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. :-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge #8: Starting Seeds......

Tansy can be grown from root division, VERY FINE seed or simply by cutting back an established plant to just above ground level. The plant will in this case just re-shoot and continue to grow a fresh new season of Tansy for you. It is an extremely hardy plant when left to its own devices therefore if you just want one plant, I would suggest this method of trimming back (before seeds appear) and enjoying the easy regrowth. These two regrew in about 3 weeks after cutting back the plants.

 Now if you are anything like me and entirely (well mostly) reliant on the faeries taking care of things. You might just end up with all three happening at once and a lot of Tansy on your hands!!!! Never having started Tansy from seed before, I opted to let a couple of my established plants keep their flowers and dry up in the heat. Last week I went and collected some in readiness for planting this week.

The Tansy seeds are harvested from the dried flower heads. The seeds, as I mentioned are very very fine and tiny. Quite hard to see. There are also quite a lot of them in each little flower head!

For my first batch, I decided to collect some soil from inside the chicken coop as it is very rich. I used an old egg carton and simply sprinkled seeds on top and watered once daily. This was on the 1st of March. On the 4th I opted to plant another batch using seed raising mix to see whether the sprouting time differed. I also decided to have the boys plant some on wet cotton wool to see how long this would take.

The weather conditions of course (as seems to be the habit lately) were not ideal. We had one super hot day, one humid day and then cold but dry winds, then rain and cold, then more dry winds. As you can imagine the soil kept drying out quickly so I have been watering them with just a little water twice a day.

This morning I was very excited to see one tiny little bit of green emerge from the first batch. I was unsure at first if it was Tansy as quite frankly there could be any seeds blown into that lot from the garden. But then, I saw another and another, 3 in all and one just so happened to have the tiny seed casing attached to its leaf. I was surprised that the leaves are roundish. Will wait and see what happens.

Fingers crossed that this really is Tansy and I am not just in a state of wishful thinking! Either way its fun watching everyday for signs of life.  If it is, I am interested to see how soon the leaf will change as each leaf tends to uncurl normally much like fern. Here is a baby that the faeries grew......

Ahhhhh New Life! It always makes me smile! Have a wonderful week everyone! Hugs and smoochies xoxoxox

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Challenge #7: Oil Infusions

Well it took me a little longer to get on with this challenge. You see I ran into a little problem in the fact I was not quite sure how I was going to wing it. I did not have any spare jars that I could use outside for weeks, or a double boiler OR a small crock pot.

I finally got out to the shops and saw this little mini (sort of crock pot) fondue pot and after deliberating with the shop assistant over whether it would work or not, brought it! It only has one setting so she assured me it would work fine.

My next obstacle was arguing with my youngest child over WHO got to use it first. He came running armed with a bag of cooking chocolate ready to go! LOL It is after all a chocholate fondue set and came along with all the trimmings and chocolate molds as well. He was just a little bit excited! As you can see, I won this time and he got to make a cake with chocolate icing instead.

I opted to just chop the leaves as I  did not want to make it too strong. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would use the actual oil for and ended up leaving it in the pot for around 16 hours turned on. It was warm but not hot so I began to wonder if it actually worked or not. Does it need to get really hot or boil using this method? This is the very first oil I have ever made so I was not too sure. I opted to leave it there for longer but turned it off.

The smell was more like the virgin olive oil I used than Tansy, although the kids said they could smell it. Maybe I am too used to the smell now that it does not seem as strong?

Anyway, when my husband came in from surfing this morning, he had injured his leg. Thinking it was a pulled muscle he tried some tiger balm but an hour later it felt worse. I happened to think about my oil sitting there waiting to be strained, wondering if it was ready, and him whinging for a massage when I remember reading that Tansy was good for Rheumatism, well what the heck I thought, lets give it a go. So I scooped some out, did not tell him anything and went ahead and massaged his leg with the oil.

He felt better and went out again in the afternoon only to have it get worse. Once again I massaged it with the oil and he got up and said it felt much better. Not sure if it was the oil or the massage but he is asking for just one more before he goes to sleep tonight in hopes it will be better by morning. So this batch of Tansy oil will be set aside just for sore muscles etc.

I am thinking I will not make much in the way of Tansy oil, with all the vinegars, tinctures and such I don't want to have an overload that won't get used. I will however try to make some oils outdoors with other herbs.

I have started one lot of seeds this week and plan to start some more tomorrow. I plan to give some away if I end up with too many plants. Our small yard currently has Tansy in every stage of growth here. I am planning on starting the second lot with a different soil to see if it bears any difference.

Herby hugs all round xoxoxoxxo