Friday, February 27, 2009

Herb Blog Group Contest

Welcome to our Herb Blog Group Contest!

For the week between Friday, February 27 and Thursday, March 5 you can enter simply by entering a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning a full year’s subscription to The Essential Herbal Magazine! The Essential Herbal is written by, for, and about herbie people and the things they love. It is a grassroots publication that talks about the things you want to know when it comes to herbs.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs. If you are already a subscriber, we’ll just add the free year on the end. Be sure to leave an email addy in your response so that we can reach you if you win!

Possum Creek Herb Farm

Blessings of an Herbwyfe

Garden Chick ***

SunRose Aromatics ***

Herbs from the Labyrinth ***

Patti’s Potions ***

PrairieLand Herbs ***

Aquarian Bath ***

The Rosemary House ***

Natures Gift ***

Torchsong Studio ***

The Essential Herbal ***

*** These blogs will be having contests for the next 10 weeks. Be sure to come back!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Asleep at the Wheel, Willie Nelson and Neti Pots

The night before last, we went to a wonderful concert, thanks to our friend, Floyd Domino. That's me in the middle of the photo, husband Will on the left & Floyd on the right. Floyd is the longtime keyboard player for Asleep at the Wheel, and the Wheel is on tour with Willie Nelson. Tour schedules are notoriously difficult, so we were excited that Floyd was able to come to our house for dinner before the show. He checked with bandmates to see if they needed anything before heading over to our house, and Elizabeth McQueen, singer & guitar player with the band asked for a Neti Pot! My guess is that she didn't seriously think Floyd would be able to find one, but of course I sell them at my shop! How fortuitous! Anyway, Elizabeth wrote about it on her blog - how fun! Here's the link to her entry.

Winners for Lover's Tea in OWOH event

The winners of the Lover's Tea in the One World One Heart event are (drumroll please) Renne G, Poohza & Paisley Girl! Congratulations!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Brighid's Free Faire

Last year my friend, Beth, invited a few of us to her home for the first of what has now become Brighid's Free Fair, an annual event! Yesterday afternoon, we held the second Faire at Radiance and had a lovely time. I think it's such a wonderful idea that, in keeping with my continuing blog posts about the celebration of Imbolg, I thought I'd write about it here. Even if you can't come to our Faire in Lancaster next year, you might want to think about holding a similar event in your own community.

Here is the wording for the invitation we sent this year:

Welcome to Brighid's Winter Free Fair

This is your chance to get rid of that extra bottle of Eye of Newt, or the tarot deck that just never quite spoke to you. Perhaps you have some herbs or oils, stones, witchy jewelry or bottles of feathers and fins that you want to pass on? What about the extra fabric or yarn that you haven't used for three years? Bring them to the Fair!
This is a free fair, so you don't pay for anything, and it isn't a barter fair either. We get together and put it all out there, and then we go around and pick up what we need/want.

When: February 8, 2009
Where: Radiance, 9 W Grant St., Lancaster
(down the alley from Dispensing Co.)
What to Bring:
Witchcrafty and crafty items and tools that you no longer use
Timing: Come between 1:30 and 2 to set up. At 2:00 sharp, we'll begin by
smudging everything to remove residual energies, then we'll call in
Brighid to bless it all, and then we'll open the Fair.
Food? Feel free to bring along a little treat for snacking
Children: Because Radiance is a store with many breakable items, if you bring children, please keep a close eye on them.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Brighid's Feast - the Main Course

Today, I'll post the recipes for the main course of our Imbolg holiday meal this year. They are both ancient traditional dishes from the area that is now known as Ireland or Scotland.

Imbolg is the midpoint between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, so the larders are getting bare. Potatoes harvested last fall are still edible, but perhaps getting a bit wrinkly. Clapshot is a wonderful, filling dish that turns very little into something fit for a true celebratory feast. It's a perfect dish to celebrate the fact that we did, indeed, have enough food stored to get us through the winter, and now we can see the promise of Spring as it approaches!


4 or 5 large potatoes, diced
1 or 2 turnips, peeled & diced
1 onion, chopped
2 knobs of butter
2 tsp Dulse
Pepper to taste
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch dried parsley
1 Cup grated cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes, turnips & onion in lightly salted water until soft. Drain. Mash vegetables with both knobs (a knob is about a teaspoon) of butter, dulse, pepper & nutmeg. Spread evenly in a pie plate. Cover with grated cheese & parsley. Bake at 400F degrees (200C) for about 15 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

The other dish we had for our feast was a delicious salmon, prepared in a traditional way. This can be easily prepared over a fire, or stovetop, and doesn't take long. So, when the clapshot goes into the oven, start the salmon!

