On the land, it’s lilacs beginning to bloom, and in the sea, bladderwrack is getting ready to release gametes, male and female, which will unite in the water outside the plants to form a zygote, a fertilized ovum which will settle and attach to the granite sea floor of the Gulf of Maine, part of earth’s great sea-womb.
In other words, spring is dancing all over the place, and I want you to see some images from Nina’s photography so that you can appreciate what is happening. These are perfect examples of what bladderwrack looks like when it is harvested at the proper time of the year and air-dried properly. Notice the dark green colors. Pigments are minerals! This plant is also a source of iodine. The standard in my business for preserving these nutrients is “bone dry within 48 hours of harvest, at temperatures below 85 degrees F.” That sounds simple, but try doing it with 40 bushels of bladderwrack!
And why do we do this? Because sometime this year, a woman will call me up (like an 85 year old granny did last year), and she will say, “My hands and feet are warm again! Thank you!” That makes it all worthwhile for me to do the rowing, the gathering, the lifting, and come home cold. After all, MY body warms up! But a person with a hypothyroid condition feels cold all the time.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism worldwide. Some individuals who have enough iodine suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder that is aggravated by gluten. Before you conclude that bladderwrack is for you, see www.thethyroidbook.com Bladderwrack is not for everyone, but when it works, it is sometimes possible to wean off synthetic thyroid hormones.
This time of year, a seaweed harvester’s dreams are likely to look like this:
Speaking of dreams, we have installed fifteen tent platforms, complete with tents, in Middle Heaven, the forest beside the sea where you may stay awhile (July is wonderful!), discovering for yourself the source and spirit of all that nourishes us in the sea, the gardens, and in our hearts.
The rock by this tent is like one of the little planets from The Little Prince, a world unto itself, complete with a little forest of moss and ferns growing on top of it.
Here’s a close view:
Everywhere one looks, another new plant. The goldenthread is blossoming today. A tincture of goldenthread works like goldenseal. So much to notice!
The tent by the deer path is dreamy:
The tent called Overlook is at the top of a basin that drains to the cove.
Just walk downhill (you can’t get lost) and you will come to the water.
The Cozy is close to all paths, a good choice for a child or a first-year camper.
The Family is a larger tent for a group.
Paba and Zippy the Cat and I had a good time leveling the platforms.
See how precisely Zippy’s tail is laid out straight? A carpenter wouldn’t have anything less in a cat.
And a cat wouldn’t have anything less than this fine apprentice, Paba.
Love to you all. See you this summer!
1 thought on “Bladderwrack and Middle Heaven”
I stumbled onto your website by accident and am now suffering pangs of homesickness It’s been over 70 years since I scraped some dulse off the rocks in a cove in Eastport and will be ordering from you soon (I can’t believe you are doing any harvesting in the Winter. By the way, to prove that I know Washington County I know it’s “Stew Ben” not “Stoybin*. Best regards. J_Chevrier@Msn.com
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