For many new posts, please visit and follow my new blog address: ancestralarts.net
Please visit ancestralarts.net for all new posts since last spring. I no longer post to ringtail cats, but all the past posts on ringtail cats are linked in order at ancestral arts.
from my new blog
Fallen redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) logs were hollowed with fire to form canoes by Pacific coast Indians of northwestern California (e.g. Yurok) that were sold to other tribes (Powers 1877, Chesnut 1902). Redwood trunks for canoes were gathered by the Yurok from the bar across the mouth of the Lower Klamath, or all along the coast where redwoods grow (Powers 1877). Redwood (and it’s relatives such as bald cypress) is known for having insect-repellant wood. It is also quite soft and easy to carve.
Yurok traditional redwood canoe.
Photo credit: http://www.actaonline.org/content/acta-welcomes-19-teams-apprenticeship-program
They were burned by the Yurok to suitable lengths, (one made in 1968 was 18 ft long x 3.5 ft wide x 1.5 ft deep) and the ends kept blunt rather than pointed (Powers 1877). To burn them into shape, pitch was spread on the area of wood to be burned, and when it was burned sufficiently deep, a piece…
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Most American Indians ate grasshoppers (plus crickets and katydids: the orthoptera) as an integral part of their diet, collecting vast quantities in the summer, drying them and grinding them into flour to store for the winter.
They had many methods of gathering and trapping grasshoppers. The most simple gathering method was to merely pick them off vegetation during the early morning, when it was too cool for them to fly or jump off quickly.
At the most complex end of the spectrum, entire villages assembled to prepare pits and perform circle or or group drive hunts, surrounding a field and scaring grasshoppers inward simultaneously to drive the grasshoppers into the central pits. There were many variations on this method, from some Indians using fire to either drive the grasshoppers or kill them at the end, to driving them in a line towards a creek, where they were collected downstream in…
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Click the title for a Livescience.com article about a few popular insects eaten around the world, and their important potential as a more ubiquitous food source in the future given the global food (esp. protein) shortage crises.
Some students from McGill University in Canada won the 2013 Hult prize, providing $1,000,000 in seed money for their project making protein-rich flour from insects, starting with grasshoppers (yes, 1 million bucks for bugs).
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Click on the title to link to the original scientific article describing how they found many antimicrobial compounds secreted by frog’s skin.
This study was inspired by the old practice of Russians in putting frogs in their milk to keep it fresh!
The ancestral art of keeping milk fresh had a clever, simple solution for Russians; put a russian brown frog, aka the common frog (Rana temporaria) in it! This frog (which ranges across Europe and has many congeners across temperate areas such as the US) secretes a battery of antimicrobial compounds, preventing the milk from bacterial or fungal growth and souring.
I doubt it affected the milk flavor much if at all. I don’t think it’s disgusting; what sure is gross though is tasting or smelling rotten milk!
The only other way known to…
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Aaron Carapella has compiled all the original (self-identified) names of the American Indians on a map showing the locations of their original homes. It immediately gives a sense of the extent and variety of Indians occupying the continent.
See the full story here: The Map of Native American Tribes You’ve Never Seen Before
Or go straight to the PDF file of the map: Tribal_Nations_Map_of North America
There is a separate map for Mexico you can find in the article.
Ethnoecological hypotheses for high density of Indian tribes and populations in California and the coastal Pacific Northwest:
Like other similar maps produced before (which usually show the names colonists gave to Indians, such as “Costanoan” for SF Bay Area Indians, which just means inhabiting the coast), another remarkable feature is the high diversity of tribes in California, as well as the Pacific Coast. I’d attribute this high diversity, which goes along…
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Certain insects in the true bug order are specialized to only feed on plant sap, including all aphids (Aphidae) and scales (Coccidae), and most of the planthoppers, leafhoppers, froghoppers, and cicadas (Hemiptera:Auchenorrhyncha aka Homoptera). These insects have syringe-like mouthparts to pierce the sap and/or water-conducting vessels of leaves, veins, stems, and fruits. Their adaptation to their extremely watery diet has also given rise to a very long intestinal tract with which they can absorb most of the nutrients of the sap before it passes out. But this still isn’t enough to absorb the sap’s sugars and other nutrients completely, so their frass (insect excrement) is very sweet.
A) shows an aphid piercing plant tissue with its syringe-like mouthpart B) shows how this stylet pierces a single cell (in this case making it ideal for sampling cell contents for an experiment by a plant physiologist) Credit: http://5e.plantphys.net/article.php?ch=t&id=136
This sugar-rich exudation of…
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1) First, trace your foot on some paper to make the pattern for the sole. You should leave a centimeter or so space between your foot and the edge of the pattern:
2) Trace these other patterns based on the size of the sole pattern. Analyze the below photos to determine the relative shapes / sizes. See step the third photo below to better size the tongue pattern (pattern on right side). Basically it should cover the top of your foot and its sides wrap around to meet the edges of the sole pattern with sufficient space (~ 1cm) to stitch.
4) Check the patterns have the right size and shape by lightly taping the edges to form a model of the moccasin.
5) After correcting for any size / shape problems revealed by the model, trace the patterns onto your leather (or other material of choice). Be sure to…
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This is my first post on Ancestral Arts, where and I have already re-blogged most of my posts from here on Ringtail Cats. Ancestral Arts also has new and better pages!
My goal is public awareness of ethnobiology and the resulting appreciation for nature given its inherent worth and complete set of uses to fulfill life’s needs. AncestralArts.net is simply a more descriptive and memorable web address to further the cause.
For a while, I will keep re-blogging what I post on Ancestral Arts here on Ringtail Cats, but please follow me on Ancestral Arts to insure getting all future posts! Thanks readers!!!
The fiddleheads of most (if not all) species of ferns are edible. The fiddlehead refers to the unfurling young fronds that appear in late winter through spring, appearing singly for new plants, or at the base or middle of full-grown ferns. They can be eaten raw, but are better after being lightly fried.
The species pictured below, Polystichum munitum (Kaulf.) C. Presl, aka western sword fern, is very common in the east bay hills. Also pictured below are its fiddleheads that I fried and ate this spring.
It is somewhat asparagus-like in flavor and texture. It makes a great side dish or could be an important survival food if lost in a fern-rich area.
Fronds of Polystichum munitum were also used by the Kashaya Pomo Indians of California to line earth pit ovens for slow-cooking many types of foods, as well as to line basins formed in sand…
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