Homesteading Through the Seasons: To-Do List for August's Elderberry Moon

| 8/9/2016 8:55:00 AM

As we slip into August, we see that the elder blossoms have turned into berries. With the elderberry’s ripening, we acknowledge that colder seasons are coming, for now is the time to harvest our winter medicine. To ward off colds and to boost the immune system, the dark purple elderberries can be made into a potent decoction (simmering them in a little water for an hour, mixing with honey and kept in the fridge; or made into elderberry syrup, a shelf-stable elixir which mixes elderberry tincture, elderberry honey, and elderberry decoction see recipe below). Elderberries can also be mixed into meads or homemade wines, baked into pies, dried or preserved in jams.

Though the heat of summer rides upon our backs, August’s Elder Moon asks that we make preparations for the inevitable change of season. As we welcome August, we harvest summer’s bounty, and we plan for the year ahead by saving seeds for next year’s garden, and preserving the sweetness of late summer’s abundance. In the wheel of time August asks us to savor what we have, while planning for the turning of the tide.

To help make the most of this season, Natalie Bowalker, the founder and director of Wild Abundance, a permaculture and primitive skills school in Barnardsville, North Carolina, and the founder of North Carolina’s Firefly Gathering, has created this guide to living in harmony with the cycle of life, one month at a time. This guide includes contributions from Chloe Lieberman and Zev Friedman, and was created with the Southern Appalachian bioregion in mind (but can be translated, with some time shifts, to many parts of the country).

Elder Queen

Wild and Woodland Harvest

1. Harvest elderberries, peaches, wild blueberries

2. Look for and collect wild mushrooms, including  chanterelles and oyster and lobster mushrooms

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