classes, Imbolc, Teaching lectures, Uncategorized

Classes for January and February

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Finally, I’m posting classes with some lead time, so people can plan. Here are the upcoming classes for January and February: note* I’ve changed the start date for the Herbalism 101 classes.

Jan. 1 – Community class – join me in creating a vision board or photo collage. Free hang out day.

Jan. 12 – Formulating Healing Teas – Victrola Cafe 6:30 – 8:30, $35 includes all materials. A foundation in theory for formulating  herbal teas will be provided along with several combination choices, caffeinated and not; you’ll take home a canister of your own mix. ( and if you feel really inspired, the Rainbow Remedies is next door as well as a tea store down a block)

Jan. 15 – Winter Field Trip! Outside, rain or shine, get to know Nature and our outdoors in all the seasons. We can find  herbs in winter; pine and fir needles and resins, and roots.$20. Magnussen Park. 11-2

Jan. 18 – Salves and Lotions – Learn to make your own salves and lotions. Hands on class; you’ll take home a tin of each. $35 includes all materials. We’ll make a poplar bud salve, great for pain and healing. Victrola Cafe 6:30-8:30.

Jan. 26 – Making Jewelry from Nature -Get creative with jewelry made from bits of Nature! Each participant will receive a pair of silver stirling earring hooks and clasp for a necklace, there will also be wire to try out wire wrapping. The materials costs of this class are higher, so this class is $50 and must be reserved in advance. Victrola Cafe 6:30 – 8:30

Feb. 2 – Imbolc / Candlemas – the Magic of Herbal Candles. Candle making adding Nature, celebrating the quickening of Spring and the return of the light with herbs and crystals. Location tba, 6:30-8:30.

Feb 25 – Field Trip – Sea weed – learn about the benefits and types of seaweed out at the beach. Instructional only (you need a license to collect seaweed) $20 Golden Gardens Park

 

 

 

 

 

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Dandelions, Foraging, Health, Plants, recipe, Uncategorized

Dandelions; the Sun and the Moon… and Jupiter

One of my favorite plants is Dandelion. If I could have only one plant in my garden, Dandelion would be the one. As I continue to study plants (a lifelong endeavor depending how far down the rabbit hole one wants to go……), I’m intrigued by the correlations earlier herbalists made between the plants and astrology and relating them to a person’s astrological chart as well as thinking about optimal times to use plants or harvest them.

There are herbalists today using astrology in relation to plants, such as Matthew Wood and Sajah Popham, whose course I covet taking some day. In the meantime, he has some interesting videos on You Tube, check them out .

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Looking at the Dandelion, out growing in the full sun, with it’s sunny yellow flowers, I would first say it’s ruled by the sun, but the other day it was talking to me about its relationship with the moon (white ball of seeds, almost glowing in the dark)…. It’s interesting that the plant embodies these opposite qualities, a reminder to look beyond the most obvious uses of an herb.

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It does have an affinity for the breasts¹…..if I think about its actions on the body, it’s bitter and stimulates the gall bladder and liver, and it’s alterative, more of a Jupiter action, but it also is diuretic and affects the kidneys, which is a Venus type action, and acts on damp, overly relaxed tissues…..however, it acts by stimulation, moving stagnation which is more Jupiterian, expansive….. overall, I’m feeling like it’s a Jupiter plant, which being the largest planet, is big enough to include some of the properties of all the other planets.

In general dandelion leaves are used as a tea for the diuretic action and contain potassium, offsetting the potassium loss that occurs when the body is stimulated to urinate more, the root is used in spring and summer as a nourishing building tonic and in the fall and winter for it’s alterative action. All parts of it contain minerals as it’s tap root pulls minerals up from deep in the ground. ( which is why it’s good to leave some in the garden, the roots pull the minerals up and the decomposing leaves make them available on the surface to other plants) It’s bitter taste stimulates the pathway of the Vagus nerve², stimulating the production of bile in the gall bladder and aiding digestion. I believe many of the food intolerances people have these days are due to poor digestive function because people don’t eat enough bitter and fermented foods, as our ancestors would have, which help to break down our food and make the nutrients bio-available.

It’s also a great culinary plant, whose nutrition hasn’t much been dumbed down by breeding as so many of our vegetables have been these days. The whole plant is edible. The flower buds can be pickled and used like capers. One of my favorites is flower fritters, but almost anything battered and fried is tasty! Oh, and dandelion wine from the flowers!

