January 27, 2012 @ 12:59 AM

 When I got into herbs years ago, I had an empty room, empty closet, an under utilized pantry and several spacious bookshelves. Today, all of those are overflowing, more bookshelves have been bought and filled, storage containers filled and stacked....and I still have piles of homeless books laying around. Several years ago, I began warning students that if they were serious about herbal study, to be prepared to have their kitchens, refrigerators, basements and any other empty space taken over and to pray they had an understanding family (or better yet, a handy family member who could build shelves, extra rooms...). Everyone laughs, but a few months to years later, they all realize the horrible truth of herb supply and book takeover.

During the winter months is my time to reorganize, order new supplies, use old herbs in creative ways and create more space for new projects and the never ending publication of fantastic herb, gardening and cookbooks. I always try, but have not yet won. I have dried herbs on the stalk waiting to be stored, I have dried herbs to be made into tinctures, I have tinctures and oils in huge jars waiting to be decanted and then, of course, hundreds of finished tincture bottles and salves/balms ready to use.  I have 5 coffee grinders--only one of which is actually use for coffee! The others are used respectively, for mild herbs, spices, resins, tough barks/roots. I have supplies I use in my own kitchen, and those I use with students and workshops. Don't get me started on beer/wine or other fermented concoctions that may be going on at any given time. Did I mention all the empty jars and bottles? I collect ones I think will be appropriate for certain types of preparations--or that are odd/pretty and I just can't throw out. But thoughtful people also give them to me--especially baby food jars---which no herbalist can have too many of. Today, I am acquiring a new kitchen island with lots of counter space and the much needed storage capacity. How long will this be sufficient? Not long enough....and what am I going to do with all these books!?!?!