Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wild Crafting in Suburbia....

Today I finally got up the nerve to go foraging down along the busy street for some of the red clover that I have noticed growing so nicely along the road in the past few months......

Well, I was kinda convinced to do so by my friend, who insisted I should come for a walk as I have been saying I should go foraging down there for ages and I just never seem to get around to it.

Today the beautiful spring sunshine was a great lure.......and along with my faithful little helpers, we managed to gather quite a bag full with some funny looks from passers by in cars......Yep...that looks about enough for today.....

I'm so glad I went and my little helper here even managed to find some end of season lilli pillies to feed me! A wonderful walk indeed. Later today I plan to taste my very first red clover tea!

Herbal Blessings to all, Hugs ands smoochies xoxox

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Herbal Ally - Challenge #12 - Make a Salve

This challenge was to make a salve using our herbal ally oil we made previously.  I did not have any beeswax and was unable to get a hold of any for a while there, then a friend kindly gave me a few of the sheets of beeswax from her candle making kit.

I was at first unsure as to whether or not they were suitable and kept putting it off with worry as to whether it would work but after finally finding a great site online where I could order, the people were going to be away until the very day I happen to be booked to go away myself. I sent an email asking whether this would be suitable and they confused me a little more with quality etc. They did tell me however that about 15 sheets would be a kilo so I thought as I had never made a salve in my life and I really was a first timer that I would just go ahead and give it a whirl anyway.  I figured at least if I stuff up I am not wasting the more expensive quality wax anyway.

So armed with my instructions courtesy of James Green, I set to it.  I had to do a little creative maths to work out the amounts as I did not have a whole cup of tansy oil handy and I really did not have enough time to make some more as my slow cooker is busy with some Rosemary oil right now.

With the intention of using this salve as a rub for sore muscles, or rheumatism I set to it and I learned a valuable lesson through trying new things. This is what happened....

I grated up one sheet which I estimated to weigh just under 50g then measured out half a cup of the tansy oil. I added about 2/3 of the wax and put it on the stove on low heat and waited.

 I then did something on instinct (my lesson here) I added some powdered cayenne pepper to the mix (I now worked out this is a no no, I should have put it in the oil and strained it, which I am sure you all know but hey I'm new to all this!)

It melted away slowly and then I tested a little in the freezer and it was a little runny, so I added just a little more wax and waited again.

This time it was perfect and I poured it into a small jar, I do not have any salve containers as yet and then poured the left over into another jar. The smaller portion quickly set, the other was a little slower.

It was really interesting watching the salve set and seeing the lovely colour emerge as it did so.

It was all a bit magical really! Watching it creep up the glass second by second!

Until finally it was all set! And while I was most proud of my very first, lovely consistency salve! I had to have a good laugh at myself when I picked it up and saw the cayenne all nicely settled on the bottom! Never mind! Of course my first salve will be just for me! I rubbed some into my hands and my hands felt so soft and lovely afterwards! A fine first effort and a lesson well learned! Even if I do say so myself! Its been a great day for lessons for me today! :-)

I shall use my little jar of salve with love! 
I am so looking forward to getting more wax and some little jars and tincture bottles as I have also found some suppliers that are affordable to me! . 

I am glad I finally took the plunge and had a go! 

And really cannot wait till Spring when hopefully I will have more time to get back into my herbal ally adventures once more! 

Hugs and smoochies xoxoxo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Not much time for my herbs this week....

but still managed to do a little gathering of dandelion roots, mint, wormwood, tansy flowers, and basil. I have managed to get some mint dried and some elder flowers (late bloomers) too. The others are hanging in small amounts as Im not sure what I will be using them for yet. Wormwood like Tansy is considered a bit toxic so needs to be used with caution. I however of course plan to try it! How else will we ever learn?

I have been feeling very neglectful to my studies of late and have not had the time available to be with my herbs as much as I would like. I do however have some new reading material, some bought and some on loan. So hoping to find the time actually read them. Life just seems extremely busier than usual lately, and juggling children, homeschooling, my own studies and crafty pursuits is proving a major challenge. So, just muddling along and trying to tackle one thing at a time. This week looks like being even busier with several outings on the table so will see if I can manage to catch up or not.

