If you missed part 1 of my Becoming and Outdoors Woman weekend, click here.
Saturday started really early. Breakfast at 7! I did a happy-happy joy-joy dance when I saw my favorite stuff for breakfast:
They had a selection of french toast, eggs, bacon, scrambled tofu (nothankyou), pastries, cold cereal, yogurt and a ton of fresh fruit – which I mowed through. I found some peanut butter packs and jelly for my oats. It was missing the banana. That was the one fruit they didn’t have, oddly enough.
Then it was time for Wild Infusions! This was a class about herbs and plants and how to use them in cooking or in herbal medicine ways. The instructor, Donna, brought in her collection of herbs and plants from her garden or from some online sources:
We started with making some homemade ginger syrup concentrate. We peeled and chopped fresh ginger:
Then boiled it in water, which smelled ah-mazing:
You use 1 pound of ginger root and 10 cups of water and boil it down until it is about 1/4 of the volume. Then you add 2.5 pounds of sugar (yes, it’s a syrup) and keep boiling down to make a syrup. We didn’t have enough time because it takes several hours to boil all the way down, so Donna had some she made previously. She used a raw sugar that still had the molasses in it so it was very dark. This is the final product:
We put a spoonful into some unsweetened plain seltzer water for some homemade ginger ale!
I *loved* this! Of course, long-time readers know of my love for ginger, so I was almost bathing in this. I bogarted some from her jar to take home with me, too! I see some oatmeal in its future.
We also made an herbed butter with fresh chives:
Tasty and very easy. Just herbs and softened butter.
We then made our own individual herbal teas. We got to go up to her stash and use a base of raspberry leaves, then add whatever we wanted. I chose some cinnamon, stinging nettle, lemon balm, violet and the raspberry leaves. Here is my cup steeping.
We strained and drank our tea. Mine was decent, although not even remotely close to a cup of coffee as far as satisfaction goes!
She also showed us how to make infused vinegars and oils. Take whatever herbs you like and put them in a jar. She was not real specific on amounts. She just said only a few sprigs are needed for a small jar.
Add vinegar and place in a water bath holding the vinegar at 150 degrees F for 15 minutes.
You do the same thing with oil, but only keep the temp at 125 degrees. And never use whole garlic cloves, only sliced. Something about bacteria.
We took a break and I took a photo of the ladies learning fly fishing casting in the rain! I was happy to be in an indoor class right then.
She made an infused oil with comfrey leaves, which she then added to melted beeswax to make a salve.
We each got to take one home. (Hooray for clean fingernails today!)
This is kinda stinky, though. 😯
Next up? Sumac lemonade! You know the red sumac that grows everywhere? Not the white (poisonous). The berries are tart.
Just put a bunch in a jar with water and let it steep like sun tea, or use a warm water steeping like tea (although this makes it more tangy). Unsweetened it tastes very much like Red Zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings.
After lunch, which was sandwich and wrap fixins (I made hummus, cheese, hardboiled egg, lettuce)….
I helped my sister set up for her class. She teaches the deer hunting class, which goes over bow and rifle/shotgun hunting, as well as tracking a deer if it bolts after you shoot it. Warning – This part may gross some of you out. She made up some fake blood to make a trail in the terrain.
Then sprinkled it around. See how it matches her nail polish?
We then laid a trail, except I got waylaid by some wild strawberries.
Don’t get between me and my fruit…. ever! At the end of the “blood trail,” there was a picture of a deer on top of a jar of chocolates as the “prize.” The students had to follow the trail and find it. Good practice to be done before being out in the field for real. I am proud of my sis for how much she knows!
I got to hold the cross bow and look all badass, too.
I should have flexed for this shot.
My class was on animal tracking and signs. I thought this would be cool for when we go out biking or on the trails to know what we might be seeing. It was pretty neat!
Examples of poo!!
They don’t leave just tracks behind
Mountain lion print, although there are no mountain lions/cougars in New York.
Okay, this post is getting long! Saturday was jam packed and busy. I did well with eating, but then did some damage in chocolate… oops!
Tomorrow’s post will be more scenery and Dutch Oven Cooking! You will be very surprised at what we made. I know I was!