Thursday, September 30, 2010

What I did on my summer vacation

Does the time get away from you like it does for me? People say "what have you been up to?" and I never know what to answer - just puttering around, in my own little universe, would be the proper answer I suppose. I guess I could say I became fascinated by tincturing bitters last year after a herb walk led by Jim McDonald last fall at the Ecology Center in Oxford. Then I could tell about how I made a large herbal wall hanging after Robin Mickiewicz demonstrated the craft at Crossroads Village this summer. I made a nice wreath from Silver King Artemisia and Costmary blossoms which was sold at the GCHS tea. And how I began collecting and gluing together junque glass into garden totems after seeing some at a craft show. I need to post a few more photos of them.
But as to what I've been up to? I dunno ... puttering around, as usual. How about You?

I'm posting the following overly long list of my 2010 herbal adventures which I began keeping track of as of June 22, although some of it was remembered and added from earlier this year (and which I may add to as the year goes on, just to keep it all in one place):

Over the summer I made 2 versions herbal tea, which I like to drink sweetened with a little of my home grown stevia or some local honey from the farmers' market:
1. "summer" blossoms:
red clover, german chamomile, primrose, thyme, oregano, savory, ironweed, Baikal scullcap
2. Lemon herbs and flowers for digestive, sedative, headache relief, tonic and nervine
rose petals, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon basil, lemon thyme, calendula, rosemary, mint

I made a bug repellent  tincture which I'll dilute with witch hazel:
Catnip (fresh) flowers and leaves, pennyroyal (fresh) tops, a few (fresh) tansy leaves, and dry yarrow leaves.
This, after reading the label of a verry expensive ($9.00 for 2 ounces) "natural" insect repellent that Herb bought for golfing. Its list of ingredients: lemongrass, patchouli, peppermint, catnip, and Neem, in witch hazel.

I've been harvesting like crazy:
dandelion roots and crowns (screen dry and zipbagged)
kale leaves (dehydrated and zipbagged)
hawthorn leaves (May) and fruit (Sept-Oct) (screen dry, zipbagged leaves)
mugwort leaves (screen dry) (made sleep pillow with hops) (may still make tincture, oil, moxa floss)
hops "cones" (screen dry) (see mugwort)
monarda flowers and top leaves (hang dry and zipbagged)
Greek oregano leaves (hang dry, screened and bottled)
sage leaves (hang dry and bottled)
thyme leaves (screen dry and bottled)
bay leaves (screen dry)
lavender stems with blossoms (hang dry, zipbagged and bundled)
blue vervain "Simpler's Joy" tops (hang dry and zipbagged)
oenothera (evening primrose) (hang drying whole plant)
lythrum (loosestrife) tops (hang dry)
calendula tops and petals (screen dry)
veronica tops (hang dry)
motherwort leaves (screen dry)
heal-all leaves and flowers (screen dry)
borage leaves and flowers (screen dry, bottled)
southernwood branches, Silver King artemisia tops (hang dry)
red clover flowers (screen dry)
goldenrod tops (hang dry)
purple aster tops (screen dry)
sweet annie (Artemisia annua) branches, hang dry
sassafras leaves (from Ludington), hang dry, zipbagged
castor beans
pineapple sage leaves
mullein root and leaves from first year plant dug in October, hang dry
violet jelly (picked flowers with Aubrey) (gave some to Theresa, Ashley on Mother's Day, and Lois M. )

rose petal jelly (Tuscany and Mme Isaac Periere? check FB) (gave some to Tree and Ash on Father's Day) (gave some to Norma, Ulrike, and Lois)
rose petal honey (some for me, and tiny jars with Kayla and Aubrey) Red/Pinks Tuscany, Mundi, and Mme. I.P.
rose petal elixir ( a.k.a.preFB "rose petal cordial") Red/Pinks
rose petal infused oil - Red/Pinks - Mundi and Mme IP
rose petal vinegar - Reds/Pinks - in homemade organic cider vinegar
rose petal beads - You can use pale pink and white blossoms - it will turn black anyways! (still in progress)
rose petals (screen dry and bottled) for tea and other uses

(March) honey sweetened rose hip tincture with ginger honey from '09 dried rose hips, and (September '10) rose hip tincture from R. eglantina
and tinctured purchased dried elderberries with honey to make cough syrup

elderflowers (4 from my 3 2 yr old plants), fresh, tinctured
StJW tops, fresh, tinctured (began collecting on summer Solstice)
St. J's Wort tops, fresh, oil
holy basil tops, fresh, tinctured
Solomon's seal root, fresh, tinctured
purple aster tops, fresh, tinctured
juniper berries (from beach lot), fresh, tinctured in gin (what the heck?)
quince fruit, fresh. tinctured (for "ratatifa"?)

meadowsweet - dried 2 flower heads in full color (they dry out in the yard as the beetles attack them and they go to seed) as an experiment. Next year I will fresh tincture some.
peonies and sea oats -dried for arrangements

mixed flower bouquets, of course!
dandelion greens - cooked
strawberries and alpine strawberries
mixed lettuce salads spring and fall
basil leaves fresh as sandwich greens, cooked in pasta sauce, in tomato salad, in bruschetta, in pesto, froze pesto cubes (trying to be more conservative this year, I planted Genovese, regular sweet, lemon, holy, and 'Siam Queen' Thai)
parsley, part of my pesto recipe
dillweed in dill sauce on fish
lemon balm, purple aster herbal teas
garlic scapes - green dip
rosemary, oregano, marjoram, used cooked in pasta sauce, chili, oven roasted veggies, and so on
tomatoes, peppers (Herb made lots of fresh salsa),the freezer is full
garlic and shallots: dug on July 26 (big this year), replanted 30 cloves on September 30
Jerusalem artichokes to roast with a roast beef

I have Plans for:
comfrey - oil? dry some

marshmallow root and maybe the leaves
always more thyme!
anise hyssop - just planted a new one after having been without for a few years
feverfew? angelica? (there weren't as many seedlings this year as usual)

southernwood, absinthe (wormwood)
ginkgo leaves
Solomon's seal root, and false solomon's seal
rose hips

European betony (Stachys betonica or Stachys officinalis)
Baikal skullcap (the Chinese plant, not the native that all the herbalists are talking about)

and, when the plants are ready:
gogi berries (or wolfberry) from the plant I started from seed last year
elderberries from the plants I started last year
New Jersey  tea from the seedling I transplanted this year.

What I missed so far and will try to use/make next year:
hawthorn flowers, lily of the valley flowers, lilac flowers, dianthus and apple blossoms, meadowsweet blossoms, and chamomile (pick with Aubrey to make Peter Rabbit Tea)
Rosa englatina leaf for tinctures
chervil, sweet cicely, valerian blossoms

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