Archive for the ‘elderberry’ Category




A week ago, my brother Eric and I harvested the first pictures batch of elderberries, from a wild spot. These were preserved as a tincture, and syrup, and some were dried. We also harvested from a feral pear tree, and I have been letting them soften just a tad on the counter. Pears are a fruit that seems to develop well, on one’s counter, if it is picked a bit hard. The wild plums were picked by Katee and a week ago. We picked them yellow, and they have developed a nice red color, also in the kitchen. Last night, Eric and I went and picked the last of the elderberries at our spot, and I have been invited to a friends property to harvest what berries she has, this morning. Eric introduced me to a nice lady, last evening, who has an apple tree, but didn’t want to harvest from it. We went to her home last night and got a tour of her lovely garden, I tried the apple, it was nice, so made plans to harvest there today. In the meantime, I had talked to our local state museum folks, and been assured I can harvest the wild plums Katee and I found there. So…. I need to go to Val’s to pick elderberries, stopping at the store for her on the way….bring berries home, emptying the carrying basket, get Katee to go with me for the plums, stop and get apples on the way home… and then get busy canning up the pears and de- stemming the elderberries. I might wait and do up the plums in the morning. Just depends on how it goes!

This past few days, we have enjoyed cooler temperatures and I am just rejoicing in the gifts from our Mother’s labors.


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tulip tree

My neighbors have a huge tulip tree which overhangs Comfrey Cottages on the north. It’s flowers are so absolutely gorgeous! The bees have been very busy gathering nectar from it and I can hear them buzzing happily high up in its branches. I have always appreciated this trees for the shade it provides and its nectar and pollen it provides the bees. The squirrels are eating the mature buds also, with apparent relish. Well I decided to research and find out whether this tree might have edible or medicinal qualities, that we could benefit from also. What I found was most interesting indeed! While I can find no references to eating the Tulip Tree, in any form, Henrietta’s Herbal had a couple pages chock full of historical references to it’s usage as medicine. It seems that it has been basically ignored in years though. I think that I will explore some of the medicinal uses listed this year since I have a very keen interest in using the trees and plants that are easily available in my area. Luckily I have some Amish friends that harvest trees, so I can ask them to share some of the inner bark of the root the next time they cut one. I will share about it whenever I get a chance to work with it. Of course, I don’t intend to do anything but enjoy the blessings of the tree overhanging our gardens here:)

One of the pages Henrietta has is information from John Scudder on this tree.


“The bark of Liriodendron tulipifera.—U. S.

Preparation.—Tincture of Liriodendron.

Dose.—From five drops to one drachm.

Therapeutic Action.—The bark of the Tulip Tree is tonic, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anthelmintic, aromatic, stomachic. It may be used in all cases of anorexia and impaired states of the digestive organs, where a stimulant tonic is indicated. It promotes the appetite and facilitates digestion; for these purposes it will be found fully equal to the simple bitters. It is often used with some advantage in intermittents.

It is employed in gout and chronic rheumatism, and in the declining stages of the acute form, after the irritated action has subsided, as a stimulating diaphoretic and tonic. If administered freely in the form of a warm infusion, it evinces conspicuous diaphoretic properties; and not unfrequently its diuretic powers are equally manifest.

The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.”

Very interesting, right? lol



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the harvester

I have read this book yearly whenever i am in a sweet mood it seems. the harvester by gene stratton-porter is one of my most loved books. it should appeal to many of you. the central character david langston has spent his entire lfe in the medicine wood living and harvesting with the seasons, so lots of good herbie related passages throughout. while for those who like a little romance and beauty, which again speaks to all of us with the love of nature and sweet innocent love. david has spent his life studying and cultivating herbs and plants and sells them to hospitals in the hopes of lessening the pain in the world. he is a noble man and this is an inspiring book, with a many love stories, interspersing and freely vining throughout the story.  the spots where we folklore and fairy lovers will smile are in passages such as this

“the harvester broke from a tree a large fan-shaped fungus, the surface satin fine, the base mossy, and explained to the girl that these were the ballrooms of the woods, the floors on which the little people dance in the moon light at their great celebrations. the he added a piece of woolly dog moss, showing her how each separate spine was like a perfect little evergreen tree. that is spine where the fairies get their christmas pines, he explained.

