Nettle Patch

i think this is the earliest i have been to my nettle patch in the spring time. 
look how low these beauties are! 
I usually arrive here just in time to harvest them hip high!

they are so gorgeous!  purple and deep green.  and so little!

i used clippers to harvest these tender tops.  i usually find the sweet spot where they give themselves to you when you pluck the top half with your hand and fingers and they make that lovely "pop" sound.  if you get a good rhythm going it's like a chorus of song.

here i am trying to get a closeup of me and my ally without stinging my face off! 
i wasn't here today for my "major harvest," i will do that in a few weeks.  then i will gather enough to hang, dry, store,  and last me the entire year!  today i just wanted to procure enough to make some bacon, nettle and asparagus quiche for dinner!  i forgot to take a picture of the quiche because we were so happy to devour it in seconds flat!

oh look! 
a baby galium aparine! 
it is common, in these parts anyhow, to find cleavers growing near nettle.  they use the nettle to climb on and they do it well since they are so sticky!  usually by the time we get to our patch the cleavers have grown so much that we harvest them too to make infused vinegar and crowns.  the galium is sticky enough, and long, that you can just wrap it around on itself into crown sized circles and slip them on your noggin to be festive and merry and bright!
i used galium aparine aplenty when i had reoccurring mastitis with jasper and it, along with phytolacca decandra (poke root), saved me.

how would we survive without our plant allies?!

i made this nettle infusion today from last years dried nettle.
jasper calls it nettle juice. 
he has been drinking it since he was a baby, first thing he tasted besides mama's milk.  we both like our nettle infusion cold so we typically brew it, let it sit for 6 hours or so, then refrigerate it and drink over the next day or so. 
this is a gallon jar. 
once we get down to the plant material i pull all the stems out to compost or give to the chickens and use the remaining leaf in smoothies and all other recipes i can sneak it into, which isn't hard, because we eat a lot of greens around here!

do you have a nettle patch?
do you notice what else is growing wild and free around it?
ever notice the big leaf maples?
have you met galium aparine?

enjoy spring friends! 
it won't last long and before you know it beltane fires and summer solstice will be upon us!

Long Life Honey In the Heart,