Monday, December 20, 2010

Listening to the plants...terms to translate...

As the last post was about urban wildcrafting and finding, I thought Id take it a step furthur to talk about working with plants, for food and health.
What beauty if in every home we had the wisdom to be our own herbalists? Theres a wave of it happening with food, a masterchef in every home and thats one of the easiest ways to get to know herbs!
But how do we know which ones to use and how much?
We have botanical names (and visual information, our own and such as in many guidebooks) to check out if the plant in our hand is the one we think it might be. A cumulative way to double check that intuition that said, I know that plant I can work with that one.
Hence the creation of broader terms like nourishing, tonifying, stimulating. These terms are designed to let us know how much to use (of which parts) and largely how much those whove gone before us used. But the original messages came from the plants themselves, so its like a translation.
Nourishing herbs are mild enough (yet potent enough to be medicine) to be eaten daily. In salads, like chickweed, dandelion leaf, sow thistle leaf, infact some herbs are best befriended in such ways. Simply steaming greens!
The tonifying herbs are a little stronger but still able to be used in infusions (a strong brew of tea, often overnight) like dandelion root, nettle, oatstraw, members of the mint family. Some oif these names sounding familiar to our front lawns?
Flavouring herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil are pretty self regulating, their flavour letting us know how much is enough already! Especially stimulating ones like chilli, cardomom, nutmeg. Go overboard and the sniffles set in as the ol mucous membranes wake up, its up to us howfar we go with them (as always).
And it works its way up to power plants like tobacco, hops, generally conciousness changing plants (although they all have that property!) that need to be treated with just that extra bit of respect.
These terms may seem dry and distant from the act of harvesting the plants with bare hands, but they can give us an idea of where in the circle of medicine, food and indeed worship, they sit, as we get more apptitude. Its like a secondary language to the botanical names we use globaly to share plant knowledge. Our ancestors, distant and closer, learned a few things from the plants and so we can learn from them. We are lucky to live in times when this herbal ancestry has been brought to the fore by the work and love of several generations of folks, so that we can double check references as we learn. Unfortuneately for u my reference books are packed in boxes right now so this tasters been improvised!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

theres wildness everywhere....

Theres something magical in finding a discarded thing with appreciation for it. The ancient art of 'gleaning' has been with us, probably since agricultural beginnings, where we began to have enough produce to create a surplus. Be that food, or rusty ol chairs (probably post paleolithic). But its kind of a cool cycle where those with less can make use of the excesses of those with more. Thats why the trend to lock supermarket skip bins, or spray them with hydrogen peroxide ( so nothing can be used) sux bigtime. Wildcrafing herbs uses the same skills as chuck out pile collecting, the finding and seeing the value and bounty that others might miss. So even in urban environments our deeply ancestral hunting and gathering skills can come to the fore, and indeed be practiced and honed. Its a way of envisioning whats around us, keeping an eye out for changes and just, noticing. That chairs rusty but it could be comfy seat dreaming with some sanding and a coat of paint, that chickweeds lush (and not in a dog pee zone) think Ill invite her to lunch. This way of being taps into deep seated (excuse the pun) survival skills that are hardwired into our genetics, especially as women. So heres to chuckout pile wildcrafting an urban version of gathering the roots and berries!



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soulfood for dogs....

How could I resist? It aint organic, it aint fresh but what a beautyfull energy, all for one can of dogfood. It reminded me of the story my herbology teacher susun weed told about being on  a plane (guaranteed foods not organic or fresh!) and the woman next to her offered half a baloney sandwich (not organic, possibly made fresh for trip) and she paused for a moment, then accepted, because of the spirit in which it was offered. Thats wisewoman nourishment! Soulfood for dogs.....meg scoffed it by the way.....

packing up a medicine garden....

