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March 30, 2012 @ 4:15 PM


 This weekend holds the possibility of snow and while it is chilly today, it is sunny and beautiful. So, I took my shovel and clippers and went in search of dinner. I dug some parsnips that have been overwintering in the garden and snipped garlic mustard, dock leaves, dandelion, chickweed, chives, nettles and violet leaves. The nettles will be steamed and added to mashed potatoes and the parsnips will be roasted, but everything else...chopped and served in salad and on top of the potatoes.


Once dinner was gathered, it was time to just enjoy the day, so I walked my labyrinth (now, much in need of a spring manicure) and took a few pics of what came up new since a few days ago. I always look forward to the .........

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March 20, 2012 @ 8:23 PM


This is the first day of Spring...and it is the first, first day of spring I can remember since moving to CNY 31 years ago, that it was actually nice out. Usually, this is a cold rainy day that made me happy to know warmth was coming...but that I had a few weeks left of afternoon tea by the woodstove. So I took a walk outside with my grandson, we had a picnic, looked at newly opened flowers, listened for bird songs--I even did a little weeding. But, deep down, I know this revelry will be short lived and we have several hard frosts--if not a snow or two. And, I also know this melancholy is typical spring "fever" fomented by our bodies adjusting to the season's change, which I am aiding.........

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March 19, 2012 @ 2:13 PM


   It has been so warm and gorgeous here in the Northeast...and such a surprise, since it is only  mid-March....that I am afraid it has led people to throw all of their better judgement and knowledge out the door!! I see many fellow gardeners and herbalists, who know, that as stewards of the land, we need to bow to the whims of nature and recognize her fickleness. It is as though so many have succumbed to the Sirens of warm weather...and probably to their peril. Obviously, nobody read my blog  (or the many others available) on Phenology--the science of natural appearances. Everyone needs to come to their senses and relax....and also recognize the real downsides such as uncontrollable pests, freezing death of.........

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March 10, 2012 @ 1:35 PM


   I had the great fortune to grow up in my grandparent's home--were it not for that, I may never have become an Herbalist, but, for sure, would not have all the warm memories of being cared for when I was ill in such special ways. My fondest memories are of Grandma scooping out apple and feeding it to me  (instinctive understanding of the pectin in the apple skin as a controller of diarrhea) and of eating burnt toast with butter and a cup of warm tea. Burnt toast?!?!?!EWWWWWW--that is what my 6 year old grandson said when I suggested it to him this morning. After being up all night, but still feeling queazy, I told him it may sound yucky, but was really yummy. He looked at me funny, but ............

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March 9, 2012 @ 11:30 AM

 My cat, Dora, who was hit by a car and has had 2 surgeries, is now back at home. Since she fractured one leg nad threw her other hip out of joint, I am making some tea to add to her food. So far, she likes it! A few blog posts ago, I gave a general recipe for my Spring Tonic, however, when I make it for specific people, I usually add a few things that speak to their particular health issues. So, when I made our family tonic a few weeks a go, I added some horsetail, oats, comfrey and raspberry, as gentle aids in our effort to battle back against the creeping up of rheumatic and muscle strength issues that come with getting older. Obviously, as luck would have it--these same herbs are just what my kitty needs right .........

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March 8, 2012 @ 9:00 AM

 So, I know that yesterday's warm, sunny weather is tempting and Spring Fever has me anxious to get out and garden...but, I KNOW better! Every year, it is the same...gardener's get over zealous way too early and end up having to replace transplants done in by too much cold or water from spring rains and mud, or replant seeds that rotted in cold/wet soil....or spend too much time keeping plants warm/sheltered and pest free. It doesn't have to be this way! Our ancestors did not have the luxury of running to the Garden Center for plant replacement and they were also more observant watchers of their environment, meaning, they noticed when certain things happened in nature, other things also tended to happen at .........

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March 7, 2012 @ 4:41 PM

 I had plans of doing more yard work, but it was so warm, sunny and beautiful, that I just ended up enjoying it! I had to open the roof vent on my greenhouse for the first time this year and when I went to close it, there were 8-10 honey bees furiously pollinating all the flowers inside--which saved me some work as I was going to use my trusty paint brush to pollinate my zuchinni. Then, I sat on the porch and read gardening magazines (sipping some sassafrass tea) and my purple shirt excited the bees too--hoping I was a huge petunia or something! And...it smells wonderful out there.

So, that was the end of the day, but I started by deliberately killing a plant--a buckthorn that is near my porch--which.........

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March 6, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

 It was in the single digits the last two nights, but tomorrow, it will be almost 60 and sunny. This spring is coming on 1 step backwards; 2 steps forward. In the last few weeks when we have had warmish, sunny days, my grandson and I have been walking around the yard and gardens, looking at and taking downold flower stalks-- the bones of last year's endeavor and to assess damage, what needs to be done, and potential new picnic spots (his priority!). We have also been able to get yard debris cleanup underway much earlier than usual. Winter damage causes twigs/branches of all sizes to fall and they have to be picked up before grass mowing time begins. I sort them by size and know that when the time comes, they will be .........

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March 5, 2012 @ 9:17 AM

 When I was young, my Grandmother was a big believer in Spring Cleaning. I lived near DC then and it was warmer, so come early March, she would have my Grandpa take off the storm windows (frequently, he would mysteriously come down with "lumbago"--bad lower back--and he would put on his back brace and have my Grandma rub him with liniments......requiring us to hire a storm window remover) and put in screens, all the curtains came down (to be HAND washed as she refused the use of a washing machine), rugs up, floors polished.......but old school in most ways, the smells I remember from that time were her newfangled cleaners such as Lysol, Mr. Clean, Pledge.....not so nice.

I was and will never be the  .........

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March 2, 2012 @ 9:00 AM

 Just used up the last of my winter tonic and will make my big batch of Spring Tonic this afternoon. I always start seasonal tonics about 2-3 weeks before the calendar date, because our bodies don't recognize man made dates. Rather, we respond to what the natural world is doing and around here--even though it has been snowy the last week, my crocuses, daffodils, spring greens are all popping up and different birds have come along, so I know my liver wants some attention too. We feel spring coming in our moods--anxious, a bit snippity...and physically, with extra tiredness, sluggishness, indigestion, change in sleep needs. Supporting the liver with a tasty daily tonic is the way to go--along with slowly adjusting eating habits as ............

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