Monday, March 10, 2008

A Wild Harvest...

Spring is here! And with the generous amount of rain water we got this year, the local trails, hills and other open spaces are getting covered with carpets of wildflowers: wood sorrel, lupine, california poppies, wild mustards and more...

I decided the time was right to go for a "hike n' harvest" on my favorite trail (which I find truely magical: it has a natural artesian stream and 150 millions year old stones covered with mosses and ferns...And it smells wonderfully fresh and earthy).

I ethically harvested some herbs that grow in abundance around here: black sage (salvia mellifera), purple sage (salvia leucophylla), california mugwort (artemisa californica) and what I believe to be silver sagebrush (artemisia cana).

All these herbs besides being very fragrant, have some spiritual and also medicinal uses. After all: sages and artemisias are wise woman herbs ;). I hung them to dry for later use...I believe they'll make wonderful incense blends. I made a small smudging bundle with some of the mugwort leaves and prepared a fresh mugwort infused oil that I will strain in 6 weeks or so...The uses of california mugwort are the similiar to those of regular mugwort (artemisia vulgaris). This plant has been considered sacred and magic by many native tribes.

I'm plan on coming back there in 2 or 3 weeks in the hope that miner's lettuce and chickweed will still be there. Maybe I'll be able to harvest some wild blackberry leaves (the himalayan blackberry really thrives around here and its berries are such a delight in the Summer/Fall) though one herbalist recommends to harvest the leaves in the Fall when they turn reddish (I will give it a try next Fall to see if there is a noticeable difference in the taste and its effect on the physical, emotional and spiritual levels...And to connect with Mother Earth's introspective energy), I also noticed that the elders have been growing new branches so maybe they'll start blooming soon ;).

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