Streaming Sunflower Sunspot Gardening Food Light Sprout

Olde Traditions of Cultivating the Earth still exist in our world. They require the senses to be open, abundant, aware, finely tuned to circling life, to participate in percolation of wondrous food supplies that, when open, feed generations.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When a baby, I was raised in my Grandfather Iván’s house. We lived by a creek, a creek crossed close to our back step. Great days we had while Grandfather Iván grew food for local grocery stores, and the personal food for our family. The beauty of days when they became crisp, and the roasting of our hand foraged and tended chestnuts over the fire place, and the drinking of peppermint tea from the garden when the nose was stuffed up. The days of fall bounty of sunflower seeds, and the precious seasons the Sunflowers lived through until harvest.

My Grandfather Iván planted and grew many of our foods right in the forest, and along creeks. Where we lived, one had to be thrifty in the use of hoses and irrigation, employing many strategies to see the season through. Grandfather planted Sunflowers in the spots of dappled sunlight along the sides of the creek. For one, this reduced the amount of water that they needed to grow, and the amount of hand watering they would require in their whole life cycle. Then, they were beautiful, wildly scattered along the creek bank, a Holy Splattering of Yellow Sun Faces Smiling, giving constant watch to the gurgling and splashing of meandering waters in our creek.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What birds there were, in song under trees! And how sporadic and perfectly planted our sunflowers were, my Grandfather giving great study to the pockets of sunlight under the creek side canopy, great thought and observation went into every sunflower’s home, to be in the perfect spot of a continuous beam or ray of light. I felt, as a small child, the great feeling of these Sun Beings towering over me, watching me and all under their thoughtful gaze of living, useful, contemplation.

In this Sunflower Forest on either side of our burbling creek bank, I would spend much time skipping stones into water, looking for tad poles, hearing the croaking of frogs which sometimes my Grandfather would catch, field dress and go batter and fry up, and every dew drop had its place, every splash of water revealed glistening colors in the rocks, or eyes watching my eyes, as I watched other eyes. We had many squirrels too, who would run and check out the status of all things growing seeds, and our attempts at making scarecrows and birds from old clothes to scare them off.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The creek had several points with little wooden bridges, and we would cross them to get to whatever section of land he was farming, or foraging from. The mix of wild and farm together was an amazing way my family has grown, produced, and foraged food for centuries. So alive, still alive, this way exists, and it is full of beings, of beasts, of amphibians, of dinosaurs, of pollinators. There is also a healthy competition between all, and a healthy giving and taking by all! I have never been fond of idealogies that demand either a complete giving or a completely one sided taking. For the way that has already been created is one of an ever fluctuating balancing, of giving, of taking, or providing for, of receiving, and of giving the gift back to start everything all over again. The cycle of a respectful life, lived with regard and respect and love for life, even the grimy parts, and the parts that make no sense. Even for those parts we have to just trust and have faith for.

My Grandfather taught me Faith. To think, to contemplate. To pray. To observe. To listen. To sow. To give it sense and then give the reins to the greater artist. To follow the Spirit in the teaching of using our hands. Which requires an openness to the system and way of life. We must take responsibility for our lives, but not all the responsibility, because we cannot see everything. To live with our environment, as part of it, not detached and monopolizing it for strictly bottom lines. A different way of living, but it is a way of loving, a way of love, doing AND being!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the heads were gorgeous and fresh looking yellow, we would make a prayer and give thanks for their blessing! For beautiful summer feasts to go along with slices of garden tomato sprinkled with fresh cracked black pepper, and cucumbers drizzled in home fermented vinegar, salt, pepper and Sunflower Stalk, we would eat beautiful sunflower heads, collecting those less visible in our creek forest first.

Harvesting Sunflower Heads, we would pick off all the petals and save those for salads, beautiful garnishments and for drying in herbal teas. Next, we would pick off all the sepals behind the flower petals, and generally, we just composted those. The sepals can be collected and dried for tea as well, they are very nutritious in their own right, altho’ not so tasty in large quantity. After these two steps, holding the sunflower by its stem, we would take a pocket knife and shave the yellow off the face. After this is done, we would do the same to the back after snipping off the stem. Place your newly carved flower head into a bowl of lemon water or apple cider vinegar water while processing the other heads. This helps to stop the sudden browning.

