Winter Foods and Medicines: December Plant Walk

Here are some pictures from a December walk I took on the prairie. I was surprised how many types of food and medicine I found. Pȟežíȟota swúla (Artemisia absinthium, or Wormwood) is a strong medicine that always amazes me with its resilience. I can always count on it having a few leaves out, even inContinue reading “Winter Foods and Medicines: December Plant Walk”

After the Harvest: Processing, Drying, Storing, & Caring for your Medicines (part 1)

We’re in the height of summer here in the northern hemisphere. Many medicine makers (including me) are heading out to harvest in the evenings after a full day of work/school/childcare. We race against sunset to gather our precious plant medicines while they are in season, and bring home baskets or bags full of beautiful medicine.Continue reading “After the Harvest: Processing, Drying, Storing, & Caring for your Medicines (part 1)”

All About Yarrow: Cold Remedy, Wound Medicine, and More

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Yarrow lately, so I decided it was time for a more comprehensive Yarrow post. It’s a very important medicine, and in many regions, right now is the time to harvest it. First, a little background. This plant has many names: Ȟaŋté Čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ Tȟaópi pȟežúta Achillea millefolium YarrowContinue reading “All About Yarrow: Cold Remedy, Wound Medicine, and More”

July Squash Takeover

July is the month of the Squash Takeover! (This is another 2018 post that’s been sitting in my “Drafts” folder.) In June, my squash plants seemed to be spaced out too thinly. I’d planted several bumpy green Hubbards (Curcubita maxima) from Linda Black Elk, as well as a couple Lakota squash.* But there was aContinue reading “July Squash Takeover”

Waȟnáȟnaheča – Wild cucumber

Waȟnáȟnaheča — wild cucumbers! Some years, you can hardly find one in the woods or on the prairies, and other years, they seem to be growing everywhere. Their leaf shape and vining habit resemble domesticated cucumbers (kuŋkúŋ, or Cucumis sativus), which are native to India, but they are not closely related. Here are some waȟnáȟnahečaContinue reading “Waȟnáȟnaheča – Wild cucumber”

Thíŋpsiŋla Sú: Prairie Turnip Seed

When I was harvesting Thíŋpsiŋla / Thíŋpsiŋna / Prairie turnip / Pediomelum esculentum last year, this adorable little seed fell out in my hand: It fell out of the fuzzy flowerhead, and resembles a very small bean. When people dig thíŋpsiŋla, we pay special attention to what we do with the green, non-edible part ofContinue reading “Thíŋpsiŋla Sú: Prairie Turnip Seed”

Wínakapo — Hops

A common request I get, as someone who works with the plant medicines from the Dakotas, is for help managing sleeplessness or anxiety – but not with anything that will knock the patient out too long, leave them woozy, or be addictive. The flowers of this plant are my best solution. Wínakapo (Wild hops, HumulusContinue reading “Wínakapo — Hops”

Pápa (Bapa) Waháŋpi

This is one of my favorite traditional foods. Pápa (or Bapa, as it’s often called around here) is dried meat, usually wild game — and waháŋpi means “soup.” The main plant ingredients are sliced thíŋpsiŋla (Pediomelum esculentum) and waštúŋkala (dried sweet corn, Zea mays). This is a hearty, nourishing winter soup. I had this bowlContinue reading “Pápa (Bapa) Waháŋpi”

Cleaning Buffalo Berries

Harvesting maštíŋča phuté (Buffalo berries, Soap berries, or Shepherdia argentea) is messy business. Due to the thorns on the shrubs, and the difficulty of picking them, the traditional harvesting method on the prairies is to lay a dropcloth underneath the plant, and (gently) beat a branch to shake loose any ripe berries. As you canContinue reading “Cleaning Buffalo Berries”

Corn Harvest in Porcupine, ND

This is a belated post. Last year the fall, I visited my friend Linda S.’s garden in Porcupine, ND, to help with the corn harvest. She grows her own corn blend, selecting for what grows best on her land. I’m not sure what all the parents of this corn line are, but at least oneContinue reading “Corn Harvest in Porcupine, ND”