Hearing as a Tree: Make Harvest

Fractures, rifts and divisions may intrude upon our lives, yet, the rhythm of nature comes to our aid. We are never completely separated from nature, and we often find its inquisitive fronds deep at work in our plans.

The trees long for us. Bend your knees. Look at your fingerprints. Why do your elbows go that way? Could it be we are children of the forest?

You have a long ancestry in vine and leaf. You have lineage as a climber. Trees welcome you. The fruit beckons your pluck, the big momma sighs and shivers her boughs with relief. You are a guest of honor among trees.

Conversations with trees might include topics on humidity and the water content of soils. Some convey the itch of mite or aphid and predictions for wind. Old growths might brag about touching bedrock and the cool constant of the water table. Even more, trees will be talking about a good harvest.

Harvest now and store wholesome provision and foodstuffs. Gather the fruit, seeds and nuts.

Prepare for winter. Make your harvest. Examine your cupboards. Add to your stores now, just as the southern hemisphere makes ready to plant. This is the dance to which you are invited.

Consider your stores and the area you will require. Ensure your provisions are kept cool, dry, and without infestation. Portion smaller containers within larger storage and in a closet close at hand. Mark date and contents. Consider contaminants, pests, sources of toxicity, impurity, and loss. Fill cupboards and lockers, pantries and storage chests, cellars and ice sheds. Gathering and storing the harvest is gratifying and natural. Harvest to participate in ancient rhythms and find timeless friendships. Bond by sharing and comfort. For your consideration, my pantry checklist:

Rice

Corn flour

Wheat flour

Soy bean

Flax

Barley

Peas

Black bean

Kidney bean

Lima bean

Soy bean

Chic pea

 

In cloth and wood set cool:

Carrot

Potato

Onion

Corn

Beet

Squash

Pumpkin

Turnip

 

In crepe and apart, garb:

Apple

Pear

Orange

Plum

And never too ripe. Dry kale and leafy greens.

 

To discourage rodents, in the corners of the cool place set ammonia in smallest of vessels and replenish these if they evaporate. Gardeners have their own ways, and this seems to work for me.

Tend your stores as rows in the garden. Cull and cook as foods ripen, aware of what is due and which will keep. Examine for evidence of infiltrators, see that their efforts are persuaded elsewhere. Keep work areas clean and tidy and let your harvest sleep. Outside, let sun and rain cleanse and replenish. Blanket tender perennials with sawdust before frost and store tubers and bulbs apart, where it is dry and cool. Grow sprouts, sweet grass and herbs in window boxes. Spread sea shells near entrances to discourage pests, hang chimes to ward off mischief and entertain visitors. Set bouquets of seasonal grasses and trimmings to offer cheer and a pleasurable view for neighbors.

Do not burden yourself in labour. Find pleasure in the harvest and invite the scents and clatter. Meet local farmers and attend markets. Sample the fare; enjoy the abundance brought forward and celebrate life’s bounty with neighbors. Share gifts of homemade treats, when perhaps, with inspiration, a guest will chance by and enjoy your audience.

Attend online and see the tips and experiences of others. Find demonstrations, journals, and almanacs. Gather a little this day and that. Look to the breeze and note times. Consider the height of the sun and the weight of the cloud. Some provisions are stored easily, and some must last the winter to ensure nutrition. Consider what is best stowed in cans and jars. Plan days to work outside, and other days to store foodstuffs. Make opportunities to prepare bounty with neighbors. Inquire to the successes and experiments of other harvesters. Keep a list of your stores.

Tend to crops hung and dried, let the breeze do its work before rain or snow. And when the rain comes, let it find welcome in screen-topped barrels and underground cisterns. Foster the moss and shade tree. Make hedgerows to stop erosion. Persuade deer elsewhere with grasses spread far afield and deter them from your garden with small vessels of ammonia and rags set at intervals.

Consider your neighbors and apportion storage and of your provision for them. A feast is greater than a meal. Offer as you are inspired and without recourse. Some pay a tax to ensure privacy,  instead, open your door and set a spare plate at your table. Give and receive in your house.

Stores I strive to maintain include boiled and canned quantities of:

blackberry

blueberry

peach

apple

tomato

mushrooms

plum

cabbage

broccoli

spinach

leeks

shoots

sauces

desserts

gravies

syrups

jams

pickles

olives

wood preserves

ethers

 

In jars or cisterns, I keep from infestation and ruin:

spices

sugar

salt

oil

 

Some I always seem need:

tumeric

cumin

oregano

mint

sage

basil

dandelion root

sunflower

pepper corn

teas

coffees

dried mushrooms

garlic

chives

shallot

parsley

cilantro

lemon rind

orange rind

chocolate

cocoa

licorice

(I can find a nook for Turkish Delight.)

