Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Use what you have, love the one you're with, blah, blah, blah.

It's cold. And my plants aren't moving very fast. I'm antsy and want to enjoy and harvest and eat and tend! Wow, says Mother Nature, that's really want-y. You might want to slow down and leash up your expectations a bit. 

So here is what is available to me right now. Just Stinging Nettle tops.... barely enough for a cuppa. But so beautiful! And her stings are so subtle at this stage or maybe I'm just that primed.
Do I need to sing the praises of stinging nettles? Country folk can't believe I even touch them but they are good food, especially early in the spring. They are called for if you have systemic arthritic or inflammatory diseases (Hi, John H.). They really help the build-up in the joints that happens... now herbs aren't magic bullets, are they? They are not super charged, lab-generated gel caps. You have to invest, ingest, think health and be your own health. It isn't always anything. But it is all you. It's also all not you- it's not in your control, really. I believe in practice, like yoga, where you visualize your health and well-being. 
But also, when you're thinking of having a baby (Hi, Cass! Hi, Sam!), this high amount of iron, selenium, Vitamin K is perfect for the uterus. It isn't raspberry leaf (a prime uterine tonic that works LIKE A CHARM- drink your infusion please preg ladies!)- but remember all those stories of rupture and bleeding after birth and trauma to baby and vitamin K shot? I do. In Greer's birth, I drank large amounts of nettle infusion and it helped me not get anemic (a big issue with Myrna's birth) and I turned down the vitamin K shot because her levels were wonderful. As well, large amounts of vitamin c which help with the absorption of iron. 
Miss Cass asked last year how to identify nettles for sure: the serrated leaves, opposite position (one on each side, instead of alternate) of the leaves and the sting. They are easily wildcrafted in Shawnee Mission Park, along hte streamways trail. I spend years in KC, using this in the spring to get my nettles. Look for partially shaded, moist areas. You might find a perfect morel as well!  
If wildcrafting them isn't available to you, go to a bulk herb store. Call Whole Foods and see if they have cut nettle leaf. I know they have it at Phoenix Herb Co on Boradway, near the Plaza. Work on making a nice, rich infusion. Make a quart. Drink it in 3-4 days. Keep refrigerated! 
Here is what Dr.Christopher's website says: It is a slow-acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes.  It is one of the safest alteratives, especially in the treatment of chronic disorders that require long-term treatment.  It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes through the kidneys.  

I'm going on the radio this weekend (About the House with Jeremy Taylor) to talk about the opening of the Lawrence Farmer's Market- oh yay! I'm also talking about planting blooming trees- picking the right one, the ones blooming now, care and feeding. Join me on KLWN at 10:00 to talk with Jeremy Taylor, of course, but also John Pendleton! 

So expect an apprentice update- her name is Sarah, she told me I could share it. :) I think I'll show her a friendly, sticky, clingy friend this week. You never know where your ally will show up....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

go get it- landscaping! apprentice! nettles! daffodils!

spring flowers, garden design, bulbsI got to be in the local paper this week. It's the Go-Getter section- Try Landscaping. It's a very basic, to be sure, but HEY! I run my mouth all the time. This just warns the beginning homeowner to research their tree planting carefully, re-mulch to give a fresh perspective or look....
Seriously wish they would have used a real picture, not a shutterstock photo. The paper is really cutting its budget.... this is getting ridiculous. Opinions are like a$$holes- everyone has got one!

tansy, design, landscape

If you have questions about your landscape, I specialize in herbal, medicinal plants (obviously) and native/ xeric gardens that embrace your existing garden culture, as well as garden consulting.

Onto other topics: yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with a friend who is going to be "apprenticing" with me. I'm not averse to leadership but I put quotes around apprentice because I feel like she and I are contemporaries and, while I'm teaching her, I still consider us on equal footing. Apprentice? Well, ok.
We spent some time working on what we wanted to teach/ learn about.... she walked around my messy and organic garden space, looking at all the new medicinal beauties popping up. The echinacea is popping its burgundy shoots out of the ground, the yarrow is pushing forth frothy tendrils, the bronze fennel has brown fuzzy cattails and the comfrey has ears of yellow green right now! The clary sage says loudly, "I DIDN'T GO DORMANT. OMG, I'M RIGHT HERE!". As well, the never-dying rosemary is a broad evergreen shrub! I have to say I'm excited. Oh, and the calendula? Greening up from the roots. :) Happy smile....(properly, I believe calendula is perennial but doesn't survive hot summers well.)

She and I planted Feverfew (looks like a cross between chamomile and daisy), Holy Basil (Tulsi) and some creeping thyme for strictly garden (not medicinal)  purposes. She is keeping hers indoors to sprout, while I'm letting my germinate outside in the cold! The basil won't move for awhile but the other two will be just fine.
As well, this gave me the opportunity to get out my beloved herbal books and assign some reading! I love my books dearly and firmly give away those I don't love. I have my dad's collection, which I find invaluable as well! Next week, I'm taking her, her two kids (4 and 6), my two girls and myself to wildcraft nettles. Folk herbalism at its finest, right there. Can't wait to have some fresh nettles- infusion for me! That bright sharp green with the gentle taste..... Here is a picture from last year:
nettle, urtica dioica, health
Urtica dioica: great for kidney, liver, bile function. Arthritis, Vitamin K, potassium.