So they mowed the lawn at work. Ack, just bare flat grass, nothing else to be seen. Well, hiding in the "shadows," where the lawn mower missed, are a few plants, mainly wood sorrel and some hop clover. Yep, on closer inspection, pretty much wood sorrel. Good for a nibble, but might throw it into my mean green paté. More on that later.
Green crab apples are usable to make jelly! Oh yes, I was reading about it on FB, in a group called Foragers Unite. I've made crabapple jelly before using red, ripe apples, but never the unripe ones. Apparently, you're to use at least 50% apples with the unripe crab apples. Well, thata make sense, because I'm figurin' them crabapples ain't too sweet!
As usual, the recipe also calls to add sugar at the end, but I think you might be a bit too traditional, L-A-D-Y! I'd recommend using stevia to sweeten instead and using either chia seeds or gelatin to give it a thick texture. Well, I guess I'll find out when I get to makin' it, but I'll have to get me some red apples first ;)
Ho-ho! I see green crabapple J-E-L-L-Y in my future!
Makes me so fired up to try new and exciting recipes!!
On a more sour note, I realized why I haven't really been out foraging: rain, rain and more rain! They were saying on the weather channel that there's been more than the average amount of rain for this month...(sarcastically)
No kidding! One day sunny, one day rain. Or part sun, then rain. Or a thunderstorm. Or a sun shower. Like today. Sunny, not cloudy, soon to be raining (again!) tonight. Yeah, I don't see foraging happening...Grrrr.
Anyway, yesterday I made a little trip on the bike to the mall but for once I didn't feel like foraging. Doesn't happen too often, but the only thing I collected was a small ziploc bag's worth of lamb's quarter leaves. Yep, that there family (as Mr. Wilson would say) is sure gettin' on real well!
And wouldn't ya know, who did I encounter but a mysterious lil guy (maybe it was a gal?). A black-spotted, orange critter, munchin' on a withered leaf, this critter had a friend with him beside the capsella (Shephard's purse) patch. Yep, this was right behind the mall, in the same place as the lamb's quarter family. Right behind the plants, which are housed in concrete raised beds, is a large fence that has several backyards. Backyards = people growing food probably, and this critter, while he looks like a labybird/ladybug, is really a potato beetle larva.
Uh-oh, that spells trouble. Apparently, these guys and gals are real big eaters! And not just for potatas, but eggplants, peppers and tomatas, too. And they reproduce. A lot. And they have developed quite the resistance to insecticides. You can read more about them on the Wiki here or here and check out a few organic tips here and here (including using ladybugs to help manage them). Nope, never seen any growing in my weedy balcony garden ;P
Oh yeah, getting back to those lamb's quarter leaves that I collected.
What did I do with them? Actually, I haven't used those particular leaves just yet, but I did use some other ones from my balcony garden to make...
Ta-dah, a paté! I suppose you could call it a pesto, although pesto usually has oil in it and my recipe has none.
I made today's using green beans, wild carrot leaves, a touch of dandelion leaves and Shephard's purse seeds (spicy, zippy taste so good pepper substitute) with some seeds and miso. Shoulda taken off the wild carrot leaves from the stems as it was a touch fibrous, but really, really good on flax crackers.
Yesterday I made a mean green pesto with avocado and chickweed and a touch of lamb's quarter.
And the other day I made one with nettle and borage leaves. Oh yes, those borage leaves can be mighty hairy! But steam them for 1-2 minutes, and they soften up just fine!
Nah-uh, not gonna share recipes because I'm writin' them up and gonna put them into ebooks! I have tons of recipes and it's just a matter of time to get them into books. I'm going to do little ebooks because I find when you have so many recipes in one big recipe book...Well, I mean have you ever made all the recipes in just 1 recipe book?
I never have.
And most recipe books don't have pics so you don't even know what you're makin'! I usually end up adapting most of the recipes in books, anyway, because they usually have some unsavory ingredient or other in them, like sugar or unnecessary oil. Or eggs. Or meat. Or corn, soy, gluten, salt, yeast, dairy, or...ya know, like it says at the top of this website page ;)
Pretty much the theme of this website :))
Yeppers, I go through phases. Before it was all about green smoothies, then it was green juices. Then it got cold and it was all about green soups. Then summer came again and it was all about wild green edible salads. Then back to soups, but this time with wild green edibles. Now the warmer weather is back and it's mean green pesto time! Well, ya shoulda figured by now that the theme is GREEN!! Green is so much more than the "new beef." Green is HOT, green is ALWAYS in every spring, summer and (to a certain extent) fall! All diets agree on one food group: veggies! And greens are low cal, low glycemic, promote weight loss, plus offer up a host of minerals and vitamins (including protein such as dark-rich greened spinach and kale)---everything the body needs!
