Montag, 18. April 2011

Loooooonnng foraging ride

It´s been a while ago now that I saddled my steed to get in some herbs for tea, as medicine and for soup, and I figured it wouldn´t hurt to get in some real mountainbike riding along the way;-). I started quite early and made for the hills with some eight mousseline bags I prefer to carry that foliage;-). Some hour of quality riding away from home I came across this light and cozy oak, beech and birch wood, carpeted with loads of sweet woodruff, some nettles and mustard garlic.  I collected a lot of herbs of great quality, and had a very peaceful time doing so.As usual, the birds were singing, and there was a gentle breeze rustling in the new and freshly green leaves. Silent it was, too, and that´s something in this mad world.
I find I relish in the silence of the woods ever more so the older I get. It is like lifeblood for me sometimes to get out and sit on a stump or do something simple, and just feel my breath go in and out. Everything is sprouting now like wildfire. But inside my heart I know, this will pass. It is nothing to be feared. This fact, plain and simple, is life. There is death, and there is life. There is winter, and there is spring. And spring bears the seed of winter, and winter the seed of spring, as long as there is something green to flourish. I love spring as much as I love the darkness and solitude and contemplation of winter. Without a winter, there would not be dreams, without spring, winter would convey not meaning, as would spring, as would life without death.
I find myself entangled in this net of life and death, and the more that is coming to be, the more I find I am lost for words, for he who talks, knows not, he who knows, talks not.;-) I believe that only poetry and mathematics are capable of  a description, but what for? There is the sun. There is the snow. And that over there is coltsfoot ;-) (Tussilago farfara), in German "Huflattich". It´s good against a cough, if taken as tea. Tastes spicy in a salad, too. 
 Strawberry (Fragaria vesca, in German: (Wald-  Erdbeere) in blossom. You can obviously eat the fruit, and from the leaves and flowers you can make a very sweet tea with a mildly calming effect. Good for brokers;-) may prevent them from nervously buying Yen like mad and thusly prevent them from being smashed in the face by a Fimbulmyrk fist, I am kidding!!!!!;-) I´d never hit a broker buying Yen like mad in the face. Because that wouldn´t change anything. Instead I´d counsil them to try some mildly calming tea.;-) Might render them less nervous, and thusly less greedy, rant over and out;-). 
 One of my favourites, sweet woodruff (galium odoratum, in German: Waldmeister). Collect them before blossom and dry or make syrup from them. Sweet woodruff can be used against cramps, against wound infections (inside and outside), as a wound desinfection, and has a vasodiletary effect. Sweet woodruff contains Cumarin, and you have to be a bit careful, because it is mildly toxic. When making spiced wine with sweet woodruff, you should not take more than 3 g per 1 litre white wine. If you take vasodiletary medications as Marcumar, ACC or else, you should consult your doctor beforehand or obstain from using it, for it can have a very serious effect up to a heart attack when used with those medications. Do not frequently use high doses of sweet woodruff, for it is supposed to be carcinogenic. Nevertheless, if you are careful, it makes for a very tasty and spicy drink. In ancient times it was either used by witches to fend off demons or to fend off witches with a mixture of woodruff,St.John´s wort, and mentha pulegium (pennyroyal, in German: Poleiminze). I will give you a recipe for "Maibowle" soon, just watch this space! 

 This is hederacea glechoma (in German: Gundermann, no clue what it´s called in English). While it is poisonous for many vertebrates, including horses, a toxic effect on man is not known, and it is used as a spice. Be a bit careful with the dose in the salad, it might get a bit bitter. It tastes a bit like mint, but with a sharper note. You can also use it as a tea against lung disease, headache and plain old cough. Cooked as a detergent it is antiseptic. In ancient times it was used in beer storage, to preserve milk and cheese, against Hepatitis, pain in the hip, as an aphrodisiacum, and as a protective charm against demons and witchcraft.
 Buds from the European spruce (picea abies, in German: Fichte). They are rich with Vitamin C and etherical oils. I use them as a syrup against the cold, as an antiseptic, and I make a liquor from it. Take one handful of buds, five teaspoons of wood honey, add the juice of one lemon, cover with sugar and let rest for three days. Fill up with some pint of gin, schnapps or other clear, hard booze (min 35% alcohol). Let it rest for at least three weeks. Strain through and fill with some quality fruit schnapps (Obstler) until the colour is a light red. In ancient times they were used against bronchitis, to clean the blood circuit, against articular gout, rheumatism, chronical fatigue and stomach cramps. Taste a bit bitter, but are healthy to boot. Take them also as tea. No witches here, though, for a change;-).

 Pine (pinus, in German: Kiefer) buds. You can treat them as fir buds, with similar results. Have to do some research on them, though, might do for the moment that they don´t do you any harm, are rich with Vitamin C, good against bronchitis, to clean the blood circuit, and that you can make an even better schnapps with them;-). Prosit! (Cheers!)
 I rode for hours on end through the hills, fireroads, singletrails, long, long, arduous climbs and quite some funny downhills, with beautiful scenery all the while, and I met two other persons, a girl and a hunter, with both of whom I had some quality time chatting. Seems people tend to appreciate and respect each other more when they are not as abundant;-).

Got some blueberry leaves (vaccinium myrtillus).
 Taste great as a tea and as spice in syrup and have sort of a blood-cleaning effect, too.
 Along a hillside roadside I had to cross I found some steel, too. Perfect!!!!

The sun was already sinking as I rode home. On the map it said I did a circuit of some 110 km, and boy sid I feel it! But it was a greatgreatgreatgreatgreat day out in the not-so-wild with quite a loot to carry home.

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