Have you ever attended a workshop or conference? There are usually "housekeeping" announcements - where the bathrooms are, etc. Things to make the proceedings more comfortable and running smoothly.
I realized there are a few things I keep thinking, "Oh, I should mention that..." - so here are a few passing thoughts:
BEESWAX: I put a link in for a well-recommended company that supplies beeswax, among other useful ingredients. But I realized, the place I have usually picked up my beeswax are the local FARMER'S MARKETS.
Another source is our local beekeeping lady, she has honey and wax at the Farmer's Market, but lives nearby and also sells out of her home. Find a local beekeeper, probably the best price. A good way to track one down is to contact your County Extension office.
BOOKSHELF: You may find the books in your library, check them out to see if they are useful for you. If you want your own copies, shop at my favorite book source: http://www.half.ebay.com/ .
YOUNG LEAVES: A number of the herbs are best for eating using the tender newer leaves. You can encourage them by mowing (if the plants are in your lawn!) then watering. Dandelions and plantain especially do well with this method. Since both become bitter with growth and age, you can keep a good supply of "food underfoot" using this method.
DRYING: If you have some small amounts to dry, try using the micro wave. Layer the herb leaves between paper towels - you can do several layers at a time. Put a cup with water in the microwave along with the paper towel package. Microwave in one minute bursts, checking each time for dryness. Towards the end, you may be down to using 15 second bursts. Let the leaves cool completely, then check for dryness. They should have NO feeling of dampness, be crisp but not brown/burned.
Some places the weather and climate are cooperative enough to dry bundles of herbs, or leaves on screens, outdoors. Just be sure they are not in direct sun, and provide a cheesecloth cover if on screens - keeps the bugs at bay. A garage or outbuilding can work, also. Hanging bundles can be bagged from the bottom with papersacks, protecting from dust and catching any leaves that drop off as they dry.
Another method is to put the herbs in paper bags, and refrigerate them. It will take about 3-7 days depending on the herb, just keep checking. This worked really well with dill.
If your fridge is crammed, obviously this isn't your method of choice!
WILDCRAFTING: this means you probably don't have all your desired herbs growing in the garden, and must look farther. Be sure to get permission if the object of your desire is on private property. Parks MAY be a resource, check for permission and spraying policy. Find some local organic farmers (Extension Office, Farmer's Market are good places to start) and see if they need help controlling "weeds" - some may be the very ones you are looking for! A wildlife refuge may be a resource, also. Again, talk to the head honcho, for permission and spraying policies.
DO NOT harvest along roadsides - it's tempting, to see the chamomile, chickory, lilies, etc. just going to waste in the ditches and along the shoulders of the roads. But they will be contaminated with gas fumes, dust, and more than likely the passing bird or dog!
Look for deserted fields, lanes along tree farms and between farmer's fields and even your neighbor's unkempt back yard.
They are out there - just waiting to be put to the use they were meant for!
As you come across resources and ideas, please share them with us - email me or leave a comment. Adventures are more fun, shared with friends!