Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unexpected Harvests

Yesterday I went to get a little extra work done because I'm behind at work - it was Saturday. On the way there I spied a nice clump of monarda (beebalm). Of course by the time it registered in my mind, I was long past. But I turned around and went back and harvested a nice bunch to add to my cold and flu tincture. All the way to work I got to smell that wild and minty aroma and it just made the whole idea of going out to work on a Saturday better. Then I decided to ask on Freecycle if anyone had any echinacea they needed to thin out and sure enough a really nice woman invited me to come get as much as I wanted at her house! So on my way home I went to her house and all the ride home I had echinacea bouncing around on their long stems, touching the ceiling of the car in some spots and beebalm on the seat beside me. When I got to our driveway I noticed the yellowing leaves of a large bloodroot clump and remembered that I needed to gather some for a friend. So I dug a little and put it in the car with the rest of the harvest. The day felt really productive, for both my 'real' job at the lab and for my REAL job at life.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ginseng, Goldenseal and Black Cohosh

Yesterday Gary and I went on a hike to check on the ginseng, goldenseal and black cohosh. The woods at this time of year in the Ozarks are very tick-infested and this year was no different. But I did get to take the pictures I wanted:
This is ginseng Gary planted 3 years ago. This is the first year it has produced seed. It's not old enough for harvest, so I hope potential poachers leave it alone, and continue to leave it alone in the coming years.
This is a black cohosh plant (above). Most of them had already finished blooming, so I felt lucky to find one that still had on some flowers:

And here's the most photogenic plant for me. A forest floor carpet of goldenseal with fruit is always interesting to see and I was pleased to see a lot this year. It takes a lot of them to make a pound of root, so selling them is not always worth the effort, but I always like to dig some for personal use. I make a mouthwash and wound wash from the whole plant if I need it out of season, but during fall and winter I just use the roots. That's where most of the active ingredients reside.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

God's Garden

The first red raspberry seemed to appear overnight the other day. There are a couple bushes on the side of the county road in the cool shade and each year the kids and I wait for them to turn ripe. This was our second year, so we noticed them earlier before they turned red, which heightened the excitement even further. Now, I know we could get raspberries fairly easily from the garden, where I do have some planted, and that too will be exciting (when the bushes actually begin to bear any). But these are WILD bushes, planted by the hand of God himself! And no one seems to think them worthy of stopping along the way to gather - except us, of course. And people think I am a little strange because I find such treasures so fun. But I am happy that my kids are enjoying this, it is something they will hold dear as memories when they are raising their own children, I hope.