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Snickerdoodles
 
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ¾ cups flour
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Coating:
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
 
Preheat oven to 375. Combine butter and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs; mix well.

Combine flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt. Stir into butter mixture; mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Place on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, do not overbake.

Enjoy! 



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Vinescapes    
There is a war between vines and trees that has been fought for millions of years. But the ancient balance seems to be shifting now in favor of the vines. Vines have become big winners in a climate-changed world. Increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations tend to favor vine growth over tree growth. Vines, it turns out, really like high levels of CO2. Currently, CO2 in the atmosphere is about 380 parts per million. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution it was 280 parts per million, and it had been at that level for at least 600,000 years - probably even several million years before that.

Vines don't spend much of their carbon allocation on trunks or other supports, so the carbon windfall goes directly into new leaves and roots which collect yet more carbon and sunlight. Most of the vines use adhesive roots or tendrils to climb trees. Vines can improvise like no other; should a tendril touch soil, it transforms itself into roots; should a tendril touch rock, it grows suction cups and cements them firmly. A vine becomes whatever it needs to be and does whatever it needs to do to fight its way to the light.

As vines become more abundant, they create "vinescapes," smothering trees in the process. Several studies show poison ivy, besides growing bigger, is also producing more rash-producing toxins. Some vines, like Kudzu, can grow an entire foot in length on just one sunny day.

To vines, a dead tree is as good a scaffold as a live one. As the number of vines increase, their leaves fill a forest's canopy and reduce the amount of sunlight that reaches the trees and the forest floor. Branches begin to die, and this can weaken a tree so much that they give up. Vines encircling trunks can grow as thick as small trees, and like boa constrictors winding themselves around their victims, they can squeeze the life out of any sized tree.

This is bad news for trees and for our future. As trees die faster, they release even more CO2 as they decompose. But also, the trees in the forests lock up billions of tons of carbon. And when we start killing the trees and suppressing their growth, in effect, this leads to more greenhouse gasses and more room for vines to take over.

While the remarkable ability of vines to adapt to a changing environment does not bode well for human health in a carbon dioxide rich future, such examples do provide an important reminder of the innate capacity of 'weeds' to capitalize on the mess we have made of the planet.


English ivy climbs with the aid of root-like structures that exude an adhesive substance. 
 
Vines should not be used on walls with wood or composite siding since they will hold moisture on the wall and hasten rotting. Pictured here, the lipstick vine is pulling masonry off the wall were tendrils touch the surface.


An increased abundance of vines can choke out trees, which is bad news for forest dynamics.

Bigger, more-toxic poison ivy is a serious concern.

 
The honeysuckle wraps itself so tightly around the little trunks they develop deep spiral shaped indentations. Even if they do grow, sooner or later a passing storm will break their twisted trunks.


Vine seeds are consumed by birds and dispersed to new areas.

For more information on Vines Choking Our Trees.
Eat It, Don't Smoke It
Maybe you step on it every day, or yank it from the cracks in the sidewalk. It's right there: the edible landscape serving up flowers, fruit, leaves, roots, and stems. They fill the vacant space between our roads, our homes and our businesses, take over neglected landscapes, and line the shores of streams and rivers. They grow and reproduce in the city without being planted or cared for. They are everywhere and yet they are invisible to most people.

Most city lots contain plantain, dandelion, violet and wood sorrel although a greater variety can be found by venturing just a little further afield. Yarrow, burdock, catnip wild grape, and leaves for tea (such as raspberry, nettle and wintergreen), are common in woodlots and on the edges of fields.

Foraged greens in general, may have more antioxidants than store-bought vegetables because they haven't been genetically modified or bred for sweetness, size, and extended shelf life. The result: unadulterated and uninhibited flavor.

I think it's interesting too that things that were once only gotten by foraging are now showing up in groceries and farmer's markets -- for example, I can get dandelion greens, nettle, and even fiddle head ferns at my local markets. Chefs too are foraging to create the "X-factor" using indigenous ingredients into a new kind of contemporary cuisine.

Forging is not new. Our hunter-gatherer relatives depended on these plants for their survival. Here is a short list of some of the many super edible plants that are tasty and good for you too.
  • flatweed (Hypochaeris radicata)
  • chickweed (Stellaria media)
  • clover (Trifolium repens)
  • dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • deadnettle (Lamium purpureum)
  • mallow (Malva neglecta)
  • plantain (Plantago lanceolata )
  • pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus)
  • creeping wood sorrel (Oxalis corniculata)
  • lambsquarter (Chenopodium album)
  • purslane (Portulaca oleraceae)
  • sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
  • shotweed (Cardamine hirsute)
  • bedstraw (Galium aparine)
  • horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
  • nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
  • nettle (Urtica dioica)
  • wild carrot (Daucus carota)
  • dock (Rumex crispus)
  • evening primrose (Oenothera biennis)
  • honesty (Lunaria annua)
  • Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)
  • pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea)
  • sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus)
  • wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • violet (viola papilionacea)
  • garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate)
  • sweetpea (Lathyrus latifolius)

Japanese Knotweed is b est harvested when 6 to 8 inches tall.
The intensely tart, tangy shoots taste like rhubarb.


Garlic Mustard was introduced in the 1860s as a culinary herb. It's very easy to spot because of its scalloped-edged leaves and teeny white flowers and if you rub the leaves between your fingers a garlicky aroma will emerge. 
 
Plantain soothes burns and insect bites.

For more information on the most common Edible Plants. 

Thanks for reading.  
Happy Planting!    

Faith

Faith Appelquist

President & Founder

 

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