Today I was talking with a dear friend of mine about makingmaking making herbal medicines this summer. Well…I was kind of talking at her because I’m so very excited about this summer and all the amazing possibilities of wild food, gardening, herbs and sunshine! (I guess I’m pretty much always this excited in springtime!) I was saying that I wanted to find a large-ish patch of wild violets to make violet tincture from (and eat the leaves and generally be in worship of these beautiful little plants).
Later in the evening, my family and I were in our yard and I was looking more closely at what was growing in the grass. Chickweed! Dandelions! And then I noticed, wild violets.
A whole huge patch a wild violets just about to burst into bloom! I would have missed them if I hadn’t been making an effort to look closely at our grass! Wild, medicinal plants in my urban yard.
I’ll make tincture this weekend if the flowers bloom (if the flowers consent to be made into medcine)!
We rent our home and our landlords are really awesome people. They bought this house for their daughter and she lived in the upstairs apartment (we live downstairs) all last year. She’s away this winter, but will be back soon. She and I were planning to make a garden around the tree that the violets are next to this year (it’s roots keep getting nicked with the lawn mower and she wants to make sure it stay healthy). I’m hoping that I’ll be able to arrange things with her so that the wild violets can continue to grow wehere they are!
I mentioned it to our new upstairs neighbours and one of them said “Imagine if we just let all our lawns grow, what treasures we would find!”
I feel like my heart is exploding with love for wild plants, for wildness! And some sadness, always some sadness for the wild things.
This year one of my garden goals is to successfully make several batches of compost. I’ve been unlucky in the past with compost (leaving piles partway finished, the landlord was more in charge and so I never got to use it) but this year! This year I will take at least two piles of compost from start to deliciously hommus-y finish.
Our current pile has problems. It’s not breaking down at all and smells generally unpleasent. The research I’ve done suggests that it’s the result of too much nitrogen and not enough carbon – so I’ve begun a neighbourhood wide search for materials high in carbon – leaves, glass clippings and whatnot! The lady next door just gave me two big bags full of leaves that she raked up (I went over to offer to rake them for her, but she had already done it!)
I think I’m going to start composting my urine as well. I’m longing for a sawdust toilet but we live in a rented house and I suspect that both my husband and my landlords (however amazing they are) would be resistant to the idea of composting feces! However, this article linked above from Mother Earth News has gotten me really excited about the possibility of composting just my own urine (I don’t think anyone else in my household will get on board ; )
In other news, I’m still searching for a good condition used camera to buy so that I can take some pictures to document both my explorations with motherwort and my garden! Hopefully soon!
This morning I had a very lovely meeting with a man who has a herb farm just outside of our city (located at an amazing monastary that has a csa garden, labyrinth, living willow sculptures, an apple orchard and bees!) He was looking for people to do work-trade for him and I applied! This morning we met and talked about what this kind of barter looks like. I’ll be working there once a week in the summer and in return he’s going to teach me (and several other participants) about herbal medicine, growing herbs AND give us herbs and seedlings in exchange for our work. I’m extremely excited!
Motherwort research continues – got word from the library today that two books I put holds on are in – Matthew Wood’s Earthwise Herbal: a complete guide to Old World medicinal plants and Susun Weed’s Healing Wise.
My local store does not stock motherwort so I may have to order some dried herb if I want to interact with the actual plant anytime soon. I had already purchased seeds of motherwort (kind of randomly) so I think I’ll start them this weekend. There’s still LOTS of snow on the ground and so everyone is predicting a late last frost this year (maybe the second week of May…although who knows with this climate changing weather)