|Posted on May 21, 2018 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Mullein Mullein Everywhere
I called to you
and you came and came, flourishing
Tall and Full of Sun
Mullein: Verbascum thapus
Planet: Saturn/Sun (I lean towards Sun)
Powers: Courage, Protection, Health, Love, Divination, Exorcism.
Today on the day of the Sun I harvested both the leaves and roots. Though only from the garden paths. I figured if it made it into a bed it could stay. It’s still Spring and they have not flowered yet. It's that time of year I start cleaning up the garden. I make sure when I “weed” out those who might not be coming up in the most ideal space I find a use for them. I want to be respectful to those who came.
Mullein is a Biennial. The first year they are just simple rosettes of leaves. 2nd year they stalk, flowers appear on the stalk, flowers turn to seeds. Repeat. Once they come they will usually stay.
Years ago, if I found one Mullein on our land I would be surprised. Now today I cannot even count all the mullein plants that have made their home here for their short 2-year life. Somewhere I learnt that if you called to them, if you let them know they were welcome, they would come. I called they came.
There are Two varieties of Mullein at Jenza's Garden. The common with its single proud stalk of golden flowers and the Greek Mullein with several stalks.
The common came when I called.
The Greek I brought in but thought I failed. I planted seeds in flats (why I repeatedly try this method I don’t know because I fail at it 90% of the time) and forgot about them (which is often the reason for failure). The next year I when they came back in same flats I was hesitant to ID them but planted them never the less and Wah La: They have come back each year reseeding themselves, thriving here.
Today’s harvest will become a few things. I will make some of the root and leaves into an oil that I will use on my feet. Last year I developed Plantar Fasciitis (you are probably grimacing if you know what I am talking about, if you never heard it, Simplified: Feet in Pain with every step). Though Mullein is known as an herb for the Lungs when doing some research before an herb walk I was giving I found a reference of Mullein Leaves being used to treat Plantar Fasciitis due to its anti-inflammation quality. You were to put the leaf in your shoe. I will admit I never tried it. It seemed that the leave would be irritating and truthfulIy I can be lazy when it comes to my own health. Oh, and why both Roots and Leaves? Synergy.
With a lot of stretching and staying off my feet by Spring the pain was hardly there. Then I started full throttle in the garden this Spring. OUCH! I decided I was going to make a Mullein Oil to rub on my aching feet. I will probably blend with Solomon Oil which a friend used on hers. So that is USE/Purpose #1 today. Rest I will dry for later use. Will sell some for Magical uses.
It was a bit damp today. I have what I harvested is now laying spread out on a sheet to dry off a bit. Tomorrow I will shake off the dirt. I will cut off and wash the roots. Drying out again before making the oil. The leaves that will not be used for oil will go into the dehydrators after being cleaned off.
Be Warned the following Recipe is not a Recipe At All. It is a Guideline, A Suggestion with one Caveat: Must use a Crockpot with WARM SETTING- If you don’t have a Warm Setting don’t even try. Low can be too high!
Step One: Get some Fresh or Dried Mullein- Leaf and/or Root
– If it is fresh make sure not damp and tear or chop up a bit into small pieces (no I am not going to tell you how big, use best judgement, I will tell you the more surface area the better, ie: the smaller the better).
Step Two: Fill up crockpot no more than ¾ with the Mullein
Step Three: Cover with Oil of Choice. Make sure no plant material sticks out of oil but no more than 1 inch of oil above the material. Too much oil and too little plant material your oil is not as potent.
-I prefer Grapeseed Oil because longer shelf life and Grapeseed absorbs better than some other oil choices.
To put lid on or not put lid on, that is the question.
With lid on Condensation can occur and if you bang on lid water will go back into oil. Water and Oil do not Mix. Water can cause oil to spoil. With that being said I like keeping lid on, I feel (no research to back this) that if the lid is off the volatile oil can evaporate so I want them to hit the lid liquify and go back into oil. Again, this is just me. No research to back this. If anyone does the research let me know. If you go with Lid On method. Gently remove lid occasionally and wipe off water.
