Community Herbal Intensive in Northeast Ohio at the Trillium Center

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I have been following the exciting developments at The Trillium Center for some time now so when fellow herbalist Leah Wolfe contacted me and asked if I’d share information about the upcoming Community Herbal Intensive, I quickly said, “Yes!”.  This is sure to be an awesome opportunity for all plant enthusiasts to further their study in a hands-on, community-oriented way.

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The Trillium Center logo

Here’s a little more from Leah:

The Community Herbal Intensive is an educational program for herbalists and other plant lovers who want to make a connection between herbal medicine and community health. The monthly workshops will take participants out into the field to work with plants or into the streets to develop community projects. This program is for anyone interested in furthering their studies of herbal medicine in a hands-on environment while developing skills for creating community projects. The goal of the program is to give participants skills, ideas, and strategies to start community projects that emphasize holistic health, folk medicine, education, gardening, and foraging. They will be introduced to the concepts of public health and liberation theory so herbs, education, and community health can be interwoven into well-planned projects. Get the application to learn more.

You can find the application by visiting this link on The Trillium Center’s website: Why CHI? With link to Application

Next Hands-On Learning Day & Updates

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Next Hands-On Learning Day: Saturday, May 23.

Come anytime after 11 AM.  Potluck at 5:30.  Bonfire to follow!! Free camping if desired! Bring drums, musical instruments, questions, enthusiasm, and your free-spirit!!

Now for what we’ve been up to and what you may find to help with….

With this being our first official spring on the homestead, we’ve been working long hours trying to get Phase 1 of our plans in place.

This year, we hope to have our educational medicine wheel garden up and fully functional, add 2500 sq. ft. of keyhole market garden space, and start our first area of food forest.

Progress with the medicine wheel garden...

Progress with the medicine wheel garden…

Making progress on the keyhole gardens...

Making progress on the keyhole gardens…

We’ve also added chickens and bees to the farm.  A few new barnyard creatures should be arriving this week.

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IMG_1643Ideally, we’ll also be putting in a greenhouse or hoophouse this season.

Why, you ask?

Because we are absolutely committed to being the change we wish to see in this world, and we are more eager and ready than ever to share why we love permaculture, homegrown food, herbs, and simple living with our community. We’ve been studying these ideas for well over 10 years and it’s time for us to share!!

Here’s the thing. This is a LOT for us to handle on our own.  We really need your help and we’d love to share some of our knowledge with you! And of course, we’d love for you to share some of your knowledge with us!!

Are you interested in permaculture? Sustainable living? Homegrown foods?

Bees? Chickens?

Do you wonder why a keyhole garden is preferable to long square gardens with rows?

Have you ever heard of a food forest?  Do you wonder why perennial crops are gaining more attention?

How have we done all this without tilling? Why have we tried to avoid that?

Do you know why this plant is one of the most valuable medicines in Ohio?

IMG_1765Have you ever wanted to grow your own medicine and are you curious about why I would have designed a medicine wheel garden?

Do you want to meet some awesome, like-minded people?

Please come visit us!! We’d love to have you this weekend for this next hands-on help day, but we are TOTALLY OPEN TO YOU COMING WHENEVER YOU’D LIKE!!

You can even stay for a week at a time if you need a country getaway!  We are open to anything!

Also, let us know if there are specific things you’d like to learn about that would help us entice you to our home!  We are open to any and all suggestions.

See you this Saturday, May 23!!

Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature

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Today you can find a guest post about my three favorite ways to feel more connected with nature on Dawn Gettig’s blog.  She’s an amazing and inspirational yogini, artist, and feng shui practitioner who will be sharing some of her favorite feng shui tips with us here in a few days.

Please hop on over to my article on her blog: Three Ways to Feel More Connected with Nature.

We also love to connect with nature by visiting some of our favorite natural places.  Holden Arboretum had its annual Arbor Day Festivities over the weekend and we had a wonderful time searching for wildflowers (I found some gorgeous bloodroot and twin leaf!) and playing in Buckeye Bud’s adventure area for kids.  Continue reading

Spring is on the Way {So is the New Herbal Wellness Basket!}

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You know we’re getting closer to Spring in Ohio when it’s 45 degrees outside and I’m pulling out the lawn chair to soak up the sun.

