Positive vibrations

This weekend has been a bit different from usual. We went to our first ever festival, although it wasn’t the music kind. The theme was sustainability and was designed to be suitable for families.

For anyone who wants to know more generally about Positive Vibrations, follow this link. The main thing for me to say here is that we had a great time and have learned a lot.

I’m really pleased that my daughter absorbed some of the information from the foraging workshop we did first thing on Saturday morning. Perhaps one day this will keep her alive, although I am hopeful that energy descent isn’t going to be the catastrophe some predict.

Nevertheless, foraging does give us food which we don’t have to pay for, which might also be more nutritious than even the fruit and veg I grow in my own garden. I say ‘might’ because I don’t know if this is an urban myth or knowledge borne of unbiased research. In any case, I now know more than I did two days ago.

Firstly, I might now not only be able to indentify a lime tree in the future


but should I come across one I might try some of its young leaves.

Secondly, I’ve learned the name of a wildflower which I have in the garden. Willowherb is apparently edible, but I’m not actually sure I want it to proliferate, going on what Gardeners’ World says about it (click on ‘Willowherb’ above for further information). So, until the day I start eating it, it will continue to come out.

Thirdly, I also learned what plantain looks like


and after putting the name in a search engine I realise I have some in my garden, although it is the broader leafed variety.

Again, I do not know when or if I will use plantain. On the other hand, I will probably try out the lip balm, ointment for muscle pain and cough medicine I learned to make later in the day. I even got to take home some of the first two.

I might also try my hand at making the following device, which a fellow festival goer brought along for use over a camp fire. Any idea what is in this?

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in foraging, herbs, In the kitchen and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Positive vibrations

  1. streepie says:

    A marshmallow roaster???

  2. I love homemade popcorn! What a great idea! Glad you enjoyed your first festival 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Yes, a great idea.. would save me scouring pans out 😉.

      It really was a good gathering – so many interesting people to talk to but small enough for me not to be anxious about leaving my daughter by the fire while I attended a workshop. I’d recommend it to you, if you don’t mind the camping.

  3. Looks like an interesting festival.

    Nettles and fat hen are very nutritious according to the internet. But spinach is more convenient because of bigger leaves and a lack of stings. 🙂

    • Helen says:

      Spinach doesn’t happen to grow in my garden, so nettles are a great alternative. They do happen to grow in my garden, though I haven’t allowed them to take over, so I mostly forage for their leaves.

      Nettles are very versatile as well – I make just soups and cordials but I learned on Saturday they are 20% protein and can be used to make a curd like tofu. They can of course be used to make string but I’ve not had a problem with stringiness when cooked.

  4. Clare Pooley says:

    This sounds like a really interesting festival. According to a couple of Canadians I follow, a lovely jelly/jam can be made from Rosebay Willowherb but I haven’t tried it. http://thehiddengardens.org.uk/recipes.php?recipe=69
    I know that plantain is a healing herb and can be used instead of docks for nettle stings but I didn’t know it could be eaten. Another name for it is Waybread but that has nothing to do with bread but ‘breadth’, as in ‘path breadth’. Where people walk or set foot there also grows plantain. I tried to find recipes and only found ones for the tropical plantain!

    • Helen says:

      Interesting information – thank you, Clare. I didn’t take a notebook on the foraging walk, so only have the vaguest notion of how to use plantain – perhaps in salads? Actually I had thought the stuff in my garden was docks and I’m not surprised the recipes were all for tropical plantain 😉.

  5. I was looking at a plant the other day and it just so happened to be a wide leaf plantain. I guessed popcorn .. yay! 🙂

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