Sometimes I will say to a young apprentice, “My longest long-term relationship is with a chimney and a woodstove……over 40 years in the same place.” That tends to scare a young person and brings up a reaction of “Oh, if it gets too difficult, I have options……” Living in one place is something like a […]
This past week during the full moon tides, alaria has been uncovered, and it’s in prime condition. Dulse is also coming on. Dawn and I scrabbled all over these rocks and down into the surf-filled crevices in order to find the darkest red dulse (it needs shade in order to develop deep colors), and I discovered […]
People ask, “What’s it like to be an apprentice seaweed harvester? The Crew and I recently worked in a tide pool that is like a big touch tank, and they were quite literally fully immersed in the discovery of it all. I decided to give you a collection of photos this time.
On the land, it’s lilacs beginning to bloom, and in the sea, bladderwrack is getting ready to release gametes, male and female, which will unite in the water outside the plants to form a zygote, a fertilized ovum which will settle and attach to the granite sea floor of the Gulf of Maine, part of earth’s great sea-womb.
A friend who is from India sent me this piece, and I must pass it on. It is a Grand Conversation between Twins in Mother’s Womb:
This is the dark cold and wet season when we celebrate affection and mercy. This past summer, my daughter Sarah signed the consent papers for my surgery when I was unable to make that decision. I had accidentally bonked my head, and I had a subdural hematoma. The doctor advised that two quarter inch burr holes drilled in my skull would relieve the pressure. “I decided that you could put up with two holes in your head so that you could still talk,” Sarah told me after the surgery. Well, I’m still very much talking, (and working, fully recovered) and I’ve decided to show you all some affection and mercy by NOT mentioning the “S” word in any of the recipes I’m about to share with you. You see, I operate like a CSA (community supported agriculture), and customers are welcome to come for a visit (there’s no charge for an overnight or a weekend stay) so that they can discover for themselves the source and spirit of these wonderful “herbs of the sea”. (See? I didn’t mention the “S” word!…..After 40 years of harvesting them, I’m entitled to a day off!) Well, let’s get to it. This is the kind of cooking that keeps me warm while I’m working in water temperatures that are 40-45 degrees F., and this is the kind of food that can keep YOU warm during the holiday season! If you want more recipes that incorporate vegetables from the sea, you can always go here.
Some seaweed companies sell seaweed incorporated into candy or chips. Some mix it with spices and sell it in shakers. Some sell it in small retail packages, and the price per pound is more than $100. If the packages are exposed to direct light, the pigments will degrade. Call me a purist if you like, and thank me when you do, because my intent is to deliver the essences of various seaweeds to you, bone dry when appropriate and protected from humidity and direct light, and offer you recipes for using them. Most of the recipes at theseaweedman.com and larchhanson.com are wet recipes because iodine is a volatile, and roasting kelp or alaria will drive off the iodine. The soak water and the cooking water should be used. This water transfers the iodine to people, and since we all need iodine to protect our thyroids in a world of failing nuclear reactors that emit radioactive iodine, this is the most important point. Seaweed candy, spice shakers, and chips won’t deliver the iodine necessary to health.
So here’s a recipe using Soup Mix that is designed to deliver all the nutrients:
I’m healed, back to normal. Many of you have sent healing thoughts, prayers, and light to me, and I am grateful for your love. Thank you for your love. Some of you have asked, “How did you do it? What helped you heal?” The rest of this post is about the patterns of thought and action that helped me heal, for what it’s worth. If you don’t have time to read it now, how about checking your supply of seaweeds and ordering something you need at theseaweedman.com? My birthday is October 13th, and I have hospital bills to pay. I’m shameless about asking for help. Will you forgive me? I promise to stay at the work as long as I can. You know I love the Work, and I love all of you, too.
A subdural hematoma (bleeding within the membrane surrounding the brain), is a serious injury. In my case, it all started when I was loading boxes of seaweed into a Dodge Caravan in the dark, and I bumped my head underneath the open hatchback door. At one point in the process, my brain was displaced an inch and a half to the left by fluid pressure, and that pressure was also forcing my brain stem downward through the hole at the bottom of my skull. I could have ended up totally paralyzed or dead. For awhile, I was on the other side of the veil.
While I’m healing, I have at least five books to write. One of them is stories connected to 40 years of seaweed harvesting, of course, and another is a cookbook about what we eat while we are doing the work. One of them is a book about reform of the family court system. Another is about spiritual practices that actually work. They transform us slowly over time because they involve all three aspects of being human, that is, they require that we engage our body, mind, and voice/heart. If a spiritual practice doesn’t engage me at all three levels, I usually find myself losing interest as time goes by. Then there’s a book called The Annotated Larch, and it’s stories from my life. Here’s a story from The Annotated Larch. Tell me what you think about it. If you like it, I’ll write some more.
For six years of my life, I was a half-time dad who commuted 12 hours one way, twice a month, to Lewisburg PA so that I could parent my two sons, Jay and David. I rented a home in Lewisburg, at the same time that I was building my home here in Maine.