Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Transitions, forage pizza, and roadkill adventures!

I'm now in my third phase of life in massachusetts.
Beginning with an aimless shot in the dark, moving through a winter of discovery,
and finding myself now, embarking on a rebirth.

This last weekend I left Heifer International to start my farm apprenticeship at Lindentree Farm in Lincoln, MA.  and it finally feels like I'm doing what I've been trying to do for the last year.
I'm in the sunlight, fostering the growth of plants, learning about nature, and belonging somewhere good.

Everyone at Heifer was so amazing, and I will seriously be missing all of my good friends there.
They really sent me off with such good feelings.  One day they made apple crisp (my favorite dessert) for me.  The next we had a cookout and fire (which my soul has been craving).

and then the last night, we had a pizza makin' party.  I must say my favorite was the venison pizza, but my contribution was a wild harvest pizza with dandelion greens, clover, and fresh fiddleheads.  After the pizza there was a roast of Nathan, which was quite enlightening, followed by a night hike down to the resevoir to stargaze and dodge trains.

Speaking of fiddlehead, I finally found the edible ones! ostrich ferns:
I'm about to be extremely busy planting and harvesting proven edibles, but I'm still very interested in using wild plants.  I'm starting to get a big bunch of dandelion petals together to start my first batch of dandelion wine.
I spent the weekend between jobs exploring some feels, keeping my body and head close to possible partnerships, and ended up feeling much more confused and alone.

On my way back to my farm, I saw the biggest raccoon that i had ever seen lounging on the highway.
Now, you may not believe this, but I really do pass up most of the roadkill that I see, but this time, the stars and exits aligned, and I set off aside the highway on foot planning to capture my prize in a paper grocery bag.  So there I was wedged between an exit and the full on highway trying to fit 35 pounds of shit into a 15 pound bag.  Cars whizzing by with looks of horror emanating from the faces of those passing.  I finally gave up and just carried the thing along the road by a foot, not giving a damn.  I got my prize secured and continued on my journey.
It was a good chance to consecrate my homemade knife with coon blood.
The next day, I was fully engaged in the farming life.
We spent time working on our tractors.
 Arranging our baby plants from between our greenhouses.

 Laying out, fertilizing, and planting some sections of our fields.
I'm completely overwhelmed right now with arranging my new room, so that should keep me busy for a bit, but I took a break from feng shui, and bottled my newest batch of hard cider, then started next month's.
P.S. even baby plants are cuter than adult ones.
The last one is sprouting acorns, basically infant oak trees.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The development of obsession.

I'd say the past couple days have been productive and enjoyable.
Though I'm almost reaching the point of anxiety over how much there is to learn and do.
I'm trying to stay centered and enjoy each new discovery.

Reading some books that are bringing me into spiritual exploration,
trying to make sense of reality, connecting with humans in a ways that
i have never experienced, and keeping in mind that
what we call the truth is simply our truth at any given moment in time.

Kyli and I found a very interesting plant growing near our compost pile.
It is supposedly a very dangerous hallucinogenic called datura.
I harvested some seeds for my dawning herb and elixer collection.

As spring is sabotoging all of my hopes for any kind of social life,
I am constantly finding things that make me feel like I'm seeing the world
as a child.  I'm noticing and feeling things in the woods that I've never felt.
here are some them:

I don't know what these are, but they are growing all over the forest floor.
Of course the birch sap continues to flow.
After my initial harvest of dandelions, awesome early spring salads, and a delicious root tonic,
I decided I wanted to have a big stock of the dried root, so I spent a rainy friday morning
shoveling, washing and chopping.  I knew I wouldn't have been able to use all of the greens
so I donated them to the kitchen where they were made up into unique stir frys and beet, parsnip, and dandelion salads.
I got my roots dried and should be set for a while.

Later that day, my good friend Sean and I decided to go morrel hunting.
 They were all hiding quite well, and after a thorough soaking we decided to try our luck later.

The farm is doing well and it has been a beautiful place to foster my growth.
my mead's first sunrise.
i love tools!
I should probably limit the amount of animal parts I have in my room/ on my body.

I'm determined to gaze into a fire, and pick at some guitar this evening, so i'm prepping our fire pit.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

judy the beauty and nate's nebriatin' nectars.

4am- wake up/boil sap
5am- sheep in labor
6am- energized by birch sap i jog.

I had the privilege of meeting and talking with some interesting ladies who
are participating in our birthing program here at heifer.  The first thing
they asked me was what i was doing with me life.
Kind of a loaded question to be greeted by.  But i really love that kind of
conversation starter.  This pair were from california and went by
Christmas Carol and Judy the Beauty.  They say I have an old soul
which is why i feel like age is coming on me so fast.
But the truth is Spring is coming on so fast!
ah!  There is just too much that i need to harvest and make into concoctions for my jars.
Nature please slow down just a little bit.

