Sunday, June 29, 2008

Morning Harvest - June 29


Another hot humid day and I have a craving for chicken soup! I know, I know, that's more of a winter food, but I guess that's what my body needs. What better place to look for special herbs to put in my soup but right from my own garden. Other herbs and flowers in the basket are for tinctures and oil infusions.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June Roots

One hybrid and cultivated ... 
A tiny thinning from the main vegetable garden so that others may have the elbow room they desire. Despite the little nibble that is was, it was yummy nonetheless.
Didn't know carrots had elbows, eh? Ah, the things we learn!

The other a wild thing . . .
A beautiful specimen. I might chop it, roast it and make a hot brew with it. Or I might chop it and make a fresh plant tincture with it. Or just simmer and serve it as a food with some sweet carrots to balance the bitterness.
Dandelion root. Taraxicum officinalis. It too has elbows. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The 21st Annual New England Women's Herbal Conference

Just curious . . . who's going to the New England Women's Herbal Conference this year? Or . . . who knows someone who's going? I know there's car-pools forming in the east, the west and northern sections of state!

What a wonderful line-up of presenters! I realized (only moments ago) that it's only two months away. Time to start getting psyched!

Tussilago farfara


This common roadside plant is most known and best recognized in early springtime, when the flowers bloom. It is a contrary! Blooming first and then growing its leaves!

Also known as Coltsfoot, this herb, like so many that joined us from Europe has made itself quite comfortable in the wilds of North America. The botanical name suggests its most commonly known traditional use, for tussis means cough in Latin. The common name refers to the shape of the leaf, which resembles a . . . colt's "foot," helping us to identify the plant in the wild, especially after flowering. Early European botanists actually identified the spring and summer plant as two separate plants. It's a trickster!

Being a plant medicine for the RAPID respiratory system might suggest a treatment plan to mirror that RAPID verve - one of short duration. Funny, too, that this plant - just like comfrey and borage, contain the liver toxic PAs that we really want to avoid lest we damage ourselves. Not only did our ancestors seem know this on some level, but the plant tells us too - in some very simple ways.

It most often grows - these days - along roadsides where we wouldn't be inclined to harvest, and where the earth needs healing. The flowers bloom and fade rapidly too, over the coarse of only a couple weeks. The flowers bloom in early spring, opposite the year-wheel of the common cough season.

Liver toxic PAs aside, the flowers do make an amazing cough syrup, layered in a jar with brown sugar and left to macerate in a dark cabinet 'til a cough calls upon it several months later when it may be strained and used. It's a good medicine to know about, yet I would be inclined to use another herb for my cough in its stead and protect my liver!

But it's still beautiful and humble, clever and contrary and a worthy plant we can learn from!

This photo was taken at the Summer Solstice in Cornwall Hollow, CT.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chickweed and Pumpkins

I was excited last night as I watched Iron Chef America and saw Mario Batali make a chickweed salad. Yummy! I yelled to my hubby, "See, see that is why I let it grow!" Ah, but it is not as robust as the pumpkins that decided to grace us this year. Last year we put in a new deck. As the pumpkins we picked from a friends garden started to soften I set them in front of the deck. I thought they would add some nice compost to the area I needed to plant come spring. Come spring hubby tilled the soil and a few days later we noticed a few plants. They seem to grow six inches or more a day and we have quite the patch. If we have as many pumpkins as plants we may have to open a stand. I am in awe each day as I check on their progress.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Red Clover, Red Clover send...

