Archive for herbs

EARTH STARS

Posted in Nature Studies, Poems, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by Drogo

by Christine Maccabee

EARTH STARS

Right here on Earth there are probably as many ‘stars’

as there are in outer space. Not enough can be said as to

need for human-kind to focus more on these terrestrial stars,

preserving them and the wonder and goodness of their Earth

for generations to come.” C.M.

Ever since my early 20’s I have been fascinated by flowers of every variety and thus began seriously investigating them. At that time I was also reading literature about the ancient tradition of mandalas as a meditation tool in India. The mandala has a center which symbolizes the source of life be it Allah, God, the Great Spirit, or whatever one might call it. The center holds everything else together, like the spoke of a wheel and without it things would fall apart and there would be chaos. From that center radiates Creation, or life, in all its amazing diversity and beauty. Similarly, most flowers have this same feature with centers from which reproduction occurs in the form of seeds. That center of nectar, pollen and seeds serves the purpose of ongoing sustenance, thus enabling on-going life for myriad life forms, including of course, people.

Captivated by this reality, I created mandalas from various parts of flowers, using stamen, pistil, petals, leaves and bracts, basically dissecting the flowers carefully and pressing the various parts. Each design I made was unique, and many reminded people of snowflakes. If you look at a flower closely, especially those which radiate perfectly symmetrically from the center, then you will understand my fascination. In fact, there are people who seriously meditate on flowers, thus creating more of a sense of balance in their lives. For me, creating mandalas was a waking and a working meditation, keeping me centered and focused as I created each one ; I sold hundreds of framed pieces over a period of 20 years. Now I simply grow flowers…

This summer I had a newcomer to my gardens, the Morning Star Sedge, a native grass which I did not plant but which was brought here by a bird, no doubt. I discovered it quite by accident along a pathway down to my main garden and was astonished when I saw it. It is not a flower at all, but a type of native grass, used ornamentally by some people in their landscaping.. The seed head is beautiful, very star like (see photo) and perfectly symmetrical. You may be familiar with its graceful but sturdy grasses from which the stems of the seed heads emerge. The seed heads are a lovely green which turn chocolate brown by late summer. By early autumn I am sure the wild birds will be enjoying those seeds as well as the seeds of the chicory and woodland sunflowers which I also have here in my gardens as habitat.

As anyone who reads this column knows, I am passionate about preserving habitat for pollinators and birds. Here on my 11+ acreage I am purposely allowing close to 100 wild native plants to complete their entire life cycles, from flower to seed. Such diversity of plant life, no matter how tall and gangly, or small , sustains the health of a host of animals, insects and humans in this our rainforest. By August the final show will begin and I look forward to it. I look forward to witnessing thousands of tiny Aster flower stars and hearing the profound sound of untold number of wings whirring as the bees fuel up for the coming inevitable cold weather. The essential Golden Rod flowers will also begin blooming (Golden Rod is not a major pollen producer which creates allergies as some people mistakenly think) and I will watch as the Monarch butterflies feed on them before their long journeys south. Did you know there are, or were, 2,687 species of Aster and 16 species of Golden Rods in America. On my property I have about 5 species of each.

The beautiful earthly flower stars, besides providing food for a wide variety of pollinators and birds, are a source of inspiration to humans. Also, it is well known that some have important medicinal properties, such as the Cone flower. I will soon gather and dry the flowers and leaves of my Cone flowers which will be added to teas I make from other herbs I grow. Cone flowers provide Echinacea which is important as an immune system enhancing herb. The root is the most potent, so here and there I will pull some out for their roots.

Unfortunately there is an on-going war being conducted against Earth’s stars in the form of herbicides, pesticides and habitat loss. Next month I will continue speaking for the wildflowers and the health of our planet, our people, and all our relations. Meanwhile, I suggest you walk slowly and often in wild places where wild things grow ; and don’t forget to look to the stars !

*

~ from ON THE WILD SIDE for July 2017

Christine is a Master Naturalist in Maryland and has developed a a Wildlife Habitat Sanctuary and Native Plant Preserve on her property , just 10 minutes north of Thurmont. You are welcome to visit by appointment. She can be reached at songbirdschant@gmail.com

Advertisements

SCOD Food Cooperative Concept

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Economics, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Organic Gardens, Services, Sales or Trade, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2014 by Drogo

SCOD Food Cooperative ideas by JF & JT based on our post-bubble recession economic reality and independent personal finances:

“I have been exploring the idea of a virtual cooperative for the trade of services, labor, skills, and instruction similar to a cross between Ebay, Bit-Coin, and Linked-in with maybe a little bit of a D&D style.

