Little things add up. It can be difficult to notice the pileup in a world where, even post-pandemic, the push is to go and go and go. I also know that I and others have been conditioned to play the Trauma Olympics – those “It could be worse” thoughts that keep us running a rat race.
Today at work, I was reading comms where all of my male coworkers on a certain project were mentioned by name – but not me, who’s been doing the brunt work of this particular project. My name was left out and the work I alone have been doing relegated to “work being done by the team” at large.
This isn’t the first time this has happened in my academic and/or work career:
In work meetings I have been told that what I said was wrong, even though all I had said was what was relayed to me by a different coworker.
I’ve been mansplained more times than I care to count, as well as had things that I’ve made clear I don’t care to learn about taught to me by men who think I must care about what they care about.
I told a teammate that the issue they were seeing in their graph was with the axes being switched, and they told me I was wrong – we lost points on that project because they left the axes, and they were indeed switched.
Now I don’t say all this to get anyone down or even to complain. I say it because these are little things that the folks doing them probably didn’t even mean unkindly, and frankly they were things that in the moment bothered me but didn’t affect me greatly. The issue is that as I go through a period of transition in my life (right now) I hear my inner dialogue often doubting myself. I’m working hard to change this as I realize that microaggressions like these, as well as my childhood experiences and current adulthood as a Former Gifted Child underlie much of my self-doubt.
Practically, I can’t change what other people do. And I will no longer force myself to feel a certain way about what people do. No more “Well it could be worse so I shouldn’t be upset,” or “I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way and I’m just overreacting”. I am trying to kindly and empathically assert myself and protect my energy.
But how to wind down when the world upsets and stresses you? Personally, I
🐦Surround myself with things that calm me or bring me joy, including close friends and loved ones, my cats (when they’re behaving), plants, and quiet
🐦Roll with it. I let myself feel the hurt or the anger or the whatever instead of trying to meditate or breath-work it away.
🐦[but also] Do some breath work, or sit in silence. Sometimes, like I said in the bullet above, I don’t do this and I just stop trying to silence an actively running mind. But sometimes my mind just wants peace and quiet.
🐦I try and remain calmly true to myself. If someone tries to tell me that what I care about is wrong or doesn’t matter, even though that makes me angry I don’t react at them in anger. I may end the conversation – or even the relationship – but I don’t explode.
🐦[and in order to not explode] I spend time with myself, doing what I alone feel like doing. Sometimes “time with myself” is actually going to a loud bar with a couple good friends. Sometimes it’s silence and a book. Sometimes it’s a long walk in the woods. I listen to what my body and mind and soul say they want us to do. And then I feel more in control of my journeys, and less likely to lose my mind/explode.
🐦I try to be in “beginner mind” – humbly accepting that I, and all of us, know nearly nothing.
I find beginner mind hugely helpful in enjoying the day-to-day. When I felt like I always had to prove myself, had to know everything, nothing that I tried “for fun” was ever actually fun because if I wasn’t an expert immediately, I hated it (re: Former Gifted Child). Learning to laugh at doing things poorly has changed my life. I try my best – whatever my best looks like that day – and enjoy the process.
Let’s end this on a note of a process I enjoyed particularly today – planting a few new plants. I had a bit of extra capital this week and decided I could use some new friendly faces around the apartment:
A “white fusion” calathea – the person at the nursery says these take the same care as any calathea but can be a bit more finicky, so we shall see!
I also planted a new rocket-ship-looking cactus and placed a new, grassier-looking air plant with my medusae. Not yet pictured!
It’s never been can or can’t with you, it’s will or won’t.
My dad’s said that to/about me since I was a little girl. I used to take it as an insult, meaning that I was too pigheaded, too stubborn, too lazy. But now I’m looking at it a new way: I set boundaries, I do the things I want to do and not the things I’m told I should do.
It has been very hard to be true to myself lately as it doesn’t feel like my career is going in any clear direction. I’m studying music production, project management, biology and ecology, paleontology, and arbortry on my own time because I enjoy these things, but of course (like my brain) the timing is haphazard and I gravitate by the moods I’m in. And I’m fine with that. It can just be difficult dealing with outside influences telling you there has to be a specific goal, the goal has to be to make money, a job is supposed to be a bad thing. I don’t blame people for having those views or wanting me to have a clear path, for my own “safety,” but I just don’t. This is where I am.
