It is time to harvest Garlic. I also harvested Wild Bergamot flowers. I harvested the leaves earlier in the season as well for tea. Once the flowers emerge, the leaves get powdery mildew.
I head up to Seed Song (www.seedsongfarm.org) to develop a plan to bring herbs to the people of Kingston. Susun Weed has a straight forward video “Ward off Covid-19” (https://youtu.be/e_DsjZcVnBQ) where she suggests Echinacea, Elderberry, Joe Pye Weed and Poke. Marc and I diligently take our dropperfuls of Echinacea and Elderberry daily, especially since he has returned to work in Manhattan. Lacto-fermented food, Echinacea and Elderberry are preventative, Boneset (Joe Pye Weed) and Poke are remedy. Let’s get the plants to the people!
Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, Asteraceae, Perennial, Turtle Island
An ally to be sure, antiviral, antibacterial, Echinacea tincture has been made from the root as well as the whole plant in flower. I have used Echinacea tincture for toothache topically. I am using it now along with lacto-fermented food and Elderberry for prevention of Covid-19 at Susun Weed’s suggestion. The photo is of one of my successful plantings of Echinacea. She is a shy, gentle creature easily overwhelmed by invasives. Constant weeding and I find now, mulching is necessary. This particular stand is down to one plant this season. She does find her way throughout the garden once planted, though.
Joy Pye Weed (Boneset), Eupatorium purpureum, E. perfoliatum, Perennial, Turtle Island
I started Joe Pye Weed from seed a few years ago as I moved into my experimental Plant Family phase. I got three plants. What a thrill to now find Joe Pye Weed growing wild at Seed Song. Ben believes that he has identified Joe Pye Weed at White Pine as well. The work now is to clear space and develop the stands. Named for the Native American who cured the colonizers of Typhus, Joe Pye Weed rhizome is used to break fevers. It is also tonifying for the reproductive system, can quell menstrual cramps, is good for gout, rheumatism and kidney and urinary problems. Native Americans make a pink dye from the seeds.
Poke, Phytollacca americana, Phytollacaceae
My ally for colds over the years, I have just traded it for the much milder Elderberry tincture. Poke has been everywhere I have been over my herbal journey, so it behooved me to keep her in my medicine chest. A friend of mine calls her “plague medicine” and lo and behold, she is. I believe one uses the plants that make themselves available. I am a bit extreme, but she has been my ally. I made my first half gallon jar of root tincture in 2004. I have shared it with family and friends. Now that Elderberry has become available to me, I will be sharing her now.
Elderberry, Sambucas canadensis, Caprifoliaceae, Shrubby Tree, Turtle Island
There is a tale that one has to develop a relationship with Elderberry before she will offer up her goodness. So true for me, she has been in my peripheral vision for at least the past ten years, but I have not had the pleasure until now. Flowers have been used as flavoring in different dishes, made into liqueurs and elderflower water for eye and skin applications. The berries contain vitamin C and can be made into wine, cordials, jams and pies. I have made a tincture with dried Elderberries. Elderberry syrup is readily available in the local drugstore.
Seed Song is the education and event space for Neetopk Keetopk. We are an indigenous education organization. I joined after the Two Row Wampum campaign of 2013 - a canoe paddle from Syracuse across the Mohawk River and down the Hudson River to Manhattan to the United Nations for the International Day of the Indigenous. It was the 400th anniversary of the first treaty (Wampum Belt) signed between the Iroquois Confederacy and the Dutch. Amerikkka walked out of the event. The stripes of beads in the belt mean the two peoples move through the world together without interfering with one another.
My favorite brand of activism is to build community. Of course, these days we have no choice, but to march in the streets. To represent the Native American community through education has enriched my life spiritually. When I moved upstate Spirit told me to find the natives and I have developed community with the First Peoples as well as the descendants of the colonizers. My first Native American event was a two day event in 2010 at the University Settlement theater where our guest speakers were Flor de Mayo of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, (https://www.grandmotherflordemayo.com/) Evan Pritchard of the Micmac tribe (http://www.wilkesweb.us/algonquin/evan.htm) and Tony Moonhawk of the Ramapaugh (https://faithify.org/projects/saving-split-rock/). Pete Seeger also performed. I created my first art piece, a seven foot Dreamcatcher for Vickie Raabin’s indigenous month November 2012
(https://www.facebook.com/MissVickiesMusic), which led to that same Dreamcatcher hanging in a tree for Two Row in 2013. I was coordinator for the Beacon event. Pete performed twice that day!
Indigenous people are under attack worldwide, as colonizers have swept the planet for at least 1000 years. European conquerors were so thorough we never hear about the indigenous of Europe, which is why the colonizers of Amerikkka (Turtle Island) were so well practiced. William the Conqueror noted that he had vanquished the indigenous of England. We cannot argue with the conquering nature of humans when we have evolved this way. The oppressed becoming the oppressor across the world. The meek inheriting the Earth.
We have to plan for four at SDG should all four members return next season. We have already added a second succession of Carrot and Kale and expanded Peppers into half a bed following Garlic. So far so good with everyone enjoying the harvest. We each got three bunches of Garlic where I usually get five so we may have to consider a second bed of Garlic. It is the first time I’ve done successions of crops. Fascinating to consider serving four people. Food prices are predicted to rise next season so we may need to serve four people.
Hiddenbrooke planted, I now only have to return for maintenance. I weeded Skullcap again and this time laid down hay to block the weeds. There were so many plant allies like Mullein and Yellow Dock in Echinacea bed that I did not have the heart to weed them out and was curious to see how Echinacea would co-exist with them. As of today, one lone Echinacea plant is going to flower. I will have to clear the bed come September, plant more Echinacea and lay down hay just like in Skullcap bed. My one last bed to open up next season is Milk Thistle. I had seed from 2012 that did not germinate in the greenhouse. I have ordered fresh seed for next season. 2012 Milk Thistle seed did germinate as late as 2018.
White Pine had its first CSA Solidarity Share distribution of herbs. We travelled down to the Bronx to connect with Padre Plaza Community Garden and Kelly St. garden, serving tea and distributing herbs and plant starts. Afterwards we went down to Occupy City Hall to serve tea and distribute food and plant starts. So many young, beautiful people seeking a better world. Occupy City Hall was broken up by the authorities on July 20. A day of love start to finish. We were still lit when we arrived home at 1:00am!
As I’ve mentioned, I am fifty-three so the shift in workload is welcome. Menopause has taught me to heed my aches and pains and pause to take care of myself. I had back pain after Seed Song. It was a long day where I had to leave home at seven to arrive at the farm and engage in Covid-19 protocol. Seed Song is having summer camp. I located Elderberry, Joe Pye Weed and Poke growing wild on the property. Echinacea will have to be planted. Seed Song also has beds of Sage, Thyme and Anise Hyssop that need maintenance. I also planted thirty-one Nettle plants. With Seed Song, my field work is complete and I can now turn my attention to office work. A long overdue upgrade to my herbal website and the launch of my copywriting website.