Google+ What I Made Today: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Appreciation and Honor with Reason

March has been a month of focusing on green things. Between starting seedlings, planting cool-weather crops, wild harvesting, and preparing the tax nuisance, all things green have been in the forefront of my mind and my will. Some of the tasks are more pleasurable than others. Know what I mean? 

I've been enjoying wandering my little acre and observing my rooted friends awake from their mild winter slumbers into this early spring. Odd weather aside, I'm always delighted to see the return of this little green ally, Hypericum perforatum, known in the Wise Woman Tradition of herbalism as Saint Joan's wort, yet better known in the conventional world as Saint John's wort. It took me years to convince her to make a home on my little acre. She's now making herself quite at home, showing up around the "lawns" and in my main vegetable garden too. I've learned to give her authority in her choice of rooting, and she grows where she choses, with limited intervention from me. Though I do remind her that I appreciate her playing nice and sharing with our other rooted friends.

Yesterday I harvested this non-native wild invasive, Allaria petiolata, commonly called garlic mustard. My goal was to clean up some the "proper" gardens and to start the first batch of garlic mustard infused vinegar.

So the the whole plants were washed, the roots separated and chopped, add to a quart jar, topped with as much aerial plant matter as would gently fit and filled it up with apple cider vinegar.

In eight weeks or so I strain, filter, bottle (and label) it to use as is or to mix with other infused vinegars. I love using this super-abundant plant in this way, the root vinegar reminds me a bit of horseradish, and I have added it to many a Fire Cider variation over the years.

As the season progresses I'll continue harvesting this plant to ferment and dry the roots, to use the leaves in various pestos and dry some as well. And to infuse more vinegar too.

When it comes to our non-native invasives, I choose to step-off the track of convention, which has enjoyed too-long a history of demonizing Nature. Instead I choose to learn more about them and how to work with them, to appreciate them for what they have to offer, and to honor the truth that they're here for a reason.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Spirals, Spirals, Spirals.

Winter feels like it never quite arrived here on my little acre, yet here we are, mere weeks to the vernal rebirth. So saved seeds are inventoried, several are started, some planted, and still more ordered to honor the spiraling return of annual activities of nurturance, sustenance, legacy and honor.

I finished this, one of several recent Creative journeys. A return to portals and a sweet reminder of the spiral and value of journey over destination, on so many levels.

 I made this recipe:

Banana Cacao Finger Cakes
4.5 cups unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
.5 teaspoon salt
1.75 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup cacao nibs

Measure and blend the first three dry ingredients. Set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter, blend in the mashed bananas, blend in the eggs and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two waves, mixing well at each, mixing in the cacao nibs before the second wave. Know what I mean?
Spoon onto a cookie sheet (I lay down unbleached parchment), bake at 400F for about 11 minutes. Cool on a rack and enJOY! That's how I did it, anyway. And they came out quite good.
And baking - anything Food - invokes more spiraling.

And my winter finger spun fiber project has yielded 6 balls of upcycled cotton "yarn." I'm not sure of the linear measure that was produced, but I do know that, once the fabric was ripped and tidied, it took an hour to create 3 linear yards of "yarn." This Creative journey also yielded a nice, rough callus on my right thumb and forefinger, the fingers that work the spiraling fibers.

So that's what I've been up to: Spiraling. Spiraling. Spiraling. Back to the vernal verve of spring.