Monday, September 26, 2016

winds of change

We went looking for some Colorado gold last weekend, this was the view from Kenosha Pass.

We walked up the Colorado Trail for a while, took a break and then came back down again. We heard you could walk all the way to Mexico on this trail if you wanted. It is a well-worn path.

There are several stands of belladonna (deadly nightshade), Atropa belladonna, naturalized at the park near our house where I walk the dogs. Just across the road along Cherry Creek in the middle of Denver you can probably find poison hemlock growing. And of course at my house there is fragrant, poisonous datura. I've learned that generally speaking, all plants contain poisonous resins, essential oils, and alkaloids -- their poisons are often also their medicine for us as well, in tiny doses or otherwise prepared correctly. Belladonna and datura are both members of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family and a few of their nightshade cousins are potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, tobacco, wolfberry, petunias and peppers. In large enough quantity, even raw potatoes are dangerous and can be deadly for livestock and people. 

Interesting that just a few feet away, these belladonna berries are already slightly past their prime. We used to have belladonna growing wild in our back yard but I removed it to ease a neighbor's concerns about her cats possibly eating the berries. And recently, I sadly took out the datura growing along the front sidewalk after children picked a seedpod last week. In retrospect I know I over-reacted -- but it is still in several other garden beds further from the sidewalk, too beloved to ever be eradicated.

Last hurrahs in the garden, colors so glorious and vibrant, everything giving their all.

I'm wondering where we're going to store all the dried sunflowers for the birds without attracting mice.

Eleven cups in this second harvest of elderberries -- I'm freezing most of it but one pan of elderberries is drying in my oven right now.

All of the St. Theresa grapes will be frozen to make jelly or juice later in the season when there is more time. A raccoon family ate all of the Concord grapes one night, so these are what is left. I heard a commotion along the fence and I thought it was one of our dogs after something. Feeling my way in the dark toward the fence I called "Talula, Talula, come. Right now. Talula. Come. Talula!" over and over. All of a sudden Talula charged out of the house through the back door and I knew I hadn't been talking to Talula.

I stitched on this cloth over the weekend. It is woven from torn up men's shirts and green linen strips, an early project with Jude, I call it aspen grove.

Autumn's winds are the winds of change, you can tell they mean business. There is nothing soft or light about autumn wind. It's time to transition, summer is over, we all feel it.

Oh, now is the time of the harvest,
As we draw near to the year's end.
Now is the time of Mabon.
Autumn is the time to descend.
(author unknown)



Nancy said...

Oh my that view! I've been craving the mountains lately.
Love the Aspen cloth and I have such a thing for those circle of people statues! And yours sits in such a lovely spot.

Ms. said...

Beloved Datura! Store the sunflower seed heads in a hard plastic container with pinholes punched for air on the top only...and shredded newspaper for packing will help the drying process....but before that you can hang them in a net bag high up from a rafter for a few weeks. The walk was inspiring. Medicines everywhere and so much lovely color...tonight the breeze was crisp here in Manhattan and I dragged the sweater bag out when I got home from my writing group.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

Thank you for this Walk with you...that last photograph........sigh....

Luna Crone said...

Happy sigh....

And such a lovely photo of deadly nightshade! We have had it, more than once, near the pool fence. But had to tear it out, due to small grandchild and their dog.

But I'm sure, it will come back again! -smile-

Luna Crone

Els said...

Really (harvesting) autumn !!!
Such lovely pictures, thanks, for taking us along ;-)