Monday, April 5, 2010

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.

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