I apologize in advance if this post doesn't have the same flavor as it did when I first wrote it. I had written this diary entry for half an hour and was about to add some tags to the post when I got logged out of the system. All those words describing my encounters with beautiful plant beings were lost....Alas, while the experiences are still there in my heart, I write now to recount to you as best I can what happened when I returned to Bellefield....
My purpose on going to Bellefield was to collect some Nettles for a future pesto. So, when I arrived at Bellefield, I immediately crossed the bridge and turned left (instead of right, towards the field). I walked down the path, hoping that there would be still be some Nettles, as I noticed that the patch growing close to the water had been mowed.
Ah yes, and it would seem that another patch growing along here had also gotten mowed...
Was it random or had someone pointed out that a crazy lady was coming along picking weeds?
Nah, while unusual, no one really cared about that kind of stuff!
I arrived at the Nettle patch and oh, what delight! I was able to harvest 3 large paper bags full of Nettle, 2 viable for tea and 1 with seeds that was good to add to the pot for a mean green pesto.
I was so appreciative, I kept thanking the plants, so happy that I was able to find good medicine and superfood! Indeed, turning around and walking a bit further along the path, I spotted some Sumac trees growing along a small hill. They invited me to come and take some of their berries.
I licked my finger, then licked a bunch of berries, then re-licked my finger again. Some of the berries were still a bit green, but the taste was pleasantly mildly sour.
They assured me that the berries were fine and I collected several drupes.
It seemed they were telling me which ones to pick, and I laughed, telling them I couldn't possibly collect them all as I wasn't that tall!
Smiling and glowing from their interaction and generosity, I skipped along the trail to visit the field. There, I spent the next little while collecting and talking to Red Clover.
You must be so happy that it has rained, I told them, seeing how many of the blossoms were now back to the usual purpley-pink hue, unlike last time when most were pink-colored and full of slugs.
Don't be silly, they chided me. We accept what Mother Earth has to offer us and she is always kind and knowing in her ways.
I was beaming with all the bounty of the flowers around me and did indeed collect a good bunch (about 4 dehydrator trays worth!).
I then spotted some pink Yarrow, and the color of these flowers were a darker hue than the usual pale ones I'd seen before. I got out my clippers and collected several heads of white, pale pink and dark pink flowers, smelling some as I went along. Aaah, Yarrow, such a looker, but not so sweet tasting (nope, definitely more antiseptic-like, yech!).
I stopped and looked briefly at the Milkweed plants, but they did not call me. I noticed some Mugwort and said hullo, then went to visit the patch of Plantain that had been so generous in the past. Interesting how this time everything had changed, they were silent in their energy, and so I didn't interact with them or take any of their leaves.
I noticed the Grape vines, now trailing over the fence, but they too did not call to me.
Getting out my camera to snap a few pics, who did I suddenly encounter but Tansy! Oh my, this was the first time I had ever seen her growing in the wild, and she seemed so happy to be growing where she was. I was happy to see her too, and gave her an energetic hug.
I snapped a few pics of Yarrow and Bull Thistle, the latter being taller than me (must've been around 5'7 or 8!).
I also noticed some other plants that I hadn't previously. In fact, in my last post I had mentioned that there were about 2 dozen plants growing in this one field, but I underestimated: 3 dozen is more like it!
Indeed, I took pics of Yellow Vetchling (I had mentioned her last post but didn't take a pic), Wild Parsnip, Blue Vervain, White Vervain, Queen Anne's Lace, Dock (now in seed), Green Coneflower, Jewelweed, Mugwort, Burdock and a plant that I have yet to identify. I also took a pic of a bee that came to inspect some pollen on my shorts :)
Returning home, I felt a pull by some plant growing beside the shed. No name came on the wind, but I was suddenly led to discover her name online with some writings by Susun Weed: Groundsel! I collected several plants beside the shed, then went and discovered more hiding behind the Tomato plants growing in my neighbor's yard.
Growing beside the Groundsel, there was also 2 Lady's Thumb plants, which I transplanted to one of my planters before divesting them of a few large leaves for a future pesto.
Groundsel is related to Ragweed, yet a taste of the leaves ensured me that it was fine to add to the pot for a pesto (meaning: steam greens, including those Nettles I collected earlier, first before pureeing in the food processor). Also means: nope, no allergies to Ragweed here!!
With the flowering tops, I made a tincture of Groundsel to use during period time to help with cramps:
---> Chop 1/3 off the flowering top of plants, then further chop into small pieces. Add to mason jar, cover with 100 proof alcohol, cap and let sit 6 weeks before straining into amber bottles. Usage and dosage: 5-10 drops 1x daily for PMS and cramps; 5-10 drops daily for 3 months to tonify the uterus so that you no longer get cramps/PMS. Not suitable for those with allergies to Ragweed.
I also made Sumac-ade, which is easy-peasy to make and tastes just like lemonade!
---> Simply take the berries off the stem and place in a bowl (you can toss in the stems if you like). Add enough tepid or room temperature water to cover the berries. Let sit 15-30 minutes, then place a coffee filter in a sieve and strain out the liquid. Ta-da, Sumac-ade that tastes just like Lemonade! Add stevia (or other sweetener) for a touch of sweetness.
I've posted this recipe in the recipes section with some variations Here :)
Finally, I put the Red Clover and Nettle onto mesh sheets in the dehydrator to air dry, then had a brilliant idea to dry Yarrow as cut flowers in a vase. No water needed, because the flowers will be used for future infusions and/or other wildcrafting recipes.
Keep that light burnin' now, sunshine, cuz there'll be more foraging adventures before ya know it :)
PS. Took a look-see and enjoy the pics :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: