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Let’s Bee the Balm

herbal balm

Borrowing from Caroline Casey, host-creator and weaver of context for “The Visionary Activist Show” on Pacifica radio station KPFA, “The world is on fire, so let’s bee the balm!”.

The idea of bee-ing the balm is why I started gardening with medicinal herbs. Besides being medicine for me, they’re also medicine for bees and other insects, animals, other plant communities, and the earth itself. Gardening (like veganism) is direct action.

I take it literally too, as I make vegan skin balms. I’ve been in that place where you try to be blind to an ingredient you don’t want that’s in a product you need. Using that product leaves you feeling, you know, not great.

That’s why I became such a stickler. It’s why I had to give up making water-based creams. They really require synthetic preservatives and I couldn’t continue to compromise my values, which in turn compromises any value I might give to my community and the planet. It stressed me out.

The gift in that was I had to learn my craft in a whole new way, to get more creative. Which led me to where I am now, making *plantastic* salves and balms that soothe the mind as much as the skin. I never hide ingredients behind a “proprietary blend” label. I’m proud to share everything I use and it’s all listed on my website and on the label because I want you to feel good too.

 

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Dominica, We Love You

Dominica

Hawkeye and I love the Caribbean. There’s no place we’d rather be outside of the garden.

We were shocked, stunned, watching as Hurricane Irma destroyed everything in her path. And now, with Hurricane Maria coming so soon after, so viciously, we are distraught and depressed. It’s hard to take it all in even though we are so far away.

The photo above was our first glimpse of the island that’s become first in our hearts: Dominica, the Nature Island; land of three hundred and sixty-five rivers, mountainous rainforest, a cerulean sea full of whale and fish, unique, unspoilt beaches, and lovely, lovely people. We planned to go back this Winter but sadly now those plans are on hold.

I thought I’d share a few photos to balance the images of destruction and I’d like to reiterate what seems to be the theme of the disasters currently happening around the world: People, it’s time to come together.

 

If you are able help, please visit the Dominica Hurricane Maria Relief Fund website to donate to their hurricane relief efforts. Thank you!

 

To everyone in the Caribbean, our hearts are with you!

 

Grapefruit tree on the walk to Spanny Falls
Grapefruit tree on the walk to Spanny Falls
The black sand at Mero Beach
The black sand at Mero Beach
Produce for sale at Mero Beach
Produce for sale at Mero Beach

 

 

A song Hawkeye and I are often singing 🙂

 

 

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So down on plastic

herbs for skincare

Hype. Spin. Noise! How nutty it is that in this age of information, we can’t tell what’s real.

My remedy has been plugging in to the garden. The natural world is the really real world, and spending time there puts the made-up, plastic world around us into sharp focus, showing it as a bit ugly and kindof insane.

I love watching friends’ expressions as I give them a garden tour. Everyone feels it when they’re surrounded by the plants- a bit of awe, a bit of swoon, and a feeling that this space is somehow different, special; more happy and relaxed; more real.

That feeling is what I love about things that are handmade with plants. The colors, aromas, textures! Natural feels so good! Why should we settle for synthetic imitations?

Keep it real.

 

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Beautiful, Bountiful Basil

basil lemonade

 

The big heat of Summer is here, the time that Basil begins growing with beautiful bounty! We’ve just started delivering bunches to the co-op and I’m happily munching as much as I can.

I’m a pretty serious Basil hound, using fresh leaves like lettuce and smearing pesto on anything I can. Good old sweet ‘Genovese’ Basil is my standard, but it’s fun having the different flavors of different varieties so we also grow ‘Lemon’ (makes an incredible sun tea), ‘Dark Opal’ (a purple-colored variety of Italian Sweet Basil), ‘Thai’ (a spicier Asian cousin that holds its flavor better when cooked with heat) and ‘Sacred’ (native to India, also called ‘Holy’ Basil or ‘Tulsi’).

Basil has been traditionally used as herbal medicine, and is good food being rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

So delicious! And it’s good for you! Enjoy some new recipes this Summer- you might get addicted like me but it’s kindof hard to see a downside to that 😉

Frosty Basil Lemonadehttps://www.vitamix.com/recipes/frosty-basil-lemonade

Purple Pestohttp://www.gardeners.com/Make-Your-Own-Pesto/7686,default,pg.html

Thai Basil Sangriahttp://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/thai-basil-sangria

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First Herb Harvest

fresh-cut chives, catnip and thyme

I might deny I said this come the rose blossom days of sun-filled June, but I love Spring the best.

(Wait, I already have to take it back. The rushing in of summertime in the weeks around Summer Solstice is what I really love. Spring is just thrilling in a different way.)

The garden is jumping up fast and we we were able to start cutting some herbs today. Chives are always the first to fully grow out, but our well-loved Sorrel isn’t far behind. We hope to be cutting Sorrel and Garlic Chives next week, so wish us some rain 🙂

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