I’m thinking it would work something like this:

A merchant would setup a standard merchant style account showcasing their skills, wares etc… in an online profile where they could search other merchant profiles. This account can be further refined as membership evolves to the trade guild level. Services or wares can be brokered directly or they can go into a bidding pool.Services or offering could be bid upon by others to determine a fair market exchange for labor, goods, and services as well as establishing a found for a virtual economic system.

Every account starts out with 100 ‘trust point’ credits to purchase the service, etc… from another merchant offering a different service and some other desirable arrangement. Once the transaction is completed by the service provider, the receipt of the service transfers a previously agreed upon amount of credits to the service providers account. Problems or disagreements will be mediated by guild leaders.

The virtual cooperative only works if people continuously participate to retain credits in their account.No money ever changes hands and credit cannot be bought directly through the web application. Every member is initially set up in the ‘commons’ until they have acquired enough proficiency to join a guild. Prospectus must be invited and approved by members of the guild they are seeking membership from. Guilds will be broken down into the various subtypes Artisan, Teacher, etc…”

 – JF

*

We aren’t really left with any options. It’s at the point if we want health in our lives, we have to work for it. What we need to do is sit down and figure out the dietary needs of everyone who wants to be involved, plot out who will be in charge of what, and figure out an effective timeline that will keep everyone fed through the winter months. I’ll set up a wiki and link it to the SCOD group.

I’ll be hunting a fair bit this season. I can work to provide deer and turkey at the least. I’m good for beans and corn as well. the more the merrier. I’m going to create this as a private wiki, so I just need email addresses for those to be added.

So who (around here) would like to buckle down with me in a cooperative to feed all our families on organic, home-grown, locally raised, or locally hunted food? We’ll need to cover all areas – protein (meat and non-meat sources), eggs, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Mushroom growers are also welcome!”

– JT

*

(see modern economic theory article – Post-Bubble Recession Economics)

Cold & Flu Remedies

Posted in Medical with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2014 by Drogo

Home Treatment for Head Congestion

Cold & Flu Viruses may not have cures, but there are many treatments we can do while confined to our homes during the period of illness (days to weeks). Colds and Flus usually cannot be treated with Anti-biotics, because colds and flus are usually viruses not bacterias. If symptoms worsen then a doctor should be contacted. Strep-throat, bronchitis, Scarlet-fever, and other worse illnesses should be treated by doctors.

General list of Cold & Flu remedies:

Vitamins (C&D), Hot Drinks (Herb Teas), Hot Soups, Honey, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Black Pepper, Hot Peppers, Bed, Blankets, Hot Bath, Eucalyptus, Angelica, Heaters (electric), High Metabolism, Hot body temp, Nedy-pot,  Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Nyquil, Robotusin, Sutafed, Anti-Histamines, …

Chicory

Posted in Nature Studies, Organic Gardens with tags , , , on September 13, 2011 by Drogo

Blue Chicory Wild Flowers

Cichorium intybus

AKA: blue sailors, succory, coffeeweed, endive, sugarloaf or witloof

Chicory is a very common wild flower, and has herbal healing powers. Its leaves can be eaten raw, its roots can be baked and ground as herbal-coffee, its chicon buds can be eaten blanched, and its flowers can be eaten. It is a healthy forage crop for livestock. The oils in the plant (mostly in the root) are digestive medicine.

Chicory root contains up to 20% inulin, a polysaccharide similar to starch. It is used as a sweetener in the food industry with a sweetening power 110 that of sucrose. Inulin can be converted to fructose and glucose. Root chicory contains volatile oils similar to those found in plants in the related genus Tanacetum which includes Tansy, and is similarly effective at eliminating intestinal worms. All parts of the plant contain these volatile oils, with the majority of the toxic components concentrated in the plant’s root. Chicory roots are an “excellent substitute for oats” for horses due to their protein and fat content. (Wikipedia)

The magic of Chicory may even open locked doors!

 

 

 

 

Are You Going to Harpers Faerie?

Posted in Poems, Rhymes, Riddles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2011 by Drogo

(Recited to the tune of Scarborough Fair)

 

Are you going to Harpers Faerie?

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Remember me as one of the Faerie.

Herbs on the hill, spirits to calm.

 

 

Have them make me some peppermint tea.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

With rain-water and local honey.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Faerie dust shall be spread on high-land.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Tell them this must be done by their hand.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Plow the land with the horns of a stag.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee Balm.

Then sow some seeds while smoking a fag.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Harvested with gauntlets of leather.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Reap it up in a bunch of heather.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Tell them to dry it in an old Oak tree.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Gather with a basket of mulberry.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

Have them steep it in yonder cistern.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee-Balm.

Make sure to add, some Bakerton Cat-Nip.

