Category Archives: Wild Flowers

Red Clover

Red Clover is another one of my favorite medicinal, nourishing herbs that I use on a regular basis, not only for the human body, but for the land. We have red cover planted in a few places here on the farm, in our back yard among the grasses and in the orchard meadow, we do that because clover is a legume and naturally fixes nitrogen in to the soil, along with deep roots and a lot of biomass, its a great ally to have in a permaculture landscape. But that is not what I want to focus on for this post (believe me, I will be writing more on the benefits of clover for the garden) I want to focus on the benefits clover has for the human body, specifically for the female human body.
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One of the most cherished of the fertility-increasing plants is red clover (Trifolium pratense). Common in fields and along roadsides, it has bright pink (not really red) blossoms from mid-summer into the chilly days of fall. A favorite flower of the honeybees, the tops (blossoms and appending leaves) are harvested on bright sunny days and eaten as is, or dried for medicinal use.

Susun Weed

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Unlike soy, which is also a legume Red Clover has phytosterols:  “Phytosterols are hormone-like substances found in many plants that can be bio-converted in the human gut into active anti-cancer estrogens and other helpful anti-stress hormones”. 

Red Clover is also known to help with infertility and all hormone related issues in women.

 

…A favorite flower of the honeybees, the tops (blossoms and appending leaves) are harvested on bright sunny days and eaten as is, or dried for medicinal use. The raw blossoms are delicious in salads and nutritious when cooked with grains such as rice or millet.

To make a fertility-enhancing infusion, I take one ounce by weight of the dried blossoms (fresh won’t work for this application) and put them in a quart size canning jar. I fill the jar with boiling water, screw on a tight lid, and let it steep at room temperature overnight (or for at least four hours). Dozens of women have told me that they had successful pregnancies after drinking a cup or more (up to four cups) a day of red clover infusion.

It is especially helpful if there is scarring of the fallopian tubes, irregular menses, abnormal cells in the reproductive tract, or “unexplained” infertility. It may take several months for the full effect of this herb to come on and pregnancy may not occurs until you have used it for a year or two. You can improve the taste by including some dried peppermint (a spoonful or two) along with the dried clover blossoms when making your infusion. Treat the father of the child-to-be to some red clover infusion, too!

Susun Weed

IMG_6723When the clover gets tall and starts to blossom its time to harvest! Cover is a fun herb to harvest, especially for the little kids, its very simple, just pop the flower off.  My little ones like to recite the line “Mama had a baby and her head popped off!” while picking clover, they also like to snack on the blossoms as we gather. We get a big paper grocery sack and fill it up about half way full.  you have to be careful drying clover blossoms, they need a lot of air flow to dry without molding.  Some people suggest laying the blossoms in a basket in a single layer not touching.  I don’t have the room to dry herbs that way, so I put them the paper grocery sack and leave it on the kitchen counter where I see it often, and several times a day I give it a shake or stir. The paper helps wick away the moisture and stirring it often keeps the blossoms separate and allows for air flow. It takes about two weeks to dry in my neck of the woods, but we are dry, it  will take longer in more humid climates.

IMG_6721Red Clover is an infusion that I use in my regular rotation, I plan on making it my ally when I move from child bearing years to my menopausal years and beyond.
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More informaiton on the uses of Red Clover:

Herbal Information Sheet

Red Clover and Fibroids

Herbs for Fertility

Menopause 

 

 

Things that attract

IMG_40231At some point you may want to try to attract a specific animal, insect, or plant to live on your property.  I have heard people talk about wanting to have more birds, butterflies, and other things visit, and or live on their property.  Many times, people will plant a specific plant, put in a bird house, or a water feature in the hopes that they will attract wildlife.  But then they are disappointed when over time the visitor does not come.  I have learned that it can be tricky to attract living things to your property.  But there are some things you can do that will greatly enhance your ability to attract animals, insects, and birds if you first understand the living organism first.

Every living thing needs three things to survive.  Insects, animals, and plants all need these three essential things to thrive and live in an environment.  If you want to attract specific insects, animals, or plants to your property, you need to supply them with the correct, water, food, and shelter.

First, every living organism needs water.  If you can provide the water that the living system needs, you have over come the first obstacle.  Not only do they need water, but they need the correct, amount, type, and source of water.  Some animals need running water, while others need standing water.  When you research what water the living organism needs that you want to attract, you have to keep in mind the depth, flow, temperature, mineral content, and a number of other things. To make the environment livable for a specific creature, you need to supply the correct amount of water.  It is not about making water available, but about making the correct amount, and type of water available.

For example, if you want to attract bees to your property, one way to do that is to give the bees a shallow pool of water that they can stop in and drink from.  Most people only concentrate on the flowers or the food bees need of attract them, but water can also attract bees. This article talks specifically about bees and how to provide water for them: Thirsty bees

Source: Root Simple – low tech home tech

Purple-throated carib hummingbird feeding.

