Category Archives: wild edibles and the art life

Cholla Flower Buds, Singing to Plants and Planting Songs.

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Cylindropuntia imbricata

Family: Cactaceae

The Cholla cactus used to be considered in the same genus as the Prickly Pear cactus but now is in its own genus.

There are different types of cholla but I harvested Cholla buds from the fuschia flowered cholla growing all around where I live.

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It is commonly called cane cholla.

Cholla grows primarily in the Southwest U.S. it has been naturalized in parts of Australia, where it is known as Devil cane.

Cholla flower buds are high in soluble fiber and have more calcium in two tablespoons than a glass of milk. Many people are lactose intolerant or have digestive issues with dairy or allergies. So plant sources of calcium make a lot of sense!

Cholla flower buds are an excellent plant source of calcium.

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And here is a bit more health focus about Cholla flower buds which are high in soluble fiber as well as calcium. Also a good amount of iron. Protein is 6 grams per serving!

source

Soluble fiber….what is it good for?

“… Soluble fiber, which dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples, blueberries.” ………
…….And Cholla Flower Buds!

Cholla flower buds are eaten for taste but also to stave off osteoporosis and help with diabetes and blood sugar management.

Go Cholla!

I admit there have been times I have looked out at vast fields of Cholla growing with wonderment. But, also a sense of overwhelm. The desert is gorgeous but tough to live in. Now I feel more connected to Cholla. Not only as a prolific and adapted cactus but as an amazing food source. With all your thorns and abilities to thrive in the high desert, I presently call home… you beautify my life with your flowers, thorns and silouhette against blue skies and storms, Cholla.

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You nourish me.
You drew me near.
With respect and tongs 🙂
I need songs…
I gathered from your spiney stems.

6 Cholla flower buds to add green bounty to my beans.

In my tanktop and cutoff jeans.

Sweat pouring from my forehead. I took a break from domestic tasks, and various mind chatter.

You nourish me.
Cholla, called me near.
And the ants…
Ants thrive here too.
And were called by Cholla to survive, thrive.

I am just one human surrounded by dozens of Cholla and countless ants swarming for nectar.

Grateful for the green I have for my supper

Cholla

More meanderings than poetry but I think you know what I mean.

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Twice today, I have heard of the importance of singing to plants. And, for the tradition, of so many traditional peoples of the world, who sing to plants… when growing them, foraging, connecting with, and making plant medicine. 🍃🎵

Cholla flower buds are a traditional food of many Pueblo peoples.

Buckthorn Cholla grows near the Tohono O’odham people although most if not all cholla flower buds are said to be edible.

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The Hopi people, the Tohono O’odham, still gather Ciolum, Cholla flower buds, for a delicious and health giving food source.

The next link features a woman singing to Ciolim. She talks about coyote. How coyote will be upset. Because she got up early to harvest the wonderful Ciolim.

Or maybe someone sleeps late. Coyote is happy to get the Ciolim early in the morning.

Ciolim helps balance blood sugar.

The woman in the video says that leaving traditional foods behind has caused health problems. Returning with respect to these foods can help restore health balance. And she is one of many, who each year, respect and forage Ciolim.

It is often boiled after removing spines by rubbing against metal screens or colanders. I burned the cactus spines and fine sharp hairs, called glochids, off with my small stove. Then I boiled the buds for 15 minutes. They do taste a bit like asparagus. They are Okra like. Though, I personally like them better.

Of course, fried… could be really yummy too. With a dipping sauce. Maybe some Sumac spice in the batter?

Local foods and spices. Fine dining foraging style!

Here is a recipe I found that is simple and looks good.

Be sure to de-spine the cactus. Both the longer spines and barely visible glochid spines. I burned mine off, then boiled the buds for 15 minutes.

-De-spine Cholla flower buds and/or new growth stem joints.
-Make a batter of Cornmeal, whole wheat flour or other flour, salt & pepper, spices
-Roll pieces in batter and fry in oil

There are still a lot of cholla buds near me. I would like to try this recipe.

Also, you can de-spine them, boil for 15 minutes then dry/dehydrate them for future use.

My father, when he came to visit me, cut a stem of Cholla and replanted it when he got home. They re-plant really easily. Just let the stem piece scar over for a few days. Then stick it in soil. It should take to re-planting easily.

Would you like to grow your own Cholla from seed? Check out this great site. And, you can buy a jar of Cholla buds too!

nativeseeds.org

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Songs to Ciolim!

Also a wonderful site above of empowerment and community for the Tohono O’odham.

Also today I heard this podcast from Mountain Rose Herbs. Rosemary Gladstar talks about many wonderful things including connecting to plants through song.

And listen to her community herbal song ❤

Funny, I was so happy in my garden this morning, I was singing to my plants, before I learned of these songs and traditions today.

Here is some fencing we made by dragging branches of dead cholla over to protect our container garden.

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A beautiful flute song.
A Hopi Corn Planting Song based on traditional music.
Played and recorded by Eddy Herier.

listen

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The dead cholla makes a beautiful wood skeleton which is often used as a walking cane or ceremonially, and religious use. Also in art.

Here is the remnant of some of that beautiful cholla skeketon.

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Thankyou Cholla for making my skeleton strong.

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Sources include posted sites and:

Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest. by Telena Dull,
University of Texas Press. Austin, 1987.

Lemon scent in the Wild West! Limoncillo Tea!

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Pectis Angustifolia
Plant Family: Asteraceae

Common name: Limoncillo, lemonscent, lemonscented cinchweed

(Always check latin binomial name above as different plants can have the same nickname or common name!)

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Identification characteristics:
See book source end of post. Author: Delena Tull

Bright yellow flower heads are small
1/2 ” (1 cm) across
Leaves are 1/2-1.5″ (1-4cm) long and less than 1/8 ” long (1-2 mm) broad
Other aromatic species of Pectis may be used in a similar way.

*Harvest from larger colonies of the plant only.

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Note: Please see additional sources in identifying this or other plants. Bring an expert with you and/or someone who knows!

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I really wish I had taken more pictures of this lovely plant.
(I’ve added more from the following summer!)

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I learned about this plant when I went on a Nature Hike and in the link of the post I tell all about the Clammy Ground cherry!

But, I didn’t want to slow down anyone else around me or miss the upcoming, nearby plants of interest and discussion. So this year, I got one picture of the Limoncillo plant in full bloom. So glad I got a vibrant picture of all the flowers in bloom!

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Turns out it makes a lovely lemony tea! Terri and I really enjoyed it.

No-one on the hike really knew the name of the plant. Just that it made a really refreshing lemony flavored tea.

I have been taking a Clinical Herbalism class. Learning about the medical aspects of Herbs.
I am all ears during the class and just love it!
I am taking the class in Albuquerque, New Mexico and quite enjoy being in a different place and city for a few hours every week!

I have been adding to my personal library of plant books.
After buying my textbook for class… I purchased this book!

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Written by Delena, Tull.

I wasn’t sure if I was getting too extravagant but really felt a book, as the title describes, would be very useful.

Imagine my delight when I found color plate 15!
Yes, got to admit after a couple of weeks research, I was very happy to find out more about the mystery plant.

It became a mystery to me, because just a little nibble of the flower, captivated me by its very pleasant, lemony-fruity flavor. I really hoped I could find this plant just 5 or so miles away where I lived.

And turns out I did!

I thought it was a member of the asteraceae family and looked a bit like the ray petals of a dandelion…although a different shaped flower.

Here is plate 15 from this book I have been talking about!

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This plant is commonly called Limoncillo.

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This is a nickname that other plants that grow in the region have due to its lemony scent.
Other plants that have this nickname and grow nearby are called False Pennyroyal.

Pectis angustifolia is the Limoncello plant I made the tea out of.

When I found it just a few weeks or so later it was starting to dry out.
Coming to the end of its season as an annual plant.

Funny, as is often the case with me…
I had walked by this low lying plant and thought…
Well, maybe.

When dry, the surrounding leaves appear bract like. Its appearance was somewhat reminiscent of the plant in full bloom but different enough to make me not sure. So, the first walk I took… I noticed it in the back of my mind but wasn’t sure.

You can see the difference.

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Or maybe better here…

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Another aspect to foraging or wildcrafting.
Plants change according to the season! And in late summer, early fall this plant changes a lot!

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The leaves sticking out of the now drying plant, gave it a bract like appearance that made me question the plants the first time.

Some of the flowers smelled lemony but were pretty far gone in the patch I had discovered that first day…

The second time I went not just meandering but looking for Limoncillo!… the memory of those few week older and drying, annual plants were still in the back of my mind.

Terri came with me. Our friends from where the nature hike was… was a bit lower in elevation, so we decided to take a path leading down to lower elevations.

And that is where we found our Limoncillo plants!

Here is the hill we wandered down.

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And here are the flowers and some leaves and short stems we foraged for our tea!

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We added a loose amount in a 4 oz jar shown here. A small jar…
To a small pot of water.

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Brought it to a boil for 5 minutes and then turned off the heat, covered the pot, and steeped the tea for 10 minutes.

We loved it. It tasted a bit earthy like chamomile but with the overall fruity-lemony taste! By far one of my favorite foraged plants. It makes a lovely tea!

And I am grateful!

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A tea for one, or two or many!

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Early fall flowers above

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And late summer blooms

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Wild lemony tea! Limoncillo!

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Delena Tull in her book: Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest… highlights use of the Pectis angustifolia/papposa plant.

P. 157
“The leaves and flowers of the low-growing annual herbs provide a pleasant lemony tea. Limoncillo blooms in summer and fall. The young, ediible leaves may be added as flavoring to stews. The volatile oil can be used to scent perfume, and the herb furnishes a yellow dye for wool. The pollen can cause hay fever in sensitive individuals. Found growing on calcium-rich soils throughout the Southwest, these fragrant wildflowers provide one of the best wild teas in the West…”

Wild Limoncillo…

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Pectis angustifolia

Pectis papposa

Asteraceae: Many healing plants!

