Oh, blog. And readers!
I've been blah lately, especially when it comes to what I'm putting forth to the world via this blog.
I can't say exactly why this is, but I just feel that I am withdrawing a bit into my world, into my life with Matt, into the wet forest, into the arms and hearts of friends.
I do want to share some pictures of what has been going on lately, and show you some of the things I've been learning!
Last week we harvested dandelions. The weather was pretty mild-- sprinkled just a bit and cloudy all day.
Out in the field, the first plant we saw was Foxglove.
FOXGLOVE - DO NOT EAT.
I thought it was a mullien and I asked our teacher. She said, "Yep, that'll kill ya."
Here we are with buckets to fill. Two with dandelion greens, one for roots.
Before we got to harvesting, someone pointed out Dock. See how the leaves have red markings?
The Eclectics believed that you could discern a plant's medicinal qualities by its appearance. In this instance, the markings look like blood cells, or blood drops, and they assumed that broad-leafed Dock would cleanse the blood. The medicine is, in fact, cleansing for the liver, good for the lungs, and contains iron, magnesium and calcium.
^^ That's my new friend, Natalie. :] I like her a lot.
Here our teacher shows us how to dig up a dandelion, and separates all the bits of the plants to explain their uses.
We collected the buds and eventually put them in a jar of apple cider vinegar, along with balsamic vinegar [or tamari], onions, ginger, and garlic. In a few weeks, all of the liquid and plant material can be added to cooking or salads. Healthy and YUM.
Oh, so lucky to live and play here!
The roots we took back to the house. Rinsed them in the back yard.
Then we chopped them up. We tinctured some, and roasted the rest for a tasty, liver cleansing tea. I already have a dandelion root vinegar from fall apprenticeship.
The greens I took home and froze. I can use them to make dandelion pesto, but lately I've just been tossing them into my smoothies, along with spinach and stinging nettle and blueberries from last year. Oh, and BLACKBERRY HONEY. So many fantastic things to toss in the Vitamix!
Last week we also went down to the river to collect cottonwood buds from fallen branches.
We inspected the willow, as it has really opened up in the last few weeks! Here is a male specimen...
We walked down a mostly-impassable road [pitted with pot holes and huge puddles of sticky mud]. Natalie was walking in front of me, and we came to a pretty huge mud puddle whose bottom we could not see, so she made to jump over part of it and climb up to higher ground...
The mud sucked her boot right down and nearly right off of her foot. She made it up the embankment with a helping hand from above, while I, still behind her, nearly peed my pants laughing.
Then a few minutes later, someone really did lose their boot in the mud!
Teacher was kind enough to pull it out for her... Hahahah :D
Salmon berry flowers are blooming...
And, Natalie, woodland nymph, adorned herself with them.
What did we do this week?
Well, the weather wasn't nearly so mild.
Oh, Washington, how I loathe your moody ways. Love and loathe, both at the same time, in the same breath it seems.
The next few photos are from my iPhone. It was SO wet that I didn't dare taking my DSLR out in the rain.
The trailhead parking lot was a river.
A few minutes of talking about / looking at skunk cabbage, and we were already drenched.
But... Without all that wet... We wouldn't have this lush vegetation!
We all could have done without the SNOW, however. Good lord, it was a cold, wet Tuesday here.
THANKFULLY. Thankfully, our teacher had a field trip planned for the afternoon, so we were only getting rained and snowed on from 11 AM until 2 PM.
At 2, we went to meet a beekeeper! It was fantastic.
All the bees are in California right now, but we still got a nice little tour of his processing facility.
We scratched some of the cappings off the comb with our fingernails, and got to taste some honey that had gotten left in this frame. Super yum. :]
We ended the day scraping Oregon Grape root bark, chopping cedar clippings, and tearing up the Saxifrage for a tincture; stripping Oregon Grape leaves for an oil; and chopping Bleeding Heart for another tincture.
The Bleeding Heart affected me strongly, and soon after I processed it (without gloves, MISTAKE), I was overcome with sleepiness. I slept HARD last night. Every time I woke up to roll over, I felt completely drugged (think of how it feels when you take Benedryl or Nyquil!). It was so hard for me to wake up this morning that I was late for my counseling session.
But the day was salvaged. Natalie called me after getting some tattoos worked on with our shared tattoo artist and asked me to go to lunch with her.
I feel so in sync with this woman. After knowing each other one week, both of our menstrual cycles changed and we began cycling together. We ordered nearly the same meal today. Her hugs are familiar somehow, and comfortable and reassuring. Her cabin has a rightness to it, and I feel perfectly comfortable kicking off my shoes and picking up her cat and curling up by the fire- incense wafting through the air, water on the wood stove for heating tea.
Oh, friendship. :]
I'll conclude with this picture of Annie the Awesome, who had this look on her face because I'd just asked her, "Do you?" Which means nothing, but sounds exciting to a dog whose most favorite activities come immediately following questions (Do you want to go outside? Do you want to go for a walk? Are you hungry? Do you want a treat? etc).