The time has come to begin to pack up ten years worth of daydreams and stardust that came to a pocketfull of  rather solidly gnarly conclusion.
The 'treehouse' has been haven ,and hidey hole, now stripped bare of such warmly associations, I visit to begin to pack, lucky enough to be able to stay elsewhere as I dip into the memory laden contents of the flat.
Dog and I moved in with a fridge, a bed and each other. Over time we have gleaned a patchwork aray of many hued form and colour. ...
Theres the protective buddhist scroll illustrating the layering of buddhism with earlier indigenous bon religion that watches over when Im not there.
The herb drying racks once owned by an apprenticing baker for her loaves who now is a meister.
A victorian handbasin built into a wooden cuoboard so it can be politely folded away.
The bonsais have suffered in my absence, but the little broken buddha and crystals who sits amongst them dont require watering, so continue to flourish.
 Most of the resource library is in boxes, stacked slightly differently to when they inhabited shelves, I miss dipping into their offerings in a quiet moment.
I am trying to be zen about the whole thing, I coculd be on the street, but I like my stuff, some of  it heavy and carried with just hands, at times a skateboard, like the woodfire stove that weighs a bloody ton and I steered down the road on 4 small wheels. It could have burst a hole in theside of a brick wall if itd escaped, but didnt.
The garden has become a wild zone, a force of chaos unto herself, its kinda poetic and metaphorical really. I have seeds from most of the individual plants, stashed for later release and have been assured by a very cheerful rock I met that its meant to be so. What better medicne for an urban apartment block than untremmeled natural chaos!
Local kids have adopted the hammock tentatively, I hope when Im long gone they may venture into uncovering paths, stairs and a new caretaking will begin...not the type of community garden I had in mind, but lifes practicalitys can run eschew to our inner visualisations and imaginings it seems.
Still dont know where it is we're going next, guess thats where the zen comes in. Being in the transition of movement when you can do nothing but relax into uncertainty, Im not real good at it, but am being given ample opportunity for practice *sigh*. Gratitude for having safe houses and folks to be around, as I wait....and wait...and wait....whats the sound of a housing commision phone answered with one hand clapping? I paint....
 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

beach snack....

Heres someone succulent id like to introduce, called rather unceremoniously 'pigface'. Probably because of the snoutish shape of her fruit, which turn red when ripe. You pick em, then squeeze the inner juicy part of the fruit out of the skin n into your mouth. Tastes a bit like kiwi fruit, sometimes with natural ocean spray salt added. Not sure on botanical name, but shes a rambling groundcover, with succulent stems running along the sand. Handy for a snack at the beach. Good tucka!                                 

damn to do lists....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Jellyfishmoon

                     

What inspires me at the moment....tacky but true!


Today I ventured into the special collections area of the state library and held an exquisitely leatherbound and brown tinged copy of "The Zankiwank and the Bletherwitch" from the 189os, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. I know, yep, a kids book. It all felt very serious, handing my stack request list in to one desk, ambling over to another part of the library past shelves of georgeously ancient looking texts wondering what mysteries they contained, (could have been bus timetables) until I started reading....downright exquisitely silly! Beautyfull calligraphy and illustrated with etchings of characters odd and bizarre. Exactly the medicine I needed...


Sometimes u just get into the right spot, and timing, for what is needed to reignite some inspiration. Not that I ran home to create any volumous or postumous works, it just felt....gazing out at the branches of the now balding jacaranda, sighingly slightly, good. By godess I even shimmied and isolated a few tribal bellydance moves! Perhaps the dark moon in sagitarius shifted somethingk too. If it did about bloody time!


What else inspires me at the moment?..... Seed packets, stories staring mutants (the ones with their undies on the inside), music that hits a nerve (or massages, or tingles, or draws a tear out), nature (and how patient and generous she is with our species), a clean face (grots delight), travellers and tinkers (some combining the two), rocks (especially in building drystone walls, like a jigsaw), my cat (how patient and generous she is with our species), things quivering on the edge of exhistance (ideas and projects to be yet born) and despite all the shiiiiit of the last year, people. Their abillity for kindness, especially in those moments, when they really cant be fucked being supportive, patient with our species, or are just plain ol busy and tired, but somehow the love gets through it anyways, almost subconciously.


As much as there is shadows, I begin to see again that there is dappled gentle light, not blinding white, but a blended soul mix of dark and light somewhere betwixt....where inspiration whispers personal delights through signs in a cosmic lovesong to us each. Heres to rooting, snuffling, digging, ferreting, photographing, recording, stitching, gathering... whatever your chosen method to find those images, feelings, sounds, tastes, textures, colours, memories, tales, that inspire your senses and faith in the beauty that exhists, sometimes quietly, other times with a ta da and a shabang!






