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Sugar and Pith triple strength wound salve displayed on a slate stone

Sugar and Pith at the Santa Rosa Community Farmer’s Market

Sugar and Pith triple strength wound salve displayed on a slate stoneI’ve had two weekends at the Santa Rosa Community farmer’s market at the Vet building on Saturdays and it’s so much fun getting out in the world with my remedies, potions, and lotions, getting to meet people in my community and chat with other vendors. The best thing about my first weekend was that I sold a copy of my book Cricket and Grey; Winter.

body scrub, lip balm, and bath herb display at the farmer's marketThis past weekend the best thing is that I sold out of my Embalming Cream. People do think the name is weird but when they put it on their skin they’re won over by the luxurious quickly absorbing feel of it and the wonderful scent. If you’re able to stop by and say hello this weekend you can try it for yourself! I’m making a brand new batch.

Sugar and Pith lip balm, hydrosols, and bath herbs displayed in nests and on a rustic trayI’m really pleased with how my table looks but it’s somewhat cramped. I’ll be adding a second table soon so I can spread out and have a few more things for people to explore such as cubed bread to dip in salad dressing made with my herbed vinegar so people can taste how good it is for themselves.

Come by and say hello this weekend on Saturday any time between 8:30am and 1pm!


Shine Skin Polish: New Product Unveiling

skin polish 3Introducing my brand new product: Shine Skin Polish offered in 4 beautiful pure essential oil scent blends

This salt scrub has a higher oil to salt ratio than most and the sea salt is fine so that it gently exfoliates and cleanses your skin while leaving it hydrated and velvety soft. You can use it in the shower, the bath, or as a foot spa treatment (how I have used it in my personal trials).

First you let your skin soak in warm-hot water, get good and steamy and then scoop a little bit of the skin polish out with your fingers and gently rub into any part of your skin that needs to be exfoliated and hydrated. Don’t wash the oil off, just pat yourself dry with your towel. Your skin will absorb the oil pretty quickly once you’re out of the shower.

If you give yourself a foot treatment with the Shine Skin Polish (it’s a luxury treatment for dry tired feet), do be careful to let the oil completely soak in before walking around on slick surfaces.

I have developed 4 essential oil blends inspired by the seasons. Each one has different aromatherapy qualities. The smell of the essential oil blends might seem strong when you first apply it but the scent will be very subtle on your skin, and as with all pure essential oils, it will fade fairly quickly.

Winter Shine:

The Winter scent is a blend of ginger and pink grapefruit pure essential oils. Winter is a time when we tend to go inward, stay indoors huddled together for warmth and comfort. Historically it’s been a time of dormancy and rest, a time when we come in from the fields and conserve our strength. While many of us don’t stop working during winter these days, we still feel an instinctual urge to hibernate. Ginger is a warming, spicy, uplifting scent that can help alleviate feelings of isolation and depression while pink grapefruit is fresh, sweet, and revitalizing. This scent is perfect for any time of year when you feel the need to brighten yourself up on a dark day.

Buy Winter Shine Skin Polish

Spring Shine:

The Spring scent is a blend of bergamot and rose Damask absolute pure essential oils. Spring is when the sap starts flowing in plants, buds swell up on bare branches and break open into delicate sweet blossoms followed by leaves bursting out, shattering the petals to the ground like paper snow. Spring is a time for growth, reaching for light, emerging from contemplation into action. It’s a time to shake loose the cobwebs and build, plant, sow, create, and start fresh. Bergamot is bright, uplifting, and energizing while rose Damask relieves stress, anxiety, frigidity, and is restoring and harmonizing. Both offer relief to those grieving. This essential oil blend is perfect for easing your body, mind, and spirit out of hibernation of any kind. It’s perfect for reminding you to breathe deeply and move forward.

Buy Spring Shine Skin Polish

Summer Shine:

The Summer scent is a blend of juniper berry, lime, and jasmine pure essential oils. Summer is a time of easygoing rhythms, fruition, extending oneself beyond limitations, being outside (unless you’re me and don’t agree with sun and heat), getting into nature, and dreaming. It’s a sultry season and this essential oil blend celebrates it with a fresh and cooling drink of juniper berry and lime next to an open window through which the sweet sensual scent of jasmine wafts in on a lazy slow breeze. Juniper and lime are both purifying, fresh, astringent, and cleansing while jasmine is soothing, calming, warm, and can restore optimism. Jasmine is also considered an aphrodisiac, so you may be inspired by this blend to get naked and cavort.

Buy Summer Shine Skin Polish

Fall Shine:

The Fall scent is a blend of lavender and vetiver pure essential oils. Fall is a season of reaping, gathering, preparing, taking stock, and celebrating abundance. An abundance of food, work, friends, family, tools, or love, we all have an abundance of something if we stop and look honestly. Fall is a time for fixing what’s broken; mending fences, relationships, and ourselves. We can heal while in hibernation but first we must lay the firewood down, replace weather-stripping, stack the blankets, and fill the larder. Lavender is fresh, herbal, and clean. It eases stress and restlessness and is disinfecting. Vetiver is woody, smoky, and earthy. It’s grounding, relaxing, and balancing which is exactly what you need when you’re taking stock of your life and yourself. This oil blend may inspire you to drop the crap you’re carrying around on your shoulders like a tree dropping its leaves.

Buy Fall Shine Skin Polish

Pick your shine and give yourself a polish!



A Tour of the California School of Herbal Studies

apple tree at California School of Herbalism StudiesThis past weekend I went with some friends to tour the California School of Herbal Studies school and garden. I expected to enjoy myself because a) time with good friends is always enjoyable and b) I mean, herb gardens are my idea of heaven. I think I may have almost short circuited my own system from the high volume spazzing out I did. The only regret I have is that I didn’t ask if I was allowed to take pictures before we left the incredible school lab.

