Comfrey & Chickweed Balm

I made time in my dispensary today. The room is still a shambles, but I cleared enough workspace to get at least a few balms made. When it comes to herbal balms, I use one jar or another for one thing or another every single day.

Today was for using up a 2007 preparation of infused oil of Symphytum uplandicum herba (comfrey leaf) before it began to show any signs of breaking down. It was still lovely and clear and so I mixed it with a bit of infused oil of Stellaria spp. (chickweed) and added a touch of lanolin and the bees wax. Once heated and well blended I waited for it to temper a bit before adding just a few drops of essential oil of Lavendula angustifolia. 

I think I may be in for a sweet foot rub this evening!

Oh ... and I'm sipping a very hoppy dark home brew at the moment.

Yuletide Spirit!!

At last the world around me seems to reflect the point we have reached on the Wheel of the Year. A soft white mantle of snow covers the Lady. Everything around us seems to be a sleep. Yet far above our heads he stirs, the Sun Child born again. The days begin to get longer and I raise my Glass in his honor......
This lovely little Spirit is made from Sky Spice Vodka, Disarrono Amaretto, milk and then garnished with whip cream and ground Cardamom and Ginger.

Red Clover Today!

I'm just finishing up my quart of red clover infusion. I'll soon be bundling up to head outdoors to get a jump on the shoveling, but none to worry - I have that aromatic spice blend already brewing to warm me when I come back in. 
That lumpy bowl you see is a plaster vessel I recently made (see here). The outside is speckled with calendula petals which I covered with a wash of yellow ochre and a glittering gold, and today I put a gloss glaze over it.  It will serve as an offering bowl in my upcoming Yule honor. Ah, the power of working intuitively and trusting the song of the green voices! 

what's brewing

today im bundling up on the couch with a pot of oatstraw-lavendar tea....and my newest manuscript which is now officially ten chapters and 23,000 words long!!

Warming Brew

It was cold and damp today.
So I put a wee bit of cardamom seed, cut cinnamon bark and 5 cloves together in a canning jar. I poured boiling water over them. They steeped. I poured and strained ... 

... and warmed my cockles. Whatever those are.

I continued to pour boiling water over these hard botanicals all day long. They continued to steep and imbue their sweet and warming verve into my beverage all day ... and into the evening ... and into tomorrow. If you prefer, you can simmer these toothy herbs together over low heat to speed up the process and make a strong and vibrant brew in just 15-20 minutes.

What did you sip today?

Nettles ... Imagine That!

Yes ... the ubiquitous infusion of nettle leaf ... Urtica dioica ... 

I drink this infusion several times a week. Today I brewed it early and started sipping only minutes after the brew was poured. Then ... I added more boiling water and continued sipping throughout the day until the last was poured into the cup only moment ago.

A wide range of the nutritional gifts are ingested this way, methinks.


What I'm sipping lately

I've been enjoying more tea. A sit down relax cup o'tea. Some of my massage tea that cleanses after a good massage, And some of my nutri-tea. A blend with nettles, comfrey, hibiscus and rose petals among other things.
I'm hoping to keep up the sipping slowly as my vacation ends tomorrow.
And what are you sipping?

What I'm Sipping ...

Well ... right now I'm sipping a brew of Cafe arabica (commonly called coffee) ... but that's not the point . . . 

To you Listeners, I have a challenge: Offer a post from time to time with an herbal beverage that you are enjoying - with or without a photo. In this season of increasing cold, I know you all are sipping warm and nourishing and enjoyable beverages. In this season of celebration and festivities, I know that many of you are sipping warming and enjoyable herbal beverages of the spirited kind!

So share your sippers with us!

To Those Who Listen With Us: Post your comments and share your green-inspired beverages too!


Listen Up Listeners!

I know that in this season of winter, much of Nature recedes (reseeds) into the spiral of darkness and quiet. Even so, as I stood in Nature yesterday there was much chatter ... 

... and oddly enough one voice asked about this blog. The query?

"Why so quiet?"

Physalis alkekengi

Do you recognize this plant? You are likely seeing it now, around these parts anyway, in harvest decorations. I most often hear this plant referred to as Japanese lantern. The common name I use is ground cherry. 

