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Summer Bounty

August 11, 2010
Chill Out Tincture - lemon balm, rose and peach

Chill Out Tincture - lemon balm, rose and peach

August Missoula 013

Hiking the M with Tess

We are garden-sitting in the Garden City this first part of August.

Friends with a bountiful garden are off on vacation and need care for their dog and garden, so we find ourselves surrounded by the abundance of raspberries, rattlesnake beans, kale, tomatoes, herbs, and a few peas still.  The home is near Missoula’s excellent biking paths so we’re commuting everywhere on bike and loving it.  Many hot afternoons we’ve walked up the river with our inner tubes, floated down long enough to cool off, and climbed back onto shore right near  the house.  Two beavers swam nearby as we floated the other day, not the slightest bit alarmed by our laughing, noisy presence.  With many old friends to visit, and Missoula’s many hiking trails so accessible from here, we are enjoying a busy few weeks.

August Missoula 027

Bounty 2010 Fried squash blossoms for dinner Dip them in a flour/salt/milk batter and fry in a little peanut oil. YUM.

This is our second summer without a garden of our own, as we were living on the road last summer too.  So it’s a real joy to dig into the dirt and bury my nose in the tomato plants.  We feel lucky to have wandered into caring for a full-grown, abundantly producing garden without having done squat in starting it up.  Shining red jars of gooseberry chutney and syrup turned out beautifully this week, and tomorrow it’s beans.

This year's wildcrafted harvest

This year's wildcrafted harvest

And with access to a big kitchen sink full of endless hot water, it was time to put up medicinal tinctures and oils into finished products.  Wise elderflower, protective cedar tip, cooling burdock leaf, drawing green plantain, miracle red clover, jack-of-all-trades yarrow, formidable creosote, emergency arnica, pain-relieving peach, fortifying rose petal, reorganizing lemon balm, all-encompassing self-heal, frozen poultices of horsetail and hound’s tongue, tendonitis rub with horseradish and fir needles, jeweled ritual oils with warm, garnet-hued St. John’s Wort and frankincense, first aid healing skin salve for cuts, rashes and infections, balm for spinal and nerve pain, Chill Out tincture for drama and trauma.  Next on the herbal list:  searching for the right arrowleaf balsam root.

St. John's Wort harvesting method comparison

I tried a comparison of harvesting methods for St. John's Wort: The jar on top was from individual closed buds squeezed upon being plucked and plopped in olive oil. The jar on bottom is from flowering tops - leaves, budding flowers, open flowers, dying flowers: a harvesting method much less labor intensive that results in similar aroma and close color to the painstakingly gathered one. The leaves are valuable. I haven't yet noticed a difference in the range of effect but will post if I do.

Huckleberry gal

Huckleberry gal

Holt's got a fish on

Holt's got a fish on

Salves, Oils, Tinctures

Salves, oils, tinctures

2 Comments leave one →
  1. MomE permalink
    August 11, 2010 12:02 pm

    What a lovely time you are having……….helping someone out and doing what you love. The harvest looks beautiful and floating down the river sounds like heaven. We are sweltering here!

  2. Sue permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:03 pm

    I just came across yoru blog on FOTR and am really inspired by your writings and lifestyle. We’ve been talking about moving over to this type of lifestyle for the past year and could see the momentum getting stronger to do so. It’s nice to come across other families with similar interests and beliefs. We have a lot to learn but I am grateful for families like yours sharing their experience.

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