Pursue the dream!

Despite slugs, robins, bindweed, and squirrels, I still manage to harvest enough strawberries for the morning oatmeal. I’m grateful for this small harvest and grateful for my own tenacity!

What dreams can we fulfill this year? Imperfectly. Dancing with frustrations.

Say it with (lemon balm) flowers

More and more, I’m eating and drinking flowers. Plants put their all into flowering and fruiting. In the past, especially with herbs, I’ve pinched off the leaves but left the flowers behind.

Now one of my favorites is lemon balm glycerite. So great in any cup of tea or infusion! Lemon balm is great for the nervous system and mellows my mood. This year, I waited for the little yellow-white flowers to unfurl before harvesting.

“Relax!” says lemon balm and her quiet flowers.

Thinning and sipping

I’ve been out thinning radishes with a plan to eat the greens. Also, cutting back the Tulsi buds and weeding out some chamomile. Adding a stalk of bee balm for a quart of this delicious fresh tea.

I love to dine on what I used to throw out! I’m certain each plant has a gift for us. Just as each person in our lives has a gift for us.

Moving beyond the end goals and enjoying the process is a good practice for me; to slowly savor life. To enjoy people as fully human and not just functionaries — the checkout person, the FedEx carrier, the sales call.

I imagine how rich life will be when we value all gifts.

Trashing my kitchen on Sundays

I block out time on Sundays to play in my kitchen. Today, I’ve made a new batch of watermelon rind pickles — lacto-fermenting for 3 to 4 days, arugula pesto loaded with raw garlic.

New to me, is pine needle balsamic vinegar which will take 6 weeks to brew, made from the bright green tips of my white pine trees.

I thinned my row of radishes and I’m about to make a salad with it.

There is medicine-making and there is medicine in the act of making.

Infusing herbs into sugar

I have a sweet tooth. And, my husband Chris is always delighted when I bake. While I try to find fairly healthy recipes, I also like to “herb ’em up.”

Here’s a cup of sugar with about a half a cup of chopped rose geranium. I can either sift out the green bits before I bake, or leave them in.

This infused sugar will be going into a rhubarb buckle recipe. Layer herbs and sugar and shake to bruise and release the oils in the leaves or petals.

Great herbs to try: lemon balm, bee balm, spearmint, rose petals, or violets. You may already be thinking of others!

Life can be so sweet.

Watermelon yesterday, pickling rinds today

I brought a big green salad, watermelon, and strawberries with angel food cake to our classic family Memorial Day get-together.

We walked in the woods with the dog, and then came back home to my sister’s place for dinner.

Whenever I cut up watermelon, I think about the quantity of rinds! Last year, I made a great sweet pickle with the rinds.

This year, I am playing with lactobacillus fermentation.

As you can see from the photo, I haven’t yet found a fermenting crock I really like. So, here’s the trashy way to weight down your veg — with a plastic baggie filled with water. Not too proud to pickle with plastic.

I’ll get something good soon. (This photo alone may spur me to action!)

Anyway, here’s a salty brine, dill weed from the garden, bay leaf, garlic, mustard seeds, and peppercorns. Should be ready in 3 to 4 days.

Let the summer picnics and pickles commence!

Honor Sacred Plants

This is a weird Reuters news story that I stumbled upon — involving ayahuasca, a sacred plant, a shamanic healer, and a Canadian “addictions counselor.”

Peruvian prosecutors say Canadian was lynched after killing shaman

Whether it’s nicotine, caffeine, frankincense, palo santo or cacao, our Western culture has lost a sense of the sacred usage of these powerful friends and allies.

It’s no wonder the power leaked out “sideways.” I understand that our culture needs major changes — greed, capitalism, unchecked egos, divorce from Nature — have all created soul sicknesses. These sacred plants CAN help, but they are powerful. And they, I think, demand being treated with honor.

A sad story all around. And the loss of the shaman is the loss of an ancient library, “books” of knowledge left unread. As is the death of every human.

We must honor our plant allies, great and small, as we honor All Life.