When the Sunflower heads are prepared, cook them as you would artichokes! They can be boiled, baked in sauce, but my favorite is to do a traditional braising in bone broth with a little apple cider vinegar, lots of garlic and shallots, salt, pepper. Braise upwards to an hour, or until very tender. When finished braising, sprinkled with paprika, toasted cumin and coriander seed. Place your pan in the oven, and place dry sauteed wild mushrooms mashed with garlic seasoned clabbered raw milk curds or another version of crumbled farmers cheese. Cover this with toasted and seasoned bread crumb’s, and then a large pat of butter.

Save your Sunflower stalks! These can be peeled and then diced into rounds. We would eat these in salads and with cucumber doused in vinegar with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

We would sometimes save and dry extra Sunflower Stalks for Wintertime kindling. The leaves we would pluck and boil to add to a dish of boiled greens. They go great with collards braised in bone broth, butter and bacon pieces too!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the time of seeding was upon us, there always was a rush to beat other animals to the heads. However, we always seemed to have more than we could handle and harvest, and the rest were simply left for the birds and animals! Grandfather would set me up with a little TV tray to sort seeds for next years planting, in a green arm chair next to a very old Tiffany lamp beside the fire and we would eat plenty of them in their raw state! Sometimes he would put on a record and we would giggle at all the seeds, and all the seeds we harvested before the squirrels could. With raw seeds, we would keep some in the pantry for sprouting and eating all winter long. Other seeds, we would soak in salt water for a day, and then slowly roast over our open fireplace. Sunflower seed harvest was an event I will always remember! 

And so was our creek, and our frog legs, our lightening bugs, our tomatoes, our chestnuts, our rosehips, our potatoes, our greens, and all the other magical foods that would come from Grandfather’s hands. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The very loss of our listening and our movement through our senses and beings is a cause for concern. When our precious living spaces have been trampled by our very own beings, will we be able to see this and flow with a new way of living which is very old and not too far in our past? Will we watch the death of the worlds pollinators and starfish, and wonder what it has to do with us, and with the greater purposes of life? Or we will turn our backs or devise insane restrictions on individuals lifestyles while an industrial machine keeps churning out destruction? It seems to me, we all have a choice, Abundance and Stewardship, or decline from a narrow systematic view.

Mono-cropping is evidence of Soul Loss.

It seems clear to me, Abundance and Faith are the way to go! And I am always, thankful for Grandfather Iván’s teachings he shared, of his life, that in these days, are rare nuggets of gold in a very precious and sacred mindset of working with the flow of life and with nature, and actually thriving spiritually and physically from such a way of life! There isn’t a price tag on such a life, there is no price tag possible on Sunflowers growing in dappled sun beams on a creek bank!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(c) 2014, Summer Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH

All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Blessing of the Olde World Simple Pie

Pie is Blessing. It’s been a Blessing since the neolithic period of human kind. It’s been a staple for Central and Northern Europeans for what seems to have been, FOREVER.  It is a portable carrier and preserver of fresh food. Before the times of processed commercial cane sugars, honey was and IS the preferred sweetener and binder.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My Family has always loved pie. Growing up, we would make every pie possible under the sun! We would make, starting in the Spring through Summer, Elderflower Pie, Elderberry Pie, Huckleberry Pie, and one or our favorites, Peach Pie. In Autumn and Winter we would make Rosehip Pie, Apple and Ginger Pies, Meat Pies, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish Pie, Mushroom Pies and Soup Pie. Spring comes again and we make Nettle Pie, Elderflower Pie, Sorrel Pie and Cream Pie.

Slowly, as I write my book, I am writing a compendium of family pies, of pies made from forages in fields and forests, and shady little garden spots. It is another goal, over time, to share more pie recipes with my students and my readers, but for now, this week calls for a Basic Olde Blessing pie!

This pie has 3 ingredients! Yes, 3. Not counting the crust. For the crust, choose something basic.

1) Grind some almonds or pecans, mix with honey and a pinch of salt and an egg and press into a pie pan

2) Mix some oat flour or other flour of your choice with butter and honey or coconut sugar and press into pan.