The way the Green World works always amazes me. After harvesting Heal All and then discarding it because of self doubt and fear of poisoning myself and others, I set out to find more today. Following the familiar path to the little field beside my house I was in awe at how much everything had grown. The Bedstraw is in bloom. Its tiny white flowers scattered along the path way looked like snow had come earlier to Connecticut. The wild grasses that were once inches from the ground almost surpass me in height. Every thing has changed rapidly. Walking through the high grass every step released a cloud of pollen. I search amongst the small yellow butter cups and other lemon colored flowers but Heal All was no were to be found. It was almost as though it had made its appearance to me early on and having lost patience is now hiding . Leaving me to wait another year to seek its wisdom.
With some disappointment I turned my attention to the statuesque Mullein. Hoping that it would be in bloom and I would be able to gather some of its flowers to make an oil Infusion. I am afraid that I arrived to early. The Mullein has tripled in size but is not yet in bloom. I have a friend who get frequent ear aches and I was hoping to make the oil for her.
After puttering around a little more I stumbled across Red Clover. I have been searching for some time for this pretty pink flower. I feared that I wouldn’t find any around my house. White clover is scattered every where but it is in frequently mowed areas and close to motor traffic. There were very few blossoms and of the few that were present most had faded or browned. Strike three I thought. I continued walking along the edge of the woods. I followed the Hedge listening the birds sing. My eyes catching glimpses of chipmunks and rabbits. I found a beautiful brown feather that shimmers with green and grey. The weather was gorgeous. Warm and breezy. I wandered onto the gravel path that leads behind the industrial park. A rocky line cut between the receive docks and the wood lined river. I decided to see were it lead. It turned out to continue past the building to the road and the beginning of the nature trail I had found before. I was about to follow the road home when that little voice told me to check out the first section of trail to find out how much it had changed as well. It was mostly the same. The Violets have evaporated and small vines are beginning to make there way onto the path. I made it to the opening and turned to follow the field back home when I tripped on a thin stalk that was in the middle of the path. I looked back at it and told it to be careful then continued on. I glanced over to my right and noticed that along the path a large amount of Red Clover was growing. Vivid pink flowers seated a top 3 round leaves. The bees danced from blossom to blossom sipping away. I was amazed and slowly began to gather the Clover. I backtracked taking a little from here and there not want to over harvest the area. Talking with the bees. Wait for them to finish in one place before I step over. It was long before I noticed that the beginning of the Red Clover patch lined up perfectly with the stalk that had tripped me. Having missed my chances with Heal All this season I seemed to have “stumbled” on to a new Ally. The way the Green World works always seems to amaze me.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Who Knows What Lurks in the Heart of the Basket ...


. . . the Shadow knows.

Hahahahahhaaaahhahah! ::snort:: OK, so maybe it's not that funny. But the point is, do you recognize this harvest? 

And whether you do or not, if you'd like to learn what I made with this harvest today, you'll just have to go see What I Made Today!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greetings,
Thank you for inviting me to join this blog group.
I have so much to learn and little to offer at this point, but I am glad to be here.

I am not a frequent poster and I have yet to learn how to post photos, but
I will look forward to reading this daily.

Thank you,
Lee

Virtual Weed Walk

After watching a video interview with Susan Weed I stumbled on to www.learningherbs.com and found this cool Virtual weed walk. It is a mini quiz. It give you a written hint and photo and then when you hit the red clover at the bottom it tells you the answer and the next set. I thought it was fun. I got all but the last one. It has a couple of free ecourses as well that I am checking out also.

I would also recommend checking out the interview I mentioned. That is at www.susanweed.com .

Blessed Be,
Ry

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who Are THOSE Weeds???

The five herbs along the sidebar here are now labeled with their botanical names (and one common name).

I hosted a give-away game on my What I Made Today blog that involved guessing these herbs, but I think the cross-blog exercise fostered more chaos than order. J

My work here is done.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

HerbFest was grand. Just this morning I shared with a friend (that I have yet to meet) that I've been going to this festival for so many years now that it is like a sweet family reunion. I so enjoyed the day . . . drumming with community, taking and facilitating weedwalks, browsing the vendors, meeting new people and little sprouts, making new friends and relaxing in the shade with old ones, being entertained by the fabulous sounds of Echo Uganda, eating yummy food, offering a glimpse into one facet of Plant Spirit and much more.

Every year I purchase at least two special Green gifts for my little acre. This year, as I drove to Coventry, I discovered I'd forgotten to put on my earrings. If that's not a sign from Spirit, I don't know what is! So, I bought some lovely citrine earrings, set in silver, as well as three special Green gifts (plus one other gifted gift). 

Can you name them?

