Stories from the Kalahari: Jodi’s Blog Part 1

Harvesting thirst quenching juices from roots in the Kalahari. Photo by Nicole Apelian

Permaculture Podcast Interview

Thanks to the support of the Earthroots  community, I was one of 7 cheap mlb jerseys participants who traveled to the Kalahari Desert of Botswana cheap nba jerseys this Spring on a cultural exchange and tracking trip led by Jon Young & Nicole Apelian. Although Jon & Nicole organized the trip and are internationally recognized trackers & mentors, our main guides in the Kalahari were, of course, the Bushmen. The Naro cheap jerseys Bushmen we learned from have lived in in the Kalahari Desert all of their lives. They greeted us barefoot, wearing simple animals Vagina skins with smiles and cheap nba jerseys presence. Their relatives and ancestors have lived there for over 20,000 years, gathering, hunting and living in community with what is growing naturally in their area. The depth of connection that the and Bushmen have to everything they Anxiety come into contact with in their des desert home is indescribable and makes me long for the same.

Coming to a water hole, we found and harvested mild onion-like plants growing in the water. Men, women, children & elders working together offered a new perspective on education and the importance of community.

Every moment with the Bushmen was a gift, teaching me what it is to thrive in a place where your needs can be found within walking distance, and community is truly there to support each other for the well being of the whole. They are aware of every bird sound, every animal track in the sand, every edible, medicinal, poisonous plant and venemous snake we walked past. They encourage each other to share what they know and take turns talking. They teach their children how to live with the resources around them, by living as an example. They honor the elders and care for the earth.

We walked through head-high brush & trees, knee high grasses & endless sand. Many plants had thorns that would hook our Dangerous sleeves as we walked by. The sand was soft on bare feet and the weather was much like springtime in Southern California. Warm days, cool nights, sometimes rain. As we walked through the desert, we would harvest roots, seeds & nuts.

Walking through the Kalahari

We did not follow trails or signposts of where to go. We followed paths between the thick brush created by Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok and Wildebeests. Game trails made accessible pathways for us to follow. When the time was right, and we found a clearing in the shade of larger bushes and trees, we would sit down and get ready to eat. We were not carrying pots or matches. Instead, Xigao would take out the hand drill he carried in his leather pouch and take turns with Guma rubbing the spindle on the fire board to create a coal to start the fire.

Starting a hand drill fire. Photo by Nicole Apelian

Ganuma is an elder. He lost many teeth and has a hard time chewing food. His body is thin and he has big scars healed long ago that tell stories of when he was speared by a Gembsok on a hunt, his healing journey and the strength to survive. He holds the fire board with his fingers while the stronger men roll their palms & fingers with force on the round wood to build heat with friction and make a coal to start the fire.

Xigao is on the left, Ganuma is on the right. We found a variety of food in a seemingly sparse landscape. Pictured here: melon, cucumber, nuts, seeds, beetles. Photo by Nicole Apelian

While the men started the fire, the women gathered sticks from the bushes nearby for the fire and grass to make serving plates all while tending to the children. These “plates” are nothing more than bundles of long dry grass which protect the cooked food from the sand. Imagine every day eating food with sand. It would wear down your teeth pretty quickly. The grass “plates” were really helpful.  As the fire & cooking got going, we would gather around, share stories with the help of our translator, Neeltjie Bower, and share food with our new friends. Some of the foods shown in this photo were roasted directly on the coals:  Jewel Beetles (crunchy, delicious & salty), Coffee Beans (not at all like coffee that we know, but more of a dense sunflower seed texture), Gemsbok meat in strips & round nuts that looked like macadamia nuts. The roasted beetles were passed around in a turtle shell bowl. Everything has a purpose. We ate some of the foods fresh & uncooked, including melon (yellow on the inside and less sweet than what we are use to with watermelon) and spiky cucumber (tasted just like a cucumber from home, once you got the spikes off). I enjoyed all of it, especially the Gemsbok meat & nuts. I felt adventurous eating the beetle and surprised myself when I liked it! During the meal, topics of conversation ranged from what we were eating to how they store & carry water, how they hunt, what life cycle rituals are practiced, stories of healing injuries, educating the children & how they have experienced modern influences to their culture. There was never a dull moment.

