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Summer

I'm starting to notice the change.

The apple trees, along the fencerows, are heavy with nearly ripe fruit.

Leaves, just a few, are starting to yellow on the trees.

Crickets are singing their incessant song through twilight and evening.

Goldenrod and Michaelmas daisy are prolific in their bloom.

And the wild red raspberries hang ripe, in every woods clearing.

I've been picking those raspberries this week, braving the bugs (long pants and a windbreaker with a hood are the best strategy I've found).

Wild raspberry picking is not about the yield so much. It's hard work and the berries aren't particularly big. Certainly not the size of their storebought counterparts.

I am still new to this place, it's only our second summer on the peninsula. The raspberry harvest coincides with a slightly different season than I am used to. I am used to backyard raspberries in July, eaten with shell peas and garden lettuce.

But these wild raspberries are harbingers of fall. Maybe that's just because the growing season where I live is short and intense.

And so new memories are laid on top of old, wild raspberries with fall's first note in the air.

I've probably lived this summer more in the moment (as everyone is so fond of saying) than any other in my life. I feel I have squeezed all the goodness from these past couple months, and then some. Our plans have been many and varied, and sometimes have changed on a whim.

Plans were on the calendar but I wasn't living them, in my mind or otherwise, until they arrived. There was too much living in the present moment to do.

It's been a good summer (in spite of stresses I haven't blogged about).

But this past week I got the first hint of a change in the air.

Fall is coming. For some of you that is a relief. Summer is not so gracious in many parts of the world. Here, it is the crown jewel of the year; vibrant with the colors of precious gems - a sapphire sky and sea, turquoise rivers, emerald woods and ruby fruits.

This summer, on the heels of a hard late winter, is especially precious to me. Summer has filled my well and week after week I feel so good, returning to my vibrant self, "Hello Hon, I'm so happy to see you again."

Last night, watching the clear indigo sky fade to black, I felt my first twinge of fall melancholy. Just a twinge.

Fall is my friend. A season of new beginnings and structure. When it's time, I will be ready for that change. But not quite yet.

Camping, swimming, peach and berry cobblers; the end of summer is meant to be lived appreciating what is here and now, not pining for what will be lost when it's over.

The kids were unfortunate enough to unintentionally discover a wasp's nest last week. During our road trip absence the wasps were busy building a nest under one of our deck chairs. We didn't realize this till the kids went to pick up the chair to move it.

There were tears and there was plantain, lots of plantain.

This reminded me that once upon a time I wrote about herbal remedies on the blog. These days, although I still use homemade herbal remedies (tinctures, poultices, and infusions), I don't write about it much.

Since this is the season for stings, rashes, and scrapes I thought it would be good to point you to a few of my herbal resource posts. Pin this page or bookmark it however you like. I am not a dispenser of vast herbal knowledge because I've only needed to use a few herbs to do the trick.

These posts go back a few years. Enjoy.

What herbs to grow (or buy)

What to make with those herbs

  • I always have on hand my herbal salve to rub on cuts, burns, scrapes, rashes, dry skin, and insect bites. We take a little container with us everywhere in the summer. I've never written a tutorial on making this particular salve but I have the ingredients listed here and a salve tutorial here. Put the two together and you'll have a healing herbal skin salve tutorial!

  • Herbal Insect Bite Relief: Mix up this powder and keep on hand to apply to itchy bug bites.

What about insect repellent?

I have not been successful at making an herbal insect repellent. After a few failures it's been a couple years since I've tried anything. In this blog comment I explain what we use for bugs.

What about sunscreen & burns?

I don't make an herbal sunscreen. As far as I know, herbs can't protect your skin from the sun (you'll need a real sunscreen or clothing to do that) but plant preparations can come to the rescue of burns.

Aloe vera gel, store bought or from your own plant, and a calendula salve are two herbs that come to mind for healing sunburn.

Herbal Teaching

Where to buy:

What are you using this summer for herbal skincare?

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