Since I started dancing classes, have been SUPER busy! However, I did go out for a foraging jaunt in my neighbor's yard. Aaah yes, and I found several good ol' friends, including Wood Sorrel, Pellitory, Violet and Mallow.
Mallow can now be found growing among the grass in the yard, as well as on the fringes of where my neighbor planted her garden. Under the Birch tree, there are several Mallow plants. And then, she told me, she moved some Mallows among her flower plants. Yes, I spotted 2 Mallow plants growing close to the Lilac tree, several Mallow plants in front of the hedges, and then another couple of Mallows tucked into a corner close to the Ferns.
Mallow, oh my! What a treat!
She was thinking to take up some of the plants and add them to the compost pile, but before she could do that, I divested them of several leaves first. Pruning, you know. That way, I get to enjoy those scrumptious leaves in a pesto, but often I dry them and add them to infusions for their mucilaginous quality.
Pellitory was the real show stopper, growing most prolifically among some tall grass. In fact, where there used to be a good Mint patch, now Mint has gotten ousted to the side, just a few plants growing close to the gate ---- and seemingly trying to escape from that grass! Or maybe from the Pellitory.
I told Pellitory, what, you brought your cousins and distant cousins with you? Yep, and not just the uncles and aunts, but aunts and uncles twice removed!
So much Pellitory, all goodie for me, because they all went into the pesto pot ;)
Apart from that, not much harvesting in my own balcony garden, waiting for plants to grow again since they all had a haircut not too long ago.
Squirrel has been by, unfortunately. Several plants got disturbed in some pots, alas....
While I had foraging on my mind this week, rain came today and spoiled my plans. Busy tomorrow, so looking like foraging will happen only next week, or maybe just a short mini-session at work.
FYI: passed by one of the fields I had thought about visiting for Red Clover. Good thing I never did "plan" to go foraging there because there is tons of dirt and construction happening right close by. That means if I do go for a long foraging jaunt, it'll be to the field close by the hardware store.
But anyway, zooming by on my bike, I said hello to several plants bordering Buckthorn Woods. I smelled that earthy aroma after it has just rained, kind of the smell of wet sand.
Aaaah, so soothing.
I asked if I could come by and pay a visit, not today of course I said because it's rained, but soon.
No answer, but I was happy to see the bright faces of Goldenrod and Chicory.
The real herbal "work" came the other day, and it didn't involve foraging. Nope, it involved me straining out oils and tinctures from wildcrafting recipes.
Oil is really rather messy and wouldn't you know that I spilled some onto the kitchen island! Ack, no worries, oil gets all over the place. I use a funnel lined with a coffee filter to filter out the solids from the liquids and it works quite well depending on the size of your bottle and funnel.
The oils I strained were St. John's Wort, a combo of Comfrey, St. John's and Chickweed, White Clover, and a Rose oil. I also strained a double tincture of Motherwort, a tincture of Groundsel and a Rose Petal toner. I'd made the toner in the past using dried petals ---a recipe modified from Rosemary Gladstar--- but this time I used a combo of fresh and dried and the smell was amazing!
Speaking of which, that Rose oil was for a Rose perfume, and while I thought I would have to add in a few drops of Rose Geranium essential oil, none was needed at all. The scent was heavenly, and just perfect all on its own :)
If you're wondering how I made it, it was simple: I just placed fresh Rose petals into a mason jar, slightly packed, then added in oil to the top. I placed on the lid and screw cap and let it sit for 6-8 weeks, then strained out the liquid into a clean bottle. I didn't have a roll-on bottle, so I just used what I had: a small dark amber bottle with a dropper (and the rest stored in a larger amber bottle). Works for me :)
The White Clover oil was an experiment, I'll tell you right now. I had the idea of making a perfume from her when a patch of White Clover flowers told me that their heavenly vanilla-esque scent was most suitable for perfume.
Oh really? I had said at the time, being choosy and collecting up the Red Clover blossoms instead. Of course, I was vying for the red ones as they contain more medicine than the white, very helpful for menstrual cramps and for liver issues.
So this year I decided to give it a go, thinking I might even be able to do a double infusion with the flowers, but alas no.
The result? The oil didn't have much scent at all, not even of grapeseed oil, which is the oil I used to infuse the flowers.
Hm, now what to do.
Well, I was going to add in Vanilla to the finished oil anyway, but looking through my essential oils, Sandalwood caught my eye.
First, I added in the Vanilla, then the Sandalwood....
Whoa...at first, the scent was of the Sandalwood, then it faded to a delicate scent of Vanilla...at least on me it did. Everyone reacts differently to plants, ya know!
And good thing, too, that we're not all alike, cuz that would be pretty boring, right? :)
So, I've posted the full recipe HERE.
Hm, maybe I'll have a go at that one tomorrow :)
Have 2 goodies still "stewing" in their jars, one being Stevia and the other being a Lavender oil that I started. I collected a few of the flower heads from my neighbor's garden, although the rest of her flowers went to seed. The seeds smelled even more potent that the flowers actually, and it gave me an idea to use them in the oil as well. I didn't though, as my neighbors likes to have her Lavender self-seed and come back the next year (although Lavender is a perennial, unless the winter is harsh then no, she won't come back).
I have some Lavender growing in a large milk crate and thought to take up some of her leaves...but perhaps she will pop into making babies, I mean, flowers soon?
When I saw her about it, she told me to wait. So as I said, I used the small bit of Lavender flowers from my neighbor's garden and used a Lavender oil I made the previous year --- yes, a double infusion!
The oil I made last year contained mainly leaves and not so much flowers, which is why when I strained it, it didn't smell that much and I ended up adding in essential oil to bring back that Lavender scent.
Ah, Lavender, we shall see, now won't we....
Will have to go and collect the haws soon, hopefully next week. I've got 2 bottles of oil waiting....Although today I decided to use my Rose hip Walnut infused oil, and the scent of the Walnut oil was really nice! My face was feeling a bit dried out from the sun, and also because I've been taking some bitter herbs, and bitter herbs are drying. Might be looking to get some more Walnut oil then, because I think the ones I have are both olive oil.
Might be nice to make another perfume, maybe a fun and airy one, like Sweet Orange or Tangerine. Simple to make too: just add essential oils to a carrier oil (yep, olive is fine, but usually jojoba, grapeseed or sweet almond are used) to a bottle and use! The oils "meld" after about 2 weeks, so you can more EO if you like.
Knowing that EOs are powerful medicine, I like to add just a few drops. But that gives me the idea to look for an alternative way to make an orangey perfume, perhaps using orange or tangerine rind....
Ooh, the wildcrafting adventures await! And speaking of which, I had started last year to tinker with making my own makeup and it's been waiting in the queue, so to speak, up on the shelf waiting for me to come back to it. I tend to get really creative around Xmas time, making my own personalized gifts to add that special touch....but I needn't wait that long!
Alrighty, m'dear sunshine, autumn days are almost here and where's there cooler weather, there's ripe berries, apples, roots, seeds and all kinds of goodies to be found--- like Goldenrod flowers, Bull Thistle/Plantain/Dock seeds and Dandy/Burdock/Chicory roots. And lots of nice-ies from the garden of course (Tomatoes and Cukes are on their way!).
Stay brilliant and radiant, but then, you always were :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: