It’s snowing! Well folks, here we go. Denver, CO had eight inches of snow this week while fires raged on just north of Denver. We drift into the deep dark. I for one am ready to rest. I am not going to Miami for Thanksgiving. I believe it is time to accept that coronavirus has changed our lives. Number one, a black couple in a white Suburban with New York plates traveling down South after the election? I think not! Second, the airline (JetBlue) emptied the front of the plant and placed the passengers in the center (no doubt for buoyancy) and the seat I wanted (middle seat in a row of three) had two folks in the row ahead and no folks behind, but that’s too close for comfort for me. Not to mention I can barely wear a mask in a store for fifteen minutes let alone on a plane for three hours! And I’m spoiled, our airport is thirty minutes away with one terminal. Flights have been cancelled up here and I would have to fly out of JFK! Number three, Marc would have to quarantine with me when I got back and he wouldn’t be able to quarantine, he just got back to work. Number three is the deciding factor. Not only do we have to think about ourselves, we also have to consider our community. Thanksgiving in Beacon after six years! Marc and I have always had a lovely spread and now we have a sweet dining table!
A word about survival. Moving upstate, we were prepared for racism and for me sexism. I did not know how swift and all-pervading they would be, but we manage. It’s not until now with the movement for black lives that through conversation with a white friend (thank you Gigi!) that I have had cathartic experiences where my solar plexus chakra spins and I feel healing. I wonder how much trauma we all bury and never get a chance to manage because we are so concentrated on survival? Upstate is the wilderness. New York City (the boroughs) is rough and ready, but survival is not given much thought because of the convenience of travel by train and stores on every corner. Upstate is different – open space and cold and areas where it is important to gather provisions before arriving home to be comfortable. I must admit I am a ruffian and not into creature comforts. My life is outside. I am Ogun, Artemis. We used a card table as our dining table up until two years ago and the new dining table was free. I guess I have wanted to engage with Spirit as much as possible and believe that the universe provides. My focus is outdoors. I would live out there if I could. I now have a blend of creature comforts and a life outside. Simple life.
The season draws to a close. I want to keep my schedule as much as possible although I am not going to Miami. I may garden to the end of November, though if weather permits. I’m usually done by the fifteenth and off to Miami. We pulled out Tomato bed this week because Friday night was going to be 26º. It ended up snowing Friday morning! We have our Tomatoes sitting on a table at Sarah’s house hoping they ripen.
I may get some more Tomato sauce yet!
Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos! The start of the high holidays for me. Revelry right down to December 31! Use to be debauch and revelry, but the old girl wants to grow old gracefully. Debuachery is painful these days. I am a hedonist, which I suppose is the one characteristic outside of engagement with Spirit, to which I adhere. Now I have redefined hedonism as joy and delight in creation. Engagement with Spirit. Connection with the universe. Gifts of Spirit abound enriching my life, but revelry is always to be found. We continue to give thanks here, and visions of next season start to dance in our heads. We also have the season’s bounty to carry us through Winter. A tough season to be sure, but I have stores from 2019 that will carry us. It is thought that food prices will rise in 2021 so we have stored a twenty-five pound bag of Rice, a fifty pound bag of Oatmeal, ten pounds of Lentils and ten pounds of Split Pea. After the olive oil scandal, we have moved on to local Sunflower oil, storing four and a half gallons and a large container of Coconut oil. Feels good for sure, but I want to have faith in Spirit and just store for Winter. The universe provides!
We will continue our experimental work come Spring 2021. Having encountered wild stands of Elderberry and Joe Pye Weed, we want to add Joe Pye Weed’s (Eutrochium purpureum), cousin, Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) to our roster and trial them from seed. White Sage (Salvia apiana) didn’t do too well outside this season, so we will place her in a greenhouse at White Pine next season. I had White Sage in pots on the deck one season and although she did not flower, she did better in pots than in the ground this season. I want to start seed April 1 and May 1 next season. I didn’t get Skullcap from seed this season. Shocking to be sure, just like Zucchini. I suppose July was just too damn hot, but I think that if I start all the seed I usually start in July in May, they will be a good size by September and more apt to withstand weeds. I transplanted Echinacea into pots this season and they were a good size going in the ground this Autumn. The biggest challenge for native plants, I have found is weed pressure. Invasives out compete our natives. My work is native plants. Return the plants to the people! It has been quite a journey. I want to donate plants to the Solidarity Garden and Split Rock Sweetwater Prayer Camp.
The season winds down and we slip into the deep dark. We can continue with our Plant Family ABC’s here. Back in blog October 14, Deep Dark, we ended with Hibiscus. Now we’re down to Jewelweed, Juneberry and Lamb’s Quarter.
Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida (yellow), I. capensis (orange), Balsaminaceae, Annual, Turtle Island
Jewelweed is good for Poison Ivy. I make a salve, but one can also make a broth with the young shoots and freeze them into ice cubes and use them to soothe Poison Ivy rash. Jewelweed has sweet succulent stems that look edible, but the plant is emetic and poisonous if eaten.
Juneberry, Amelanchior canadensis, A. alnifolia, Rosaceae, Shrub or Small Tree, Turtle Island
Jewelweed berries are a cross between a Cherry and a Blueberry holding the flavors of both. Be quick because like Blueberries, birds love Juneberries and will strip a tree before you know it. The indigenous used the berries to make a bread, mashing them into a paste and drying them into cakes which was then eaten with commeal (corn mash) or pemmican (tallow, dried meat), a very nutritious meal.
Lamb’s Quarter, Chenopodium album, Chenopodiaceae, Perennial, Europe
Highest level of calcium of any green. Also contains riboflavin, vitamins A and C and protein. The leaves have a yummy nutty flavor great for our Wild Salad. This time of year I am gathering the seeds. The seeds can be sprinkled on Oatmeal or Rice for added nutrition through Winter. I also make Lamb’s Quarter Pesto.
Slip away into the deep dark. Rest, rest. All of our visions and dreams can fall away as the new year vision starts to take shape. Pull back and in and down and greet the holidays with gratitude and have some fun. Our work is done and 2020 slips into memory. A year in our lifetime that we will never forget. Change is upon us. Let us embrace the new with joy, love and peace.