Wednesday, September 29, 2010

part two....

Ive been designated for a scratchers lot since granma died. Some upwardly mobile family will move into the old place....edging closer to the Centre.
It means a move to bordertown for moi, less protection. Closer to the walls edges.  
Not too many folks make this move, more likely to be wanting to go the other way. Still its in the trash district, so you never know what i might find, I've heard you can even pick up outsider radio there, if you know how....
they must have a few friends on the inside, willing to risk communications. Driven by something other than the plan, and moving up into the ranks of the Core...
It suits the Core to have some scratchers. Someone for folks to look down their noses at. Be grateful for what you have type situation, something to scare their children with. Mind, you'll end up a scratcher if you don't watch yourself.
I don't have too many options now,  I have to make my own way in the world. I don't have the staying power for adherence to the plan, my hearts just not in it. Since dad was  taken onboard Mind Property and never came back, I've got no fight left for the life of this zone.  I'm tired of the questioning isn't it a shame looks. Such a nice family too...
So the letter came yesterday, the decisions irreversible. We all have to make sacrifices for the greater good of the plan they said. There's no family reallocation spaces available at this time....
doing it rough now for the future...tell me about it...
You'll understand when u are older, maybe even have a family of your own eh? One individual makes the difference for a family...great, except for the fact I get to be that individual.
I could request they open the gates, but I don't even have a vehicle, let alone weaponry to protect myself, except my wits....
 The collection, my inheritance, comes with me. I'm packing it now, deep amongst my things, what I can carry. They'll scan me before I'm exited from this zone, only bearing appropriate materials / final approval stamp etc etc.
Can't have trouble makers amongst the scratchers, rebels go straight out the door....
vehicle, weaponry or not....i know that much.
Shit, don't let them search my bedroll. Play the, the what...white trash. Leave me alone I'll never amount to anything. No-ones actually said it, but this bloody misty eye means I'll never fit the quotient of breeder, or prescription Core mover and shaker. Difficult previous history...
Ok here we go....
Place all objects of possession on the table....
Imagine choosing the life of a scratcher over waiting for reallocation, paul? Yeah, pretty downtown...still some functioning is better than none.
Maybe she'll be the one?
Yeah, find the sign amongst refuse, that's where it'd be.... haw haw haw etc....
dopes....
Keep to yourself, and get secure reeal fast love, can't trust a scratcher as far as u can throw em. Done any self defence training? Haw haw haw. Im currently wishing maybe i had, just so i could clout this pair, inbetween thinking I must be completely insane, and maybe that clerical job would be ok after all....
Anyways they decide I'm securely through the subgate, c ya. Lot 15, 50 m square, partial housing included, translation = a roof over your head, literally, n that's about all. Still I can start my own garden.    Some seeds came into my possession, a farewell gesture from a neighbour. Parsley. Dandelion, Nettle and flowers of nasturtium.....wonder if anything sprouts through the refuse?
Leaving dad does make me sad, wherever he is....not sure what mum would have thought.
She would have made it ok.
I must have some invisible source of resilience in my blood, perhaps its the same part as the maker comes from, but it only applies to certain things. Losing your family isn't one of them. Not so subliminal madness...
...still at least I'm not apprenticed to a glowing screen all day. Years of data investigations or whateva. The worship of a screen, looking for signs... a leftover from the leavers. Some clue...
 Clue to their avoidance of the earth as harbinger of toxins. Letting us down through resource lack, holding back quality technological progress, bloody unvisionary planet. Keeps us back in the dark ages. We must ascend....etc
Personally, I think that comes later and I'm in no hurry to find out if that particular pet theory is right. Later, when the maker/resilience part leaves this body and goes back to its source...
 Mind you its all source....
We're all source....>>

part two of tale....

Friday, September 24, 2010

A tale evolving....part one...a taster....

