Monday, June 18, 2012

Changing Lifestyles & Herbal Medicine

This blog was written by recently arrived interns, Sydney and Alex.            

            We’re not sure where to start. Not just with this blog, not just with plant identification or the principles of herbal medicine. We’re not sure where to start with any of it.
            Not that we aren’t eager. We both have loads of enthusiasm, but the more we learn, the more we realize we have a lot more to learn. It’s funny how things work like that.
                For exposition, we arrived at D Acres at the end of April and May, respectively. Although one of us has a month of farm time on the other, we are experiencing the day-to-day here with the same fresh eyes. We have agreed that this transition, from colleges utterly dependent on technology, to rural, backwoods New Hampshire, has been quite a lifestyle change. At first, we were acutely aware of the things we were stripped of: cell service, high-speed internet, grocery stores, and school jeans. After accepting this new way of life, we focus more on what we’ve gained: simplicity.
            These days, all twenty-two hands at D Acres are needed for final bed preparations. We spend our days weeding, mulching, seeding and transplanting garden space after garden space. Our special project, however, is becoming what we like to call “potions masters”. With perhaps naïve fervor, we took on the immense task of familiarizing ourselves with thousands of years of traditional herbal medicine. Over the next few months, the idea is to synthesize this vast realm of knowledge and produce tangible results in the form of tinctures, salves, infusions, and decoctions. Not only is this a field we’ve both had interest in for years, but we get to feel like we’re in Professor Snape’s potions class, whipping up magical remedies for magical maladies.
This afternoon, we went on an herb walk to take stock of the medicinal plants on the property. It was overwhelming. We didn’t even make it to the end of the driveway, truth be known. We found it nearly impossible to move through the garden at anything more than a snail’s pace, because every step brought five new plant species to identify. Still, we feel like we learned something in our short walk. We identified a few of the most basic medicinal herbs, like plantain and valerian. Probably more importantly, we discovered this is not an art that can be learned overnight. It will require years of training to reach proficiency, but we are not working in that kind of time frame. We are not looking to become experts by the time we leave D Acres, but we want to acquire a basic knowledge base of herbal medicine.
With visions of Harry Potter in our heads, we are excited to don our house robes, grab our cauldrons and put into practice everything we will learn.  

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