Ten Interesting and Inspirational Natural Facts

Towne Pond trails view over the pond to a beaver hut

Ten Interesting and Inspirational Natural Facts

We had a host of different workshops and presenters come to ifarm this year, and compiled ten of our favorite facts and tips: the most interesting, inspiring or useful ideas.

Nature’s GPS

Honeybees are skilled linguists. They have evolved a method of communicating the location of a single flower among hive ranges of 18,000 acres. How? By doing a waggle dance, of course. See the video below.

Mushrooms to the Rescue

Looking to cut down on waste and save the world? Perhaps it is time to take another look at a forgotten branch of life: Fungi. Mushrooms and fungi are one of nature’s premiere agents of decomposition. They have been used to bioremediate  oil spills and toxic waste! Edible mushrooms are a high-quality food source that can be efficiently grown on byproducts like sawdust or spent brewing grains (x).

Mother Nature’s Medicine Cabinet

Nature has synthesized uncountable numbers of chemical compounds. The pharmaceutical industry is constantly exploring them to find effective healing compounds. Turmeric is one example: it is a very effective remedy for Alzheimers disease. In many cases it outperforms pharmaceutical drugs (x)!

Image of different bowls of spices in a spice market.

All spices are herbs with potential healing qualities.

Telling Thyme

This is one of our favorite pieces of herbal whimsy. Before the invention of electricity, clock-makers wanted a way for people to tell time in the dark of night. A French inventor, Monsieur de Villayer, solved the problem with spices. He made a clock that opened different spice drawers on each hour. Sleepers could wake and tell the time by the scent of the herbs wafting into the room. Sensational thinking, no?

Busy as a Bee

“Busy as a Bee” is not merely a euphemism. Beekeeper Extraordinaire Anita Deeley tells us that one honeybee hive visits about 225,000 flowers per day. Honeybees visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. They also pollinate many of our staple food crops. Not bad when most worker bees only live a few weeks!

Wild About Mushrooms

Wild edible mushrooms have been exploding on the gourmet food scene as the locavore movement (eating local) spreads. Chefs are making an effort to keep up with the demand by adding wild flavors to their dishes, including mushrooms like Morels, Chanterelles, and the fancifully named Dryad’s Saddle. These wild mushrooms often have ranges of flavor not found in cultivated foods.

Curious? Check out our edible mushroom hunting workshop on October 15th.

Nature Fun Fact, an image of wild edible mushroom Chicken of the Woods

The edible mushroom Chicken of the Woods. Photo credit: Frank Vassen.

The Latest in Cancer Treatment

Chaga (Inonotus oblicuus) is a fungus that appears on birch trees as a static explosion of charcoal. If you can get past the rough exterior, the inside is a warm brown veined with gold. Chaga has one of the highest natural concentrations of antioxidants, with a significantly higher amounts than red wine or blueberries. It is currently being used as a supplement to cancer treatments. This is old news to indigenous Siberians: They have been using Chaga as a general health tonic for thousands of years (x)!

Increasing Winter Immunity

Most of us expect some kind of immune breakdown in the long cold of winter. Herbs are useful allies for illness prevention. Garlic is a powerful and safe tonic for boosting the immune system; you can eat more of it with food. Also consider our Fire Cider workshop in November, to make a warming immune support tonic that will keep you full of vim and vigor through the dark months ahead.

Remedying Winter’s Dry Skin

The cold air in winter freezes all the moisture in the air, making the skin work extra hard to stay healthy. Herbalist Margi Flint considers dry skin to be a crack in the body’s vessel.. but it is quite simple to remedy. An herbal oil of calendula or plantain will do the trick (see our blog for more information).. but simple coconut or olive oil will do wonders as well! You can warm the coconut oil to make it especially luxurious.

Finished Calendula-Plantain Salve

Finished Calendula and Plantain salve from our Salves and Tinctures Workshop this summer

The Emergency Poison Ivy Remedy

Poison Ivy.. anyone who lives in Essex County quickly learns to recognize it. The best time to remove the oils is right after you stray into a patch. Jewelweed and Plantain are two plants that counteract the oils, two plants you will find growing right next to poison ivy. They are the best first response to PI exposure. Simply mash up the leaves of either plant and rub it all over the affected area. If possible, rinse the area with water.

 

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