The story of our heritage began with a society, that fell through its own ass, and out the other side, my dad says. Realising too late, that they had mined the well of the earth close to dry, they headed for a new planet, exploring promised riches. Leaving us behind, to work out the predictions of impending destruction.
Some folks say they ate, breathed, and shat out of tubes hooked up to their bodies, avoiding contact with the environment in a kind of hypo-allergic oversensitivity to life.
Communicating through internal chips, no speaking required...
There’s lots of talk, from the few still alive who saw them leave, now wrinkled and old.
Then the walls went up. Most of the citys had been destroyed, raided for resources.
The apocalypse of limit, a ticking time bomb. Not counting on our ability and innovation, say the Centre of Perfect Design. Yeah, Id rather not, just quietly.
Maybe some day they’ll be back, to outsource staff. The wall-dwellers monitor both the physical horizons, and radio frequencys, for signs.
I guess they thought we’d all just die here. Some whisper that the Core are the leftovers, keeping an eye on how it progresses, the growing of us.....
we children of the apocalypse that never came...
a war of abandonment...
Always preparing for their return....for the ensuing war....
I’ve always been on the fringe, the edge.... close enough to lean over the precipice and wonder what’s beyond, and if I’ll die trying to find out. It’s a place that sits betwixt.
My family are insiders, but there’s maker blood in there, or I wouldn’t trace the trails I do..
My granma knew it, but she wasn’t one for announcing gifts of difference too boastfully. She came from a time before. When being handmade was a thing of pride, and also secrets.
Not looked down upon as a remnant from a less ‘forward’ looking time. But how long will it continue this static adherence to the plans...
We’ve been here before. The wallwars came, and technology surged forward with its weaponry. Machine made was best. No signature human faults in the making, all programmed lathe turned metallic perfection. Makers were signed up compulsory, to channel the ways of designers, but not allowed to touch too many materials, or create different ways to use them. They were too precious and rare. Dont try to make sense of it, there is none...’
As time went on though, the cycle turned, and THEN they wanted skills nearly wiped from the face of the planet. Problem was, many makers had lost their skills or died. It kills makers you see, to be forced to stop. Not the violent sudden death of a soldier, but no less tragic. Yes, that was a time of fading, and its coming round again...
‘The plan’ was created at the resolution of the wallwars, it holds all we need to know for our unit to be productive and survive on the material bases, the quality ones not like what scratchers use as they peddle the wastes. There are other units out there, with their own versions, own resources, we don’t have much to do with them, but they are out there. Ocasionally, someone comes to us with news of the others, a trade perhaps, often having broken conviction with the goals of their plan, asking for shelter.
Exiles don’t last long out there....
no access to materials...
The governing Cores buildings form the centre of our town. The Office of Planning, Governance of Order, Institute of Expansion and the Centre of Design. Underground there’s a network of bunkers. Of course, most citizens don’t know this..all they see are the crafted exotic materials in the central district. A heirachy of location reflects fine skill quotients, but can be reversed.
Walldwellers are our version of defence. Some are ex-outsiders, informants of strategies.
Actually its usually only resources that bring people in, not to become a permanent part of walled city, but somehow thats where they end up once negotiations begin....
Workers, can upgrade to a more central location by honour in duty.
Every 5 years there’s a testing of skill records and input.
Processed foods, vehicles, encouragements and other gestures of loyalty to the plan.
The plan, that blasted trundling dinosaur that spat out screens and waste. Products deliberately designed to fall apart, so you bought the next model, shoddy workmanship deliberately encouraged.....
terrible and destructive. But the resources just aren’t easily found anymore.... the copper, the gold of circuitry is run low. Scavenger quality materials aint good enough for new circuitry.
The upgrade has begun to fall on a barren supply.
In the spaces between, are the Outsiders.
Small bands who live from scavenging and scraping, eeking out a living from what they find, collect. Its hard, we’ve been taught that. No luxuries, like free talk time, digital entertainment or memory banks. They forgot, choosing to look backwards instead...
Granma.... she collected. Not much, but enough. Relics of the times of makers, to fascinate and tempt. Materials I don’t even recognise. Things I’m too young to remember, being first generation. I grew up with the unit, it’s all I’ve known...
Wood. There’s a material...
Paper, books even, hidden in a box under her bed. To hold words in my hands, and feel the sacred nature of them....
beyond the glow of a screen.
Most of the elders choose to shut their eyes. What’s done is done, were looking forward now, and if the plans sustained, we of the unit will be safe. Don’t ask from what, actually just don’t ask anything at all...
Nothing within our unit is free to run, so I can’t learn to track. Unless it’s the endless trail of domestic tasks women are to pursue.....
I can’t tell you what it’s like for men to live under the auspices of the Unit. My brother could have explained it, but he’s gone now. He could have been Core, tried perhaps and it damn near killed him. The fading...
At least I get to tend the gardens twice a month...there’s some craft...
Although the pharmacy is well stocked with a range of pills, tablets and medicines, I try to remember what the names of the herbs are that grow still. Not in the central districts, only cultivated plants grow there, exotic remnant vegetation from before....
What if the stores do run out, what then?
Will people care?
There’s no trees inside, who can lend me their strength.
A wild bird is a rare sight, apart from the broody chickens...
It’s all beyond our protective walls, within the realms of the outsiders, harsh....eeeking out a living, yes, yes.
My pocket notebook is alarmed. What’s done is done, were moving forward.
Moving forward, for the sake of those to come. Yes, yes.....
what about we who are already come. Come, to another pile of tired worn excess waste to discard, over the wall.....
Preserve the integrity of the unit, discard the untidy, the chaotic...... The materials store is intact....we are chosen....
chosen for what....a life of bullshit?
Daydreaming again..... a nonplanner in the family....
granma would be proud...
Others too, if just quietly.
See the importance of controlling information.
Can’t have any old cross pollination going on, we must be focused on the plan. Thats why granma kept her secrets under the bed....
and why I keep her collection under mine....>>