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Here’s a recipe:

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Dandy Veloute over Polenta

Ingredients:

Carrot Cloud:

6 large carrots, chopped into large bits

                 1 large russet potato, chopped into large bits

                  1 tbs. lemon juice

5 bay leaves

rest of can of coconut milk after dividing, see Dandy Veloute

3 tbsp. coconut oil

salt to taste

Broth:

shells from 1 lb of shrimp

1/2 cup white wine

6-7 cups of water, you want to end up with 6 cups after simmering.

or just use 6 cups of broth of choice

Dandy Veloute:

5 loosely chopped cups of dandelion leaves

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup broth

1 1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

Polenta:

2 cups dry polenta

5 cups broth, 1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the carrot puree cloud: in steamer pan add water and 5 bay leaves to bottom. Steam carrots and potatoes until tender. Add them and the rest of the cloud ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Put into a holding container, try not to devour it while making the other parts of the recipe.

For the broth: simmer the shrimp shells white wine and water for about 1/2 hour. Strain out the shells.

For the Veloute: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sautee the onions until they soften but do not brown. Add the white wine, then 1 cup of the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Put them in the blender along with the dandelions and coconut milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside or in a pot on the stove on low until polenta is ready.

For the polenta: Put the dry polenta into a large saucepan. Add the broth and water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until softened and thick. Stir occassionally to prevent burning on the bottom.

I sauteed a thinly sliced tomato and about a 1/4 onion in olive oil as a flavorful garnish to put on top. (optional)

Once all parts of recipe are ready: spoon polenta into a serving bowl; put a tablespoon of butter or butter sub on top. (optional, but yummy) Spoon carrot cloud over polenta. Spoon Dandy Veloute on top. Top with garnish if using.

 

I think Dandelions are my most photographed plants, lol, I love them so…..

dandelion collecting             dandelions 10-14

¹https://www.planetherbs.com/michaels-blog/dandelion-burdock-and-cancer.html

²http://www.md-health.com/Vagus-Nerve.html

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Natural Dyes, Uncategorized, winter

Winter Dye Experiments

While there are many things that can be done with herbs in winter, I look forward to the lull in foraging to do arts and crafts. One area I’m exploring is natural dyes. While I can’t afford at this point to buy all locally produced organic textiles, I can try to get familiar with the dye process, and hope one day to produce more of my own clothing. Upcycling is fun, but I still have to wonder about how the fabrics and dyes impact the environment where they are produced; in fact, I know much of the clothing we wear is toxic and environmentally unfriendly and in many cases produced by slave labor. You can read more about that if you’re interested, here.

Now the fun part; home fabric dyeing. I decided to use Hibiscus as an experiment to see how it would dye while making some Hibiscus tea, so these linen/cotton bits were dyed with the second brewing; there was so much life left in the tea, and it was so pretty I couldn’t resist. They may have come out darker if I had used the first brewing. Also, I decided to see how the tea would brew on its own and didn’t mordant the fabric before dying.

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Another thing I forgot to do was to check the ph level of the solution, so the next time I might do that and pre-mordant and see if that increases the color absorption. For most dyes, you want a neutral ph of about 7. “Mordant” is a French word that means “biting”. A mordant helps bind the pigments to the fabric. I’m pretty happy with samples from the vinegar bath and the salt bath. The straight solution came out a bit lighter than it looks here, but still useable, whereas the one that had washing soda added didn’t take much color at all! Although Hibiscus is full of vitamin C, which I would have guessed to be somewhat acidic, the acidic addition is the one that came out darker, so I will have to find the ph sticks for my next try.

My next try will be a local herb, Red Alder. Let me know if you’d like to see another dye post for the results!

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desserts, recipe

Welcome to the new version of my blog

This is the new home of my blog which will be focusing more on herbalism and art than my old blog.

I wanted to make something  a little more cohesive.

Some of the posts from my old blog will migrate over, such as some recipes and herb posts, but mostly it will be new material focusing on wellness, herbal knowledge, and recipes.

To start things out, I’m finally posting a recipe several people have requested.

Blueberry Lavender Popsicles

I can’t do dairy, so these are made with coconut milk with a little vanilla….. I suppose milk would work the same way. Next I add preserved blueberries. I use this recipe for preserved blueberries with lavender that I found on Pinterest. I put a few spoonfuls of the berries into the coconut milk poured into the popsicle forms along with a little of the syrup. You can add more sweetener if you wish. I used bpa-free popsicle forms, but I’ve read that they still have endocrine disruptors, so use whatever forms you feel most comfortable with. I like these cause they look like rocket ships, heh.

Then freeze.

You may need to run a little water over the forms when you want to eat them to get them to slide out.

Fresh or frozen blueberries should work as well, then you will likely want to add a little more sweetener. You can steep a little lavender in the coconut milk in that case and then strain out.

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Blueberry Lavender Popsicles

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 10 mins plus freezing
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup preserved blueberries and syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of choice
  • additional sweetener if desired

Directions:

In a medium size bowl mix together the coconut milk and sweetener. Pour equally into popsicle forms. Spoon Blueberries and syrup into form. Insert tops into popsicle forms and freeze for a couple hours.

Enjoy, yum!

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