During family get-togethers or meals with friends, have you ever found yourself in a bit of a pickle when someone initiates a “prayer of thanks” to be given to God beforehand? Perhaps you’ve been asked to deliver the prayer yourself. If you’re of the notion that the God depicted in Christianity is no longer valid for you – and finding yourself feeling uncomfortable in these settings, you might whisper or openly recite a version I wrote simply for this purpose.
You may use and share this freely, however, if re-publishing, I would ask only that you give credit and refer to The Moonlit Grove blog. The “You” in the poem might refer to the God and Goddess, to the Universe, Mother Nature herself, or simply the Earth depending on your personal tastes, however, your dinner companions (no matter their beliefs) will be none the wiser. Thank you.
Giving Thanks for a Meal, by Polly Taskey
Of forest and stream
of sky and of field
only You could provide
this bountiful yield.
These nourishing gifts
strengthen me and mine,
and continue the cycle
of life so Divine.
I’ve been watching the wild herbs and plants closely around my modest homestead lately. First, to properly identify what I have available, and second, to determine when I can harvest certain varieties for various purposes. Many are ready for harvest (northern United States) at this time.
It is always helpful to know what you have growing wild at your disposal and how to utilize it. So far, I’ve identified two Plantain varieties, Pineapple Weed, Mallow, Motherwort, Nettle, Cinquefoil (Five-Finger Grass), Mullein, White Clover, Black Medic, Bitter Nightshade, etc. Some of these can be toxic and it is always good to know what to be wary of.
Currently, there is an invasive weed in my state (among other areas) called Giant Hogweed – it looks very much like severely overgrown Wild Carrot (Queen Anne’s Lace) but simply touching the plant can cause severe burns and even blindness! With that in mind, this is a great time of the year to introduce units of study on the identification, uses and possible toxic properties of local herbs and weeds with your children.
Equipped with a camera and Journal Pages (available here for your children), explore the weeds, grasses, trees and other flora growing in the vicinity of your home. Note whether they’re growing in shady or wet areas, “waste” areas (such as old, unused pastures) or driveways; how the leaves are arranged (opposite one another, alternating) and what they look like (slender, jagged edges, broad); how the flowers (if any) appear and their colorations; whether the stems are woody, ribbed, smooth, etc; how the plant smells (tear a leaf if you feel certain it is non-toxic), whether there are berries, etc, and compare your findings with resources in books and online.
For my own purposes, I harvested some of my Yarrow yesterday and hung it to dry in order to make tinctures, salves, tea and so forth. Yarrow is wonderful for reducing fevers, dealing with flu symptoms, for relieving pain, minor to severe cuts (aids in stopping blood flow), etc. Yes, there is a little sprig of Lavender in there too! I can’t resist the smell of Lavender!
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