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