I received a deluge of messages, mostly via e-mail or on facebook..(it's also ok to comment here) offering words of love and support. It felt like a huge step, not only to start the blog, but also write publicly about such personal and emotional issues. I had thought about posting about Lily again today and in some ways it would seem appropriate.
However, in my life, grief, memories and feelings of loss are inextricably woven into a larger tapestry, and the colour of the weft threads changes day by day. Sometimes the weaving is bright and shining, sometimes subtle and dulled. The woven cloth is still there on the loom but each new row is different.
And so today, the sun shone and Leo and I went......foraging
With the new school year come new routines and rhythms. Thursday is Leo's Mummy Day. With sister and brother at kindergarten and school all day, Leo gets some rare time alone with me, and woe betide anyone else who wants to have a conversation with me on that day which lasts longer than five minutes! We sometimes do special trips, often just enjoy home... but today it was warm, bright and some of my herb jars needed filling.
I had nettles on my mind as I dropped the older ones off this morning. Leo is a very rewarding foraging companion and I wanted to take advantage of what I call the second Spring of early autumn. Plants that have been cut down some time ago send out a last flush of fresh spring like growth, providing supplies to see me through the winter. Usually at this time of year a nettle will have run to seed and look very different
As always on a foraging expedition, there was a sense of excitement. Yet there was also a feeling of empowerment to be able to provide food and medicine for my family for free and I felt blessed to live in beautiful Devon which provides me with plentiful weeds!
Our first patch of nettles were still dewy, shyly fresh from their night under the moon. I picked these for tonight's dinner. Preserving wet plants by drying or storing in oil causes mould problems, but for nettle risotto they are fine.
Leo checked in that I had asked the nettle fairy permission (I had) but his gentle reminder made me pause to remember the times when I hadn't. I usually get stung, and the energy surrounding the harvesting feels clunky and awkward. Harvesting medicine is a chance for us to connect with the universal flow of energy which unites us all,(including nettles) and it is very humbling to honour the plants in this way. Today there were no stings
My hair feels quite neglected most of the time and I have promised myself to give it some new autumn energy. Once I had put together some of our other pickings to make tea,
|From right, clockwise, nettles, rose petals, plantain, comfrey|
http://www.susunweed.com/ and made nettle hair oil. My leaves were totally dry and, gathered just after the dew had dried, at optimum picking time. I gently snipped enough to fill and old tahini jar, and filled again with olive oil (could be almond) pushing them down under the oil with a wooden spoon to dislodge bubbles. Is is important for the plant material in any oil to be totally submerged or they will mould.
I divided the remainder of my harvest in two and while half made dinner, lovely risotto, the other I dried for winter teas. How wonderful to open a jar of home gathered herbs in January, and how pale and wan a tea bag seems!