do you honestly believe in fairies?

surely! who would tell me when the maples are dripping sap, and the mushrooms springing up, if the fairies didn’t whisper in the night?….”

here is a nice link about the author

so go out and find a copy of the harvester! i am sure it is reasonable at amazon and also through library loan systems. go on, i dare you not to fall in love with david langston also!lol

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a couple of the jars i made of elderberry tincture today while watching Disney’s Earth video.  i had watched it once before and all i can advise is, if you haven’t seen it, you should! marvelous music, wildlife video and earl ray jones narrates. what more could you ask for! it was fun to sit and tease the frozen elderberries off their stems while watching this wonderful movie! i had harvested these elderberries awhile back and just did not have anytime to do anything with them besides the elderberry honeys i did. so froze the rest of them, right inside my carrying basket, in the basement deep freeze until today, when i took out some more to work with. i still have ALOT in the basket and will be doing more things so stay tuned for when i next have a spot of time. here is a pick of my frozen berries


you can see in that deep freeze some goats milk i have frozen for lovely cheese this winter, and also some jars of lemon balm tea, which will be a ray of sunshine one day soon:) you can just see the elderberries peaking out so you can imagine how many i got that day of harvest! i love that carrying basket! my husband won it at a turkey unlimited event i think


the other day i went to the recycle center and since we don’t have glass recycle here, someone had left all these lovely wine jugs! i grabbed them and they have been riding in my car for a week. i just today have a spot of time to myself to have hauled them inside and given them a good cleaning. i will fill a couple with water and store in our basement for an emergency and just cap and save the others until needed for whatever project i think up i need a container like that for!lol


my friend garrett has a lady ginkgo tree and has always complained about the smell of her ripened fruit. i have always tried to tell him that he shouldn’t cut her down, but after working with her fruit getting the nut out, for an hour, i wouldn’t really want to open any window during the fall if she was outside my window. garrett brought me a nice big bucket full and i spent a nauseating hour hulling them yesterday. they smell like vomit, no kidding just horrid.



but surprisingly, the nut, after being rinsed repeatedly and then baked in an oven at 275 degrees for 25 minutes, taste and smell fine! they did smell some though while cooking i will admit. my poor daughter michelle,  my oven is out so i baked them in her oven and i smelled up her whole house! thanks michelle for putting up with your mom!lol anyway, the nut itself cracks very easily and inside the nut meat is a pretty green. they just taste a bit bland, maybe just kind of green, you know what i mean, and a texture a bit like a bean. i will let you know when i try adding them to different dishes and how that does. for now, i think i will just crack one or two a day and nibble on them. lisl meredith heubner did an excellent article on ginkgo and i encourage you to read it. i followed her lead on this , my first time harvesting them. if for some reason you can’t read the link for her article, she said to tell you to just friend her on facebook and then you could read it under her notes section of her profile.

been busy with the end of harvest also. lemon balm honeys, comfrey, lady’s mantel, pineapple sage, thyme, and the last of the chamomile drying. a few infusions with the pineapple sage, which is very yummy . going to freeze a few of those in the deep freeze for later:) i used a recipe tina sam’s of the essential herbalist blog had posted.  that magazine is invaluable! other than that, been saving a few seeds from the garden some butterfly weed seed, marshmallow and others. dandelion trying to help with the butterfly weed seed!lol


and a little surprise. chickweed planted herself in this old watering can! had to hurridly pull out the copy of herbal roots zine, for march as that issue of this monthly herbal pdf kristine lovingly creates, had chickweed as the star of the month. for those of you who don’t subscribe, i highly recommend kristine brown’s wonderful herbal roots zine!


so much more i could tell you but night is coming too fast these days and i still am trying to get alot done today!

big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit comfrey cottages!

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for those of you who haven’t heard the news, you need to read this article. and if you haven’t any elderberry medicine yourself, you should get stalked up at your local healthfood store or online source, such as the essential herbalist, tina sam. in a hurry here tonight as getting late, but there are other lovely herbalists whose blogs are on my blog roll who have elderberry for sale, so if you are in need, please check it out:) herbal and honey hugs all around

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Rosemary's Sampler: Respect your Elder

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