Birch Polypore Herbal Rub

Birch Polypore. The lovely Piptoporus betulinus. When it is stumbled upon, it always reminds me of a magical forest creature’s stepping ladder that spirals up towards the moonlite sky. All upon a decaying birch tree that the whimsical creature is stepping and jumping ever so carefully while humming a tune with delight. This is the delight that radiants from myself when finding a stand of these weathered winter specimens.

I had read stories about the “Ice man” named Ötzi. A Copper Age man who was found in thawing ice wearing a necklace of dried birch polypore bead disks as well as two other mushrooms. A man who’s dying place, became a frozen blanket that would hold his body for 5,000 years. But mostly, how studying his dying days/moments led archeologists to believe that he may have used the polypore for treating a parasite called whipworm that was found in his intestinal tract.

These pictures of mine shown have most likely lost most of their medicinal properties this far into winter. This is because birch polypore is best harvested while or right before it spores. But when I see such a gift from the forest my creative soul loves the challenge in researching, learning and creating with it. If one does their scientific research, what will be found is birch polypore has many medicinal qualities. Ranging from being a great immune booster to an anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and an anti-bacterial.

But here, I want to share it’s flavor.
That’s right, flavor. This bracket fungi is pushed aside for eating because of its hard leather like texture. I love enjoying good medicinal foods, but also love a creative wild food challenge. Birch polypore has a lovely legit mushroom smell and taste. Some argue it’s bitter (Yah for more bitters in our diet!). So I cut, dice, dry and grind some up. (Blender works well.) Birch polypore works great as a medicinal tea but “seriously, how do you eat this piece of leather?
Let’s think herbal rubs.

I cook daily with them. Everything from ground acorn to mugwort. Cooking with wild plants can be so rewarding that you will hardly ever need to buy from the grocery market spice isle again. For this rub, I i create as a marinade. This way many pieces are ground up small enough to consume. Also this way I’m extracting it’s flavor (and if anything medicine left). It is a way to make birch polypore palatable, edible, and I love the way sage complements it. Why not try to find more sustainable spice options? I enjoy using this with a venison roast. It would also make a delicous add in for broth.
Notice, I don’t use any exact amounts. Just my nose.
  • Dried and ground birch polypore
  • Dried and ground acorn meal (flour works well too)
  • Dried tumeric
  • Dried sage
  • Sea salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Dried shallots (optional)
Next time you go into the forest, try to envision the people that travelled and knew more about the land that grows around you. Remember, though our technology today has its perks, our ancestors carried a knowledge that has been long forgotten today. I yearn to learn that knowledge. Nature is absolutely beautiful. Here is to our primitive selves, that remember deep down within our soul that nature is essential for living.

Get out there. Get creative. Be well.🌿

Backyard Rewilding can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional for identification and uses before using a plant medicinally or as wild food.


Deep Winter Herbal Rinse

As we get deeper into winter up here in New England, I’ve promised my soul that I won’t fall into a sloppy mess that just wants to crawl back under the covers until spring. With the windchill getting down to -25 tonight, and a beautiful foot of white snow blankets our backyard, I try to gather my feelings on winter. Try to see the beauty that she brings. When a male cardinal vists my door and his red fat belly makes my heart dance. Or how I look to my wall of plants and herbs hanging from last summer and falls harvest waiting to be created into something new. I promised myself this is the year I will try to create everyday. It’s part of my soul. I need it. For me. 
So today, we create. I’ve been missing my green plant friends amongst the landscape. So I’m grateful for the ones I’ve dried and the ones I can gather right outside my door in the deep of winter. There is nothing more rejuvenating then bathing in all their goodness to spring the winter soul back to life.

Simple herbal hair rinse. Use your favorites. The ones that call you. Today, mine were Douglas fir, black walnut husk, juniper, lavender, pearly everlasting, pine bark and spring water. Bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Strain. Let it cool to a warm temperature. In the cool shower, gather thoughts. Breath. Slowly pour over your head. Just take it all in. Don’t even bother rinsing your hair. Just let all the plant goodness seep into the hair and scalp. 

