11.02.2014

Flower Power: An Edible Flower as Medicine







Are you spellbound yet?


Nasturtium is the very definition of piquant:  
ˈpēkənt,ˈpēkänt/
adjective
 1.  having a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavor.
 2. pleasantly stimulating or exciting to the mind.


Gotta love that, right?  right.



Why hello there.




This gorgeous flower is one of those I grew up with as a child; one of my favorite Aunts grew Nasturtium and they remind me of her and the wondrous time spent at her house.  I get extra delight now seeing that it also makes the hummingbirds and honey bees happy in my garden.  They both visit the flowers regularly.

An unusual site in November; an opportunity within the crisis of global warming.


We are having a late frost here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but it's expected tonight so I am harvesting the Nasturtium flowers before they get blasted by the cold.  Being a native to South America; they cannot tolerate frost, but they will grow all summer long gracing us with their presence - and their food and medicine.  Both the flowers and leaves are edible; both give a spiciness to the dishes they accompany.

Sunshine captured in a basket.

They are also anti-bacterial and can be used medicinally.  I have read of them being used for colds, flu, urinary tract infections, etc.  I am going to tincture them to experiment with this use...  I will do a vinegar tincture so it may easily be used in cooking and on salads.




To do this I will cover the flowers with vinegar in a jar, making sure all the flowers are submerged.  Next I will wait 2-4 weeks, shaking the jar daily, and then strain for use.  It can be used for cooking or taken by the teaspoonful as needed - or as wanted for its flavor!


I used wax paper under the jar lid so the vinegar doesn't react with it.


Update:  4 days later, I had to share with you this gorgeous color!

Oh, and no frost yet.
~~~

11.01.2014

Samhain: An Inner Revelry

            The brightness of Summer is waning; time to let go as the leaf does when it falls to the ground                                             in its sacrifice to the future.  How do you become nourishment for your coming seasons?

It's that time of year again when the veil thins, as it does during the in-between times, like dawn and dusk.  This time, Samhain, being half-way in-between Autumn and Winter.  A dusk of the year.


Rainy Pumpkin Harvest

A time of harvests, literal and figurative; a time of going within, going underground, into the darkness; a time when we move from the riot of summer's yang:  heat, activity, light - to the calm of winter's yin:  cold, stillness, dark.  A time to honor our ancestors, those who came before; to harvest what we and our lineage have sown...

In this time, as in others, altars, fire, and nourishing foods 
are wonderful tools for presence and transformation.

  
I like to make altars including items that remind me of where I have been, 
items to reflect what I am currently undergoing, and most importantly, where I wish to move to.  
All of time in this instant, remembering the future...


A photo of my late, great, great Aunt Lucy - a major presence in my life - graces my altar.

Fire is a wonderful tool to burn away the old, making space for the new.  The chill in the night air this time of year makes it perfect for a bonfire.  But even if you do not have the space for an outdoor fire, a simple candle can bring the purifying magic of fire to you.  Light one and sit with it

My hubbie next to a soon-to-be-lit bonfire we had the pleasure of communing with.

Since I heat with firewood, I have the regular occasion to burn things in order to symbolically release them.  We just had our first wood stove fire of the season last night and I always enjoy this first one, for many reasons, one of them that all the bits of paper I put in it over the warm season get burned away (my version of paper shredding when certain things just shouldn't go in the recycling for other eyes to possibly see).

As we burn away the old, with external fires, and with our internal metabolic fire, we make room for the new.  What we bring in makes what we are tomorrow.  This includes food and other things we consume: thoughts, what we set our eyes upon, the energies of the people and places around us, and so on...
Choose wisely.

 Sweet Potatoes from the Garden

Root Vegetables are very grounding, 
helping to keep our feet firmly connected to the Earth, rooted,
 as we begin to go within to explore this coming dark time.



Enter the Gate to you Inner Worlds, much is waiting for you there...




May Joy be the result of your explorations into the dark, however difficult the path may be.




Garden Harvests:  Nourishment for the Soul.




Entrance to my Kitchen
Looking out into the Greenhouse
Why then have to be human?
Oh, not because happiness exists,
Nor out of curiosity...
But because being here means so much;
Because everything here,
Vanishing so quickly, seems to need us,
And strangely keeps calling to us...
To have been
Here once, completely, even if only once,
To have been at one with the earth -
This is beyond undoing.
– Rainer Maria Rilke



~~~

10.29.2014

Near Term Human Extinction

Short of an immediate and complete sessation of ALL industrial processes planetwide
(which unfortunately is not going to happen)...

In dealing with this, I have been collaging.  It's a hard thing to come to terms with, and a hard reality to live.

The collaging has helped; what do you do?  I have worked through much thought and emotion and cathartically come to a better place in the production of each of these, a month or so apart.  I offer collaging workshops, here in northern Virginia.

'Dichotomous Balance'



"You were born in a human form, and you find joy in it. Yet there are ten thousand other forms endlessly transforming that are equally good, and the joy in these is untold." - Chuang Tsu



'Stardust in the Eye of the Beholder'

Overall, I think the point is to find joy and to do what we can to help the Earth, as She will be here long after we are gone.  I have a Facebook group to this end.