Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Herbal Medicine Making Class in St. Augustine July 11th

In less than two weeks I will be teaching a salve and balm making Class at Maggie's Herb Farm in St. Augustine. There is still room left in our class so I hope you or someone you know be able to join us.

Saturday July 11th Class

Make Your Own Herbal Salves and Lip Balms July 11 Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Learn to make your infused herbal oils, salves and balms. We will gather fresh herbs for making
a wound salve, a pain relief balm and lip balms. Learn about oil bases appropriate for balm and salve making, and a variety of herbs we will be using for the preparations including Comfrey, Yarrow, Mugwort Lemong rass, and Rosemary. A hands on workshop Fee $35 bring a sack lunch. Class size limited to 10 people.

If you can't make it for the July Class, then maybe you can join me in August at the farm. We will be working with some of the same plants, but for making Tinctures, Linaments, and Syrups.

Saturday August 8th Class

Herbal Medicine Making: Tinctures, Liniments, and Syrups August 8 Saturday 10 :00 AM - 2:00 PM
Learn the basic methods for herbal home medicine making for your family. This is a hands on class in which you gather herbs from the farm for making tinctures, liniments and a cough syrup. We will focus on methods for making preparations, properties of herbs used during the class including Mints, Mugwort, Lemon grass and more. Fee $35 bring a sack lunch.Class size limited to 10 people.

All of the summer classes are listed on here. Please call the farm to preregister, and let them know you read about the class on my blog.

Plants and Aquarian Bath products will be available for sale as well.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Blog Giveaway & New Herbal Etsy Listing: Skin Soothing Balm

It is time of another Blog Giveaway. I just made a fresh batch of my Skin Soothing Balm with Fresh Yarrow leaves from the Fair Share Spiral, as well as Comfrey leaves and Calendula flowers.
This is a nice combination of herbs that I use to speed wound healing for minor cuts and scratches. It has been very helpful for customers with slow healing wounds and rough skin patches as well. This balm is now available in my Etsy shop in a 1.5 oz container.

I am giving away a 1 oz glass container of this balm. You can leave a comment here about this item or another item in my etsy shop with your email address for 1 entry. You can receive 1 additional entry for each of the following activities: tweeting this giveaway, following this blog or joining my Facebook Aquarian Bath page. You can receive 3 additional entries for blogging this giveaway or making a purchase from AquarianBath. Be sure to let me know in the comments anything that you did to receive extra entries. Be sure to get your entry in by July 21st. I will post back here with the winner on July 22nd.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer Weed of the Moment: Mulberry

Mulberry may not be the the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a weed, after all it is a tree. However I know from experience of collecting discarded mulberry branches that it is considered a nuisance by many home owners and renters due to its prolific foliage output in spring and summer. Mulberry is worth mentioning during the summer, because this is your last chance to harvest the leaves until next spring if you live in Central Florida. As summer progresses, the leaves will toughen up and discolor slightly. With cooler autumn weather the leaves will start to discolor significantly and then drop. Morus alba is the Chinese White mulberry which is the official herb used in Chinese medicine, also known as Sang Ye. Morus rubra is also common in Central Florida. As far as a understand at this moment, I have been using both of these leaves interchangeably with the same results that you would expect of Morus alba based on the Chinese herbal lore. Paper Mulberry, or Morus papyrifera, I avoid all together.

Mulberry leaves make a great food or beverage. The leaves are protein rich, not surprisingly as the Morus alba is the food source for silk worms. Young tender Mulberry leaves are cooked and eaten by nursing mothers in China. I prefer to wait for larger leaves to dry and use for infusions or decoctions for internal use. Michael Tierra suggests 8 oz of dried leaves in standard brews for adults. I generally prune my trees taking long branches to hang upside down in the house. Then I simply strip the dried leaves from 3 or four branches into a pot to simmer for about a half hour. Morus alba leaves are used in Chinese medicine for treating colds characterized by fever, rapid floating pulse, cough, sore throat, and thin yellow tongue coating. I use them more often for nourishing my lungs. They make an excellent beverage for persons with over exposure to smoke from fires forest fires, or exposure to tobacco. I would also suggest these leaves to people who have lost their voice or have to talk or sing a lot in their profession. Other people who can benefit from this plant are menopausal women or those with dry itchy eyes.

If you don't want to try Mulberry internally that is okay, we can also use it externally. You can collect leaves instead to use for external beauty care. Mulberry leaves are the main ingredient in many Chinese 'ancient secret beauty formulas' for hair and beauty care. Collect some mulberry leaves and experiment. You could make a mulberry decoction for a clarifying hair rinse. Actulaly, Mulberry leaf decoction is precisely the Empress Dowager CiXi's Shampoo Formula from the Qing Dynasty. It was said to strengthen hair and promote hair growth. Make an mulberry leaf infused oil for a lotion or salve base. I've used it in the past in my skin soothing salve. Or you can make a mulberry infused Apple Cider Vinegar for body care. Herbal vinegar diluted 1:1 with water would make a great toner or the vinegar could be added to the bath. I have a nice Rose Geranium Hair Rinse that I make and next will be putting one up with the Lemongrass and Mulberry leaves that are ready to harvest.

