E-journal

Crafting with Moon Magick

Maybe it is the changing of the seasons. Or maybe it is the influence of the homesteading and green witch videos I have been watching lately. Either way I have been busy each day crafting, preserving, and making medicine.

Echinacea :: root medicine

Three springs ago I planted Echinacea seeds which bloomed into flowers each successive summer. Now it is fall here and I am beginning to harvest the roots because their immunity-supporting medicine is most potent after 2 or 3 years growing.

During the three days surrounding the full moon I have been preparing all kinds of medicinals – marmalade and teas and this immunity supporting tea with Echinacea roots & leaves as well as orange peel harvested in winter. In order to charge the tincture with the healing vibes of this most recent full moon in Virgo, I left the tinctures (sealed) outside in the garden to soak up the rays of the full moon.

Medicinal Marmalade

Since moving to this farm I have gotten to know a truly magical tree that lives on the edge of the woods. This tree is called Hawthorn and is abundant with medicine – flowers in the spring and bright red berries in the fall. Last spring I collected and dried a huge jar of the flowers and now I am working on recipes to encorporate the heart healing medicine of the berries.

Besides hawthorn, quince and rose hips are also in season so I made a marmalade with all three plus a little ginger & cinnamon to add some extra warmth as I we plan to eat these during the winter months.

I will post the recipe for this marmalade and pictures of the final product soon. Until then I wanted to share a few of my favorite magical channels that have been inspiring me, my herbalism practice and crafts lately:

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Gardening

Garden Journal :: Summer to Fall

Looking forward to the fall garden because, to be honest, our summer garden was not very productive.

In years past we harvested more tomatoes & cucumbers than we knew what to do with but this year only the basil did well, sadly.

But I want to be honest, gardening is hard and sometimes things go wrong without any clear reason as to why. I think, in this case, we haven’t had a good summer season because we tried to take on too much: we extended the garden beds, tried out new crops in addition to work and all the other responsibilities of our work-trade for living here.

And another reason might be that this is just a sign (one of many) that we aren’t meant to live here permanently, that the time to move on from this farm is coming.

So, this upcoming fall I’m committing to doing less and focusing on what I know grows well: leafy greens and herbs as well as scaling back to just a few, intensive garden beds and potted plants.

Wherever you are, and whatever season it is , I wish you luck in your gardening efforts.

Gardening · Herbalism

Making Herby Pesto : with wild greens and other “weeds”

Traditionally pesto is made with fresh basil leaves, nuts, olive oil & grated cheese but there are many alternative recipes that I am going to share with you in this post, including pestos made with edible weeds and garden herbs. Today I will be sharing my recipe for pesto made primarily with a common garden weed: Amor Seco or Spanish Needles – Bidens pilosa.

The recipe::

then I will explain step by step:
-1/2 cup roasted peanuts
-3 garlic cloves
-3 cups fresh Bidens pilosa or dandelion leaves
-3 sprigs of an herbs like oregano or rosemary
-3 sprigs of fresh basil or cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil
-Optional: 6 – 8 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (only if you will be using within thr next few days)
-1/4 cup hard cheese (like Parmesean) grated.

The process::

First I went out to the garden and picked 3 cups of fresh Amor Seco which is growing in abundance and will soon go to seed. I tried to collect mostly leaves with some flowers, avoiding the stems and stalks. The entire plant is edible but the leaves & flowers are best. Next I grabbed a few sprigs of other herbs – I chose basil and oregano but you could also pick rosemary, sage and cilantro.Back in the house I chopped the fresh leaves and put them in the blender. You can of course use a food processor or chop up the herbs super finely by hand which will take around 10 minutes.If you are using a food processor, add the greens, and all the other ingredients to the food processor little by little.If like me you have a blender and not a food processor, add the chopped greens and fill the blender with twice as much water, blend for several minutes then filter out the water with a tea filter or cheese cloth. Be sure to press the water out as much as possible. For regularl pesto with basil, a food processor is ideal but with more bitter, wild greens, blending with water helps release a bit of the bitterness without losing the nutrients or flavors.Next, toast your peanuts, pecans, pine nuts or whatever seed you wish to use.

Chop the nuts or seeds well and either add them to your food processor or – if you used a blender- to your herby paste made by the blender. Then add the oil, minced garlic and all the other spices listed in the recipe. I also like to add balsamic vinegar only when planning to eat right away or within a day or two.&& that all! I like to put the pesto in a cute ceramic bowl to accompany a variety of meals from steamed vegetables to pasta dishes – this pesto is delicious on anything!

The flowers are also edible:

And small butterflies love them too.

Herbalism

Oregano :: herbal and culinary uses

Oregano is such a common culinary herb that we often forget to include it in the list of medicinal herbs though it certainly is one. Oregano has many properties – too many to get into here though I do want to mention the main two properties I use oregano for: as a digestive aid and as an emmenagogue. Later on in this article I will also talk about how to cultivate oregano in your garden – spoiler alert: oregano is so easy to grow.

oregano

Medicinal properties of Oregano:

Digestive: when added to meals or drunken as tea, oregano has some amazing digestive abilities. In other words, this herb kick-starts your digestive system. You can prepare a tea when you have a stomach ache, gas, and even helps battle candida overgrowth (aka yeast infections). You can add fresh or dried leaves to beans, meat dishes, and of course, pasta! Oregano is an aromatic herb and ever so slightly bitter which is where the digestive properties come from. Personally, I love to add fresh oregano to pot of beans or eat with butter and cheese atop of steamed vegetables.

Emmenagogue: refers to herbs with that stimulate menstruation. I use about a tea spoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water and let steep for at least 15 minutes. This is one of my go to herbs when having a late or painful period. Not only does oregano encourage menstrual flow but also eases the pain of cramps. I would recommend drinking no more than two cups per day before and/or during one’s period. This is one of those herbs to avoid during pregnancy.

How to grow Oregano:
Grow in a ceramic pot or in a raised bed, in among the vegetables or in a herb spiral – in our garden we have oregano planted in many places but always with full sun & moderate water. This is one of those plants that really doesn’t need much care or attention and will slowly creep – getting bigger with each year.

How to use Oregano:
As mentioned above – I use fresh oregano a lot in cooking & tea. Sometimes I use fresh oregano alone but most often I use it dried mixed with dried rosemary and sage.

sage, rosemary, oregano

I let the herbs dry slowly in a shady, protected place then grind them down to go into a condiment shaker. This herbal combo goes on pastas, cheese-y rice, and potatoes, truly yum!

Further reading/listening:

If you have herbalism books at home, I suggest cracking one open and reading what that book has to say about oregano. And I also recommend the “You know Oregano” episodes by Herbal Marie which goes into many more medicinal uses of this lovely herb: here is the link to the episode. Happy oregano gardening!