Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Asian Herb Harvest Underway

I grew 2 short rows of ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) at the request of a local chocolatier friend who uses the herb powdered in his chocolate bars. This is an Indian herb, very commonly used in Aruvedic medicine, that whose optimum growing conditions are warmer and drier than our Appalachian climate offers. My personal philosophy lends itself to want to focus on growing things that are more perfectly adapted to our climate, but I figured I would slap up two terraces on my south facing hill and try this herb as an annual. I began digging the roots Sunday morning, quickly but carefully unearthing what ended up being surprisingly large roots for a single season's growth. I worked until it started raining miserably, and I will resume the harvest when the weather clears.

Ashwaganda means "horse smell," and from this experience, I can tell you it is aptly named. The aroma of the fresh roots is potent, hopefully indicative of the medicine. This root is a renowned tonic, supposedly endowing energy, stamina, potency and stronger immunity upon its recipients. A traditional preparation is an infusion in warm milk with honey. Living just over the hill from some primo milk cows and around the mountain from several beekeepers, I am excited to try it out this winter on myself.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Me and Angelo

My precious Godson and I, hunting mushrooms with his mama.

Notice the smiles.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

An hour past dawn

black and white of the neighborhood opsrey
perched on a dead locust
gazing upon Creation

black and white
river meets mountain

hazy orange glow, ruby sourwoods
white pines hold blue green steady

His kind hands gently roll up the fleecy fog, making way
for Day.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Visions from the boardwalk: Crossing paths with Queens

The family beach trip was a four-generation whirlwind of

playing            eating               swimming              safety monitoring               sunburning           cleaning up         cooking

salt air exhaustion            logistical orquestrating                arguing            laughing           drinking                

My nephew, the rosy, tousled wave swimmer

alligator watching...                           You get the picture. There was nary a moment to pause and ponder, as some of us who reside in tucked back mountain hollers are inclined to occasionally do, and the time went by in the blink of a saltwater bloodshot eye.

We returned to our various homes fatigued and suntanned, to settle in for the fall of the season, the lengthening of the night, the survival of another dark spell. I returned home with visions from the boardwalk burned upon my memory like the sun upon my pale spots. Tired, hungry and bleary-eyed children, rosy from the sun and surf. The ever-lengthening shadow of my sister and I holding hands on the way back to the car.
The straggling train of eclectic and wonderful human beings that is my family. The perfect and soft breeze drifting across the dunes, upon which thousands of Queen Butterflies travelled tirelessly south, their family path crossing ours at the boardwalk. Like us on our mecca to the source of all life on earth, the Queens didn't stop on their journey south to ponder what they were doing. And that didn't make their flight anything less than absolutely stunning.

My other nephew, fearless.

Notice my 2-yr-old godson leading the pack, way up ahead.