I opened the door and stepped outside onto the porch.
The sun came to meet me right away. I leaned on the porch railing and let the warm rays infuse my body.
The sun soak lightened my mood.
A transparent bug bumped into my hand and zipped along on her speedy way.
"Hey!" she called back to me. "Don't just be frowning around, when abundance is a-plenty!"
I felt so happy suddenly.
I looked up and there was this chokecherry tree, dangling her berry gems at me.
The sun glistened on silken webs. A few caterpillar nests were duly illuminated by the sun. The sound of om hung in the air.
I continued to watch, to be.
The wind bent her branches closer to me. They seemed so close to me, I could almost -almost- reach out and touch one.
So I did.
There was a ruby-red berry hanging at the tip of a light green stem. I plucked it off and plumped it into my mouth. Sweet 'n' sour. Mmm. Kinda like Sour Cabbage Patch Candies, but without all the sugar and additives.
That got me going.
She was actually a real sweetie, this tree. Very soft and gentle in her energy. She was more than happy to share her ruby gems. There were so many, anyway, there was no way I could reach them all! And especially not with a chair, which is all that I had to prop myself up higher towards reaping those little bundles of joy.
As I harvested the berries, I lounged on them like my little love objects. Yes, I confess, I taste tested one too many oh-so-licious berries. Some were quite tart, some a bit sour, and one was especially sweet. Many were sweet and sour, but it didn't matter much, as I collected all I could, all I was able to reach.
I found many spider friends hiding between the berries. What an interesting hiding and resting place! Their coloring was the same as the grayish branches, but if you were paying attention, you'd see those bug eyes looking at your every move!
I had so much fun looking up into the tree, that when I looked down I almost giggled. My bare feet were turned black by earth and crushed chokecherries! They littered the porch so that there was no way of avoiding them.
But I felt afresh, so alive. Yes, this is my element, the earth element.
I don't need food.
I need love.
Food is a love note from God. Come to the table of Love.
And singing on the wings of Mother Nature, I sailed back inside to give a good washing (and pumicing) to my feet.
~Video by Enea, Music by Valdi Sabev
The digestive system is the base, the foundation.
Reading my previous post, WOW, how things change so fast! So let me get ya'll all caught up.
Encounter with Stinging Nettle: I got a nice rash after pruning one of my stinging nettle plants on my left arm. A small rash on my wrist and a large one on my bicep close to my armpit. What was worse was when I was foraging at Bellefield, I had put on an after-sun cream (it was a sample) and the rash on my wrist blistered in the hot sun. Ouch.
The cream seemed to have clean ingredients, mainly aloe vera with lavender and rosemary oils, but ya never know what else could be in there that they don't have to say. Yes, even natural companies don't have to list ALL their ingredients on their products. Anyway, I wasn't too impressed with their mattifying sunscreen either, so I won't be recommending these products to anyone.
Destruction at Bellefield: I've been to Bellefield 2 more times since my last diary post. On this last occasion, after parking my bike and walking along the path, I noticed that the lawn mower had been passed. I continued walking and just before I crossed the bridge to get to the field, I stopped to snap a pic of this orange beauty (see below).
Who is she? Orange-spotted Jewelweed! Hm, and where's there Jewelweed, a plant used to treat contact dermatitis with poison ivy, there just might be some poison ivy about as the two often grow in the same place. Well, this was on that same hill leading down to the creek I was telling ya'll about in the last post, about how I almost fell into the creek! So, nope, I wasn't about to be exploring the area along the creek (no place to walk anyway).
I crossed the bridge and...my breath left me. Half of the field had been crushed down, cleared of all the plants. It seemed more destruction than anything else, because the plants on the other side of the field were untouched (pic below).
I felt somehow like crying, but I realized that it was a reflection of my own inner journey. Practicing non-attachment, let-go, that all things revolve and change around you, but you in the center remain unchanged. The only thing permanent is change, although one's being remains the same.
Unveiling this reality has not happened yet to me. It's an art at this point, and rather challenging at times. One goes through phases until one has gathered enough courage to make the jump. All things that are born, die. Being, however, is.
So getting back to the field: I went to get more Yarrow, Red Clover and Sow Thistles. I had mentioned how to make a Yarrow Tincture in this diary post about an insect repellent spray. The same Yarrow tincture has multiple uses, FYI, one of them being to ward off insects, others being:
I collect a few more Blue Vervain plants and but a few Sow Thistles. The Sow Thistles were in between other plants and I didn't feel like doing the work to get to them! Which meant that after leaving Bellefield, I swang behind the mall to take a look-see. Oh yes, lots of yummy Sow Thistles there! I have to admit, I've been seeing more Sow Thistles than Dandelion, what a strange thing indeed! Going to have to go looking for dandelion now, because I really like using her diuretic properties. She's so easy to throw in soups and you'd never know she was in there what with all the other yummy veggies.