It's a lovely perennial around here that will take over a garden if you let it. It makes creamy white flowers in summer and then bright red-orange fruits that are hidden within the lovely, lacy, papery orange husks.

The berry within is so beautiful and its nature mirrors - for me - the many lessons and stories of this darkening season. I nibble on these autumn fruits and find them delightful. Some folks don't care the tart autumn flavor, and I've heard that too many can cause tummy aches. I've never experienced this and - quite frankly - too many berries of any kind are likely to inspire tummy upset.

Phytolacca americana

Commonly called Poke 'round these parts, this plant is BIG medicine. The berries and the root. I hope you can see the root communicating this fact in this photo.

If you still have any doubt about what BIG medicine this plant holds, or the respect that it deserves, go harvest a root.

October Honor

I gave thanks and offered honor as I harvested two more trays of calendula for drying today. This could be the last calendula harvest of significance.

I gave thanks and offered honor as I harvested the last of the catmint for drying.
I took the milkweed pod from the Platt Hill walk and set it outdoors. I gave thanks to the spirit of the plant as I asked that a few (or several) seeds plant themselves on my little acre.  

I enjoyed a pot of a new favored tea ... sweet basil and peppermint as I gave thanks and offered honor for all that I am.

Platt Hill Weed Walk

I found Crataegus spp. dropping leaves and offering up ripe berries. You might know it as hawthorne. 
I found the fading plants and changing leaves of Hamamelis virginiana, commonly called witch hazel. 
I found an Asclepias spp. seed pod, the common milkweed 'round these parts and was reminded of harvesting the young stems in spring to simmer like asparagus. 
I found two species of oak growing side by side.

I found beautiful sugar maples in the midst of their drama.

I found beauty and bounty and recall and dreams.

Aloe spp.

This is one of my green allies in full bloom! With just these images of the buds and blossoms, can you name the plant? 

Hint #1: I bring this plant indoors to overwinter. 
Hint #2: I consider this an essential plant for every home.
Hint ##: May be useful for Halloween costuming. 

It's an Aloe.

Unidentified Plant

Hello Fellow Herbalists,
I wondered if anyone can identify this shrub with purple berries for me. Is it something that can be used, and if so, what parts?
Ruth :)

Taste!Organic Connecticut

Sunday, September 14, 2008 - Coventry, CT 
10am - 4pm
Coventry, CT
Rain or Shine

Directions to Topmost Herb Farm

Menu & Food Information

Fall Festival - Organic Farmer's Market - Children's Activities Educational Workshops - Music - Craft Vendors
Food! Food! Food!

Admission: Pay at the Entrance Tent 
$5 for ages 12 - 80 
Free Parking
No Pets Please!

September Blossoms (& Berries)

The Earth, the Air...Well mostly the Air

Todays projects include beading and spirit..the melding of the elements....Those that run through our veins the earth that is our Body...the Air that is our Breath...the Fire that is our spirit...Thank you Rosemari for a bit more inspiration!

Lavender, Damiana and St. Johns Wort the sequel?

Alright it seems that my last post was uploaded incomplete. This is what it should have said:

I have had a great evening puttering about in the kitchen. Tonight I set in front of Cauldron and Flame or Pot and stove >wink<
It was a night of infusions. Oil infused with St. John's Wort and a Honey Cordial infused with Damiana, Lavender and Rose “witch“ I have playfully named "For the LOVE of Honey". I thought it was appropriate with it containing 3 herbs that all have love or lust inspiring energies. I made the first batch of the Cordial a few weeks ago to bring with me to BTW. I must admit that both creations were inspired by Mz. Giai incarnate Rosemari. Rose taught me how to create the Oils and I recall her telling of a special brew she gifts to the lucky and newly Handfasted as a gift for the Honeymoon. Both of these creations are gifts. The Oil will be going to a friend of mine who I met at Between the World last year and he is having a bit of trouble. He moved to Ohio and is having trouble getting his license switch over or whatever. Along with job issues and a horrible ex. He is a Massage Therapist. A job he loves and I really feel that it was his calling. I dont find it at all surprising that he has had nothing but difficulty in the new jobs that he has taken in OH. They dont fit. He found what he needs to be doing in this life time and until he gets back to it I think the Lord and Lady will do whatever they need to to get him back there. I thought that this would make an excellent gift to help him through and remind him of what a powerful Witch, Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner he is. The second ( Cordial) is to be shared with another friend hopefully very soon. Well not to soon because it needs to rest a bit and time to allow its Magick to meld. But soon because it has been to long.
Until we meet again may the Old Ones light your crafty Path!!!!!