Lid off method. Perfectly fine. I am probably making up this volatile oil bit (though not with TEA so true with Tea!). The thickness of the Oil might hold in the Volatile Oils. I mean really whom am I to say?
Step Four: Turn on to WARM
TIME: I would say at least 3 hours in my experience. Overnight is okay. Look at the Plant Material. Does it look all Wilted and Done? Then it’s Done.
Storage: I suggest a glass jar with a good seal. If a clear jar, make sure in cabinet out of light. If amber or dark colored glass, make sure out of direct light.
Use: Well that’s up to you. Research.
Go Forth and Experiment, Learn from Trial & Error, Have Fun.
~Bright Blessing Jenza
|Posted on May 2, 2018 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
A Witch’s Garden
In June I will be the teacher of the month in an online https://tracycalapai.com/joinnow/" target="_blank">Magical group. My topic: “A Witch’s Garden”. Now in the 2nd day of May I have been reflecting upon that.
What is a “Witch’s Garden”?
What is a “Witch”?
I think I will tackle being a Witch first.
First thing to know I hate Labels they can be so pigeon holing. By calling myself a witch what did that mean? What would people think it meant? Will they think that I think I have powers like the sisters on Charmed? Do I even care what people think? Well yes, sometimes, but really no.
By accepting this label was I accepting Other People’s definition of it? Back and forth this went. Finally with acceptance I accepted and wrote my own definition of it. As all things I am sure it will be ever changing, Ebbing and Flowing with where I am in the moment of my life.
Everyone will be different but for me accepting my Witchyness and the label meant I live by the Turn of the Wheel. I celebrate the changing of the Seasons. I accept and honor not only the Masculine Divine energy but the Feminine Divine as well. I live in a modern world but try to live in harmony with nature when I can. I am trying to leave the world a better place; I am a steward of the land. I understand the energy is in everything and flows around us the "Magical" part is trying to tap into that and us it. So in these ways I am a Witch and I have a Garden.
Gardening is one way I express my Witchyness. I am sure you have all seen the “Quizzes” on Facebook to find out which type of Witch you are. Good, Bad, Black, White, Green etc. (Side Bar-my friend in cyber security has warned me away from taking those quizzes. Data Mines & Viruses). I am definitely the Green/Hedgewitch type. I am my best self in the garden among the plants.
I don’t dance around fires naked, though I do dance and a fire may be involved. I don’t ride a broom but I have a broom. Yes I have a witches’ hat because it’s awesome and fun to wear. Magical Powers? Well a girl got to have some secrets.
|Posted on March 26, 2018 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
Today is Monday or Moonday if you correspond the days of the week to their planets.
The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (2nd Quarter Moon) in the Sign of Leo.
What does that all mean?
Waxing is the time that the Moon is INCREASING. It is the period of time after the New Moon and before the Full Moon.
Gibbous is the time after a Half Moon. So Waxing Gibbous is the time after the Half Moon as the Moon is increasing (becoming Full).
Now as a Gardner if I was simply considering the Moon Phase since we are in a Waxing Gibbous Moon I would want to plant annuals that produce above ground. These plants tend to be viney and produce their seeds in a fruit. Think beans, squash, peas and the like. As an herbalist Passion Flower comes to mind.
The Astro-Herbalist in me (Biodynamics if you would) takes it a step further and considers the sign the moon is in. Today I said it was in Leo so how does that all figure in?
Leo along with Aries & Sagittarius is a Fire Sign. Fire signs are considered Barren/Dry. It’s a great time to Weed and Prune. It’s a time that inhibits growth with TWO exception: Fruits and crops grown for their Seeds.
Waxing Gibbous in Leo Double Whammy if I had some Passion Flower Seeds to plant today!
I would hope this gave you some basic info. I know it can be overwhelming. Start simple. I suggest just looking at the Phases at first and once you have that down add the Signs. And Remember these are JUST GUIDELINES! If the only time you have to plant is when the Moon is in a Fire Sign STILL PLANT!!