Hope all is well in everyone elses world! Hugs and smoochies xoxoxoxox

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Still alive....well some of us are....

Some people bring back souvenirs when they visit new Well, I came back with some nasturtium and violet in slurpee cups! Yep I am very resourceful! LOL AND check out the great big bag of FREE Wool! Ahhhhhhh.....things that make me go Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

I have been very remiss in my studies of late, although I have been trying to keep up with a bit of reading here and there. After a very long trip came home to find most of my baby seedlings had not survived the cold change in the weather. :-(

BUT and there is a very big but here, nature and the faeries have fixed this little problem by self planting as per usual in the vegie patch. I noticed that though some of the seedlings I planted did not make it and all of my baby Tansy plants were gone.......the garden is full of a gazillion little Tansy babies AND basil and even some sneaky coriander. So I guess I will make do! I mean even IF the tansy did not self seed, I have enough growing here to last me a lifetime.

I have not had time to complete my herbal ally writing task, though I do know what I have to write.  I have been truly blessed with hearing her song! So hopefully I can fit it in soon!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. Herbal hugs,  xoxoxox

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Meditation attempt: Take 2

Twice today, I attempted to meditate with my Tansy only to have a certain young man, ahem, lets call him  Mr Bossy, try and stick his nose in.

The first time was quite by accident, I was standing in the morning in between all of my Tansy and closed my eyes for a moment and simply breathed in, my vision was inundated immediately with a bright white pulsing impression of Dandelion.

I have to admit, I was slightly annoyed. You see, he has been making himself known to me in a very strong way this week. I had given my dandelion vinegar to my daughter who moved this weekend and had planned to make more. Seems he was a bit impatient with me. I have been a little unwell and in my usual fashion when it comes to my own health, I was ignoring ALL the signals, messages, promptings.....what ever you want to call it.......that I guess he just got a tad indignant so decided to make himself heard in a big way.

When I opened my eyes I noticed that he was simply everywhere, pretty much competing with the Tansy, thats for sure. I looked at the grass and thought OH MY, if my man decides to mow this before I can get to it, I am going to have to kill him. Not that I would really do that but can you see what I see?

 These dandelions are huge (please excuse the mess!) and I am thinking that this time I will manage to get some roots to dry.  Its raining today, on and off, so I decided to start with collecting some leaves and flowers with the thought of making a vinegar and some infusions. Of course I went inside and got waylaid with the kids lessons and went to make a coffee when I get this indignant "Don't you drink that!" in my head. "Drink some dandelion tea! You know you need to!"  "Yes I do know, but I would really like to drink this coffee right now, I will get the dandelions later!" "NO NO NO NO....NOW!"

By now, you are probably thinking.....what a nut job.....but this really is normal for me, arguing with little voices in my head! This little voice was not shutting up .... Bossy little man! 

So off I trotted and collected lots of small leaves and some flowers, came inside and made my vinegar, and an infusion and then drank my coffee! I explained to his majesty that I would drink him later but for now I was having my damned coffee.

Fast forward to the afternoon, I have been shopping and returned and once again went outside and sat this time in the middle of my garden next to one of my Tansy bushes. I asked for a little peace and guidance and closed my eyes. I was partly sitting under a bush and holding her leaves in my hands talking to her and then I began to quiet and slowly breath.

Immediately rushes of green came into my mind and guessed it....he was back. Showing himself in lovely colours for sure but this time I was ready. In my mind I spoke to him and thanked him for his caring but pointed out that I am hopeful to hear Tansy sing for me and she is not going to do this if HE was there nagging all the time. I assured him that I would deal with him later. And yes I would eat him too.  Reluctantly he left me for a bit and I was able to relax and bond a little with Tansy and almost but not quite put him from my mind.

These ones are growing around a bunch of garlic!

All the time I am wondering, why is he being so forceful and demanding. I have never seen so much Dandelion in my yard before. It is popping up everywhere, even in the concrete cracks, amongst the garden, under the tansy and all through the grass. 

 And so, I went inside once more and I took some garlic and an onion and I fried him up and ate him for lunch. I stored and labeled my vinegar and left the infusion on the counter to drink later.

