Sunday, September 18, 2011

Late Summer Gathering Stroll

Today, I spent some time harvesting some of the wild plants near our home.  I woke up a few days ago with my head filled with thoughts of gathering some Japanese Knotweed root and some Stinging Nettles.  Unlike our previous experiences with knotweed, I intended to make some tea with the root, and maybe a tincture.  The nettles are for cordage.

I have been reading a lot about knotweed for the last few days.  I already knew that it is used for treating Lyme disease.  The most common reservatrol supplement, the compound thought to be effective against Lyme, is actually derived from knotweed. It is my belief, however, that one is better served eating the whole plant rather than a derivative. While science has been able to isolate specific compounds, I can not help but wonder if the other supporting nutrients do not make the natural form more effective. It is certainly less processed.  The book Healing Lyme discusses the protocol, using the roots of the plant, in detail.  Of course, I also discovered that knotweed, and its derivatives, is useful for treating heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, high cholesterol, and constipation.  All of this is in addition to being a nutritional power house - it contains vitamins A and C and trace minerals.

I brought the Japanese Knotweed home and rinsed it off.  I have watched several videos about processing knotweed roots over the last few days.  I decided that our teacher's, Mike Dimauro's, method was the best choice for me, because it used the least technology ... a knife, water, and some elbow grease.  I simply cut it into little pieces with my Mora knife.  Some I dropped into a pan of water to make a tea.  The rest I put into a canning jar and covered with vodka to make a tincture.  The tea was delicious with no sweetener or anything else.  Wendy thought it tasted like potato tea.  Additionally, we now have 1 quart (~1 litre) of Japanese Knotweed tincture in the cabinet (right next to the pint of rendered raccoon fat).

I tend to go overboard sometimes.  Now, while harvesting the Stinging Nettles, I cut a bunch of stems.  When I stopped I realized that I had gathered way too many to carry.  Besides, my arms, bare because it was too hot for a sweatshirt, were already burning with the sting of the nettles.  I needed some cordage or a rope. 

Alas, I did not bring one.  So, I made one with materials on hand.  I looked around  and decided the most likely candidate was the tall grass.  I grabbed handfuls of the grass and started twisting.  I have never made a thick piece of cordage before.  Most were yarn sized or thinner.  Today, I wanted to make a rope.  So, much to Precious's dismay, I twisted and twisted, and twisted for a while.  I ended up with a rope about 7 feet (2.5 meters) long and about and 3/4 inch (20 millimeters) in diameter.  It was perfect for tying the bundle of nettles. 

Wendy and the neighbors were impressed.  The neighbors actually commented that their boys had all been in boy scouts, one even an eagle scout, and none of them could make a rope like I had.  Have I mentioned that I like making cordage?!

It felt like a productive day, in spite of the fact that it only took me a total of an hour or so.  I find on this, my MooseBoots, journey that I need to do things.  I feel the need to act, not just research and read.  I satisfied that need for today.  I have been watching the vines growing nearby though ... feels like a basket is in the future.

Thank you, Universe, for your abundance, your beauty, and your support in my growth and development!


  1. Aho, Deus Ex Machina! Such a wonderful day for you...As I scrolled through your article, though, I was expecting to see a picture of your, please!! I so enjoy reading your blog (and Wendy's). It's always educational, and inspires me to keep growing. I actually thought to email you today, to see if you have ever made anything with rosehips - tinctures, jelly, anything. I have some pretty much ready to use. Today I finally processed about a bushel's worth of elderberries, and made a wonderful tonic/syrup sweetened with only honey (8 1/2 quarts worth). Took me about 20 minutes to pick them, 1 1/2 hours to destem, and another hour to juice and get ready to cook down...another 1/2 hour to put in jars, and I'm ready to go pick some more tomorrow! I am so grateful, as well, for the abundance that is provided for us :)

    Thank you for including us on your journey...

  2. Okay, that picture was NOT there the first time I read it ;) !!!!!!!

  3. Awesome rope! I bet you could sell it. On Zibbet of course.

  4. Julie, we have talked several times about doing something with rosehips, but never have. There is always so much to do. As for the picture, well ... I hope the one that is there is enough. If not, let me know and I'll get a better one.

  5. Portable Graffiti, thank you. I have been thinking about the potential to sell some of the stuff I make. Perhaps, later.


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