Monday, August 09, 2010

Early August Ramble

We finally got some cooler weather (high 80's) over the weekend, so despite having the next issue of The Essential Herbal magazine sitting here needing labels for Tuesday's mailing and a couple of large wholesale soap orders pulled and waiting to be wrapped, we took to the woods.I walked down to grab Maryanne. We actually had a goal. We need to gather jewelweed and plantain before the jewelweed blossoms, and it is getting close. Armed with baskets and camera, off we went.
The woods are hugely overgrown, but the path is clear. We were able to do all the gathering without leaving the trail too much. Some of the hardy hibiscus that was crowding my front door is now happily casting gaily colored reflections over the pond.I was a little disappointed to find that some of the flowering weeds in the woods were gone. The yarrow and wild bee balm are finished for the year. But there is so much going on out there! Mostly closer to the house, but it was so good to wander around.
This gnome home has become obvious, as the clematis that usually covers the door has died back for the year.The four o'clocks are knocking themselves out -even though it was still morning (???).There is a second bloom of wisteria.These little dayflowers were called "snake flowers" when I was a kid. Not sure if it is because of their appearance or because so often snakes lurked beneath the foliage.Our bayberries did a great job of growing this year, and will be part of the bayberry soap this year. Maryanne wrote more on bayberry harvesting here. We still need to take a day-trip towards the bay and gather more, though.Jimson weed has taken over a section of the bank that held wildflowers last year.If you've been reading about how much more potent poison ivy and oak are becoming, I can certainly attest to that. I weeded it intentionally in the first week of July, and immediately washed thoroughly. Worst rash ever! Even using our jewelweed, sage, and plantain vinegar blend, it took a week to dry up and there are still discolored splotches on my arm a month later. Learn what it looks like and avoid it. This is the one thing I have no qualms about hitting with chemicals. In this picture, some wild grape is trailing off to the right, and there is a little Virginia creeper in the center beside the railing, but the rest is poison ivy. Ugh.
Wild cherries are very common here, and the birds love them.A patch of different sunflowers grow all around the little chicken house. There's something about sunflowers that always makes me smile.So now we'll get back to work. There is a mile-long list of things to do, and the kids are getting ready to head back to college.
Busy beats the alternative, but I sort of wish we were heading to the bay today :-).

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