3) Make the above basic crumb crust and use as a crumb topping over the berries instead.

The pie itself consists of some fresh picked berries like Raspberries, Salmonberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, or Blueberries, 2-4 cups depending on the size of your pie or bar pan, a half cup of oat flour or other flour of choice, and about a half cup of honey OR three quarters a cup of coconut sugar. Mix the berries well, place in your pie pan, cover, and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool and eat!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made these simple pies after berry picking work and for my own Husband’s birthday this last week. It is simple and elegant! For Erik’s Birthday Pie, we also placed rounds of Seely White Chocolate Peppermint disks for his raspberry pie.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And the best part, this pie takes about 5 minutes to put together, and does not have complicated unhealthy modified ingredients. It is simple enough, a person can easily grow everything they need to make it! And the taste is as divine as something that comes from a fancy bakery. Simple and Divine together, marry for this Pie! This is the Blessing of the Olde World Simple Pie!

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

All Rights Reserved.

 

Wilderness Day Hike Saturday, June 28th, 2014!

On Saturday, June 28th, 2014, Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies will be leading a Wilderness Day Hike in an old Washington Forest. If you would like OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAto sign up, please email me at lemonlotus@gmail.com. We will hike and explore in some old growth, identifying native, non-native, medicinal and edible plants while soaking in some of the Plant Lore of our area. Cost is $40 plus an additional $5 parking fee. If you would like to carpool with others or are willing to volunteer as a driver, please let me know in your email to me! We’ll meet at 8:45 AM at a designated location and will be on our journey by 9 AM. Anticipated time home will be around 4 PM. Details on what to bring will be sent to you with your registration details. 🙂 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

All Rights Reserved.

June Azure, Washington Wilderness Hike, Shelter, Eggs, Salt and Tea Announcements!!!

Hello Serendipity Group Folks!
 
THANK YOU all who donated to Share Shelter! Let’s go for a new donation round!!! We’ve been keeping this shelter love going for a few years, let’s light some more fires and clean our homes! Ordering an extra can of decent food for the Shelter is an idea that Erin H. came up with a little while ago. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 
On Saturday, June 28th, 2014, Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies will be leading a Wilderness Day Hike in an old Washington Forest. If you would like to sign up, please email me at lemonlotus@gmail.com. We will hike and explore in some old growth, identifying native, non-native, medicinal and edible plants while soaking in some of the Plant Lore of our area. Cost is $40 plus an additional $5 parking fee. If you would like to carpool with others or are willing to volunteer as a driver, please let me know in your email to me! We’ll meet at 8:45 AM at a designated location and will be on our journey by 9 AM. Anticipated time home will be around 4 PM. Details on what to bring will be sent to you with your registration details. 🙂 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 
Himalayan Salt Split!!! $1.60 a bagged lb!
 
Organic Pastured Eggs….if you would like some….let me know NOW so I have time to round them up for us!!!
 
Azure order cut-off is THIS Friday, June 20th at 4 PM. Pickup is next Wednesday, June 25th, from 2-6 PM.
 
Joyous Day to All! Tea listings below. 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Serendipity Plant Lore’s Tea Listing! 
These teas and herbs are highly medicinal, and are extras from my own organic garden and wild forages. All ethically harvested, the exceptions to the herbs that I’ve grown or foraged myself are those like Cinnamon, All Spice, and Red, Black and Green, and Olive Tea Leaves. These are ethically obtained from other Herbalists who have the same great care and ethic. These Tea Herb extras help to support the consultation work for those those in need of receiving free services. I thank you for your support, and hope, in return, you are tantalized with amazing Earth Medicine for your own health care and lovely, compost-able gifts! Some NEW offerings too! Limited Quantities. 🙂

Serendipity Plant Lore has beautiful hand grown, hand sourced, sustainable and ethically wild-crafted herbal teas for $7 a box/sack. Each of the tea offerings has been used by this herbalist for many decades to aid health, enjoyment and vitality, recovery from many health problems. They have “lived” with me for so long, they have become part of me, and I am excited to have these offerings which truly support our family and the work as I continue my ongoing education and offering sliding scale consultations for those in need.