 

Dry and stow:

nuts

seeds of sunflower, millet

grains

beans

peas

lentils

 

Gather to eat with the tools you were given, using your knees, elbows, wits, spine, and fingers. Your stomach, spine, and muscles need these tasks to perform their functions. The motions and activities of the harvest will feel comfortable and natural. Healthy seedpluckers, root pullers, harvesters all, your body and frame decide what you eat.

Of flesh, who weighs the virtue of the living against my need? Do you have talons, claws, and fangs? Be wary that arrival upon your plate does not require another to depart. I do not choose fate, lest I be chosen. I have no need for flesh within my bounty, instead I impart nourishment without mortal cost.  If you have need for dairy and perishables, make it an outing to visit the market and share conversation and community, knowing you are also well provided by your harvest at home. I do have a penchant for creamery butter. Take only as you need.

You might choose to offer your gifts to guide and heal. I keep if needed:

tamarack

willow

stinging nettle

frog leaf

blackberry leaf

camomile

mullen

red clover

oregano

tinctures of willow, also for sprouting

salves

beeswax

honey

Consider what you might need in emergencies: a handy first aid kit and your vital gear. Replenish or maintain items such as: rubbing alcohol, sterile wipes, wraps, slings, bandages, adhesive tape, needles, surgical thread, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic, epi pen, asthma inhalers, any prescriptions you need on hand, nitrile gloves, butterfly bandages, surgical tube, razor, tweezer, splints, duct tape, 12v rechargeable flashlight, candles, sealable bags, mirror, toothbrush, floss, comb, brush, waterproof lighter, circuit sensor, marker, emergency blanket, lifejacket, bike helmet, good shoes, good jacket, good leggings, gear belt, pencil, paper, pocket knife, wool gloves, hood, rain cloak, walking staff.

Keep souvenirs and trinkets for barter, being one piece of silver at the onset and one tenth at the end of winter. Sprinkle nothing shiny of notice, unless you procure thieves.

Walk glens well before the close of autumn with preparations for wood. Twenty nights to a cord, eight for the season and again for your neighbor. This is for comfort in a modest lair with a small iron stove. Barter before your hour of need.

Consume what you must and examine your stores for quality and quantity. Replenish and barter. Check your water source. Nature purifies our world, electrifying the air and cleansing the rain. My own stores are purified with ozone, easily maintained by the sun. Some draw water from air itself, others burrow in rocks. One might use the stream. Listen to the junco and jay. Those familiar will share their bounty. Heed the chatter about water quality and air. Ensure your stores are plentiful and below the grip of winter’s frost.

Prepare for refuse and waste. Choose a winter compost to discourage predators and rodents. Ensure septic and personal toiletries are maintained and stocked. Keep an axe, a hammer, a saw and nails, a driver and screws, good glue, duct tape, and a sealer.

Keep aware with checks of your realm. Observe the carrion and count the ranks of the pack, wary of opportunists. Know your garden’s flock and listen. The young and brisk trumpet alerts and only for your praise. They warn of visitors as even the crow may invite his partner to share your tranquility, serving as watchman.

A dog might find you and will know your rank by your resolve, some try a challenge, yet your superior eye places them and then you have a worthy pack member. A cat teaches humility and for that we gladly pay with comfort. Know what competes and what aids you, as with individuals. Care for your friends and recognize common ailments, and what to treat, and how. Apportion their foodstuffs with consideration and to their hydration. Stow morsels to spread on cold days among local flocks, ensuring their patronage in summer. Keep sunflower seed for the chickadee and find delight in their vivacious conversation. Keep a trinkets for the children of guests, and a kind ear for the parents. Make your harvest with many in mind.

It will ever humble me to think you consider these thoughts worth regard. I live apart, yet give welcome to sincere company, and with fewer words, perhaps a song, a tale or two, fashioning ways in curious conversation, offering consult to the seekers. Please, my dear traveling companions, do not allow ill will to shadow your aura. Let a color above golden radiate from the momentum of your being. Connect with your circle and extend your harvest. Enjoy these wonderous gifts ripened to fulfillment. Gather among the greenery and fields. You are a most welcome friend of trees, so I hear.

Offered as inspired. Fare thee well.

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