Archive for the ‘Life in General’ Category

Morning dork.

The barrel cactus makes excellent tattoo needles.

Some of the crafts people make at Wintercount.

The knapping pit in the early morning sun.

It wouldn't be the Arizona desert without Saguaro.

Friends know I have a thing for skulls. Skull Valley, AZ.

Colorado River below the Hoover Dam.

Driving across the Hoover Dam. Guess I'm not a threat.

Fake lion at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV.

Real lions licking meat off the glass at the MGM Grand!


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Henry with out harvest

Henry with our harvest: nothin' but seafoam.

This weekend I took a trip with some folks to visit our friend Henry’s beautiful home on the coast, just blocks from the beach in Manzanita, OR. Henry is in the process of renovating the main house, and half a dozen or so outbuildings to get the place ready for the permaculture program he will be running there this summer. On Friday afternoon we looked for mushrooms in the sandy coastal forest, but didn’t sight a single one due to the recent cold snap. That night we all learned that  burritos for lunch + fried seafood for dinner +  wine and chocolate cake for dessert + a sauna is not a good combination.

We went out at  low tide on Saturday morning to look for clams,  mussels, and seaweed but a nasty storm surge kept us at bay. We stood on the rocks in the incoming spray until we got too scared, and went home with nothing but this bucket of sea foam. Later on Henry and I went fishing in a nearby stream with salmon, trout, and steel head. He got a hooked a big one, or so the story goes, but it broke the line, yet another lesson in feral failure! Nevertheless, we did get one little fish to eat and a great time was had by all.

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This fall I began attending the Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling. I am enrolled in a program called Cultural and Psychological Studies and if I finish I will receive a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. This might seem like an odd choice for an ethnobotanist but, you see, they offer classes in ecopsychology, ecotherapy, and wilderness therapy and it has been a long time dream of mine to start a Civilization Rehabilitation Center. Ahhhh, now it’s all coming together!

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May News Update


So, I have a new roommate. Sylvia, a nice girl from Michigan is moving in tomorrow. Thanks for everyone who responded to my ads. Summer weather has hit Portland, and as a result my mood, energy level, and outdoors time has hit an all-time high (for the city). Mornings I can be found drinking chicory coffee and sunbathing by the pool at my apartment complex overlooking the Willamette. Here you can see herons, geese families, and cormorants doing their thing. How great is that? I am still doing some teaching here and there, and always interested in more opportunities. We had an excellent women’s medicine making class set up as part of a series by my friend Kirsten through PSU and I also taught at the TrackersNW Women’s Wilderness Weekend in Sandy. It was a super time. We had workshops on bowdrill fires (I learned clematis stalk is a great spindle, never made a fire so easy!) belly dancing (gotta strengthen those core muscles), massage, scout games, martial arts, and more! I taught salve making, intuitive plant meditation, and DIY herbal tarot reading. This is the closest I’ve ever come to living my dream of a civilization rehabilitation center.


Photo by Adelaide Brown

I also now have a professional website to promote my herbal and ethnobotanical skills. Actually I have had it for months and it is still not quite done, but feel free to take a look: www.wildheartshealing.com. Eli helped me make this great shingle to hang on my door:


In mid-may Jana, Becky and I went to check out the camas bloom in Molalla. The biggest camas field I know of is in a horse pasture. The horses were ambivalent until I bent over and started digging at a bulb and then they came right up started nudging and teasing me. We did not eat any camas. Ideally it is harvested in fall after the flowers die and the seeds harden, although that alone is not enough to dissuade me from giving it a go now, it must also be cooked in a steam pit for a couple days to break down the indigestible inulin fiber into fructose and I don’t even have a yard.

Photo by Becky Lerner

The other day I felt like I needed to burn off some nervous energy so I walked the entire length of the 30 mile Wildwood Trail in Forest Park…on an empty stomach. It took about 9 hours. Now I’m limping a bit cause my left foot is sore, and have a blister on my right heel but am otherwise no worse for the wear. I don’t really exercise either. Imagine if I actually trained!


