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Maine Tea

September 5, 2015

Tags: herbs, order, chemicals – beneficial, biochemical pathway, cell, Chinese novel, chives, dandelion, evolution, German, goldenrod, green goodness of plants, herb walk, interconnectedness, kitchen garden, Labor Day, lady’s mantle, Maine, oregano, parsley, plantain, peppermint, pine needles, plants – poisonous, polyphenol, red clover, rosehip, sarsaparilla, scented fern, steeple flower, tea - field, forest and meadow, tea - garden, tea - wild, usnea, walking, woods, workshop

For too long I haven’t written here, being deeply immersed in my new Chinese novel (which will take some years to finish writing). But this Labor Day weekend we returned to Maine, and I want to share that today I made a wild tea:

• Goldenrod
• Steeple flower
• Usnea
• Dandelion
• Oregano
• Sarsaparilla
• Red clover
• Pine needles
• Scented fern
• Peppermint
• Rosehip
• Chives
• Lady’s mantle
• Parsley
• Plantain

I usually call it a garden tea, but today the ingredients are from whatever I found on our walk – more of a field, forest and meadow tea, as we call it in German. Some came from my neighbor’s kitchen garden (I have their permission), some from the Maine meadows and wild woods. Everything is rather dry this year, but things are growing – and if you ask me – want to be eaten and drunk.

I wonder how many different polyphenols and other beneficial chemicals I ingested with the large cup of tea I just imbibed. Hundreds – if not thousands. They all work their magic without that I have to know all the chemical names or biochemical pathways because the wisdom of my body cells will sort out what is useful, and what is not. Mind, I don’t include plants that are poisonous. Just plants that have accompanied us through millenniums of evolution, and therefore will help my body healing whatever bothers it. Long before it bothers me.

You can make your own wild tea. Don’t look for my plants – look for what is growing around you. Some plants you probably know already – like dandelion. Never use a single plant that you don’t know one hundred percent! Enroll in a workshop or herb walk and be guided by some wise person who knows the land. Don’t go through life without really knowing the world you are living in. You will grow in unexpected ways, and you will be healthier for it! Not only because we are primed to ingest the green goodness of plants, but also because you have to walk to get them. And because you will experience the interconnectedness of all and everything.

Love Of A Mother

August 31, 2011

Tags: order, cat brain, cat - feral, dog, kitten, Love Of A Mother, Maine, Moses - the cat, runt of the litter, wildlife, woods

A few years ago, in September, my neighbor here in Maine looked out of her kitchen window and observed one of the feral cats that live in the woods here deposit something on her stairs. When she checked outside, she found a tiny kitten. It barely had its eyes open and looked like it might not live. They took it in, fed it by dipping a finger in milk and let the kitten lick it off.

Against all odds, the little one survived. They named him Moses. Moses always looks like the runt of the litter - he is so small even grown up. He is not feral anymore; he is a house cat, well loved.

The surprising thing was that the feral mother cat had brought her kitten to people, obviously well knowing that it would not survive fall and winter; it was born too late in the year. Feral cats avoid people like any other wildlife would do. We get a glimpse of them some nights in our headlights, but that is all.

As an aside: If mankind would die out and dogs and cats would be returned to the wild, experts think that cats would survive and thrive, and dogs would die out; dogs are too dependent on people.

Back to the mother cat: What is even more surprising: Months later, the neighbors found out that a second kitten had been left with people about a mile away as the crow flies. Obviously, the two were siblings: The sister has the same solid slate gray fur Moses has.

Now, here is a mother cat, with a brain of roughly 30 grams (less than two ounces) who can figure out what is best for her babies. She walked miles with her babies to bring them where they might be safest.
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