Monday, September 13, 2010

Phoenix spring....

Theres been a pause of late, perhaps of transition....
Spring is closing in. Medicine making is swinging along, and baby birds are falling out of nests. Dont know about you, but I say bring it on (except for baby birds bit). Some new shoot sprouting (metaphoric and green), and a breeze of fresh air to clear out the cobwebs (as long as spiders have a transfer set up).

Last weekend was the start of chuck out pile season round here....
Scores included: ipod, external harddrive, a hardcover book on the indigenous pharmacoepia of the Northern Territory (raced the collection truck for that one!), a fabric hammock (burgundy, with tassely bits), a buddha figure (slightly chipped, which u would be if u were buddha), videos (mostly kimba the white lion), a pretty simple frame (with glass intact, bonus), a guide to beekeeping in Victoria (essential to any library), a wooden bowl (buddha would have liked that one), candles supply top up, few cups (browns and greens), plates (im going to start collecting all florals aka naturish ones, like a picture on my plate when i get to the bottom of tucka), ummm....not bad for no vehicle eh? Goddess if I had a ute thered be trouble! Anyways gratitude for all recieved, and I get to do it all again this weekend! Good clean fun, that keeps me off the streets....ooops, actually it um doesnt....

Medicine wise Ive dried a stash of nettle as an experiment in wildcrafting. Dried first just as I cut it, the top half of the plant (can then resprout again), mostly with flowers and seeds. Its a lush green colour, and my nervous system is stoked. I make an infusion, which is like a pumped up cuppa of nourishing herbs (no plants with essential oils for me, they stay as tea) as taught by Mz Susun Weed. Its basically say 3 handfulls of herb brewed in a large teapot overnight, if possible. Its like a quality food really, and can be done with dandylion, chixweed, quite a few of those chuck out pile type plants folks dig up, or (god forbid) poison.What a waste!!
Tinctures collection is coming along too. Violet flower, motherwort. Separated out plant matter in chickweed, dandylion and violet flower (which literally is violet colour) tinctures, and have started taking them. Free herbal medicine, now thats got to rock! Truley medicine of the people, if theyd like to try it....

Artwise, working on tatu design....double phoenix. I can think of a few people who could lay claim to that image as well earned. Thatd be cool! A phoenix clan...
can be so without the tatt, some have their own warrior marks.
The plan is to put on my chest around heart area...with wings fanning out either side....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

get your luverly baskets ere....


