Eat the Invasives: Wild Thistle

I’m a big fan of foraging and when I saw a podcast on the “Sustainable World Radio” series entitled, “The Wild Wisdom of Weeds with Katrina Blair” I got pretty excited!  I learned SO much from this podcast!

One of the most intriguing wild edible featured was Thistle.  This spring I pulled a few wheelbarrows full of this prickly invasive out of my lawn.  It spreads SO fast and is SO painful to step on.  I absolutely don’t regret removing it but I do regret not juicing it!

The kids and I decided to sample some thistle juice for ourselves yesterday.  Finding the plants around the periphery of the yard was pretty easy. Even my 22 month old was pointing them out!

Thoroughly soaking the greens seemed like a good idea to removed dirt and whatever else might still be lurking.   Washing them was especially fun as lots of little creatures came to the top and I removed slugs and bugs and put them into bowls for the kids to watch.IMG_1544

 

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We don’t have a juicer so we put them into the blender with a little orange juice.  After blending I strained them twice to remove any remaining spikes. Once thought a metal strainer and then a second time through cloth. The juice that remained was surprisingly tasty.  We made a second batch with just water added and all agreed that the orange juice was an important addition.

My kids loved it and it was really fun to experience this plant in a new way!  Apparently thistle is great for detoxifying and has lots of healthy benefits.  The process was a little labor intensive so I don’t think this will be a regular thing but it was a fun experiment for sure!

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Here’s a video by someone who knows MUCH more about this stuff than I do!

Springtime Magic

Every year I am STRUCK by all of the magic that surrounds me as the earth begins to wake up. Yeah, I know there are scientific explanations for all of it, but birth and rebirth of anything is about as close to magic as I have seen.

I push little seeds into the wet earth and part of me just doesn’t believe it’s possible for such a tiny speck to become a plant.  But then it does.  A little sprout pops up and it grows and grows.  It brings forth new life.  AMAZING!!! It’s like what I always say about the human birth experience… it’s crazy how the most EXTRAORDINARY thing can also be so incredibly ORDINARY!  Like, how is this happening EVERY day?  EVERY second even! (Don’t get me started…)

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Getting to share the magic of spring with my kids makes it that much more special too.  I know it’s such a cliche but seeing the world through their eyes is priceless.  Also, getting a chance to retell the story of what is and what might be to them helps to renew my own belief in what is possible.

The other day I was hanging out in the yard with my sweet 4 year old Ada when a Swallowtail butterfly landed right in front of us.  We both knelt down to get a closer look.  Ada asked if she could pick it up and I encouraged her to very gently.

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The butterfly let her hold it in her hands.  The joy on my little girl’s face was perfect.  Luckily I had my phone in my pocket… What was I saying about detaching from my phone?

Anyway, the butterfly then flew off and jumped around on the ground for a few minutes.  I was pretty sure it was injured.  I suggested to Ada that we say a little “prayer” to Mother Earth (because I’m like that) to see if we could help the little guy.

I kid you not.  Only seconds after we wished for it to find health and happiness the butterfly flew off.  And not just a little bit… it flew to the top of the tree line and disappeared into the sky!  Now THAT’S magic!!!IMG_0378

How have you been experiencing the magic of Spring?

 

“Mama, I love nature.”

“Mama, I love nature.  I love nature more than anyone else loves nature!” said my four year old daughter as I was putting her to bed tonight.  Obviously my heart melted.  And it gave me the feeling like I’m doing something right!

Today we went for what is becoming a weekly walk with friends through the forest.  We dress the kids up for wet and muddy play.  That usually means Bog boots, waterproof rain pants and jackets.  Then we just let them free.  They climb, they run, they jump.  They WALK in streams and mud.  They draw lines in the mud with sticks then use those same sticks to stir in the stream.

IMG_3475Today they surprised me by climbing up a huge rock outcropping.  I watched as my little girl scanned the area for the best path up then carefully climbed with her hands and feet to the top.  At one point I couldn’t help myself and so I shouted up, “do you feel safe?” To which she answered, “yes!”

These are the moments I dreamed of before becoming a mother. Giving my kids the space to explore their own limits and the world around them.  It just doesn’t get much better!

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