And on that note, I'm signing off hoping for sunny foragin' weather... :)
Orange Hawkweed, Daisy Fleabane & The Triplet Look-Alikes: Black Medic, Lesser Trefoil & Hop Clover + Mugwort Enema Recipe
Wild lunch today from my balcony garden: lemony sorrel leaves, borage leaves, mallow leaves, mustard leaves, fresh dill and some rose petals I had gathered from a previous day. The only thing I didn't add to my salad was stinging nettle! I'll save her for a pesto or soup :) I wanted to get some chickweed too, but alas, work intervened. My boss actually tried a bit of each leaf and professed to really enjoy borage. He didn't mind the hairs on the leaves at all, but enjoyed its cool and sweet taste. Well, she is quite the looker, ya know! ;)
Went on a mini foraging trip the other day --- the day I collected rose petals and mugwort! Tons of mugwort about, supposedly an invasive weed---good, all the better! Yes, besides adding her to soup (rolling eyes), of course! I also use her as an enema. Yes, she is in the same family as wormwood, and wormwood is usually prescribed when there are parasites and candida action happening. To do:
Mugwort Enema Recipe
1 oz dried mugwort in a mason jar. Add boiling water to the top and put on lid/screw lid. Let sit 4 hours to overnight. Strain out mugwort using a nut milk bag OR fine mesh sieve. Gently warm the mugwort tea to finger hot and use in an enema bag. If you like, you can add in 1 liter of additional water and make it a 2-liter enema. Lying on your right side, hold for 15 minutes; then void.
I also got a bit of milkweed buds and just a few flowers. They were all still pretty much in baby stage, and I still have a hankering to pass by a certain field where many are wont to grow.
Mini foraging day yesterday at work. Disappointed in a way, because the grass in areas seemed long, but I think it was cut since I came last, because I had wanted to bring home what I thought was a sow thistle and study it more. Wild lettuce, sow thistle...there are a few plants that I'm still confused about.
But good news: I identified one of the mystery plants that I had brought home from work. Not so hard to find, really, as she had orange flowers and there aren't all that many that do! Her name is Orange Hawkweed or Fox-and-Cubs or Devil's Paintbrush. Pretty plant grown as an ornamental but she also has medicinal uses to help with lung issues :)
There was also another plant that I had taken home from work. I didn't recognize her, her leaves didn't tell me anything, but it was when I saw her flowers that I knew: Fleabane! Looks like a daisy, so dainty and pretty, too :) There are many varieties apparently, but I've only seen the common one and the purple one. She's known in Britain as Robin's-Plantain, which might tell ya that her leaves are edible. I'll look out for this one as well, Daisy Fleabane, whose leaves clasp the stem. My, my, so much fun I am having foraging and learning about plants!
The plants I collected yesterday at work were the same as always: violet leaves, dandelion, wood sorrel, plantain, strawberry leaves and clover leaves. There was lots of purple Prunella or Self-heal that had come out and I collected enough to make a quart-size infusion (or 1 oz). Prunella is excellent to move the lymph and help support weight loss, as I mentioned in a previous post :)
There were also many plants of Black Medic or medicago lupulina. It took me quite a long time a few years ago to identify Black Medic, but I now know her name! I took some bunches of leaves and will add them to my soup. You can eat her leaves and even her black seeds. She looks a lot like Lesser Hop Trefoil and Yellow Hop Clover, but there are subtle differences in the flowers (Black Medic's flowers grow up while Hop Clover droops down), plus the obvious tell-tale sign that Black Medic is so called because her seeds are black while Hop Clover's are brown. Read about more about the differences between Hop Clover & Black Medic here and the botanical differences between Hop Clover and Lesser Trefoil here. Will have to double check those other little yellow flowers I saw and see if they are trefoil or hop clover :0
Finished work early---yippeeeeee! Which meant I got to go and have another mini foraging adventure! I collected a whole brown lunch bag, packed, of rose petals. Some were a deep wine pink and some were light pink. Some of the stems of the roses had no flowers and there branches that were drooping, so when I see the neighbor I'll mention that it would be a good idea to give his rose bushes a much needed pruning! He doesn't much care for the rose petals but he loves the rose hips!!
Then I popped off to the field which was recently mowed to see what was growing. Dandelion, sure enough, and a few baby burdock plants, but the majority of new baby plants that were coming up was milkweed! Some had even put forth their "grape bunches," soon to flower (well, perhaps in a week or two). When I mean baby, these guys didn't even come up my knee! Because of that, I didn't take any milkweed, not even one. You might want to read about the debate and all the toxicity warnings about milkweed here. Personally, I've never changed the water; they don't give me stomaches and yep, they pretty much taste like broccoli or spinach. Can't wait to collect some pods and stuff 'em like pasta conchiglie!
I did, however, collect lots of yarrow, a few in flower (white flowers, yes there are other colors out there) and got stopped to ask what I was doing. I showed the lady a few plants and she seemed generally interested in "all things natural," as she put it, because she had grown up in the country. She lived in a condo apartment and had just a tiny balcony, but I told her to check out permaculture online if she was really interested. I also mentioned that there's a restaurant that serves wild food farther up north, but I didn't remember the name or website.