Second, all living organisms have a need food.  Everything has to consume some type of food to survive.  For plants it is not only minerals from the ground, but also energy from the sun.  If you can supply the correct type of food for the living creature, you can attract it, and encourage it to stay on your property.  Food sources could include plants, insects, and other animals.   If you want to attract certain types of birds, you may need to also attract the insects that they use as a food source.  Food sources can very drastically from one species to another.  It is very important that you research what food source, and types of food the organism needs that you are trying to attract.

For Example,  if you want to attract a specific type of bird to your property, you would need to research the type of flowers, that those birds are attracted to.  Birds are so varied in their food sources that research is key.  Hummingbirds enjoy different flowers than a swallow would enjoy.  And if you are trying to attract birds of prey, it is not the flowers that will attract them, but the animals that are attracted by the flowers.

Apiary in South Carolina

Third, all organisms need some type of shelter.  Shelter serves several purposes.  It allows the creature to stay out of the elements if it needs to.  It can keep snow, rain, sun and other elements away when they could become to harsh for the creature to survive.  But it can also provide a place for the creature to hide from predators as well.  Shelters will be different for most living creatures.  If you want to attract a specific type of bird, you will probably need a specific type of nesting box.

On thing that we have tried is to create an area where insects can find a home on Quail Run Farm.  We have created our Fairy Hotel to try to encourage insects to take up residence.  We have also encouraged Kestrels to take up residence on the property by having a Kestrel nesting box put in place.

CONCLUSION

If you want to attract a living organism to your property or yard, you need to do some research.  If you can find out what type of water, food, and shelter the organism needs, you may be able to get it to take up residence in your yard.

You will also want to eliminate habitat for the predators of the creatures you are trying to attract.  Pets can also keep certain creatures from finding your property a place they want to habitat.

The opposite is also true.  If you have a pest that you want to get rid of, you can declare war on that pest by eliminating one or all three of the things they need to survive.  For example, you don’t like snakes around your yard, then eliminate the food source, or the shelter for the snake.  You will find that you can do things to convince almost any living creature to move on, and find water, food or shelter in another yard.

Blue Flax

In the mornings when you look west of our property there is a strip of brilliant blue standing out among the softer shades of green sage and the dusty browns.  It is striking, and beautiful and mysterious.  One morning Dadzoo and I decided to take a walk down there to see the wild flowers, I already knew what they were, we have scattered clumps of the blue flower in our back pastures, but I had never seen such a concentration of them and I had to walk among them.
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Our farm is set on the rising foothill  of Lake Mountain, so we are a bit above everything and have a great view of the flowers, but as we walked in to the valley the field of blue was obscured by swales in the ground and the tall sage brush that twisted and turned towards the sky, some reaching six feet tall. As we came over a small rise in the ground we saw this.
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Acres of blue flax, waving and dancing in the early morning breeze, their faces wide open facing the bright morning sun.
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IMG_6465It was glorious and beautiful, such a concentration of blue flowers in the desert, a herald to the coming summer, a shout to Mother Earth and Father in Heaven.
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Desert Mallow

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One of my favorite times of year, is after the spring starts to warm up some, the desert comes alive with color.  Most people think that the desert is a colorless, lifeless place.  But it is teeming with color and life if you just know where to look for it.

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One of the first plants to show its true colors is the Globemallow, or if you prefer the scientific name, it is called Sphaeralcea ambigua.  It is also know as desert mallow, apricot mallow, desert hollyhock, mal de Ojo, and sore-eye poppy.  This plant can grow up to 3 feet in height, and spreads 2-3 feet in width.  It has fuzzy leaves that contain white hairs on both sides.  The number of leaves increase as the plant grows in age.  The flowers are a 5-petaled, bloom in spring, and are usually an apricot to orange color.  It is a perfect flower for ornamental, desert, drought tolerant gardens.   It is also used in a lot of natural landscaping and habitat restoration projects in desert regions.

Cultural Requirements:

  • Full Sun
  • Natural Rainfall, but watering will increase flowering
  • Desert soil, tolerant to clay, but prefers good drainage
  • Propagates by seed

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Not only is it beautiful, but it can also be used in some medical uses.

Crushed leaves can be made into a poultice for skin inflammation and a soothing shoe liner for blistered feet.  For the poultice use warm water.  Fresh flowers and leaves can be chewed for a sore throat, hoarseness, or minor stomach problems including within the small intestine.   A tea made from dried plants for the same symptoms at  1 part plant to 32 parts water, but in this case don’t remove the water from heat, allow it to boil for 20 – 30 minutes, returning the level of water to 32 parts before using.  Drink a cup of tea 3 times a day until the complaint ends. – Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West – Michael Moore, 2nd Edition, Page 273-274