I got a handmade wooden pinhole camera for my 30th and now, with a month left before I turn 40, I have gifted myself this beautiful handmade alembic copper still from Portugal.
I’ve been doing a lot of wildcrafting this season and have been experimenting with D.I.Y methods for making plant hydrosols aka floral waters (although not only using flowers) from plant materials grown in my garden. Having tried and tried again repeatedly and having achieved some successes, but still not completely satisfied with the results, I got the crazy idea to buy an old-fashioned copper still and do it up proper. [I will write about what I learned through these experiments at another time.]
Day three of our desert road trip, we decided to “take it easy” with a short jaunt to the Yucca Valley and up hill to Pioneertown, which is at a higher elevation and promised to deliver slightly cooler temperatures.
I did not like the drive up into the mountains and so it was difficult at first to appreciate the views. What goes up must come down and I spent much of the drive nervously anticipating a horrible drop-off around each bend. Fortunately, that did not happen and the scariest part of the ride was when I yelled at Davin to do a u-turn so we could hit up a big yard sale that I spotted too late.
There’s something about perusing a yard sale with massive Joshua trees (Yucaa brevifolia) and dry, desert mountains-capes as the backdrop.
The summer solstice (June 21) has just passed and I thought it fitting to mark the turning of the seasons. Summer is my favourite season of the year, a joyful time of long days spent outdoors soaking up vitamin D and enjoying the bounty of crops as they come into fruition. However, having just visited the desert, I now understand firsthand how for some of you, summer is a difficult if not brutal season that is spent indoors. For that reason I’ve tried to keep this one open-ended so that you can approach it however you choose.
I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and insignificant.
I suppose my affection for this plant has something to do with how I found it.
I’m not sure when I made the transition from rose-hater to rose-eater. These days I have several roses planted in my garden, most of which have been chosen specifically for their eat- and use-ability. All roses are edible, but only those that smell fragrant taste good. Scentless roses are flavourless.
I recently returned from a long trip to an explosion of fresh blooms specifically from the three climbing roses that are planted in front of my ramshackle shed. Two of the three were planted last season and are doing well, but the third, a beautifully scented orange and golden variety called ‘Westerland’ that is now in its third year here has gone absolutely gangbusters. I have been harvesting a generous basketful of fresh blooms every day since my return and it doesn’t seem to be stopping. Once this flush is done there will be at least one more smaller flush later in the season.
I preserve the blooms in several ways, but today I thought I’d share the quickest and easiest method: drying.