Ah well, I've been stopped a few times while out collecting and have found that while people are curious as to what I am doing, I have yet to come across a person who has a true desire to know more. But, they'll be many more excursions to come, so I'm sure there might be some other opportunities! Although it made me think (briefly passed on the screen of my mine) that perhaps I could teach others about urban foraging and wild edibles...To be seen as my passion at the moment is writing :))
Getting back home, I donned a flower-power dress and met up with my neighbor who showed me a few things growing in her garden. The area where she had her rock garden, now free of forget-me-nots, had filled with other plants that were growing there, including lavender, chrysanthemum and creeping thyme. I gave her some Lady's Mantle as I had no room for a full-sun-loving plant and she gave me some thyme, basil and chives she had growing in pots. Good news for me as I will be adding them to my soup!
Indeed, after wishing my neighbor good night, I proceeded to give my chickweed plants a much needed haircut. I also noticed that mint was growing rather sloppily and had tiny holes in her. Hm, what did I discover upon further inspection but a snail! She was really shy and kept poking her head back into herself, but when she saw that I had no inclination to squish her, she brightened up and moved a bit on my finger. Since mint also needed some trimming, I moved her to a mustard plant. Ha ha! A spicy meal this time around for her ;)
I had collected so much mugwort from the last time that almost all my dehydrator trays were in use. I settled for using just the solid Teflex sheets to spread the yarrow and rose petals to dry on my table, but muggie is going to be have to be dried in the dehydrator because there just ain't enough room!
Won't be any foraging tomorrow, though, as thunderstorms were about while I was organizing my greens: there's gonna be a nettle pesto; borage, chickweed, sorrel and dill salad OR I might use those big borage leaves as mini wrap leaves; mallow leaves are definitely going to be used for wraps; and there'll be a mean green soup happening with mustard leaves, clover, plantain, violet leaves, dandelion, dock leaves, black medic leaves, some carrots and some fresh Italian herbs like sage, basil, thyme, rosemary and oregano. Oh my! Plus I always add some other Chinese herbs---which maybe I'll get to mentioning in a post some day :)
You know, I haven't tired of soup. Not at all. I eat it every day and there's such good "medicine" in there that I love it and appreciate it so much. Plus it's tasty, too!
Eating my salad today of freshly picked greens, just brimming with energy and life force, I felt like a queen sitting on a throne of vitality (or perhaps just a barefoot fairy princess, as my neighbor fondly calls me, sitting on an office chair at work)---just so blessed to have this food right here in front of me! It was so good, so tasty, so sweet, sour, so---perfect!! I kissed my fingers and sent my green blessings of thanks to my green friends growing at home: thank-you so much for sharing your energy with me!
I feel...revitalized :))
Ending on this fine note of vitality, I'm off to dream of ...
Oh no, botany! I have botany reading to do! And articles to write! And...
Meditation now casts its fairy spell, fairy dust now sprinkled over the mind; all is quiet...
Slipping into the now of time, one resources with source.
And all is well.
When it rains, it pours.
At least today was like that.
No rain past few days meant I might've had a chance to go and explore. Except for work of course, that notorious barrier.
I had to laugh when I checked on my plants and found no signs of epazote, restharrow or cleavers growing. Nope, instead there was some lamb's quarter (which I had planted) along with dill, chamomile and some mystery plant (no, not dandelion). And here I was wont to think that "weeds" were hardy! Ha! Now I'll have to add more seeds and see what happens. Really rather late to be planting anything, though, what with it being mid-June and all.
Speaking of which, received Agrimony seeds in the mail today. Definitely won't be planting any after reading package "difficult to germinate, expect few plants to grow, may take up to 3 months before any sign of life occurs." OK, so that was own my interpretation ;) But in 3 months, winter will almost be upon us and it'll be time to be harvesting apples and pumpkins! I'll save her for next year for sure :)
Got to finally enjoying a few of my own plants: huge mallow leaves (I must say, I am so proud to see all the plants growing so well in one big pot) and borage leaves. Borage leaves have little hairs on them which some find irritating and if you do, just throw them in soup and they'll soften and be just fine. They're in the cucumber family, so nice and cooling plants for summer weather. I added some to my soup last time around but today I enjoyed her raw. As for mallow, she's a slippery one, so really nice to soothe irritated intestinal membranes and to help rebuild the lining. I used her thus: on a flax cracker/bread, I placed one mallow leaf and topped it with mashed yam. Very simple, very yummy and just to my liking!
Wanted to get some chickweed. Some of her tiny white flowers are showing through, which means she'll soon be releasing her seeds. Best to harvest her now. She regrows and acts like a cut-and-come-again plant, but I find that the first harvest is the best. I think I've been able to get 3 harvests from one bowl/pot of chickweed, but the third time around she's rather scraggly and all stems.
Flowers! Chamomile is in flower and borage has some buds---so exciting indeed! Marigold has a few buds, too, as does flax. I saw one "blue" flax flower out, but the color is really more purple. Ooh, I hear salad time coming up...well, it might all just go into the cauldron, I mean, soup, if this rainy weather persists on. No complaints from me, really, because I've never been one to enjoy the hot and humid summers of 30+ degrees (86F).
