last weekend, in addition to the mulberry jam, i put up strawberry rhubarb jam, blanched and froze beans, snap peas, and kale, and then all was quiet for the rest of the week. (aside from my roommate passing his driving test, but that's not really in the scope of this blog.)
had an appointment with the surgeon re: the abscess. she looked at my leg, looked at me with some derision, and was like, why are you here? I hadn't had the chance to check it out that day, we were running late. I had noticed some shrinking, and the draining was done. The thing shrank from the size of a nickel and all puffed up to the size of a pea at that point. She prescribed me antibiotics for the staph infection (which I didn't fill for a number of reasons - one, there was no sign of infection left, and two, my regular MD didn't think I needed antibiotics, and I heartily agree) and told me to come back in six weeks. Now it is the size of a b b and still shrinking. It's almost gone.
I accredit this to elecampane. Wholly. This thing has been around for months and has never shrunk beneath the size of a pea. No amount of poulticing, draining, whatever, has ever made it shrink smaller. I've been taking small doses of elecampane 3-5 times a day for something unrelated. I had read that some historic uses (think the bible and hippocrates) were for abscesses and skin issues. I was hoping maybe to clear up the main problem (chronic sinus funk) and possibly see something miraculous with the abscess. Well, the sinus funk is still at work, but the abscess is almost gone. It's a freaking christmas miracle. Score one for herbs.
This weekend was insanely crazily busy, with class on Saturday and another amazing workshop today - earth plasters. There is nothing quite as satisfying as mixing your own building materials from home made wheat paste, straw, water, and dirt! Three of my favorite activities rolled into one - learning, spending time with wes, and working with my hands. I wish I had pictures, I'm covered in mud from stem to stern. Deanne Bednar is incredible, and I'm glad I decided to take the workshop, even on top of class, a wedding reception, and a going away party this weekend. Her home is incredible too - check it out at strawbale studios.
Speaking of busyness this weekend - the great basil harvest of 2009. We harvested a ton from 8 plants. Wes made a giant batch of pesto that's currently in the chill chest. His uncle offered us a stand up freezer for free! We just need to find a spot for it. Our garage will be filled to the brim with kitchen appliances. We have one beer fridge, we're about to get another, and a stand up freezer? I'm in heaven.
Book wise, I finished In Defense of Food today, another gem by Michael Pollan. Quick and easy to read. (I'm not sure if I mentioned finishing Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but I did. Also fantastic.) Being done with school for now is heartily awesome, I'm catching up on so much reading. Botany of Desire is on tap, but I just dug into Four Season Gardening, as I need to get a jump on the fall crop planting. I'm blown away at what the authors are growing and harvesting all winter long just by using cold frames. They're also Zone 5. Thinking about fresh salad greens from my back yard with the low technology of wood and windows and harnessing the energy of the sun and the earth during our low point of the year has me pretty excited. Also pretty exciting - an upcoming permaculture talk on July 22nd.
So, all in all, lots of things are kicking. Makin medicine, takin medicine, growin food, puttin it up, learning, loving, laughing. Life is good. The only failure this week was something that was neither happy nor foolish, nor anything I have any control over. My big sweet baby Morrison has been diagnosed with feline aids. I'm heart broken, and I know that we've got a long road ahead of us that will be difficult, but it's my goal to keep him as happy and healthy as possible, and make him as comfortable as possible. He's such an amazing creature, and he really helped show me what patience and kindness can achieve. He was a feral kitten that showed up in my yard one day a couple of years ago, and through patience, ended up befriending me. Now he sleeps in my lap, lets me hold him, and in general, is one of the sweetest cats I know. He's a big baby. My mother took it harder than I did, and was sobbing on the phone with me for an hour. :/
On to happier things - Oooooh, managed to somehow finangle Wes into letting me buy 2 books this weekend - Nourishing Traditions and Well Preserved. Drooled over recipes in both...I love my kitchen. My garden. Food. Health. Life. I'm a tactile person, and tactile things are the things that comfort me and make my heart sing. A good meal. A soft blanket. A warm hug. So, while paging through these wonderful books, I laid in bed, nibbled on some Godiva chocolates (hush, I know), and even shared a couple with Wes.
Next up on my stuff to make list - I am thinking about making a plantain and ragweed salve for andrew's mosquito bite problem. Oh, and cherry almond conserve. And some other wonderful foods. And a motherwort tincture. THIS WEEK. Because the motherwort is almost completely done for. And I need to get out and look for Monarda. And possibly St. John's Wort, although that's possibly done for the season as well. Crap. I was hoping to make a st. j's wort oil this year...