Autumn flowers medley

october 2010

It is really beautiful here right now and I’ve been taking some pictures of flowers and plants around the place again.  I notice that most of them are blue/purple.  I think these flowers look more blue in real life.  I don’t know what they are, but they’re all over the place around here.

ironweed
black walnuts

We didn’t get a lot of black walnuts this year but I got enough to stain all my wooden display boxes at least.

tiny sedges
a larger sedge that is a lot like papyrus

I really like the sedges. They are aesthetically pleasing to me, especially this big variety which I like to use inside the house instead of  ‘flowers’.  They have the typical ‘sedges have edges’ triangular shape to the stem, and I can really see how people got the idea to make paper from papyrus whenever I handle them.   This is a shot of the top of the plant.

tiny toadstool
this guy was so tiny. Do you think he would like the tiny toadstool?

I think this frog was only about a 1/2 inch long. I was trying to get some good closeups of some ironweed flowers, Paz (kitty) was trying to get my attention and I heard a strange chirp.  Needless to say I wondered how the cat made that noise until I saw the tiny frog jump onto this leaf.

yellowroot

I brought home some yellowroot plants.


If you know what this plant is, please educate me!


my first actual wildcrafted tincture-yellowroot

I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about native (and not-so-native) plants here for a while. It is a ridiculously complex endeavor, and though I’ve gone on many wild plant walks and such at various gatherings I still feel like a novice.  I am feeling ready for more intensive study of woodslore in my life, and I was recently spurred on by how I was able to go camping, find a plant I had been looking for, spontaneously recognize it with no hesitation, determine that there was plenty growing in the area so it was safe to harvest some for myself, dig it up, and bring it home to make tincture.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera camping.  I was so excited to be getting away from home that I didn’t feel like turning back to get it.

Here are pictures of the tincture making process though.

my bundle of yellowroot

Yellowroot is used for dye, yellow, obviously.  It also contains a high concentration of berberine, one of the active components in goldenseal.  Since I like using goldenseal for what ails me, I get good results with it, I want to see how yellowroot works.  I love every aspect of the herb gathering and preparation.

I cut the roots off the plant when I harvested them, and brought the bundle home.

the roots, all shredded up

We cut the roots up with a variety of tools.  I cut some of them up with the kitchen shears, we used the pruners to cut some of it, and the really tough bits went into the (cleaned out, of course) coffee grinder.

just added the vodka to the roots

I bought a mid-priced vodka, because I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the cheapest kind, even though it would be fine.  I have heard you can make tinctures with glycerin too, but have never tried any that were prepared that way.  I used an ear ache medicine for one of my kids years ago that was glycerin based, I imagine it’s about like that.

this has been steeping for a few days

I have been keeping this jar in a cabinet where it stays dark most of the time.  I will keep it like this for about 6 weeks and then strain the tincture and transfer it to small brown glass bottles, and they’ll be ready to use.