Many First Nations people believe hair is an extension that allows for extrasensory perception, and connection to all things. Even gathered for sacred rituals dedicated to hair. Whatever one’s belief, short, long, thin, think, remember it’s your body. Your soul. Be kind to it. 🌿

Ancient Soul Reawakening 

Scraped knees. Leaves in my hair. Rocks and shells in my wool coat pockets. It never failed. Leave the house in a dress, tights and patent leather shoes ready for what the world would teach me. The slender, freckled, straight bangs, brown headed child that would carry robin eggs in her pockets to “keep them warm”. Rolling down the grassy hill and stopping at the bottom, looking up at the spinning clouds. Wild. Happy. Wild and happy because I was aloud to be. Of course I had a mother who would dress us up in lovely coats and dresses, curlers in our hair the night before and all. But I was raised in the late 80s early 90s, in a small neighborhood town and given freedom and trust. 

Memories of playing in the woods across the street from my childhood home was a world of wonder. A world of imagination and free exploration. A world of problem solving and independent learning. A world where a red wooden bridge would lead us into a landscape surrounded by life and lessons that flourished all around us. The overgrown summer paths of thorn bushes ran along hundreds of years of old farm stone walls. The seasons would change and all that surrounded would turn into a colorful autumn mosaic of leaves forming a painting. The winter approached with a whisper and a foreign landscape would bare newly dormant trees covered in green shaded lichen, wet from a winter snowfall. It all brings a nostalgia that lives so vividly in my mind today.

I learned at an early age about this world growing around me in our own yards and the woods across the road. With my siblings and the neighborhood children, we lived. We explored. We let the natural world around us become our playground. I thank them now, because as I have reconnected more with nature deeper these past few years, memories that have been locked away waiting for me to find them again have emerged. The way we called stinging nettles “meadow flower” and ran as fast as we could with our arms up in the summer sun as they stung our legs below. To the skunk cabbage games, where we would try not to step on the newly emerging leaves and flowers because if we did the we would lose “the game”. The pungent smell would send us running from the stench. 

We learned at a very young age about how to identify poison ivy. Were we good at it? Not the best, but we knew what to look for. The problem wasn’t the identification, but the actual awareness of looking while playing I suppose. It could be a vine slowly reaching upward to the top of a tree. Or a colorful shiny three leafed plant creeping slowly along the stonewalls we hopped over while playing Man Hunt in the fall. We learned from the older children and sometimes a parent. There wasn’t a time in the summer that one of us didn’t get a rash. But we grinned and bared it and back into the woods we would go. 

Wild mulberries covered the street like small paint blotches. We would sit on the side of the road near the woods and eat the uncrushed ones off the cement. Even hitting the high branches with a tennis racket or sitting on eachothers shoulders to gather them. The crab apple tree that was right next to the mulberry gave us delight. Daring who would take a bite out of the tart apple that sometimes had critters living inside. 

We sat for hours on our driveway that had daylilies and japanese knotweed bordering it. In those hours we would dissect our findings all in the manner of playing house. Nibbling, peeling, and drinking the water out of the knotweed which we called bamboo. Tasting the pollen stigmas of the Day Lily and and weaving the long leaves. We went about gathering yew berries that we added to our “Little House on The Prarie” imaginary meals. We knew what not to put in our mouths. Not only from of our parents but mostly our older siblings who were with us. They then continued the cycle in teaching us. It was as if we had our own ancient ancestral teaching system right in our own neighborhood. A system that has gone dormant in many of today’s modern neighborhoods. 

These memories were mostly unstructured play. There were no helicopter parents hovering over our backs to make sure we were being nice to one another. They were working or inside tending to other things, with a check in every once and awhile. It was a community of siblings and children of all ages that helped us learn about ourselves and the world around us. Again, a community that is missing in child development and in many communities today. There is a need for freedom. A need for trust. A need to take risks and explore.

As I grew older, I remember everything from the salt on my lips from a swim in the ocean, to the constant buzz of the cicada awaking me on a summer morning; I carried a certain awareness with me. An awareness I wasn’t sure how to embrace. I was attuned to wildlife, birds, and plants. Quizzing myself in my father’s birding book. Even enjoyed having a job at 14 at my uncle’s plant nursery. As I grew I noticed certain plants would show themselves more and it wasn’t the cultivated ones for my Uncle’s nursery. It was the wild ones. 

