Author: Jim Moore

Acorns – The Preeminent Wild Plant Food

Acorns – The Preeminent Wild Plant Food By Jim Moore       Wherever the Oak Tree grows in abundance, the nut of these trees, called Acorns by English speaking folks, were the preeminent plant based food of hunter-gathering peoples in the northern hemisphere. This was especially true for the pre-European peoples living here within the Northeastern California Mountain and Valley regions.    In NorCal the nutritious acorns were gathered in great abundance from the following Oak species: Black Oak, Valley Oak, Blue Oak, Oregon Oak, Canyon Live Oak, Interior Live Oak, and Tanbark-oak. Acorns of each oak species had their...

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Emerald Moths

Emeralds! By Jim Moore, Entomologist     In nature there are just two kinds of Emeralds: the Gemstones, and the Moths. This article covers the living green gems of NorCal called Emerald Moths. Perhaps you have seen one of these small green moths by your porch light and marveled that a moth could be almost completely green. I often do when I see one of the several species that make their home within our Mountain Valley region. Emerald Moths are members of the family of moths called Geometer Moths  – Geometridae – which means ‘earth-measurer’ so named after the larva which...

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Great Aunt Bess’s Springerle Cookie Recipe

Ingredients: 3 to 4 cups white flour 2 cups powdered sugar (Emily subs 1 cup honey) 4 eggs 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 4 drops of anise oil (Emily uses 1 teaspoon anise extract) 4 teaspoons anise seed (ground, or crushed) Directions: Beat eggs until well blended in mixer.  Add sugar gradually, beating between additions, then mix for 10 minutes.  Mix in anise oil and seed. Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder; and then slowly fold flour into the mixing bowl. Use as much flour as needed to make a soft, kneadable dough. Pour out dough onto a floured surface and knead well, adding more flour if needed to reduce stickiness of dough. Roll out dough to about 1/2  inch thick using a regular rolling pin. Sprinkle flour (or powdered sugar) onto the Springerle rolling pin; or onto the dough itself; to prevent sticking. Firmly press Springerle pin downward on to the dough as you slowly roll the pin across the dough. The designs should be sharp and clear in appearance. Cut out the cookies and rub underside of cookies very lightly with cool water (an Aunt Bess secret). Then place them on a buttered cookie sheet pan. Set cookies in a cool dry place overnight,  between 12 to 24 hours, depending on size of cookies. The purpose of this step is to dry-harden the top surface of the springerle cookies; which in turn...

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Twelve Ladybug Beauties

By Jim Moore, Entomologist ♪ “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: twelve Ladybug beauties, eleven chocolate candies, ten Springerle cookies, and some mistletoe in the doorway.” ♪ Well, I am not going to say which was my favorite, but the most peculiar was the twelve Ladybug beauties. Where she found them in the middle of winter she would not exactly say, except that these twelve, shown in the photo, were found in various locations in Northeastern California. Some folks call them Ladybugs; others call them Ladybird Beetles; still others call them Lady Beetles....

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The Eagle Lake Trout – Back From the Brink

By Jim Moore, Entomologist     Long before any human eyes ever gazed upon the pristine beauty of Eagle Lake in Lassen County, its one and only endemic and namesake trout species reigned supreme as the one and only fish-eating predator beneath the surface of its water.  The Eagle Lake Trout is a Rainbow Trout subspecies (Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum; with the subspecies name ‘aquilarum’  meaning ‘eagle’ in the Latin language). In those days the trout were not limited to just the lake. The trout would swim up the creeks that flow into the lake to lay their eggs in the...

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