On his mission

If I were forced to make a difficult choice and select one of the million plants to heal the bleeding world, it would be yarrow. This common and widespread plant with small white flowers and easily recognizable feather-like leaves has been always powerful aid to those who suffered bleeding injuries.

Perhaps because of its botanical name Achillea millefolium I have yarrow permanently associated with the mythical warrior, the Greek hero Achilles. Born from an immortal goddess and a mortal king, Achilles had the best teachers for a wide range of disciplines, not just for warfare.

I have forgotten a lot, but I remember that one of his teachers was the wise centaur Chiron, who taught him even the basic of medicine. Prudent decision, which could save life or limbs, definitely increased the chance to survive frequent battles.

Achilles had a mythical power and only one small vulnerability, yarrow as well. Besides the huge ability to quickly stop bleeding, yarrow disinfects, improves digestion, helps with women’s difficulties, but must not be used for long periods. Yarrow is a first line warrior, having a range of after-care medical plants behind him.

My drawing should be a honor to the healing ability of yarrow, but finally I put more energy into the part representing the pain of bleeding world. Is there enough yarrow to heal it?

Love, Ivana

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Fighting with nightmare

I like to draw. I like the moment with pencils when my imagination blows out. Sometimes I have a precise intention, and sometimes I let things go to be surprised by the result. Playing with the subconscious is fun and deep at the same time.

But drawing isn’t my hobby since childhood. Of course I did draw at that time, perhaps only until school. Then the system was trying to form my skills, telling me how much wrong I was. And believe me, I was!

Luckily I had other skills to develop, so I didn’t suffer much because of drawing bad. I had other things to enjoy and erased my need to draw from the mind. Before 40, the suppressed need woke up and started to fill my hungry hole.

Sounds the story is done, right?

But I quickly discovered that although I draw happily and felt free, in fact I had avoided drawing people all the time. And if I did it, it was a real nightmare. Finally I decided to fight with it!

Since January, I have been engaged in learning how to do it. My goal is not to reach professional skills, I just want to overcome my fear and remove the obstacle of the free self-expression.

The drawing above is the last practice and I believe that the head finally got the right proportions! What do you think?

With love, Ivana

To be a bee

Walking through the blooming landscape and foraging medicinal plants means to have an instant contact with bees. And I tell you, I admire them!

They live in society, where everyone knows the place and duty. Most bees belong to workers, that we meet humming around blossoms and collecting nectar into cups on their legs. Do you think they have time to chat how the queen is not so accurate or the drones are lazy?

I admire the logistic of them. Imagine how many flowers bloom at the same time and each of them hopes to be pollinated on time. And some blossoms are blooming for one day only! A small mistake in logistic could bring lack of fertility and loss in crop.

How do the workers know where to fly and keep the efficiency so high? Is there a structure of managers? Do they have plans and motivation meetings? I am curious to know.

The drones are specific group of bees in the bee society. They are kind of “macho” bees and I believe that some of male human beings will happily catch their job of dreams, to fertilize the queen and lay at home on eggs if they need to be warmed. Nobody force them to work and feed the family. Hopefully it doesn’t sound too feminist. I am aware that the job of dreams is compensated by a short life of drones.

And of course there is her Majesty the Queen! The biggest and very unique bee sits at home on the throne, letting the others work for her. Who wouldn’t change?

I wouldn’t. The queen is important with no doubts, but sitting at home all the time with responsibility to keep healthy future of the whole society? This is hard job in very limited space. I will likely change with the workers, flying cross the country and touching blooming flowers every day. Although they work hardly I believe they also have some fun and opportunity to watch the world.

With love and gratitude to bees,

Ivana

Spring flowers syrup

Most of spring flowers are naturally juicy similar to the soil after snow melting. There was almost no snow in my area this year and now the soil is very dry even in the beginning of April. I was foraging violets and they had for my surprise really unpleasant taste. Later I realized it was due to lack of irrigation.

However, I wanted to prepare tasty syrup from spring flowers. After disaster with violets I foraged some young flowers (buds) of Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) even they were also rare because of drought. In my language, the name of Butterbur sounds like “9 powers” and this is something that can be useful. I have already mentioned its quality here Power of Butterbur, so we are kind of fellows some time.

But for the first time I decided to make syrup. Butterbur has very specific taste and you need to get used to it. I am happy with the result, the consistency is similar to honey and the final taste is emphasized with a little lemon. Now I have my 9 sweet powers for morning porridge 😊

My one small jar success made me hungry for another one. Yesterday I foraged Lungwort and I was lucky to find some really sweet violets. Feeling like an experienced master, I put them into the procedure. Everything looked good, but also according to the proverb “pride precedes a fall”.

When I poured the hot syrup into a jar, it broke and most of the hot and sweet liquid flooded the kitchen counter. I was lucky that only a few drops hit my hand, which I then treated with cold water and the oil from St.John’s wort. The great success of this attempt is: I have no blisters! 😋

Waiting for another experiment, Ivana

Liverleaf, Hepatica nobilis

Besides Lungwort, Liverleaf is another spring flower that blooms before new leaves are fully developed. As if they couldn’t wait longer, light purple flowers raise their heads from damp soil to the spring sun even in the shadow of forest.

I know the place where Liverleaf grows in abundance, creating incredible carpet of live wildflowers. The beauty of them takes my breath every time, and I am almost afraid to enter the place because those flowers are so fragile!

Yesterday, I found the first blooming Liverleaf. So far, it was the only Cinderella in the middle of nothing, but also it was a clear sign that the right time is coming and sisters are going to bloom very soon.

If you are looking for the place with Liverleaf before blooming, you can find it easily according to the evidence of last year leaves. They are very unique with 3 lobes, tough in consistency like an old alcoholic liver. No matter how long and hard the winter was, the old leaves stay in their place, so the young flowers could lean on them.

Similar to Lungwort flowers, I like to eat the Liverleaf flowers. As they grow close to each other and bloom simultaneously, they create beautiful and healthy mix of edible flowers, suitable for immediate consumption.

Even though I’m careful to keep the ratio in favor of Lungwort because Liverleaf is slightly poisonous as it belongs to the family of Ranunculaceae, But the main portion of active substances is contained in leaves, so the consumption of flowers is quite safe.

As the name suggests, Liverleaf (Hepatica nobilis) is used in cases of liver disease. Although I prefer to use other herbs for this purpose, I still gather some Liverleaf because I’m fascinated by the shape and tough consistency of its leaves. I admire the ability to overcome difficult conditions and hope to learn it, drinking the tea.

With love, Ivana