• bowl of fresh lettuce
    Natural Skin Care,  Recipes & How-To's

    Lettuce face mask, a favorite Summer treat!

    A lettuce face mask helps restore skin’s natural pH, soothes rough skin, and can help heal pimples. Any lettuce will do, but it’s a bit more thrilling using lettuce you’ve picked from your own garden 🙂 It’s quick and easy –> Put a handful of lettuce in a blender and gently pulp, then massage onto clean skin. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water. For a fancier version, add a little olive oil and lemon juice. Olive oil is a great moisturizer, and lemon juice a gentle astringent that cleans and refines pores.

  • cucumber and oatmeal with mortar and pestle
    Natural Skin Care,  Recipes & How-To's

    DIY Antioxidant Face Mask

    Besides eating them, the best way to benefit your skin with antioxidant vitamins is to use them topically as facial treatments. Masks and scrubs made with antioxidant-rich fruit and veg can help give you a brighter, smoother complexion. Mash the fruit or veg and use alone or with a little olive oil as a facial mask, or add oatmeal, cornmeal, clay, or rice powder to make it a scrub. Look for: vitamin A: Encourages healthy skin cell production. Smoothes wrinkles. vitamin C: Evens skin tone and contributes to collagen production. May help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage. vitamin E: Moisturizes and softens. Try these: Banana: Emollient, cleans pores. Vitamins…

  • closeup of bright yellow st. johnswort flowers
    Herbs & Ingredients,  Recipes & How-To's

    Surviving the change of season

    A belated Happy Autumn to you! And as if I wasn’t already feeling low enough about Summer’s end, the season change has brought me a throat virus. My throat is like my early-warning signal . When I start getting run down, a sore throat is always the first symptom. If I pay attention to it (start going to bed on time, make sure I’m eating well, load up on herbal tea with elderberry syrup, take a hot soak in the tub), it usually resolves without becoming anything more than a sore throat. But if I don’t pay attention and let it go for a couple days… Well, it worsens and…

  • sage leaves closeup
    Herbs & Ingredients,  Recipes & How-To's

    Kitchen Herbalism: Sage

    When you think of herbal medicine, do you think of Sage? Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis), the same Sage that’s on your kitchen spice rack, is antibacterial, anticatarrhal, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral. It’s thought of as “cleansing” and has been used throughout history to treat illness and wounds, but is also used as a tonic reputed to bring good health and longer life. It contains minerals and vitamins that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties including potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, and vitamin A. Fresh sage leaves are a good source of vitamin C. Sage stimulates cell renewal and increases blood circulation, which is why you’ll see it as an ingredient in skincare…

  • calendula oil
    Herbs & Ingredients,  Recipes & How-To's

    Herbal Alchemy: Calendula oil

    al·che·my: a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. Herbal oils are a good home remedy to keep on hand, useful for everything from skin moisturizing to first aid. Infusing herbs into oil is actually a simple process, but every time I decant the resulting colorful (and sometimes fragrant) oil it seems like magic had a hand in its creation. If you’ve never tried making your own herbal oil, Mountain Rose Herbs has a helpful blog post with directions for both the solar infused and quick heat infused methods. If you’d like to try a different technique that’s closer to how true medicine makers do herbal oils, herbalist Kami McBride…

  • In the Herb Garden,  Recipes & How-To's

    Can’t find Spring? Make it yourself

    If you have access to a forsythia bush, you can make your own Spring a little ahead of the calendar. Forsythia flowers will bloom early if you cut some stems and bring them inside. They’ve lasted over a week on my kitchen table and have been such a treat to have as we’ve just gotten another foot of snow! It’s really easy- Here’s how: Cut forsythia stems on a mild day when the temperature is above freezing and put them in a bucket of warm water. Once inside, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, performed underwater where air cannot get in, will promote water uptake. Keep them in…

  • Recipes & How-To's,  The Latest News

    World Fire Cider Making Day!

    Fire Cider is a popular traditional herbal remedy freely shared, made, produced and sold by hundreds of herbalists across the world. The remedy has taken on many different amendments over time, somewhat like chicken soup. Many people have their favorite version, but the base consists of fresh garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish and chile peppers that sit in vinegar for the desired amount of time, are strained, and then a bit of something sweet is usually added at the end. The remedy is used to help warm up the body, and generally acts a stimulant and antimicrobial used during cold and flu season. Recently, a large company decided to trademark the…

  • Herbs & Ingredients,  Natural Skin Care,  Recipes & How-To's

    Lookin’ this good, everybody gonna swoon

    It’s actually almost embarrassing how in love with Lettuce I am….  One of the first things I can eat out of my garden in the Spring, Lettuce’s amazing variety of colors, textures, and flavors is enough to put me into a swoon. And more than just a pretty face, Lettuce is rich in vitamin A and potassium plus has some vitamin C, calcium, iron, and copper. (*except Iceberg Lettuce, which is very low in nutritional value)   Lettuce fits into my small-space garden rule which requires plants to do double-duty: Besides eating it, you can wear it 😉 A lettuce face mask helps restore skin’s natural pH, soothes rough skin, and…

  • Herbs & Ingredients,  Recipes & How-To's

    Herbal Lore: Basil

      When I say “basil”, do you think “pesto”? Pesto made with sweet basil just happens to be one of my most long-standing addictions, but with over 50 different varieties (possibly as many as 150!) distributed around the world, basil is about much, much more…. Since ancient times, basil has found its way into our food, medicine and cosmetics. It’s antibacterial and antiviral, and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium. Basil has been used medicinally to ease headaches, sore throats, coughs, nausea, and to ease nervous tension. It’s also reputed to strengthen dry or brittle hair, restoring hair’s natural luster and shine.   D.I.Y. One…

  • In the Herb Garden,  Recipes & How-To's

    Spring on the Micro-Farm

    First year in the expanded garden is off to an amazing start! We took advantage of the unbelievably mild weather and got planting nice and early. Lots of seeds are already sprouting up: radish, hakurei turnip, broccoli raab, mizuna, peas. The star of the show for me, though, is the Chickweed. She has spread from a few isolated strands in a corner to several little patches throughout the garden. And right now, she’s full of tiny white flowers. A glorious Springtime sight! (The largest, most succulent patch is taking over one side of a meant-for-vegetables, big raised bed. Hawkeye keeps mentioning it’ll have to be moved. I haven’t told him…