Squirrels! Yes, squirrels! I can't believe they are still lurking around! Yes, well, I know they are about, but I thought they had well enough left my flower pots alone. Apparently not! I found a huge mess of earth on my balcony where baby chives used to be. And then I found another mess on my other balcony where strawberry seeds had been planted. I was none too happy, I can tell you. Reminded me how that chamomile and dill were growing where they shouldn't: because squirrels had come and I'd added more soil and planted more seeds, and a mix-up probably occurred. Harrumph. I was reading just the other day about how a couple had built an enclosure for their crops because of the squirrels. They had come and feasted on their corn before the family was able to! That's one of the things about growing your own fruits and veggies: gotta watch out for the critters (and bugs)! I don't have to worry about them critters eating my stinky plants, though --- doubt the taste of marigold and wormwood is soothing for their palate ;)
Aaaah, the sun is back! Hoping no rain for the next few days so that Thursday could be a foraging day. Well, best get to planting them cleavers if I wanna actually see them before the snow comes ;) Oh no, the rain is back! It's pouring!! :O
Oh, and here's a great tip if you've ever bought basil and yours didn't last: you need to repot them! Basil is a plant that likes a lot of room and when you buy basil from the store, there isn't just one plant but many. They are also root bound in that little plastic pot, so they need to get out, out, out!
I bought a bunch just the other day and I think were about 30 basil plants growing altogether! I only had so much room, but I was able to gently tear apart the plants and plant them in 3 separate planters. I allotted 6 spaces in each planter and planted 2 or 3 plants together in one spot, which worked out just fine. I was able to take off some of the big leaves and use them right away for my soup---so repotting them means you can still use some now AND still have some for later. Just make sure you have a few planters so that each basil plant has plenty of space!
If you plan to keep the basil in that tiny pot, then plan to use her within the next week or two. Keep the plastic bag on that came with the basil and make sure she gets enough water. If she starts to go and you don't have time to cook with her, you can always freeze her (she might turn brown because she tends to oxidize fast) or dry her (place her on a mesh sheet in the dehydrator and let her air dry, or you can also just place her on newspaper on the kitchen counter or table).
That's it for now! See you around, sunshine! :))
More rain. You'd think it was the month of April and not June! But alas it is and there's been no rain yesterday or today. Which meant an opportunity to get some foraging done!
Things were still just slightly wet, and I noticed the plants at work hadn't grown much. I collected the usual dandelion and violet leaves, got a few big strawberry leaves and several plantain and wood sorrel leaves this time around. White clover flowers were blooming and I picked a few heads. I also took some red clover leaves (the ones with the chevron on them) and some white clover leaves (no chevron, just 3 green leaves!). This is the one time where that rule of "leaves of 3 let it be" does not apply! Leaves and flowers can be eaten in salad or thrown in soup or even dried for tea.
In fact, one of my favorite teas is red clover tea. It tastes almost like orange pekoe tea when I add almond milk and stevia. Just love making a strong infusion when I have my period and drinking 4 liters of her all day long! Yes, red clover is an excellent emmenagogue, high in phyto-estrogens. Anti-spasmodic too.
And finally, a few new additions: prunella and dock!
Yes, prunella is also called All-Heal or Self-heal, but her latin name just sticks in my mind. She is supposed to be used to cure any ailment, hence her name, but I know and use her better as an excellent lymph mover. Moving the lymph means helping to drain any kind of lymphatic congestion in the body (e.g. swollen glands, boils, abscesses, edema) and also to help with weight loss. You can get prunella mixed with sugar or honey sold as tea from Asian markets, but I just buy her whole (for tea). I can get a shopping bag full for $10, but prunella, that lil sweetie (emphasis on the "lil") she's most probably growing right in your backyard. She grows wild in fields and wood clearings, too. You can eat her leaves and tiny purple flowers, if you like, or even throw her flowering tops into soup. Well, I told you I throw most things in my cauldron, didn't I?
I took but a few dock leaves as there were only a couple of plants. Later on the green seeds will turn brown (in the fall), but I know of a field where there are tons of docks to be had ---and tons of spiders, too :O
Speaking of fields, there's one I pass by to get to work and it's been mowed! Doesn't seem to be that many plants growing, more like grass, but it's hard to tell when you're whizzing along on a bike :) Anyway, might get a chance later on in the season...
Speaking of that field where the docks are growing, I should pass by on a dry day this week. I saw several milkweed pods and flowers while out for a walk today, and that same field has many milkweed plants and sumac growing, or at least it did last year.
Ooh, fun foraging adventures await!
Now if this rain can just abate...I'll be in foraging business! FREE food for one!
Being with plants always makes me happy.
Suddenly, before I encountered my green fairy friends, a dark storm of irritation arose from out of me. From out of nowhere. If you watch yourself closely (aka, meditate), then you'll realize that emotions exist out of your unconscious or from something on the conscious level that you don't want to face. Although you may try to blame it on other people (you know, something your parents or the society did), step up and take responsibility for your actions. You are responsible. You create your reality. You get what you want, what you create, even if it is misery. So if you aren't happy with where you are at, look inside for where you missed, for what's missing.