Pectis angustifolia also has specific medicinal use. Please see source link below as well as bibliogaphy in link.

plant info source and medical use

Text Source:

Edible and Useful Plants of the Southwest. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. by Delena Tull, University of Texas Press. Revised ed., 2013.

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In the shade of a prickly pear cactus!

And near a favorite arroyo at a lower elevation… still in bloom at the end of September.

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limoncillo in the arroyo

The Pear of the Prickly Pear Cactus. Healing Fruit!

Opuntia… Species
Prickly pear cactus and fruit

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betalain lessons arthritis symptoms!

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helps with diabetes, lowers cholesterol & is anti-inflammmatory!

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Be careful when harvesting! Even the fruit has little spines which hurt and can irritate! They are difficult to remove.
And as you can see, on this variety of opuntia cactus, the spines on the nopales pads are very sharp and long.

I did pull this out of my thumb!

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Here is Terri, taking her turn foraging with tongs!

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Where there is smoke there is fire! Something I am realizing is a powerful metaphor for learning, personally, especially now.

But hey, where there is smoke there is fire! And fires were breaking out in the mountain ranges around us.

We wanted to prepare the fruit for use by burning off the glochids… over hot coals. We were thinking of putting the fruit in a metal mesh strainer with a metal base and handle. Stirring the prickly pears, semi immersed/hovering over hot coals… and turning them over to burn off the glochids… the little cactus spines on the fruit.

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We were going to use our outdoor firepit. We call our hearth. But with smoke in neighboring mountains all around we did not want to make our neighbors and others who could see our smoke plume… have cause for fear. So, we lit the coleman stove and used that flame to burn off the glochids on our fruit instead.

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These fruit are related to more popular prickly pears, often called tunas. Those appear to have more fruit and less seeds. These have a skin layer of fruit around a bunch of seeds. It is filled with moist seeds that honestly reminded me of frog eggs!. The pulp and skin (minus glochids) are all edible when blended in a vitamix for a juice. Then strain the juice to avoid bits of the rock hard seeds! Or remove seeds to begin with.

Also, remove the seeds from the fruit if you are making a jam or pie with the fruit because they are very hard and NOT chewable at all!

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Here are some of the moist seeds with part of the fruit pulp.

I made an empanada using the de-seeded fruit, coconut sugar, and water (heated and syrupy) for the fruit filling and amaranth flour for the dough. Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite recipe but the fruit was quite good. We ended up straining off the prickly pear fruit sugar syrup and that was delicious!

This sugar syrup is rich in betalains and nutrition. In fact, coconut sugar does not spike blood sugar levels and it is yummy!

Betalains, that are in the fruit are a great source of anti-inflammatory agents. Betalains also exist in smaller amount in beets and swiss chard. But, prickly pear fruit, its rich red pulp, has the highest amount of Betalains. Here is to your health! People suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions are said to benefit from these betalains.

Prickly Pear Coconut Sugar Syrup

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Enjoy this Prickly Pear and Rose Cachaça cocktail!

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Also research suggests a lowering of cholesterol and an aid for symptoms of diabetes. Other benefits also include some antiviral activity and other benefits!

To think this fruit is surrounding me in the New Mexico desert. Of course, I won’t forage them all. I just foraged a few. Respect for how hard the desert plants work to survive and the other creatures who enjoy the fruit too.

I am grateful to learn more about the Prickly pear cactus and its fruit.

Prickly pear is a natural refrigerant… it cools your body down. Especially the fruit. But don’t over consume! It can in some cases lead to cactus fever. A condition that results from over consumption.

A 4 oz glass of Prickly pear juice in this case would be a good serving. And cooling and refreshing too.

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And, thankyou for joining me on this foraging journey!

cactus facts

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My homepage on harvesting Nopales…cactus pads!

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And the following spring….one of the first blooms

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Spicey not Dicey. Spice it Up with Pepper Grass! And Snakeweed Salve Soothes!

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Lepidium virginicum
Family: Brassicaceae

Brassicaceae Family

identifying the mustard family (Brassicaceae) by its flowers

According to the top link above,
Nutrition of the Brassicaceae
plant family is rich in these vitamins and minerals:

“This family is crucial in any diet for vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, K, and the minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium”

Quite a boon of nutrition!

*avoid areas with heavy metals or nitrates since pepper grass absorbs these from the soil if the soil has high amounts. As many plants will do.

Therefore, avoid areas with ferilizer run off.
Good to get soil tested if any doubt.

Habitat:
Fields, vacant lots, grazing land, disturbed areas, roadsides, waste sites.

And Pepper grass grows all around me in the high desert of New Mexico. It was formerly a ranch where I now live.

Common name/Nickname: Pepper grass, Poor Man’s pepper, Pepper weed, Milk Bottle

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In amidst the old branches of a dying tree

Turns out I had seen pepper grass quite a bit! I had walked past, stopped to admire it, commented on it, and grown friendly to its presence everywhere.

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Little did I know this bouncy, bountiful plant was a yummy, mustard-y, radish like green.
I bet it would taste great in a salt preserved sauerkraut!

Why not toss a few juniper berries in too?

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Juniper berries are traditional in Sauerkraut.
Come to find out the bluish/white cast on them is a type of yeast.
Many people these days are making breads and other fermented foods using natural yeast like on the juniper berries! I love these adventurous and accomplishing souls!

make your own sourdough starter the old fashioned way!

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Here is my story of Pepper grass. I walked a quarter mile or less around the horseshoe shaped land above a basin of land to where my friend stays. From my place to hers.
I hadn’t seen her in a while. I was missing her. And, she offers such a lovely flurry of blessings my way. She is often to annoint me with a cascade of treats such as: essential oils, gifts and yummy food. Her friendship and our laughter.

We often read tarot for each other and she is a passionate, creative and generous friend.

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I told her I was foraging wild foods… albeit thoroughly, blush… and a bit slowly.

She glanced quickly around. She said well there is plenty around us in the desert of New Mexico… and she picked a bunch of bottlebrush like white flowers, leaves and stems, just like that! To my happy surprise! 🙂

She said, taste this!… And, I am so glad I did! Yum! What a surprise! I like mustard-y tastes and it had a taste like horse radish too. Now it is one of my favorite nibbles and it is super good for you too! I just eat the whole thing… excluding the roots. Flowers and all and I have just one thing to say…
Thankyou friend!

Here are some more pictures of Pepper Grass to help you identify it!

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Pepper Grass Basal set of leaves

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Pepper Grass Basal leaves with stem

These Pepper grass plants are going to seed. It is a couple weeks away from autumn.

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Excluding the yellow flowered plant, the Snakeweed plant, this is pepper grass!

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More Information and pictures about Escoba de la Vibora a.k.a. Snakeweed, snakebroom…

Escoba de la Vibora
Snakeweed
Gutierrezia sarothrae
Other Names: broom snakeweed, Matchweed, Snakebroom, broomweed, Collale, Yerba de la Vibora
Family: Asteraceae

Salves , herbal oils and tea infusions for baths made from this plant are soothing for arthritis. And it often grows near the Pepper Grass plant so I like to talk about it here!

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New growth of Snakeweed above.

Flowers below:

 

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This yellow flowered plant, the snakeweed plant, grows all around me too!

I want to make a healing salve from this plant!
It is used medicinally to aid in symptoms of arthritis. It is a medicinal plant and can be used for a healing tea and often for a bath that relieves achiness and discomfort for arthritis and sore muscles.

Michael Moore, herbalist… in his book: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West., p.p. 110-112, describes the uses and methods of utilizing Escoba de la Vibora.

For a basic formula he suggests to boil one small bundle in a quart of water.
Then sip 2-4 ounces of the infusion of herb.
Then add the rest to bathwater while enjoying part of a book. For me, this would be this book of info!

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I just had to harvest some more Yerba de la Vibora! It is the beginning of October and I am sure we want to take, at least, one healing bath for our … mid century aches and pains! Here a bundle is drying!

According to Moore: Further specific Medicinal Use:
“Steep a cup of finely chopped herb for thirty minutes
In a quart of water, strain, and add the tea to a hot bath to alleviate the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.” It is regarded a safe herb for baths.

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And, also according to this source, a tea of it can be good for stomach ache and excessive menstruation.

And, also: “It is a respected, almost revered remedio among Hispanic New Mexico and Arizona peoples, where a tea of the herb is usually drunk while bathing in it. … it is common, safe, and may sometimes work so well for joint inflammations as
to supplant salicylate (aspirin) treatments…(snakeweed is) preferred for headache, sore legs or an aching body.”

Also, Moore describes that several of the terpenes of this plant increase skin permeability, increasing the healing properties of Escoba de la Virbona.

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Yay, this was a first for me! I wildcrafted snakeweed and verbena. I dried it in the sun for a few days and then made it into a salve! I used organic sunflower oil to infuse the herbs. And, added a few drops of vetiver essential oil. Beeswax was melted and added. It is a relaxing soothing herb salve, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and nervine benefitting.

*Harvest from non-polluted areas or buy from organic sources if possible.*

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Verbena grows all around me in New Mexico!

What a fun herbal project. Tips… it takes 1.5 oz of beeswax per every 16 oz of oil for the salve.

Check out these helpful sites!

tips on making infused oils and salves!

A new friend I met on a nature hike also related that snakeweed will also show up in areas that have been over grazed.

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snakeweed oil and salve!

stove top method for infused oils and other tips!

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And back around the bend to Peppergrass!

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peppergrass article and recipe!

Memory course: Pepper grass

Health Benefits Pepper Grass!

“Anthelmintic; Antiasthmatic; Antiscorbutic; Antitussive; Cardiotonic; Diuretic.