Guerilla: of or relating to an unauthorized, edgy, or disruptive version of an activity
Kaboom it! – like Leslie Knope. It’s not a good general rule to live by but in the case of designing a more natural, native lawn – ask forgiveness, not permission.
I always like to see native plant lawns. So when Bowman’s Hill near New Hope, PA had their annual native plant sale (selling root-bound natives for $4 a pop) I rescued a few round-leaf ragworts to plant in my building’s front yard.
Now, ironically I don’t have a trowel. So finger-digging it was.
I met some lovely earthworms and a strange elongated-looking potato bug on my dirty journey.
These ragworts are supposed to be semi-evergreen and a lovely ground cover with fantastical yellow flowers. They’re native to this environment and according to the lovely naturalist at Bowman’s, as long as the soil isn’t too sandy (as in, they wouldn’t do as well back home on the Jersey coast) they’ll grow happily.
I’m hoping to do some more guerilla gardening around Pittsburgh soon!
There is always something in the air in the forest.
There was something especially in the air in the forest this evening. Something slipped through my pores and stuck to my skin like sticky seed burrs. The slip-slide-splat of mud; the schmuck of boots on damp leaves; the gentle pushback of moss on the woodland ground; the lively wiggles of a snail on a chanterelle; the petrichor smell of raindrops plopping on foreheads looking up through the canopy.
Maybe it’s that I’ve been exhausted all day, from lack of sleep and stress. Maybe it’s that for the past 24 hours I’ve barely consumed a vegetable; I’ve subsisted on sauteed pierogis and a bag of tortilla chips, my stomach rebelling against the lack of non-beige foods. But something in the woods today hit a reset on me. I still feel bloated and tired and maybe a little sad, but there’s an air of hope that wasn’t there before my two-hour foraging and identification foray.
I’ve only just met chanterelle mushrooms by name for the first time today. Upon picking one I was greeted by an old friend – a little snail.
I love their near-translucent shells, their little slurping movements, the way they can retract a full antenna like it was never there. A form of life so different from our own! And a wonderful reminder of un-expectation all around us.
I have no photos of this other new friend, but it struck some sort of chord with me: ghost pipe, or Monotropa uniflora. In the pale blue light of an evening forest you can imagine the eeriness of a near-clear white, bell-shaped parasite emerging among the detritus. It feels like the fleshy cartilage of your ear, and it pokes out from the wet woodland network like a spirit. This is the kind of thing that wakes me from thoughts that I may be imaging a world all my own – I could never have come up with something like this.
It is the sensations of the forest that are the “something.” The giggling shock of reaching down for a mushroom and landing on a slimy slug; ethereal ghost pipe floating up from the see of greens and browns in your eyes; the uplifting tang of petrichor as it starts to storm. Every forest bath is an experience like little else in a modern day.
(1) Fill a container large enough that the entire air plant can be submerged with room-temperature water.
(2) Remove airplants from there regular pot and place them in bath. Make sure the tips remain as submerged as possible.
(3) Leave in water for 20 minutes.
(4) Remove from bath and place somewhere to dry, making sure roots are sat upward so that they can absolutely dry out.
Watering air plants is pretty simple, albeit different from how you might water most plants. There are two important things to remember, so I’ve been told and experienced: The tips dry out the easiest, and the roots will rot if they remain wet.
When placing my airplants in their bath, I try and position them so that the tips are as completely submerged as possible. This can be hard with plants that have the tips oriented in myriad directions. Keep in mind that regularly misting your air plants can be a helpful way to keep the tips from drying out.
Once their bath is over, it’s time for the air plants to dry out. The air in my apartment tends to be pretty dry but I still make sure they stay out of their regular pot and upside-down for a few hours.
The point of their being upside-down is that the roots are open to the air and can dry out well. Remember – it’s not as big a deal if those tips stay wet, but we don’t want root rot!
And that’s really it! I mist maybe once a week between waterings, especially if the weather’s been especially dry.
A bonus tip for y’all darling readers who made it this far:
Have a plant that’s struggling? Maybe it’s surviving, but not thriving? Needs new growth? Try white willow!
