N O S T A L G I A
Since I was a little girl, nothing seemed so appealing to me than living deep in the woods, immersed with the plants, the cycle of the moon, the animals. The dirt swept clean with my broom and the leaves entangled in my hair. I wanted to be a witch. In fact, most children I knew wanted to be witches or let’s face it – felt like we were witches. I remember at around 7, speaking to the sky for it to rain and feeling the most awesome power when a drop, then another and another fell on my skin.
In the very back of our property, there was a large vegetable and herb garden as well as a large brick fire pit conveniently located beside “the witches’ fort.” This was an enclosure of twisted apple trees that not only formed 4 “walls” and a door, but a roof! My Dad laid the ground within the trees with red brick. I can’t really express how perfect this spot was, we had wooden shelves and stump tables and seats. My Mom actually let us have an old broom out there as well as an ancestral cooking pot (I think she regretted it later), some wooden salad bowls and wooden spoons. I didn’t really know what else you could want in life!
I remember walking barefoot to the garden, picking herbs and placing them in the pot with some puddle water while munching away on chives. Now, as an adult, I am essentially doing the exact same thing – still barefoot in the summer but making tinctures and infusions!
M A K I N G T I N C T U R E S
During the waxing Snow Moon, I combined our homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with all of our dried dandelion leaves and roots to make a super tonic! According to Mountain Rose Herbs, using a vinegar to extract and preserve a plant is an “extract” rather than a tincture (which uses alcohol) – but tinctures just sound so much more fun ;).
I simply combined dried dandelion leaves and roots in a large mason jar and covered with Apple Cider Vinegar. I stored it in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight (a cupboard) and shook it every once in a while, to make sure the plant parts were completely covered with the liquid. It sat in the cupboard for around 5 weeks (I mark it on my calendar so I know for sure). The vinegar extracts and preserves the potent healing elements of the plant as well as adding some super beneficial bacteria and enzymes (I’m not a health professional so don’t quote me on anything! I simply like old folk methods).
I decided to name them SAP MOON since I bottled them on the Full Moon in March. My calendar calls this the WORM MOON but that really doesn’t make any sense for where we live in the North East. Sap makes so much more sense since this is the time we tap our maple trees to make the most delicious sweetener on the planet, Maple Syrup :D. I also love the idea of working by the cycles of the moon for making concoctions as well as gardening and tending to plants!
I also love the idea of naming now all my infusions or herbal remedies the name of whatever full moon it is – that way I know the rough date (you can always check back online to see if you need the exact date) to know the age of your remedies. I added a little “2017” on the label in the case that it somehow gets shoved to the back of my cupboard and makes an appearance in 10 years ;).
A P P L E C I D E R V I N E G A R
For years now, I have been reading about the amazing benefits of natural Apple Cider Vinegar. I decided to try to make our own and now after learning how simple it is, I don’t think I’ll ever buy it again (or I hope not to!). We have one very old, large apple tree that produce hundreds of large, yellow, sweet apples (not pictured above, the above has the most delicious, crisp apples). I have no idea what type they are but I made several batches using this type. They are a soft, sweet apple ideal for baking so our cider is light and sort of sweet tasting!
D a n d e l i o n L E A F & R O O T
Dandelions are such bountiful and healthful herbs! Last spring, I watched the chickens go wild over the leaves and congregate around the plants. I began to collect the leaves and even dig up some of the roots to dry indoors. We tried to eat them in salad but I found them too bitter to eat fresh. And so, last spring I was determined to make an overall tonic with them in the form of a tincture.
B E N E F I T S (Information below taken from: Lust, John ” The Herb Book”1974):
” Aperient, cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, tonic. Dandelion has two particularly important uses: to promote the formation of bile and to remove excess water from the body in edemous conditions resulting from liver problems.” Lust, J. 171.
Aperient – mild laxative
cholagogue – agent used to increase the flow of bile into the intestines
diuretic – agent that increases the expulsion of urine
stomachic – agent that strengthens, tones and stimulates the stomach
tonic – agent that strengthens the organs of the entire organism
And so, my first ever REAL LIFE magical concoctions (that isn’t tea or just food). My childhood self would definitely approve. I have a batch of 10 of these little gems and thinking in the future, perhaps after the next trip around the sun, I will put some of my remedies in an online shop or just sell at markets, etc. Simply add a few drops to your morning water or herbal tea and you are golden 😉 (as long as you don’t have an allergy to ragweed..)!
FARE THEE WELL & MERRY PART !
(On one other side note, I am trying very hard to have regular social media ‘detoxes’. I have simply decided to not go on instagram (my only social media really) during the weekdays. I could write a whole other post about this because I think it’s actually really important but maybe for another day! I just wanted to shout out if you have noticed me absent… which I doubt anyone has… it’s because I am just choosing to be offline and seek balance in my everyday life. This is something that has sorely been lacking since I have a compulsion to check social media throughout my day. Thank you <3)