The leaves of wild pepper-grass are nutritious and generally detoxifying, they have been used to treat vitamin C deficiency and diabetes, and to expel intestinal worms[254]. The herb is also diuretic and of benefit in easing rheumatic pain[254]. North American Indians used the bruised fresh plant, or a tea made from the leaves to treat poison ivy rash and scurvy[222]. A poultice of the leaves was applied to the chest in the treatment of croup[222]. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, cardiotonic and diuretic[176]. It is used in the treatment of coughs and asthma with excessive phlegm, oedema, oliguria and liquid accumulation in the thoraco-abdominal cavity[176].A poultice of the bruised roots has been used to draw out blisters[257]. The root is used to treat excess catarrh within the respiratory tract[254].”

medical source

So what have I cooked with it?…

I have just eaten it as an uplifting, radish-y, nourishing and healing nibble! Lucky me! It grows all around me. If I’m smart I will dry some for colder months ahead!

Here is me with a lucky nibble!

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Ha ha ha … but true… I did munch away, happily!
And, thankyou friend for showing me Pepper grass!
What a way to spice up my life and thankyou! 🙂

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It does make a pretty bouquet too!

As does this drying herbal bundle of Snakebroom!

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I wonder if the origin of Bride’s bouquets was an herbal bundle of healing blooms?…

This thought encouraged me to look more into the origin of Bouquets!

Text Sources:
Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods. By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. by, Michael Moore, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, 2003.

Clammy Ground Cherry and the Wilding Way

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identify clammy or smooth ground cherries!

Physalis heterophylla
Common name/Nicknames: Clammy Ground Cherry, Ground Cherry, Husk cherry, Husk tomato, Chinese lantern, Inca berry
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade Family)

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Ground Cherry fruit in its beautiful papery lantern husks in early fall

and this next one was an abandoned feast, lying on the arroyo floor…

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Harvest fruit in Autumn
calyx… lantern like casing not edible. Only ripe fruit is!

Nutrition may be similar to Tomatillo
And perhaps more since it has not been cultivated… consider: phytonutrients, flavanoids, etc. Which may be additional when a wild plant.

See more nutritional info at end of post.

plant info

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(I think it is indeed ripening… more yellow today!)

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I’ve read that when the fruit of this cherry is yellow it is the Clammy ground cherry!

As is the spiral through time and space that I am learning about foraged plants… so it is with Clammy ground cherry. I have been admiring them, and learning about them, along with other nightshades that look like they grow tiny yellow tomatoes without husks or calyxes… are poisonous! beautiful, but poisonous.

see toxic look alikes

belladonna poisonous nightshade

But I love plants and it is so interesting to learn about families of plants. The edible, the poisonous, the look alikes and the plants which are in the same family but appear so different!

So this is spiral like too… or labyrinthine. Like when the datura pops and bursts open like my new foraging, plant hike friend, described.

She told our plant hike gathering, how she has admired the beauty of the nightshade datura … for many years.

Then one evening she had the time alone, she admitted was a rare treat, to admire the datura…

When to her delight and surprise, she saw and heard, as the interlocking tendrils at the end of the flowers (which hook it spirally shut)… at just the right moment, popped open and unfurled, to reveal their splendor.

I am so grateful that she shared her story on our plant hike. Stories help us unfold and glean the true wisdom and joy of plants and unfurl a learning experience we can all remember!

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Here is the first Datura plant on my friends’ property and Sustainable Learning Center called Ampersand. Now, some 10 years later, there are many datura plants that have chosen to thrive there.

I love the beautiful datura and have often called it the lily of the desert. It is a nightshade like the Clammy ground cherry… but NOT edible.

Humans have to share afterall. Not all plants developed as edible plants for humans… strong alkaloids and other compounds have developed over time as a plant’s evolutionary defense.

And plants can be teachers and allies, not just through edibility. A reminder to me, to learn about plant neighbors. What plants are growing near a wild edible plant. This tells more of the story of the plant. The story of the soil and place.

…the circle unravels and travels the spiral where we begin…

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Flowering Alfalfa in the arroyo. Yummy alfalfa by the way! near nature hike…

So I got to go on a nature hike, through the happy connection of one friend telling me about the nature hike… that she was hoping to go to, at Ampersand.

Ampersand was created by Amanda and her partner Andy as a Sustainable Learning Center in Cerrillos, New Mexico.

I had been wanting to go to this particular event and because of my schedule had missed out on other nature hikes… but I had that Sunday off!
Amanda gave a hearty welcome for me to join. I couldn’t wait! 🙂

On this nature excursion, Amanda and others discussed and pointed out edible and medicinal plants. I was overjoyed.

This also included stories like the one about datura and traditional Native uses of plants, i.e. the Cleome plant which was used as food (wild spinach) and a dye for pottery painting.

patterns and the fourth sister: Cleome!

Cleome, Cleome Serrulata, is also known as
Rocky Mountain Bee Plant!

Capparaceae family of plants.

The Navajo refer to this plant as Waa’

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patterns of the caper family.

I just love this plant, Cleome!

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Ampersand is located near a beautiful arroyo, meadow and desert area… (not too far from me.) It is a diverse riparian area and so many beautiful plants grow there. Here is Amanda from Ampersand our beautiful and knowledgeable nature hike guide sitting and enjoying a patch of false pennyroyal!

Ampersand! Sustainable Learning Center

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This area is resplendent with all sorts of edible and healing plants. Like this soothing, nervine benefitting herb Verbena!

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Verbena, what a Healer!

tips on making salves

And, I made my own healing salve with snakeweed and verbena! Soothing and anti-inflammatory!

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Clammy Ground Cherry…where do you live?

Habitat:

“It is found mainly in habitats such as dry or mesic prairies, gravel hills and rises, sandy or rocky soils, and waste places such as roadsides.”

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Related to the tomatillo. In fact the Tomatillo is a cultivated Ground Cherry!

Here are more pictures of the Clammy Ground Cherry!

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Plant showing the leaves and ground cherries below hanging in their papery lantern husks!

clammy ground cherry!

native american medicinal use

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My new nature hike friend showing me what lies within the “paper lantern!”

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Showing each other Ground cherries on the nature hike!

Only eat Clammy ground cherries when they ripen to yellow. They contain alkaloids which could be potentially fatal and/or harmful if not ripe!… green is unripe in this case!

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Okay so what can I make with Clammy ground cherries?… jam, pie, a fruity nibble… empanadas…

I just love this person! They made a Ground Cherry pie from a similar species… Physalis peruviana… but
Physalis heterophylla would work great too!
Wow that’s a lot of science… but so is good baking so here goes!

Ground Cherry Pie, Cupcakes and Salsa Recipes!

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Here it is a greenish yellow on the windowsill of a sweet housesit!

I read somewhere that they will fully ripen to a (full yellow) in this case… just like their cousins the tomatoes… will ripen when left to do the same!

I will keep you posted as my journey with Clammy ground cherry continues!

I can’t wait to taste my Clammy ground cherry
once it is fully ripe!

tomatillos are cultivated ground cherries!

Medical Use clammy ground cherries…

From the above Medical Use… link:

” (Peterson Field Guides, Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, 1990) report that the American Indians made a tea of the leaves and roots of Clammy Ground Cherry, P. heterophylla, for headaches, wash for burns, scalds; in herbal compounds to induce vomiting for bad stomach aches; root and leaves poulticed for wounds. Seeds of this and other species were considered useful for difficult urination, fevers, inflammation, and various urinary disorders.”

Also may have anti-tumor properties which are being researched.

more medical source

Ripe berries can also be dried and ground into a flour to add to breads and doughs.

Nutrition:

from Primaldocs.com

Clammy Ground Cherry is a powerhouse of Nutrition!

It is filled with Vitamin A
B complex vitamins
Phosphorus, potassium, and iron
Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory agents

Including withanolides which cut off cancer cells/tumors ability to make blood vessels to itself

withanolides and physalis

Also, reportedly protects your liver from some forms of toxicity as well as aiding in illness from diabetes and hypertension.

The author, of Primaldocs.com, Arthur Haines, closes this excellent article by talking about the importance of re-wilding one’s life. That the impact of doing so changes one’s life for the better. With nutrition and sense of connectedness to nature, the world.

And that this task of re-wilding is essential to our wellbeing. That we regain ecological knowledge and wisdom and move from being told what to eat by supermarket shelves to a more closely related connection to wild foods and beings that share an ecological path with us.

Re-wilding is a path I am glad I am on!

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Clammy Ground Cherry you have guided my way!

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Keepin on Nature Hiking

Amaranth the Immortal Green and Grain!

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Story of a plant and how it helped me find its name.

Amaranth. I found you. You let me find you.
I remember. Looking intently at plants growing near a field of corn in the plains area just west of Denver, Colorado.

You were in the ditches near the field.
Alongside the road that tractors drive on.
Where we walked our dog.

Pigweed is the name that threw me off from you. Hard to latch onto, although pigs have good taste!

I thought the green, spikey cluster of flowers at the top could tip me off that it was, indeed, you.

But the leaves, the stem… the overall characteristics of you, Amaranth.
Wild, green leaved Amaranth.
Was something.
I still was not sure.
Like mistaken identity.
Or a case of amnesia where all I have is a picture to go by
with no name.

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It took me over a year of meanderings.
And leavetakings. Learning other plants which made my acquaintance before…

I found you on the upper banks along the foot and bicycle path of the Santa Fe river where I was walking.
A frequent walk which helped me notice you enough to wake up my sleeping vision and actually see you!

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(Patch of Amaranth in foreground on bank of river)

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(Just a week ago water was rushing through this riverbed. It was bone dry when I took the photo only to rush with water, just a few hours later. Rain from the mountain top making its way down. Perhaps over a course of days…)

The fertile banks of the river.
That is where you greeted me and lead me to understand your introduction. Where I finally learned to meet you. To see you for what you are. Amaranth the immortal green and grain.

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(In this location grows near the yellow flowered plant. Looks similar but only one is the edible, healing Amaranth!)

Grateful Harvest
near the riverbed

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(Can you see the top Amaranth leaf pointing to a patch of Mullein across the Riverbed?)

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This green, (as it is called in Nigeria. Green!)…
made its patient and hearty introduction to me again.

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As silly as this may sound?… plants have a way of helping me find them.

To understand, admire and observe them.
In essence, teaching me by name.

Thankyou Amaranth!

