I am finding that the fullness of summer is even more enjoyable when the winters are so long- it seems as though this time of year Michigan explodes with ripe berries, fragrant herbs, golden flowers, and greenery.
In past years, this was one of my most dreaded months. Blistering, parching, soul-sucking heat. Here, it is an invitation: Partake in the bounty. Dip your toes in the water, enjoy a long shaded walk, gather wildflowers, herbs and berries. The temptation is constantly there to fill ours days with a little too much goodness. I feel like a squirrel busily stuffing it’s cheeks in preparation for shorter days and autumnal chill.
We always enjoy the start of this harvest, but this year I am looking forward to learning how to preserve it. Freezing, drying and lacto-fermentation I have dabbled in, but canning… I have a near mortal fear of. I am excited and nervous as I try to conquer it this week. What are you preserving? picking? freezing?
What we have picked:
- lavender (for making infused balms and scented sachets)
- lemon balm (for tea)
- mint (for tummy tea)
- dill (for my favorite winter soups)
- raspberries (these were supposed to be for jam, but they did not last- we ate them all fresh!)
What is still on my list for summer gathering
- blueberries (for pie filling and freezing for smoothies)
- peaches (for jam)
- calendula (for infused face oil and salves)
- goldenrod (for michaelmas cape dyeing)
Around Lammas every year, I am always reminded of the saying “You reap what you sow”. I see around me some really lovely bounty: growing and deepening relationships, more living with intention and more joy. Then…there are those reminders of some of the same struggles that have been with me for years. With all of this imagery of harvest in my mind, I envisioned myself clutching a group of dried cornstalks. They were past their point of giving nourishment and purpose. The cart of corn was already on it’s way to the market, but I remained with the dried stalks.
Amidst the gratitude of the bounty, I am always reminded of the sobering fact that if we want delicious fruit then we must plant the seeds. There are a couple of things that I am trying to let go of in preparation for the new school year. Even so, this season has been a joyful and bountiful one!