May 22, 2008

Dandelions and other Wild Foods

I should start off by saying that my yard is a haven for dandelions. In fact, I encourage them ;) I'm sure my neighbors are horrified by the wildness of my lawn, but it makes my heart happy every time I lay eyes on it. I've long seen the importance of having a safe, pesticide and herbicide free place to harvest wild foods. I met a woman last week at the market who was so fearful of harvesting dandelions! She kept saying how you had to be so careful of pesticides. Well, there is truth to that. What are your neighbors doing, and does it run off into your lawn, or does the wind carry the vapors to your neck of the woods? These are important considerations. I am fortunate that I have rentals on both sides of me, with an alley out back. I purposely rented a house with a neglected lawn, that had been a rental for about 10 years before I moved in. Renters tend to neglect lawns, and the presence of dandelions and bare spots in the grass confirmed this for me. We also had just come out of several years of water restrictions. So, I earnestly set about encouraging my dandelions. (ha, I wonder how they would feel about being "mine"?) I water the dandelions, and make wishes whenever I can. This spring, as I sat in the front yard harvesting blossoms, I was delighted to discover that I was actually sitting in the middle of a nursery! There were big grandmother plants, and tiny little baby dandelions all throughout the lawn.

There is such a different energetic in wild foods. My breakfast today consisted of buffalo stew meat cooked with fresh shiitakes, onions, olive oil, garlic, barbeque sauce and greens! I wandered around my yard looking for the greens, and feel such deep gratitude that wild, nourishing, free food is there for the asking. I harvested some dandelion greens, and supplemented with spinach, kale and chard from my garden. It felt like a feast!

I have been weeding my garden, preparing to put in summer vegetables. It bothers me to weed. It feels so wasteful, to pull out perfectly happy plants. There is so much to weeding. It is compassionate, making room for others, and nourishing if you can find another use for those misplaced beauties. So, while I ate my breakfast I pulled out my beloved copy of Steve Brill's Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants. I love this book! He gives very good and detailed information, along with common sense cautions. The illustrations are amazing. Also, there are recipes! They are structured to be a guide, and to help you be creative in coming up with recipes of your own. He even breaks it down into habitats and seasons. According to Steve, I can make a salad with those wild lettuce leaves that I have been pulling out of my garden. I think I will include them with my cooked greens for dinner instead, and see how that goes. Some of them, the ones who have volunteered to grow in convenient places, places where veggies don't need to grow, are welcome to stay and grow to their full glory. They get big, at least 5 feet tall, and they make very good medicine. That post will be later in the summer.

As for now, I have leftover buffalo with fresh wild greens to eat for dinner, an old favorite book to read over, salves to make and gardens to build!

Green Blessings!

May 21, 2008

Living Ritual and the Power of Intent

Last night was the first gathering for the advanced apprenticeship I am participating in this summer. It is a 12 week journey, entitled Living Ritual and the Power of Intent.

We are in a time of great transformation, as individuals, as communities, as a society, and as a planet. The veil is thinner now, and our abilities to create and co-create lasting change are very real. We contribute to and co-create change every day, and as a result, the future is uncertain. Rather than feeling helpless due to this reality, feel inspired! It means that we can make a difference! The Call has gone out, and there are many who have heard and are responding, and many more who would like to respond, who feel the pull, but don't know what to do about it.

Live consciously, give back to your community, and conserve resources. Eat local, support small business, compost! There are many many ways to make a difference, and everything adds up. Look around you, and see the people in your community who are trying to make a difference. Talk to them, see what you can do to help! Maybe you have a great idea, and need resources, or maybe you are the resource. Be a part of the solution, in whatever small (or large) way works for you, speaks to you, feels good to you.

My homework for the next two weeks, until we meet again, is to actively engage in my daily personal practice, which involves meditation, movement and personal practice. To devote time to myself and my process daily will be a challenge. I am not used to taking such good care of myself. I am looking forward to building the discipline necessary to stick to it, to learn to stay, as there is a piece of my soul, ever growing and straining to occupy more space, that craves this activity, this devotion. I look forward to working with my commitment to deepen my connection to the Earth and making the world a better place through sustainability, education and becoming more involved with and in my community. I am so thankful for the web of support we have created in our group, and love the holding of that space.

