I just had to make a quick post about this. I am SO bummed that all the fairs were cancelled this year because LOOK WHAT I GREW!
I think Boston Marrow winter squash are just the coolest. I have NEVER grown one this big before though. 42.4 lbs of pure enormous food! I can’t wait to cut her open and see how many seeds I have. This, and the 6 other squash I have already, are from ONE little plant!
I am super proud of this! I had to do vine borers surgery on the vine last week to save it, because those little bastards really love this squash. But I am gonna make pie and soup all winter now! Woohoo!
I don’t know if you know this, but my husband is about 1/8th Menomonee (Ojibway tribe) and I know of some Osage ancestry on my father’s side of the family tree. Between these facts and the journey that I’ve been on bringing me closer to Mother Earth and the plants that live on her, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about Native American culture and ways of life. I know that white sage and sweetgrass are sacred herbs, meant to be burned in thanks to the earth and to help one’s own spirit.
Much as I wish I could always only give my plant medicine as gifts, I must feed my family and pay my bills in the modern world. That is why I sell my herbal medicines and incense. I want to help people as well, but I still have mouths to feed in my home and that has to come first for now. However, after reading (or at least beginning to read) the book Braiding Sweetgrass, I now know that I should not be selling my sweetgrass braids. I was very careful before to whom I did sell the braids, but now I will barter or gift only, as the plant is not meant to be exchanged for money.
Moving forward, I have decided that I will no longer SELL my sweetgrass braids, but I will still make them for my own use. If you or a Native American friend are in need of a braid, please contact me and we may be able to work out a gift or barter exchange based on your need.
On a similar note, I also experimented with growing native tobacco this year (Nicotiana rustica) and I may be able to share small amounts with those in need.
Mullein is a common herb in North America, though just like dandelion and plantain it is not native to this land. You have probably seen it in a ditch on the road side, or growing near your favorite walking path, or by the fence at the baseball field. It’s soft, fuzzy leaves have been snuggled by children and used as an alternative to toilet paper for many a year. It is a biennial herb, which means there is a thick rosette of heavy leaves the first year, followed by a huge, tall stalk with flowers the second year. The seeds spread off this stalk and the cycle begins again. You can pronounce it “Mullen” or “Mully-in,” or however you like!
Mullein is one of my favorite herbs because Nik has mild COPD, which causes him to cough a lot in the morning and often times in the evening as he is laying down. Mullein is a perfect remedy for that dry, scratchy cough you can’t seem to get rid of with just a few sips of water.
Mullein can be made into a tincture, which is the easiest way to take it and what we generally turn to at our house. You can also make it into a tea, though you may wish to consider pouring the tea through a coffee filter before you consume it, in case any of the tiny hairs off the leaves have strayed into your cup. Mullein can also be smoked for its benefits (seems counter intuitive, but it actually works!) which is why I add it to Nik’s smoking blends and to several of my home health incense blends. The yellow flowers of mullein are infused into an oil and are a great remedy for ear aches, and help clear up an ear infection if you catch it in the early stages.
The roots of mullein are also helpful in healing muscle and tendon injuries. This whole plant is an amazing piece of work!
I have plenty of this herb available and make medicine with it regularly, so fee free to ask if you need any help working with it.