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Amaranthus retroflexus
Green Amaranth
Nicknames: Red root pigweed, red-root amaranth, common amaranth, pigweed amaranth, and common tumbleweed.

plant info

Amaranth word origins are from the Greek Amarantos which means unfading.
It is believed to have derived from Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word Amar means eternal…unfading.

More word origin here:
“”Amaranth” derives from Greek μάραντος [3] (amarantos), “unfading,” with the Greek word for “flower,” νθος (anthos), factoring into the word’s development as “amaranth.” The more accurate “amarant” is an archaic variant. Also, it has to be mentioned the Greek word amarantos is in fact derived from ancient Indian language Sanskrit and the meaning of the word is immortal immortal.”

word origin source

Amaranth, given its Sanskrit roots, in India today; Amaranth greens and grain are still a popular food source.

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Red root

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Stems can be green, tannish green, red, pinkish green

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Aztec Use of Amaranth

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Aztec art and sculpture

Image source and Aztec Culture

“In ancient Mesoamerica, amaranth seeds were commonly used. The Aztec/Mexica cultivated large quantities of amaranth and it was also used as form of tribute payment.

Amaranth’s name in Nahuatl was huauhtli.

Among the Aztecs, amaranth flour was used to make baked images of their patron deity, Huitzilopochtli, especially during the festival called Panquetzaliztli, which means “raising banners”. During these ceremonies, amaranth dough figurines of Huitzilopochtli were carried around in processions and then divided up among the population…

Cultivation of amaranth decreased and almost disappeared in Colonial times, under the Spanish rule. The Spanish banished the crop because of its religious importance and use in ceremonies.”

Aztec use of Amaranth and quoted source.

But Amaranth survived on the outskirts of Aztec civilization. Thanks to the Aztec people who, perhaps at great risk, saved Amaranth seeds!

Manataka American Indian Council Articles on Amaranth

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AMARANTH Some characteristics of identification:

For Amaranthus retroflexus

*Be certain for each type of Amaranth plant as there are 60 – 70 species out there! Although some(not all) characteristics for plant species are consistent.

As always, be certain of what plant you are foraging! Bring an expert. Seek expert advice!

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This is a general guide for identifying
Amaranthus retroflexus
* (see above)

.Red root
.Alternating leaves
.Long petiole (leaf stem)
.Leaves can be diamond shaped, lanceolate, oval and often pointed,
.Leaves may be notched when young
.Smaller leaves, higher up on stem
.Leaves can have a slightly wavy edge
.Leaf like growth at stem joints
.Shiny underside of leaf also is white veined.
.These veins are prominent
.Green bristly flower spikes
.Stems can be red, green or pinkish green
.Flower spikes can also form at joints of stems as well
and can surround central, top flower spike.
.Can be branched plant
.Grows in roadsides, disturbed areas, fields, gardens… .Even in arroyos… see end of post 🙂
.Grows to 3 feet on average

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illustration credit. Info about plant

amaranth memory course

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photo credit

Amaranth Traditional Day of the Dead Skulls

comprehensive plant info

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Nutrition of Amaranth Leaves per 1 Cup Serving.

Vitamin K 267%, Vitamin C 21%, Manganese 13%, Calcium 7%, Magnesium 5%, Folate 6%… and other nutrients.

wow that’s a lot of Vitamin K!

nutrition chart

Medicinal Uses:

“Astringent.

A tea made from the leaves is astringent[222]. It is used in the treatment of profuse menstruation, intestinal bleeding, diarrhoea etc[222, 238, 257]. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness[257].”

Source

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Prominent veins on underside of leaf appear white.

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http://extension.psu.edu/pests/weeds/weed-id/redroot-pigweed

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How to make Cheera Thoran.

I foraged a nice bunch of Amaranth leaves and made a simple dish of greens with them along with some community garden greens. (Amaranth was also growing in the garden!)

I was inspired by the cheera Thoran recipes but the process was more of a whimsical concoction.

The recipes I saw said to use oil and heat up mustard seeds until they pop.
I used 3 tbsp sunflower oil
3 tbsp black mustard seed
Then added one half chopped red onion
2tbsp ground coriander, stir
Sauteé
Then add chopped amaranth leaves
Chopped swiss chard
And a little chopped kale
Also quite nice is a couple of sprigs mint chopped and sauteéd.
Sautee all for a few minutes
All recipes suggest… Do not add water

We loved our vegetable dish and ate it as an antipasta first course.

Veggies including Amaranth leaves and black mustard seed.

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Chopped Amaranth leaves

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Our yummy antipasta dish! Similar to Cheera Thoran.

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Terri holds in sunlight for view!

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I just found a wonderful site about Amaranth!

Amaranth grows in Nigeria. In the site link below, I am sure you can recognize an Amaranth leaf in a yummy pan of greens!

I learned from this site that… “It is known in Yoruba as efo tete or arowo jeja… (meaning ‘we have money left over for fish.’ “)

These yummy greens certainly compliment fish and can be foraged or available in markets in Nigeria!

efo tete or arowo jeja greens recipe!

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Amaranth Seed

I am very excited by this product by Bob’s Red Mill.
Amaranth seed! Can’t wait to pop it and make popped Amaranth and honey Day of the Dead skulls!

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Also on the back is a recipe for Alegría that I will share with you here! Alegría mean Happiness in Spanish! And, is a celebration food during the Day of the Dead.

Alegría

pop it!

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Also I made Chocolate Atolé from the following recipe and I will show you how!

Chocolate Amaranth Atole!

Inspired and basic recipe from Versagrain
Chocolate Atolé recipe posted above!

Option: dry roast flour in pan for a few minutes on low to medium heat. Careful not to burn.
Amaranth flour has a green almost grassy taste but tones down a bit when dry roasted. Also the cacao/chocolate adds to the overall blend of flavors!
…note… I did not dry roast the Amaranth flour and really enjoyed the Chocolate Atolé flavor!

Ingredients:

1/2 C Amaranth Flour
5 C milk or water. (I used 4 C almond milk and 1 C water
3 ounces chopped Unsweetened Cacao
(or unsweetened chocolate)
1/4 C coconut sugar
1 stick cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla extract

Heat milk until warm/hot not simmering yet.
Add Amaranth flour teaspoon by teaspoon
Whisk constantly to incorporate
When flour all whisked in…
Let thicken a bit
Add sugar…whisk to blend completely
Add one stick cinammon
2 tsp vanilla

For cacao or chocolate chop 3 oz add to mixture when pulled off the heat. Stir until dissolved

We added some raspberries to garnish. A sprig of mint would be nice and I think mint herb water would be nice for the liquid!

Here are some pictures of our Amaranth Atolé fun!

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Chop the cacao or chocolate (unsweetened)

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Heat milk until warm/hot

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Add flour bit by bit whisk whole time. It helped to have someone else to whisk!

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Add cinnamon stick

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Add sugar whisk to incorporate fully

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Add 2 tsp vanilla and whisk in

***Take mixture off heat before adding chocolate!***

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Add chocolate bit by bit

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Whisk

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Keep melting by whisking…

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Enjoy!

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Atolé maker!

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and me too!

Atolé what a treat and everyday a celebration!

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Amaranth can be difficult to distinguish exactly what species of Amaranth it is… even for more seasoned plant observers… Factors such as hybridization, juvenile plant, cotyledon (beginning growth from seedling,) male/female plant all factor in. Also, what stage of growth you are acquainted with identifying can make other factors stand out with an opportunity for learning or doubt.

Accurate foraging takes time and I did not forage from this last group of observed plants.

I am not exactly sure what type of Amaranth plants these set of pictures are (including the one just above) although these plants closely resemble the Amaranthus retroflexus…

Hmmm more studying to do!

🙂

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Nonetheless, I want to show you these beautiful plants which match the criteria for Amaranth species as a whole. In this case… alternating leaves, growth at joints, white veins underneath, bristly green flower spike, long petiole…

Left side of picture… Amaranth from a view in the arroyo

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A small grouping of Amaranth in a 100 foot area

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In the beautiful arroyo

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botany glossary

Lambs quarters, Lammas, the Hummingbird and the Coral Reef

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Lambs Quarters
Chenopodium Album
Nicknames:
Fat Hen, Goose foot, Pig weed
(Pig weed can be a nickname for other plants such as for amaranth species.)
So look for botanical name to clear up regional nickname differences.
…Even Euell Gibbons said that was a good idea. And all the nicknames for Lambs quarters helped him turn the leaf, so to speak, in using botanical names to be clear!

more about Euell Gibbons

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Lambs quarters during Lammas

Lammas occurs on August 1st. This time of year in the Northern hemisphere is an abundant time for harvesting. (Imbolc takes place at this time of year in the Southern hemisphere.)

Lammas is a many centuries old tradition. Which is still celebrated today. Lambs quarters is said to be a rendition of Lammas quarters and is said to have been one of the first greens served during Lammas. A relative, Orache, is said to have been served during Lammas as well.

Bread is also the celebrated food of Lammas and the successful harvest of grains.

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photo credit, Learn more about Lammas

recipe for lammas bread

(Harvest lambsquarter seed in fall, grind in coffee grinder or hand grist mill. Substitute half amount of wheat flour with lambsquarter seed flour.)

Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, counts of a time where the God Lugh, a sun god, reigned the world as a: warrior, a many skilled and talented being. Who also yields the glory of the sun and the harvest.

A celebration of the harvest with the Lammas loaf of bread!

August is a significant time for the coral in the sea. Shortly after Lammas, every August, 7-10 days after the full moon… Coral all over the world spawn and reproduce.

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photo credit, more about coral

Reef Relief

Nitrate pollution affects Coral (and Lambs quarters)

Lugh belonged to the Tuatha de Danaan people. His mother Ethniu belonged to (the enemy) or the Fomorii people. The Fomorii people worshipped the goddess Domnu. Goddess of the deep abyss. The Sea. Sea creatures like the dolphin, the salmon. The coral reefs are all sacred to Domnu.

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photo credit, Formorians and Domnu

More about Domnu see description for Donn (Domnu)

Celtic Deities

More about Celtic Deities

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Story of Lugh, Photo credit.