Cooling Aloe

I love the way aloe adheres to the skin, creating a perfect cooling bandage for burns.
I "filet" the leaves, trim the spikes and freeze them in strips. They work cooling wonders! Plus you get to pretend you are the creature from the black lagoon or some such entity as you heal and mend.

Lavender, Damiana and St. John's Wort oh my!

I have had a great evening puttering about in the kitchen. Tonight I set in front of Cauldron and Flame or Pot and stove >wink<>wink<

Until we meet again may the Old Ones light your crafty Path!!!!!

thoughts, ideas and know-how appreciated

last weekend i took cuttings from the holly trees at my grandmother's house, the ones that were planted on the day i was born. leaving those trees is the one thing that makes me feel very sad when i think about selling the place, because in all likelihood, they will be cut down. originally, there were three, but one was cut down almost thirty years ago - right around the time i married my ex.

the two left are male and female and the female makes the most beautiful red berries. now i have twelve - more or less - cuttings, six from each tree. this week i have been allowing them to rest in the shade underneath the big pines beside the party-house. the cut edges are soaking in water and rooting hormone.

my plan today is to get the rooting mix... whatever it's called... as some sturdy pots. i hope to nurture them inside all winter, in a sunny southern spot that didn't exist a few months ago. (this has given my wish to have the renovations completed a new urgency.)

i have absolutely no idea what i'm doing, except that i would dearly love to have at least two trees to plant come spring. if possible, i would love to give any extras as gifts to people i know will cherish them, since i have learned it is best to be choosy about who one gives one's plants too, especially if you feel they should included among your children.

so if any of you glorious goddesses and gods of this green world have any understanding of the proper propagation methods of trees... please share?

What is this?


I found this plant and rhizome while cleaning one of my gardens today. Anyone know what it is? 

The WHC According to Rose

In addition to the weedwalk already mentioned, I took some other workshops at the WHC and I thought I’d better share some simple highlights with you while they’re still fresh in my mind and heart.

I should begin by saying that travel was shared with the most delightful crew!

The lovely Kate Gilday of Woodland Essence shared a bit of Tree Medicine and Essence with us. I always enjoy time with Kate, be it in song or in the woods. She inspired me to tap a maple in the spring, if for no other reason than to sip the raw sap.

A workshop with the very talented and motivational Leah and Chloe of Appalachian Rising got us moving and vocal in no time. By the end of this workshop some 50-60 woman danced together in the open field and sang harmonies to dazzle the gods.

I made time for the offerings of Mz. Imani, for she is an amazing woman, an inspired teacher and great motivator. Oh, and awesome drummer too. And singer of chants and playful spirit and toe-wiggler. Her Drum Circle was much more that “just” drumming and Helping the Heart of Humanity Heal offered the wonderful opportunity to take an active role in creating sacred space with other woman for the Saturday evening Wild Women’s Fire Circle. Time with Imani is time in blessing.

Sunday evolved as mostly free time for me, after helping clear the Fire space of drums, torches, candles and such. A hearty breakfast was followed by Spiritual Bathing with the amazing Rosita Arvigo, where we not only learned about a bit of history and herstory, and the how-tos, we actually all partook in spiritual bath together in the dazzling morning sunshine. Then, I wandered off to break camp and pack the vehicle with my stuff. Once done, I sat in quiet gratitude in that space our tents had occupied and this led me to follow spirit to the lake where I floated and swam until they “closed” it. Then lunch and closing circle.

I had packed my drum and thought I would opt to observe and witness the closing ceremonies. I took a front row seat on the side opposite the drummers and quickly gave it up to join them, as one of Imani’s drums called to me. I sat in awe and gratitude and love and humility in a giant tent filled with astounding feminine power.

There’s more and I could go on, but this is more than enough for this venue.

For any woman, I recommend this conference. It is nourishing, regenerative, restorative . . . you get the idea and it truly has something for everyone.