Dandelion Citrus Jelly

I was gonna make dandelion marmalade, but opted for a fresh challenge of making a jelly minus any commercial pectin. The process I used followed - more or less - the process for making this Cramaillotte.

It all started with Mr. Spouse harvesting a small bucket of dandelion blooms. Many hands - even just four - make light work!
I sat on the deck, under the umbrella, in meditation, separating the "petals" (florets) from the sepals, doing my best to get as little green as possible.

This, in case you're wondering, is the same beginning step for making dandelion mead or wine (which we see in our future).
We ended up with about a quart of gently packed dandelion "petals."
I chopped up a very ripe organic grapefruit and a half a lemon to add to the pot, because that's what I had, and then added water to cover, which was about a quart.
It all simmered together, covered, for about an hour.
I strained and squeezed as much juice as possible from the simmered brew, ending up with about 3 cups of liquid. So I returned the strained juice to the pan with 3 cups of sugar (equal parts by volume), and ended up simmering it another 50 minutes 'til it reached a thick thread stage.
Then it all got ladled into sterilized, hot jelly jars, and capped with hot lids. I used the ::gasp:: European method of flipping the hot jars until they cooled and sealed, a process frowned upon my our USDA (which advocates the wasteful hot water bath, even for wee batches like this. Americans love waste.).

So we ended up 3+ cups of jelly, to make these four jars, plus another not quite full for the frig.

It's quite lovely, a bit of spring sunshine in a jar  and I owe my success to the spirit of my mother-in-law who I invited to join me in the kitchen, because she was the jelly-maker of jelly-makers. ::nods::

Peace. 🕊

Mid April Vernal Blessings

It was a sweet day. I was able to make eye contact with several folks, one to two at at a time, for short snippets, at extra safe distance. And I am grateful. 

At home, time in the gardens and greenhouse nourished me in ways that really can’t be expressed with mere words. A walk through the gardens and wild spaces (which overlap) delighted me with...



...Saint Joan’s wort...


...perpetual spinach...




...and nettle. Beloved, one and all.

And I count my blessings. And do my best to share them with others. 

Peace. 🕊

Vernal Emergings

We - meaning Mr. Spouse Boy, along with the dog, the chickens, and wildlife with whom we're blessed to share space - are making time, as we do every turn of the wheel, to wander and awaken with wonder. And this spring's awakenings are especially welcomed, despite the lackluster winter, and because of our shared COVID-19 challenges. Not to mention personal challenges that we all have to work through. Right? And so, because of and despite of, we gather the Medicine of the rooted life emerging around us...
 Yarrow: Even deep wounds can heal.

 Vinca and Schizandra: The heart must reach as it chooses.

 Trillium: Sacred patience for the long haul.

 Heal All: Make Medicine in the world.

 Tusilago: Fuck the fear and breathe easy.

 Butterbur: What Tusilago said.

 Saint Joan's wort: Chill.

Wild salad pickin's: EnJOY what you've got. Share what you can.

Peace. 🕊

Good Medicine

 Amid my own personal challenges...
 Amid the challenges of the world we all share right now...
 I am grateful for the emerging season of spring...
 The eternal promise that it holds...
The beauty it expresses... 
And the Good Medicine that it offers.

Peace. 🕊

A Tea "For Every Goddess"

I was called to mix up a little "For Every Goddess" tea blend this week ~ for a friend and for myself. A perfect blend for this full moon, methinks. And, quite frankly, anytime.

This blend came to me around 1999, though in a much simpler form. It has evolved over the years to the blend pictured here that includes red raspberry leaf, hibiscus, red clover blossom, linden flower ‘n’ leaf, rose petals, lemon verbena, peppermint, ginger root, marshmallow leaf, goldenrod leaf, Bermuda grass, and much love.

I challenge tea goddesses everywhere to play with this blend, to take it, add to it, take away from it, and make it yours... for the full moons, the new moons, and all the moons between. 

Peace. 🕊

Botanical Medicine Sticks

I've been making botanical Medicine sticks this week. Every year I make several for me, but this year I'm inspired to roll, and roll, and roll. I use them for smoke/smudge sticks with varied purposes, but mostly to invite energies into whatever space I'm creating. I also use them as altar pieces, to tuck into drawers and storage bins to protect the contents from moths and other vermin, and as healing wands. Or just to tuck here 'n' there because they smell so delicious. They have lots of Medicine share. 

These sticks pictured here are created with Thuja occidentalis (white cedar), Artemisia ludoviciana (prairie or sacred sage, and more), and Artemisia vulgaris (cronewort or mugwort), with one half including Achillea millefolium (yarrow), and the other half with two Monarda species (bee balm), all from our own little acre.

Since the ol' Thuja, or white cedar, if you prefer, needs a trim, I'll be making more, with 17 set as gifts for a special clan of healers that gather twice a year in my corner of the world. 

I may be inspired to make more, as the process is peaceful Medicine, and sacred creation. I'll wait for guidance from the plants. And if I do, and if they include A. vulgaris, they'll be made with mugwort from my friend Sherrie’s sacred patch. 

Yeah. I may be inspired. ::nods:: 

Peace. 🕊

Drying the Monarda Species

Beautiful Monarda, beloved bee balm.

It has hung to dry, and now it’s time to strip the leaves and flowers from the stems. Then it finds its way to be wrapped in a large cotton cloth, and then into the freezer it goes for two days. Once it returns to the air we share, it'll be finished in the dehydrator, just to be sure there's no lingering moisture, and lovingly placed in paper bags for bulk storing.

This is the only plant with which I’ve ever had a challenge with vermin. So the extra step of freezing the dried plant matter for 48 hours or so ensures that any little critters or their eggs are killed - with a blessing - and that I end up with a quality, bug-free stash of bee balm to see me through winter.

It is extra effort of grand worthiness. Even if I don’t deserve it, this plant most certainly does. ::nods::

Peace. 🕊