Our Cats Tail Farm Journal of Happenings . Please,
visit us often.
As we rediscover our
relationship with plants –
and what more intimate
pathway than through the gateway of healing–
it ignites a love, a
passion for the green nations,
and enables us to
become caretakers of that which we love most…
~ Rosemary Gladstar
November 5, 2016:
This morning I was asked just what I was still harvesting from the farm
and putting away .... it took me
aback for a second as I had thought I
was past the busy stage. After consideration, the realization came that
the gifts from the Earth that I am still gathering are: coltsfoot,
raspberry leaf, mullein, catnip and more for burning; burdock root,
dandelion root and yellow dock root for tinctures and making bitters; artemisias for bundling; chard, winter spinach, carrots, lettuce,
endive, radishes and more for our daily meals; bushels of beets for
canning; still sorting garlic for seed, sale, and putting away; storing
jars of kim chee in the downstairs fridge; crafting various jars
of Fire Cider. The best reward (and the least work) is plucking
luscious red fruit
from our Prairie Spy apple tree every day to and fro the horse barn. No,
these apples are for me, thank you very much.
2016: A few folk have
just asked as they seem confused
..... Urtica dioica does NOT have a
blue lipped flower. If it does, it
is not stinging nettles. Not that
easy to confuse except for the name
.... maybe someone was thinking of
dead nettle, an entirely different
plant? This is the true medicinal Urtica dioica ~ photo from one of my
garden patches. It loves a rich soil
with partial shade.
2016: Our cordao planting
for this year was unprecedented.
This annual with curving tubular
flowers has a long ethnobotanical
history held sacred in many African
and Brazilian shamanic ceremonies.
This summer, due to the heat and
sun, our plantings reached over nine
feet in height. I am still
harvesting the petals which I had
thought would be finished producing
due to the killing frosts, but I
have been proven wrong. I saw no
hummingbirds on this plant, as they
were too busy on our other plantings
~ but it is said to be very
attractive to these little gems of
birds. PubMed lists that medicinal
properties of cordao may assist in
the treatments of ailments such as
infections, inflammations, wounds,
stomach disorders, among others
2016: fire cider and kim
chee in the works. I love this time
2016: The uncommon
stretch of summer weather is
continuing. Today it has been well
over seventy degrees F..... the bugs
and the heat are aggravating the
horses. Unusual ..... harvesting
lavender, tobacco, California poppy,
tomatoes and cordao on October 14,
more cordao, raspberry leaf, fresh
raspberries, greens, and baskets of
calendula three days later. Another
unexpected blessing... it is way too
warm to start the woodstove or the
furnace yet. The blazing foliage is
2016: Salvia apiana
(white sage) was harvested just
before the frost. This season, the
plants in the patch reached an
average of 28
inches in height and is without
question the fullest,
most fragrant that we have ever
cultivated. The loft of the cottage
is full of the gathered herb,
hanging in the rafters, ready to be
used for smudge and ceremony. Mother
Earth has truly blessed us this
2016: What a blessing to
share labors with new friends.
Yesterday, my husband & I visited
the Native community and joined them
to harvest Seneca white corn for the
Ganondagan White Corn Project.
Thanks and blessings to Ken Parker
and Holly John, of Food is Our
Medicine - Healthy First Nations. To share in this
work to ensure the preservation of
this sacred seed while building
friendships and community makes my
heart fill with gratitude. May this
tradition be blessed and honored for
thousands of years.
corn harvest photo courtesy of Petra
October 4, 2016: This is a PERFECT day for working in the herb garden. This is a prime opportunity for last minute harvesting, removing annuals, marking the plant locations for next year. I am also making note of all the plants that the deer have selected as appetizers and which as main course. The cauldron water lilies are GONE. The marshmallow plants have been browsed to stalks, as have the comfrey (!!??!) and the wood betony. They chose to leave us the ragweed and the goldenrod. I suppose the cultivated plants just have so much better flavor.
October 2, 2016: Sticky, resin covered fingers ... pollen on chin and nose ...this year has been unbelievably bountiful in many fragrant blossoms. First tilia, and now it is abundant vibrant blessings of calendula. We have dried, oiled and tinctured. This basket of beauty is destined for the distiller.
September 30, 2016: The long hot summer bears an abundant crop. Today we harvested an entire eight quart basket of lima beans, a half bushel of tomatoes, a small basket of green beans all destined for the freezer ~ and more herbal goodies. Salvia azurea, cordao, calendula, tulsi, and thyme.
September 24, 2016: Shimmering beautiful night sky, shooting star, several owls in conversation ..... and a few coywolf chattering and squealing immediately across the road opposite the front door. I cannot recall any previous occasion that they were heard that close to the Farm.