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As with the story of Domnu predating Lugh. Some research also suggests that the festival of Lugh once involved a commemoration of mourning. Due to his foster mother, Tailtiu dying in her efforts to supply the earth with grain. Also, the layers of myth and story all point to earlier peoples and times…still encoded in the myths.

harvest myth

lugh legends

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Lugh, God of the Sun which gives life to all. Domnu, goddess of his Mother’s people. Gives birth to the amniotic like fluid of the sea. All creatures on earth came originally from the sea.

Why did Lugh, once empowered, go to war with his Mother’s people?
Was it the dawning of the patriarchy?
Some existential angst of the sun?
A trepidation due to the unknown depths and creations of the sea where light ceases to be seen?

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photo credit, 10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com

Whereas, The full moon, in August, enacts the spawning of coral all over the world. The reflected light of the moon of the Sun. Some would say, is the reflected light of Lugh. The time of Lammas, Lugh’s time of Harvest. The light of the moon shining into the depth’s of the sea. What the Fomorii people would say was Domnu’s sea. The depth of new creation. Sometimes the terrifying but awe inspiring depths. And the hope of coral in the sea.

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Here is to the Happy Hearth! My hearth in my abode.

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The Hearth… is an extension of who and where you are.
Whether at an outdoor kitchen, a simple campsite, cooking with a solar oven, in your home or at a gourmet restaurant…

Making meals with foraged plants are a simple blessing that, not only can nourish, but can heal.
And make your hearth your home.

Here is lamb’s quarters. A foraged plant which has held a huge importance and food source in many parts of the world, such as Europe, Asia and North America. Including for Celtic peoples from which these gods and goddesses have been briefly described.

Historical use

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The story and place of Lambs quarters. How and where to find this plant.

August, time and place.

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Habitat:

Common and widespread
Introduced from Europe
Grows in yards, disturbed sites, vacant lots

Identification and Description:

Small to medium size annual plant
2 feet on average up to 5 feet plus…

Stems erect, usually branched
With a pale green and/or whitish cast

***Caution: Lambs quarters will easily absorb nitrates from fertilizer run off. Harvest only in non-polluted areas.***

fertilizer run off and nitrates health risk

Dietary Note: Lambs quarters contain oxalates which, for those with certain health problems, such as kidney stones, it may be advised to avoid oxalate laden foods.

However, oxalates are in many foods including: berries, spinach, beets, swiss chard, legumes, etc.

And, oxalates play an important role in cell function. “For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates.”

source, more about oxalates

concise info/includes mild healing effects

It is a highly nutritious plant related to spinach. In fact, lambs quarters, can be an excellent substitute for spinach in recipes!! Give it a try 🙂

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Nutritional Benefits of Lambs Quarters:

According to the following site, Lambs Quarters gives well over a full days supply of Vitamins C and A along with being a good supply of Calcium, Manganese and some B vitamins, along with other nutritional benefits!

Great Chart!

lambs quarter, avocado and olive spread!

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My August birthday and the hummingbird that came to visit!

Broad-Tailed Hummingbird
Selasphorus platycerus

size: 4″

Male: Tiny, iridescent green bird with black throat patch (gorget) that reflects rosy red in sunlight.
Wings and part of the back are green

Female: same as male but lacking the throat patch, much more green on back, tan on flanks

This female, Broad-Tailed hummingbird visited me twice on my birthday.

Terri and I have been birdwatching.

Often by the time we get the binoculars in focus, the bird has either jumped to the back of a tree or likely flown off.

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We get pieces of information each time and often predominantly get different pieces or “noticings.”
For instance, on one birdwatching adventure, I noticed a black cap…on the bird’s head and Terri noticed yellow on the wings, etc.

We review each sighting with “what did you see? Did you see that?” Some of it is the same but often different details emerge. This can be humorous and fumbling at best. But can, we hope, add together for a bigger picture.

The fun thing is humingbirds can hover. As the female did who visited us twice, first thing this morning.

Of all the birds we have been trying to identify and observe, this one let us observe her the closest for the longest.

Twice in a matter of a few minutes! The hovering, inquisitive nature of the hummingbird, made it possible for us to identify what kind of humingbird she, indeed was.

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A female, Broadtailed Hummingbird

Information about Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds

Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds

and more info here

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My birthday cake for two! 🙂

My birthday celebration continued as we also sautéed lambs quarters for a birthday meal.
So delicious we felt happy and nourished to share this celebration meal together!

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Rinsing

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Sautéeing on my Hearth! 🙂

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mmmm!

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Undersides of Lambsquarter leaves

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Mature plants have purple notches at stem joints

And one more look at the plant

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*** There are look alikes out there and different species of chenopodium which may be toxic! Please forage with someone who knows and be careful with new growth as it can resemble inedible species of other plants!

Bring an expert forager with you and get to know the plants in your area. Bring a good text source with you too!

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This post was a creative endeavor. Thankyou for joining me in the journey! August, time and place. Mythology, nutritious greens at time of harvest. The coral reefs after the full moon in August. Watching, bird watching. Learning, lovingly and discernedly the correct plant for foraging. Harvesting and gleaning knowledge about my Celtic background and for the foraged plants our ancestors held dear. Looking to the past. To the future. What surrounds us in the oceans heralded by the protective forces some have described as Domnu. The fragile balance of nature and the awe of the coral reefs. So much to learn when a hummingbird comes nearby to hover. Beating its wings 50 or more times per second.
Learning.
Appreciating!

And happy foraging to You!

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Sources includes links and posted URL’s

Text Sources:

Birds of New Mexico: Field Guide.
by, Stan Tekiela. Adventure Publications, inc. Cambridge, Minnesota, 2003.

Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods. By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

Stalking The Wild Asparagus. by Euell Gibbons. Hood, Alan C. & Company, Inc., Publisher. Newer edition 2005.
Originally published 1962.

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Happy Harvest of the Sun!

Desert Tales: Piñon Pinetree Tea and The Western Spadefoot Toads sing to the Rain.

This post is about Piñon pine. How to make pine needle tea from this tree. And a whimsical weaving in of my story of place. Living in the High Desert of New Mexico in the foothills of the Ortiz Mountains. It is in long view of the Jemez and Santa fe Mountains. Dotted in the middle by the Cerrillos Hills. And visited by Spadefoot toads during the monsoons!

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now some science…

Pinus edulis
Piñon pine
Family: Pinaceae

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Habitat: foothills and outer reaches of the Rocky Mountains, USA
Also: arid mesas in stands and/or with junipers
Mesas, plateaus, lower mountain slopes

Description:
Small, spreading, bushy tree
Thin with irregularly furrowed bark
Bark is scaly, and gray to reddish brown

Cones are 1.5″ to 2″
Covered in yellow-brown scales
Each scale holds 2 seeds which are about a half inch long

Pine trees bearing cones with pinon seeds, pine nuts, the following year!

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A large crop of pine nuts/seeds occurs every 3-4 years

Gather ripe almost open cones in autumn…. the above cones are all burst open in early fall

Pinus edulis the Piñon pine is an evergreen and classified by its characteristic of having 2 leaves (needles) per bunch

Harvest new growth pine needles in spring and summer to make tea.
Piñon pine is a slow growing tree.
I harvest just 3 or 4 needles per tree until I have a tablespoon per serving.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/300039-the-health-benefits-of-pine-needle-tea/#page=1

The above article states the importance of pine tea as a remedy for scurvy. Native Americans introduced this beverage to non-Natives and helped them survive during pioneer and settler periods.

Pine tea is high in vitamins C and A and is still a popular traditional beverage.

This blog is a post about Pinus edulis or Piñon pine.

Please research the pine in your area for safety and edible use.

And always refer to a professional when foraging and using wild plants or trees for food or tea or medicnal use.

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I have recently been living in a camper in the high desert about 30 miles away from Santa Fé, surrounded by juniper trees and the two leaf (needle) type of pine or piñon tree. Here is a picture where you can see the pairing of needles, two per bunch. Look in the upper left corner of the picture for the 2 needle groups.

image I affectionately call this pine tree by its scientific name:
Pinus edulis.
It rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? 🙂

Here is a good site about pinus edulis including habitat location in the U.S.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinus_edulis

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What is it like to live in the high desert of New Mexico?

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I was intimidated by the impending heat of summer in a camper but we have found it is surprisingly seasonable.

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Terri, the rainbow and the camper 🙂

Coyotes howl at night and we have to keep our older dog with failing eyesight from chasing down the pack.

image Terri and Fella in the Santa Fe Mountains… about an hour’s drive away.

There are hummingbirds and roadrunners. Mice and packrats need constant attention to keep them at bay.

During the heat of summer, comes the rainy season in the high desert. We call it the monsoon season.

Endearingly, in pools of water near the piñon and junipers, amphibians lie in the depths of mud and rainwater…the Western Spadefoot toads!

According to the site below, these amphibians metamorphose from tadpole to toad sometimes as fast as 12-19 days. Also dependent on the mud puddle not drying up.

http://www.reptilesofaz.org/Turtle-Amphibs-Subpages/h-s-multiplicata.html

Whereas eggs hatch in 2-3 days sometimes within 15 hours… our local State Park guide told us.

Check it out if you are ever in New Mexico!

http://www.cerrillosnewmexico.com/cerrillos-state-park

Summer time of year, we are surrounded by the Western Spadefoot toads because of all the monsoon puddles.

Terri and I affectionately refer to this closeby, ever growing, monsoon lake puddle as Lake Spadefoot!

Here is “Lake Spadefoot!” And our visit was made more fun when the dogs went splashing in. The toads are nocturnal and I hope they were safely away!

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Here is an interesting site about the Western Spadefoot Toad!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_spadefoot_toad

The Spadefoot toad’s name is:
Spea multiplicata

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Photo credit of this site:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_spadefoot_toad

According to the above wikipedia site, here are some interesting quoted facts about the Western Spadefoot Toad.

