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Harvesting, preserving, & practicing patience

Although there are berries and flowers to be enjoyed during the summer, autumn is the time of harvest and preserving and canning, And for me, it's time for a break. I've been busy pretty solidly from February until now, and after a busy spring and summer of walks, talks and collaborations, now is the perfect time for a brief escape.

But before I go, I have done some preliminary work for the next batch of duties. I'll face upon my return.

Although I've been making oxymels and flavored vinegars for quite some time, this was my first year, making vinegar from scratch, from fruit scraps and from my husband's perry. It's one of those projects it's really easy to do, but needs practice in order to refine your skills. I am by no means a master, but I love the process, and I want to try making vinegar from multiple types of botanica. I see mugwort and lemon vinegar in my future.

I've also been infusing oils, both as dried plant/ cold infusions, and hot infusions cooked slowly over a double boiler, for an upcoming workshop. It's another practical skill that's not difficult, but an essential part of creating a healing salve or cream.

And that's one of the wonderful things following a self-sufficiency/urban homesteading path teaches. Some of the most rewarding things, are those that take limited physical activity, but require time.

In a world where things are available 24 /7 and can be overnighted to you, the patience to wait for things to age and ripen is a skill. Nobody's really born patient. When a baby wants a bottle they want it now, not two hours from now.

I remember when you had to wait for the post office to deliver important papers. FedX changed that. With the digital age, faxes changed that. And now the ability to send a document as a PDF, sign electronically and return it can take less than a minute. Waiting patiently is not a skill we have to much anymore. And I think that's why peoples level of irritation is off the chart when they are forced to wait.

But if you're making vinegar or creating a tincture or gardening, you have no choice. Mother nature works on her own time schedule. But if you can call your jets, and let her call the shots, the work you put in, will be rewarded , all you have to do is give it time.

So as the days are beginning to shorten and nights are rolling in earlier, I encourage you to gather hawthorns for fruit leather, pick the ripest crabapples for jam, and strip the seeds from yellow dock to create your own buckwheat like flour. You'll be surprised how putting in as little as an hour now can net you with some wonderful foods and medicines to support you during the winter season. Because patience is a virtue and homemade goods preserved now, are a deferred treasure.


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