One summer, while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard when I was 14, I was at the bookstore and was drawn to a section on plants, herbalism, alchemy, and paganism. I used my saved money from babysitting and I read. I read about plants I couldn’t pronounce. I read about cures for illnesses I had never heard of. As I read, one plant that was in every book let herself be known. Yarrow She stood out. I was curious. She was a herb that was used for so much for hundreds, even thousands of years. I wanted to find her. But with no guidance on identification, I wouldn’t find her for another 8 years. My husband and I were living on a farm property in New Hampshire. 125 acres to run free and explore. It was an amazing place to live while my husband was working towards his Masters degree. There she was again. Growing in an old overgrown wild flower garden. I asked my husband on the identification. He was not positive on an ID but went on to explain the caution that should be used with the apiaceae and asteraceae family if one is not familiar. 

Back of the brain yarrow would go again for another 8 years until we bought our first home. Another overgrown wildflower garden graced me with her presence. I knew it was her. I always knew it was her. My husband cautioned again, so I researched. Then,

I jumped. 

I jumped down the rabbit hole of plant knowledge. Each new spring brought me peace in identifying and learning about the green life that grew around my home. How could I work with these plants? How could I use these forms of life to help my own family? It brings me a peace. But also this peace comes with learning, creating and teaching. With not only plants but all of the life that lives around our home. 

We have reached a point in this society where people have become disconnected from the natural world that is living and growing all around them. While I continue to learn daily, I hope to teach or inspire those willing to be reawaken. It is in all of us. Every human on this Earth shares a love for some form of nature. Unlocking it, becoming aware and expanding the appreciation and knowledge is the key. We owe this appreciation to our children and our children’s children. We owe it to our Earth.

This awareness has always been inside me. But it has also always been within yourself. You don’t have to be a botanist, herbalist or wildlife biologist to feel connected to the Earth. You can work that 9-5 job everyday to provide for your family. You don’t have to have an social media account with thousands of followers to feel connected. You just have to be aware on how to feel it. To open your mind and find your inner ancient soul. I hope as you read this post you unlocked memories of your childhood submersed in a world of nature. Memories you once forgot about but now remember bring a smile to your face. Use those memories. Get outside. Slow down. Open your eyes. Be aware. Learn what is growing in your backyard and gain knowledge on how it can be appreciated within your family’s lifestyle.

Do it for you.
Be well. Be Wild.🌿💚

Winter Roasting Herb Blend

When the winter months set in. The days are shorter. Darkness creeps on us at the earlier hour. I find myself with an inner need to create even more. Blending plants and spices is rewarding for the soul. (Just ask my mother, I would drive her bat sh*t crazy sneaking into her spice cabinet to make “potions”). Not only is it rewarding in a creative way, but in a primitive way. Gathering, drying, blending, awakens a part of me that feels I’ve known “this way” before. Using native, and non native plants, either wild or home grown with a knowledge, love and respect; makes this journey even more satisfying.
So I share this lovely blend. 

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), ground juniper “berries”, ground acorn meal, turmeric, ground coriander, ground black pepper and sea salt. It is delicous added to those turkey left overs, soups, venison, chicken and pork. 
I wish there was a smell button. But there is not. But this winter, when the air is cold, the sun dull, and your body feels tired; dive into your spice cabinet (or your mother’s lol). Open, smell, blend, learn and be reawakend.
Be well.💚🌿

A Forgotten Wild Edible; Pine Bark Flour

Bark pealing was a traditional practice amongst the Sami people of northern Scandinavia and of many different indigenous tribes of North America. Some researchers argue if the bark was used as a common food in their diet or just used in a dire starvation survival situations. One can even find visual evidence of the bark peeling practice in old growth forests in Europe and North America. Many different species of pines were used in harvesting. The cambium layer in pine bark contains carbohydrates, minerals and vitamin C. 

With a recent storm that blew through, the top half of one the pines that shares our land broke off. Thanking the tree for not falling on our house, I wanted to think up ways to respect it. Lately, with all the learning and research of the plants that grow around my home, I want to make sure that we are respecting them and using them in a sustainably way. What a perfect opportunity to learn about eastern white pine bark flour making. Also a great time to harvest some needles, and resin for medicine. 

Always appreciate the pine. It offers so much. Food, medicine, shelter, fire and tools. From the floors you walk on in your home, and maybe to the table you gather around with your friends and family near. All the ancestors who lived these lands before us knew the great pine and appreciated it well. 