For some tools to help you learn there is a link by the picture of today’s moon to the App I use. Here is a link to the Wall Calendar I like https://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/gardening-by-the-moon-calendar/" target="_blank">Wall Calendar and Llewellyn’s Moon Sign Book is a great book.
|Posted on April 20, 2017 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
When to harvest is always a good question. With roots Spring or Fall when the energy is in the Roots is recommended. The fall back is: "when you are able". Sometimes you can't wait for the ideal time. With that being said I harvested these Echinacea roots in this Spring in April.
Echinacea is one of those plants that produces new growth. Spring is the time of year that I can easily see the new growth from the old growth and divide them.
I dug up two plants that were just starting to come up this spring. You can see in the picture above it was just starting to sprout so most energy is still in roots. I knew each plant was about 3 years old which is said to be the ideal age to harvest the roots of Echinacea.
There was a lot of new growth mixed in so I was able to divide the new growth from the older roots to get more plants. Easier than starting from seeds and why buy more. Keeping the small roots attached I removed the new buds from the older/larger roots.
Older Larger Roots set aside to make medicine
After separating the older roots from the plants I separated the the plants into 2 categories by lengthen/width of roots. Larger roots I put in my 2nd year growth pile and smaller new roots my 1st year growth pile. Now do I know for sure that it's 1st year and 2nd year? NO. This is pure guessing. Educated guessing though.
What I do know is that the largest ones will go into my 1st tier of my Tier Garden to be harvested next year if they seem large enough and the smallest ones will go into 2nd tier to be harvested the year after and the ones I did order online as plugs (started by seed earlier in year) will go in the 3rd tier. This system will keep me on track for furture years.
2nd Year Growth
1st Year Growth
When this was all over I lost count of how many new plants I had. I took the 5 largest and replanted in the areas I took from. I still had about a dozen of the the 2nd year growth to plant in the 1st row of the Tier Garden. I took the ones with the smallest barely there roots and planted them in a tray with 32 slots. Filling all the slots. The rest of the smallest "1st year" plants gave me almost 2 dozen to plant in the Tier Garden and another dozen to plant for "decoration" in another area. Not bad. Next year I will continue process and I will not have to order any plugs. Money saver :).
I hope you found this helpful. If you have to harvest in fall, harvest in the fall.
|Posted on April 13, 2017 at 1:10 AM||comments (0)|
You might had read my 1st Marshmallow Root blog and at the end you might had been like "Great I harvested now what?" Well here is where we left off. Rinse and scrub your roots to get rid of the dirt. Remember Cold Water draws out the demulcent properties quicker than warm or hot water which is why you make a Marshmallow infussion with cold water and not hot like a tea. so use warm water for that wash/scrub part.You will want to get the root into smaller pieces within a day or 2 of harvesting. Once it starts to dry the inner root gets to hard to work with easily.
Next assemble your Tools. I recommend 2 bowls. 1 for the scrapes and one for the end product. I also like a peeler and a paring knife.
The goal is to take off the outer layer without scarifcing too much of the inner goodness. I recommend using the peeler or knife just to start a small strip then pull the rest of the strip off with your fingers. It takes longer but you loss less. If you use peel or knife to take off a long strip you tend to go deeper into flesh.
The paring knife come in handy to remove the unwanted parts. See below for how much I was able to save.
Isn't it so Pretty?? All nice and white.
I am not going to lie. This can be time consuming but so worth it. I suggest doing when you are watching tv. I was lucky enough and one of my friends https://www.facebook.com/OnecaFineArt/" target="_blank">Oneca Fine Arts had posted a live video the night before so I was able to watch that while I peeled. The video was over an hour long and I still had peeling to do when it was over so I went to Youtube and watched my favorite herbalist talk about Marshmallow. It's not over when the peeling is over. You have to get it even smaller to be able to dry. Sorry folk time to put on Nextfil or catch up on your DVR. I went with Tiny House Hunters ;).
Next I peeled it some more. Think String Cheese and how that peels. The knife comes in handy for this too. The peeler will get too gunky. After 3 episodes and the help of my mother and son. I got it all finished.
Actually I have more to do. I will give it a bit of a rough chop before putting in the dehydrator. Once dry I will leave it in the larger pieces (less air exposures) and only grind it up as needed in my coffee grinder.
Stay tune for My Mad Scientist Blog to see what I did with the scrapes.
