the most wonderful time of the year {spring ephemerals}

Nothing helps to lift me up at the end of a stressful week like spending some time outdoors.

This time of the year in particular is one of my absolute favorites for geeking out with  plants — the ephemeral wildflowers only show up for a short time each year, and it thrills me to find them! As soon as the leaves branch out completely, the forest floor is too dark to support these beauties.

I was worried that I might miss them this year being about to have a baby any day, but I waddled my 39+ week pregnant body to the woods yesterday and was happy to see how much is already in bloom.

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Red trilliums…

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Trout lily after trout lily…

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Spring beauties…

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And the chicken pox queen finding spring beauties, too…She’s getting to be quite good at plant identification!

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Hepatica…

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Virginia bluebells…

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Squirrel corn…

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Cut-leaved toothwort and spring beauties…

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Blue cohosh…

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And of course ramps…

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What spring wildflowers are showing up where you live?

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Summer Wellness

The days are long and full.

It seems I am filling every moment with work around the farm, food preparation, and in fun family outings. Recently we went camping at the Pollination Festival in Kentucky while stopping for a day in Columbus where we visited the Botanical Garden.

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We also have been very busy around the farm, and I hope to do an update on our farm happenings soon (goats, gardens, solar panels, oh my!)!  However, I have trouble finding time to sit down on the computer and blog very much when there’s so much to do outdoors this time of year.

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One of the things that I’ve been creating is this summer’s share of my Community Supported Herbalism project.  I am really happy with the way the Summer Wellness Box turned out and I think it’s a great reminder that we must still take time to slow down and care for ourselves even during this busy summer season.

I’ve been having a hard time with that myself this summer, but this box is helping me remember how important it is to prioritize finding little ways to pamper myself each day.

And so that’s what this box is about…taking time to breathe with the pace of the natural world and delight in the gifts that nature offers us in abundance.  When you open this box, I’d like you to imagine wandering around my garden with me, enjoying the scents, colors, and beauty that we find while carefully harvesting plant allies to help support our health and beauty.

To that effect, there are a number of botanically-based gifts to help you slow down and care for yourself this summer.

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You’ll find an herb-infused salve to find relief from pesky bug bites and other summer skin irritations, a fresh skin serum with rich botanical oils to nourish your sun-kissed skin, and a honey + myrrh face soap to gently scrub away impurities while boosting your skin with anti-oxidants.

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You’ll also find a cooling cucumber rose spritzer that is best to keep in the fridge.  When you’re feeling overwhelmed with summer’s heat, take it out and spritz all over for a refreshing treat.

There’s also a delicious, herbal (caffeine free) tea blend that is full of vitamins and minerals.  It’s an awesome alternative to over-indulging on sodas or alcohol in the summer.  We’ve been drinking it iced almost daily, and have even made it into kid-approved ice pops.

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Finally, I have included some freshly harvested red clover.  You’ll learn more about using red clover when you get your box, but it’s an excellent source of easily-digestible nutrients as well as a traditional remedy for purifying the blood and supporting the female system, especially if one is looking to improve their fertility or ease the transition through menopause.

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You can learn more about the Summer Wellness Box and order yours by clicking here.  As a blog reader, you can even get 15% off using code BLOGFRIEND through August 15, 2015.  I hope you enjoy!

You can also learn where to find me in person this summer and get one that way.

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Thanks for supporting our small farm and dreams by purchasing a summer wellness box.

Happy Ostara! Celebrate Spring!

Regardless of what you like to call it, today is the Spring Equinox in the Northern hemisphere and we have again returned to a time where day and night are equal.  This time, daylight will win and we will continue to experience more light until the summer solstice returns.

Following the wheel of the year and the turn of the seasons is one of the best ways to connect with nature and to feel a greater sense of being a part of the all that is.  I find it especially whimsical and meaningful to think of my ancestors and other nature-based cultures of the past who would have felt this day on an extremely intimate level.  This balance between night and day means that winter is officially over and that soon food will be plentiful again — this is literally a time to be thankful that life can continue on. I think we still feel a part of this as we open our windows, spend more time outdoors noticing flowers, and feel a sense of renewed energy in our lives. The return of the Spring season still represents a time of renewal, rebirth, and fertility.

Luckily, even the idea of taking time to celebrate a day like Ostara isn’t all that foreign to most of us — the concept of rebirth and fertility as symbolized by eggs and rabbits appears in other holidays around this time of year (hello, Easter!).

Whether you celebrate it now, or in a few weeks at Easter, take a few moments to think of how and why these holidays began and how intimately humans have always depended on the Earth for our survival.

Usually, Ostara is a time where I’m just starting to feel like Spring might come again. This year has been a little different and Spring is in full force.  Here are some Spring-things that I’ve noticed over the past few days…

The magnolia tree is back! I feel like I should just spend all of my time underneath this tree appreciating it while it’s in bloom. It comes and goes so quickly!

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Adding Spring “weeds” to my salads!

Purple dead nettle and dandelion

Blooming flowers in the yard…

Windows open and Spring cleaning!

How are you celebrating Spring?

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