Archive for the ‘wild foraging/wild crafting’ 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I can find no references to eating the Tulip Tree, in any form, Henrietta’s Herbal had a couple pages chock full of historical references to it’s usage as medicine.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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You know it has been a great day, when you get home and your vehicle is totally muddy, there is mud between your toes, and splattered on your face! Spent the day running around in nature with one of my good buds, Ron. We met up out west of town and drove out to one of his buddy’s place, Tim. Now Tim has a great place he and his wife built and they live with nature. They have ponds that gravity feed to meet their water needs, have a cool greenhouse built out of windows and hay bales, gardens and fruit trees, root cellars, and critters.


The house is to the right and the pump house to the left in that pictures. There are barns with cattle, and some full of fire wood, as they heat and cook with woods.


Here is their greenhouse arrangement



These are amazing root cellars! They have a couple of these big metal tubes they bought. These folks make so much of what they need to. Notice the door pull. The one on the door leading into their house was made from half of a pair of pliers!





I didn’t have a flashlight with me and the inside of these cellars don’t have electricity, so no pics. I will be prepared next time as I want you to see how roomy, water and bug proof these were. My idea of a root cellar! They even had a friend stay in one of them until he finished his cabin.

We then headed for the 400 Acre Woods. There we just had a blast. Backpack full of books by Samuel Thayer, and good reference books on flowers, medicinal wild plants and trees. We found the cherry trees, sweet cicely, bloodroot, trilliums, spring beauties, wild strawberries, jack in the pulpit and more in bloom. We located slippery elm, paw paws, cottonwoods, cherry, sassafras, shagbark hickory, walnut, red and white acorn, basswood and many more trees. Ponds, creeks, and springs running down the hills, and seeps purcolating just up from the ground were all around us. Each hillside and creek side held different plants and it was so much fun to not hear a sound but the wild turkeys calling and be able to note as each area changed and revealed its own unique environ. We saw white tailed deer, opossum, and 1 snake.













We saw deer, raccoon, and turkey tracks and found spots where deer had been bedding down.

We stopped often and got out our field guides and other books and learned so much about how to use some of the things we found for medicine or food. Ron really got into grubbing out some spring beauty bulbs and we munched their flowers as we walked.


We waded creeks and walked barefoot till we could wash off the mud






I brought home a small sassafras sapling and some wild geranium to plant in the gardens. But best of all I brought home my wild heart full and at peace, and totally, and hopelessly reaffirmed in my love with nature.

Big hugs to all of you who visit Comfrey Cottages




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Every spring I look forward to the Sassafras festival! I drink sassafras  throughout the year, and step up the frequency in the spring. A wonderful smelling and tasting spring tonic! The festival is held in one of our small town and it is fun to share this ritual with others:)


We all gather in a communal room around long tables and enjoy the food, the tonic and the being together after a long, sometimes isolating winter.



The event is in the towns old opera house. Ellisville is a town on the Spoon River with lots of history and charm.


I always renew my sassafras root supply at the event also, as they keep some bags of fresh dug root behind the cashier table. I find it kind of funny they don’t put it out where everyone can see it. Almost as if they are hoarding a secret that only sassafras lovers can know;-)

  From herbalist Jim McDonald in a video on Herb Mentor, I have learned that the leaves may be used also. I had always just enjoyed the root. The leaves are very mucilaginous .Sassafras is a cooling demulcent for inflamed and dry tissue. An example would be a sore throat. So the leaves are a very different medicine than the roots. Whereas the roots are a spicy, blood moving, blood purifying tonic, the leaves are cooling, soothing and demulcent! Wow, am into this one folks! All over it as one of my best buddy’s has plenty to share:) Before the sassafras my brother Eric and I enjoyed a walk through his property.



He had quite alot of bloodroot and so I was able to transplant some here to Comfrey Cottage’s gardens. They have made themselves right at home:) We saw many familiar plants and had several field guides to help us discover new ones.


We enjoyed nibbling on a few of these Spring Beauties which are super sweet right now:)

Have you ever enjoyed a redbud trees beauty?


I have learned that the buds and flowers were an important part of the local Indians spring sources of vitamin C. So Dylan and I have been enjoying not only the beauty of these native trees but also the nice taste of the spring buds, and probably this week the flowers will open so will try them in a tea:)


To let you know how tasty they are, Dylan always asks for a nibble when we pass these trees on our walks:) And they look so pretty in salads!

Sweet Spring! It is just impossible to sit in the house now that we have tasted the freedom of the outdoors again! And my little buddy and I wander here and there from parks to friends wilder properties, enjoying stretching our muscles and eating fresh from nature:) And laughing at waters movement, which we both enjoy immensely!




Stopping frequently for a good roll in the new grass and flowers



while still finding time for a soiree hosted by the library! This event was attended by Lily and her bff Mya, and Mya’s little sister, Julia


For those of you who are friends with me on facebook, there is a lot more photos of the grandchildren and their different happenings there, and you have interest:)

I am doing a couple cool garden comparisons. I have several bleeding hearts and having recently learned that the wild flower Dutchman Breeches are in the same family, I have planted a few of the wild flower near the garden bleeding hearts. I have sweet woodruff in one bed and have put cleavers from the woods, in another near it. They are both galiums .Cleavers are high in vitamin C and also a diuretic blood purifier. A good tonic for the lymphatic system and strong anti inflammatory properties for the urinary tract. There is a history of the Micmac, Ojibwe, and Penobscot tribes using this plant. Good for clearing heat, inflammation and toxins from the system.It is also useful for psoriasis, dandruff and other dry skin conditions, and a plant I am getting to know and will post about using more of using cleavers, also known as bedstraw, in goat cheese making soon!

Well I have been on here way to long and must get to it! big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages



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