April 17, 2012 @ 11:08 AM


"Gathering...to gather" has so many meanings--especially for an herbalist in the Spring & Summer. I have been gathering early spring greens for several weeks already---before which, I had to gather together my multitude of baskets used for picking fresh plants for eating, some for tincturing and some for drying.....not to mention all the items needed for those tasks (clippers, jars, menstrums, chop sticks, cheese cloth, string, labels....the list goes on!) Soon, I will be gathering all my gardening tools/accessories for a quick cleaning and organizing for tasks. After I get the gardens planted, tended and finally looking beautiful, I will have people over for a gathering of like minded foodies and herbies. Then it will be time for harvesting and gathering together canning, freezing and jelly making supplies.

But for NOW, I see the dandelions blooming like crazy and many other herbs herbs maturing ahead of (or at least, what used to be) schedule, so I am gathering up my wine/mead and beer making supplies! I will start with Dandelion wine (with my grandson doing the bulk of the very tedious blossom gathering) and quickly move to Nettle beer and the meads will be made when the bees swarm. Later will come my favorite herbal beer--Yarrow......and then the delightful, Elder Fizz. My Grandpa made wine and beer, but never taught me, so I had to learn it myself, while luckily remembering many of the tips/tricks he used. So as I gather my carboys, bottles, yeast, more cheese cloth and demarara sugar or honey, I also gather my memories of watching Grandpa work his magic in the basement and curing the beers down in the crick head....after which, all the men folk gathered to sample all his brews.