Bright Blessing ~Jenza
|Posted on April 10, 2017 at 2:45 PM||comments (0)|
Marshmallow is one of the many lovely flowers that grace my garden. The Bees love it too.
Though the whole plant can be used it's the Roots that are mainly sort after. Spring and Fall are the best time of year for Harvesting Root Medicine because that is when "engery" of the plant is in the roots. I find Spring to be the more ideal of the 2 for certain type of plants. In the case of Marshmallow I find the roots more manageable and I can divide them easier so I have future plants.
It's April and Spring has sprung here in North West RI. I was able to get out into the garden today. As I was cutting down the dead growth I came across Marshmallows sprouting amoung the dead stalks.
I decided it was a good time to divide and re-plant. As I dug up the plant I found great roots. Left the "Mother" plant to continue producing and dug up the rest. Following the twisting roots I was easily able to separate the new plant growth from the larger roots which I harvested to dry later. Another reason I like to divide in the Spring. The new growth is there to guide me.
Freshly dug up Marshmallow Roots
New plants to be re-planted. 20 in all.
The roots after a quick rinse in scrub in the bath tub.
I rinsed the roots in warm water and scrubed off the dirt. I left them as whole as I could in the process so there would less exposured surface area. I will let dry overnight and cut up into smaller pieces to dry out before storing. When I use the dried root I mostly make an infusion using Cold water. Though most plants like a hot water infusion (tea) the constituents you want for Marshmallow come out in cold water better. Another reason I washed in Hot water and not Cold water. I didn't want those great demulcent properties to come out too early.
Hope you found this helpful.
~Bright Blessing Jenza
|Posted on December 22, 2016 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Today is the first day of Winter. Winter Solstice. Yule for some (and me!).
I am working on a few things to celebrate the turning of the Wheel. Tomorrow night I will be celebrating with a group and I am creating a Yuletide Tea Blend for that. In that blend there will be Orange Peels.
If you aren't saving your Orange Peels now I highly recommend you do. So versatile.
The first thing I ever started using them for was simply Cleaning!
As I get the peels I just put them in a designated jar and cover with basic white vinegar as I go. Some times the jar fills quickly some times not so much. But I always have a jar going. Once jar is filled I just let it sit until peels look spent.
This is a jar of peels after I drained the vinegar out. Next stop Compost! Waste not.
When I need to replenish my cleaning supply I strain the vinegar out. I put the strained vinegar into spray bottles and mix with Water. 1/3 Orange Peel Vinegar to 2/3 Water. Don't worry it's not an exact science play with your ratio. Just remember the more vinegar the more of the vinegar smell
I use this for my tough greasy cleaning.
In Tea was my next foray and Favorite way to use Orange Peels.
I cut them up smaller and dry them for the tea use.
As you might know I am a big believer (and practicer) of conituing education. While taking a Herbal Constituent class (yep pretty heavy stuff) I discovered that Orange Peels are considered Immune Modulators especially that bitter white part. In class we had a good laugh when on one of the videos we were watching the lecturer mentioned eating the orange peels as it is to get the benefits and it wasn't the best of experience. We had a group discussion of other less Bitter ways to get the benefit. I think we came up with in your morning smothies.
Next time I was starting to feel under the weather I added Orange Peels into my tea. Loved it!!
Stay Away Flu Tea
2 part Ginger
1 part Orange Peels
1/2 part Cinnamon
Honey to taste.
If you are more ambitious Orange Bitters!! Will save that for another blog though. Just teasing you today LOL!
~Bright Yuletide Blessings
|Posted on January 14, 2016 at 6:45 PM||comments (0)|
Tulis AKA Holy Basil AKA Ocimum sanctum
Plant Allies come to you over time from working with them, from growing them and from sitting quietly with them. A few new ones came to me this summer. Holy Basil or Tulsi as I like to call her is the one I am going to lament on today.
Tulsi is an annual and I have always had a plant or 2 each summer but it wasn’t until this summer that we spoke. She may have been trying to talk to me all along but I didn’t hear her. I don’t know why this summer was different, but this summer I heard her and fell in love with her sweetness.