White willow releases a growth hormone (and is easy to propagate in just water, which is how I got my sapling). So when my original basil plant was super anemic and only very slowly/barely growing new stems and leaves, I gently pruned off two twigs from my sapling and placed them in the soil of my basil plant. And it looks so much less anemic! The new growth is green and proud, especially so on the side where the twigs are inserted:
I hope these tips help you cultivate your gardens!
I’m in a transitional phase; a season of pruning. I find myself craving severing poor ties; not craving forced conncetion over joyful solitude any longer. I still want to share of myself with others but I feel much more discerning about whom and how much, in a way I sometimes worry may come off as cruel when my only real goal is to protect my energy.
I was raised a people-pleaser. I grew up doubting my decisions; I was raised taking the “higher road” of self-sacrifice for others, to baby others because I was “smarter,” “more mature,” etcetera. I was raised to bite my tongue when angry and dissect every interaction, every thought before it became spoken word. I was a priveleged kid, I have privelege now, my family is good and kind – but I would not say I’ve ever been fostered for who I am. Supported to a point, but it’s that classic Catholic-school conundrum – if you went to Catholic school most of your life, you probably understand what I’m getting at.
I got in trouble for humming in school. Even though I was the top student, never got in trouble, and that meant I was supposed to get to play Mary in the school pageant in 8th grade, the part was given to one of the worst-behaved students to “help her out” – because her mom yelled the loudest. I wasn’t allowed to play a Who in our Christmas pageant because I wasn’t “small and cute and Who-looking enough.” (This is all just elementary school, mind you.) I was told I couldn’t be an actress because “I’d never look like them.” If I’m being honest – and it’s hard for me to be, because I feel that someone-else-has-it-worse sense of guilt every time – I was bullied quite a few times. And I wasn’t really listened to, either. I feel like I’ve always been fighting something and I didn’t know what; now I’m realizing maybe I’ve been fighting myself I grew up feeling bad about myself.
But enough complaining – that’s not what this post is about. I’m working on transitioning out of that old me, starting a new timeline of wild self-love and enjoyability. I’m “re-parenting” myself. The Artist’s Way taught me to treat my inner child, to love and support it now because now I’m both that inner child and the adult who can give that inner child support!
So I’m doing the things I love to do, even if they seem scary or pointless. For the joy of the day, the moment. This ties into “opposite action,” to be discussed if you read on. I’m
🌿Making art and music
🌿Hanging out with my cats
🌿Spending time outside
🌿Spending time with a few close friends
🌿Cooking tasty, healthy meals
🌿Eating farmer’s market cherry pies
🌿Singing along with Spotify
🌿Hitting the bars
🌿Going thrifting for new clothes
and more. Because these are things I enjoy, and when greater Society feels pointless, these things are there for me.
Like I said, [capitalist] Society feels pointless. A friend once told me he was happier when he was homeless, and I don’t doubt it. I can imagine a feeling of surviving for yourself and for your circle; every complaint now, when I’m above survival threshhold, feels measly. And of course that’s because survival now looks different than it does to my monkey brain. Survival may be different now but we have too much – or at least too much of the wrong things. That’s why landfills are overflowing and I had to drop $15 for the only recycled toilet paper option. That’s near an hur’s pay literally down the toilet.
I’m certainly not advocating that anyone should go without home or comfort, I just hope we as a Society change our values and actions a bit. I’m tired of hearing “sustainability journey” and the other green-team buzzwords. This isn’t a holiday. This isn’t just for fun. This isn’t a round-the-world fun cruise “journey.” We’re literally trying to change the way we function so that we and our children and our children’s children will be able to have home and comfort.
Sometimes, between OCD and depressive symptoms, I struggle with momentum. There are many things I want to do but I sometimes feel like a lead sinker in the middle of the ocean; stuck and heavy.
I recently learned about opposite action and as I understand it, it’s basically pushing through mucky feelings and doing the opposite of what your anxiety/depression is telling you will feel the best. For example:
🧠I’m feeling down on a Sunday afternoon and I want to just sit in front of the TV and binge Supernatural. Instead, with opposite action in mind, I put on something light and happy (like Bob’s Burgers), stand up, and stretch out while I watch.
🧠I don’t feel like going outside. I just want to sit around the apartment. So thinking opposite action, I throw on some headphones and go for a walk around the block.
🧠I don’t want to take a break from staring at my computer screen doing work. So – because opposite action – I get up and wander around for a few minutes just to shift my mindset.
