Trees as a food source in the wilderness
by Winyan Staz Wakien
Most people are aware that the maple tree can be tapped in the spring for maple syrup but for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, we just dont have so many maples.
However, we do have the Vine Maple tree and it may be tapped as well. The sap is thinner and will have to be cooked much longer (being very careful not to burn it as it burns easily) but will still make a sweet and healthy syrup for your needs.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we need to learn about the cedar trees and the many uses of the inner bark.
It will peel off in large strips and patches... which can be a life saver to keep you dry (it rains a lot here in WA state). It is simple to cut a large circle of the inner bark and by cutting a line up to the middle of the circle, you can overlap the circle by cutting holes on both sides (about 1-3 inches in so it doesnt tear out easily.. and lash/lace the cut sides overlapping to form a semi-cone... large enough to make a rain hat and keep you dry. You can also stick branches and twigs etc on the hat to help with camiflauge.
The same inner-bark is easily made into baskets, mats, and was shredded to line the inner part of a baby's basket or bed. Clean dry moss is also used. It was also used to line the sitting area of the women's hut during their moon-time. Might not be an item of interest to you men but women may well need to know this.
Cedar chips and shavings are also a flea and bug repellant bedding for animals or even under your own bedding. It can also be woven to make a type of clothing material.
Last years' stinging nettle stalks or cattails cut, dried and then soaked make great cordage for your cedar hat and dont forget to add a chin tye to help keep your hat on.