Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Dandelion Dreams in the Still Room

Spring is here!  At least in my part of the world.  Dandelions are popping up all over the place and I am gathering them when I have opportunity.

Dandelion Pesto is one of the recipes in Alchemy of Herbs, which I just received yesterday.  I'm loving this book so far!  So much herbal information along with lots of recipes makes it a keeper for the still room library.

I'm also planning to infuse dandelion flowers in oil and make Dandelion Salve.

And of course I'll dry leaves for tea, and who knows, maybe I'll collect enough blossoms to make Dandelion Jelly. 

I saw some really cute necklaces on Pinterest made with dandelion seeds.  Little wishes captured beautifully! So many things you can do with a simple dandelion!

How about you?  Do you gather dandelions?  What's your favorite way to use them?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Springtime in the Still Room

I love springtime!  Wildflowers are beginning to bloom here and my favorite wild herbs are in abundance right now- dandelion, chickweed, plantain, shepherd's purse, cleavers are all growing literally right outside my front door.  That is a blessing in my book.

The roses are beginning to blossom as well.  They are delightful for gathering and adding to morning tea or a bath potion.

I'm finishing up the Materia Medica course at the Herbal Academy this month. It's not available currently, but you can sign up to be notified when they offer it again.   My youngest daughter and I are working on ours together which has been fun.  She's becoming quite the budding herbalist and we are making some plans for future projects that I'm beyond excited about.

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course is the newest offering from the Herbal Academy, and it is on my 'things to learn' list.  I've brewed kombucha in days past, and would love to expand my knowledge by making other herbal fermented drinks.  Mead is one I think would be particularly fun.

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

That's a quick snapshot of what's going on around here.  Oh, and I have a new raised bed herb garden that I'm anticipating filling with herbs and flowers in the very near future!

How about you?
What's new in your garden or still room?
What are you growing or making or doing this month?

Happy Spring!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Anticipating Spring in the Herb Garden

'Not Quite Spring' is a tough time for me.  Texas weather is unpredictable and one day it will be 70 degrees, with a dip down close to freezing, then right back up to 70's (or 80's!) again.  It is oh so tempting to get ahead of the season and plant tender herbs and things too soon which will mean scrambling to cover plants and praying they survive the last 'winter storm' that sometimes comes as late as April (we had snow on Easter one year).  

This year is even tougher because I have a brand new raised bed garden that sat mostly empty all winter long!  It was a gift to me from a very loving, generous friend who shares my love of gardening.  But, with busy schedules and rainy weather, it took longer to get built and ready for planting than we both expected, so no fall planting this year.  She did transplant some of the herbs from the old garden into the new beds- marjoram, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary, oregano.

New to me sage labelled Israeli Sage at the garden center.

Violas are my favorite cold weather flower- they bloom until it gets really warm here.

Oregano that is in need of some trimming up.

I planted the first cool weather greens a few weeks ago and am anxiously awaiting their sprouting.
I also tucked in some hardy herbs that can withstand the fluctuating temps.- 
sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavender, bee balm ... and I have a whole list of herbs to transplant and purchase to fill the remaining spots as soon as it is safe to do so.  

I check this list for a monthly to-do guideline for my area.  
This Growing Guide:Herbs from Old Farmer's Almanac is a good source for finding when to plant according to your frost dates. 
 If you aren't sure about those, you can find that info. here.
The first day of Spring is only 3 weeks away!  Time to get planning and planting if you aren't already doing those things!

What's happening in your herb garden these days? 
Any new to you herbs? I have a list, which I'll share soon!
What is blooming where you are?  Wildflowers are just beginning their annual appearance here.  I've also seen a few narcissus and of course dandelions are in abundance right now.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Natural Remedies Made Simple ~ Free Class

Interested in Natural Remedies?
Have questions about safety, usage, etc?
Love simple and natural things for health and home?

Sign up today for this free class!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Free Herb Class ~ Create Your Own Herbal Materia Medica

Working in the still room today- putting my newest order from Mountain Rose Herbs in glass jars.  In the photo I've tucked the label from the bag the herbs were shipped in into the jar until I got them all in their new homes. Now they have a proper label on the lid with the name of the herb and the date they were packed.  

Some of the herbs were for restocking the still room pantry.  And some are for the Free class I am enrolled in at the Herbal Academy-
Free Herbal Materia Medica Course by Herbal Academy

The Herbal Materia Medica Course is registering for Free during January! Stop by the Herbal Academy

The course is free through the month of January, so don't delay if you are interested in creating your own Materia Medica.  There is a companion journal which is not free but is optional for the course.  

I am just getting started myself, but I will be posting photos and such as I go through the course.  
I'd love to have some fellow companions along the way, please let me know if you sign up so we can compare notes!  

Blessings and Bliss to you,

Catherine Ann

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Favorite ~ Heart's Ease Herb

These are my favorite winter flowers.  Violas, viola tricolor, also known in the herbal world as Heart's Ease or sometimes by another common name- I've seen them called Heartsease, Johnny Jump Up, and Wild Pansy to name a few, are delightful.

