Friday, June 30, 2017

right outside the door

I found perfection right outside the door the other morning -- rigor mortis had already set in so she'll join some fluff and pods and such in my little curio cabinet. Even if I could open her wings, I don't think I could mount her onto a piece of paper. That would just be wrong, to pin down someone's wings.

This is part of a small grove of bluish-white clary sage, Salvia sclarea, in our front moon garden. I adore this variety -- stocky with huge flower stalks, it glows on cloudy days and shimmers at night.

A bundle of the bluish-white clary sage was hung to dry. Do you notice that plant catalogs often refer to the color purple as blue?

Almost done stitching the last eco-dyed moon square on the linen drum case, but there is one more thing I want to add before hemming the edges and calling it done.

Elder flowers and more elder flowers. One of those white hollyhock flowers held a sleeping Japanese beetle. I let her sleep even though I knew she would go straight to the grape vines to devour at least three leaves immediately upon awakening.

Elder flower liqueur was begun.

I filled a quart jar to just below the shoulder with the flowers and filled it again with 100 proof vodka. After a few weeks I'll strain out the flowers and add other ingredients, maybe a sugar syrup or some honey, depending on the taste.

Lemon balm water infused under a full moon followed by a full day of sun...I make this pretty often, even when the moon isn't full.

I love seeing flower heads on some of last summer's onions that I missed. The flowers are delicious mashed into butter but the bees like them too so not sure about cutting them. I read that you should cut the flowers off and harvest the onions immediately as they will start to rot if left in the ground. But harvesting and using every single thing in the garden isn't really the point for me -- if I use just a little bit of something once or even take time to notice and appreciate a plant, then our connection feels complete.

St. Joan's wort, Hypericum perforatum, flowers started blooming right in time for Summer Solstice. At solar noon a friend and I sat before her holiness and made flower oils. One of the plant's most common uses is to soothe burns and other skin afflictions. By the way, I learned to call this plant St. Joan's wort instead of St. John's wort from Herbalist Susun Weed who says St. Joan knows more about burns than St. John. I agree.

Garden love. Right outside the door. Connecting to the natural world just always brings out the best in us. Where else would you ever find, and leave be, one beautiful little Japanese beetle, all covered in pollen, asleep inside one perfect hollyhock blossom?

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xx

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

herb bundles & band-aids

This is how June looks for me. I use something from the garden everyday, you never know what will happen out there. One day is cutting a swath of arugula before it bolts, the next is making tiny herbal smudge-type bundles to dry and burn on Summer Solstice and other holy-days. These are eucalyptus leaves, lavender stalks and roses but potential combinations are endless. Like mini smudge sticks, the bundles can be made according to healing qualities, fragrance, color and more. You could drop one in a cup of hot water for tea like this. Or in a little vodka for tincture. Endless.

One day I cut my finger knuckle to the bone so applied a comfrey leaf spit poultice followed up by simple comfrey leaf band-aids for protection -- it healed amazingly fast. A piece of a cabbage leaf would have also worked.

I pick a few roses daily for drying to make rose syrup or to infuse in body oil. Nettles are collected regularly -- simmered in a big pot to keep on hand in the refrigerator or blanched and ground with oil, garlic and toasted pecans for pesto. Consider eating pesto as eating your greens. And a lot can be done with a pesto plus it can be frozen. My new thing is stuffing raw mushrooms with it.

There's been more playing the drum than stitching on the drum case. The dog doesn't mind and I love drumming, even by myself.

We have a full moon rising this Friday -- I hope to wrap up more herbal bundles and write my gratitude list during the day...that night I'll set out a jar filled with lemon balm leaves and water to be infused by the full moon and other cosmic energies. I like leaving this water out the following day as well to be infused by the sun, after which I strain it. Lemon balm water helps us to be centered in the midst of chaos, also helps meditation. xx

Good Nettle Pesto
Simmer a half-pound of nettle leaves and tender leaf tops in a large pot of salted water for a few minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle, put them in a towel to squeeze out all the water. In a food processor, grind up a few cloves of garlic with 1/2 toasted pecans and 1/2 t. salt and some ground black pepper. Add the nettles and 1 T. fresh lemon juice. Add 1 c. olive oil, keep going until you're satisfied with the texture. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.  Based on a pasta recipe by Jess Thomson.