The Peeling and Drying Process

Log after log I would scrap the resin into a tiny glass jar (infuse in olive oil for salve). Peal the bark away with a butter knife and separate the Cambium layer from the outer bark. Don’t forget to save some bark for medicinal teas. I tied the bark into bundles to hang dry and wait to few day. It dries out pretty fast. One can also use the oven on a very low temp checking for dryness every 10 to 15 minutes. This makes your house smell amazing.


Oven Drying Pine Bark

The Flour Process

Bark strips should be brittle. Break in half easily. Break into small pieces and grind with a mortar and pestle or use the blender. A blender will save you time. Make sure that the bark is ground into a powder consistency. Or when consuming you may get a rough piece of bark to chew through. Keep in a container or mason jar for later use. 
You can add the bark flour into any baking recipes of choice. Just make sure you still use flour of your choice. It will give your breads, cookies and cakes a hint of pine flavor for sure. As I experiment more I will add more and update recipes.
Pine Bark Honey Shortbread

1 Cup Butter 

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour 

1/2 Cup Pine Bark Flour 

1/3 Cup Honey 

¾ Cup Ground Acorn 1 tsp. Vanilla (optional) 

Mix butter and honey and vanilla until fluffy

Add flour, a little at a time, add in the acorn 

Press dough into shortbread mold or ungreased cast iron skillet.

Bake in preheated 300F oven 35 to 40 minutes.

Enjoy warm

Letting Go of “The Rush”

It was one of those days that have become almost “every days”. I rush. I rush to get showered, rush to get the kids ready for the day, rush to eat breakfast, rush drinking my tea, rush the kids out and into the car, rush to preschool then daycare, rush to work, rush at work, rush to the car to pick up the kids, rush rush rush rushhhhhhhh. Rush to get the kids home before it gets dark so we can play in the woods. Rush. I’m tired of rushing. Im tired of the rat race. I want to give this modern “have everything” society the middle finger. Quit my job, sell the house and all the materialistic crap that is unnecessary and go live in the woods.

Then while the kids are wrestling in a pile of leaves my mind flips a switch. I’m at ease. At peace. My senses are aware and heighten. I’m happy. I yearn to create, working with the land that grows and slumbers all around me. Then I realize, tonight it’s going to get cold. With kale, Swiss chard and nubby carrots still growing in the garden, now was their time to shine. It is the end the autumn. The kids love pulling carrots. It’s quite comical. Also quite comical is that I am awful at growing carrots. “Nubby” is the variety I seem to grow. 

Today, my nubby carrots wouldn’t cut it for dinner. Sometimes when the garden comes up short, the wild plants give. They offer so much if one knows where to look. So I explore with my wildlings to our wild flower garden covered in first year biennial evening primerose growth. This time of year, the roots of the first year young plants have a root that looks like a parsnip with a mushroom texture and earthy taste when cooked. 
I roasted some garlic and shallots, chopped my nubby carrot greens into a pesto with olive oil. Added it to some Bob’s Red Mill Coos coos with a pork english style bacon from a pig 3 that lived miles away. 

As we sat there and talked about what we were eating. What plants and animals gave their life for us to be strong and healthy over a candle light in the middle of the table, I was at peace. I realized the moment I got outside in the backwoods with the kids, the rushing stopped. I could enjoy my children, enjoy our space in the backyard, enjoy the living plants and wildlife living around us. I could enjoy the dinner we created with the nubby carrots. I could breathe.
Society is freaking exhausting these days. It has us so trapped into rushing. Telling us that our happiness can only be found through a screen, money or “likes” on a post. So trapped into making us think it knows what we want, what we need next, what materialisic type thing needs to be bought next. Everyone is a freaking expert at everything and feels the need to comment on the media crap that gets thrown in our face everyday.

 I’m done with rushing.
I am no expert. But I do enjoy and love this life my husband and I have created for our family. But most of all, I am falling in love with the woman I am becoming. 

Slow down. Reflect. Search for your inner self. And remember that it’s okay to think about yourself for a change. 

Now get out there. Learn. Create. Share.

Be Well.🌿💚

The Acorn Harvest

“You can eat acorns?! 