🧠I’m anxious about getting together with anyone, but I also know that sitting alone in my apartment for days won’t feel good – even though it seems easier. So – thinking opposite action – I set up a time to see a close friend for an hour or so.
🧠I worry that my bass-playing won’t be good enough and I’ll get grumpy, which makes me not want to pick up the instrument and play at all. But opposite action: I pick it up and play anyway.
What’s important here, I believe, is to notice the layers of want. Take that last example for instance. I both want to play the bass and want to not be grumpy/feel bad about my bass playing. And this is where my values-driven opposite action comes in. I value creativity, I value the enjoyment of playing music. So I push through the anxiety – I’m nervous that I’m going to feel bad if I don’t play well – and I play anyway.
In fact, a values-driven opposite action practice is going to inform the rest of this post – 🧠I really do not feel like taking care of my plants today because I’m nervous about getting dirt all over the floor or realizing that a plant is dead. But the health of my houseplants matters to me, so I’m going to do it anyway.
Cactus & Succulent Care
It’s the summer now, and warming temperatures mean an updated watering schedule for my cacti and succulents. Of course they still don’t get watered very often; I’m a proponent of rare and heavy watering for these types of plants.
Increased temperature and more intense sunny days also means I can remove my grow light setup for my adult desert plants.
As you can see in the image above at right, the vacuum will need to be broken out after all this.
My echeveria got a coffee treatment today to lower the soil pH. Luckily, I had some leftover bean juice I couldn’t finish and that just got funneled right into the soil. Plus I pruned away the dried-out flower stalks just so my cat wouldn’t chew on them and inadvertantly make a mess.
I’ve also still got my little infant jade plant going. I suspect she may need a larger home to grow into soon, but for now she got some very-diluted fertilizer and water.
Care for all the other plants
First things first, my own care. I stopped to eat a chamomile flower – I love the grassy-yet-sweet taste of these little darlings.
We start with the easy things to do. My kitchen window basils get misted, my recently-pruned celery gets checked on, and my epiphytes go in for their bath. My crispy wave fern goes in for its shower.
While the gorgini sit in their 20-minute warm water bath, I get to the rest of the plant care. The parlor palms also get checked on, and they seem plenty watered and happy. Next the ponytail palm gets checked on – same situation there. Take a look at the closed terrarium – all good, seeing some growth there. White willow sapling gets a good drenching from the watering can. All spider plants get a watering. Peperomia gets a look-see and since the soil’s dry down two inches, a good watering is had.
Gorgons come out of the bath, and look – these two are hugging are they dry!
Next comes two bigger undertakings: (1) Pruning and cleanup, and (2) Re-seeding. These primarily take place for my bedroom and bathroom plants.
Check out the before-and-after of cleanup in my bedroom window:
You might notice that a wheatgrass is missing in both photos. All of my wheatgrasses needed replanted. With grasses, regular pruning/cutting can help keep them healthy and green, but I fell off with my pruning because wheatgrass just grows so fast! So I saved what I could and re-seeded.
Now, one of my bathroom plants died and so I had to prune the rotted-out remnants away. Someday, in my dreams, I’ll have somewhere to compost this type of thing. But otherwise I make sure all the bathroom plants are dust-free, doing well, and watered.
I suppose life is always up in the air; my life feels particularly up in the air right now. That’s not really a complaint, as years of therapy for OCD in particular have taught me to live with the maybe’s. It’s really just an observation, something I’m sitting with. What other choice is there? I find a lot of beauty in uncertainty, as much as it does cause me stress at times – depends on what I’m uncertain of.
There are so many creative endeavors I want to pursue. My wonderful houseplants are, I suppose, an endearing creative outlet for me; I get to care for lovely living things while arranging them to beautify my home, and it brings me much joy and acts as a bolster to my mental health. I gave my plants their first actual shower the other day (yes I literally put them in the tub and turned on the shower) and I like to play music for them and sing to them sometimes. There’s evidence that stuff really helps them. I also saw recently someone dances around the house with their plants to mimic wind, and I’ve started doing that a bit. I love to dance.
I suppose there’s this bit of my creative side that wants to make in order to be known. I want to show myself, be vulnerable; at the same time I have no desire to be vulnerable. I feel like I have a history of being too generous with others and not generous enough with myself. I’ve been the one to do a lot of emotional work.