The last piece of our homework is to watch The 11th Hour, a movie produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio about the state of affairs here on our Blue Planet. We are to watch with a friend, to share the process, because awareness and change is for everyone! Have you seen this movie? I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings and ideas about it! Please share!

Green Blessings,

May 20, 2008


Wow. It's so hard to
believe that I've graduated! I think I've gotten lost in the process, and can't see the forest for the trees. It's been all about plugging away, learning, writing up cases, reading cases, writing feedback, writing my thesis, etc for so long, that I don't quite know what to think now that it's finished. The learning continues eternally, of course, but the structure has fallen away to leave me with a glorious springtime in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Our ceremony was unbelievably lovely. It's been 15 years since I have
graduated from anywhere or anything, so I really didn't know what to expect. Penny organized the lovely space, Bobbie and her Mom did a fabulous job decorating, and Karen organized the compostable place settings. We all pitched in for a Nutritionist potluck, and I have got to say, the spread was amazing! I made Michael Moore's perversely decadent guarana fudge and a kava beverage to balance us out. It was a nice party! Family and Friends came out to honor us and celebrate with us, and for that I am truly thankful. There was so much love and support in the room.

It moves me to tears to realize that our graduation ceremony may be the last time I sit before Paul Bergner as he tells us wonderful stories to inspire us, bring us to deep reflection, and help us remember the lessons. He is a gifted storyteller, and would have made a very successful Bard, in those times. His generosity, compassion and vision are integral to the impact he has made upon all of our lives. I know that mine will never be the same. What a wonderful gift to humanity, to be a Teacher. I know that his rewards will be great.

With hardly a moment to breathe, or process the transition, my first day at the Louisville Farmers Market was Saturday. The weather was perfect Colorado Springtime, and it was the best opening day I've ever had at a market. I am inspired and hopeful. To be sustainable is my goal, and it will be lovely to make a go at it with the market and my private practice.

I've had my hands in the dirt every day, and have given up removing the last bits of soil from under my nails. I have been planting seeds, dividing and transplanting herbs, cleaning last year's dead wood, and hauling cinderblocks for my new veggie garden. I've eaten fresh, wild greens almost every day, and last night shared a meal of barbequed buffalo, greens and fingerling potatoes with a dear friend. I feel good about the work ahead of me, and hopeful. I meet more people every day with the vision of a greener, more sustainable life. It is heartening, and I welcome my place in this grassroots evolution.

May 5, 2008

My logo is done!

It's done! The logo is fantastic, and the business cards have been ordered! I'm excited, and it was absolutely worth the wait!

I've been seeing purple and green everywhere. My office, my tomato seedlings, the grape hyacinths that hypnotize the honeybees. Everywhere!

Graduation from NAIMH is May 15th, and the first day of the Louisville Farmer's Market is May 17th! Whew! There's enough to do for myself and clone, but it'll get done!

Last weekend I went to a really cool workshop put on by Mary Barnes, RH (AHG). I like her, she's one of my favorite teachers, and she's a formulation whiz! We percolated licorice root, infused comfrey oil and formulated a really nice muscle balm. Her tips and tricks were great, I learned new things! I love learning new things about topics I think I already have handled. I've been infusing oils and making tinctures for about 10 years, but I have never percolated a tincture before last weekend. The physics of it are really cool, and it's a great science project! Also, it solves the problem of how to get the last drops of precious tincture out of the marc. Delightful! Since the workshop, I've been dreaming of percolating tinctures, and it solves the problem of how to make what I need to make in time for the market.

What is this market I speak of? Louisville is finally getting a farmer's market! The organizers are organized, and understand the magic of good marketing. I'm hoping for a good turnout on May 17th, our first day. Come see me if you're in the area! I'll be set up on the corner of Walnut and Front Streets in Old Town Louisville, just off of Main Street. Head east when you see the barbershop! The hours are 9-2, and we are open every Saturday until October 25th. I am bringing herb and heirloom veggie plants, teas, tinctures and salves. Later I will have organic produce from my garden. It's going to be a great opportunity to meet and greet my community!

Come out and see us!

Green Blessings,
Heather Luttrell

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