When I die, my soul it will calm.

 

 

When thou has finished thy task.

Pep-per-mint, Lemon, and Bee Balm.

Come to me, a favor to ask.

* When I die, my soul will be calm.

Garden Plants

Posted in Organic Gardens with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Drogo

Garden Plants

6 types: Flowers, Leafy Plants, Herbs, Vegetables, Fruits, Berries

Gardens can be made of many things. There are rock gardens, sculpture gardens, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and flower gardens to name a few types. They can also range in size from a small patch to almost farm field size. Also the variety of combinations is endless.

*

FLOWERS

Wild Flowers

Violets, Blue Chicory, Tansy, Dandelions

Dandelions….thats a big one for me, its so insane how people are brainwashed to hate them and seek to poison and kill all of them, like clovers, violets, wild spinaches etc etc; also the complexity of biodiversity studies to me is more important than how “neat and clean” the garden looks. To me the species of plants, their relationships with themselves, bugs, animals, and how self sustaining they are is much more important to me than conventional aesthetics. How we are taught to look at an “unweeded” garden in disgust, and say it needs work, even though while looking more natural, the weeding is done subtly and selectively for maximum efficiency of time and effort and to make it look less manicured and more independent.

Bees

Pollination

*

LEAFY PLANTS (Green and Ornamental types)

grasses, weeds, bushes, dwarf trees, hostas, ferns, hemp

*

HERBS

10 most common herbs:

mints, oregano,  frankincense, myrrh, lavender,  parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil

other herbs (some are also considered flowers, spices or vegetables):

anise, artemisia, angelica, bay laurel, borage, burnet,   calendula, caraway, chamomile, chervil, chives, clove tree, coriander, cilantro, cinnamon, dill, ferns, fennel, feverfew, garlic, geranium, germander, hesperis, horehound, hyssop, lovage, licorice, lamb’s ear, mullein, marjoram, marijuana, nasturtium, nutmeg, perilla, santolina, sorrl, spices, pepper (black), rue, savory, tansy, tarragon, valerian, verbena, queen anne’s lace, woodruff, wormwood, yarrow

 

Peppermint

*

VEGETABLES

Beans, potatoes, carrots, beets, squash, (to be continued…)

*

FRUIT

Apples, Pears, Melons, Cherries, Plums, Pawpaw, Figs, Tropical fruits (not for outdoor areas that get snow)

*

BERRIES (edible)

Raspberries, snake berries, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries,

*

*** THIS ARTICLE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns

Posted in Arts (Design & Performance), Nature Studies, Organic Gardens, Sustainability with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2010 by Drogo

Environmental Lawns

Environmentally conscious lawns should consider the ecological impact of their existence, and should tend to function more like the natural environment of the surrounding landscape. How much fossil fuel is wasted maintaining your lawn? How much pollution and artificial garbage is created from maintaining the lawn? How hard do you have to work, or how much money do you pay to maintain your lawn?

Green Grass & Purple Violets

Meadows in nature have various types of grasses and plants, although certain species can dominate particular fields at certain times. Most meadows have wildflowers, clovers, and other types of plants in them; therefore an environmental lawn should have different representatives present, reflecting indigenous plants. Rather than using herbicides that pollute our environment, we should allow plants that are often called “weeds” to be included in our wanted lawn vegetation. Dandelions, clovers, violets and others when allowed to grow and bloom in a lawn add a natural beauty that has been so long denied by a Nazi style psychology attached to keeping lawns.

Organic Bio-Diversity in Lawns is the best design according to Nature.

Ecological Gardens

Gardens usually mean less mowing area, but also require maintenance of their own. Gardens need planting, tilling, weeding, watering, and sunlight; the amounts of which depend on various environmental factors. The key is to reduce the amount of soil area exposed between plants, thus increasing plant density. Mulch piles are a must.

Mulching Mowers

Neuton Electric Battery Mowers cut as aggressively as electric cord mowers, which is almost as strong as combustion fossil fuel mowers. They come with 2 batteries, 2 blades, and parts can be reordered as needed. The Neuton company is based in New England.
We need to cut down on Oil Consumption. One way is to stop using Oil and Gas mowers. Use human powered mowers, or Electric which can be supplied by Alternative means (Wind, Solar, Hydro, Geothermal, etc…). Tractor mowers with Diesel engines need to be run more on Vegetable Oil (Bio-Diesel).
Switch to fuels that can be produced from rapidly renewable or constantly renewed resources. Let’s get alternative energy, from the natural sources.  Build the alternative systems into the mainstream by mass marketing, and they will consume. It must become more than trendy, it must become as sexy, fun, and patriotic as joining the military during World War II.

Watch SCOD Greenhood video!