“The New Mexico Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata) is a species of American spadefoot toad found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Like other species of spadefoot toad, they get their name from a distinctive spade-like projections on their hind legs which enable them to dig in sandy soils. Some sources also refer to the species as the Mexican Spadefoot Toad, Desert Spadefoot Toad or Southern Spadefoot Toad.

The New Mexico Spadefoot Toad grows from 1.5 to 2.5 inches in length, and has a round body, with relatively short legs. They are green, to grey, to brown, usually reflecting the soil color of their native habitat,often with black and orange colored speckling on their back, and a white underside. They have large eyes,with vertical pupils.

Like all species of spadefoot toad, the New Mexico Spadefoot Toad is nocturnal and secretive. If handled, these frogs might emit a peanutlike odor, which can cause tearing and nasal discharge if in close contact with the face. Spending most of its time buried in the ground, the spadefoot emerges during periods of summer rainfall to feed on insects and to breed. Breeding takes place in temporary pools left by the rain. Eggs laid in large masses, often hatch in as little as 48 hours. The tadpoles are forced to metamorphose quickly, before the water dries up.”

Scientific Site about the Western Spadefoot Toad

http://amphibiaweb.org/cgi/amphib_query?where-genus=spea&where-species=multiplicata

So when I think about my day and any foraged foods I have enjoyed. While I wonder if my pictures of the Pinus edulis are in focus enough… while I sift through my own texts and what information I can glean via the internet… (and there is a lot to sift through, in regard to pine tea!)…

I am comforted and humored at night, by the calls of the neighboring, puddle dwelling toads!

Did you ever use a musical instrument… where one piece of the wood is ridged and you rub a stick against the ridges? Well, that is as close as I can come to explaining what they sound like.

And, I always hear what must be hundreds in a chorus together.

This musical instrument reminds me of what they
sound like!

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You can check out this great musical instrument website that sells these sweet creations and also the
above photo courtesy of:

http://povera.myartsonline.com/music/instruments.html

The Western spadefoot toad, it turns out, is the official amphibian for the State of New Mexico!

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photo credit

More about the
Zia people and the Zia symbol here.

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Life in the High Desert is diverse and this diversity can change with the season. Like when the toads come out in the rains.

The piñon tree is a steady companion of the high desert of New Mexico. I have noticed it often grows at the base of an older or even dying/dead Juniper tree.

The pine pitch resin also makes an all purpose healing balm called trementina salve. check it out!

It is so interesting to notice patterns.

Seasonal ones but also more cyclical ones and patterns over larger periods of time such as with the growth of these beautiful Piñon trees.

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Living back in New Mexico has been fun to see what foraged plants I found while on the road also thrive here.

This is a welcome pattern I am glad to see here. This includes purslane, common mallow, wild lettuce and others. There is so much to learn and it has taken me several months to come back to write about Piñon pine.

What lessons are there for me about pine?
Pine tea is aromatic and lemony. It has an expansive opening feeling for the lungs and has a healing lemony feel to it when drinking it.

Piñon pine are hearty. Slow growing. Evergreen. They provide some of the only shade in the High desert. They grow nuts and their needles can be made into tea.

But, also because they are slow growing I want to respect their bounty. I do not want to harvest more than what the tree can tolerate for needles.

The tree is also home and food to birds and other wildlife.

What have I pined for? What took me so long to write about pine? Did I need to come home again to regain that grounding? I think so.

Pinus edulis has been a teacher to me. I have spent 3/4 of a year thinking and researching…abandoning the post I was trying to write. Only to begin again. I had to forget the stockpile of sites and conflicting information I had found about pine tea. I needed to return to a space. A place where I could admire the tree on my return to New Mexico. Identifying it from a distance by its dark bark when mature. Enjoying seeing its beginning growth underneath a juniper. Becoming visually more aware. Beginning again from less of a burdened perspective of research. And coming more from a place of neighbor. The trees in my vicinity.

Appreciating the 5 or 6 trees I visited today to make 2 cups of tea… It slows me down and helps me fill with intention. Not a neediness or greed… how much can I harvest or get… (or even a horde of information) but, what is needed. What is enough. What is timely. What did today ask me to do?

An appreciation that a shared cup of pine needle tea can fortify. That I have what I need. A teacher.
An ally. A Piñon tree. And a friend to share the tea.

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How to Make Pine Needle Tea from Piñon pine.

1.Harvest enough needles from the bright green new growth equal to one tablespoon per cup. Do not over-harvest from one tree

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2. Chop or cut with scissors… the needles into smaller bits.

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3. Crush the needles between 2 spoons to help release aromatic oils

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4. Add to water for tea

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5. Bring to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Then strain into cups.

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6. Enjoy

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This is a picture from last November. The color is a reddish brown. It is from the Pinus edulis tree also.

Today’s brew was less red. Just slightly tinged with color. But it was good and aromatic and vitalizing. I boiled it less long today so recommend 2-3 minutes as stated above. But remember, it can be nice to have a more gentle tea like I made today!

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Here are some fun and interesting sites I have found and wanted to share! Check it out!

Wild Blessings site by Holly Drake! Pine Needle Popsicles!

pine pollen as food

how to harvest pine nuts

The following site is delightful. It shows a Chippewa/Ojibway tradition of making dolls out of tufts of pine needle bunches. Each pine needle bunch forms a doll and the skill and fun is to make the dolls dance, jiggle, jump and perform against a small flat board.

Native American Pine Needle Dancing Dolls


Native peoples introduced tea to New Englanders and Canadians

pine needle syrup

pine soup

Yep, Pine needle cake!

Edible inner bark and Pine needle flour…from the Wild Blessings site by Holly Drake!

Euell Gibbons…eat a pine tree!

shortbread pine needle recipe

the acoustic world inside a piñon tree

debunks some internet myths about using pine

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And for those of you looking for more specific medicinal and edible use of pine, here is some quoted material from this site just below.

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pinus+edulis

The above site has a good synopsis of useful information directly quoted below:

Edibile Uses of Piñon Pine:

“Edible Uses Edible Parts: Inner bark; Seed; Seedpod. Edible Uses: Condiment; Gum; Tea.

Seed – raw or cooked[82, 177]. Seeds…delicious raw or cooked[2, K]. The seed can be ground into a meal and used in stews, making bread, cakes etc and in making nut butter[183]. The seed is up to 25mm long[160]. Rich in oil, protein[183] and thiamine[160]. The seed contains about 15% protein[213]. An important item of food for the local Indians, it is also sold in local markets of Colorado and New Mexico[61, 82]. About 450,000 kilos of the seeds are sold in American markets each year[229]. The leaves can be brewed into a tea[183, 257]. Immature female cones – roasted. The soft centre forms a sweet syrupy food[183]. Inner bark – cooked. A sweet flavour, it is cut into strips and cooked like spaghetti[183]. Inner bark can also be dried, ground into a powder and used as a thickening in soups or can be mixed with cereal flours when making bread etc[257]. The pitch from the trunk can be hardened and used as a chewing gum[257]. A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood[200].”

I have underlined and highlighted some of this text for emphasis.

Also according to the PFAF site:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Pinus+edulis

Medicinal Uses are numerous and include:

“Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future
(and wildlettucegal.wordpress.com) can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiseptic; Depurative; Diuretic; Emetic; Expectorant; Pectoral; Plaster; Rubefacient; VD; Vermifuge.

The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[4]. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints[4]. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and poultices on cuts, boils, burns and various skin problems[4, 257]. The heated pitch has been applied to the face to remove facial hair[257]. The gum is used as a plaster on cuts and sores[216]. An infusion of the leaves has been used as an emetic to cleanse the stomach[257]. The leaves have been chewed in the treatment of venereal diseases[257]. The leaves have been burnt and the smoke inhaled as a treatment for colds[257]. The inner bark is expectorant[257].”

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Additional Source for this blog post, in addition to posted URL sites includes the text:

Edible Wild Plants. A North American Field Guide to over 200 Natural Foods.
By, Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman, Sterling Publishing.com, 1982.

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Thankyou for joining me on this foraging adventure!

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Amidst the Pines…Nearby cactus with fruit!

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Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail!

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This image and more about compass rose.

And a quick sketch in my journal

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It feels fitting to begin with an image of a compass rose. Originally used to help the map reader bear in mind the direction of the winds. It then became a tool to indicate the cardinal directions. This is a modern representation of a compass rose.
The directional points have long been described as the petals of a rose.

This post is about the Rosehips I found while traveling alongside the Oregon trail. So much history, and stories. Some painful. Some a reckoning of western expansion and what effects this had. Migrations were often miles wide. This had a substantial effect on the area and interfered with Native American grazing lands, to say the least.
But, it remains an interesting, if not sometimes painful reminder of past events. Of perseverance and direction. Of the people. Of the roses which remind us of who once were and travelled through
the Oregon Trail.

I found the rosebushes with flowers past bloom, in a half deciduous state with only the Rosehips. But, I immediately recognized the red fruit as Rosehips and the leaves as Rose leaves. Stems adorned with prickles.

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*Please forage with someone who knows and/or bring a guidebook with you.

Always be absolutely certain when foraging.
If in doubt leave it out!

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What are Rosehips Anyway?

According to this site on Wikipedia:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_hip

“The rose hip, also known as rose haw or rose hep, is the fruit of the rose plant, that typically is red-to-orange, but ranges from dark purple to black in some species. Rose hips begin to form after successful pollination of flowers in spring or early summer, and ripen in late summer through
autumn.”

(In my photo: This patch of Rosehips was in an area where a lot of leaves had dropped. Less than a quarter mile away were Rose plants that had more leaves.)

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Rosehips are used for foods and beverages.

“Rose hips can be used to make Palinka, a traditional Hungarian alcoholic beverage. They are also the central ingredient of Cockta, the fruity-tasting national soft drink of Slovenia. [2]

…Rose hips are commonly used as a tisane, often blended with hibiscus, and also as an oil. They can also be used to make jam, jelly, marmalade, and rose hip wine. Rose hip soup, “nyponsoppa”, is especially popular in Sweden. Rhodomel, a type of mead, is made with rose hips.”

And according to this wikipedia site there is more info about the rose plant itself.

