Sunday, February 28, 2010

Learn then teach.

Learning edible plants at Jesse H. Jones Park.

So, this Saturday I joined Wildcat to take a class in edible wild plants rather than teaching about wild edibles. It was a nice break and with the knowledge gained I've made a bunch of updates to my wild edibles site.

Newly Added Plants: Corn Salad, Goat's Beard, Lyreleaf Sage, Elaeagnus

Improved Plants: Waxleaf Myrtle/Bayberry, Dandelion, Chickweed, Dewberry, Blackberry, Mustang Grapes, Muscadine Grapes, Lichens

Adventure! Excitement! Learning!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I had to say "No".

Just got off the phone with the producers of The Colony. They called asking me to audition for the show after one of my plant students told them about me. Apparently the idea of a ruggedly handsome, wonderfully funny, charming, brilliant Ph.D. chemist with an incredible set of post-apocalyptic survival skills and deep knowledge of foraging is just what they wanted on the show. Sadly, I'm already booked up with stuff during the March-May shooting schedule.

I guess you'll just have to continue getting your Merriwether fix here on my blog.

I'm really, really bummed.

Adventure! Excitement! Sadness!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I love my classroom...

...because it's the world.

I've lost count of how many edible wild plant classes I taught lately, though two stand out. Last week I did an urban foraging class out of an independent bookstore in downtown Houston.

Someone there made these awesome flyers for the event and posted them all over town.

Nineteen people showed up for that class. We spent several hours exploring the three-block radius around the bookstore and found twenty-nine different types of wild edibles! It's amazing how much food grows in the sidewalk cracks and empty lots of the city.

The second notable class was today at the Houston Arboretum. What made it so special (other than the huge turnout) was I finally found some stinging nettles. These plants are a powerhouse of nutrition, being loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, and assorted medicinal molecules. It's an amazingly good plant though one has to handle it carefully. The stem and leaves of the stinging nettle are covered with tiny needles filled with formic acid which makes even the slightest touch with bare skin very painful. Growing up we used to call these "Burn Thistles" as they caused a wicked burning sensation. My hand still tingles from touching the plant over eight hours ago. I have to admit though that pain of stinging nettles is kind of like the oral burn of hot peppers and it can be similarly addicting.

Stinging nettles. Those "hairs" are filled with yummy formic acid!

Along with the discovery of stinging nettles it turned out one of the people in the class is a finalist in the auditions for second season of The Colony. She took my class to prepare for the show. I may be teaching her a bunch more survival-related stuff in the few weeks before she ships out.

Some of today's students. I'm the giant, the (hopefully) future star of The Colony is the lady next to me.

Some of you may have noticed I'm not wearing my hat in the picture above. This is because some mo-*%$#@&^*!!! rat bastard stole my hat! I bought that hat several years ago with the money from my first journal article. It was the perfect hat: huge-brimmed, weatherproof, breathable, infinitely shapable, and dang sharp looking. I am furious at whoever stole it!!

Adventure! Excitement! Stinging!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Can't blog, Olympics on!

Maybe next week.
Oh yeah, Mambo turned four this week. She asked for makeup. Daddy isn't happy.

Adventure! Excitement! Winter Olympics!!!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Farming in the PAW (Post Apocalyptic World)

We make dead things deader.
-Zombie Squad Motto

Things have been going well in the war between humans and zombies. Luckily zombies, due to their limited dexterity and non-existent capabilities of thought, can usually be held at bay by the erection of simple barricades. This suggests that the Last Organic Outpost can serve as a viable fortress during a limited zombie uprising. With that in mind I and other members of the Houston chapter of of Zombie Squad spent Sunday increasing the farmable land inside the Last Organic Outpost's walls.

Zombies?! Don't worry, we talked about this on the internet!

Not farmable.

Step one: Cut down tree growing through truck-thing.

Step two: Move truck thing from center of area to barricade using tractor and come-along. Repeat with two other vehicles.

Step three: stop working to discuss knives.

Step four: Haul trash to other part of abandoned warehouse complex.

Step five: Discover abandoned ambulance filled with porn.

Step six: Not to be spoken of.

Step seven: search rest of warehouse complex for zombies




We managed to clear quite a large area in a short amount of time, proving that giving a group of guys numerous sharp objects and excessive amounts of horsepower doesn't always lead to bloodshed...except for maybe zombie blood!

Now farmable.

Adventure! Excitement! Defending Houston Against Zombies While Increasing Food Security!!

Excellent Parenting Quote of the Day

Mini, settle down and go get your knife!
-Me to Miniwether this evening.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

I should have been a supervillian.

Because I so could have kicked Spiderman's ass!

Adventure! Excitement! Birthdays!