I’m thinking of myself like a little fruit fly. If I zig-zag to land on every surface, sure I could hit a sweet flower – but I could also hit a sticky trap. I’m trying to not force a landing on “what I should do next” but rather just be okay with the uncertainty.
I’ve been doing the so-called “little things.” Making myself nice dinners; going to the farmers’ market; making art; daydreaming.
It has taken all of my self-control not to buy a 42nd houseplant! I just can’t handle learning the care of a brand new plant baby right now. Especially when I have some work to do:
I need to give my crispy wave fern diluted fertilizer. It’s becoming pale because there’s not enough nutrients in its home.
I’d like to figure out what’s going on with my peacock plant. It’s suddenly gotten really droopy, and it has been watered and the humidifier’s running. It also got coffee yesterday.
I’ll re-seed the wheatgrass and clean up some dead plants/do some pruning.
It looks like my spider plant needs a good watering.
The three air plants need a full soak watering. They got misted a few times over the week since my apartment’s air is dry.
The celery appears to need some sort of treatment, possibly neem oil. Suddenly the leaves don’t look right – little white dots and they’re off color. I’m guessing spider mites but I can’t understand yet how that could’ve happened.
I’d like to consider moving the little baby jade propagate. Now that it’s warm I’ll bet it wants to grow. I have to read up on what it might need at this little baby stage.
I have so many creative ideas bouncing around in my head; I swear, plant care and having plants around helps my brain work.
🌹 I could make lo-fi music. I even have some song titles in my head, and I know how to record and stuff. I could learn to mix; I have the time!
🌹I could sell plant propagates in cute thrifted containers. I saw someone doing this at a craft market recently and I thought it was a lovely idea. They were selling all succulents. I’d probably focus on all varieties of pet-safe plants.
🌹I could somehow share the art I’ve been making.
🌹I could continue work on the children’s book I’m writing with my dad. If only I could convince him to do the illustration…
🌹I could learn how to screen print. I’m pretty sure there are local classes.
🌹I could write a play. I’m not really a big theater fan and yet I always loved Shakespeare. And there are a few choice plays that I adore.
🌹I could do some gardening out on my building’s shared lawn. I wouldn’t plant anything edible because I’m not the one in charge of lawn care and I don’t know what chemicals are used, but some native flowers would be nice. I did seed-bomb it earlier in the spring.
I wonder if part of the loveliness of caring for plants is how easy it is to feel happy for them. It can be hard to be proud of other humans who are thriving, especially when you’re just surviving – it takes practice. But it’s easy, at least for me, to be happy when my celery grows a new shoot, or my parlor palm grows taller, or new spiderettes appear off my spider plant. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, those things make me happy and proud. I suppose that’s why plant care is such a labor of love; we can give them so much, and although they do it quietly they give us so much in return. They give us fresh air, calming colors, beauty and life all their own. Unlike with people, I don’t feel like my plants take from me. Of course, they literally do – they take my water, the food I give to them, carbon dioxide that I breathe out. But this is symbiosis. I’ve been hard-pressed to find that with people, although I do have it with a select few folks. And so for now I live happily among the houseplants.
You’ll read here: 🌱 Gettin’ thrifty when you’re out of money and have plants that need planting/container planting on a space & money budget 🌱 Chamomile, tulsi, basil, sage 🌱 Slug buddies 🌱 Container planting tips from a friend
Container Planting on a Spacial & Monetary Budget
Well – I helped out with a super fun planting event earlier this week and got to take home a couple of the extra plants that there wasn’t enough space for! I feel very lucky – but I’m out of money, soil, and planters at my place. So I had to get thrifty with rehoming some chamomile, some sage, some holy basil, and some un-holy basil (ha ha).
My friend taught me a useful way of container planting:
DRAINAGE. Make sure your container has drainage holes and space for the water to seep out.
BOTTOM LAYER. At the event we used peat as the bottom layer because it drains easily. At home, because I don’t have the space or money for a big bag of peat, I use rocks. When I’m out of rocks, I get thrifty with what I do have – more on that below.
UPPER LAYER(S). Good quality organic soil. I use potting soil from my favorite local nursery and spice it up with some organic powdered fertilizer. I also have added some perlite to it.