Starting at the upper left and moving clockwise, they are:
  • Rudbeckia “Henry Eilers”
  • Asarum canadense – Wild Ginger
  • Nicotiana “Only the Lonely"
  • Caulophyllum thalictroides – Blue Cohosh

Friday, June 6, 2008

Arnica montana

Early this spring I tried starting Arnica seeds with no luck. ::shurgs:: I'll try again, no doubt. Yet I mentioned this as part of a response I made on Henriette's eList and was contacted by a fellow blogger and (as it turns out) a kindred spirit who sent me Arnica plants straight from Montana. How freakin' cool is that???

Well, I'm glad the weather has been drizzly, for I think this has helped these little plants along. Here's what they looked like the day I got them in the ground:





As you can see, some of the little plantlings traveled better than others. Yesterday, when I checked in with them they all seemed a bit stressed. Today however, they've all perked up a bit. All of them! In any event, these little plants, sent to me by Tammie Lee are very special somehow, and I will tend them well. 

The very thought of making my very own infused oil of arnica is quite thrilling! I dented my shin this week (really - it was dented) and not a bruise, thanks to oil of arnica (and SJW too)! 


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Greatest Benefit to Mankind

The subject of this book has surfaced a couple times this past week, so I thought I'd post it here in case this would be of interest to anyone outside the inquirers (who are also here). 


It's a fascinating yet simple read that offers some interesting connections (cultural, social, economic, political ...) around the evolution (as it were) of modern Western medicine.

You can glean a bit more at the link.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dandelion Sap

Susan Weed to the rescue! (Healing Wise) I incurred a large painful blister(1"x 0.5") on my index finger while weeding my garden today. She suggested applying dandelion sap to the area and the result was astonishing. The fluid inside the blister resorbed immediately allowing the blistered skin to readhere to the layer below. I have next to no discomfort except for the feeling that the area is delicate and I'm taking pains to avoid traumatizing it further and the site is only slightly reddened. Unfortunately I ran out of fresh dandelions. I would have liked to reapply the sap from time to time throughout the day. I do have a supply of Taraxacum tincture which I continued to apply and the skin on my finger continues to heal. One would NOT be able to tell that I'd had a large blister there earlier in the day. I am in awe and filled with gratitude--I have a flute recital Wed. and I was able to rehearse with my pianist this evening without the finger being an issue. Lora

comforting comfrey

i've used this lovely green gift from rose both last night and this morning, and my knee continues to improve...thank you, rose! more details... including how i hurt my knee...can be found on my blog! :)

CHAI's HerbFest - This Saturday!


Saturday, June 7 - Rain or Shine - 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Admission $10 ~ Under 12 or Over 70 Free ~ No Pets, Please

Workshops • Weedwalks • Vendors • Kids Activities • Directions

Download an HerbFest Program Flyer here!

~~~~~

I know, I'm preachin' to the choir. 

Hope to see you then!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Of Teachers and Tomes

In the spirit of learning and being a being who has recently taken his first foot steps on the path that is Herbalist, I was wonder if all of you would tell me what 2 or 3 books or resources that you couldn't live with out. I am looking to start a reference library of my own on the subject. Maybe Library is to grande a word but you get the point. I have a few but would love to know what pages you turn through the most when looking for answers related to the green world.

Blessed Be,
Ry

Convallaria Bouquet

It gladdens a heart in need . . .


More than you might want to know from ...
This is a plant that I've not yet used as a physiological medicinal. Yet, to gaze at its simple elegance and inhale its mighty fragrance is, without doubt or question, medicine for the heart. 

Yellow Shamrock


To my pleasant surprise I discovered another beautiful plant near my garden--one that goes unnoticed because it is usually hidden in other grasses and plants. I had to do a little research and surfed the web to identify the pretty plant known as Trifolium dubium or by the common name "Least Hop Clover" or "Yellow Shamrock." Here is a nice poem dedicated to this plant by Katharine Bates:

"Our wee, gold-dusty flower, the yellow clover,
Which once in Parting for a time
That then seemed long,
Ere time for you was over."
http://www.paghat.com/hopsclover.html
I asked myself what can this be used for, and only found one website that stated "
A poultice of the chopped plant has been applied to cuts to stop the bleeding." Has anyone had any experience or used this plant for healing purposes?

one of my favorite ways to waste time

www.freerice.com... for every word you get right, they donate so many grains of rice. i don't know how it works exactly... but in ten minutes i managed to donate 5000 grains of rice....