The Real Know How

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

Archive for the tag “trees”

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.

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How to Make Wood Shingles

WoodlandsTV from the UK shows us how to make oak shingles with hand tools. He notes that the oak shingles should last about 70 years untreated due to their high tannin content:

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.

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

Making Walnut Ink/Stain/Dye

The black walnut has a long history of being used to produce a dark stain that can be used as ink, leather making dye, wood and grass stain and textile dye. It’s lightfast, colorfast and doesn’t respond to most solvents, so difficult to get out in general. Scrapbookers now also use walnut ink to give paper an antique look.

To make the ink you will need unhulled walnuts, water, a pot (it helps if it is rusty cast iron as the iron deepens the color), a sieve or cheesecloth and a stirrer. Some people also add rusty metal to the mix to darken the color and vinegar to help preserve the liquid.

Here is Annamarie Malik making a large batch of ink:

She sells bottles of walnut ink from her website http://annamalik.com/

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