Of course, negative and positive emotions are just two poles of one energy, so when the negative emotions come up, just watch them and let them subside. Just like a rollercoaster, no emotion (negative or positive) can last long, and you'll see that once the storm has passed, the clouds are breaking and the sun is shining through.
That's exactly what happened to me today. I didn't try to interpret the irritation (OK, maybe once, when my mind linked to a TCM classification that I have some liver issues going on). I just felt irritated that I was irritated!
Then I went to the mall to run some errands. Lo and behold, hello, hello, what do I see, but beauties growing up bigger and stronger. Lamb's quarter, oh yes indeed, and big wood sorrel leaves, so tasty and lemony, and big dandelion leaves (of course) too. I asked the plants who wanted to be in my soup I had going on in the crockpot and proceeded to take leaves from several lamb's quarter plants. Really, it was like a family of lamb's quarter was growing in just one little area! I munched on a few sprigs of vetch flowers (not quite at their highest potency just yet) before whizzing on back home.
After parking my bike, what sight befell my eyes but dandelion seeds, twinkling like crystallized light on the green grass. Oh yes indeed, fairies must surely fly on dandelion "wings." Dandelion seeds weren't just in the grass, they were lying there in all my pots where the earth was exposed. Sssh, fairies have come to visit! While I couldn't accommodate them all and must have taken out at least 100 seeds out, I told them to go and find other homes, to help out other fine people!
Rain, rain has made it not so interesting for foraging, but I brought a new beauty home. Her name is chrysanthemum, and she got a pretty new orange purse repurposed/upcycled as a planter. The orange color of the purse really pops, making an interesting and attractive garden piece --- perhaps even a conversation piece?!
I went and visited all my plants to see how they were doing. They had invited me the other day, but the rain made things not such good timing. Today I perused all the plants, oohing and aahing over who had grown bigger, who had flowered, who had finally made the jump and put forth little seedlings, and who had found homes in pots that were never officially planted. Although many would frown upon finding "weeds" in their pots, I always smile at seeing who is growing in another's pot. Lamb's quarter was growing with lavender and chickweed was growing with marjoram, for example. I let them grow together, so long as it's a symbiotic relationship. I did take out a nettle that was growing with yarrow, because nettle takes up so much room and yarrow gets "annoyed." So I just plucked her out and put her with her nettle family growing in another pot.
Yes, should I have a garden one day (would be quite nice), I should have a sign that says, "Weeds, walk this way," with all reverence being used for the word "weed!" And perhaps another, "Gnome place like gnome," and another still, "Where fairies do indeed roam."
I was positively buzzing and bubbling with happy energy after such a lovely visit---all right, some positive energy might be attributed to the chocolate I ate, a gal's best friend!
Speaking of which, there's a smell of Italian herbs in the air, more specifically, coming from two crockpots in the kitchen. There's going to be another mean green soup ahead, this time with violet leaves, dandelion leaves, wood sorrel, plantain, sorrel, mugwort, radish leaves and fresh rhubarb; some carrots and beets and some pumpkin from last year's fall; and finally, ah ha! some special herbs added to the brew: dried dandelion root, burdock root, bupleurum root, astragalus root...
Yes, yes, let us be rooted in the earth! Let us be well nourished by plant spirit energy! Let us be thankful and appreciative for the bounty that plants bring, for the beings that they are, for the energy that they share! Let us be receptive and open...and dance with the fairies on dandelion wings!
Crystallize the energy.
Find the thread of meditation in all.
It is more than enough.
Got in the last of my seeds sowed! Is it too late to plant strawberries? Aw, shucks! Oh well...
So, here are the last of the herbs I planted:
Pleurisy root. Yep, she's a show stopper. I fondly write "bee love" next to plants that attract pollinators, and she's one of them! Well, she is also called Butterfly Weed :)
Elecampagne. Wow, didn't know she gets up to 6 feet! She's known as a pulmonary, which means she helps you out with lung issues, like asthma, cold, flu, etc. Because she has a demulcent nature, that slipperiness acts as a lubricant for sore throats and dry lungs.
Boneset and her cousin (Sweet) Joe-Pye-Weed, also called Queen-of-the-Meadow and Gravelroot. I talked about these in a previous post, where Boneset is used to break a flu and both are used as diuretics. Joe-P, well, I shoulda mentioned she's a sweet gal. Her leaves give off a vanilla smell when you crush them...Bee love, for sure! She's also supposed to be a helpful herb for cancer.
Pennyroyal. Being in the mint family, she's great for gas (carminative) and to help with digestive issues (stomachic). She's also antispasmodic, so good to help with menstrual cramps (emmenagogue).
I spoke of Valerian last time, although I finally got to planting her.