Enjoy, and cheers to you as I sip my Mulberry leaf brew.

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Etsy Twitter Team Spotlight: Rocki's Supplies

I just wanted to take a moment to Point all you jewelry makers over to a great supply shop on Etsy, RockisSupplies.etsy.com.

Rocki is a great person and makes beautiful metal findings for jewelry makers.

She is being interviewed on our Etsy Twitter Team Blog at this moment. Have a look to learn more about Rocki and what inspires her creations.

Special Offer for this week only: For any purchase made during the week of this blog feature, she will include a small free sample, one per customer. All you have to do is mention you found her via the "Twitter Blog Feature" in "Message to Seller" at time of purchase.

Follow her on Twitter: @RockisMetalwork
Read more on her blog: RockisRocknBeads.blogspot.com

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Keeping Cool Tips and Trip to Silver Glen Springs

Wishing you all a Happy Belated Solstice to all and Happy New Moon! The last few days have been terribly hot, and I'm feeling rejuvenated after a trip to Silver Glen Spring. I try to live in Florida as a natural person, that is without Air Conditioning. Living with out AC is a good way to conserve energy and cut expenses. I also don't have to worry about having the ability to cope without it in the case of an emergency, as we have been known to loose power for days during hurricane season. So if I have been neglecting my blog a bit, I will blame it on the heat for now. Summer in Florida is my season to rest. I get much more activity done during the winter. It is hard to think about being in the kitchen to melt beeswax for salves, but on the positive side I don't have to heat coconut oil before making soaps in the morning. We had a nice rain last night, and I actually woke up cool this morning! I even had to turn off a fan last night and cover myself with a sheet this morning! Yay!

I will include a few tips in this blog post to my friends who I know are also trying to avoid turning on the AC (at least until the beast of August), but first my trip to the spring! Yesterday I had amazing escape from the heat. My friend Patsy and daughter Moira and I took a trip to Silver Glen Spring in the Ocala National Forest. The water was so incredibly cool and refreshing. I wanted to stay all day, but we had to get the little one out of the hot sun. Patsy gave Moira one of the SPF 50 full body swim suit and I put SPF 30 sunscreen everywhere else.

We all had a great couple of swims in the cold clear water followed by a walk through the woods.

The water was amazingly clear and there was a school of large fish at the bottom of the large spring. It's an excellent location for snorkeling. At the end of the forest trail you can see the 'boiling sand,' were there is a shallow spring in the middle of the woods. It looked like a great place for alligators to hide to me! I did not let Moira go down there, though most of the visitors ignored the signs to stay on the board walk.

Even with sun protection, it is hard not to come home with a little excess heat when you live in Florida. At the end of the day Moira had only a minor burn on her face (dark pinkish red skin no blistering) and forearms which seems to have faded out almost completely this morning. I always treat burns like these first with a little vinegar, then with my sun burn salve or fresh aloe. Last night I alternated all three. Having vinegar in a spray bottle is very convenient for treating sunburn or after first getting an insect bite. I use my Lemongrass Rosemary Deodorant spray which can double for this purpose.

Ok so it would be a little too indulgent to take a trip out to the Springs all the time to cool down, but a cold shower or a jump in the ocean or neighbor's pool (or your own) is great alternative. The following list includes some of my methods for keeping cool during the summer.

-Cold Showers! Anytime you feel overwhelmed with the heat you can take a cold shower or hose yourself down outside. The most important thing is to get your head and hair wet to drain the heat out. Then let yourself air dry. Letting your hair air dry will help too with water dripping down your back.

-Stay hydrated. Remember to drink lots of water or better yet herbal teas or infusions. Coffee and beer doesn't count.

-Clothing! Don't over do it. For young kids you can keep it limited to underware or cloth diapers while they are in the house. For myself I only wear the ultra thin polyester/chiffon or poly spandex blend tank tops throughout the summer. Cotton or hemp fabrics just keeps too much heat in.

-Shade. Is your house shaded? If not then there is no better day than today to plant some shade trees. Pay it forward. Renters especially, the tree you plant may not give you shade, but someone will appreciate it later down the line. Mulberry or Morus alba is a great fast growing tree. It looses it's leaves in the winter so you will get shade when you need it in the summer and sun during the winter. The leaves are also edible. I dry them and make infusions and decoctions with them. The leaves are considered cooling as well and the beverage is great when chilled. This year I planted sunflowers in front of our west window to give us a little extra shade.

