Thursday, April 1, 2010

All In a Day

Spring has sprung indeed!  The abundance of wild green outside is definitely keeping us busy around here.  Lots of "doing" and not much time, or energy, for talking about it.   I have had the good sense of keeping up with my bedtime infusion ritual, so we have had plenty of nettle, lemonbalm, and red clover infusions to nourish us through our busy days.  The energy requirements are high, as is the need for hydration.  I don't know about you, but when spring introduces herself in 83 degree style, I can feel a bit wilted.

Thankfully there's still lots of cooling, lush chickweed around, making her appearance at our dinner table nightly, and sometimes breakfast or lunch as well.  A month from now we will all look at salad with a bit of disgust, but for now it is all yummmmmmmm.  Tomorrow I am going to make a chickweed vinegar so I can enjoy her all year long.

Sophie, Emma, and I also spent some time gathering cleavers (Galium aparine) and made an infusion of the fresh plant.  I have a tendency towards lymphatic stagnation, especially at the change of seasons, so cleavers is one of my favorites.  It will get the waters circulating and cool inflammation.  I make a tincture so I have it around all year long.  I love to combine it with violet, calendula, or chickweed tinctures to enhance the lymph clearing action.
Galium aparine is almost always found in large clumps in the shade.  Like chickweed, she is shy of the sun and water-loving, most often found in the shade of a large tree or bank.  Her common name, Cleavers, describes exactly what she does, cleave.  The underside of her leaves are very hairy and therefore, "sticky".  They remind me a bit of a cat's tongue.

Take advantage of Cleavers now, because her lifespan is even shorter than Chickweed!

And then it was on to the next herbal adventure...dandelion.  I spotted a field not too far from the house, so I gave each kid a container and we all went on our way picking blossoms.  We tore some of them up and added them to our evening salad (you could leave them whole, they are just beautiful, but my kids do not like the texture), and others went in a jar with olive oil.  Soon I will make a flower essence and hopefully some dandelion fritters!  Oh, and those leaves?  Right now they are great cooked or raw, help yourself :)

After I came in to prepare dinner, Sophie harvested some young yellow dock leaves and we added those to the kale braising on the stovetop.  Bitter raw, but slightly lemony cooked, they are not to be missed.  Your blood and liver will LOVE you!

So if that wasn't enough, I also had all the perennial herbs from our former yard and garden to transplant.  So, quite randomly, in the ground went blackberry canes, goji berry, a strawberry patch, nettles, sage, thyme, rosemary, lavendar, and well, those mints can wait!  Spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint will find a home somewhere around here, but not tonight.

And then it was inside to dye eggs, naturally.  But that is a post for another day :)
I hope you enjoyed at least one herbal adventure today.  Whether making an infusion or snacking on violets, take your time and really soak it in.  Allow the plants to do their work on your spirit.  I was having what I thought was an irreparable day of emotional oddness and frustration, but then I spent early evening among the plants... where I found peace for at least half and hour ;P

1 comment:

  1. I love that amazing picture of cleavers! Looks like a vibrant bunch...