Packing, foraging and stitching

19 04 2010

Today, I started the Great Packing.  I reserved a van for May 3rd and told the landlady that we would be out by then.  The move, now, has officially begun.

I realized that I know why I was putting off this move, more than others before it.  While I was packing, a huge thing was on my mind: “Is this going to my house, or his house?  Do I need one of these?  Should we make a list of things that we don’t have duplicates of?” and, perhaps the hardest “How the heck am I going to do this whole financial independence thing?”

It’s much more pleasant to just ignore these things, and procrastinate on packing and just go outside and forage.  Which is what I ended up doing.  To my credit, it was a pre-planned adventure.

I gathered with three other women, who were all more knowledgeable about wild plants than I, and with little A, we walked down to a river path with a great nettle patch.

I learned so many plants today!  The first one we encountered, growing in someone’s lawn, was garlic mustard.

Garlic mustard has a nice spicy flavour and can be used in salads and in pesto.  It can also, apparently, be dried and used as an herb in cooking.  I find it quite delicious!  It is also an invasive species and takes over native plant habitat in North America.  We picked and ate a bunch, and little A really loved it. 🙂

Our “guide” also informed us of the process she goes through to honour the plants that are offering their leaves to us.  She recommended we give an offering (tobacco, cornmeal or reiki were her recommendations) to complete the energy exchange.  She also recommended, which I already do, that we ask the plant if it would like to give of itself.  I usually find that leafy food plants are pretty willing to part with their leaves, as that is what they are here to do: be primary producers!

We next came across stinging nettle, which was what I was really interested in learning how to harvest.  Little A and I drink nettle ta almost every morning and I was super excited to find out that we can harvest nettles locally!  YAY!

Stinging nettles are incredibly nutritious: high in vitamins C and K, and high in calcium and iron.  They also act as a cleanser and an alkalinizer in the body.  Nettles are best harvested for food in early spring.  They can also be dried for tea for later in the year.  In food, nettles can be used instead of spinach, as they have a similar taste.  Tonight, we put our nettles in a pasta dish and they were delicious!! Chris even ate them.  Little A liked eating the raw leaves, but you have to be pretty careful to get the stingers out.  I got stung quite a bit, and though it was painful at first, my body easily aclimatized to the stinging.  Apparently, the sting induces an immune system response and boosts the immune system.  Apparently the stings are also good at treating arthritis, though I don’t really know how that works…

We searched for wild leeks, but found none.  We also found motherwort, yellow dock and burdock.

And, I got to strengthen bonds with some of the most amazing women I know around these parts, which was a real blessing.

I feel so happy that little A is able to have these experiences of learning the plants, being with the Earth, sharing with wise women and growing up connected.

Finally, when I came home, I made dinner and worked on my stitching.  I started a new project, which is a mother-tree-birth-goddess.  I’m really excited because this is a piece that I created myself and am designing the stitches for myself!  WOOHOO!  It feels like real creativity.  I think this will either be a wall hanging or a journal cover.  It’s so much easier to stitch on regular fabric.  Velour is really hard to embroider on.  I would definitely not recommend it to anyone for their first project.

I was going to show you a fairly bad photo of the current stitching, but my computer is on the fritz.  So, you will all have to wait for a much better picture later this week. 🙂

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