Dealing with Devils Club is quite a process. You have to be careful not to get pricked by the thorns. I use a potato peeler or the back of a small knife to de-thorn the devils club. Once I get all the thorns off then I use my small knife and start cutting away the bark.
After I get all the bark off I let it sit out and dry in the basin either outside, or in the garage. Once it is dried off then I cut it up or break it in small pieces and put it in he grinder and grind away.
Once it is all ground up you can store it in a glass jar in a cool dark place. I will put some of the ground devils club in olive oil and use it to make salves. It definitely smells stronger ground up and I am excited to start making some salves!
I will share the process of making salves when I make them. Hopefully this weekend I can set aside some time to make some goodies!
Lets just say its been a busy few months of harvesting berries and greens, sewing like a maniac, and taking time to breathe.
But here is what I what I have whipped up so far. Its been a crazy few months but as winter is approaching I will be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Nothing like feeling rich with good food, friends, and family.
My heart is happy.
Looking back on my summer I remember the good and bad times.
This summer I returned to my fathers home for my cousin’s wedding, laying my uncle to rest, and visiting a friend at a much needed time. As well as adding a new member to our family Mac the wonder pup. A much needed visit with the kiddos and celebrating E’s birthday. Setting aside 21 gallons of blueberries. Spending quality time with a sober mother. Gardening (or attempting to garden). Jamming it up with blueberries, currants, raspberries, salmon berries, and more delicious tasting berries. Successfully making fireweed jelly and different variations.
Returning to Michigan was definately one of the toughest trips I have had. It meant that Uncle Chuck was gone and I was never going to going to see his shiny smiling face. Uncle Chuck was my dads brother who was by far my favorite. He was blunt, but kind. He was a schmuck, but sweet. I relate to my uncle Chuck in more ways than one. It was tough but I am glad I made the trip. I got to see all my auntie and uncles and it was definately worth it. Also my cousin Nikki’s wedding ceremony was during the trip which made it extra special.
At the last minute I decided to go after finding out some devasting news from a close friend. I was glad I made the trip and got some quality time in with her when she needed me the most. She and I are alike in so many ways, and can relate with both of us having an alcoholic parent. We both understand the struggles. We hurt everyday. Its a daily ongoing struggle when dealing with an alcoholic parent. Its not like you can just forget about it, its with you everyday. It hurts even more knowing they have the potential to be that sweet, loving individual. Instead you are called awful names, and threatened. Memories from my childhood I wish I could wash away. I wish they could float away as far as possible never to be remembered again. What do you do? It hurts knowing your mother is choosing to drink over being a mother. Addiction or not, she has the choice and she chooses alcohol. She chooses to drink, no one is forcing her. If it is an addiction she needs to admit it and want to help herself. So many times as a child people told me to “pray for her.” Each night before bed I would pray, I would pray for her to get better, pray for her to come home. With each sunrise and sunset I was devastated. I realized praying would never stop her, or fix her. And thats okay. I am okay with that. I have learned to accept it as hard as it is. I must move forward in my life and understand that I have done everything in my power to help her. This summer was the first time in a long time that I have spent with her sober. The last time I went berry picking with her sober was when I was 7 or 8 and I am now 26. I cant even remember the last time that I spoke with her sober and wasnt lecturing her. I have to say that it was nice. It was nice to be with her on the tundra it brought back happier memories as a child. My mother was (and is at times) an amazing woman. She is smart, and funny. She can brighten up any room with her stupid jokes and obnoxious laugh. Addictions are real and painful. But they do not have to last forever. If an individual is committed and determined to change they can take that leap of faith and just jump. Shes not ready, and I dont know if she ever will be ready. But Im okay. I have accepted it and I have moved on with my life. Although its not easy, I break down every few months because it hurts so bad. I am realizing that its good for me to let it all out because I can keep going.
As a kid I wrote in my journal everyday. I wrote about my pain, suffering, and heartache that my mother caused. Still to this day she causes these feelings and more. I hope to someday put them together and share my story. My story of dealing with an alcoholic mother and the struggles that it created with my childhood, becoming a teenager without a mother, and an adult. She created many struggles, but she also made me become a stronger person and I am grateful for that. I am grateful that I am the strong and determined to never be like her. To never watch my children grow. To never treat your children that way. Or to call your children such awful names because those names stay with them forever. So thank you mother for toughening me up, and make me grow up at a young age. Thank you for never being there for me. For never watching me grow up into the person I am today. Thank you for bringing me into this world, and not being there.
On a happier note the trip to Michigan was filled with laughter, tears, and pure enjoyment. The fall of 2009 was the last time I saw my uncle Chuck. The last time I would hug him. Not a day goes by that I dont miss him. I am grateful for the times I did see him and spoke with him on the phone. Its pretty difficult having aunts and uncles half way across the country, so those short visits are like a pot of gold. I keep them close to my heart and treasure them. Family is important and they mean the world to me. Thank you for the memories uncle Chuck they will forever be in my heart.
The neglect of not writing= a super duper long and heavy post. I will cut this short and will write more later. Overall the summer was filled with wildness.