Yes, there may still be snow on the ground, but these spring rays are just begging for someone to soak them up.  I will. IMG_0811

In the past week, the bird song has increased steadily each morning.  In addition to the usual chorus of black capped chickadees and cardinals, I’ve even begun hearing the red-winged blackbirds outside.  This is surely a sign that Winter’s fingers are unfurling their grasp around Northeast Ohio.

With the warming days we’ve been out playing in the yard, and joyfully been exploring the process of tapping our maple trees.  We do, after all, live in the heart of Ohio’s maple syrup kingdom.

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Catnip Cloths for Teething

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Catnip: it’s not just for driving your kitty a little crazy.

Although its use as a cat crazy-maker is probably the first thing that comes to mind for many, catnip (Nepeta cataria) is actually a useful medicinal plant.  Historically, it has been used for a variety of childhood ailments including cough, asthma, and colic. Indeed, research has found its chemical constituents to have spasmolytic and bronchodilatory properties which provide support for this traditional use (see resources below).  There’s also evidence for its use as a mosquito repellant which is why I include it in my homemade Bug-a-Bye.

Traditionally, catnip is also chosen to gently lower a fever, settle a tummy, and for its nervine (calming) properties that can help ease little teethers (and their mothers).  Catnip, along with chamomile, is an excellent choice to help get through the moodiness that comes along with teething.  Baby LF’s molars are coming in right now and she is certainly letting me know!

I’ve been making Baby LF these really easy catnip teethers by dipping washcloths in catnip tea and freezing them.  She loves gnawing on them!  Plus, they’re really easy to make. Continue reading

Prevent Colds & Flu with DIY Elderberry Syrup

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There are so many great ways to support your winter health with herbs.  Starting with simple dietary additions (like garlic!) and ending with soothing choices to make your cold or flu more tolerable and shorter, herbs are my go-to for prevention and treatment.

One of the tastiest herbal allies, however, is the elderberry.

This shrubby perennial plant has been used as medicine for centuries to support health and well-being.  I often see it growing naturally in moist soils, but it has also historically been planted at the edge of gardens as the protector of the garden.  Even its name, Elder, speaks to its wise and respected role in our collective medicine chest.

Elder’s lacy, delicate flowers, and bright purplish-black berries can both be used for their medicinal properties.  The flowers are diaphoretic meaning that they help to lower fevers by inducing sweating.  It is a common ingredient in many cold-care tea formulas.

The berries are rich in vitamins C & A, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, beta-carotene, iron, potassium, and phytosterols.  They are often used in prevention and treatment of colds because of their ability to boost the immune system.  As an antiviral, they are helpful in treating upper respiratory viruses including colds and flu, but have also been used in treatments for other viruses such as herpes and shingles.  Elderberry’s effectiveness is not just an “herban” legend, but its ability to reduce the duration of the flu and to fight viruses has been published in a number of scientific articles (links to abstracts in the resources below).

As a food, elderberry can be consumed as a jam, wine, or in pies, but it’s easiest to use as preventative medicine or for treating cold and flu when made into a tasty syrup.  Luckily, it’s really pretty easy to do, too!  I even made a handy graphic . . .

Elderberry syrup Continue reading

Lately

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I think we’re finally getting close to having a rhythm again.  We are settling in to this as our home.

As everything around us blossoms and comes into fullness, so do we.

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Immuni-Tea: Herbal Immune Support (that’s Delicious!)

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Although we’re getting closer to the end of winter (I think…I can’t tell by looking out my windows today!), it’s still as good a time as any to talk about a tea that was formulated to help prevent the last of the winter (or beginning of spring) bugs that might still be going around.

This tea is very simple to make and it tastes DELICIOUS!

Previously, I’ve provided recipes for a honey and onion syrup to help with coughs, colds, and more, and I have also provided instructions for making an echinacea tincture.  The honey and onion syrup how-to actually remains my most popular post to this day.  Given that, I thought I’d also share this brew that has nipped this family’s winter bugs in the bud.

This tea is composed of three ingredients: echinacea (Echinacea spp.), pau d’arco (Tabebuia spp.), and an herb to flavor the blend (cinnamon, orange peel, licorice root, etc.). I like to use cinnamon — yum! Continue reading