Oh Mr Bossy Boots........ you are rather lovely! But tomorrow you really must allow me a little time with Tansy okay?

So today, my friends,  I leave you with Dandelion Blessings! Bossy ones to boot!  What a delightful herbal spirit! Bossy but sweet!

Much love and light to all. 
Hugs and smoochies xoxoxox

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Simply Tansy.....

I am unable to do my meditations as yet due to a lot of family business happening's, there is just no time for quiet time....I am hoping to get started next week! :-) For now I have had to console myself with just a few shots of things as they are......simply growing without much interference!
So looking forward to some pre-planned garden time next week. 

Herbal Blessings xoxox

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quick catch up

Namaste lovelies!

I woke up with the worst sludgy head this morning! And after doing a little reading on Coltsfoot and On the links for our herbal ally meditations. I found myself nodding and yepping (this is pretty much how it works for me anyway) and wondering how on earth I as going to pull this off to get the full benefits!

You see yesterday I was all ready for it and squelched through the mud to find a spot amongst my Tansy and I sat and I breathed, and my breathe was a bit blocked, so I leaned right in and breathed in really hard, and then my precious dog noticed me and stood just aside and thought she would bark really loudly at me...followed by arrrooorooorroooooooooooooooo because I was not listening and all.  Seriously, I had just begun to connect and it was rather distracting! I totally burst out laughing and that was it for the day.

Today my breathing is not at its best and my head, like I said is sludge. I have been sipping on my herbal tea remedie and trying to relax and take it easy. A hard feat when you have things to do and don't feel like doing them.

So I decided to try some of that "retail therapy" everyone goes on about...considering I loathe shopping (unless its crawling about an op shop, even then my focus is short lived), I totally visited the book depository and ordered a few books...LOL...yep...that took me a whole 5 minutes and I was done.

I ordered.........

Culpepers Complete Herbal (astounded at how many there were to choose from but I went with the one that had the English Physician and Family Dispensary thrown in instead of the nice one with the pictures)......and yes I know its all free online but I like a REAL book to stick my nose in.

The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook (James Green)

The complete Herb and Handbook for the Dog and Cat (Because I really would like to make my own medicines for my pets)

Healing Wise (Susan Weed)

and one for the kids

The Seaside Naturalist  (We are learning about the ocean and I did order this ages ago but it did not show up so I ordered it again)

and I did feel a little better! But so so tired. I am thinking I may go and lay down and read a little more and then go outside into the garden and do some planting if I can lift my self up of course!

Hope everyone is having a lovely week!

Herbal Hugs and Smoochies xoxoxox

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dandelion Delight......

I have been having some fun with Dandelion's this week......I have to admit that I never really took much notice of them growing in our garden. I mean occasionally I would collect some leaves for salads but for the most part I just went with the store bought salad mix so did not bother.

This week after noticing several popping up in my garden, I thought it was high time I collected some to make some vinegar....unfortunatley most had already seeded so I gathered the leaves and then went up in the bush foraging for flowers. I found a grand total of three so added them to my vinegar.

Later I thought, I should try some cooking and after googling a bit and not being satisfied with the recipes I found, decided to go ahead and just make one up.

Introducing Dandelion Delight......(my version of a dandelion pasta dish)

One Onion (halved and sliced)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 bunch of dandelion leaves
a little extra virgin olive oil
Greek yoghurt
sunflower seeds
Spagetti or pasta 

I simply heated the oil and sauteed the onions and garlic till they softened. Add in the dandelions and cook till just soft, throw in some sunflower seeds and cook for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in enough yoghurt to fully coat then serve it onto your pasta or spagetti. Sprinkle with nutmeg and enjoy!

My children all tasted this and said it was nice but they preferred to eat the meat sauce. My vegetarian daughter arrived home and ate hers then said it was lovely but the spinach tasted a little different. I told her that was because it was dandelion and she nearly died as she has been worried I might feed her Tansy, lol.

I overheard her telling her younger sister later "She could feed me dog sh*t and I would think it was ice-cream!" I guess I am going to take that as a compliment! LOL After re-assuring her that the dandelion was very good for her she was happy to say that she did enjoy the dish and that gee the "pine nuts" gave it a nice crunch! Oh dear, I really must teach this girl to cook, she is almost ready to leave the nest!