Choose from:
~Lovin’ Liver Tea (your liver will be happy!)
~Summer Time Afternoon Tea (relaxing and sweet)
~Great Grandmother Gertrude’s Memory Lovin’ Tea (brain cell oxygenating crew!)
~Green Tonic Tune (tuning cells and soul together!)
~Vanilla Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
~Cinnamon Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
~Great Gert’s Cold Hand and Foot Tea (circulatory warming tea for the cold)
~Galloping Gertrude’s Tea (relaxing and locally nutritious)
~Flu Flummox Tea (just befuddle your flu bugs in style!)
~Arabian Summer Tea (a tea to remind you of the smells of an Arabian Love Garden, with plants that touch our center, build up the immune system, and sweep away what needs to be swept away.)
~Shepherd’s Tea! When you want to corral those irksome viral beings and nondescript inflammatory triggers, what you need is a Shepherd to round ‘em up and over the bluff!
~Olive Leaf Tea, an anti-viral, anti-oxidant tea to ward off the minions of Mordor!
~Delicious Radheish Chai!
~Spicy Radheish Chai (inspired by my great friend, Radhe G.)
~Mother’s Milk Tea…to help Mother nourishes Baby Ones.
~Chamomile
~Comfrey Leaf
~Dandelion Leaf
~Elder Flowers
~Motherwort
~Pineapple Sage
~Garden Sage
~Rosehips
~Rue (only to practitioners)
~Shitake Mushrooms
~Chanterelle Mushrooms
~Lobster Mushrooms (seasonal offering)
~More offerings, please inquire and I will check the Apothecary.
(c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH
​Last, but NEVER least! Our Share Shelter Donation!!!
~MONTHLY (often weekly) SHARE SHELTER DONATION currently in progress! Donate here on Azure Day or on the doorstep, and I will collect and bring to the Share Orchards Shelter! Or donate to SHARE directly yourself! This month, Erin H. had a marvelous idea to share. She suggested that we each order an extra, quality whole foods item from Azure for the donation pile!!! This is great from another perspective…many of the food items donated to SHARE are often low quality processed foods. This is a way to share healthy abundance! 🙂 So let’s make our own Azure Challenge! To participate, add an extra item on your Azure order for SHARE donation!!! 
 

Gulyás Blessings! 
Summer L. Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH
Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies​

And So This Prayer of Gratefulness for the Red Geranium and my Grandmother Gizella!

~Oscar Wilde~

If I do live again I would like to be as a flower – no soul but perfectly beautiful. Perhaps for my sins I shall be made a red geranium!

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I would ask Oscar Wilde about this, and question his experience as to a flower having no soul. From the experience in my own Heart, and from learning in the Plant Sciences, indeed, flowers have souls….they are stamped with one by the Creator! From the Creator’s hands they flow….

The very land my family worked, with hands deep in soils, when I was pulled out of bed early into the fields to talk and to tend…..what is there, but a living Soul so big and so wide? Stewardship of only the dead, no. Stewardship of Living. As prayer and blessing over crops were made, as we worked in the dim light of early morning hours….and the smells of tomatoes and peas, the bittersweet of Dandelions mixed with sweet, rotting grasses, the touch of rough leaved Cucurbita leaves scratching at my wrists and ankles, gentle rains and cool morning dew drops permeating violet scented air, one is alive in concert and participating with Spirit and Soul. As dewdrops slide off rose petals to evaporation, one smells the Divine Road. In glittery Love it is the Grace that moves us! Working and tending, experiencing and learning every moment, feeling every inch of electric body in contact with other beings.

I keep plenty of red geraniums about, setting them out in summer, and around the house in winter. For good reason! It is a flower of my family! Growing up, my Grandmother would line a long drive with a hundred of them. These beautiful flowers a symbol to her of her Native Hungarian Land, Life, Family, Religion, People and Ethnicity.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beyond the Spiritual and Cultural aspects, there are the medicinal uses of a variety of geraniums in the great Geraniaceae Family. The ways that my family worked with them and handed the knowledge down for healing, are quite a revival for the soul, and are far from soul-less! The Red Flowers are gifts of the fruit of the Spirit, and the blood of life, love, and liberty too. Green is of Love, of Hope, of Green Growing Abundant Lands, and the White of the Flower inward parts, the Stamens and Ovary are for the living life with purity of heart.

