Coltsfoot

I’m following the colts foot trail right now.  First the flowers appear, between end February and late March depending on your area, low to the ground and dazzlingly bright along the roadside, growing where there’s gravel in micro areas that are dry amidst the moistness that comes from being along the creek.  The leaves come afterward.

Black Cohosh

Actea Racemose or Cimicifuga Rasemosa, also known as Black Cohosh, Squaroot, and Snakeroot is a bitter and cooling perennial herb whose roots are known for their effects on 'women's issues' and the female reproductive system. I first heard of it as part of a labor tincture in Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing... Continue Reading →

Gourmet Herbed Salts

Salt. It has been around for a long, long time, with evidence of its use dating back as far as 6500 B.C. The British evaporated salt by boiling seawater from salt spri­ngs in small clay pots over open fires during the Iron Age. Salt was used as money by the many ancient cultures, including the... Continue Reading →

Golden Milk Cake

We love golden milk, with fresh turmeric and ginger grown locally by Paradox Farms and a few cardamom pods simmered slowly in milk.  But frankly, in the muggy heat of summer the thought of a warm beverage makes me shudder.  Recently, I came across a recipe for turmeric cake in The Washington Post, and it... Continue Reading →

Summer Peach Preserves

“Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall, if I can’t have the girl I love I won’t have none at all . . . ” Anyone else love Shadygrove? It’s certainly summer here in these shady groves of the Blue Ridges, and the scent of fresh, ripe peaches wafts through our kitchen, mingling with... Continue Reading →

Cilantro: Coriander by Another Name

Cilantro is in full bloom, a dazzling sight artfully arranged by hundreds of miniscule flowers dancing together.   It’s creating fruits now, which are known as coriander seed and used in almost all the sub-continental  dishes I grew up eating:  daal, curries, biryani, fish, kababs, none of them are without either powdered coriander seeds, crushed coriander... Continue Reading →

Chamomile

I start chamomile from seed, Matricaria Chamomilla or German Chamomile, and then divide the sets that come up, as the seeds are miniscule and next to impossible to plant spaced apart.  I sprinkle them on the soil as I would salt or pepper, then lightly cover them.  They germinate quickly and thickly, after which they... Continue Reading →

Hand Sanitizer

  In March, I began making hand sanitizer for my husband to carry with him to work.  Initially I started out with rubbing alcohol, glycerin, witch hazel, and essential oils, but we found this combination very drying to the skin, so I made a few changes. The CDC recommends minimums of 60% ethanol or 70%... Continue Reading →

Skullcap

I have Skullcap growing that I started from seed indoors under lights, then moved to a place in our garden near echinacea and lovage which provide a semi-shady micro-climate from their tall stalks in summer and also keep the ground cool and moist.  The Skullcap plants have been spreading from their initial spot by way... Continue Reading →

Bare Necessities: Tincturing

It's the heat of what's been a scorching day, the kind where one steps outside and within a few steps sweat begins to bead up around the hairline and next thing you know it's in your eyebrows, and you're glad to be wearing a skirt to wipe your face with. I'm headed to a slope... Continue Reading →

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