Category Archives: Wildcrafting

Hunting Mycelium in the Wildwood

By | Bioregional Herbalism, Ethnobotany, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | 10 Comments

There is a forager in town who lives a two minute walk from my house. We kept running into each other because small towns are small which led to conversations over local beer about medicinal mushrooms, wild harvesting, and beekeeping which led to me purchasing super fresh chaga and turkey tail mushrooms from him, which then led to me hiring him to help me make and ship products for the shop. As an extra bonus, he was raised by a Wiccan mom so nothing I do or make is weird to him, yay. Everyone give a warm hello to Alex! He could very well be the one who bottled and labelled your elixir or packaged your order to mail out. Witches’ butter – jelly fungi Foragers are always looking for more places to forage, so when I told Alex about my parents’ 83 acre farm, half of which is wild forest, he was intrigued and wanted to see if the land would be good for harvesting wild mushrooms. Last Tuesday we drove out of town to Lawless Lane Farm and off into the woods we went, him with an axe in his pocket and me with my foraging basket, antler…

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Guide to Pacific Northwest Incense

By | Bioregional Herbalism, Ethnobotany, Folk Magic, Herbalism, Recipes, Wildcrafting | 19 Comments

Burning botanicals for pleasure, ceremony, and medicine is something we humans have performed for millennia. We just really like to light things on fire and the act never fails to bring us a child-like awe and some kind of primal pleasure. Imagine our pyromaniac ancestor’s excited delight in discovering that certain plants smell amazing when lit on fire and the smoke inhaled.  I burn incense on an almost daily basis. I started blending my own loose incenses and making my own smudge wands eight years ago and my passion for knowledge on native plants quickly drove me to research which aromatic botanicals from the Pacific Northwest would be best for incense and smudge. This guide is the result of almost a decade worth of research and hands-on experience. This short guide is designed for use by those with some wild harvesting knowledge and experience. Please practice ethical harvesting of any of the botanicals mentioned only taking 10% of a plant or colony of plants and 20% of the aerial parts of a plant (leaves, flowers, seeds). Special care should be taken not to harm trees when harvesting resin which should not be confused with tree sap. Resin flows from wounds and is needed…

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First Forest

By | Ethnobotany, Herbalism, Pacific Northwest Folklore, Wildcrafting | 13 Comments

We packed a lunch, we packed the baby’s things, and we packed the baby into his stroller on a hot summer’s day. Off we went to show our little man his first forest. Until now we had only been able to take him to the city park and, though beautiful and full of trees, it is no wild wood. I told him he would love it. I knew he would from how he can endlessly gaze at the leaves of one tree without getting bored. It was so hot and humid, but the shady vibrant green forest was cool and breezy. A couple minutes down the dirt path and the baby grinned. The further we went and the taller the trees and denser the greenmantle became, the bigger and bigger his toothless grin became until he was laughing too. We three stopped to picnic off the path under a western hemlock tree next to a the massive hollowed out stump of an ancient cedar tree with a fairy tunnel just big enough for the baby to crawl through. I twirled him around under the canopy of evergreen trees and he giggled with glee. I brought him down close to the…

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Eating Flower Spirits

By | Artwork, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | 10 Comments

Summer has come and with it the warmth of the sun and the beauty of flowers humming with bees. I have found myself wandering outside more and more through the yard, through gardens and through alleys, smelling flowers, picking flowers, and eating flowers.  I found huge escaped comfrey plants growing in the alley behind the house, purple flowers full of soft fuzzy bumble bees – its thick juicy leaves just asking to be turned into a healing balm. There are many hawthorns in this old city. Some perhaps once hedges of farmers’ fields since built over with houses from the 1920s-40s. Some cultivars were obviously planted for show like this gorgeous Crataegus laevigata ‘Plena‘ with it’s perfect tiny rose-like flowers. I’m rather in love with it. Just imagine those tiny perfect flowers in a salad or as a dessert garnish or decorating an altar for some love or healing work. I brought some tiny sprigs home to lift my own spirits as hawthorn is happiness. I stop to sniff every rose to find which are the most fragrant. The wild ones are always the best for taste and smell and make an ambrosial mead with fireweed honey.  I inhale deeply…

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Wild Harvest Moon

By | Folk Magic, Folk Medicine, Herbalism, Wildcrafting | 4 Comments

s I sit here sipping my fragrant fresh ginger-mint tea, sweet with honey, it is easy to reminisce about my recent urban foraging adventure with the Poisoner.  He has a different magical background than I. Where he delved deeply into Thelema, Satanism and Taoism, growing poisons like his beloved monkshood, I was getting my hands dirty with folk magic, green witchery and hedge witchery growing vegetables and medicinal herbs. The Poisoner expressed a desire to learn what I know, so on a hot sunny day I took his hand and off we went exploring the neighbourhood, its back alleys and hidden bits of untouched green, to harvest herbs. And what a treasure trove we found! We harvested flowers of ambrosial cabbage roses, sweet red clover, wild chamomile, and lavender, an abundance of mint and rosemary, and the potent healing herbs of comfrey, plantain, st. john’s wort, and selfheal. I also saw bittersweet and white nightshades (solanum dulcamara and solanum douglasii) and a good patch of beautiful and tiny ivy-leaved toadflax (cymbalaria muralis) – an ingredient in my toadman’s ointment. As we collected the herbs with garden shears, carefully putting them into soft cotton bags, we also saw many beneficial insects…

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