For SOUL is the most amazing miracle, the greatest gift of meaning! Soul is the gift from God. We are living in a crazy, beautiful world! Where all the lifeforms are imbued with grace, and swirl together like a great, moving painting.

As an Herbalist, everyday I live with plants, flowers, insects, animals, and work with people. I raise a family which is a living extension of my old family, that is continuing on through to the next generations. I feel responsible for what I leave personally to my family, they will not be left with ideas of beautiful, soul-less flowers! They will learn the olde medicines, the olde blessings over Earth and Growing, and the ways of responsibility of Stewardship.

However, I am also an admirer of Oscar Wilde, and I shall say, I quibble with his poem only, and not with Him. For red geraniums are beautiful, and symbolize love. And if love is a sin, or steadfastness is, green growing abundance, purity of heart and family is, I would say to be born again a Red Geranium would be a stroke of whimsy by a  God filled with love for us! If that is so, there the Soul will be found.The beauty, is filled with Spirit, far and wide. God makes no mistakes. The Soul is very deep, falling off and into Love. The medicine of all.

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

All Rights Reserved.

The Medicine of Trees…

With much of the bad news floating around our community these last two days, including a shooting not too far from me, it’s time to ask for some simple prayer for our ability toward “True Seeing”. We are all responsible, and each have a part to play for weaving a culture that sees and honors a Life with Soul. We are losing children’s souls, and when these lost souls RECREATE the violence done to their own souls in the outer world, we can have the tendency to mistake and blame the wrong things. The reality is soul loss. The world ceasing to be a shrine to life, a place to love, a place to grow up and making a place to be. No way to take it otherwise, but children and guns are not the cause of the violence….we, the elders of our culture are fully responsible. From that perspective, as Elders, as Pastors, as Healers, as People, we can put ourselves to the work of weaving a tapestry of culture that includes and elevates the dignity of our beings, and thus, other beings.~Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

serendipityherbals

DSC_0372Here we are, at the feet of a Great Elder, Sequoia sempervirens! Just love, prayer, love, amazement, and awe.

DSC_0377Ancient path walking, in the deep.

DSC_0459Deep Forest, grows dark.

DSC_0565Making the world a Shrine! Why not? The opposite of that is not a world I wish to partake in, or raise my children up in.

DSC_0395Making the world a Shrine of Love, which it is, when we open our eyes and see!

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

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Coal, Falling On Our Heads in God’s Country, The Washington Gorge

In the Pacific Northwest, we’re supposed to have rain falling on our heads, not coal! Coal trains, 120-130 train cars long, open with no covering, are passing through the Gorge on the Washington side on a consistent basis. Passing through God’s Country. In an effort to save dollars, the heaping mass of open coal is sprayed with a chemical mixture to make sure the coal stays glued down. This saves money, instead of just covering or putting lids on the coal cars. They say nothing blows out of the cars. They say that it is safe. They don’t mention that they do not have the capacity to clean up this coal if a train derails in our God’s Country.

This here is a photo story of a group of Herbalist and Botanist Apprentices, on a journey learning about ecology, healing herbs and edible foods, being pummeled with coal particles. These are not actors, these are real students part of the Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies getting sooty in the wild.

Remember, we are God’s People. Remember, this is God’s Country. Remember who created all the Plants and Animals. Remember that saving money on safety saves no one anything, EVER, except a high ranking manager or owner with a larger profit margin. If I am correct, this coal is headed for use in Asia. This is a no good deal for everyone. This is the public being bamboozled. As innocent bystanders to an event out of our control, please consider our rights, on our public lands, not to be contaminated with coal dust and coal debris! Please consider our safety and your safety! The chemical junk adds a touch of additional toxic brew, can you imagine how this is contaminating our Columbia, and more than that, how any train derailment, no matter how minor, will quickly turn into a massive environmental catastrophe? 120-130 car trains, open, piled high with chemical coal…in the best case scenario, it blows off the coal trains like crazy, in small particles and large chunks. Who is responsible for this coal nonsense and not telling the truth to the public?

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(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH

All Rights Reserved.