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Botany Folk Medicine How To Outdoors

The Chir Pine: Pinus roxburghii

I’ve been fascinated by the chir pine Pinus roxburghii (Pinus longifolia) for quite some time and realized that I haven’t yet put down a post on it. I’ve marvelled at its beauty both at Sattal and also Mussoorie in Uttarakhand and also in Himachal in India.  Unfortunately it is sad to see villagers set whole slopes of the forest on fire which is taken up by the layer of dry pine needles covering the mountain slopes. The villagers do it so that grass would grow again on the ground between the trees for them to take home back to their cattle. It is also suspected that the land mafia does this to deliberately deforest areas in connivance with the authorities which they can then encroach upon and sell. This is easy to do as the pine is rich in resin and catches fire easily even when wet.

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Health How To Kitchen Survival

Seasoning a clay pot

The pot you see in the featured image above is a “factory pot”. Yes that is what it is called in Tulu to distinguish it from the locally available thin pots. The thick pot is manufactured in factories probably in Kerala and needs no seasoning and is at least two times as thick as locally available pots turned on a potters wheel. The pores in the pot do need to be sealed before using it to cook though. Since it was the only pot I had, I decided to use it for this tutorial on seasoning pots. The local pots are a pale muddy brown while the factory manufactured pots are brick red… probably added color.

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Botany Health How To Kitchen Living Single Survival

The quest for natural hair dye

To dye, or not to dye. Most people have to deal with this question sooner or later. Although I am quite comfortable with my greying hair, it can sometimes get awkward when everyone around you colors their hair. It probably depends on your culture, but honestly, hanging out with friends who are your age or older but who look younger than you with respect to hair color is a bit difficult -especially if you are still single. Your friends too wouldn’t like to look like they are hanging out with the uncle.

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Botany Health How To Kitchen Living Single Survival

Making your own own coffee powder

Coffee has been one of my all time favorites since childhood. I can vaguely remember begging for coffee from my grandma and pestering my cousin sisters’ back home for coffee all through the day. The only difference was while my grandmother used filter coffee, my cousin sisters’ had made the move to instant coffee. I never realized that one day I’d come full circle and go back to filter coffee!

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Categories
Botany How To Living Single Outdoors Survival

Harvesting and processing Arrowroot

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) is a familiar name. As kids it was a kind of a sister to castor oil which mum sometimes spooned into our mouths. It was bland and insipid and that was the beginning of my childhood hatred for any kind of porridge and of Arrowroot biscuits which has thankfully now passed. Arrowroot derives its name from its past medicinal use in which it was used as a poultice to treat wounds inflicted by poisoned arrows.

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Categories
Botany How To Living Single Outdoors Survival

Harvesting and processing Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice which is very familiar in Asia. It is usually used powdered and is one of the easiest to identify due to its bright orange-yellow color. However it is often adulterated and then colored with artificial colors. If you have a small garden patch, it is very easy to grow turmeric on your own. It is almost maintenance free and takes care of itself provided the weather is not too cold and there is good rainfall. 

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Categories
Botany Outdoors

Mexican Poppy: Argemone Mexicana

I first noticed this plant next to a friend’s house in Faridabad, Haryana. It had leaves with sharp spines, yellow cup shaped flowers with overlapping petals with a white film covering the green parts. I asked the watch man who is from the Siwan district of Bihar in India what kind of plant it was and he told me that it  was called Bhajkatiya. I asked the boy who does odds and ends in our office who is also from Bihar, he told me that it was called Bhadbhadiya back home.

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