Kilter Annie's…

thoughts, musings and the like


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The Six “KNOWS” of Harvesting Wild Plants

Oakmoss Education

Using the wonderful wild plants of Earth can result in so many benefits for our physical and spiritual health. However, all due care should be used in this process. And remember to be a responsible forager. When harvesting, ALWAYS LEAVE PLENTY OF SPECIMENS BEHIND! We want our wild herbs to reproduce so be sure to take no more than one-third (1/3) of a stand. In addition, certain plants only should be harvested during certain phases of their life-cycles. For example, Trout Lily should not be harvested if the specimen displays more than one leaf; it takes this plant more than one year to flower so do NOT harvest it if the plant is showing two leaves otherwise it may fail to reproduce. Also, if the plant is endangered (i.e. American Ginseng, certain ferns, etc.), DO NOT HARVEST – it might be illegal and certainly does not help them propagate for…

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On life, loss and new beginnings

When it comes to me, what you see is what you get. There are no great mysteries, save those bestowed upon me due to my adoption. I’m a hippie. I like herbology and holistic health, and I’m a big fan of simplicity.

I say this because our our eldest (DL), one of my step-daughters, is getting married in November. Yay! Wahoo! Congrats! This is exciting…and I’m TOTALLY clueless. You see, her mom left this plane twelve years ago, making me the “Mother of the Bride”. This honor comes with great responsibility, like putting on the bridal shower. She started talking about color and lunch themes and totally left me in the dust. Say, WHAT?! You mean, I can’t just make it a potluck and call it a day? Apparently not. To counter my casual style, DL is Little Miss Put-Together, OCD organized, Coach handbag- girl. Her dad and I had a promise ceremony on a beach in Mexico. I am so out of my element in this endeavor.

Here’s where you come in. The bridal shower is planned for September, which just so happens to be DL’s birth month. I need ideas to help me fuse her organized style and my casual hippie style, because I’ve been the main mother figure in her life since she was eight (more on the reason for that at another time), while recognizing her birth and growth and honoring her mother.

I’ve been trying to come up with ideas of how to subtly infuse and honor DL’s mom at the shower, and for the wedding, but I don’t have much to go on. The Colonel (my man’s had this nickname for quite some time) doesn’t know his ex’s favorite flower and we don’t have any of her jewelry to pass down that DL doesn’t already have. Sadly, that is the extent of my creativity in this regard. I want it to be more than just a photo of her mom somewhere in the room. I don’t want to upset her with the blatant visual reminder that her mother isn’t there.

Please help me celebrate the union of DL and her fiancé MW, in a way that bring presence to her mom. I know it hurts her tremendously to not be doing this with her mother.


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Coming back to myself

Holy shit.  The first post.  So much pressure!  It’s funny how, when I’m in the shower or doing the dishes, I have so many ideas.  Now I actually have the time to sit and…nada.

How about this…I’m inspired and feeling like myself again.  It’s all about the plants, Man.  Over the years of being with someone who, though he supports and is fascinated by my interests, he doesn’t actually get INTO them (No judgement here.  I mean, hey, history’s not MY passion and I surely have ZERO interest in working with teenage kids, but that’s what he loves.), I have fallen off the bandwagon.  My independent study of herbs and holistic health had fallen by the wayside.  Getting back to college, after the (less than) year that I spent at Ohio University, I began some of the Holistic Health courses they offered.  I love the study, but have always questioned my knowledge to really go with it.

Now, enter my new interest in foraging.  After a few trips out with my girl Butter (yes, that’s the name she goes by.  And it’s awesome.  How can you NOT love Butter?!  Follow her blog at HungerandThirstforLife.blogspot.com, you’ll be glad you did.), I realized that we just start small.  I’m an over-thinker and, guess what?  I’ve been over-thinking.  Go figure.  Dude, I love it!  Wild asparagus.  Wild onions.  Motherwort.  Catnip.  Prickly lettuce.  This shit rocks!  I’ve made a tincture out of cleavers, put up dandelion flower oil, began wild onion-infused olive oil (as of tonight) and will be making dandelion leaf tea tomorrow.  Man, when this shit comes back, it comes back HARD.  I’ve got my son hooked on kefir that we’re playing with at home and just started my first batch of kombucha.  Guess what else I discovered…I know more than I’ve been giving myself credit.

I know, I’m light years behind so many others, but it feels so good to come back to myself.  I mean, I went from one kid to five in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Getting a driver’s license to cart a family around was a big change from busing and biking everywhere.  What came along with that change came frozen pizzas and weight gain.  Ew, gross.

To celebrate the end of the school year, *insert uninspired “yea” here, I took my boys out to find asparagus.  They loved it!  D clearly has the foraging bug while G just likes to throw rocks in the water…unless it’s easy to find said ‘gus, at which point he’s all about it.  Either way, I love sharing this with my kids.  They love their mint, lemon balm and strawberry snacks from the yard and I love that they are learning and know what so many other people are completely unaware of.

My point?  The time is now.  If you don’t like something, change it.  If you’re inspired, do it.  If you’re curious, study it.  Then get out an LIVE IT!

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) at Fort Custer ...

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Augusta, MI. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)