Winter Wildcrafting

Dismal. Dreary. Dreary. Winter...

Give me summer any day. I live outside all spring, summer, and fall planting, harvesting, and wildcrafting to my heart's content.

But winter!

I pull the drapes and focus on anything but what is going on outside my window. Snow is not pretty. Ice is annoying and difficult.

This winter is different.

I started walking a couple miles in the beautiful fall days and I made the decision to keep it up as long as the outside temps are around 35 degrees.

I bought all the gloves, hats, scarves, and thermals to layer on and I've kept it up.

To my delight I have loved every minute of it and my walks are the highlights of my day.

On the country roads where I travel on foot, I see so much happening even though it's nature's down time. Winter is the perfect time to harvest things like cottonwood buds for a powerful salve. Mid winter or very early spring is the perfect time to harvest the sticky buds. Fill jars with buds and add olive oil to the top of the jar. I always infuse using gentle heat for this to remove any trace of moisture as the sap eases into the oil. I place the jars without lids into a crock pot with a little of water. Turn to low and infuse for 24 - 48 hours. Strain and use as is or make a salve.

Cottonwood Salve

4 ounces of infused bud oil

½ oz. of pure beeswax


Gently warm oil and add beeswax. Stir until beeswax is melted.

You may also melt the beeswax in a separate pan and add to warm oil.

Pour into jars and allow to cool, lid jars and store in a cool, dry place.

Use for topical analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and astringent.

Juniper berries are plentiful this time of year. If you can get to them before the birds.

In Missouri we have red cedar trees which are great for juniper berries. In this picture the berries are a little far gone. It's best to harvest while the berries are plump and bright blue.

I love to use the berries in a bath tea. Grind dried berries in blender and add to bath salts and place in a tea bag. Add two or three of the tea bags to a warm bath for muscle pain.

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