For many years, whenever I’ve sat down and asked myself something along the lines of: “What does your divine right life look like?”, something in me would flash back a vision of gorgeous walls of jars. Jars filled with beautiful food and lots and lots of dried herbs. Lovely colors. And I realize that, more and more, my life has become that. And it’s not what I thought it would be – it’s much more quiet. And there’s a lively joy to it because I am communing, really, with plants and all that is.
So. Lately. I have been harvesting the herbs and the flowers in the garden and hanging them up to dry. Then, a couple of weeks later, they go in beautiful jars so I can make medicinal teas with them. Here’s what I’ve dried so far: pink roses, spearmint, yarrow, echinacea flowers, dill, lemon balm, tarragon, marigolds, St. John’s Wort, chrysanthemums, rosemary, lavender, bronze fennel, savory and milk thistle seeds.
And I’m learning from my garden and the different plants about what they need, and how I might do things differently next year. And I am keeping seeds. Probably, I will crack open Behaving As If the God in All Things Mattered once again, and read it for a fifth or sixth time with a deeper understanding. (That’s how it often is with wondrous books, yes?)
The Martha Stewart organic cucumber seeds have produced a bumper crop of cucumbers which have wanted to take over the garden. Next year, I will let them. This year, I have tried to leave room for the yellow squash, the winter squash, and the zucchini — every morning, going out and guiding the cucumbers vines back to its trellis. But now the cucumber is too crowded and can’t feed enough water to its roots. But it’s given me lots of cucumbers and from them, for the first time ever, I’m making pickles. The fermented kind — which I learned about from WildFermentation.com. (Do you know how thrilling it is to find that you need grape leaves for a recipe and be able to walk out into your own yard and harvest them?) The pickles are fermenting away and should be ready to eat in a few weeks.
The other fermenting that’s going on at my house is a batch of Kombucha. I grew the mother scoby following these instructions from BonzaiAphrodite.com, which took a few weeks. And now the first batch from that mother is fermenting on the counter in the laundry room alongside a couple of big old jars of pickles. Lovely! The next thing I want to try is making my own vinegar, and then from that making herbed vinegars. And I start to wonder, just how easy might it be to make SOAP? And how about doing some sprouting? I seriously need to start buying those Foxfire books, one at a time.
It seems I am becoming a suburban homesteader. And I wonder if this is where we’re all going: we seem to be preparing for some sort of geological event or financial breakdown, or both. And in the preparations, in the taking back of self-sufficiency, in the seeking of knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation on how to grow food, how to dry it and preserve it, how to keep seeds, we are finding something more.
The planet will evolve. And when we connect with the love and support that comes at us from every direction, we will, too.