Hail Brave Hearts
Good health to you. It’s all around us, in the food we eat, the daily exercise that we do, our social and spiritual interactions, education, work and play. Heal us.
In the past centuries of homesteading natural healing was common sense. To find the elements of medicine in our natural world, to relieve us from the threats of common illnesses. The day’s work must be done. The days work cannot be left unattended. A day off with illness was appalling for people who relied on the land for their survival. Day after day after day, toil and work. A days work was never done. Plant your crops, tend to the animals, forage in the forest, sheer the sheep, knit your blankets, chop the wood, stoke the fire, day after day after day.
Salves and ointments sooth sore muscles. Extracts and tinctures to ingest for your health. Medicines from the great wild, from flowers, trees and grasses. The soothing forest, the healing plains, find your medicines in the wildlands, there are cures out there. A fine flower like Lungwort, a pretty daisy to ingest, a mighty spruce for your winter tea. Plant your garden with healing remedies, to bolster the immune system against the constant threat of life threatening illness.
Plant your garden well, with vitamins, minerals, essential enzymes, herbal remedies. Plant your garden to keep yourself healthy and to make you well. A prized patch of Queen Anne’s Lace, showy Chicory for breakfast tea or coffee, The careful selection of medicinal plants.
The life of a homesteader in early Canada was filled with trials and tribulations. A community of people, reliant on their courage and expertise to survive in a harsh, sparsely populated land where wildlife and livestock, collide. The peace of the people, although essential, is not enough. The forest and the land are filled with deadly surprises. The forest and the lands are filled with healing and cures. Venture out into the land, for it’s remedies that will save you. Care and caution every day of your life, for what lurks in the shadows of the trees and tall grasses.
Hunting for wildlife is shared between wild predators and hungry humans. Livestock must be saved.
It’s an interesting life of essential skills and education. How to build a house, how to build a fence, how to forage in the forest, what to plant, where to plant it. Soil conditions, weather patterns, cold, stocking up for the winter, how to dry food, prepare meat, basic first aid, sewing. The list of requirements for homesteading goes on and on. Build your cabin in the woods, beside cool waters, on fertile land. A society of far flung people, a few kilometers apart, being the next door neighbour. A neighbour right there, right beside, to help out if necessary.
In our minds that neighbour lives a long way off, but to an early homesteader, it was close by. Their health and vitality was different from ours. Cure yourself, you awesome human. Plant your garden well.
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
December 6, 2021