Mullein & Settler Colonialism

Scrap Kitchen 12

While I thought that having two weeks as space would give me more time to write, here I find myself, again, writing on a Sunday night. A classic move. Expected but not ideal.

If you have been anywhere but under a rock in the past week or so you will have seen the escalating genocide happening in Palestine. It can’t be called a “conflict” if both sides don’t have equal footing, it’s like calling the continued oppression of the native people of America a conflict. When the scale of power is so unbalanced the “there are two sides to it” argument falls apart. I want to get this out the way, Britain played a huge part in creating Israel and America pays over $100 a minute to continue the colonisation of Palestine by Israel (to maintain a base in the middle east and for a myriad of other reasons). I take issue with Israel and its continued genocide of the Palestinian people the same way I do with the United States.
Just like the US, Israel should never have existed. But it does and even a two-state solution would be preferable to what is happening now. ”America” should never have existed, but it does now and we need to mediate the damage of its existence. What we are witnessing in Israel is colonisation, the middle stages of it, the US is just a few centuries ahead with their efforts. Their propaganda, genocides, reeducation and structural reinforcements were effective in creating the US we see today at the expense of not only the indigenous people of this land but those of Africa who were enslaved to build the wealth of this shithole. This goes for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico. Hell, this goes for every country bar five that have been colonised by Europe. Not to say that these countries should now cease to exist but to acknowledge their history, pay reparations and dismantle the colonialist systems in place is just the beginning.
The US is the blueprint, Israel is the second draft, and the moment the student-teacher relationship is no longer financially beneficial the US will turn on Israel. But weapons make good money, and having a sympathetic country in a region you will destabilize for oil at any cost is paying off so far.

You may be wondering how this all ties in, or you may have come for the plants and stayed for the mildly spicy political rants. In all honesty, it seems trite and sometimes ridiculous to write about how to forage, save food scraps and grow plants in the midst of all this. If I didn’t address it, that would be worse.
A recent tweet from Gaza of a man’s garden covered in rubble brought up even more conflicting feelings on this. I do not care more about a patch of green space than the now 119 innocent people killed by Israeli airstrikes. I want that said. But the rubble-covered garden where once was green highlights the ongoing desecration. Not only are people dead, wounded, homeless, but they cannot even rebuild and regrow. Once the immediate threat of airstrikes passes, which it has yet to, the loss of being able to provide for your family, especially when Israel is known to use blockades, is another layer of brutality. Just like the US’s campaign to kill off the Buffalo to starve the indigenous population, the ongoing famine in Yemen or the food apartheid not only in the US but in Australia/New Zealand/the UK. My point in all this being Palestine is yet again under attack and here are 5 things you can do about it: boycott, call your representatives in the US (and ask them to push for a ceasefire), donate, educate yourself and educate some more.

The tarot card for this week is the Eight of Cups Reversed. This card speaks of established patterns, be them emotional or social and the chance to move away from them. While there are times to cut your losses there are also times when leaving is running away, how can you tell the difference. Ask yourself: what am I not facing? What am I trying to achieve? How will leaving change the situation? How will staying?

As we enter into the business of spring on the farm, the bounty of “weeds” available only grows. With each passing day, I feel I am better equipped to identify and utilise the plants I find. Thanks to Pull Up Your Plants for directing me to some wonderful resources. One that made its way onto my radar this week was Mullein, commonly known as “Cowboys Toilet Paper” or “Flannel Leaf”. Used for everything from candle wicks to actual loo roll this plant has several medicinal uses. I found its root super useful in helping with some back pain I experienced from an overload of tomato trellising. Mullein is said to have a relaxing effect on synovial membranes, making it ideal for spine support. I made a quick tea with the roots but alcohol-based tonics are also suggested. Working up the plant, the leaves are used in natural hair tonics, teas or can even be smoked. The stunning yellow flowers have been used to make “Hags Candles” which is something I will 100% be trying, and oil to help with earaches. As always harvesting with care, intention and ensuring the plant is not harmed is essential.

While Mullein is not ideal for making meals from I have been experimenting recently (as I am prone to do) with new recipes. As we near the end of the hunger gap, the variety of vegetables here to eat that are both seasonal and local is improving. But the current staples are keeping us going. I have also been making my own oat milk which has yielded a whole tonne of oat pulp. Something we are trying to work through. Thankfully oat pulp can be transformed into Vegan French Toast, and quickly at that. While the pan is heating with a little oil spread one side of a slice of bread with a thick layer of the oat pulp, once the oil is hot place the slice in pulp-down, then spread another layer on the exposed side. Flip after a couple of minutes, ensuring both sides get to be a golden brown. I can’t explain to you how much this tastes and feels like french toast. I've been serving it with a quick Rhubarb compote or controversially, some sauteed greens and last night’s beans.

Asparagus is coming into season (we picked some fresh just last week), if you have milkweed that’s also an option, either way, I would suggest this great-looking pasta. Wild Nettles are growing strong, broccoli is on the rise and new potatoes are making an appearance. With an abundance of broccoli, freezing is suggested it is also delicious roasted, in savory muffins, as spicy aloo broccoli or in a slaw. All the herbs are coming in now, from nasturtiums to parsley to chives. Pesto or infused vinegar is always the way to go if you find yourself with too many herbs on your hands.

The podcast for this week is another from the formidable Niki Franco (Venus Roots) interviewing Zaina Alsous about settler colonialism, abolition, climate and more.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read all this, I always love hearing what you learned (if anything) or any other opinions you have about plants/scrap saving/the world we all live in. Leave a comment, give this post a like or even share it.

Until then, stay scrappy.


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