Wow, the weather has been absolutely lovely, sunny almost all the time. The caveat, of course, is that no rain means plants are dry and need to be watered daily, especially the Tomatoes and Cukes!
Actually, I might have to wrench up the Cuke plants. I sprayed the leaves the other day with water, dish soap and Tansy tincture. The bugs are furious, all over the leaves, creeping into the flowers too :( I checked today and it was hard to tell whether they were dead bugs on the leaves or whether even more bugs had flourished, especially as the temperature was hot and humid at 32C, not counting the humidity factor, might've been higher than that.
I noticed 3 small Cukes growing, so I'll wait and see if they grow. Hoping to spray the leaves again tomorrow. If the Cukes don't come in, I'm thinking about planting some Radishes. They have a short growth time, about 30 days, so I'd be able to get in 2 harvests if the weather permits. To be seen...
SO, blah-blahing aside about the garden woes, today was another foraging day. YAY!
I went to Bellefield with the purpose of collecting Goldenrod, Queen Anne's Lace and Red Clover --- unlike yesterday, which was more of a let's-see-what-fun-friends-there-are-to-discover adventure.
I arrived at the field mid-afternoon and noticed a new friend I hadn't seen since last summer: Chicory! Usually Chicory is a tall plant, but since they mow the lawn here periodically, she was a tiny thing almost hugging the earth floor.
On arriving at the field, I immediately started collecting some Queen A's flower heads.
Then I spotted a tall bunch of Goldenrod growing together and moseyed on over there.
Just like yesterday, Thistles were growing right in front of the Goldenrod, blocking my way!!
And unlike yesterday, I wasn't wearing pants and closed shoes, but shorts and sandals.
I had to maneuver carefully to get close to them.
Pollinator attractors, you say? My God, yes! Bees, wasps, beetles and tons of tiny black bugs were circulating over the flower heads.
Although it was still a bit early, with many flowers that had yet to fully bloom, I collected several flowering tops nevertheless. When I got home later, I made sure to open the paper bag and let the bugs find their way out ;) I checked my backpack, as several critters were roaming around in there....
I went back to collecting more Queen A flowers, and then started to bend down to collect the Red Clover blossoms.
It was HOT.
So hot that sweat was rolling down my face as I hunched over to pick the flowers.
I realized I had still been wearing my backpack, which was generating more heat than my body needed.
Taking it off, I was a bit cooler, although when I had the opportunity to be in some shade, I welcomed it wholeheartedly!
The right side of the field had healthier Red Clover plants compared to the left side. How come? The left sided ones were in full sun, with no shade plants to offer shade, whereas the right sided ones had tall plants that offered some shade protection. Big difference when you saw the left sided plants all burned up by the sun :( Not too much, not too little, just right :)
Still, after collecting a good deal on the right side of the field, I went over to the left and managed to find a good number of blossoms worth picking. Indeed, although most of the flowers were small, the harvest was most bountiful: try 6 dehydrator trays full!
It being so hot, I snapped a few pics and was about to go when I decided to take some flowering tops of Blue Vervain. Really, the root is what's most prized with her, but the tops can also be used as a suitable tea. What for, you ask?
Well, she has many different uses, and I'm planning on using her as an anti-spasmodic during my period for any cramps. She's also useful as a nervine, helpful with insomnia, headaches and migraines. I didn't know that her leaves were edible (cook first) or that her flowers are also edible!! I'll try them tomorrow :)
So fun and interesting to discover and learn new things every day :)
And speaking of which, when it comes to Goldenrod, she has quite the health benefits profile. Excellent for bladder/kidney issues such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), cystitis, kidney stones and nephritis--- and she's a diuretic :)
She's high in saponins and rutin (good for circulation/capillary health), is antioxidant, and she's a good one to use against....Candida!
Yep, she's both anti-fungal and anthelmintic, as well as astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory and styptic. You can see why she's often added to infused oils to help with skin issues, but drinking an infusion or having her as a tincture are other ways to get in her health benefits too :)
Tired and hot, I walked along the path towards the street. I stopped to hover and pick some Red Clover leaves and I noticed how these leaves called to me whereas the others hadn't. What made them so different?
These plants received more shade than the others and their leaves, while not having the same vibrancy as the ones at Buckthorn Woods, were nevertheless looking vibrantly green. While some add the leaves to tea with the flowers, I like to dry them and add them to the soup pot during the colder months.
I stopped to notice Tansy, now drooping and falling over, now with flowers starting to be spent. I then walked along the street, close to the field that was fenced in, and nodded to Motherwort as I passed by. I stopped to take a pic of the water gushing gently close to the field, then was about to pop onto my bike, when I suddenly spotted Lamb's Q. I grabbed some leaves, took a pic of a new plant right close to where I parked my bike, and had a look-see around.
Oh ho, lookee here, a Mallow plant! This one looked like an escaped Zebrina variety, one that could be found at the flower market. Her leaves were too small even for a nibble, as I mentioned, the lawn gets mowed every so often.
At home, I made a Queen Anne's Lace sun tea:
---> stuff flowers into a 1-liter mason jar. Pour boiling water to cover, then let steep 15-30 minutes. Strain. Sweeten with stevia.
This was the first time I tried Queen A as a sun tea. In the past, I dried her flowers and tried her that way. Key word being tried, as both dried or fresh, I'm not too keen on the carroty taste. I could see the liquid being used as stock for a soup or stew, however :)
After making sure all bugs had left the flowers, I divested a few leaves from Goldenrod, then stuffed the bouquets into vases to dry.
All in all, a good harvest day, with much good company and plenty of sunshine. And on that note, sunshine, I'll catch ya on the next adventure. Stay bright, ya here :)
PS. Enjoy the pics :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: