JULY 2013
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Green Blessings ...
with Susun Weed

Jewelweed broth; Harvesting
Not only is this a tasty cold soup for summertime, it is a superior remedy for poison ivy rash.
Sipping 2-4 cups of jewelweed broth, hot or cold, will quell both skin and joint inflammation.

Harvest jewelweed (Impatiens pallida or canadensis) by pulling every 4th or 5th plant up by the roots. We are using the entire plant. The redder the root, the more effective this remedy.
At home, rinse your jewelweed and place it, roots and all, in a pan, pressing it down very well.

Add just enough cold water to barely cover the jewelweed and bring to a boil.
Simmer, covered, until the water is orange.
Cool, then refrigerate or pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

Humid green greetings from the Catskill Mountains of New York State. Summer 2013 continues to be exceptionally lush, with warm nights and daily thunderstorms. Everything is growing at such a rapid pace it is hard to keep up with the harvesting.

This week we focused on picking linden blossoms. Their period of bloom is not too long, and with so much rain, it becomes a real race to get as much as we can when the sun shines. We only pick linden when all the rain and dew has dried off, usually early afternoon. By then the smell is so intoxicating that we can hardly wait to get to our baskets and ladders and get our hands on the linden.

Then we go out to the field to continue our red clover harvest. Clover blossoms tend to absorb and hold onto moisture, so it is especially important to be sure they are not damp when you harvest them.

We are also harvesting mullein flowers for Ear Oil, and whole flowering stalks – with their leaves – to dry for making Mullein Milk this winter. A friend made some mullein tincture from the fresh leaves a few years ago, and I have been enjoying it tremendously. Perhaps I'll make some myself this week.

There is still comfrey to harvest and hang to dry. And it is time to take down the nettle that has been hanging. Time to fold it away in brown paper bags, well labeled, for winter use.

The drying shed is beautiful with the red bee balm drying for winter use.

And there are a host of tinctures and vinegars to make: yarrow, motherwort, Hypericum, self-heal, creeping jenny, and elder, to name but a few that are clamoring for our attention.

If you want to jump in with both feet, both hands, and your whole heart, do join us for the Green Goddess Apprentice Week. I am still looking for a few good green women to attend this year; several work-exchange positions are open.

Fresh Hypericum tincture

On the sunniest day of the summer, look in fields and along roadsides for the yellow flowers of Hypericum and get ready to make two of the Great Remedies. Take both 100 proof vodka and pure olive oil with you when you go out to stalk St. John's/St. Joan's wort, bottles of various sizes, and a pair of sharp scissors.

Depending on the abundance or scarcity of flowers, I harvest anything from just the blossoms to the top third of the Hypericum plant. So long as the day is sunny and the plants dry the tincture will be active and medicinal even if it contains a fair amount of stalk and leaves. I also make a quart of this tincture as I use it frequently, in dropperful doses.

This has been a lush year for St. J's, so the tincture was made using just flowers.
If you are using tops rather than just flowers, chop as needed. I often harvest Hypericum flowers right into my jar and fill it with vodka or oil while still afield, insuring optimum freshness and maximum fairy blessings.

Cover tightly. Label. I do not put my oil in the sun, but some people swear by it. Try one each way and see what you think. Your St. J's tincture and your St. J's oil will be ready to use in six weeks.

It's time to delight in the mushrooms and the ferns of the Catskill Mountains. Everywhere we look mushroom caps are pushing up and unfurling. The fern fronds fill every bit of open space and look as though you could float away on them like a magic carpet.

The Green Witch Intensive was especially delightful this year thanks in part to the gracious of Gretchen Gould, who invited us all to come up to her land: Herb Hill. We harvested wild thyme and Oswego tea, wet our feet in Thirteen Mile Creek, make yarrow tincture and valerian flower oil, absorbed lots of knowledge and stories from Gretchen, ate wild raspberries, and got lost in Tansy City.

And that was just the beginning. There was a magical moon lodge with the spiral of women, from Maidens through Mothers and into Crones, each sharing her story, her wisdom. And walks with the goats in the forest, to the river, to the meadow, to the secret places with the special plants. Our high magic ritual initiation of new Green Witches up on the mesa, guided and guarded by the Ancient Ones. And the glorious Goddess Pageant, and lots of great food.

And did I mention that we talked about lots and lots of plants and how to harvest them and prepare them and use them? We did! We harvested wild greens for salads, we made nettle soup with fresh nettle we harvested on the spot (ouch!), we tasted and discussed and used motherwort tincture and yarrow tincture and herbal vinegars and herbal pestos and herbal oils and salves, we ate wild snacks that we picked as we walked, and we sang and sang and sang.

Of course we drank nourishing herbal infusion every day, all day long. Water is available, but I don't "serve" it at the Wise Woman Center, preferring that everyone drink nourishing herbal infusion instead: I's better than water – in every way.

I am excited and so looking forward to the Montana Herb Gathering. It will take three airplane rides to get me there (and another three to get me home), but well worth it. I hope to get a few photos to share with you in the ezine. Perhaps on the horseback ride I have planned.

I wish abundance for you. An abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, an abundance of sweet corn, and cucumbers, and beans, and even an abundance of weeds. May you be rich in lamb's quarter, amaranth, and purslane.

Fresh Yarrow Tincture
This is one of the great remedies, so useful in so many ways.

Look for yarrow growing in fields and meadows. Harvest only the wild white yarrow. And harvest on a sunny day, in the middle of the day if possible, so the yarrow is strongly scented. For tincture, the flowering tops are the best. (For salves, the larger, lower, basal leaves are preferred.)

I usually cut the top three or four inches of each yarrow plant, doing my best to allow the stalk to reflower by cutting just above a leaf node. I use the stalk, leaves, and flowers in my tincture.

Using scissors, I cut the yarrow stalks and flowers into pieces and fill a jar with them. Then I add 100 proof vodka right up to the top. Lid it tightly. Stick on a pretty label with at least the name of the plant and the date. And wait. The tincture is ready to use in six weeks.

I spray yarrow tincture on my ankles to repel ticks.
I spray it all over myself to refer mosquitoes.
I spray yarrow tincture on wounds and bug bites.
I spray it on my toothbrush and use it as a deodorant.
Yarrow tincture has many more uses. How will you use yours?

The Wise Woman Center exists to re-weave the healing cloak of the Ancients. This land is sacred, it is a safe space for women, and a place for the teachings of the Wise Woman way. The Goddess lives here, as do goats, fairies, green witches, and elders.
Located between Woodstock and Saugerties, 5 miles from the NYS Thruway, the Wise Woman Center is easily accessible while private enough for nude swimming. You'll receive a map and directions when you register. Incredible wild-food vegetarian meals are included with all workshops. Two - and three-day workshops (limited enrollment) include camping or indoor sleeping space and meals. Click to learn more



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