September 18, 2016: Celebrate the abundance of the Earth, for soon it will be Autumn Equinox ! Even though the lack of rain caused a scarcity of some needed crops we have been blessed with a bounty of others. Gather and preserve, prepare and feast! Our vegetable garden has provided a harvest of beets, turnips, tomatoes, fresh and dried beans, cucumbers .... while our herbal gatherings of tulsi basil, calendula, hops and more are keeping us busy with drying, tincturing, a...nd brewing. Our Prairie Spy apple tree is loaded with promises of autumn sweetness, but the hawthorn berries are scarce due to the unusually brisk and cold spring. Soon, it will be time to turn inward, to seek strength in the roots of the crops we gather and in the deepest recesses of ourselves. Like the sap of the trees returning to the roots, it is our time to turn our thoughts and efforts to clearing away what is unnecessary and unneeded .... to complete unfinished projects .... to celebrate and welcome the return to the heart of our beings and the hearth of our dwellings. Now it is time to balance our active and receptive selves and to nurture our connection with the cycle of the Year. Use this time wisely; let us not lose this time we are given in busy-ness, complaints, and self-pity; instead, welcome with open arms this opportunity to cultivate connection with the Sacred. There will be a renewal of growth and expansion in its OWN time.
September 11, 2016: One occupational hazard of being a wildcrafting herbalist is experiencing unattainable sleep all night long while enduring the serenade from the singing cicada that has buried itself in your harvest basket in the kitchen right below your bedroom.
September shelves are6, 2016: Angelica love .... a digestive elixir I am creating. Freshly harvested angelica root, some warming herbs and spices, a touch of maple and orange peel. <3 !
September 5, 2016: The bounty of the Green is
overwhelming me. I returned from the NE Women's Herbal Conference one
week ago, rested and rejuvenated ...... and looking forward to a
continuation of a mellow mood. The plants have other ideas! There are
"almost past prime" stands of medicinals clamoring for attention,
demanding their harvest. Raspberry leaf ... motherwort, a second cutting
of lemon balm ... hops are almost ready. A bushel of mullein, a huge
basket of tulsi, ...marshmallow leaf and seeds to be separated ~ all
await me in the kitchen. There was enough stock of vodka to fill a quart
jar of tincture, but there is still a pan of angelica roots to be made
into an elixir. Not only is my stock of vodka for tincturing
depleted, I am out of brandy too. The dryer shelves are stacked full.
Recalling the lack of healing plants in other years, and thinking of
those who suffer and who need this medicine, I am grateful for my
August 11, 2016:
Magikal, mystical mugwort aka "cronewort" ~ Artemisia
vulgaris. It appears at your back door when you are accepted as a
healer. The energies are aromatic, bitter yet spicy. This member of
the Artemisia family is kin to A. annua, Sweet annie and A.
ludoviciana, wormwood ... among others. I find it helpful for
"frozen" muscles and tendons .... when the cold originated
from an external source. A lovely mugwort infused oil or liniment
really worked into the gluteus maximus has shown to relieve the
temporary and debilitating pain from sciatica, or massaged into the
calf muscles to soothe restless legs. If you wish to enhance dream
recall, entreat the aid of lovely cronewort. Worn as an amulet or
tucked under your pillow, this powerful green ally may surprise you!
July 11, 2016:
All but one variety of garlic is pulled and hanging to
dry. One of my favorite uses for garlic is my Fire Cider
a recipe celebrated by herbalists for generations! I like to tweak it
every year, and here is our most excellent 2015 effort. Some folk
experiment with recipes they found on the Internet, and often say ~
"Just dump it all together and whirr it in a blender!" which m...ay work
fine as far as the finished product ~ but to me, the result lacks soul
and the vitality of healing. As I shared with the sisters in my "Viral
Immunity" class yesterday, I learned and practice the importance of the
prayerful act of collecting with intent and chopping by hand the
ingredients in any medicine ..... asking for the healing of the Creator
to consecrate my efforts while I slice, dice, crush, mash, chop and mix.
Flow your essence into your recipe. Ask that universal energy combine
with and transform your energy and bless your food and medicine. In
Ayurveda, this is akin to "sadhana," meaning "participation with
everything." Preparing your food and healing potions can be a form of
meditation. You are what you put into your body. You become what you
cultivate. Let your acts of preparing food and medicine become your
mindful way of changing the energy of this troubled world.
blossoms, buzzing bees, blissful
bouquet, bodacious and bountiful
beauty. I am in love.
Photo: Tilia × europaea –
Common Lime (T. cordata × T.
platyphyllos; syn. T. × vulgaris)
2016: One harvest is
beginning .... our first basket
of tilia is drying. Linden tea,
linden elixir ... linden
infusion, a luxury in the bath!