I collected many Lamb's Quarter plants... I was reading that her seeds are really a great source of protein and many vitamins and minerals. Well, I juiced her just today with some Wood Sorrel and she was fab, stem, leaf, seed and all!!
Two NEW plants worthy of mention that I collected today at work:
Day Lily. It's the "original" day lily. You can read the story here on Green Deane's website about how the first day lily has since been well cultivated into many, well, cultivars. It's unknown whether the cultivars are edible, but I've tried a few (sorry, my botany is not up to par to say what kind), and had no reaction. Mind you, I had a nibble, not a whole flower BUT I did take the flowers to make...Ta-dah: Day Lily Flour!
Well, yes, my dear, her sweet blossoms just beg being used in your next muffin or cake recipe. Oh, and Red Clover flowers and leaves can also be dried, ground and used like flour---sweet. Yes, but the flowers are sweeter than the leaves, just remember that :)
Peel the petals from the Day Lily flower. They are sticky so leave them to dry on a solid sheet in the dehydrator or on parchment paper. When you go to remove them, they are stuck on there and when you scrape them off, they are almost powdery, but still give them a go in a high speed blender. Day lilies are laxative in large amounts (about 1 flower a day is OK), so unless constipation is an issue with you, I'd go easy on how much Day Lily flour you're going to use! Hm, makes me think this would be good to use as a raw cookie, you know, an un-baked cookie. Oooh, I've got to get me some more day lilies, and they are only open for one day!!
Chokecherries. Yes, there's a tree at work and Chokecherries are a-plenty! I collected a whole ice cream container full (see pic below). When you're face-to-face with the branches, you can remove the stems that the cherries are on. I was using scissors initially, but it's must faster and easier to just use your hands. Just be careful you don't hurt the tree and rip off the (gray) bark. Once you've got a bucket of cherries, it's time to remove them from the leaves and twigs. Those you can put in the compost :)
Chokecherries are sour, and like cherries, you don't want to be eating the toxic pits (don't juice them either because the pits will get crushed). Making jam is also out, but---jelly is good! And once you got jelly, you can make pie!
Chokecherry jelly, choke cherry pie, choke cherry ice cream, choke cherry smoothie...Well, yes. Once you've got the "mush," that is, you've put the chokecherries in a pot, covered them with water and then boiled them to bits, now pour the cooled mush through a nut milk bag to strain out the seeds and peels. Use this mush to make jelly ( add in pectin, sweetener), then use the jelly as a filling in a pie. OR, use the mush to make ice cream or even to add it to your smoothie. Or make jello (gelatin or agar-agar + sweetener). Or apple sauce with chokecherry. Of course, knowing that choke cherries are sour, you might want to add another sweet fruit when boiling them or add a sweetener right away... I guess you'll just have to do some experimentin' now wontcha :) I know I will be :)
Not sure if I'll go foraging tomorrow, depends on the weather, but I'd like to get some more Goldenrod. That's the 3rd new plant, although I've mentioned her before. I've made an oil with her for muscular aches and pains, and this time I made a tincture, which is good to clean the kidneys (like cystitis or urinary tract infections). Susan Weed has more to say about Goldenrod HERE.
Muscular Ache and Pain Go-Away Goldenrod Oil
Use the top 1/3 of the plant when she is in flower (the flowering tops). She can have some unclosed buds, just make sure you DON'T get her when she is drying out and she's all fluffy (like dandelion flowers when they go to seed). If there are bugs, shake them off as best you can and leave the flowers out for a bit so the bugs can crawl off. Chop the tops with scissors to small bits, then fill slightly packed in a mason jar. Pour olive oil and cover to the top. Put on lid and screw cap and let sit 6 weeks. Strain out oil and store in a dark amber bottle in a cool, dry place. You can add in 1 tsp vitamin E oil to increase shelf life.
As in above recipe, use the top 1/3 of the plant (flowering tops) and chop with scissors to small pieces. Place slightly packed in a jar and this time add in 80-100 proof vodka. Place lid and screw cap on and let sit 6 weeks. Strain out and store in a dark bottle that has a dropper. Standard dose is 20-30 drops in a glass of water per day.
My next recipe might likely include one with rose hips, as I'm hoping to collect some to make my facial oil. It's been my go-to face "cream" for the past few years and I've received glowing compliments on my skin! Very easy to make but this time I'm going to try avocado oil, walnut oil and some vitamin E oil...
Off for now...Stay bright, sunshine!
Curiosity Got The Cat: