Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fall Edibles Class Hampered by Southeastern Drought

The normally water rich south-east region of North America is drying up, so the weather forecasters have commented. So much so, that the drought conditions have impacted Earth Connection's wild edible classes, minimally this summer and gravely this fall. The plants we rely on for fall survival are suffering from lack of moisture on the Earth Connection School's land which is usually so close to the water table that we are not be able to dig a hole without water seeping to fill it almost as fast as we dig. Now the water seeps not.

Hue and Jamey attempted to teach a wild edibles class for Ancestral Knowledge in Maryland, but the drought has effect the wild edible crop there too. It is a sorry state when a class cannot happen because the weather conditions effect nature in such a way. All they got for their trouble was a million chigger bites and two weeks of intense itch. No fun!

Despite the harsh conditions and lack of any indication of coming precipitation there still were a few choice wild edibles available to talk about for the EC Wild Edible class on 13 October. Only Acorns were in enough abundance this year and we took advantage of this making this our main attraction. Drought also produced a pretty good wild grape crop this year.

For the wild food offerings this year we made Acorn Bread and Wild Grape Jelly (picture is of green spring grapes). Jen also made us all a sweet Acorn Pumpkin bundt cake that was delicious.

What can we expect in the future?

Weather forecasters are not offering much rain for the winter and are predicting a warmer and drier winter than what is usually expected. The dry conditions that range from Washington DC into Maryland down to the tip of Florida and out to western Tennessee are designated as severe. The Department of Agriculture's drought monitor indicates that 32% is in exceptional drought not seen but once or twice in a century. We wonder what this will bring for our next crop of wild edible that are normally hardy enough to survive a few weeks without much moisture. Maybe there is some validity to our fear that global warming will make droughts more common.

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