Anise Hyssop. I just love this licorice-scented plant! Beautiful flowers on a long stalk, such a great addition to salads to help with digestion. I usually add mint and some wild greens --- plus fruit, maybe some seeds and a touch of lemon juice--- to my salads!
That was yesterday! Today I bought a mint plant because I had 3 types of mint and they died! I never thought a mint plant would actually not come back, but winter was pretty harsh this time around. I don't even know what variety she is, but I'll be happy to add her fresh leaves to impart a refreshing taste come mid-summer in my salads; or maybe in a cold tea, too :)
My neighbor noticed that my mallow plant, malva sylvestris, is flourishing quite well. I have several plants growing in a large pot and I was going to give her one (gave her one last year and although supposedly a perennial, she acts as an annual, at least where I am), when I spotted some malva at the farmer's market. She was most delighted to see that an elf had left a gift on her doorstep (a really early Christmas gift, ha ha!). But elves are known for being tricksters, mischievous...
And speaking of mischief, I decided to plant my strawberries seeds after all. They are Alpine Strawberries, sometimes hard to germinate, or so I read, so I used ALL the seeds in the package! They can grow inside, so I figure that come October, I'll be having berries while everyone is hankering after pumpkins ;) Never been so gun-ho on pumpkins, anyway, once a year pumpkin muffins and cookies is just fine for me...But pumpkin seeds? Mmm, quite tasty indeed!
One last tidbit: wrote to Richters about the backordered seeds. Agrimony came in, but it could take weeks before Horehound and Motherwort come in. While I canceled my order for those last two, that means I may have to find a home for one more plant! UH-OH. Think I have a repurposed bowl and a small pot left. Wouldn't know where to put her anyway! But if she comes, yea! I'll find room for her, somehow I always do!
PS. Smiled when I saw Lamb's Quarter growing in the cracks in my neighbor's driveway. She was out pulling these "weeds," and despite me telling her about its spinach-like taste and having her try it, she was not sold! Just like she was not sold on all her Forget-me-nots growing in her garden, which I helped to pull out yesterday. Funny, because they covered all the empty spaces in her garden, and now, having pulled them all, my neighbor has to go shop for plants to fill up said empty spaces! The flowers of Forget-me-nots are edible, BTW. I tried them yesterday, and they don't have much taste, but they would sure pretty up a cake, cookie or even a salad with their delicate appearance! I'm adding the lamb's quarter as well as some dandelion leaves I collected yesterday from my neighbor's garden (growing FREEly, thank-you), to my soup, along with some radish leaves, daikon radish, beets, carrots and fresh basil which I purchased from the health food store today. Mmm-mmm, wild dinner awaits in celebrated bounty...or something of the sort ;)
Did a mini foraging go at work of less than an hour. As it rained yesterday and as they mowed just a few days prior, I was looking for wild edibles to add to my mean green portion of my soup --- then I add the sweet root veggies bit like carrots, yam and squash to sweeten it all out! Oh, and some Italian seasoning herbs, fresh or dried, like rosemary, basil, dill, parsley...sure, you know those ones! Fresh basil is one of all-time favorites!! :)
So back to the wild greens! I found the usual plants I've spoken (OK, written) about before, like dandelion leaves, violet leaves (really, they do so well hiding behind these other plants in the shade, some bigger than my hand!), Dame Rocket leaves and flowers and a couple of plantain leaves. I also got a few White Clover flowers (trifolium repens) and some leaves and I got some leaves from several Oxalis Acetosella, or Wood Sorrel. The mower did quite a good job I'm afraid :(
As I was going to pack my goodies into a bag, what should I find, but three baby spiders! Each in their own corner of the plastic container I used to gather the greens. Yes, 3 brothers are we! I don't know, that's what came to mind! They had a white body and a black dot right on their bum! I was able to put two of them back in the yard---yes, they were doing just fine before I came along, so it's only nice to put them back. The other one kept falling amongst the leaves, so I'm waiting for him to scramble back up and get back to his wild outdoorsy adventure! Yes, I also put back a green aphid. Oh pooh, I know what you're thinking. Oh, no, not aphids, they're so bad! So E-V-I-L. I'm sure there are plenty more out there and there are bugs that eat aphids as their food (like ladybugs). All part of the eco-system, my dear!!
There's this field that gets mowed once in a while that I'd like to check out and see what's growing there. Last year I saw dandelion (of course), burdock, yarrow and what I thought was mint, but never properly identified it. It smelled fine fresh but awful dried. Not sure if it was catmint or something else, which is why 100% identification is a really good rule to follow.
When I was taking herbology classes, my teacher told us that there weren't any plants here in our area that could kill us, not, that is, if we follow our foraging guidelines:
As I write this, I'm thinking, oopsy, I didn't do any of those things for that "catmint," was it? So better to do so this time around!
I'd also like to explore a big field that I saw when I passed by the hardware store. Now that the clover is blooming, it's gonna be time to be collectin'! And I speculate that she'll be growing there with quite a few of her other friends!