In years past I would buy a plant or 2 from a local nursery and keep them by the side door which is the main entrance of our home for protection (a practice in India). Last spring anticipation of harvesting some for my own use I had bought a bunch of babies at Farmacy Herbs in Providence. I planted them in 3 long planters and 2 smaller round planters.
As a grower here is what I learnt from these two different planters. They like their space. The long planters though productive with almost daily pinching when they started to flower did not bush up like the smaller round planters that I had not crowded as much. Next year they will have their space!
Every plant has its “Actions” the why are we using it component. Actions of Tulsi: adaptogen, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antioxidant, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, herat tonic, immune-modulator, nervine, rejunvenative and lowers blood sugar levels. Wow a lot of actions for a small plant. Now is it the best choice for each of these actions? No and that is were working with it and learning more about making formulas come in to play. Practice your craft.
Here is how I “played” (practiced) with her this past year. First simply drying her was an experience. She’s a tough one. I would pair her with Calendula (picture below) both take their time drying and if was humid she could be in the dehydrator for DAYSSSS! But what a beautiful smell in the processing tent those days.
I have always been taught that Tulsi is a plant to help our Spirit, our Soul if you would so I had to make it into a flower essence. When mediating over the use of Tulsi as an essence it came upon me that this essence would aid the use with Nourishing the Spiritual Body. Don’t we all need our help Nourishing our Spiritual Self from time to time? for more on Flower Essence visit my Etsy Shop.
Dried Tulsi in a tea blend or alone is a no brainer as a great use. Tinctures or glycerin to help with focus (can we say ADHD?) are common use. Well sometimes you want something a little different. Me and my intern Lisa in our own ADHD moment came up with the idea of making it into an elixir with Lemonbalm. I think I was in the Lemonbalm garden at the time and she was harvesting Tulsi. So like mad scientists we took fresh Lemonbalm, Tulsi chopped them up covered with Brandy and added Honey. It was love at first sip.
I could go on and on how I love Tulsi but I will end with this. For an annual that I have never been able to grow from seed (might be a patience thing with me) she if TOUGH! We have these stone steps that lead to garden from the side door, all summer these “weeds” were going in the cracks. I didn’t know what they were (3 plants in total) at one point I thought Tomatoes. Finally they flowered. Lo and Behold TULSI!! The pots I had the year before must had sent some seeds down the stairs.
|Posted on January 8, 2016 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
I can go days and days without any extra help but some days I just need more to keep going Full Steam Ahead. On those days I go to my “Tool Kit ”. It is an old cigar box I picked up at a 2nd Hand Store. Filled with things that will give me that extra something-something I need: Crystals, Tarot card, a Pendulum and the focus of this Flower Essences. When I go to it “These are some of my favorite things…” run through my head. Even now the thought of my box makes me smile.
Flower Essences were originally “discovered” by Edward Bach who worked and wrote about 38 essences. What are Flower Essences exactly? In short everything has a Vibration an Essence if you would. Flower essences are infused into water by floating flowers in the water under the Sun then preserving that water with Brandy (yes I said Brandy..say it with be BBBRRANDDEEE).
That Essence when ingested or placed on pulse points (for the less daring) helps the user with a particular issue that they may be going through. Those Vibrations a tune within us if you would. Oh and a little goes a long way, you only need a few drops (not droppers…Drops). Less is More here.
Each flower has its own Vibration/Essence and that Vibration/Essence works with a particular set of issues within us. As I said Bach had 38 that he discovered and worked with. He had 7 categories of issues and within each of those he had flowers that would help with an aspect of it. Now as I said many others are making flower essences some on a large level like Bach (though he has past the company lives on) and others on a smaller cottage level like myself (see my https://www.etsy.com/shop/jenzasgarden?ref=l2-shopheader-name" target="_blank">Etsy Shop). There are a lot more than 38 available now a days and many times the same flower will be uses for the same issues with each seller and just as many other times the same flower will have a different purpose with between sellers. So who is right? I say them all. Especially if they are doing it on a smaller level like myself. How’s That??