-Air Circulation. Fans and Window Screens are a must. I recently patched our landlord's screen door with cloth patches and hot glue. Not the most ideal fix, but it did the job, and is certainly more function that it was when we moved in.

-Cool Snacks. We have been making yogurt popsicles all this month. The are a great cooling snack for kids or grown ups since they have protein, as compared to straight juice popsicles which are very high in sugar. Watermelon is a great summer fruit to have on hand. It is an anti-cancer food, which is also used in Chinese nutrition to prevent and treat heat stroke emergencies.

-Cold neck wraps. I keep my microwavable Lavender Neck Wraps in the freezer. I should really start keeping two in there. I feel like kicking myself every time I forget to put mine back in the freezer after using it. The are great to put on your neck cold if you want to sit down and read or relax for a little while. For a do it yourself practical solution on a budget you can simply fill an old sock with rice or flax and keep it in the freezer in a bag.

-Get a hair cut! My daughter and I both have extremely thick and heavy hair. It just is not a good idea for people like us to keep long hair in hot weather. Shoulder length is about tolerable, and I've pretty much given up on the idea of keeping it long like I did when I was living in Seattle. Having it long so that you can put it up is nice, but not if it is trapping all the heat in your head.

Hope you all have a nice week and stay cool. Please feel welcome to post comments about other good ways to stay cool. I'm sure I will appreciate any tips you might have.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Free Herbal Workshop: Making Natural Deodorants

Saturday June 20th we will be having a Solstice Celebration at the Fair Share Garden in Daytona beach from 9am -1/2ish. This will be a potluck and we will be sharing food towards lunchtime. At 10 am there will be a children's story time, a gardening workshop and and herbal workshop that I am leading.

We have an amazing amount of foliage in the herb spiral right now and I will be using the fresh Lemongrass and Rose geranium to demonstrate how to make all natural non-toxic deodorants in a Vinegar base. Deodorants are always available online and will also be available to purchase along with my other products on Saturday.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

My first Blog Award: One Lovely Blog!

I just received this "One Lovely Blog Award" from my 3peats this morning. Thanks so much for acknowledging my blog and giving me the opportunity to spotlight some of my other favorite blogs. As a recipient of this award I'm passing it along to 15 other bloggers who I visit often.

Carmen Bowe
Silver Apples of the Moon
The Essential Herbal
Alchemille's Secret Garden
Unique Women in Business
Etsy Twitter Team
Garden Plum
Witchen Kitchen Beginner Herbal
Garden Chick
Gaia's Gifts
Natural Beauty Workshop
Sagescript Institute
Brayton Homestead Interiors
On Ruby's Hill

Have a great day and be sure to check out my new Etsy Listings. I'm been taking lots of photos lately!

Lavender Flax Pillows: great hot or cold.

Flower Power Vegan Soap

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Catching up in the Garden

Eighteen days was quite a few to be away from the plants and chickens. There were 30 inches of rain here while I was gone. Luckily everything drained well and there was no flooding or severe leakage.

My Moringa Trees and Lemongrass are looking lush. Strangely the chickens have not rediscovered the Moringa since they grew up after the frost. I guess that just means more fresh greens for me until that happens. The lemongrass is bushing out so nicely. I started all the little bunches from a few stalks each just 3 months ago.

Speaking of chickens, the little peeps turned into awkward teen agers while I was away. I will have to add their pictures later, but the good news is they now spend their days foraging under the oak tree where they are safe from hawks. Buffy started laying eggs of course the day after we left. Her eggs are brown, but not quite as dark as my Rhode Island Red's eggs. Here she is in a picture I took of her today. She is the sweetest of the 5 chickens.

My raised bed is doing well, so I started culivating one more raised bed to plant later this month. In the mean time while I wait for vegetables to come in in my yard we are already harvesting peppers and zucchini at the Fair Share Garden, (tomatoes too if you count the green ones that I fried) for lunch. These are some pictures that I took on Saturday.

The Seminole pumpkin mound is going to be dense and productive:

Speaking of Seminole Pumpkins, I have a fresh batch of pumpkin soap that is back in stock. I've been playing catch up this week taking pictures of new products.

These zucchini rows are going to be awesome in a month or so. We are also growing cukes and Malabar spinach to the left and black eyed peas to toward the back of the zucchini.

The butterfly garden at Fair Share is in full bloom right now. I have been neglecting annuals in my garden for too long. I must add some. They are so great for attracting pollinators.

The herb spiral is really filling in. I need to add some rosemary and a few others that are growing up in flats, Some of the herbs that are doing really well in it at this moment are Lemongrass, Rose Geranium, Mugwort and Holy Basil. I will be giving an herb demonstration with fresh herbs from the spiral at the garden on the morning of Saturday, June 20th. Check back in or email me for details.

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