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Can’t find Spring? Make it yourself

forsythia flowers

If you have access to a forsythia bush, you can make your own Spring a little ahead of the calendar.

Forsythia flowers will bloom early if you cut some stems and bring them inside. They’ve lasted over a week on my kitchen table and have been such a treat to have as we’ve just gotten another foot of snow!

It’s really easy- Here’s how:

Cut forsythia stems on a mild day when the temperature is above freezing and put them in a bucket of warm water.

Once inside, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot get in, will promote water uptake.

Keep them in a bright spot and you’ll start to see flowers in about 6 days.

Happy Early Spring!

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Signs of Spring

spinach and chickweed

We have a big patch of green in the middle of the foot of snow in the backyard- a bumper crop of chickweed growing in our cold frame with the spinach I planted last Fall.

Hawkeye still kindof thinks of chickweed as a nuisance, but for me, it’s a favorite!

One of the first plants to appear in Spring, you can eat it like spinach and it’s a very helpful medicinal. Awesome in bodycare too, I love using soothing chickweed in oils and salves for irritated skin.

Learn more about chickweed the way I first did, from herbalist Susun Weed: “Chickweed Is A Star

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World Fire Cider Making Day!

fire cider, tradition not trademark

Fire Cider is a popular traditional herbal remedy freely shared, made, produced and sold by hundreds of herbalists across the world. The remedy has taken on many different amendments over time, somewhat like chicken soup. Many people have their favorite version, but the base consists of fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish and chile peppers that sit in vinegar for the desired amount of time, are strained, and then a bit of something sweet is usually added at the end. The remedy is used to help warm up the body, and generally acts a stimulant and antimicrobial used during cold and flu season. Recently, a large company decided to trademark the name and is forcing small businesses who have made and sold it to change their product names. Some of the companies and individuals in question have made and sold this remedy for many years longer than the company that trademarked it has even existed. Many people feel this is a dangerous precedent to anyone who creates and shares recipes anywhere on the web or in books and this led to a filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office asking that the mark be deemed generic. Until the company agrees to freeing Fire Cider from trademark restriction, a boycott of their product has been launched.  -from the Free Fire Cider blog

February 2 is the half-way to Spring mark and is also World Fire Cider Day of Action. Join thousands of anti-trademark fire cider supporters by making your own batch and boycotting Shire City Herbals to show you believe traditional herbal remedies belong to everyone and cannot be owned.

Here’s the basic recipe:

fire cider recipe

 

I use golden cayenne peppers and substitute black radish because we grow those. I also love adding beets for that fiery red color and use maple syrup as the sweetener. Other great additions/substituitions to the basic recipe are:

  • Rosehips
  • Elderberry or Schisandra Berry
  • Elder flowers or Hibiscus
  • Leeks or Green Onions
  • Thyme, Oregano, Basil or Parsley
  • Mustard Greens or Seed
  • Astragalus or Burdock root

 

January 25, 2017 marked the 3 year anniversary of the Fire Cider trademark battle. For information about this ongoing issue and the boycott against Shire City Herbals, please go to Tradition Not Trademark’s Free Fire Cider website.

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Shiitake Soap Surprise

Unveiling my first-ever batch of Shiitake hand-milled soap. These cocoa butter soaps are palm oil-free, made with our farm-grown Shiitake, and naturally scented with Bay, Amyris, Ravensara, and Lemon essential oils*.

(*I think this blend was inspired by some recent island hopping in the West Indies- It occurred to me as I was cooking the soap. I’d originally planned a sage/cedarwood kind of thing.)

Soap takes several weeks to cure, so I have a bit to wait before I can start one of the best parts of my job: product testing!

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Good Soap.

Lettuce and Lavender Hand Milled Soap

 

When I’m not in the garden, I’m in the studio crafting vegan bodycare with herbs and veggies. Here’s my latest: ‘Lettuce & Lavender’ cocoa butter soap with poppy seeds for a little scrub and lavender, fennel, and marjoram essential oils for an intriguingly herbal scent. One of seven new blends coming soon!

Gentle, creamy, softly aromatic, handmade with natural ingredients. And palm oil-free. My idea of a good soap.