Now, as mentioned, I was out of money, out of new soil, and out of planters with proper drainage. So I opened up my hall closet and took stock of what I had available: and I found a forgotton stack of mini seedling ‘greenhouses’ that I was able to repurpose into a mini window garden container with drainage!
I took what would be the bottom of the seedling ‘greenhouse’ and filled it with perlite. This was to mimic where I would use rocks if I had any left or space between the bottom of a pot and the ground if outside, for drainage.
I inverted what would have been the top of the ‘greenhouse,’ the part that has holes for humidity control. This was to become the pot itself, where the soil and plants go.
Luckily the plants I have are pretty small, so I didn’t need a super deep container for them to live in.
Soil time. I had some old soil stuck in a jar, which I fished out, loosened, and gave a little buck-up with my organic pet-safe fertilizer.
When that wasn’t enough soil, I went and used some of those packed-peat pellets you get with cute mini grow kits, like these Save the Bees kits I have yet to plant.
Planting time! In this container went the sage and the two types of basil; the chamomile had already been planted separately.
While planting the regular basil, I found a little friendly slug! Their little antennae just get me every time. It wasn’t easy to photograph, though, as it was on the move.
But you can just see it on the very-root-bound roots of the newly freed basil plant there.
Now – we shall see if this DIY planter situation works, if these plants need more light, different soil, or whatnot. I’m historically not great with herbs, but I’m excited to try this out. Especially with the loneliness I’m feeling in my life currently – friends who I love are moving, getting married, making changes, and I’m changing too – a new challenge is a blessing.
I hope any challenges in your lives, readers, are blessings to you.
I had a very lovely with my best friend of 20 years. My basil plant is starting to appear healthier, my sunflower seedlings are growing, and I got a few new plants (houseplants 33, 34, and 35) – i miei gorgoni, or my gorgons.
The gorgons are three airplants: a “caput medusae,” a “capitata peach,” and a very teenie-weenie “crocata.” Now, I didn’t/don’t know much about air plants – I was gifted some when I was younger but my dad takes care of them now – so it was time to do some research.
Peep my cat doing her own research:
My first research method is, as always, ASK THE PLANT LADY YOU GOT THE PLANTS FROM. So I asked her about caring for these little dudettes and she said:
Soak 20 minutes once a week, making sure the tips definitely get drenched – those are the bits most likely to dry out
Let them dry out, upside-down, a few hours before putting back in their pot so they don’t rot out from the roots
They don’t need to be planted in any kind of soil
Some of that I vaguely knew, but I wasn’t sure and it never hurts to ask. The next curiosity was about the names/species. All three are in the well-known genus Tillandsia which is basically synonymous with “air plant.”
Based on what I can find, this species comes in two cultivated varieties – one that flowers yellow and one that flowers orange. The orange cultivar is apparently one of only a few that forms an orange flower. Both cultivars are apparently fragrant once they flower, which should be lovely! I read about these here and here.
Based on images, this dudette is going to have foliage similar to the bromeliad I took from a school event back in high school. I’m excited for this; if I can get the care right, I’ll see a beautiful spiral-tower red flower come out of my medusae.
I didn’t see consistent naming convention for this one; based on what I’ve found I’m guessing it’s a cultivar, T. capitata ‘Peach’. According to Air Plant Supply Co., during bloom “the leaves blush beautiful shades of peach and pink with spectacular purple blossom” – exciting!
More research will come with time as I live with & care for these plants.
For now, some other weekend-in-May thoughts:
Reminder: You can’t make someone love you. You can’t make someone appreciate you. You can only love and appreciate yourself.
And bonus photo: a buckeye butterfly my best friend & I encountered:
I’m down today and I need to tell myself that I can let myself be hurt by things people have done to me. It doesn’t have to be “it wasn’t that bad” or “____ had it worse.” I deserve to acknowledge my hurt because I haven’t gotten anywhere ignoring it or pushing it down.
Well, technically. I sort of foraged with two friends a few months back but it was less about foraging and more about learning/experiencing the woods that day. But today, thanks to my city’s lovely parks program putting together guided walks with an herbalist, I did my first foraging and flower-eating!
Well, okay, I’ve eaten flowers before. But not flowers I’d picked myself.
