh!!?" Remarkable. There are certainly predators who would want to eat that snake, I thought the behavior was strange. No, I didn't kill it.

So I checked out snakes of Virginia on the internet, and indeed it seems to be the Eastern Gartersnake. From the description I eliminated the other possibilities, as those candidates are said to never bite, but the Gartersnake will, it says, if "molested". "Juveniles especially will perform this behavior and will strike so forcefully that they may completely leave the ground."

Wouldn't the snake be better served by fleeing instantly? At least readily move off the trail even if it was ready to turn around and defend itself? Why would it have an instinct to fight, to seem aggressive even? I just say snakes and such potentially have that instinct that comes from "they can make other animals back off". Just from their looks; it is an instinct to have some caution about snakes and spiders and, remarkably, even non-poisonous varieties retain in some instances an instinct to defend themselves in a way that is similar to aggression, as this proves.


September 4th, 2017 at 4:58:10 am
I thought we settled this question with those Python v. Alligator videos and Python v. Farmer videos and Monitor Lizard v. Dozing Tourist incidents.

It costs energy to flee and to find new territory. A good defense is often a good offense.
September 4th, 2017 at 8:35:38 am
I wonder if the Gartersnake is evolved from a poisonous variety, and remembers that [so to speak]?

I have seen a fox eat a snake it caught, and we all know hawks go after them. That wouldn't be the entire list. Just seems to me the details of this encounter don't quite make sense from the 'best practices' point of view.
September 5th, 2017 at 12:26:18 am
The Road Runner has the best solution: it does not eat a sleeping rattlesnake; it merely surrounds it with cactus leaves, needle side up.
July 8th, 2018 at 1:47:41 pm
Spiders. Traveling miles by flying on electricity. see today's science section of google news.
sure spiders can flee but that doesn't mean they are inclined to. Their eyesight and hearing is excellent and they often can indeed fight.
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