3:50 am. up early in anticipation of beginning the 91 day, 13 week ethnobotanical calendar project. field notes. photos. journal entries. notebook. diary. notes. sketches. scans. seeds . . .

6:35 am. out to photograph elderberry flowers in the rainbow back country. i want to photograph the elderberry in first light. but the wind is not my friend this morning. the wind is fickle. first there appears to be none, then blows, then calm again. when i arrive at my tree, the wind is indeed blowing.

i had picked out this tree as a drive-by about a week ago, so i’m surprised when i get out of the car at all the stickery crud, aka weeds, i have to walk through to get close to the tree. the kind of stickery crud that gets in your socks, permanently. also, there’s abandoned car parts everywhere—looks like a door, maybe a hood, but they’re half buried beneath all the stickery crud. back country is anything but pristine in san diego county.

marian walkingstick, an acjachemen elder, calls elderberry “a musical tree.” she makes her clappersticks out of elderberry after harvesting the straight shoots, usually from a tree that has been pruned the year before.

willie pink, pechanga ethnobotanist, says that elderberry has more uses than any other southern california native plant.

Posted by deborah small

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