So today I learned about:
garlic mustard (*see my upcoming post on invasive species!*)
knotweed (my friend actually taught me about this on aforementioned woods trip prior)
dandelion (the same friend has also taught me some tricks with dandelions)
plantain (not the plantain you’re thinking of)
I really enjoyed the taste of bittercress; I had to stop myself from eating a piece that I’d picked to press in order to remember it’s shape (I ended up losing the piece along the journey home, ugh). Violet flowers also tasted alright. Motherwort was bitter but not so bitter that I was unhappy, and I was told it’s good for cardiovascular support and it’s a nervine.
I think my biggest excitement is stinging nettle. Apparently there are histamines that give you the “stinging” reaction if you handle stinging nettle for too long or without being gentle – and it turns out the stinging can be medicinal! It can promote circulation which, if you have a sac of fluid in your knee six years post-op and numbness, which I do, is nice to know because it can help reduce my swelling! I was quite literally told that I could tap myself in the knee with the leaves and let it sting me. I’m looking forward to this.
And as someone who wants to forage responsibly and for others to do the same, here’s a tip I learned: When plucking nettle, [gently] pluck just above the next leaf layer the same way you would pick basil to make it bushier.
Now, I don’t feel even remotely experienced enough yet to share much about these plants; rather I just want to share my excitement that these things grow in my very own local park! Where there are no pesticides sprayed! And where I may or may not know spots where people don’t walk their dogs where plants are pee-free…
I will share what I made with what I foraged today, though!
New Planties: Crispy Wave Fern, Willow (yes, a whole-ass tree), Zinnia, another Friendship Plant
Seedlings! Both Indoor & Outdoor
Here I have a couple of pollinator see packs. The tiny one is a strawberry plant, and that will be staying inside simply because I don’t have any outdoor space where I teenie weenie pot like that would stay safe. The other two are sunflowers and daisies; I actually have some other sunflower seeds that are going directly in the ground outside tomorrow!
As for these two medium-sized seed potting kits, there’s also not anywhere outside I’d feel super safe keeping them – except for doing exactly what I plan to do, which is creating a way for these little dudes to hang from our big strong maple out front. I’m hoping to make some hemp string hangers for them!
I’m not into bombing – unless it’s seed bombing. These little seed bombs (clay + compost/dirt + local native plant seeds + water) starting to actually sprout while still in the container!
Making them was a blast, and throwing them about has been a blast as well. Hopefully I’m blessed with a beautiful alleyway full of wildflowers this season.
Last but not least for the seedlings – some basil seeds have been laid beneath their elder basil brother!
No sprouts yet, but peep my new yoga gnome thanks to my absolute favorite Pittsburgh nursery (Cavacini’s) – who sort of offered me a part-time position, by the way.
The folk at the counter overheard me talking plants to my family and said “ah you brought your own plant lady!” And later they said “I’m so glad you’re gnome people.” I’m very into gnomes and so is my dad, honestly.
An Artistic Endeavor
This isn’t the artistic endeavor I came here to talk about, but: if I made tee shirts that said “I’m just foraging” or something for people to wear like at the park or something… I don’t know. That’s just in my head.
Anyway – a while ago I started working on a self-portrait based on one of my favorite photos of myself. I didn’t finish it but I’ve decided to scale up and do a canvas painting alla the Andy Warhol fingerpaint of late. I’m feeling the Sunday depressies today (even though it’s Saturday) but I hope my energy’ll be up later and I’ll work on it.
A Curly Girl Success Story
I wanted to be sure to drop this here because (a) I want to be able to replicate it and (b) it took me F O R E V E R to find something that worked to return my hair to how I remember it being at it’s healthiest, so maybe this could work for you if you’re struggling to find a routine for your curls!
So, the morning curl post-cowash* refresh:
Filtered water spray soak – like, I got it basically dripping with a spray bottle full of Brita water
Mielle Hawaiin Ginger organic leave-in conditioner squished in, up to the roots
Denman brush – first just a regular brushing, then brushing from under the roots for volume
Let air dry in the warm weather!
*I had cowashed the day before; this routing was done on none-shampooed, non-apple-cider-vinegared, dry hair.
I’ve been using SheaMoisture intensive hydration conditioner with manuka honey and mafura oil to cowash lately. Occassionally when my hair is super dry I use I AM hydration elation instead. I have not shampooed in weeks, I use a 1:3-ish ratio of apple cider vinegar to filtered water to wash/clarify. My hair is also cut into relatively short layers.