Saturday, November 3, 2018

fire & flower cider vinegar

Time has slipped away and I scarcely know how to begin again. But my third eye, the camera, has documented these last months so I'll just use photos as my guide.

Around Autumn Equinox I learned that apples enhance and deepen our connection to the inner realms. Soon after, apples began to present themselves. First, some wild apples in a small tree along Cherry Creek, near where I walk Talula everyday. I had never really foraged here in the city before but this particular apple tree called to me. And once I began that tiny bit of foraging, I began to notice other people doing the same. Collecting food from abandoned trees or the ground beneath, imagine that.

At the end of summer, I bought corn at the farmers' market to make and freeze creamed corn. I made and froze corn broth from the cobs, dried the husks for crafts and dried the corn silk for medicine. Corn silk, Zea mays, is a specific for the kidneys, bladder and prostrate and good to have in a home pharmacy. It is an anodyne (pain reliever), alterative (moves one toward improvement), antiseptic (antibacterial), demulcent (soothes and relieves inflammation), diuretic (removes water from the body through urination), and lithotriptic (dissolves stones). If needed, I would put a handful in a jar, cover with boiling water, and infuse overnight. I would drink a few cups of this infusion each day.

In early autumn, these colors were absolutely brilliant under the strong Colorado sun. Pastels have a tough time under our full sun, they look their best at dawn or dusk.

And then more apples -- a modest first crop from our own young apple tree in the front yard. I don't think there was a single worm in these and we didn't treat in any way. For whatever reason, the fruit crops were hugely successful here in Denver this year. 

I am still drawn toward making ancestral connections and food seems like a good way to reach I started infusing fruit, flowers and herbs in apple cider vinegar. I know it's not likely that my foremothers made this exact same concoction, but I do know they would have gathered and foraged fruit, flowers, nuts and herbs to use and preserve. This "fire & flower cider vinegar" started out with apple cider vinegar and nasturtium flowers & pods. Shortly thereafter I added tiny crab apples, also foraged from along the creek.

Every few days I added more ingredients to the vinegar as I found them -- rose hips, roses, more nasturtiums, jalapenos and ground mustard seed from lunaria seed pods.

Also, rosemary, sage and dandelion leaves.

Berries from the Oregon grape holly bushes.

All topped off with apple chunks. This vinegar is still brewing and I can't wait to taste it. I think the grandmothers nudged me along but I do have to say, with deep gratitude, Gather Victoria's Venus Vinegar was hugely inspiring.

The day before our first hard freeze, I harvested everything I could. I remember the last-harvest ritual with my mother when I was a girl....our frozen fingers, the growing dark, the scent of parsley -- flowers, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini filling bowls and baskets. The last harvest should be its own holiday -- it happens every year and although it may look different, it feels the same to me no matter my age.

The family altar. Over the last weeks, I have spent a good amount of time lighting candles and standing here. I search the photos of grandmothers and a great grandmother. And grandfathers and a great grandfather. I don't really know what I'm looking for but I think I'll feel it when I find it. I have read and believe we have more Otherworld relationships than our once-embodied familial lineages -- so I'm searching for those too because, in the end, we are all connected. Soul lineages, garden lineages, plant/medicinal lineages, handwork lineages and so on. If you have felt connections like these, I'd love to know and learn from your experiences if you would be willing to share.

A homage of baked potato to the ancestors for all the root crops over which they labored.

The little temple was filled with autumn offerings of crystals, herbs and incense. When I remembered, I smudged and chanted and sang to the plants as I collected seeds, blossoms, fruits and leaves. The garden is really a garden of spirits, me included.

The turning of leaves is always beautiful but these patterns caught my eye. I know that leaves don't actually take on new colors in the autumn -- the green simply disappears as chlorophyll breaks down, revealing the true colors of red, orange and yellow. But these are exquisite.