Many people have been asking me this question these past few weeks as we have been processing up some squrriel loving food from our back woods. But like any wild edible food one must do their research. From multiple sources. The knowledge is out there. A knowledge that has been almost lost and forgotten. Today, chain food stores and corporate farming give us instant ways of accessing food. Why would you harvest a small nut and take on a process that can take hours, even days to do?
Nothing feels more liberating and satisfying than harvesting a sustainable food source from your own backyard, local park or woodland. Acorns are high in carbohydrates, and a good source of fiber and protein. Give me free, nutritional, sustainable food and ancestral knowledge any day.


There are many different species of oaks that produce acorns. A mature oak will start producing around 20 years of age. We are blessed enough to have a handful of white oaks in our back woods. Try to be in tuned to when the tree begins to drop it acorns. A breezy day helps. The kids find it so exciting as the acorns drop into the leaf debris around us. As they yell ”thank you oak tree!” And giggle as they inspect each one they find for weevial holes. If there is a hole, no good. If it still has a cap, probably no good. Most of the acorns we found had started to spout. Those worked out just fine.


There are so many methods out there. Every person does it a little different. This is what worked for us. I suggest as you learn and do what works well for you. I’m sure we will adapt our process as we learn more. 

First let your acorns dry up. Anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks or more. I just dump our gathered acorns into a wooden wine box in my dinning room. But be warned those lovely wormy weevils may come out of their food bearing homes onto your dinning room floor. (Hey chicken food I guess!) If you’re not into the occasional escaped weevil, opt for the garage or basement. Cool and dry. Stir them around daily. Watch for mold.

Next, float test a bowl full of acorns. The ones that float to the surface of the water usual have or had a weevil. (We compost those and the shells or save for canvas or deer-hide tanning). Remove acorns from water and pat dry. Use a sharp knife. Towel underneath and cut them into quarters. Depending on how dry they are, sometimes I cut the “crown” off then the sprout and make a slit down the middle. Then peel. If they are still sticking to the shell try putting them into a very low temp oven to help them separate. You don’t want to cook them so a very low temperture is the key. Throw some into a bowl or Tupperware container with a cover and shake. Some come free themselves. Others you pick from the shell making sure the papery dark brown sheath is removed. It can make your batch very bitter. Put the quartered acorns through a grinder or chop them up. Just note that during this process the meat can oxidize outside of the shell. It turns brown like a cut apple would sitting out. I didn’t mind, but if you’re looking in making a light colored acorn flour place the acorn meat in water to help out with this.


Some oaks are more bitter than others. Here in New England, white oaks produce acorns that are less bitter than red oaks. What causes their bitterness is a naturally occurring polyphenal called tannins. Tannins are naturally found in plant leaves, seeds, bark, wood and fruit skins. It is important to remove a bulk of the tannins (not good for the kidneys in high amounts). 

The funny thing people don’t realize is squrriels do this naturally by burying their acorns over the winter snow and melt. There are two types of leaching. Cold leaching and hot leaching. Tannins are water soluble. Deciding on what you will use your acorns for dictates what leaching method you use. If you’re making acorn flour, cold leaching is needed because you don’t want to cook out the starch (binding agent). 

Cold leaching can be more time consuming but worth it for making acorn flour. There are so many ways to do it. It can be done by soaking the shelled chopped acorn meat in cold water changing the water many times until the color of the soaking water becomes almost clear. I use a old t shirt and colander. Letting it soak and strain itself. Some people use a large bucket, strain and repeat. The most import thing is the color of the water. Taste test will tell you when they are no longer bitter but nutty.

Hot leaching is used if you are using the “meal” as nut add in. Boil shelled acorns for 30 minutes, strain, fill pot with hot water (not cold this will lock the bitterness into the acorn.) Boil for 30 minutes again, repeat process until you’re acorns are nutty and buttery in flavor and the bitterness is gone. You can use right away or dehydrate it, even grind it up more to a consistancy to your liking. Add it into burgers, meatloaf, mash potatoes, salad toppings, even use in pemmican. 

I know it seems like a lot of work. IT IS!  But it’s a sustainable food that can be appreciated. Next time you step on an acorn, remember that this small nut helped the ancestors that lived before us get through winters. And maybe one day, it will become a sustainable food that all can enjoy.
Now go thank an oak tree.