There was a locked cabinet full of finished tinctures, trays filled with students’ tincture projects in progress. There were herb presses (I must figure out how to make one myself!), blenders, scales, beakers, measuring tools, baskets of dried herbs, stacks of cleaned muslin bags for pressing out tinctures and other herbal concoctions, and two big tables in the middle of it all for working on.

California School of Herbal Studies garden in the woodsEverywhere on the grounds and in the garden itself were old plant friends; comfrey, elderberries, mint in flower, feathery beds of yarrow, tall datura plants (“weeds” our tour guide, Rebecca, called them) draped with beautiful pale pink floral trumpets, thistles buzzing with pollinating wasps, tall spikes of mullein, and wormwood. There were also plants I’ve never seen in person before that filled me with the excitement of a kid who’s just been told faeries exist for realz.

rattlesnake master seed podsI only ever heard about Rattlesnake Master this past winter because I found seeds for it on the Strictly Medicinal Seeds website, and here it is in person! I’m tempted to grow it just for its looks. This medicinal herb was used by many different Native American tribes for things like snake bites (hence the name), tooth aches, and nose bleeds.

ashwaganda blossom in a cluster of leavesHello Ashwagandha! I had no idea we could grow this Indian medicinal plant here in Sonoma County.

small straw bale house painted light ochreThis is student housing on the property – a straw bale single room house. We got to peek inside the window and see the beautiful thick rounded smooth walls and I could totally live in that space. It’s also the kind of cabin I gave Cricket’s family in the woods in Winter; Cricket and Grey

pink roses blooming in the California School of Herbal Studies herb gardenI can never resist roses in a garden. I have to stop and breath them in.

bedstraw seed heads, bedstraw going to seedThis is bedstraw. It’s had many traditional uses (mattress stuffing, particularly used because the smell of it repels fleas, milk coagulant, dye) but it’s rarely mentioned in herb books any more.

medicinal valerian in bloom, valerian blossomsValerian in bloom. If you mention valerian to my mom she’ll always mention how terrible it tastes, as though other bitter herbs used in tinctures taste great. Seriously, so many natural medicinals taste rank I’m always surprised she takes a special dislike to this one.

milkweed pods up closeI’ve seen milkweed in bloom before but I’ve never seen their pods. I’m convinced now that terrible little aliens pop out of these pods instead of seeds when no one’s looking. Or maybe this is where faeries are gestated? YOU DON’T KNOW.

Standing in the herb garden at CSHS filled me with such happiness. The kind I only feel in gardens. Some people feel this hiking in the wilderness. I get it, it’s all nature, right? Wrong. There are no ticks in this garden. There are no bear traps or fugitive serial killers or other weird unsavory humans that can hide out of site. I love nature, but I don’t want to get literally lost in it. Or fall off an unexpected cliff-face. Or into a big-ass natural hole in the ground. I like my nature in a garden setting. But not an overly controlled garden. Super manicured gardens are okay, but they don’t delight me the way a slightly over-run garden spilling with surprises does. This garden has weeds because many weeds aren’t weeds at all but useful and good plants to have around, so they only tidy enough that the paths are still visible paths.

If I could afford the time and money to take classes at CSHS, I’d love to do that. It’s a possibility to dream of and work towards. In the meantime I’ve got my own lab and small garden full of natural medicinal treasures to work with. In fact, I transplanted my struggling arnica plant yesterday and forgot to water it, so I’m off to do that. I hope you enjoyed the vicarious tour!



Stop and Snap the Details

red salmonberrySalmonberry, photographed at a rest stop in Oregon off of Interstate 5

Take break to look around.

Sometimes the best way to get out of your head is to notice the little things all around you. Nothing helps me focus more on the little things than my camera. Ever since I started taking pictures for my blogs over a decade ago I found that looking for good compositions everywhere I went kept me engaged in the world all around me. It’s not just good compositions that attract me, it’s colors and textures. I tend to focus a lot of plants and insects and walls. Walls might seem boring to some, but I’ve noticed that there are a lot of walls out there that are like abstract paintings. Peeling paint, graffiti, cracks, vines digging into grout, and sometimes weird things leaning against them.

I’ve heard so many creative people suggest that you take a walk to clear your head to garner fresh inspiration. I do love a good walk, (or at least I did before my feet turned into dust), but until I started bringing my camera along with me I didn’t see half as much as I do now.

If you’re in need of fresh perspective, or a break from a heavy head space, how about taking a little outing with your camera and see what cool things you can find?

Spending sixty seconds of your day marveling at the weirdness of the beetle you noticed cavorting on a bright flower counts as micro-self care.



Purslane as Self Care

Purslane rice salad, rice with tomatoes cucumber and purslaneSometimes I forget to do the things I know make me feel calmer, better, healthier, and brighter. Here’s an amazing fact I just discovered: I can enjoy, nay, LOVE an herb and purslane rice salad without the addition of cheese. Cheese is one of my favorite things, but somehow I forget that food can be good without it.

This salad was inspired by my friend Catherine of the food blog Soup and Sustenance. I had just picked a huge bowl of purslane and wasn’t sure what to do with it. She suggested I make tabbouleh. I don’t love bulgar wheat in the same way I don’t love quinoa and hate millet. But I thought I could make a rice salad similar to tabbouleh. It was amazing! In truth, I don’t even really love rice. I’m a pasta and bread gal. But this was so good.

I’d just walked out on a bad situation and spending some time in my garden and then making this salad felt so refreshing. Simple things like this don’t fix problems, they can’t fix mental illness, and they certainly don’t stop nationwide political suicide from happening, but they ARE restorative and do remind me that there are still good reasons to get outside my head and just breathe.

Self Care.