When The Cicadas Sing

It is said that the first frost comes forty-five days after the first cicadas song.  It is close to the 45-day mark and we had a low of 43° just last week. We are still in September and the weather acts like a woman in menopause, super hot, then chilled.

Mood swings like this birth crazy weather patterns with the mountains either cleaving storms in two so it rains everywhere but here or they funnel the clouds right up the middle of the valley. Sadly, we get freakish storms that blow in, pommel us with 10 minutes of rain and then dissipate as if the storm never happened.

Poor, Split Maple Tree

Most times, the only evidence that something blew through are the sporadic wet parts on the pavement or the heavy, sticky feel to the air. Here recently, the aftermath has included a 12-year-old boy struck by lightning in his front yard (sadly he died) and random branches twisted out of our 80+-year-old maple.

I think it is safe to say that many of the old timer’s weather axioms will need to re-evaluated in the face of climate change. With exception to the brief storm that blew through yesterday, it’s been over 30 days since we’ve had rain.

What axioms do you look too for seasonal changes? Is this one you’ll have to re-evaluate?

A Shared Heritage

These ancient mountains share an origin with the West Highland Way in Scotland. Hard to believe, eh? I learned about this bit of geological goodness from a friend of mine who was recently in Scotland. She mentioned to her group mates that the terrain reminded her so much of the geography here that if the countryside didnt end in a cliff, she would have thought she’d never left home. It was then that one of those mates shared the history of what we call Appalachia.

We were once part of the same geological plate known as Caledonia; the opening of the Atlantic Ocean is what separated us from them; check out the full story here. Just in case you are curious, the International Appalachian Trail includes Canada, Greenland, Scotland, countries along the eastern seaboard of Europe and into Morocco.

Let that sink in for a few minutes. Learning that tidbit kindled a desire to create my own standing stone circle, similar to that found outside Inverness, Scotland. This would be on a much, MUCH smaller scale and I haven’t shared this idea with my beloved yet, I can just hear his eyes rolling even now!

Its no wonder I ended up in this place and have no desire to leave; there is an old magic here, that lives in the soil, rocks, and trees. You can hear it in the bird song and sit still long enough, see it in the wildlife as they move about you. And that is why I grow the herbs I need to make tisanes. These plants are all perennials and have a relationship with the soil, their roots pulling up not only the nutrients needed to grow and thrive but the magic that lives here.

Yes, you can get tisanes anywhere in the world. What I make here grows in ancient soil that carries old magic; to drink this tisane is to taste a remembering of the old ways. and I caution you to not be careless. old magic is playful, cunning, and can be outright frightening. These are small batch tisanes and once this year’s leaves are gone, that’s it til the next season.

Gem Elixirs

Using gemstones or crystals to heal the body has been a thing for a few millennia and was prevalent in Ayurveda. Specific gemstones are helpful for certain doshas and/ or for certain ailments. There is an amazing documentary on Youtube that covers this along with many other facets of Ayurveda and I’ve shared that below. HEADS UP – this is almost 2 hours and has subtitles. Worth every minute!

Gem Elixirs or Crystal Essences or Crystal Waters (pick your vocabulary) are used to help incorporate a stones vibrational qualities into your healing or magical practice. Today I am making a Citrine elixir to help increase thought clarity, enhance creativity, and magnify my will and ability to transform my dreams and desires into physical reality.

There are a plethora of ways to make a gem elixir; I am sharing with you my process and it is similar to how I make flower essences. Make the Mother Elixir first, then reduce the elixir down to a stock bottle and then possibly one more time into a dosage bottle. So keep this in mind when deciding how much water with which to start.

Let’s talk about water real quick. Water is a living medium and will reflect back to you what is said to it; it is well documented how the shape of the water molecule itself changes to reflect what is spoken to it. I use a Telos water plate to make the water more acceptable to the cells of the body and then set this water, with the gemstone of choice, in the direct sunlight for two hours.

Traditionally your Mother Elixir is a 1:1 ratio (water: brandy). You’ll cut this again to make the Stock Bottle, the same 1:1 ratio (ME: brandy). If you want to or are going to give away/sell then I’d cut again (same 1:1 ratio) to a dosage bottle with a dropper. The dosage would be 2-4 drops up to 4x a day on or under the tongue.