This is what Ive been doing at 2am in the morning of late, inspired by Astras request for hanging planter baskets.
These baskets are both 8.5 cm deep. The larger one is 25cm diametre, the smaller one 18cm. They are abstractly woven wire, with a rim of beach softened glass, noice when the light shines through em. They are both for sale, $50 for the smaller one and $80 the bigger. So if you be looking for an unusual gift, fancy them as a fruitbowl, let me know....

,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Letter into the ether.....


As we shift towards dark moon, its been about 5 months since Dylan left.....

I dont feel calm and serene, that hes with the angels and other fuzzy stuff. Im pissed, hurt and sad that my bros not around to share inane details stupid life stuff crazy inventions and planning. The eagles wings are fully dried by the way bro, and the stench that gusted when I opened the envelope hath dispersed. Man it only took, well about 8 months of suspending them out my apartment window in the elements. The skull a bit longer....pheeeeww.
Still got my 12 volt setup to go with the bike on the backburner. Held up in registering her by compliance plates, engineers reports and ADRs. Should in theory, be able to run small machinery off her, dremmels, lapidary cutters etc. Cant wait for the etc. Meant to ask you if the solar panel can run straight to the battery or if that will blow something, guess Ill have to consult my jaycar manual. Did I tell you they gave me 2 beer holders Im reeally proud of, plus yours makes 3. Still Id rather have just 2 and a you around....
Is there a difference between grief and depression you reckon? I think some of us are finding out.....the hard way.....
There I go talking to disembodied voices again, prefer it was on the phone rather than into general atmospheric ether. People could diagnose me with something if Im not carefull, gotta watch that shit eh? Labels get thrown around, hey what happened to 'duty of care' with you...
Well enjoy your new view, reckon it must be pretty flash beyond time and space, rents not to bad either. Do old cars go there too, Ray around, the golf ? Bet theres some pupsters glad to see u. So many questions and just my own ramblings to reply. Take care, ooops spose its too late for that? Its awkward this stuff, did they cover this at your funeral? Anyone? Is there a driver manual for the rest of us....
Miss you, your twisted sista.....xx

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

green folk....

Let me introduce some green folks....chickweed, Stellaria media, Dandylion, Taraxacum officinale, Parsley Root, Petrselinum sativum and Sisita Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, from left to right. The first three are tinctured and should be ready to strain off in about 5 weeks, the nettle is in vinegar and has been brewing for about a year... potent minerals ready to add to salad dressings etc.
Good to be learning with herbal allys once more. Bring on spring I say! Flower essences to make!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Medicine takes many forms.....

How does one skankyhousingcommissionschizoshamanic-ho (technical term of course) go from being tied to a system, which has its reasons for gratitude, to living independantly, and happily, off the grid, emmersed in nature, as far as she can.... I know, baby steps. Although sleeping rough tonite could suck, its bloody cold. Pneumonia anyone?
Its a rough, wild world out there....mmmm wiildd, oohh rough aint always too bad.
There seems always to be the balancing between quietude, and participation, so one doesnt end up so far up ones one arse (technical term again) that u cant get up in the morning, without a cask or a pack of psych drugs.... Still such breakfasts occur in urban environments amongst thousands of folk. In parts of the world without welfare, I could start each day with withdrawel, and no breakfast.....no hq....not many women get to my age, without an hq, literally.
How? In a world of such beautyous abundance and fertile potential, how? I asked my catfriend and she replied, Im just having a nap, then Ill get back to you. Thats not entirely true, she sat on a herbology book, and gave me a look like, havent you worked this shit out yet lovely. Theres my daily participation, humourous yet abruptly pointed, I could do wwaaaayyy worse. Break it down, and then have another nap....
Its becoming clearer I need to be making medicines, and here is where I am now as I work on the format. So joy be to government files, the looming of community treatment orders and transfers that could take 15 years! To honesty too, and talking about the messy chaotic bits....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

hey, thought id give it a go.....

This is odd for a part time luddite, but I wanted to make a space where I can stick a record of the stuff I make and do, so that its filed somewhere together. As they just tend to live their own journeys, and vanish into the ether once they find homes....not that theres anything wrong with that, but hey thought Id give this a go...could be a gardenbed, a drawing, a meal, a medicine bag, a little dude, a herbal tincture, hence opalessence..