I have always lived by water, specifically rivers. When I have not, I seek them out. Water is life. It makes this world unique and something we should care for and respect.
My childhood centered around yearly travel to my aunt's farm where my cousins and I ran the hills, splashed in fresh springs, ate watercress and hunted for the elusive morel mushroom. This tasty fungus has a myth and legend all its own. No true hunter will ever tell you his favorite spots and neither will I.
Life Begins in a Garden
Gardens! There are as many kinds of gardens as there are plants to put in them. One of my jobs as a kid was to weed my mother's flower gardens. A secret she never knew was how very much I enjoyed the work, the smell of the dirt, the cool moisture in its touch and the joy of watching a flower bloom and die knowing it would return next season if I cared for it well. The simple lessons of life start in a garden.
Echinacea purpura/Purple Coneflower
Plants are such an important part of my life, I truly can not remember a time when they were not there whether inside or out. We give them as gifts, use them to decorate, to bring joy, sooth a sorrow and just to brighten a dark day. This is from my own flower garden. While I do enjoy its beauty, it is it's medicinal qualities that make it extra special. I make a wonderful tincture from this to help keep the cold and flu germs away.
This simple garden "weed" is one of the most important plants in my yard. The Indian people referred to this as "White man's toes" as it was present wherever they traveled. Not a native plant to this country, it has become a major part of the herbal world. It is a drying and drawing plant used to remove infection, the venom of a sting or a sliver. Got a bug bite? Chew a leaf and get it juicy, apply it to the bite and rub a bit in. It takes the sting away. The top seeds of the plant are known for their psyllium content. Psyllium is the active ingredient in most fiber based laxatives. Who know Metamucil grew in your own front yard?
St. John's Wort/Hypericum perforatum
This beautiful plant has been pigeon-holed as the cure-all from mild depression of late when in fact its primary use was for healing wounds. It is excellent for treating nerve pain and injuries to the nerves. The beautiful yellow flower picked just before full bloom around the summer solstice makes a beautiful red oil that can be used as a base in a salve. It is a wonderful addition for situational depression but should be used with caution as it can interfere with some pharamceuticals.