Hugs and smoochies all xoxox

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Challenge #9: Review and Vinegars Part 2

Although my Ally is considered to be toxic by most, I decided to test this theory and jump in the deep end so to speak. It has been an interesting week and I would like to share my findings with you via my journal pages...... (four weeks after making the vinegar)......

7.3.11  (morning) The Vinegar is now a warm golden colour. There is a distinct smell of Tansy mixed with the strong vinegar smell and it is quite pleasant.  Dipped my finger in to taste and it tastes quite nice too! Not as strong or bitter as an infusion. The vinegar mix seems to compliment the Tansy giving it a golden smooth taste. Once gone from the mouth there is a slight drying feeling that leaves the mouth feeling clean and fresh. I will take some with water tonight. I am feeling quite "aware" for sense of a better word, but that is not unsual for me lately. You could say CLEAR feeling. I learned this week that Tansy is also good for cleansing the kidneys so feel vinegar might be a good way to attempt this if you had a kidney problem.

(evening) Tonight I strained the vinegar and bottled it. I don't think it would be a good herb to keep in the vinegar as it would get too strong. Indeed I found this when I again tasted the vinegar around the actual leaves by swirling it around in my mouth. It was far stronger than my initial taste and no so pleasant after all.  Much stronger than I initially thought.  Kind of sour. I added 1 tablespoon to a small glass of water and it is much more palatable. Still drying but less so than on its own. I still don't mind the taste. I was feeling a little sleepy but now feel wide "awake" and aware.

8.3.11 Took vinegar in water before dinner. My appetite was not so great but I found myself quite hungry later and snacking on a chocolate biscuit. Not something I would usually do at night.  I also had trouble sleeping as I was once again feeling wide awake and more aware maybe. Had some soreness in the tummy which alleviated later. Then some very slight spotting.

9.3.11 Tummy a bit sore and uncomfortable this morning. Was awoken early so not much in the way of sleep last night. Thought I'd weigh myself as ACV is said to aid digetstion etc.........Took vinegar a little late today. Forgot probably as I was so tired. I was worried that I would not be able to sleep but did not want to miss my dose so took it anyway. It did not keep me awake, exhaustion won out and I was asleep by 9.30pm (early for me). I awoke early the next day and noted that I must have had a nose bleed during the night, just in the left nostril. Congealed blood so could not have been drastic but it did remind me that it had happened a couple of days before as well and I had not noted it down.  Not sure if its related to the Tansy or not.

10. 3.11  Took my vinegar before dinner again and felt quite energetic but again developed a tummy ache.

11.3.11 Menstruation started this morning, still sore in the tummy. Lost a little weight. Very uncomfortable feeling all day. Felt compelled to take vinegar earlier in the day. Not sure why, maybe I thought subconsciously it would help. It did not. While it did make me feel more awake it did not help with pain at all which by now felt more like kidney pain than period pain. Although I feel really heavy in the lower back so it could just be that.  Ended up caving and taking pain killers (also unusual for me but I have quite had enough).

12.3.11 This morning I still feel uncomfortable. Today I am changing over to morning doses of the vinegar to see if it makes any difference. I will continue on with this experiment till Tuesday if I can giving me four days on mornings. Although if this pain gets any worse I may consider stopping.

Something I realised this morning too was that when I take the vinegar or infusion my face tingles a bit just after. Not for long but its a distinct tingling feeling right up into my scalp. Followed by the still feeling or coming "awake" .

Since writing in my journal this morning, I actually feel a bit better. I have not taken any pain meds today and am wondering if I do have a chill in the kidneys as I do tend to walk around with bare feet all the time, indoors and out and it is getting cooler here. My floor is tiles downstairs and I remember my mother in law always telling me off for walking bare foot, especially around "that time of the month" she swore it caused all sorts of problems in the nether regions! Who knows? So see I am not entirely ruling that theory out and blaming my beloved Tansy for my woes.

Another note of interest. My flow is quite normal, not too heavy considering I have been taking the Tansy everyday. I thought it would cause a heavier flow. Interesting!

