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”

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”

Winter Projects: Wagmíza Yukpáŋ

This was one of my waníyetu wíčhoȟ’aŋ, or winter projects, last year. After the flour corn has hung in braids inside my home for a few months, dried out by time and the heaters that parch everyone and everything indoors during these Northern Great Plains winters, it’s ready to be made into cornmeal. First, aContinue reading “Winter Projects: Wagmíza Yukpáŋ”

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”

Tincture Making: Curlycup Gumweed / Pteíčhiyuȟa

I wanted to share a few pictures of my Curlycup Gumweed / Pteíčhiyuȟa tincture. It’s a very simple recipe, but has helped me tremendously with breathing problems during the winter months. So I wanted to share this for others who might also want to try making this medicine. Generally, tincturing with alcohol is a wayContinue reading “Tincture Making: Curlycup Gumweed / Pteíčhiyuȟa”

Elderberry (Čháŋ phuté hú) Harvest

Elderberries are one of my favorite medicinal berries. They are one of the only antiviral medicines that are effective in shortening the length of flu viruses, as well as the severity. Elderberry syrup is also an excellent cough medicine, and can help to nip a cold or other winter illness in the bud. And thisContinue reading “Elderberry (Čháŋ phuté hú) Harvest”

Curlycup Gumweed

Pteíčhiyuȟa. Grindelia squarrosa. Curlycup Gumweed. This is one of the yellow flowers you’ll find growing by the side of the road this time of year — not just in the Dakotas, but across North America. This is the time of year to harvest it! If you look at the underside of the flower, you canContinue reading “Curlycup Gumweed”

Wasžúšteča Wanáȟča: Strawberry Flower

When you see the first strawberry flowers of the year, you know the berries aren’t too far behind! This picture is from early spring. Wild Strawberries, Fragaria spp., wažúšteča, are one of my favorites. They are indigenous to boreal forests around the same latitude all over the northern hemisphere. In addition to indigenous North AmericanContinue reading “Wasžúšteča Wanáȟča: Strawberry Flower”