Homestead wildcrafting, continued

I have continued reading up on the various uses of our local native plants and scouting around our property to see what’s growing where and such since the folk school course a couple weeks ago and the initial burst of herbal making I wrote about. Late spring is a good time for harvesting many things, so I’ve also added a few jars to the shelf of experiments.

During that course, the instructor mentioned that thimbleberry leaf can be used just like red raspberry leaf, which is so popular in herbal teas. We have loads of thimbleberry around, and it’s just putting out lots of young leaves so I harvested a basketful yesterday and filled the dehydrator. When I came back to check on them, I was caught off-guard by how good it smelled so I’m looking forward to trying the tea.

I’ve also harvested two batches of horsetails. With each, I dried most of them and simmered a handful fresh for a hair rinse. Most references I’ve found focus the benefits of a tea preparation, but I’m mostly interested in the hair rinse potential. Dean assures me that it’s a placebo effect, but I think my hair feels smoother, so I’ll keep playing with it.

I started a jar of willow bark tincture yesterday as well. I wasn’t planning on this one but when I was thinning saplings for woodchips, I ended up with a few young willows in the mix and couldn’t resist. So I stripped a few branches and snipped the bark to fill a jar. I still feel a bit hesitant, like there’s a bit more possibility for screwing up with this one. But I’m also intrigued by homemade aspirin, so we’ll give it a try with a bit of extra caution.

I walk by my tinctures in the pantry every day and give the jars a gentle turn/shake. It’s fascinating to me to watch them slowly change character. A couple more weeks and the first batch will be ready for decanting and trial…