Green Water and Pitch Pantry

Some of My Personal River-Inspired Recipes....

Outside the sun is baking the sap in the trees, the flowers are browning, the weeds are hip-high and begging to be plucked.  Along the hillside, the vetch and broom and sweetpea pods cackle in the wind and crack at the slightest contact, raining down little brown and black spheres.  They roll into the brush with the piles of elder flower and honey locust flower.  Just now, the rowans are blooming.  And the poplars?  My gods they smell like the stuff of dreams and desires, sticky and sweet and fresh and golden brown.  They're all sex and healing, a tasty combination I adore.  The mosquitoes bite at my golden skin and the spiders slowly creep into my home, tucking themselves into corners, ready for the inevitable fruit flies.

This place is my home.  Others find it easy to pick up and leave, but I'm the ivy, with deep roots and a need to take over my area.  Reaching out over my space, in my grasp are hundreds of roots and saps and leaves and trees, fruits and seeds, fronds and nuts.  There's a wealth of work for a greenhand.  I don't have to choose between my ancestors or perform elaborate cultural rituals when I'm here; I need to honor my dead and the land.  I need to create from the collective wisdom of those who came before me.   Sometimes in dreams, usually in thoughts; random hunches and whispers on the wind, in the dark.

I leave offerings out for so many spirits, wishing everyone the best and wishing them well.  In return, I dream about the harmonies between plants, I pay attention to the way everything changed right before it eases into something else.  Sometimes it's imperceptibly slow, sometimes it's just a change of the weather. I learn everything I need to remember about life from the land, from the plants; from watching the way the cottonwood sheds right on time in April-but I wait until the sun's heated the trees' resin before skimming my portion... or from waiting until the temperature reaches a dry 80 degrees for at least a few days before wading into the patches of vecth in my mom's yard, before they twist and snap and explode to bits.  It's all following a pattern and swayed by the slightest chance.  I'm at home here, and my pantry is full of the land; in jars and gourds and little dollies.

River Suffumigation Recipe:
  • Decayed cedar bark from the highlands (I do not harvest near wetlands, tends to be rotten)
  • Poplar resin extracted in oil
  • Pine sap (fresh and a very small amount as a binder)
  • Fir bark (powdered)
  • Tincture of Lady Fern
    Love Me Dolly Stuffing (All parts dried and used as filling)
    • Wild rose 
    • Cottonwood fluff
    • Vetch flower and seeds
    • Honey locust flower 
    • Mock orange flower 
    • Symbolic Innards:
      • Cherry stone 
      • Rosehips
      • Oxalis tuber
      • Bitter cherry gum (dehydrated)
    • Pine needles
    • Cedar shavings
    • Poplar fluff
    • Cattail powder
    • Powdered Nettle
    Green River Strewing Herbs: (all dried)
    • Orange honeysucke- highlands (dried whole flower)
    • Wild daisy petals- riverside
    • Blackberry flower- anywhere
    • Salmonberry flower- riverside
    • Madrona flower- hilltop
    • Vicia sativa (dried whole flower)- everywhere
    • Hairy Vetch (dried on the vine)
    • Ocean Spray- Kent valley
    • Wild rose- Allentown
    • Mock orange flower- highlands
    Forest Floor Wash:~it smells like the forest floor, like petrichor and moss, like home should smell.
    • Tree lichen 
    • Tree moss 
      • cover these two herbs in highest proof vodka and let steep 2 months and change out every 2 weeks. Strain and mix with the following;
      • White vinegar 
      • Distilled water
      • Rainwater collected under pine branches 
    Riverton Tea Blend Recipe: (from herbs common to Riverton) used to focus before rituals of harvest
    • Rubus ursinus (native blackberry)- fresh juice of berry
    • Salal (dried)
    • Dandelion flower
    • Red Clover Flower
    • Rosehips
    • Mint leaf
    Hag of Winter Smoke: the hag of winter is a figure of local mythology as well as a beloved figure from my Western European heritage.  She personifies winter's barrenness, the needs of the home, the ravages of age and the wisdom of life.  Here, she is Grandmother of the hill, elsewhere she is a Bug-eyed woman or even a witch.  Here's a smoke I use to honor the personification of the Winter Hag these last few mid-winters.
    • Pine pitch, pine sap, pine resin
    • Snowbrush flower (dried)
    • Mahonia aquifolium flower (dried)
    • Decayed cedar powder
      • An addition of sage and mint oil
    Snailwoman Repellent~ she is a witch of regional lore, a snatcher of children with a pitch-lined basket.  Her color is black, her tools are baskets and rotten logs, she adores the smell of children, her gifts are in hexing, curses, glamour and ensnarement.  When I told my young cousin the story, she asked me to make her something to drive Snailwoman and her rotten sticks away... 
    • Sound salt
    • Seaweed (powdered)
    • Cedar needle (powdered)
    • Ghost resin (from a pine, crushed)
    • Sage (crushed)
      • An addition of cedar essential or pine oil
    Healer's Balm:
    • Animal fat or oil of choice
    • Local beeswax
    • Wild harvested poplar buds
    • Hardened poplar sap
    • hard resin from a western pine (also called ghost resin in local occult circles)
    • Pine or Spruce pitch 
      • *add 3 drops olibanum oil if desired 
    Misdummer Tincture/Perfume Base: (all fresh)
    • Mock orange flower
    • Honeysuckle flower
    • Crab-apple flower
    • Blackberry flower
    • Evergreen huckleberry flower
    • Red Clover
    • Wood lily
    • Swamp Rose petals
    • Ocean spray flower
      • high proof spirits

    Green Water of the Mountains:
    • wild bleeding heart
    • lupine
    • bunchberry flower
    • blue elder flower
    • elder leaf
    • White River water
      • this is used to bless tools and feed plant spirits

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