They grow and bloom all winter in my area, often reseeding in the herb garden and out in the yard.
The flowers make lovely decorations for baked goods, a bright addition to the salad bowl, and when pressed and dried are beautiful added to a handmade card or bookmark or some other creation.

They have quite a reputation as a herbal healer as well.  If you'd like to read more about their medicinal uses, here's a link to a wealth of information at Botanical.com.  Just the cheerful look of their flowers is enough to earn them the name Heart's Ease in my book!

Do you have a favorite herb that thrives in your area in the winter?

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Still Room Essentials ~ Lavender

I love lavender.  It has become one of my favorite herbs.  It is beautiful, fragrant, and oh so helpful to the herbalist.  It is iffy in growth in my area, and I never have enough blossoms for all the things I want to make with lavender so I purchase it dried in bulk.

Lavender essential oil is definitely essential to my still room.  I find myself reaching frequently for the bottle of lavender essential oil.

I use it almost daily-

  • in the diffuser to freshen the air
  • for soothing a headache or stress
  • to stop the itch of an insect bite
  • in the bath
  • in lotions and other diy bath and beauty concoctions

I carry a bottle in my bag whenever I leave home.  You never know when lavender essential oil may be just the thing you need!  
The Herbal Academy has a very interesting article on their blog highlighting my most-used essential oil-

Don't forget:
The Back to School Sale at The Herbal Academy is almost over.  Sale ends September 18th, so don't delay if you plan to sign up for one of their excellent courses!
You can preview a lesson from the Introductory Course here if you'd like to see what you can expect from the courses.

How do you use lavender essential oil?



*affiliate links in post
15% off Herbalism Classes Online through September 18th!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

25 Free Herbal Resources

photo credit: unsplash

Our friends at the Herbal Academy have curated a fantastic list of 25 Free Herbal Resources.
From online herb books, printable e-books, free webinars, free magazine samples, to printable flower planting guides, aromatherapy guides and more- there's something (or several somethings) for everyone.  I love the variety and quality of the resources listed, and I especially love that they are all completely free!

You won't want to miss these great herbal freebies, check out 25 Free Herbal Resources today.

Also, if you are considering taking an herb course, there are still 10 days left to get 15% off all Herbal Academy Courses.  Back to school season is here, take advantage of the great discounts today!

15% off Herbalism Classes Online through September 18th!
*affiliate links in post

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Simple Herbal Cleansing Scrub

 I've been crafting herbal skin care items lately. I stirred up a batch of herbal cleansing scrub last week.  The original recipe for Miracle Grains is found in Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar, which just happens to be my all-time favorite herb book.  I've had it for many years and it has seen a lot of use.

 I adjusted the recipe to suit me and came up with the following:

Simple Herbal Cleansing Scrub

1 cup finely ground oats
1 1/2 cups rhassoul clay
1/4 cup finely ground almonds
1/8 cup finely ground lavender
1/8 cup finely ground rose petals
a few drops of lavender, rose geranium, and rose otto essential oils

The oats and herbs should be ground in a coffee grinder (one just for herbs if you don't want coffee scented herbs and herb flavored coffee!).  Then just stir everything together and add in essential oils if you are using those.  I added just a couple of drops of each oil to mine.
Store in a covered container to keep out moisture.

When ready to use, add just enough water or rosewater to make a paste and massage into skin.  Rinse thoroughly with water.  I like to follow with a spritz of rosewater.

When packaged in a pretty jar with a shell or tiny wooden scoop and tied up with a ribbon, these make a lovely gift.

What are you creating with herbs these days?
I'll share more of my herbal creations soon!



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Return to Your Roots

Herbalism Courses for all levels

I wrote about returning to my herbal roots not too long ago in an article for The Essential Herbal magazine.  Sometimes I wander away from what I know is good and healthy, choosing what is quick and convenient instead; then one day I look around and find I'm not living the life I want to live and not feeling as well as I could.
That's when I know I need a return to my roots.

I've done just that in several ways recently:

  • Rereading those herbal books that gave me my start on the path of herbalism.
  • Reconnecting with the plants themselves.  Tending the garden, noticing what wild herbs are growing around me.
  • Adding herbal teas and tonics back in to my daily routine, not just when I need their medicine, but as a daily practice.
  • Adding to my essential oil cabinet and practicing the art of aromatherapy.
  • Planning to expand the herb garden.  A wish list of plants and seeds is growing quickly!
  • Making a list of herbal gifts to create for the upcoming holidays.
... along with a few other things that I'm not quite ready to share just yet ;) .

How about you?  

Do you sometimes need to return to your roots?  

What helps you accomplish this?

What is one practice you are focusing on this season?

I ask all these questions because I really am interested in learning how others live the herbal life, please share your story, tips, recipes, ideas... whatever!



If you want to study herbs in a more formal setting, the Herbal Academy of New England has a great Back to School Sale going on through September 18th, click the graphic below to get 15% off!

Back to School Sale – 15% off Herbalism Classes Online!

(affiliate links in post)

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