Have you ever wondered how witches could fly?
made with following ingredients:
-the fat of an unbaptized baby or child (animal fat or beeswax in a pinch)
-and these herbs

I finally got the 15lbs of honey i needed to start my 2010 batch of mead.
 with a little help from my friend will I was able to finesse 5 gallons of honey water into my jug.
i trimmed my mullet and singed my eyelashes in the wood furnace. 
i hope i'm still pretty.

this week is tattoo week so expect my skin to be getting some more DIY flare.

Monday, April 5, 2010

dandelion coffee and awesome formation

A beautiful weekend of leisure and social advancement usually brings my monday in with a bang, and today was definitely motivated.

I noticed some flowering dandelion plants while I was doing chores and remembered all of the amazing things i had read about this versatile plant.  So I got my shovel and harvested a bucket full of entire dandelion plants.  I found a good recipe for dandelion root coffee substitute (similar to chicory) and I was really craving a fat, fresh salad.
So I washed all of my plants, seperated the leaves from the roots.  Chopped the roots, then roasted them to dry for later beverage creation, and then had my salad with the season's first salad greens! rawr! 

dandelion leaves are more nutritious than anything you can buy. They're higher in beta-carotene than carrots. The iron and calcium content is phenomenal, greater than spinach. You also get vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, E, P, and D, biotin, inositol, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc by using a tasty, free vegetable that grows on virtually every lawn. The root contains the sugar inulin, plus many medicinal substances.
wild dandelion intro: free food and drank!
dandelion wine- how to impress your train-hopping friends
Dandelion Root Coffee
Crossed the shit out of my to-do list:
powder last season's sage leaves
hang mountain laurel leaves for drying
start scraping fat off of chero pelt
harvest birch sap
make almond-molasses granola
work on tattoo
clean room

oo it feels good to achieve.
 other things of natural interest include this tree seed pod of unknown origin that i found.
and this is what happens when you leave your bottled kombucha in the freezer:

Something else that is good for lifetime achievement is the birth of a new
member's only society
I talked with my friend Jason Janley and we decided to hang out on Martha's Vineyard
with our friend Julie Olsen, whom we both agree is total eye candy.

We thought the best way to get to know people and promote fun happening in our vicinity was to set up the infrastructure of communication between awesome people that we meet.
So stay tuned for news of awesome island gang activity.

moonlight sapping and herbal suicide

Got back to the farm at 1am this morning.  Harvested birch sap in the moonlight, with a little help from a head lamp.  The frogs are out and about.  It feels like i'm dwelling and progressing more when the sun is down. This morning I got to boiling the sap early and did some more work on my herbal journal.
So far I've got plans for a morning tea, mouthwash & throat gargle, stomach ease remedy, scalp care, herbal toothpaste, skin clearing ointment, and a blood cleanse. 

I'm tempted to purchase all of these pre-made tinctures, but I've learned that 90% of the experience is harvesting and preparing my own.
I really believe that a major part of herbal healing is the connection that you make with nature as you
responsibly harvest, and learn about your ecosystem.

I've been learning quite a bit from my supervisor Gary.  He used to be the tree warden for the town, and knows a lot about the local foliage.  I've been able to point at things and get a name and some info about most plants around.  The other day he showed me some mountain laurel which he pointed out is poisonous and also known as lambkill.  I did some research and found out that it is a flowering evergreen in the blueberry family.  But it doesn't look like this until late may.
All parts of the plant are poisonous and were even used by native americans to commit suicide,
but, powdered leaves are used as a local remedy in some forms of skin diseases.
Apparently whiskey is the best antidote to a poisoning.
Yet one more reason to keep a bottle of whiskey on hand. 
The wood is very good for making small tools like spoons and wooden clock parts.

Definitely a plant to be admired with respect.  I went and got myself a batch of the leaves this morning to dry and powder to make a skin ointment for experimentation, but I'll be sure to  keep it from the inside of my body, and label it properly.

The rest of my day involved some sunny porch sitting with the ladies at my house, making pizza, and trying to get my life in some kind of order/ not stressing about it too much.

In the afternoon my good friend Kyli and I drove to western Mass to visit our friend Amber and her man Devin.  Seriously sweet couple who I think might be trying to recruit us to join their farming cult/ intentional living family.  We spent most of the afternoon bathing in the sun, talking to some good people in front of their barn, admiring the amazing view of the rolling hills, and finding little flowers popping up!

That evening we went to a potluck that made me feel like I was in Arkansas again.
All of the people were so nice and interesting.
There was an old time band with 3 harmonizing beauties visiting, and we eventually got them
to perform for us around the campfire. 
Really good conversation, body rocking open fire warmth, and a lot of laughter.

summer is coming on hard and I'm about to give it a high five.