Also hoping to get the rest of my seeds sowed, perhaps tomorrow, but no later than Monday. Also gotta be making my stinky soup. Boy, how I love that stinky soup. So good for the body, and the soul! Eat it every day, no complaints from me at all! In fact, I'm most grateful for the healthy blessings that my herby friends bestow on me and my belly!
Seems likes it's gonna be a plant-filled weekend, so off to beddies so I can hop to it!
PS. Seems the third brother has a different destiny: I finally was able to get him onto a leaf after he fell into the container again a few more times. Then he crawled onto me and swung off on a web somewhere. He never made it back to the wild, but perhaps our paths will meet again. Meantime, I bet you he's already installed himself into a nice web and is just chillin' out, waiting for some supper to come along!
See you next time!
Happy, happy! I was so happy to plant seeds today! I woke up early because I was thinking, tick tock tick tock, time doesn't stop! The season is marching on, what are you doing, girlie?
So I got out my gloves and scissors and went to plant seeds (needed the scissors to cut open the seed packets)!
Oh, the fun of looking at the different seeds, how many to plant, how much space needed...each seed so different, some so round, some so small, but all so fabulous!
Getting my hands dirty definitely works my heart chakra! I also gave each plant a name-stake, which is just a piece of wooden bamboo that was part of a fence I bought at the dollar store. I like to make the writing elegant, or add a flower, or some dots...you know, give the plant some positive energy to grow, grow, grow big and strong!
What kinds of plants? Well, I didn't have time to plant them all (work intervened---phooey!), but here's what I did sow today:
Tansy (tanacetum vulgare), Aster family, also called Buttons. Reminded me of tarragon somehow, but it was used as a culinary herb in the past. Which is what I plan to use her for, maybe for her medicinal properties as well. To be seen!
Sweet Trefoil (trigonella caerulea) OR Blue Fenugreek. Tastes just like fenugreek but milder. Ooh, gotta try this!!
Mignonette (reseda odorata). Known for her heavenly scent, she's often used in perfumery and potpourri. I guess she'll be perfuming my front stairs 'til she hits my underwear drawer ;P
Speedwell (veronica officinalis). Good for tea. Remembered that she made a good stomachic, and thought I'd seen her growing at work. Now she'll be in my balcony garden so I'll know for sure what she looks like!
Evening Primrose (oenothera biennis). Oopsy. I was hoping to enjoy her this year, but I'll have to wait 'til next year as she's a biennial (so obvious by her latin name!). The 1st year she's seen as a rosette, then she sends up her spike and her flowers open at night, quick as a wink until noon, and then they're gone (unless I'm there to catch them!). Known for GLAs.
Fireweed or Willowherb. Also known as Codlins and Cream. She has some medicinal uses to treat kidney issues, but I remember reading in Linda Runyon's book The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide that she has edible parts. Good book written by Linda who used to survive on wild plants. Many plants, their edible parts, even a chart of the nutritional value of wild edibles (which I've never seen before). Funny stories too. and you can subscribe to her free newsletter here. Oh the joy of trying new plants in cooking!!
Vervain (verbena officinalis). Used for tea and as a garnish. Long list of medicinal actions, including being an emmenagogue and aborefacient. I just wanted her to spice up a dish or two :) and to add some charm around the garden!
Meadowsweet (filipendula ulmaria). Leaves and flowers edible, used to sweeten dishes. Many herbal actions as well, including as an aromatic, stomachic and tonic. Can't wait to try her and see what her sweet taste yields!!
I confess that I've yet to research them all---I was first checking out their growing conditions: where to plant them, how much sun (full or part), small or big pot (depending how big they get), moist vs. dry soil...You know, gardening stuff.
I still have some other seeds to sow, but mums the word for now! Tell you in another post, gator!
No way foraging with that big storm that blew in! I forwent (hm, old school English word on the tongue/brain at the moment) taking my bike, as I'm so wont to do...ran to get catch the bus and got wet lickedy-split! Hiking up pants to look like capris (to avoid puddles on the sidewalk) is not the best fashion style...Got stared at, but I was so high from working with plant spirit energy that I couldn't care less!
Sun is back! But they cut the grass at work, so not much plants to forage, unlike you're interested in juicing grass...Hey, good source of chlorophyll, but I'd do if as a last resort, personally.
The roses are flourishing in some areas! White ones and pink ones! Busy today, so not so much time to smell the roses. BUT, did bring my pruners and collected a bunch of mugwort! Yes, also called cronewort. Yes, the plant reputed to help open your third eye. Yes, the same plant used to make moxa in Chinese Medicine, a VERY EFFECTIVE technique to treat menstrual pain and joint pain. Yes, the same plant can be used to treat worms and parasites. Yes, some people use her to make dream pillows. Yes, she is in the same family as Wormwood (artemisia), which is often used in naturopathy to treat candida and parasites. Bitter? Oh you betcha! But she's good for you! I add her fresh or dried to soups...Just a handful, mind you. Then, when you puree everything together, you'd never know she was in there (but she is!).
