Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Autumn Harvest

I recently experienced a Harvest Festival in a small town in Canada. The bountiful produce and the pride in the labor that produced it was evident on long tables decked with 1st place ribbons and on the smiling faces dressed in old-fashioned bonnets to help us relive a time gone by. There were sunflower heads the size of pie plates to zucchinis almost 3 feet long. It made me feel grateful for the industrious nature of people and the plenty that is still available from our land despite any economic or even climatic changes we will inevitably endure.

As we harvest the fruit of our gardens, some of us canning for the first time , we share a thrill and a gratitude at the plenty we can store for later and, perhaps, leaner times. I am once again inspired and grateful for the bounty of herbs which contain ingredients that are helpful only to humans, having no benefit whatsoever for the plant itself. What a gift. I always collect enough herbs to have for my Thanksgiving turkey stuffing and any seasonings I may want for Christmas dinner, too. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are a must in the bundle I collect, wash and let dry to later freeze or dry in my herb drier. If the herbs have flowered when I pick them for use another time, they don’t have enough flavor to be dried. I have to freeze them in bundles. Every year I think I will pick them earlier but I am so happy to see them returning in the spring I don’t want to pinch their growth and so, once again, they are flowering before I know it and freezing is the only answer.

Autumn is the time of year herbalists and wild-crafters collect the root of the local herb, Oregon Grape( Berberis aquifolium) and carefully clean, cut into slices and dry the root and store in a dry place for use at a later time. It’s the plant that has leaves that look a little like mistletoe, yellow berries in the spring/summer and the leaves are now turning a lovely warm red. It will help cleanse your liver and gall-bladder which helps everything from chronic, scaly skin, nausea, chronic constipation, and various intestinal and elimination complaints. Autumn is the time of year when all of us can harvest the fruits of our labor and be thankful and made more secure by the bounty of our industrious nature and the natural world around us!

Penny Waters, Herbology and Reflexology, Relaxation Destination, 208/597-4343

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