No two people are unlike; even identical twins have their differences, the same with flowers. The Rose I grow in my New England Garden maybe very different then the Rose grown in a Sunny California garden. Trust the maker to have taken the time to gotten to know their flowers and how they want to heal us.
Now that that is out of the way let’s move on to the good stuff.
Depending on the issue you are dealing with you might want to work with the same essence daily or just as needed. This Fall when I was trying to let go of things that I let overwhelm me I pulled out my Essences placing them in a circle with the label facing away from me, I took my pendulum out and scryed to find the one I should use lo and behold it lead me to Joe Pye Weed Flower Essence~Letting Go of what Overwhelms Us. Perfect! I worked with that on a daily basis until I wasn’t overwhelmed any longer and I felt in control.
On New Year’s Ever I went to my box for guidance with the new year to come. Using the pendulum I pulled a stone, a card and a Flower Essence and they all lead me to Time. Or Thyme in the case of the Flower Essence; Thyme Flower Essence~Letting Go of the Control of Time. Perfect I had been feeling like I did not have enough “Time” to do all I wanted or needed. The following days seemed to be filled with time and I was able to do what I wanted. Or maybe it was how I perceived Time. Whatever it was I am grateful.
I suggest starting your own collection of Essences. You can start small adding on as you need them or can. I was lucky enough to learn how to make Flower Essence during my first Herbal Apprenticeship and have a great garden to work with. For those who need to buy there are plently of online source including myself (small plug there) if I don't have what you need I would first ask that you do try to by from some small who is crafting in small batches. So go out and get some Flower Essences they are a wonderful tool to put in your Tool Box.
Bright Blessing ~ Jenza
|Posted on January 9, 2015 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
1st snow of the season
Snow season finally hit RI at the end of January. Above is a picture of the 1st "Big" snow we have gotten. A lot more has piled on top of that. Today is the 3rd Snow Day I had from work. When I am at work and it's slow I am always thinking about what I could be doing at home instead. It usually involves my passion Jenza's Garden. So today given yet another day off I made sure I was not going to waste it.
Getting ready to work
I gathered all my starters of Tinctures, Elixir, Fire cider and other Concoctions that have been sitting and waiting to be strained off. Starters... for a lack of better word is the 1st step in making one of the above. It is the plant matter in the menstrum (medium, liquid, etc of choice) that sits for at least a month. In this case since fall or longer. Until I need them they can get over looked. They had been sitting on a shelf in my apothecary just waiting. Today they waited no longer.
Wild Violet Cough Elixir
I strained them out one by one. Starting with Wild Violet Elixir. I love using the plants that grow wild on my land. Violets have an expectorant quality. Some of this summer's harvest went into an elixir using brandy and local honey.
Violet Flower Tincture
Did I mention we have a lot of Wild Violets on our property? I also tinctured the flowers. The flowers are still so pretty. Not shown I made Wild Violet Leaf Oil for it's demulcent property this summer after the flowers died off. It's lovely on the skin.
Winter Cough Elixir
You can never have enough cough medicine. This one is a concoction of Elecampane root, Horehound both from my garden and orange peels. All have been sitting in Brandy since this fall. After straining I added honey to sweeten. Yum Yum.
Again so important to harvest and use things that the land offers. We have this small grove of Winged Sumac. I harvested the berries from them this fall.
I turned the berries into a tincture. From what I heard should help with upper respiratory issues. Next year I am going to try a syrup with them. I need to do some more research. From my research so far can use similarly to the more commonly uses Staghorn Sumac. What a lovely color!
Speaking of lovely colors, look out yellow my Calendula Oil turned out. Think I am going to use it as a body oil.
Lastly I strained out my annual Fire Cider then pressed it out to get even more goodness out of it.
Can you believe all of this liquid was still in the material after I strained it?
I was able to extract almost 3 more cups of liquid and reduce all the plant matter to this small amount.
"Torchietto" Stainless Steel Eggplant Press
I highly recommend purchasing a press. It is so helpful getting that last bit of liquid out. You can search for "Tincture" presses but I found those to be very expensive. I forget where I purchased this one from but I bought it as an Eggplant press.
Have you ever seen a lovely bunch of Compost??
Today was a great Snow Day!