The biggest news is that I have been helping my friend Becky Lerner, who also has a primitive skills blog, www.FirstWays.com, with a wild food project. She signed up to eat only wild foods for a week and write about it on CultureChange.org. I’ve been serving to help identify wild foods, and places to find them, and give suggestions on how to prepare them.  Turns out the project was a bit too ambitious and Becky only  lasted until day 5 on the 100% wild diet, but we are still gathering. Check out her articles:

Living on Foraged Wild Foods for a Solid Week in the City

Week of Wild Food-Day One

Week of Wild Food-Day Two

Week ofWild Food-Day Three

Week of Wild Food-Day Four

Week of Wild Food-Day Five

Week of Wild Food-Day Six

The project has been getting a lot of outside press. We appeared on KATU news, I didn’t get any “lines” in the one minute segment, but you can see me tagging  along in my “herbalists rock” tank top, and, no, I did not know we were going to be filmed when I put that on.

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Approximately 12 weeks after her unforeseen and admittedly devastating Christmastime breakup with celebrity green anarchist Urban Scout, Penny Scout has been spotted canoodling with former club security agent Eli Baseler, but “They didn’t meet while she was out partying,” states one source. “She doesn’t do the whole Paris-Lilo thing. It’s just not her scene. They were introduced by a mutual friend.” The pair was first seen in public several weeks ago holding hands and looking starry-eyed over the orange blossom dessert at Belmont St. eatery, Hoda’s Middle Eastern Cuisine.

Then, Penny took a two-week trip back east to visit friends and family in Pittsburgh where her younger sister Jennifer, 22, is a first-grade student teacher, and to her rural hometown of Russell, PA where her parents Gregory and Elizabeth Porter, are long-time employees of the US Forest Service.

Did things cool off in her absence? Apparently not. Scout and Baseler are rumored to have recently taken a romantic weekend getaway to the Oregon coast starting with Astoria, and the quaint towns of Seaside and Cannon Beach, all sites where the classic 1985 adventure-comedy, The Goonies, was filmed. Oddly enough, no one is telling where they spent night. Travel agent, Meghan Crane, who has booked rooms for Miss Scout in the past speculates, “Probably an off-beat eco-friendly resort…the kind of place without heat or running water in the room, but the opportunity to hear the frogs chorusing as you fall asleep…I just don’t see [Penny] in a 5 star spa-hotel right up on the beach.”

Fans wonder, will the relationship last? A friend assures, “Oh no, this isn’t a rebound thing. She adores him, and he’s really good to her. I’ve heard he does more than his fair share of cleaning and cooking and gives her plenty of back rubs. They have even talked about getting a dog together. Next thing you know they could be adopting a child from a foreign country!”

Cannon Beach

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Slideshow: Vision 2009!

When my psychic Hollee (yeah I’ve got a psychic, so what?) suggested I make a vision board, basically a collage of what I want to happen in my life, I thought, well that’s dorky, and doesn’t sound like something I would do. I’m not really into that law of attraction stuff. But then I came across the idea of a vision slide show. It presents more opportunity for humor, and THAT is something I can get behind:


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It would be inaccurate to say the heartbreaker has never had her heart broken before now. A time or two in previous blogs I might have intimated my dislike of Buddhists. Yeah, I have a few qualms with the religion. It is a religion after all. But why pick on Buddhism? I could give you a long list of philosophical reasons and some stats to back them up, but to be fair most of my hatred stems from a personal experience I had back when I was young and wrote lengthy soul baring love letters and did crazy things like drive across the country on a whim to visit boys…oh wait. It makes me cringe to look back on this and see how blind I was, how even after all of it I still wanted things to work out. I have letters from afterwards where he explains how he would do anything for the Sakyong. He never even apologized.

Love is fucked up. Okay, I don’t want to be one of those people, the cynical wounded, but I do believe that the deep spiritual disconnection in our culture causes people to look for fulfillment in all the wrong places, whether it be romantic love with a single individual, or the adoration of a so-called guru.

This is an email I wrote to a friend after the event took place. Names have been changed to protect the guilty:

(Soundtrack Suggestion: Sufjan Steven’s Illinoise Album.)

So yeah, I drove home from Chicago yesterday. Boy, was I a wreck, not enough food or sleep and emotionally sapped. I left the northern suburb where we were staying at seven a.m. eastern time (six there) and drove straight to school. It was a long-ass haul and I was tired to the point of nausea. There is only so much caffeine can do for a person. Walked into my class disheveled, shaky and late at 4:45 p.m. “Sorry Professor…I had a long commute.”

This is going to take some explaining. It’s not our world. Even I don’t understand it completely. Ok. So Matt is affiliated with Shambhala Buddhism. In fact five years ago when we were suitemates our college dormitory, we discovered we both attended meditation at the same Shambhala center in downtown Burlington, VT. Then we started going there together. He was into even before that though, in his hometown, Baltimore, MD. (more…)

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