This is the view I woke up to this morning. Overnight the river landscape out my window transformed into a winter wonderland. Ahead of the storm yesterday I made a trip to gather the last of the roots and managed to dig some dandelion and chicory out of the semi-frozen ground. We will have roots to process for this Saturday’s wild coffee workshop!
I think I can officially declare this the end of wild root season. The two-week trend has temps hovering at and below zero and more snow in the forecast. A few years back I harvested Mullein roots on December 10th. This year I’m calling it on November 26th. I’ve read that Native Americans would light fires above roots in the winter in order to thaw the ground and dig them up. I’d like to try this technique sometime, but I don’t think the officials would take too kindly to me setting alight a blaze in the middle of the city, so that experiment will have to wait for a more appropriate time and place. And to be honest, while I would like to have gathered more roots, it is with some relief that I welcome this blanket of white.
I’m ready for a break. I need a rest. I’ve been working non-stop for months and this snow heralds the beginning of a slowing down for me. I know for many people who have highway commutes to jobs in climate controlled buildings with fluorescent lights creating 12 hour days, this abrupt seasonal change can be a real nuisance, even a danger, but for me it’s like the world just released a giant sigh and with it I can let go of all the things I would have liked to have gotten done but didn’t. I may not have gotten more cherry bark or any comfrey root and another pound or two of wild carrot roots would have been nice, but when I look around me I see that my apothecary shelves are full, my pantry shelves are full and my freezer is full. And that’s good enough. My crochet hooks are out beside a giant ball of yarn and there’s a stack of books nearly as tall as I am waiting to be read. Bring it on winter. I’ve got a cup of hot, roasted dandelion root coffee and I’m ready!