Friday, May 28, 2010

Calcite in the Labyrinth

Last night, my neighbor, Darla, gifted me with a large chunk of Calcite. She thought it would find a home in my labyrinth. It's an amazing and generous gift, from an amazing and generous woman.

And, just in time for a full moon, a thunderstorm, and Uranus moving into Aries! What timing! A dramatic clearing of the stone, the air & the energies, and the placement of a new powerful crystal in the garden.

Calcite is often used as a healing stone, primarily for kidneys, pancreas & spleen. It alleviates fears, reduces stress & balances emotions. Calcite grounds excess energies & has a feeling of joy and lightness. It is a perfect crystal for meditation, psychic growth and astral projection. Perfect for a labyrinth, I think.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baltimore Herb Festival this Saturday!

Today, we started getting ready for the Baltimore Herb Festival. Janna was packaging all of the teas that I blend. I was labeling the new batch of Nettle Shampoo & making lists of everthing we need to take.

This is a one-day festival, and we run from the moment our feet hit the ground that day. It's held in Leakin Park, a lovely setting, and is lots of fun. Saturday, from 10 until 3.

See lots of you there?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Working With the Dye Pots

I've kept the dye pots going almost non-stop for the past couple of weeks. In the foreground of the photo above is a rayon sundress & a couple of silk scarves dyed with Cochineal. Usually, we think of Cochineal (a tiny beetle shell) giving red, deep magenta or red-orange colour, and I did get those colours in the early stages of this particular dye-pot. I decided to keep working it as long as there was colour left, just to see what the progression would be. This is probably the 5th day of dyeing from the same pot. You can see that the reds are nearly gone, and more blues are left. I love this lilac-thistle colour!
These camisoles are dyed in Osage Orange from some sawdust gifted to me by a bow-maker. The camisole in the center was the first one into the pot & clearly picked up more of the orange hues. You can see how the color shifts with each suceeding piece in the dyepot. Such fun!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Nettle Soup

I spent part of this morning at the farm of a friend who has a wonderful and huge nettle patch. We harvested several large baskets of nettles & I brought my basketful home to make soup with. I always harvest nettles with my bare hands. It requires complete focus on the task at hand. Waver for a second and she will sting. It's a practice I love. Nettle requires undivided attention. And yet, I harvested so many nettles this morning that even I have 3 numb fingertips.

Here's a recipe I've been using for years.

Creamy Nettle Soup

A friend of mine sent me a version of this recipe from the West Country of England, & I think it's fabulous! This should be made with young, tender nettles, early in Spring. To avoid being "stung" by the nettles, you might want to wear clean gardening gloves for harvesting, washing & chopping. If there is any sting, it will be gone by the time the nettles are wilted. It is quite possible to handle nettles without being stung, but it takes a brave heart and unwavering attention!

Olive oil
3 Cups young nettles (use only the top few inches), washed & chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 pounds potatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
Dulse flakes or sea salt, to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 Cup plain yogurt

Wash the nettles and chop coarsely. Melt butter in saucepan, cook chopped onion until clear. Add nettles and simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into thick slices. Add stock to the nettles, heat & add potatoes, Dulse flakes & pepper. Simmer on low until potatoes are soft. Cool slightly & puree in a blender. Stir in yogurt & serve.

Recipe, copyright 2005, Sarah Campbell

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fairy Lights in the Garden

The other day, I was having a group in the garden for a moonlit labyrinth walk. I decided to string little white lights along the fence for a little bit of extra light and some magical mood lighting. I'm loving the way it turned out & am hoping that I can leave the lights up all summer. It really gives a feeling of a magical enclosure to the garden.