Its early April as I write this but you would hardly know it. This morning I woke to snow showers and there is still a mound of muddy snow piled at the end of the driveway. Despite the cold I went foraging yesterday, the day after the first brave crocuses opened their faces to the sun.
I have read that this time of year was the “starving time” for northern cultures because there is so little greenery available. But I was pleased to find an embarrassment of riches on my hike into the forest. All around the property there are beds of edible Day Lilies with their potato like roots that can be boiled, sautéed or eaten raw. The pale green new shoots are perfect in salads or as a pot herb.
There are River Birch trees and Maples, useful for their sap and the River Birch twigs make a fabulous tea especially when added to Sassafras roots which I also have around the house (I only make birch and sassafras beer once a year because overuse can be dangerous).
White Pine needles and twigs are available all winter to make vitamin C rich teas and there is a Grandmother Cedar down the road in a neighbor’s yard which the Algonquin consider a cure-all for every affliction. Deeper into the woods, down by the stream, the skunk cabbage is poking up its red capped head. The roots are available now to tincture for asthma, but it will be a few weeks before the young leaves appear. They are actually quite delicious if you boil twice (and pour off the first water) and add butter, salt and pepper. I am still waiting for the first nettles to appear, so delicious when cooked as a green or sautéed with eggs and wild ramp leaves.
Many of us are faced with “food insecurity” these days. It isn’t supposed to be that way, Great Nature is always trying to feed us, clothe us, and give us medicine. If we only have the eyes to see it!
THE PRAYER OF THE WOODS
I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,
the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on.
I am the beam that holds your house,
the board of your table, the bed on which you lie,
and the timber that builds your boat.
I am the handle of your hoe, the door of your homestead,
the wood of your cradle, and the shell of your coffin.
I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty.
Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: Harm me not.
That’s what’s happening up here on the mountain. In the wider world outside there has been much rejoicing over the new Pope Francis. I am a huge fan of Saint Francis, “Il Poverello” (the little poor one) who spoke to the birds and the wolves and understood that the water, fire, sun and moon were sacred. One can only hope that the new Francis will follow suit, leading his billion or so strong flock in a renewed love of the Earth and Her creatures. But the status of women as second class citizens in the church continues and the history of abuse of children still lingers as a foul stench. Sadly, I doubt that the old white men of the curia will do much to even the playing field for women and children.
But Spring is definitely here, with hope and sap rising! May your Spring be joyful and fulfilled!
Below you will find this Moonth’s gleanings from the media and an assortment of workshops where I will be speaking.
- HANDS ON HERBALISM CLASS
April 7, 2013 in Easthampton, MA
- A CELTIC TREE MAGIC AND CHANT WORKSHOP
Come to lovely New England in the fall and learn Celtic tree magic and lore, Gaelic chants and prayers
- HERBAL HEALING CLASS With Ellen Evert Hopman M.Ed. ~ Registered Herbalist AHG
October 12, 2013 – April, 2014, two Saturdays a month, 1-5 PM near Amherst, MA
COST: $1,000.00 (includes a $100.00 non-refundable Xeroxing fee) A six month intensive that covers Western herbal Materia Medica, formula making, case taking, Chinese Five Element Theory, Homeopathic First Aid, Flower Essence Counseling, plant identification, ethno botany, and hands on herbal techniques such as poultices, tinctures, salves etc. An herb walk outdoors, slide shows of plants and hands on preparations are included.
Over 400 pages of handouts are included with the course. A certificate of completion is offered at the end.
MA NURSES CAN GET CEUS BY TAKING THIS COURSE
- Massive comet coming in November
- Comet facts
- Related: is our climate being chemically engineered from the sky?
- The search for Boudicca’s bones heats up
- Ancient Welsh sites revealed by snow
- Humans may have left Africa later than once thought
- Pre-Viking tunic found
- The source of ancient Ireland’s gold
- 4000 year old burial mounds discovered in Wales
- Why did the Neanderthals disappear?
- Paleolithic fishing
- Did the Mayans live in Georgia?
- 7000 BCE Italian art
- Ancient humans were peripatetic
- Stonehenge was a graveyard
- What poor Romans ate
- Uncovered – a medieval settlement in Northern Ireland
- Tsunamis may have sculpted the Kerry coast
- Valkyrie figure found
- The Keshcarrigan Iron Age Bowl
- Seeking a new High King of Ireland
How to Apply
- Origin of the Celts to be explored
- View the Book of Kells online
- 2013 Year of the Sheep – artist gives sheep a lecture on history
- Ancient Gaelic chant from the Isle of Lewis
- The Spring issue of THE DRUID INQUIRER
- A Sacred Oak in PA
- Most famous Druids
- Druid is chosen to represent March of Dimes
- Holy Oaks in Basque Country
- How to tap a Birch tree for its sap
- Starhawk, a talk at Harvard on Permaculture and the Sacred (video)
- First UK Radical Herbalism conference announced
- Using trees for healing
- Five Healing Herbs
- Apples may help prevent colon cancer
- Fast foods and bleached salt may be causing auto-immune diseases
- Probiotics alter brain chemistry
- Wholefoods will require GMO labeling – great news!
- CRE – an emerging super bug
- Major Flip Flop – Republicans are now demanding an increase in Obamacare
- The snakes are back! Ireland is once again crawling with them…
- Bear hunt – a very unusual video about animals that will show a new perspective
- How to reverse climate change and desertification
- Higgs “God Particle” has been found by physicists
- Sea ice is fracturing at alarming rate
- Scottish Wild Cats may go extinct in the wild this year
- C02 emissions leapt last year
- Are we in the midst of another mass extinction?
- Fukoshima disaster is starting to cause fetal defects in West Coast infants in the USA
- North Dakota set to ban abortion at 6 weeks with no exception for rape or incest
- Meanwhile, here is what civilization looks like
- House Republicans threaten to shut down government unless women are denied contraception
- America must not look away: an essay on gun violence from Michael Moore
- Costco CEO: Raise the minimum wage
- Best Coin Ever Spent This made me cry – its just about my favorite piece of music, ever!
- Bards In The Woods
- Gaeltacht Gathering Tour 2013
20 Oct – 2 Nov 2013
Chance of a Lifetime! Visit Ireland’s Irish speaking communities in the company of other Irish speakers and learners from North America
Cost: $1700 (excluding flight)
Deposit Deadline: 17 March 2013
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