The Mother Elixir (ME) turned out to be 16 oz (2 cups) and that filled my bottle to the brim. I took half a shot so as to get the lid on and WOW this packed a punch! I had energy well into the night.

Do you use gem elixirs? If so, which ones? If not, what would you want to try?

Poison Ivy and Its Cure

broomsedge, poison ivy cure

We’ve all encountered this itchy weed and there are some nifty sayings meant to help in identification.

  • Leaves of three? Let it be!
  • Hairy Vine, no friend of mine!
  • red leaflets in spring is a dangerous thing.

I’ve spent many years eradicating poison ivy from the property; not talking about spraying but actually digging up the roots! So when I discovered this HUGE plant growing into an old apple tree, I just kind of Uncle’d. I cut the stalk close to the base and will, at some point, dawn my long sleevedness and dig this up!

So, you’ve misjudged and are now itchy. I’ve read somewhere that where poison ivy grows, it’s a cure is close by. There are two plants that help to dry up this itchy rash; jewelweed and broomsedge. Jewelweed is seasonal while broomsedge is year-round.

Growing up, if we managed to wander into Mr. Itchy, Mom would brew up some broomsedge tea for us to apply to the blisters to dry them up very quickly. I’ll add a word of caution; because this is super drying (astringent), don’t apply it everywhere as your skin will feel very tight.

Broomsedge is a grass that one sees growing in fields and vacant lots. You really only need one plant, roots and all. Mom didn’t use measurements for this, so there is a lot of eye-balling involved.

  • Dig up just enough of the plant to get the roots then shake off as much of the dirt as you can – no need to wash the roots. Be sure to thank the earth and the plant!
  • Place the plant, roots to tip, into a saucepan and cover with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once the boil has been reached, turn off and let steep until the water is room temperature.
  • Remove the plant and compost or return to the earth.
  • Strain the remaining tea for any leftover bits/dirt/gravel.
  • Place tea in the fridge and apply with a clean cotton ball/pad.
  • When finished, pour any leftover tea into the ground.

You are welcome! =)

Did your Mom or Granny have an old time cure she would use to help you through the itch? If so, please share.

Live well.

Boo-boo salve

Comfrey Plantain salve

Each day our bodies are assailed by toxins that are delivered in various ways: food, air, water, and boo-boos -> a technical term for scrapes, owies, cuts, etc. Many reach for a drug store variety of antiseptic ointment and I, well, just reach for some made in my own kitchen.

This salve has a few simple ingredients:

  • dried comfrey and plantain (these grow easily in my garden; leaves are harvested then dried in the dehydrator)
  • rosemary essential oil from doTerra (makes it smell nice)
  • beeswax pellets from Mountain Rose Herbs
  • good quality (or so I believe) olive oil from our small grocer.

This green goodness has helped heal scrapes and cuts along with easing aching joints and sore muscles. I’ve also noticed a change in a varicose vein starting in one of my legs – not sure if it is this goodness or the radiesthesia work I’m doing. What makes it so amazing? Let’s start with the herbs.

Comfrey. Grows easily here in the county and I’ve read that one can tell where old houses used to stand by where these plants are growing. According to WebMd, comfrey is used to treat skin ulcers, wounds, joint inflammation, bruises, RA, swollen veins, gout, and fractures. A cautionary tale about this power plant; it does contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which can be toxic in certain concentrations. The FDA has deemed this unsafe for oral consumption and in higher doses can cause liver and lung damage. Use at your own risk.

Plantain. The second powerhouse is a ‘weed’ to many people. If you catch the leaves early enough, they are tasty in a salad; older than that and these are too stringy. When outside, you can smoosh up the leaves (most people chew them) and use as a poultice on insect bites, rashes, cuts, and bruises.

Essential oils are powerhouses in a bottle. I use doTerra as their production and testing processes are impressive. Rosemary has many benefits and for this salve, it was added for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Last, but not least, the humble olive oil. I cannot say enough about the benefits of this ancient oil and have read that if stored properly, will last two years from the bottled date. Ha! I go through olive oil too quickly for it to go bad and for this salve, I added a glug of vitamin E just to extend the shelf life. The lovely hue? It’s all olive.

A few disclaimers:

  • For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

If you are interested in the process, let me know. If you are local and wanna give it a try, stop by with your small container and I’ll scoop some out.

Be well!