the land, and why we are here

so, the land…we are stewards of this piece of land, 72 hilly and wooded acres, owned by a small group of antiwar/activist elders. the idea of sanctuary is a driving point here-a place where plants and animals under attack from development can rebuild their communities. we do value native plants but-i hesitate to get my panties in a bunch over “invasives”. the most invasive species i’ve encountered is humans! so i strive to use and understand both natives and nonnatives and i will not poison the earth in a panic over purple loosestrife or barberry or japanese honeysuckle taking over. just as no person should be called illegal, no plant is either.
the woods-i try to work with the woods rather than clearcutting fields, and we can often be found traipsing though the trees, stalking wild mushrooms, kids and dogs in tow. we’re mushroom people, weirdos who will comb the forest floor for hours, hang off a cliff for some milkies, make a human pyramid for chicken of the woods. little is better than a full basket of black trumpets or a big hen(maitake) for dinner. the point is…edible and medicinal mushrooms are a important part of our farm.
ok, so what else? the plants! we are planting wonderful woodland medicinals such as goldenseal, ginseng,bloodroot, black cohosh, solomon’s seal. the many smaller gardens include perennial medicinals, useful “weeds”, many different types of fruits and vegetables. i especially love elderberries. this spring i am adding a lot of black haw, sea buckthorn, vitex. there is a lot of lobelia in the garden which i encourage and spread around. the hops vine needs some company, so more will be added. i’m very keen to learn more about our native lichens and which contain usnic acid.
and trees-some of our most important medicines come from trees! willows and aspens, birches, black cherry, white oak,white pine, cottonwood, mulberry, cedar. the recent ice storm gave us a lot of fallen branches to practice debarking.
and finally, the education. we look forward to leading and hosting as much education as we can! plant walks, seed saving, herbalism, fiber arts, music, fermentation….the possibilities are virtually unlimited.

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