Updated: Mar 4, 2019
I'm sitting here on yet another snow day for the Northfield School District - #6 in the past 2 weeks! I sub as an educational assistant, so the canceled days affect my schedule, too. Admittedly, I do enjoy a day off now and then, but this is the 6th day in the past 2 weeks, so it's getting a bit old, especially as I don't get paid if I don't work. But, I am sitting here enjoying a beautiful snow falling outside my window. I am so blessed.
It may not look like it outside my window, but it is bark gathering time! I typically start in February and stop by mid-March. This is the best time for bark gathering as the plants energy/medicinal constituents are concentrated in its bark at this point.
Here are a few tips about gathering bark - also review my previous blog on Basic Tincture Making.
1. Be certain you are getting bark from the correct tree! Bark from a different tree will not have the same energetics/useful constituents and may even be harmful. Be certain!
2. Carefully cut off a few small branches, keeping in mind what will be best for the tree. For example: Keep the cut clean so it can heal over quickly and completely. Don't strip any larger branch of a tree. If there are suckers at the base of the tree, use those to help the tree out. Only take what you need. If you end up with extra, you can make a tea or dry it for tea in the future.
3. Using a dull paring knife, trim off the outer bark through the green cambium of the branches. Put those shavings loosely in a jar, filling about ¼ full. Compost the remaining white wood of the branch.
4. Fill with alcohol of choice and continue with directions from the previous Basic Tincture Making post.