“A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles.” (Thorns)

“Most species are native to Asia, with smaller numbers native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa.”

Also this site gives Excellent:
Identification Characteristics!

“The leaves are borne alternately on the stem. In most species they are 5 to 15 centimetres (2.0 to 5.9 in) long, pinnate, with (3–) 5–9 (–13) leaflets and basal stipules; the leaflets usually have a serrated margin, and often a few small prickles on the underside of the stem. Most roses are deciduous but a few (particularly from South east Asia) are evergreen or nearly so.”

“The flowers of most species have five petals, with the exception of Rosa sericea, which usually has only four. Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes and is usually white or pink, though in a few species yellow or red. Beneath the petals are five sepals (or in the case of some Rosa sericea, four). These (sepals) may be…visible when viewed from above… as green points alternating with the rounded petals. There are multiple superior ovaries that develop into achenes.* [4] Roses are insect-pollinated in nature.”

* achenes are dry one seeded fruit. These achenes are surrounded by the hypanthium.

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Here is a Rosehip split in half. It is a closeup of achenes, fibers/hairs and surrounding edible hypanthium. The inside world of a Rosehip!

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Rosa rugosa and Rosa canina are known to make delicious rose hips although there are many rose species that do produce hips.

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Rosehips Along the Oregon Trail

Pioneer Rose or Harison’s Rose
Photograph by Cheryl Netter
From website:
http://www.deborahbedfordbooks.com/harison_rose.html

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I was very happy to find Rosehips along the Oregon Trail.

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Pioneers of the Oregon trail often marked graves of loved ones, who died along the way, with roses which survive to this day. According to the following newspaper article one of the most common of these roses was the Harison rose. A yellow rose. Unfortunately, as I was traveling through, I did not get a chance to see the flowers in bloom. But, I did enjoy the rosehips that I gathered along the Oregon trail. It really got my imagination going. Wondering if the rose bushes I found were tokens of affection for loved ones lost or homesteads along the way. Check out this interesting article about roses and the pioneers who brought rose cuttings with them and preserved those cuttings by sticking the ends into potatoes!

http://www.wyomingnews.com/articles/2013/07/16/entertainment/02ent%2007-15-13.txt

Also this next newspaper article, written by
Erica L. Calkins for the “Seattle Times.,” gives accounts of pioneer’s experiences.
And, tells of a pioneer descendant, who traces the stories of the women who brought 20 different species along with them on the Oregon Trail!

http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19950219&slug=2105943

And here is an interesting article about the unusual ingredients pioneer women used in beverages including Rosehips. It also includes a Native American beverage called Yaupon spiced tea which became popular with pioneers.

http://m.voices.yahoo.com/unusual-ingredients-pioneer-women-used-making-beverages-7957528.html

Roses have travelled from all over the world. From one part to the next. And because of this and native species, roses are, delightfully, common. My life has been etched by the sweet life of roses.

From the wild rose bushes on the Oregon Trail to my discoveries of roses growing wild when I was a child. A favorite memory is of rosehips and rose flowers I admired each time I entered alongside the dunes and pathways to the beach a few miles from my home. They always fascinated me and still delight me to this day.

What are your memories of roses? Rosehips, rose petals, or tea, the prickly thorns…smelling blossoms… we are lucky to share in the stories of roses.

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I am adding to this post. Connecting with my family with a loved one and hospice care.

I found a little time to go to the ocean and I found Beach roses and rosehips! What a blessing!

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I remember beach roses and rosehips from childhood days at the ocean.
So sweet to greet them again now.

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a brief and healing visit to the ocean.

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Roses. Take time to smell the roses!…I’ll be honest it’s hokey but, I can’t resist taking the time to do this! Some smell sweeter than others and it is a sweet experience amidst the hubbub of sometimes pervasive tediousness…  🙂

Awww, the sweetness of rose, soothes.

I can’t seem to find the origin of the phrase…”take time to stop and smell the roses” I was hoping it might have stemmed from Shakespeare but, I haven’t found a direct reference. Funny enough, I grew up hearing this and thought it was an age old idiom. I need a good old fashioned idiom origin book
… but, alas, amidst my small trove of belongings and printed materials I do not have one. And this is all food for thought.

After all this why not enjoy a Prickly Pear fruit and Rose petal syrup Cachaça Cocktail!

And now, after a relaxing beverage… Here is more Food For Thought!…

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NUTRITION OF ROSE HIPS

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Excellent Information presented below from the following site:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/health-benefits-of-rosehip-tea-7607.html

Rosehip Tea Health Benefits:

Tips for Rosehips!
🙂
*Notes: Steep in hot water rather than
boiling Rosehips to make tea.
*do not use aluminum pan/mug
*do not store Rosehips in metal

High in Vitamin C
And can give an energy boost due to high vitamin C content.
(It is better to steep rosehips, i.e. for tea, as this will retain more vitamin C content rather than boiling.)
Additional Vitamins Include:
A, B1, B2, B3, E, K, P as well as C

Further Nutrients Include:
Potassium
Calcium
Iron
Carotenoids
Pectin
Anti-oxidants
Bio-Flavanoids
Phytochemicals
Rutin

Also According to the:
Lifestyle Article: I love India. Rosehip Site

Rosehip tea has anti-aging properties. It regenerates cells and has healing properties.

The phytochemicals in rosehips prevent cancer and some cardiac problems.

Furthermore:

Can prevent some colds and viruses.
Helps clear mucus and clears out respiratory tract.
Helps with UTI
Anti stress agents
Anti Depressant
Regulates Hormones
Hydrates Skin
Improves Circulation

Also: Relieves Menstrual cramps, headaches, diahrrea, dizziness, and nausea.

Rosehip tea can help with allergies, asthma and bronchitis as well.

The pectin in tea helps with constipation. Pectin can lower cholesterol and cleans out intestines.

Rosehips can help with some cardiac issues.

Also according to the source below, health benefits are described.

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-839-ROSE%20HIP.aspx?activeIngredientId=839&activeIngredientName=ROSE%20HIP

“Rosehips are also used for stomach disorders including stomach spasms, stomach acid deficiency, preventing stomach irritation and ulcers, and as a “stomach tonic” for intestinal diseases. They are also used for diarrhea, constipation, gallstones, gallbladder ailments, lower urinary tract and kidney disorders, fluid retention (dropsy or edema), gout, back and leg pain (sciatica), diabetes, high cholesterol, weight loss, high blood pressure, chest ailments, fever, increasing immune function during exhaustion, increasing blood flow in the limbs, increasing urine flow and quenching thirst.”

What about Arthritis? Studies indicate Rose hips alleviate symptoms!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/275404-rose-hips-joint-pain/

http://health.ninemsn.com/naturaltherapies/naturalhealth/799090/10-things-about-rosehip

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Rosehips vitamin C content may be affected by processing and extreme heats in drying. Perhaps low heat drying works best to maintain vitamin C or to use fresh. Consider a dehydrater with lower temp setting or oven on low temp or sun drying.

Here is some info on food process and methods which affect vitamin content in food. Commercially drying of foods…the temps are high typically, so perhaps low drying effects are less detrimental to vitamin retention. This site may be of interest to some so I added it here.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/topics/processing

***See a medical professional and/or herbal specialist for all serious medical issues and when using herbs and plants for same.***

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WHEN AND HOW TO HARVEST ROSEHIPS!

Harvest Rosehips in the fall. I’ve read that they are sweetest after 1st frost although I had good luck harvesting mid September. Harvest the plump ones not any that look shrivelled or damaged. If you are lucky to have roses growing in your yard or woods or beach nearby…how wonderful. Some domesticated varieties of roses produce Rosehips and some do not.

*Avoid harvesting in areas that have been treated with toxic pesticides or herbicides.*

And, enjoy the rose on the stem. If you like Rosehips and want to harvest them later…keep the flowers on the stem. The flowers need to drop their petals naturally. Another example where it doesn’t “help nature” to hurry it along. Then the Rosehip can develop where the rose was. They start out green then morph from green orange, to orange and then a beautiful red or red-orange. Some species even produce a black-ish variety.

This is how I harvested mine:

Pick your Rosehips in the fall. I picked mine in mid September in Oregon. It was an area on the edge of a forest. Near the old Oregon Trail Path that was still visible in places.

Almost all roses are deciduous. I’ve read that only one species isn’t. So, when I harvested my Rosehips many of the rose leaves had fallen off. This is also a factor in identifying Rosehips. And, if you can, acquaint yourself with the rose plant as it goes through its cycle throughout the seasons and/or times of year.

Rinse your Rosehips. I presently live on a semi-trailer with limited water so I soak rinsed mine.

Otherwise, with a small knife cut the rose hips in half through the fattest part of the hip…rather than through the crown and bottom of the hip. This will make it easier to clean out the seeds. Trim off crown and bottom of Rosehip too.

(*a note of interest here is that Rosehip seeds contain a healing oil and can be used as oil for skin creams, etc. Use hulled out seeds and/or whole intact Rosehips depending on directions/recipes for Rosehip products. Therefore, you may want to leave some Rosehips whole.)

So, after cutting all your rosehips in half use a small knife or little spoon to scoop out the seeds and small hairy fibers that surround all the many seeds.

Those hairy fibers, sometimes just referred to as hairs are very irritating and itchy. They also cause intestinal problems if eaten. Please be careful when cleaning out and hulling the Rosehips.

To be honest, I found it easier to use my fingers to scoop out the seeds and hairs. Food handling gloves may be useful here. The fibers stick to your skin and may cause dermatitis or reactions…but, I gave it a go.

The hairs/fibers used to be made into an “itching powder” hmmm…April Fools aside…I don’t think so. It does conjure up imaginings for possible Little House on the Prairies scenes…but, that’s a whole other matter!

O’kay so now you have the hulled and cleaned out rosehips. There are lots of food options. Dry them for salads, trail mixes, teas.

When harvesting, Taste them.