Also..after rereading what I have written over the week about feeling awake and aware, I am reminded of the stillness and the absolute calmness that comes with it. You may remember my thoughts on drinking the strong infusion that made me feel a very horrible "nothing" .....again I strongly feel that this herb would make a distinctive difference to someone who is feeling hysterical or suffering from depression. It definitely has a calming effect to it immediately after drinking. Having said that, I do wonder how one would administer it to an hysterical person though. Perhaps with a few drops of tincture under the tongue? NO I won't be testing that one on myself! LOL I have been known to be excitable at times but hardly hysterical!

I have been enjoying watching my Tansy seeds sprout daily. This was taken a couple of days back and now the seedlings in the back (seed raising mix) are bigger than those in the front (dirt from my chickens coop).  One has to wonder what is in that particular mix? The seeds in the cotton wool have also sprouted and are a darker green than the others. Some in the chicken dirt are now beginning to grow some newer leaves which are a little more triangular in shape!

Will try and take some more pics as they grown out! I have to take my boys away overnight during the week and I find myself dreading to leave my babies! Our weather is so unpredictable I am scared they will dry out! 

Now at the risk of boring you all with my wandering thoughts, I shall leave you in peace! My daughter wants me to make her some soup! Have a lovely weekend all! Keep safe and may your days be filled with Herbal Blessings! 

Hugs and smoochies xoxoxoxoxoxox 

PS.....For anyone who enjoys art, pop over to my other blog Karisma and Kids and check out my daugthers Mother Earth picture. Mother is on my mind a lot this week with all her grumbling and weeping! Praying that she finds it in her soul to settle!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WE have seedlings! Yay!

Just to let you all know that my little sprouts are definitely Tansy! Yay! There are at 10 wee plants in that first lot now AND my other newer batch has 8 teensy tiny little plants! Seriously they are so tiny you could be forgiven for missing them and I won't take another picture as it would be hard to see them! LOL! Excitement much? I have been jotting my excitement down in my journal. :-) My seed raising pages are in an autumn theme as its Autumn here now!

Today I wrote myself a to do list as I have so many things on my mind that I was getting boggled. In the process of me "doing" so much we did not get any homeschooling in today. The boys however had fun playing video games and playing in the kitchen with food colouring, bi-carb soda and vinegar! We found an old stamp book that was mine when I was a kid so they are now wondering if any of the "ancient" stamps are worth anything! LOL

I think I was being a bit unrealistic for one day and proved it when I had visitors (twice) and only got a few things done........

I started some garlic oil - which I plan to try leaving in the sun and on the window sill. (please don't look at the dirty window-how embarrassment!)

I also mixed up some Yarrow, Elder flowers and Chamomile and made some vinegar and a small tincture too! The tincture looks kind of green and the vinegar yellowish. Not that it shows the colours well in the picture! Interesting! Pretty murky as my chamomile was quite ground!

I dried a batch of my basil on very low heat in the oven,  as I have loads of it right now......

Was going to also make a vinegar with the fresh leaves and flowers but I did not have a small enough jar so will do that another day.

I have tried out my Tansy vinegar and I have been drinking it in water at night. It still has a distinct claming effect, like the infusion and tea and tastes quite nice. Now I am back to my to do list! Yikes I think it might take me a week! LOL...My girlfriend nearly fainted when she read it and saw it did not contain any of my normal daily chores!

Have a lovely day! Hugs and smoochies xoxoxox

Monday, March 7, 2011

Elder Reborn....

Some of you may remember me having a moan a few weeks ago when I had to rip out a great deal of Passionflower which was suffocating my Elder tree. (I posted some pictures over here) Well, half the main tree had died and broke off and I was left with a patch of bare sticks.....

This is how she used to look!

I was really upset as now is the time we normally get berries and I was looking forward to getting a bigger batch this year. But as nature would have it and father sun was finally able to shine upon this space, things once again began to bloom.

I have been very excited this past couple of weeks though watching the rebirth of so many fresh leaves and branches. They are springing up everywhere, from the cut back sticks to new shoots in the ground!

Nothing like a bit of herb loving to get things back on track again! Hugs and smoochies all xoxox

You might like the pictures in this post too.....(In the night garden).....lots of my herbs in these ones. :-)