Salmon Steaks in Oatmeal Crust

1 Salmon steak per person
2 beaten eggs
Pinhead, or Scottish oatmeal (chopped groats)
Butter for frying

Place salmon steaks in beaten eggs and flip to coat. Lift out, one at a time, and roll in pinhead oats, covering the entire surface. Saute in hot butter until cooked through.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Brighid's Feast - the Soup Course

Our Imbolg holiday meal this year was my favorite ever! And, thanks to leftovers, I managed to get 4 meals from it! All of the recipes I used this year are ancient, harking back more than a thousand years, to a time when all Britain was Pagan, and Brighid was much adored for the Goddess that she is. I wish I could remember where I originally found these recipes. If anyone knows the sources, please let me know & I'll credit them.

The Menu

Oatmeal and Onion Soup
Salmon Steaks in Oatmeal

Today I'll post the recipe for the soup. Tomorrow, hopefully, will be the recipe for the Clapshot.

Oatmeal and Onion Soup

1 large knob of butter
1 large onion, chopped
Dulse flakes
1/2 Cup pinhead, or Scottish, oats
2 Cups broth
1 Cup fresh milk

Saute the chopped onion in butter. Add oatmeal, dulse flakes and pepper & cook for a few minutes. Slowly add broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for half an hour, stirring every few minutes. Add milk and heat through, but do not allow the soup to boil again. Garnish with parsley & serve!

A "knob" is about a teaspoon of butter, so a "large knob" is about a teaspoon and a half.

Dulse is a red seaweed, that washes up on the coasts of the Isles, and has a flavor similar to salt, though it is much more nutritious. We keep a bowl of dulse flakes on our table, and rarely use salt at our house.

Pinhead, or Scottish oats are chopped whole groats, and are very nutritious. Many people who are gluten-intolerant (including me) find that they are able to eat Scottish oats without any problems. My theory on this is that many of us gluten-sensitives are of northern European ancestry, and we evolved eating oats, so this is what our digestive systems are prepared to process. Wheat, on the other hand, doesn't come from that part of the world.

For the broth, I used a vegetable stock that I had on hand. I think you could use chicken stock, or even water. If you use water, you'll probably want to increase the amount of dulse flakes you use for flavoring.

Ewe's milk is especially sacred to Brighid, but any fresh milk will work in this recipe. I used goat's milk. Imbolg means "in the belly", and is the beginning of the lambing time. It represents, then, a return to the availability of fresh milk for our ancestors.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Weaving Brighid's Cross

For those of you who sadly can't make it to my class today, I thought I'd post the directions for weaving Brighid's Cross. Have fun!

Using fresh or dried grasses, reeds or basket-making strips, fold the first 2 strips gently in half & link them, as in the top illustration. Then carefully holding those strips in place, add a 3rd & 4th loop, as in the lower illustration. I find that holding this first round in position is actually the most difficult part of the weaving, and a good snug core is going to give your Brighid’s cross a stable shape, so it is worth the extra care required.

Hold the shape with the central core begin adding loops by spiraling around the core, in the same order. Add as many rounds as you want & then tie the tips securely. Sometimes it’s easiest to wrap the tips with rubber bands or twist ties first & then add a more decorative wrap.

Hang your Brighid’s cross in your home, above any source of heat or fire, to ask Her blessing and protection. At Imbolg each year, weave new crosses and burn the old ones, giving thanks to Brighid for her protection.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blending Herbal Teas

Join Tina & Sarah for this fun and informative class. What is a tisane? An infusion? A decoction? You'll learn this and more! We'll talk about the properties of a variety of herbs and we'll have a selection of herbs available for you to make your own blend to take home! And you'll receive a copy of Tina's booklet, Blending Herbal Teas!

Sarah Campbell, herbalist and owner of Herbs from the Labyrinth, and Tina Sams, editor of the Essential Herbal magazine, will facilitate this class, which will be held on
Wednesday, February 18, from noon - 1:30 ish.
Class will be held at Radiance, 9 W Grant St (across the cobblestones from Central Market). Stop in, or call 290-1517 to register. $18 for the class includes all materials.