They are said to Taste the Best after the first frost. If you live near an area you can sample one here or there to see when it is sweetest for harvesting a batch, then try that! I’ve heard it can vary and does become a practiced art over time. I’ve read several accounts of harvesting after first frost. I harvested mid September which I’ve read is harvest season also. Try harvesting, whenever in your area the Rosehips are ripe, i.e. depending on the species, the rosehips ripen typically to a deep orange/red. See my photos for reference. I ate some raw and they had a sour, tangy slightly sweet taste like a mild cranberry. Personally, I liked it.

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ROSEHIPS: WHAT CAN I DO WITH THEM?

-Make a tea by infusing the rosehips in hot water.

Here’s a delightful post about making Rosehip tea from fresh Rosehips.
http://eatingrichly.com/10/foraging-rose-hip-recipe-for-tea/

-Make face and skin creams.

Make a Chutney!

Rosehips work great with green apples!

-Use in a pie 🙂

-Add to Salads and Trail Mixes

-Make a Rosehip Butter with this recipe!
http://teacupchronicles.com/?p=148

-Dry your Rosehips or use fresh!

-Make a Rosehip soup. In Norway it is called Nyponsoppa and is very popular there. It is a staple item in most Norwegian households and often counted on for schoolchildren to avoid the common cold and other illnesses!

So, what did I do with my batch of Rosehips?
I made a wild apple and Rosehip chutney!
I attempted nyponsoppa…and liked it!
And I made a face cream using whole, un-hulled Rosehips.

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Here is a straightforward method of making
Rosehip-Almond oil using fresh Rosehips…! Check it out!

http://www.gardenguides.com/86407-make-rosehip-oil.html

And here is a method to make Rosehip and Blue Chamomile oil face cream. Use fresh whole Rosehips and/or the cleaned off seeds.
(Cleaned of irritating hairs/fibers)
*Tip: It may be a good idea to strain the oil of any hairs that come out of heated up fresh Rosehips.*

This face cream uses beeswax and a little borax too. This looks interesting and I want to give it a try!

http://www.livestrong.com/article/176922-how-to-make-face-cream-using-rosehip-oil/#page=1

And, if like me you’d like to know more about Borax (used in face cream remedy) and Boron this is a very comprehensive article about uses of Borax and Boron. Oh, and did you know raisins are high in Boron? Neither did I ’til I checked out Borax and Boron! I love this site and hope you will too!

http://www.growyouthful.com/remedy/borax.php

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Nyponsoppa…Rosehip Soup, for real?
It sure is and it’s easy, yummy and nutritious. Dessert just got good for you again! I made Nyponsoppa and used coconut sugar to sweeten. It is said to have a healthier glycemic index. Oh yeah, and it is Yummy!
I didn’t have potato flour so I used rice flour. My result was not the red version of the soup. It was reddish brown. I think the light brown coconut sugar and rice flour muddied the color…
Some might call that a flop, but using ingredients I had on the truck…it was surprisingly good!

And here, just for fun, are some pics of my Nyponsoppa making adventure!

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I found wild green apples growing near the Rosehips so harvested these too.

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Split in half and scoop out hair fibers and seeds.
I had help with this. It takes time but is fun to do with someone else or a group! 🙂

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Rosehip seeds and fibers

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Boil the outer fruit skin… the hypanthium 🙂

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And boil

Then strain and mash and boil the mash

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Boiling mash, then strain the boiled mash! And to the strained liquid I added coconut sugar and rice flour so it is not the traditional red color but here is my Rose hip soup! I feel shy about it but, it was good!

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Check out this entertaining article and recipe for Nyponsoppa I found.

http://www.cakehead.com/archives/2008/04/sweden_more_tha_1.html
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Drying and Storing Rosehips

Here is a step by step guide using a food dehydrator
to store Rosehips for a year. Also drying Rosehips
in the sun or with an oven at 140° is said to work as well. People often store dried Rosehips in paper bags. Avoid aluminum, aluminum foil etc.

http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/how-to-dry-store-rose-hips-rosa-canina

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Roses have been with us a long time.
This is a beautiful, in depth article on the history of roses and rose products and use over the centuries. It also has information on Rosehips further into the article and also rose recipes.

Dog rose or Rosa canina
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Above image from this site:
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/roses-18.html

And, here is a Native American Salteaux Legend about wild roses and how the rose learned to defend itself.

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/WhyWildRosesHaveThorns-Salteaux.html

Plants have much to teach us. What are your personal stories and experiences with roses and rose hips? I hope you feel inspired to try Rosehips.
Thankyou for taking this journey with me. Rosehips are rather new to me but when I think back to my days as a child at the ocean, turns out I’ve known them a long while afterall. And, that makes me smile.

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A Forager’s Poetry and Art Collage.

“Choucroute.” “Kismet.” “Sunflower.” “Pepper Cakes.” “Redbud.” “Trouble.” “Not Only Words.” “A Prayer to Persephone.” “Floured.” “Jellyfish.” “Fiction.” “dna.”
“I can’t say it all.” Alkaline.”
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“Choucroute.”

choucroute.
Sauerkraut.
Please improve
the immunity of my gut.
Wilted leaves
And salt Crushed
Then rushed Into a jar.
I want to add you
To my repertoire.
Spice you up
And spread you
Out with my fork.
To inspect
Your funky fermentation
Then eat you.

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“Kismet.”

Kismet
A kiss of sound Went whoosh
through The vocal chords
Of my progenitor’s DNA

It tastes like blueberries now
A kismet melancholy
That tastes sweet Over cheered
Yet ready To stomp out hate
from my muddied feet

But, mud is a happy flood
That swallows Doubt and bitter roots
and connects me Oroboris like
To the first spring

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“Sunflower”

Courting
The likeness
Of a flower

In a pot
Of boiling water
Seeking the sun
Each petal a ray
Each bubble of water
Hot transformed
Becomes an air seed

Swallowing
The mid pregnant
Seed of an equinox
Swimming toward the solstice
Of the sun

Adding the fourth sister
Of sunflower
To the belly
Of my gardens

How many brothers and sisters
Of the sun
Onandaga
Your creation myth
Was not given
To me by
Tongues at birth

I am a sister
of the corazón of the stars
Wearing a tinsel crown
Siblings are we many

Always I want to crush
Petals
Yellow like flames
And decorate my face
Like our closest
Star
Soleil

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“Pepper Cakes.”

Cupcakes,
frosting, all things gooey,
sugary instead of stars dying
and nuclear casseroles and tousled eggs…
just cookies but mostly cakes,
spray pepper pastries
for brutal cops yet again cakes,
layers, non pareils,
and sheer apparel

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“Redbud.”

Oklahoma, a shimmering light catches purple blossoms
infused with the slightest blush of pale
crimson.

You come forward as if to greet me.
Fluttering your bouquets at the side of the road.
I am rushing
past.

If I were walking I could have.
But not to destroy a stem
in a selfish folly.
Last days of frost.
A green hued sunrise.

Not an omen so much as
a surprise.

I’ve seen more sunsets than sunrise.
But,
I’m not studying.

Just in the rush
I want to remember the purple
flower.

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“Trouble.”

trouble wanes moonlike
personified splash of light
a quick shyness sought

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“Not Only Words.”

I soften
the stillness is not static
it reaches

a school of fishes swims
I hear your voice
like sun

that polishes

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“A Prayer to Persephone.”

Epiphanies for Persephone’s
epitaph to dark wintry days,
Return the light and be jewelled.

Be born like a star piercing
the heavy blanket of night.
Be nourished and feel warm.

Joy remains undoused like stars that guide
Our journey to herald the dawn.

We bathe by the lavish light of the sun
The pomegranate heart of Persephone.
Returns us from night
And we are grateful for that wing.

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“Floured.”

Scraped
Blended
Rubbed
through mesh
to remove
the husk

Strained
Mashed
Boiled
To eat the starch

Floured

Pounded
Kneaded
Folded

Rested

Stored

Stretched
Shaped
Fried
And baked

Taken
Repeated
Reclaimed

Salted
Sugared
Slathered
Traded
Cooled
Filled
Topped

Tinned
Cut
Jarred
Sometimes soured
Dried
Broken

Opened
And
Eaten

Digested
Eliminated
Integrated
Given
Shared
Loved
Passed
Down

Favored
Savored

Disgusted
Or pleasured

Reminiscent
Or triggered

what
you
take
in
and
can
be
taken.

what
can’t
be
taken.

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“Jellyfish.”

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“Fiction.”

I haven’t
read enough fiction
to understand the
type

I haven’t
seen enough entries
to know my
catalogue

I don’t
drink enough lemon
to soothe my bitter
liver

Soon I will be barren gladly too, iron in the dock.

Taking up
room in the house of my uterus
and read

my personals again

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(The photo taken in Portland, Oregon library)

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“dna.”

dna dna like. dinah what is your name.
the perfect number
1951
using your dna after. you body gone.

little round up monsters
little birth babies
should have had your
love your scorn your roundup of
consent
territory body. flagged.
roundup the pretty dna.

thief by knife.

eating mutants being mutants.
how much do i want
wings to fly?

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“I can’t say it all.”

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Alkaline

rushing
by a dense grove.

almond pickers arrive
in rows with
deft harvesters’ hands.

a dip in a pass
and we are gone. All the while.

I am cooking this scene
with a small pan.

and I read:

1. Simmer flurry of a minute
until a reduced liquid.

2. Reduce to a candied vinegar.

3. a condiment
to go with.
a yellow ochre pallette
that rises above
pavement
workers

Datura

Haunting deep green
white and white and pink and trumpets.
You call to the night
Message givers.
You listen to prayers and secrets
You reap joy from a happy harvest season
And its Workers.
You. Armslengths away from the almond trees
You. Grow like shrubs.
The round tops of umbrellas.
You. Are nightshade in the day
And You. Are contrast.

the only poem I might
think to write

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Morningstar

You whiz past in your daycab
Hauling red-orange plum tomatoes
In your trailer
What friends have filled for $25.
Four hour shifts
Wake-up the driver
Times three in a day
Twenty years ago
and your trailers look the same.

songs on the radio
are
filled with
dust and almonds.

Lost tomatoes against the curb

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