Estimated read time... 5 minutes

I am settled back home in Brooklyn after a few-day trip up to Tug Hill. 

The purpose of the trip was not to harvest herbs, but to connect deeply to myself and to Nature.

My great-aunt, a six (maybe even seven!) decades-long resident of Tug Hill, said that everything is off this year in terms of blooming schedule.
This all seems appropriate given the topsy turvy time we’ve been living in.
Clients and customers have been through unexpected moves and surprises, job shifts, health challenges, family losses, and varying other changes as well.
Environmentally, the global shifts we see touch us all: raging forest fires out West, also early than typical years past, with smoke filling the skies here in NY. Heat waves in NYC in June and July, vs the summers past where we’d have a couple of weeks of terribly hot weather. Water shortages on the island of Maui. Floods and heatwaves in Europe. I could go on…
We are all learning to adapt to the changes that are afoot.
Yet, even amidst this topsy-turvy time, there are some things we can rely on: the sun seems to miraculously rise every morning, the moon still has her phases.
The plants are growing, and the rivers still flowing. Blood runs through our veins like these flowing rivers. Our hearts beat to the thrum of existence, much like the way waves come to Ocean’s shores.
Our thoughts buzz with activity, not unlike a meadow filled with the activity of insects.
Taking the time to connect to the deeper undercurrent of life, Nature, is a blessing. It keeps me grounded in my body and being, and reminds me of who I am.
Connecting to this place, that holds so much familial history, is important for me.
Mushrooms of all different kinds thanks to the wet weather. Most of which I don’t know. One of which I now know: chanterelles.
There were some gorgeous boletes, but I am smart enough to know that if I don’t know what I’m about to ingest, I shouldn’t ingest it!
Some surprises this year were that the strawberries and roses were all gone. This time last year, the roses were just finishing, and the strawberries just starting!
The St. John’s Wort was at harvest-peak, also a few weeks off her usual schedule. She was early this year…
Ghost Pipe was appearing in sections of the woods, weeks before schedule as well!
Typically, when ghost pipe and St. John’s Wort are bursting open, there is Lobelia to be found – yet there was no lobelia this year.
There was, however, a TON of yarrow and mullein. Quite appropriate as we have been coping with stubborn respiratory stuff, as well as newer environmental challenges, on a global scale…
And, the elderberry was in such lush bloom, right on schedule!
What was interesting about this trip was that I was called to do things differently with my herb harvest. To keep things smaller, more intimate. When it comes to medicine-making, I know to follow my inner whispers and nudges.
This trip, I ended up harvesting and drying: lady’s mantle, wild mint, yarrow, a teensy bit of elderflower. I made yarrow-infused castor oil, and St. John’s Wort oil. I also made mullein flower oil for the first time ever!
Inspired by a conversation herbalist Jim McDonald started, I tinctured a small amount of bird’s foot trefoil to test and see what it does. I’d thought about this wee little alfalfa-like plant before, and I’ve tinctured other plants that don’t have a lot written about them to experiment with.
I also made three flower essences.
I haven’t made flower essences in a few years! I was asked to make more flower essences, but the weather did not cooperate… next time, hopefully, maybe!


Here is what Nature allowed me to make this trip:  Yarrow, White Clover and Potentilla (also called cinquefoil)
All three of these flowers and essences will make an impact on something that I, and my clients, are doing inner-work with.
Yarrow flower essence
For the wounded warrior and wounded healer. A plant medicine that has been used for thousands of years, Yarrow helps those who feel unprotected or who otherwise unsafe. Do you look outside of yourself for safety and protection?  (This essence is especially indicated for children and pets!)
If you’re feeling vulnerable, run-down, stressed out, or reacting from a place of anything-but-strength, then this flower essence can help give you the release that you needYarrow helps you reconnect with your own inner light and Heart, so you can act and move through life from a sense of inner strength and (Heart) alignment. After all, if we are connected to our own inner strength and Hearts, we naturally act from a place of empowerment!
White Clover flower essence 
Do you need to control everything?  This essence encourages you to accept life as it happens, and to let go of the way you think things should be. By letting go, and letting things be (or as some say, “let go and let God”) a happier outlook and less frustration are re-discovered. If you are someone who has been labeled as “codependent” or “controlling”, this would be worth a try.
Potentilla/Cinquefoil flower essence
Do you self-sabotage?  Are you highly critical of yourself?  Or, do you always feel like you’re not enough or unworthy?  This powerful, and oft-overlooked, plant helps cultivate self-appreciation and acceptance. Potentilla assists you in bringing your strengths into the world in a gentle manner. This essence restores innate hope, courage and inspiration so you can bring your joy and enthusiasm to your life and responsibilities.

Tug Hill Flower Essence Blend
To give you the fortitude, inner-protection, worth and acceptance to live in these times.

These essences were made using the solar method, a few days prior to July 2021’s new moon.

Click a photo below to open the gallery

The Healing Power of Flowers – Rhonda Pallas Downey,,,