It sure was cold Wednesday night but we were warm in Tim Noah’s Thumbnail Theater in Snohomish. We started out the evening by introducing ourselves and talking a little about study sites and the Wolf Journey curriculum. While we were sharing, we kept our hands busy by making cordage from the fibers of stinging nettle stalks we collected earlier in the month. Then we learned about harvesting and processing rose hips. I brought along a basketful I had harvested a few hours earlier so everyone could see how to prepare them. Then we made a tasty rose hip and mint infusion (a.k.a. tea). As the tea was steeping, we read about our native roses in Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast (affectionately known as Pojar).
Then everyone was given a freshly harvested willow branch and we removed the leaves to make a decoction. While the leaves were boiling, we researched willows in the reference books we brought and learned about the healing properties of the bark and leaves.
Splitting willow branches is a challenging task and practice definitely helps. It only takes a little pressure in the wrong direction to break the branch apart and then you have to start again. At least there are plenty of branches available for practice!
Our time together was dwindling fast so we tasted and enjoyed the willow decoction before cleaning up and heading out into the crisp autumn air.