The early cold snap in December has my inner gardener fooled into thinking we will have an early spring. However, as I look outside on this sun filled day I still see snow on the ground. So, I make my way back into the house and take out my potting soil, clay pots and clippers and begin to clip my Rose Geraniums. It is time to start propagating herbs.
I kept my small greenhouse closed this winter but now it is time to get things going, or should I say growing. Every sun drenched window in my house is filled with a jungle of Rose Geranium, Rosemary, Aloe, Stevia and Roses. (I will talk about the propagation of roses in another post.)
Besides Lavender, Rose Geranium is one of my favorites. This isn't your typical garden Geranium. No, it is a scented Geranium and more specifically Rose Geranium. The smell is so heavenly and more is released as I cut each small branch. The scented Geranium produces an oil in its leaves that can have a fragrance ranging from rose or lemon to apple or chocolate and so many other scents.
I particularly like the Rose Geranium with its sweetly floral fragrance. And as so many other herbs, its amazing properties. It is uplifting and soothing. It is known to balance the hormones and boost immunity. It is good for your skin and best of all it repels TICKS and other biting insects! Really! I would not go out in warmer weather without it. It protects my family and pets and allows us to garden, walk in the woods and enjoy the outdoors without hesitation.
I make a spray mist, concentrated roll-on and a moisturizer all containing Rose Geranium. It has become a staple in our home and I hope it will be in yours as well.
Absinthe, a historical drink was made synonymous with the green fairy. In french, La Fee Verte.
The drink originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century and was originally a medicine but grew in popularity and was eventually served at many establishments.
Absinthe was poured into a glass. A special absinthe spoon was placed on the glass. On the spoon they put a sugar cube. Ice cold water was slowly dripped on the sugar cube until it dissolved in the drink. The drink was bright green, hence the name "Green Fairy" but would turn cloudy and almost iridescent, referred to as The Louche, which was even more beautiful.
So why do I tell you about Absinthe? One of the key components of this magical drink is Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium).
Wormwood is a wonderful herb and is a legendary botanical that is the main ingredient in Absinthe. Its leaves contain thujone, an aromatic substance that gives Absinthe its character and reputation.
“After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.” Oscar Wilde
Yes, wormwood when taken internally in excess is a hallucinogenic.
Other properties of wormwood, besides being a dis-speller of worms as the name implies, is that it encourages lucid dreams. The mere essence and fragrance of the herb will cause your dreams to fill your sleep as they did when you were a child.
An Old Love Charm 'On St. Luke's Day, take marigold flowers, a sprig of marjoram, thyme, and a little Wormwood; dry them before a fire, rub them to powder; then sift it through a fine piece of lawn, and simmer it over a slow fire, adding a small quantity of virgin honey, and vinegar. Anoint yourself with this when you go to bed, saying the following lines three times, and you will dream of your partner "that is to be": "St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me, In dreams let me my true-love see.
Although you may not dream of your true-love, I can attests that you will indeed dream. The first night I slept with wormwood I had many dreams but I could not remember. On the second night again many dreams and by the third night they began to become more clear. Now I dream very pleasantly and can remember most of it.
I am putting together sachets and possibly small pillows that contain Wormwood, Lavender and Lemongrass. Place them in your pillow or at your bedside for relaxing sleep and sweet dreams. And, not to worry about the Green Fairy...
They will be available soon on my website. Just in time for Valentines Day!
On this snowy winters day half way through the month of January, I am finally sitting down to plan the year ahead. Today is a good day for that as the kids are home from school and still asleep. No need for the hustle and bustle of getting them off to school. I am grateful for a peaceful morning where I can reflect and be inspired. The stoves are going and I already have the soup simmering on the old Glenwood. Sage is smoldering and the smoky essence gives me clarity and creativity. The house is still dark and the candles lend a tranquil glimmer.
So I have my note book to jot down any ideas that come to mind. I am sipping a heavenly brew of Belgium coffee. Thank you so much Rebekah and Lars for this is just what I needed to complete my morning.
Here are a few photos of my surroundings that also lead to much inspiration for the new year. Its going to be a good year, very productive, earthy, with lots of weeds and wonders, comforts and remedies, simples and benefits…. And always ever leaning towards The Olde Ways!
No one likes it when they don't feel well and although there isn't a sure way to stay well through the cold winter months, there are many ways to help prevent that dreaded cold and build up your immune system.
I like to make soup. For some it seems intimidating, but in reality, it is quite easy. All you need are bones. Yes, bones. Bone broth is exceptional. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, it doesn't matter. I take it a step further and leave the meat on the bone and will make a soup from an entire chicken. It gives a little more flavor and then I can use the meat for something else, like chicken salad, a chicken pie, or put it back into the soup for a hearty stew.
So, you take your bones or chicken and place them in a big pot of water. You could use whey, but that is for another blog. I bring it to a slight boil and let it set for hours on the stove simmering. Having a wood stove makes it much easier but you can use and electric or gas stove or even a crock pot.
Once your soup broth has reduced down, all the meat should fall off the bones and you should have much less water than you started with. Then you let it cool slightly and pour it through a strainer. A fine stainless steel strainer or cheese cloth will do. Separate your any meat from the bones and set aside.
Now you have your broth. It can be frozen or use it right away to make your soup.
What you put in your soup is up to you. You can leave it as it is and add some or all of the following herbs or you can put in vegetables, meat or mushrooms, rice, noodles, or anything else you choose. It is fun to experiment.
Garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger, lemon, parsley, oregano, cilantro, sage thyme, turmeric, and many other herbs all help to build the immune system. I try to use as many as possible.
If you add some unrefined coconut oil you will get a hint of coconut flavor as well as even more beneficial nutrients for your body. I prefer coconut cream concentrate for a rich coconut flavor which is especially good when using ginger, lemon, cayenne, garlic, and cilantro.
Soup is so soothing and good for you! So go make some soup!
Nutmeg November 07 2014, 0 Comments
If you haven't had the opportunity to try fresh grated nutmeg, you really need to indulge yourself. This exotic herb loses much of its flavor quickly. Keeping whole nuts and grating them when needed is the preferred method and it really does make a difference. The fragrance is aromatic and uplifting. Nutmeg is a ancient spice known to heighten the senses and provide health benefits to include: relieving pain, soothing indigestion, increasing immune system function, and detoxifying the body.
There is much folklore surrounding the nut. It was thought to have magical powers to ward off disease and was also known to increase virility. Throughout history amulets made from nutmeg were worn and graters made of silver, ivory or wood were kept.
The essence of nutmeg reminds me of Christmas. There is nothing like fresh cream eggnog with grated nutmeg. It is a must for the holidays and one of my favorite simple treats is warmed milk with molasses, turmeric and grated nutmeg. Not only is it pleasant and soothing, but is beneficial to your body. My husband even likes it!
As with all good things there are limitations. A word of caution: Nutmeg consumed in quantity can cause hallucinations and in large doses may be lethal. Not more than a pinch per serving or half teaspoon in a recipe is recommended. It should be used sparingly and should not be given to children.
I think every woman wants beautiful skin and in order for your skin to be beautiful it must first be healthy. The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It needs to be fed, nourished, and protected just as the rest, and as harsh, dry winter weather approaches our skin needs additional nourishment and protection.
It is important to cleanse the skin with a nondrying soap and seal moisture in so that it can remain soft and supple and deter premature wrinkles. Although all of our skin needs moisture, our face is the most exposed and has thinner skin that dries more quickly.
I can’t stress how important it is that any products you put on your skin must be natural and non-toxic. Our bodies are exposed to so much pollution and irritants that every possible way that we can avoid them, brings us closer to being truly healthy.
Our Skincare Collection and other skincare products
Our Facial Cleanse is made with organic castile soap and other ingredients that moisturize as they clean. The essential oils of lavender and geranium have antiseptic and healing qualities that have long been known to improve the skin. The Facial Spray is a toner/astringent made from Witchhazel, well known for condensing the pours and discouraging blemishes. Lavender Cream is my personal favorite to moisturize the face. It is a medium to heavy blend of oils whipped into a cream that leaves the skin feeling soft and new. We also have Rejuvenating Butter an extremely rich moisturizer for all over and don’t forget those lips. Our Lip Balm is delicious, moisturizing and protects from the sun as well.
You are what you eat
So now that I have talked about nourishing and protecting the skin from the outside and about some of the products that we have that may help you, I must also tell you how important it is to nourish and protect the skin from the inside. Drink lots of good clean water. An organic herbal tea can do wonders for your skin and wellbeing. Raw dairy, yes raw dairy, builds the immune system, helps your body more readily absorb nutrients and will make you glow. Stay away from processed foods and eat naturally raised local meats and produce whenever possible.
Sweet Annie October 08 2014, 0 Comments
I have a big bunch of Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) also known as sweet wormwood, sweet sagewort, annual wormwood, and qīnghāo, growing just as you enter the garden. It is a tall fern like plant that isn't very impressive, but has a heavenly aroma.
I have been harvesting it and bringing it into my home where the fragrance is almost intoxicating. Sweet Annie has long been used to fight bacterial infections and is most commonly used in a preparation for malaria. It amazes me that such a sweet smelling herb can be so potent.
Dana, who also lives on the farm has been making grapevine wreaths intertwined with the Sweet Annie and laced with rosehips and tansy. They dry so well and are very pretty.
Fall is here and that means Winter is coming. One of my favorite remedies for a cold crisp morning is Elderberry "Shrub" Tea. Elderberries have wonderful immune system building properties and "Shrub" is an age old way of preserving fruits and berries into a beverage using apple cider vinegar and sugar. I prefer honey. Most of you already know the health benefits of apple cider vinegar and honey.
I take as many elderberries as I can find and place them in a stainless steel or glass bowl. Cover them with apple cider vinegar. Organic with the "mother" is best. Cover with a cloth and let sit for a few days to ferment, longer in the refrigerator if you like. Strain the juice and berries through a sieve and cheese cloth to get all the juice. Simmer on the stove with a little honey, raw local is best. I usually use a 1-4 ratio, you can always add more honey to your tea afterwards. Once juice and honey have condensed to a light syrup, pour into sterilized glass jars and store in a cool dark place. When a beverage is desired, use a couple tablespoons added to water or hot water for tea. It soothes the throat, builds the immune system and is very nice when you feel the onset of a cold.
We are excited to announce the launch of our brand new look and website. We are no longer just at the farmers markets and farm store. Our all natural herbal products are now available for your purchase on-line. We are just getting started and will have lots more to come. Look for our new products and experience many of our readily available products.
We look forward to providing our all natural, non toxic herbal products to benefit your good health and beauty. All made with love and blessings. Dina