One of the joys of living in harmony with the earth, is the fortunate discoveries you can make. Aside from intentionally turning large sections of our yard into oasis' of food, the simple act of leaving our grass alone creates a wild opportunity for nature to step in and create food.
Each year, I wait with baited breath to see if violets bloom this year and how much will bloom. In 2019, I had the most abundant crop. When it's a dry day, me and a very large bowl get to work. I ensure that I will only take what I need, leaving violets for the wildlife that live and visit my garden. (And my chickens - they love violets.) I go down onto hands and knees and whisper to the violets, "Who may I pick?" Permission must be given.
This may seem like a strange process to many. Why are you asking the flowers? They can't talk back. Yoga teaches us to live in harmony with the planet and all of her inhabitants. We are invited to walk softly on the earth and recognize every form of life as equally valuable. When you see the world this way, there is no division. It is this unity that enables you to listen to the trees, feel the soul of a rock, have a conversation with a spider, and hear the reply of the violets.
Nischala Devi, who spent twenty-five years with Sri Swami Satchidananda ji, shared with me the story of how he walked so softly on the grass, that each blade bounced back after his foot came off the ground. She asked him how that was possible. When anyone else walks on the earth, we flatten the grass.
Swami ji replied, "You know, there's millions and millions of little creatures living in this earth. You walk across it without thought. To me, this is not a piece of earth. This is my mother's bosom. And when I walk on this land, I am walking on my mother's bosom. And that's the reverence. And she knows it. And that's why she pops up the grass."
The genus Viola Sororia is a self-seeding flower that are weeds to some and food to others. For hundreds of years, violets have been used by the indigenous peoples in North America to make medicine. This common blue violet can be made into jams, simple syrups, candied, and eaten raw.
What did the Violets from my garden turn into? Violet Simple Syrup!
4 cups water
8 cups granulated sugar
6 cups violet heads
Gently rinse violets.
Place violets into a glass container.
Add boiled water.
Set for 24 hours.
In a bain marie, add the strained liquid.
Slowly add sugar, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
During this time, slice a lemon, and squeeze about half the juice into the mix.
When sugar has dissolved, pour into glass container(s).
Store in the refrigerator for 6 months.