Quick tour close to the local mall revealed Lamb's Quarter has grown; Dandelion flowers are gone, now puffy white; Coltsfoot flowers are all gone, just the leaves remain (and so they shall remain as they contain PAs); Milkweed is growing up, but the seeds have yet to form (young leaves are OK to eat at this stage, but I wasn't hankering for any today); Dame Rocket & Garlic Mustard are still around; and Vetch has started to come in! I love eating Vetch flowers. I had a few while collecting mugwort.
UH-OH. Some of the mugwort was wet (dunno why it's been two days since it rained). And muggie actually had white flies on her!! I never would've thought!! OK, so it wasn't like it was the best source as it was on the border of a somewhat-used parking lot. I took off all the leaves from the stems and when I spotted the white fly, I wondered if I should keep her or not. Some of them were going to flower soon, some not, still quite young...I supposed I could throw some in the soup, after I wash her first. Sigh, I was so hoping to dry her! But, I guess it wasn't the right time and I'm sure they'll be other opportunities. Oh yes, muggie can be quite the invasive plant! Anyway, I have 2 plants growing, so even I don't find any mugwort growing anywhere (doubtful), at least they'll be a bit for tea (well, to dry and add to soup anyway).
Got seeds from Richters today. Oh pooh, I was a bit disappointed that 3 of them were missing. I was really hoping to grow some Motherwort again. Yes, she's in the mint family and the name "mother" gives it away that she's most helpful for women's reproductive issues. However her latin name, leonarus cardiaca, also speaks of helping to have a strong heart. Being quite bitter, though, she's best taken as a tincture, but I throw her in my soup as well. Yep, if you haven't figured it out by now, I add so many wild edibles and herbs to my soup cauldron! What's that? No, not with some eye of newt! Sweet carrots, yam, squash and other root veggies are needed to balance the taste out!!
Motherwort and Mugwort may sound like the same thing, but they don't look the same at all (although they are both bitter!). Click the links to read more about them.
Horehound and Agrimony were also missing. I'm not sure if they'll still send them if they get them, but it's already getting late to sow seeds. The spring came late and there are still many cool days and nights. A few of my annuals, like Zinnia and Pansy, are slow to come. My other annual, Mimosa, has yet to sprout any sprouts at all. I'm beginning to think she may not make an appearance at all. Well, all's well that ends well, because my seeds will be needing a home, so all in all, Mimosa's pot could be used to grow something else! All right, enough of all this all stuff!
Shall I tell you what I will be planting?
Oh, all right. I'll tell you a few of them, but not all.
Because I'm still researching them!
I calculated that it takes me about 1/2 hour to check at least 3 references for one plant. I sometimes check more, depending on the information I'm able to find. My fave sources are Michaels Tierra's books The Way of Herbs and The Way of Chinese Herbs, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs by Gail Faith Edwards (no longer in print), Plants for a Future Database, A Modern Herbal and Natural Medicinal Herbs. There are many other sources out there; Green Deane's website Eat the Weeds has some mighty good info and Wikipedia can be used as a general source (like getting the latin name or a seeing a pic).
Boneset and her cousin Purple Boneset or Gravelroot. Boneset is used to help break the flu quite successfully, you know when your nose is now running, now stuffy, you're feverish, and you have muscular aches in your body? Right. While Gravel root has more the reputation for being used for kidney issues, like cystitis, kidney stones and urinary issues. I'm actually not so much interested in their medicine as the way they look!
That's right, I no know such thing as "weed," only friends who go by the name plants, animals, insects, humans, stars, planets, and the beyond...
Never thought I'd be growing plants as "ornamentals;" although even ornamental plants still have medicine (many plants used as such in TCM). Really, I think that every plant has some purpose...but more on this to muse upon in a future post perhaps.
I got strawberry seeds! Fragaria vesca ruegen, Alpine Strawberry. The Topsy Turvy planter was sold out at the many stores I checked, but no bother; you can easily plant her in a coir basket, which is what I'm thinking of doing! Now that I have all these seeds, I have to find a good home for every one of them!
I'll tell you one more plant I'll be growing and then that's it! Gotta leave some goodies for next time ;)
Valerian. Yeah, she's the plant that induces sleep, a nervine for sure. She has what I call a "poo" smell. She looks very similar to a several other friends, including Cow Parsley, Chervil, Angelica, Wild Carrot, Yarrow and Hemlock.
While Valerian leaves are edible, I'd prepare for an afternoon siesta if you're going to add a few leaves to your salad :)
'Til next time, sunshine!
Rain, rain. No fun foraging in this kind of windy, cooler and wet weather, but good time to research herbs. Last time went foraging was on Saturday at work and I collected the exact same herbs! Brought home two new plants, not sure what they are but will let them grow and let them tell me about themselves!!
Tried some Creeping Charlie flowers (also called ground ivy and a bunch of other names) after watching a video by Susan Weed trying some with her grand-daughter. Mint family, but this mint is so not my cup of tea! Good post here about the differences between Creeping Charlie, Henbit and Purple Deadnettle.
Short one today...
Curiosity Got The Cat: