I feel my best when I’m outside, among the trees, in a meadow, or beside a stream. Where I can see the sun shining, feel the wind blowing, and hear the birds singing.
Add some wild edibles or medicinal plants to harvest and I’m in heaven.
Yesterday we picked Queen Anne’s Lace, also known as wild carrot, latin name: Daucus carota.
There was a wild apple tree along the edge of the field and we picked a few that were within our reach.
I pulled out my grandfather’s Kabar and sliced one for us to eat right there beneath the tree. I can still see him doing this, removing the knife from his pocket whenever the need arose and peeling the blade out. Preparedness goes a long way in this life.
Once home, we placed the flower heads out to let the critters wander away and then steeped the blossoms in boiled water.
We chopped the little apples into chunks and placed them in water to boil.
We combined the juice and the wild carrot tea, added some sugar and reluctantly, some pectin and our yield is 6 half pints of Queen Anne’s Lace and wild apple jelly.
And we’ll think of those fragrant apples warming in the sun and the field of seemingly endless white blossoms when we slather this jelly on toast or biscuits.
Get outside and find something wild.
This week we noticed the mornings have been cooler. It’s mid-August and the thought of autumn is in the back of all our minds.
But the leaves of witch hazel trees are still vibrant green.
And kids are still on summer vacation.
Sunflowers are still bright yellow.
The shade of the forest is still a welcome relief.
But the corn stalks are tall.
And catnip plants have flowered.
The world is bountiful.
A small turkey tail and reishi harvest will mean hot tea tonight.
And meal planning for the coming week.
Summer may be on its way out but after canning these peaches, we’ll have a little taste of summer in the winter!
Plants nourish our bodies and our minds. They feed us and heal us.
Once you start to identify the different species of plants, that “wall of green” disappears.
Jeruselem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus)
Black cherry (Prunus serotina)
Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Blue vervain (Verbena hastata)
During a short walk down the road from us, we harvested black elderberry, boneset, purple loosestrife, and blue vervain. We’ll dry these and use them for medicine.
This elderberry tincture will provide us with a preventative medicine for flu and colds in the winter months.
These herbs (parsley, chives, holy basil, basil and thyme) were collected from the little garden in our front yard.
We used the herbs to make omelets and served them with home baked bread, toasted, and slathered with lots of butter.
Getting out into nature and learning to identify and utilize the plants around you can positively effect your life in so many ways. The more we understand, connect to and appreciate the world around us, the more we are willing to protect it.
May brings morning rain on rosa multiflora.
And morning light on made beds.
May brings awakening wild food.
And blooming forest floors.
The colorful copper birch leaves emerge.
Violets come into view.
May is when we gather the petals.
Simple syrup will sweeten drinks for weeks to come.
May brings soft breezes through open windows.
And May brings wishes.
There’s something special about September in New England.
The days are cooler but the sun still brings warmth.
Flowers still bloom.
Wishes can still be made.
There’s a golden hue to the sun filtering in through the windows and splashing across the hardwood.
It’s still warm enough for strawberries.
But cool enough for fires in the stove.
There’s abundance in September.
Here, in the form of apple cake.
And center stage in September are the leaves turning from green to yellow and red.
Get outside and enjoy these last few days of September.
These days that bring crisp air, bright sunshine, crinkling leaves underfoot, the smell of pumpkin spice, the taste of apples and the sound of acorns falling to the ground.
Here it is, the last day of August.
We’ve enjoyed these summer days.
Backyard fires, complete with roasted marshmallows,
Mornings in bed,
Walks in milkweed meadows,
Treks on backyard trails,
And a deep appreciation for each one of these summer days.
The last day of August also brings us the first day of school.
When I was a kid I would wander the woods in back of my grandparent’s house for hours by myself. I’d pretend I lived out there among the hardwoods, the maples and oaks.
Now, I have two amazing souls to wander with me.
The sun was shining down on us today as we immersed ourselves in nature.
For most of the day we meandered through a pine forest.
We sat by the water.
We picked pine needles.
We stopped to notice lichen on bark…
And patterns left by wood boring insects.
We ate low bush cranberries.
And we chatted with chickadees.
Now that we’re home we are enjoying those pine needles we picked and the vitamin C they will provide in a batch of Pine Needle Tea. We also picked newly sprouting black birch branches for Black Birch Tea.
Go wander the woods, it’s good for the soul.
Heart-shaped, fluffy white clouds in the blue sky.
Purple and pink sky in the morning. A sure sign of an oncoming storm.
Snow can change the landscape dramatically.
And it sure is fun to play in. Peaking through the hemlock boughs as Ethan prepares to sled down the big hill.
Have you ever browned butter? If not, you should. Swap out one stick of softened butter with one stick of browned butter and your chocolate chip cookie recipe will be forever changed.
Do you see what Regan sees?
Afternoon sun shines on cattails in the frozen ground. My shadow on the bridge.
Daffodils are emerging from the leaf litter. Change is upon us.
Each year goes by faster than the one before. Just like everyone else, I’m finding my way.
We celebrated my birthday a few weeks ago. I’ve been on this planet for thirty-five years.
We finally had some snow. I spy Ethan. Do you?
This is our bedroom window on a cold winter’s morning.
I’m in awe of the beauty of this planet. And I’m always looking up.
It’s nearly February and the geese are still beating their wings and honking.
I’m rewarded with color.
And squirrel tracks.
Each year we reflect. I love what I see.