The fruits, herbs, and veggies are all ripe and ready here at Leafhopper Farm!
I’ve been running around the gardens weeding and discovering all the bounty ready to harvest. Herbs like kitchen sage and oregano, which I trimmed back earlier this summer, are now regrown in an explosion of energy and need another cutting back. I’ll hang these green medicines to dry for now, as it’s too hot to be running a dehydrator in the house and sunlight is free. The pot of peaches was boiled down to make jam. This fruit is a little young, pulled off the Frost Peach tree to save some heavily laden branches from snapping off. No fruit goes to waste!
In The Netherlands, I gathered a lot of rose hips to bring back for propagation. Roses are a wonderful pollination species, and produce rose hips, the original apple! The big red ones you see are especially fruity, and I hope to establish this wild verity along my hedgerows for flowers, fruit, and that glorious scent of wild roses in summer. The smaller verity is low growing, and I need a few more plants to fill in the bottom of my hedges. Small rose hips can go into infusions to add vitamin C and flavor. I like to put them in honey. Honey is a natural preservative, keeping the rose hip essence while preventing mold.
Yarrow will go into tincture for lung health. We’ve been breathing a lot of smoke this summer from all the wild fires up in Canada. The Yarrow will help clear the lungs and strengthen breath. Achillea millefolium is also great for colds and fevers, menstrual cramps, used topically for skin irritation, and to treat wounds. Other common names for this plant include staunchweed and soldier’s woundwort. In Greek mythology, Achilles (part of the Latin name for this plant) used yarrow to protect himself from arrows, but he missed his heel. This plant is a great addition to any garden, offering pollen, beautiful white umbels of flowers to enjoy, and medicine.
Our garlic crop has also been harvested. We did not get very big heads this year, and I think that was due to a lack of rain. Other local farmers I have talked with say their garlic crops have also been poor, so I’m not alone. Luckily we will have enough to get through this year, but I might have to purchase some new cloves for planting next year, or find a fellow farmer to trade with. I’ve still got a few cloves from last year, and perhaps I can plant some of those. I get why traditional farming tells you to save enough seed for a few years of planting, not just relying on the previous year’s harvest to restock your fields. Agriculture is so much work! It also gave us civilization as we know it today, but I don’t think it will sustain us at this rate of growth. Remember, the earth and it’s soils are finite resources.
In the picture above, I also included my tobacco. When I harvest anything from the earth, I give a prayer of thanks and offer tobacco. It is good to give something back to the earth when you take from it. This exchange keeps material need in balance and offers those in need prospective. It is good to tend the soil, and reap the bounty of that tending, but the earth is doing most of the work, and thanking that energy keeps it healthy in our own minds too. Gratitude is key. I use tobacco because its what the native people of this area use and I like to think the ground here is familiar with it. I also mix in sage to cleans the space when I disrupt and take from it. The intention matters, my land responds vibrantly to the thanks.