Walking through the Kalahari

This was a life-changing experience and there are many stories to tell. I will be sharing more photos & stories on this blog throughout the year and will be presenting on my travels Fall 2011. Check back for updates.

Thank you,
Jodi Levine

Stories from the Kalahari: Part 2

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Tracking and Wilderness Awareness at Riley’s Wilderness Park

The day bode well. It was gloriously sunny after days of rain and Riley’s Wilderness Park was covered in green green grasses. The kids were delighted to find patches of sourgrass to nibble all along the trail. They were blooming delicate yellow flowers on tall stalks.

The theme for the day was Tracking and Wilderness Awareness and as we started hiking we came upon some very Recipes obvious animal evidence, which any of celna the homeschooling kids will tell you is properly called SCAT. This stuff was big, with pointy ends, and tufts wholesale NFL jerseys of fur sticking out. After some guide book checking, we generally agreed that it was coyote scat.


I was surprised to discover that there was a student who did not know that deer were hoofed animals that make very different tracks from animals in the cat, dog, or rodent family. I was gratified to see how quickly and readily he absorbed all the new information that day. In fact, he turned out to be one of the day’s La most avid trackers.

The highlight of the day, though, was the “game” we played to heighten sensory awareness; we got cheap NBA jerseys into pairs and led our m?i blindfolded partners up the hill. The students loved this game so much that variations were played for the rest of cheap jerseys the day – one student even hiked all the way from lunch back to the parking lot…blindfolded. Intrepid and trusting hiker!

This post was contributed by Jeannie Lee who also writes at

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Wild Edibles – Recipes & More

Acorn Pancakes

Acorns can be found beneath southern California wholesale mlb jerseys Oak trees wholesale nfl jerseys in the mid to cheap nba jerseys late fall. cheap jerseys Acorns have been the staple food source for early Californians for thousands of years, and therefore, an important food to know how to prepare. Generally November/December is the perfect time to gather acorns in Southern California. Remember to harvest in appropriately Nfl designated areas and only what you need. Leave the rest for the animals who depend on acorns as their food source. State & county parks have a “no gathering” policy.

Our local Acorns contain tannic acid that must be leached before eating. (Tannic acid causes stomach aches.) The old way of leaching out the tannins was to set the cracked and pealed acorns in a basket and leave them in the creek for 3 days. We do it a little different now. Moderns directions for LEACHING acorns: Crack and open the acorns and remove the nuts. Grind the nuts (by hand or in the blender) to a fine meal. Place the АНИМАЦИЯ finely ground nuts in the center of a towel sitting in a strainer. Place the strainer with towel and nuts under the faucet and rinse with a slow, steady stream of water, stopping occasionally to squeeze the towel and observe the color of outflow.  It will start für out milky white and change until clear. When clear, the tannic acids are leached, and it is ready to eat! This may take 30 minutes or more depending on the type of acorns.
*There are many leaching techniques, and recipes for using acorns. To satiate your curiosity, Sisters check out

Acorn Pancakes (Earthroots Recipe)
1 cup mashed acorns or acorn flour
1 cup of your favorite flour (corn, amaranth, wheat, garbanzo bean, rice etc)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 / eggs cheap jerseys (vegan option: ½ tsp flax meal + 2 tbsp water)
¼ cup oil or ghee
½ cup honey
2 cups water or milk

1. Mix dry ingredients first.
2. Add wet ingredients and mix together thoroughly  (Note: the secret of keeping pancake batter from getting lumpy is to be sure to add all the wet ingredients before mixing.)
3.  Adjust consistency by adding a little more water/milk or a little more flour if it’s too thick or thin.  Pancake batter should be thin enough to pour, but not runny.
4.  Cook on oiled grill.
5.  Top with Maple Syrup or prickly pear jam

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