I encourage my herb students to go outside & observe the plants in all seasons. At this time of year we tend to think nothing much is available for noticing much less for harvesting. I have been harvesting several plants as I need them this winter, mostly for immune system.
Yesterday I took an old salt lamp up to the woods, it was crumbling & falling apart, so I decided to give it to the deer! Deer can use the himalayan salt as a salt lick. I left it under a big tree for them to find.
Join me on a walk on some trails:
ARBUTUS TREE WITH PEELING BARK, I love the feel of these trees, they are so smooth, and
when its raining the bark underneath looks really orange.
More peeling arbutus bark.
Alder leaf on a maple leaf.
Chickadee on a cherry tree
Yellow dock seeds. I harvest these in the early fall to put in infusions for immune system. They are easy to
harvest, you just slide your hand up the stem to collect them. However, there tend to be a lot of spiders on
the stems, might want to give the branch a shake first.
These 2 photos were taken in the summer. I did see several eagles today though, just didn't get a picture of
them. They seemed to be doing a lot of aggressive flying around after each other today & later in the day 2 of
them were chasing each other through my yard.
Wild roses & hips. I generally harvest the hips in the fall, they are pretty soggy at this time of year.
Rose hips. I actually prefer the rose petals over the hips. I make a rose petal tincture to use for pain relief that
Holly & its red berries.
Leave & a bit of ice. It is just cold enough for there to a bit of ice, although our snow from last week is gone.
Yellow cedar & snow from mid January. We went up on the trails & looked at all the little animal footprints in the
snow. An easier way to know what kind of animals are walking about in the woods -- when you can see their
Red Cedar -- Thuja. I use the ends of the branches to make a tincture for immune system.
This is Usnea. I have been using it for immune system as well. I had been using it in infusions, but I collected
enough to make a tincture.
This is a different type of lichen, you can see it is flatter. Usnea is round & when you pull it apart it has a tiny
thread inside. Both kinds will often grow on the same bush. I find it most often on Ocean Spray shrubs.
This is lungwort. It doesn't grow on the ground, here's where it came from:
If you look way up in this maple, tree you can see lungwort growing on its trunk. I am able to harvest it when there
is a strong wind & some blows down. Or last year a raven was nicely making a little project out of clearing an
entire branch of a maple tree in yard. He came back each day & was very intent on getting every bit of moss
& lichen off the branch, so I had all kinds of lungwort tossed down to me. I have used it in rubbing alcohol along
with usnea for itchy skin conditions like eczema & acne. And I have used the lungwort in infusions for lung problems,
and right now I am making a tincture of it. It smells really earthy -- both the plant & the tincture. It seems to stay
happily green moist lying on the ground in our rainy weather, as soon as its brought inside it dries out very quickly.
It feels very much like toad skin.
This is a Barred Owl, he & his mate are in our yard frequently. They are very active during the winter & have their
babies probably around this time of year. This photo was taken in the late spring. Sometimes we get to see one
or both of them during the day.
One thing about having owls in the yard, they tend to wake you up in the middle of the night with a loud shriek.
They will also swoop out of the tree & knock you in the head if you are wandering around unsuspectingly at night!
This is Oregon Grape, it grows everywhere here. I use the roots for tincturing for liver toning. And the berries
are really tart, great for eating if you are on a long walk & thirsty.
Pearly Everlasting. I haven't used this plant too much, it can be useful for allergies, and lung & throat problems. It doesn't smell like much either. Its flowers already feel dried when still on the plant, that's why it is called 'everlasting'. I am just trying some in my herb infusion this morning.
Salal grows everywhere here. I love its zigzag branches. Just discovered it works quite well in infusions for
irritated bladder, or a slight infection of the bladder. Doesn't taste like much. Seems to work really well. The
berries taste really good, they aren't too juicy & tend to dry out after reaching their peak. One of my students
noticed they have an immediate effect on soothing her kidneys. So I've used the leaves in an infusion for
soothing the kidneys as well.
Squirrel at the feeder. We have 3 squirrels that come to the feed, which keeps my dogs busy.
St. John's wort in winter.
Tansy flower in winter. This plant has really interesting flat yellow disks for flowers.
Towhee on the cherry tree by the feeder. These guys nest near us every year, so we have had more & more over
the years. We still have an Anna's hummingbird a the feeder too.
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