And here is our potted orange tree with one of her two large oranges. It takes one year for an orange to develop from flowering to ripening. I'm not sure when this plant last flowered but would guess that it was in April. So that means in April of 2019 we will have two oranges.

From my heart to yours. xo


Helen salo said...

Great interesting post❤️

Nancy said...

Coming here, to watch and witness is a most peace-full, learning-full experience. I thought you had painted those leaves! They are so amazing! That tiny little figure, such grace. Your search for and and practice of ritual and connection always touches me. These days, I am the opposite, practicing disconnection and staying in the moment of passing through. xo my friend.

P said...

I recently watched a documentary called 'Les Glaneurs et La Glanuese' by Agnes Varda. It explored the tradition of gleaning in Europe and how it continues today. Very interesting and worth a look. A tradition that should live on in today's world where so much goes to waste and the mainstream business model values profit over people.

Ms. said...

Your garden of delights does delight.
The photographs couldn't be more perfest.
Thank you for returning.

dulcy said...

I'm so glad you finally posted! I check all the time, and was afraid that you (as me) had quit blogging. Your photos are so gorgeous and I always relate to your writings..... I have small altars in various parts of my home that remind me of different people, pets, and places. Maybe just one small heart shaped rock (as I now have on the tiny stool by my bed.... found it on a river bank Saturday, the day we had to have our sweet kitty Willow put to sleep.... cancer). A couple of other special places in my home include rocks, pictures, candles, and plants. I feel close to people and events through these objects. I also feel I'm channeling my mother and grandmother when I'm doing various things like sewing, cooking, and even grocery shopping! Sometimes the smallest things give me the greatest sense of calm and pleasure. Thanks for you lovely and heart felt post Peggy..... love, dulcy
ps..... I feel inspired to blog again! Maybe I'll get a post done sometime this week.

Nancy said...

Dulcy~ Such a sweet comment. I can imagine. Thank you for your words, they soothe.

jude said...

feels good here.

Peggy said...

Nancy, thank you, so very good to hear from you!
About those leaves -- isn't that strange how the green disappeared so perfectly? I have no idea how or why that happened so I'll put it on the weather like I do everything else. :)

Peggy said...

Thank you for this documentary title, P. How did you access the film or did you buy the disc? I see there's a follow-up as well. Looks wonderful, I will love seeing it. I feel like I have a vague memory of it but I probably wasn't in the right state of mind to properly take it in at the time.

Peggy said...

Michelle, thank you so much! It feels pretty good.

Peggy said...

Dear Dulcy, thanks much for the lovely comment. I can envision your little altars everywhere and so love the idea of channeling your mother and grandmother, too. And I am watching for your blog return as well but realize that Insta is sometimes easier and faster, right? Your artwork is absolutely amazing, you have taken off!

Peggy said...

Thanks, dear Jude. Feels good to me, too.

Deb G said...

Love all this. Gardening and cooking...those are the connections I feel. And songs that I sang with my grandfather.

Dee Mallon said...

I know I'm a month late here, but the images and queries are timeless, so maybe it doesn't matter so much. I am forever swayed into admiration by the vibrancy of the colors here, by the integrity of practices here, but the wonderful knitting together of art and tradition. Just so lovely.

I've been writing a novel with black and white characters living in SC in the 1730's... and so for me the burning occupation has been the inverse of what you ask, which is to say, what is making like, what justifies it, what legs does it stand on, when that connection is purely and perhaps solely in the imagination?

taiqi said...

Wishing you blogged more--Once every couple of months. you do such a wonderful job and always leave me with joy and things to think about.

Liz A said...

I, for one, am glad this post remained unread until now ... good things are worth waiting for. Thank you and may you find much peace and joy in the new year.

taiqi said...

Please blog again. Instagram isn't enough. You have things to say and inspiration to give. We all need that desperately right now

Peggy said...

Thank you so much for these recent comments...the solstice season has been wonderful so far, I hope the same for all of you. See you again very soon.
Love, Peggy