The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “trees”

Stocking Firewood for the Winter

Arborist, Steve Zumalt of North Attleboro, Massachusetts fills us in on what we need to know to stock up on firewood for the winter: How to season wood and how to know when the wood is well seasoned/dry, which woods to stock (in New England), BTUs, fireplace vs. wood stove and so on…

Steve’s business is Zumalt Tree Experts.

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The Useful Basswood/Linden/Tilia/Lime Tree

The basswood, also known as the linden, tilia or lime tree has a ton of uses, grows widely (in different varieties) throughout North America and Europe and is easy to identify.

I’d been reading about its use by Native Americans to make fiber and cordage/rope: From NativeTech

“Fibers were stripped from the inner bark of the basswood tree. After long pieces of bark were removed from the tree the sections were soaked to facilitate separating the fibers from the inner bark. Basswood fibers could be used immediately for simple lashing, or the fibers could be dried and stored for future use. Other items made from dyed basswood fibers include tumplines or burdenstraps used to carry heavy loads, fine twined storage bags and closely woven mats used to strain maple syrup. Sheets of basswood bark were also used as winter coverings for wigwams. Iroquois found the wood ideal for carving, the grain being soft and light.”

It’s flowers make a pleasant, medicinal herbal tea.

According to Wikipedia:

“Linden flowers are used in colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. The flowers were added to baths to quell hysteria, and steeped as a tea to relieve anxiety-related indigestion, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. The leaves are used to promote sweating to reduce fevers. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection, such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.”

The basswood/linden’s leaves (especially the young, tender leaves), fruit and seeds are also edible.

In the following video Green Deane gives us the low-down on the linden; how to identify it, some of its uses, how to prepare it (he adds young leaves to a salad) — he also points out other edible plants he comes across growing nearby.

Caleb Musgrave in Ontario, Canada who has Ojibway heritage goes even more deeply into the many qualities and uses of the basswood. He says “Very few people look at these trees and think, ‘Wow, you’re really useful.'”

But of course those people would be wrong.

In this video, he covers more of the edible uses for basswood. He also confirms what Green Deane said about basswood tasting like lettuce — tree lettuce.

HerbMentor talks to Lexi Koch in Washington State about how to grow and harvest linden for herbal use (there doesn’t seem to be much to it).

Here Whitney Gerschke talks about linden (basswood) as a useful herb and shows us how to make linden basil ice tea.

Birch Bark Basketmaking

How to make a birch bark basket of any size, step-by-step.

Maple Sugaring Process

goatkisses posted this really great series of videos (chock full of tips and important considerations) on maple sugaring:

How to Tap A Birch Tree

Apparently birch sap can be used as a water source or cooked down and used as syrup.

How to Germinate Apple and Pear Seeds Quickly and Easily

Note that apples don’t grow true to seed, so if you planted a seed from a Mackintosh apple you won’t get a tree that produces Mackintosh apples.

Maple Sugaring

It’s maple sugaring season, so here are some videos on how to tap the trees and produce maple syrup and maple sugar:

This is the whole process from start to finish:

Here miwilderness in Michigan talks about when to tap trees, what to look for in a tree you are considering tapping, how many taps you can make in a tree based on its size and how to tap the tree (he uses an electric drill) and so on.

Here vintagevideos2009 in Franklin, Wisconsin shows us boiling and finishing the syrup:

Tony Denning of Maple Leaf Farm in Canterbury, Connecticut talks about how maple sugaring quickly becomes an obsession.

Growing up in New England I used to think of maple syrup as a New England only thing, but now I know that its a Midwestern, Canadian, New England… thing… anywhere maples grow people tap them for their sap.

Forest Garden 411

Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust talks about the Forest Garden he planted at Schumacher College, Dartington, South Devon, United Kingdom over 14 years ago.

Forest gardening is an interesting (and new to me) concept – that in temperate climates uses a young forest as a model. Martin explains that in conventional farming/gardening we use a lot of energy just to keep the land from going to back to the wild state it wants to get back to. Using the forest model, he says that very little energy goes into that kind of policing and so forest gardening ends up being much more low-maintenance than other forms of farming.

Forest gardens allow you to grow a mix of food and medicinal plants (for example, nut trees, fruit trees, herbs, vegetables, etc.). He says you may grow up to 200 species of plants in any one forest garden.

Here is a closer look at a food forest garden planted by Robert Hart in the UK.

Medicinal Trees

When most of us think of medicinals we think of herbaceous herbs, but Dave shows us how we can effectively use the trees all around us (even in cities) as herbs.

This is a really informative series of videos by Dave Canterbury of the Pathfinders Wilderness School in Ohio. Dave seems like a great teacher.

These videos are focused on trees of the “Eastern Woodlands” but luckily many of these trees grow widely across North America.

Preparing Acorns

This Eattheweeds video gives a lot of important information about oaks, acorns and preparing acorns for eating:

Topics Green Dean covers:

– Choosing a tree (different oaks have different tannin levels)

– Selecting for tannin levels using the look of the acorns

– How often oaks fruit and how to identify their fruiting cycles

– When to harvest acorns and what acorns ready to harvest look like

– The different methods of leaching tannins (bitter compounds that can otherwise make an acorn inedible) and how each method affects what you can do with the resulting acorn mush/flour

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