Roses harvest is ending, having
just about finished this years
short flush of bloom. The heat
and dryness continue in Marilla,
and the Farm is wilting,
literally. Weeding is postponed
until some much needed rain is
received .... the ground is
solid concrete. Wildlife
critters are constantly visible
in the back yard, seek...ing
water and visiting the pond with
the oak tree or the cauldron in
the herb garden. Last evening, a
raccoon and a solitary deer were
feet away from each other by the
tree line. The raccoon was wary
and experienced, while the deer
bounded about, up and down, back
and forth, inviting play. She
was ignored, and the deer
departed disappointed. The hawks
who have nested by the stream
must be fledgling as the
multiple and concerted screeches
are overpowering all other bird
song. I can see them circling
.... the parents are soaring
above while the younger calls
from below are higher pitched
and somewhat immature. The blue
heron is daily in the stream,
but only a solitary bird, sadly
not the usual pair. The orioles
are still devouring oranges and
grape jelly, and the barn
swallow mother is sitting on the
nest in the barn under the
watchful eye of the horses.
While we all are coping with the
dryness, a steady and lengthy
rain would be welcomed by all.
Summer Solstice lends a special
magic to herbal creations.
Yarrow hydrosol, distilled with
a tinge of blue, the azulene
readily apparent; rose petal
honey for yogurt, scones and
tea, bringing a whiff of summer
sweetness when the winds blow
and the snow blankets the
garden; California poppy
tincture for those restless
nights; and the crowning jewel,
rose petal elixir from the
Apothecary rose, the sweetest
rose on Mother Earth. The
Greenies are anxious ...for this
last medicine, and sang together
as they helped with the harvest.
The gardens had a touch of
moisture last night but it did
little to lessen the need for
water to help with the
flowering. We planted several
new shrubs to replace those that
had succumbed to the stress of
the last few winters, including
a new mock orange for fragrance.
Raccoons as well as new fawns
love to eat new mock orange
blossoms. LOVE them. Just sayin'.
16, 2016: We finally
received rain, but only a
fraction of an inch. Everything
is dry and crispy, and I have
observed early wilting in full
size shrubs and some small
trees. Frogs have been a bit
scarce, and even the snapping
turtles are hunkered down
wherever they can find a puddle.
We are hoping for an annual
resident in our garden cauldron
to be the Prince on the lilypads!
The mammals are rooting in the
gardens wherever they can search
out some moist juicy insects ~
so my new wildlife garden (to
attract wildlife ... LOL!) is a
mass of craters, mud clods and
discarded turf. Our resident
raccoon is often perched in the
top of the apple tree,
dislodging infant apples on the
climb up and down. Meanwhile,
the deer have pruned the
marshmallow, and more. How
accommodating of them. If only
they would prune the goldenrod,
the ash tree seedlings and the
daisy fleabane. But no. The
herbal harvest has begun ...
gathering skullcap, mugwort,
catnip and rose petals are on my
daily routine. Tulsi is growing
strong and lush, as is the rose
bergamot and the Moldavian balm
(Dracocephalum moldavica) and
the cordao. Fingers
June 1, 2016:
PART TWO: In my earlier post I wrote a bit about poison ivy,
Toxicodendron radicans (aka Rhus toxicdendron.) If you should have the
misfortune to fall into (Heaven forbid) a patch of poison ivy, jewelweed
should be growing nearby. Jewelweed (Impatiens capenensis or I. pallida)
is related to the common landscape annual, the lovely little impatiens
that is used in many garden beds. If you break the stem of either,
will find distinctive, hollow stems that are clear and juicy. The sap of
jewelweed applied to the contact area will not completely negate the
effects of poison ivy but may (for most people, including myself)
greatly lessen the severity and shorten the period of time that you
suffer. Even at infant stage, it will help you, but the plant is much
more easily recognizable at full maturity. If you
that you suffer often from exposure to poison ivy, take freshly picked
jewelweed, whirl it in a blender with water to make a slurry. Freeze
this in ice cube trays ... when frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray
and store in plastic bags. You can soothe affected skin directly by
rubbing the ice cube on yourself, or dump a trayfull of cubes into a
bathtub and hop in. IMPORTANT!!! Correct identification is important as
with ANY herbal application. I received two messages from folk that
asked me if jewelweed is the same as CELANDINE. I was a bit taken aback
to have two identical questions this morning. Where is this coming from?
NO NO NO NO! Celandine, or Chelidonium majus, is a dermal irritant,
sometimes caustic. If you use the sap of celandine as an application to
alleviate poison ivy, chances are you will have a much more severe
reaction than you had originally!! Celandine is a member of the poppy
family and has a bright yellowish orange sap. KNOW YOUR PLANTS! Correct
identification is critical in any aspect of herbalism. First photo is
immature true jewelweed, the second is at flowering. The other picture
is of Chelidonium majus. AVOID using this plant.
2016: Writing about poison ivy has been on my mind ever since
Anne and I saw it in such profusion at Hunters Creek Park in Wales. And
now people are messaging me about it, so, it IS time. I have read that
the spreading growth of poison ivy is directly correlated to the health
of the surrounding areas ... if the land has been "disturbed" then Rhus
will increase. The same is said to be true if the amount of carbon
monoxide is increasing. That explains a lot! In the
photo of poison ivy, do not be fooled by its benign appearance. Weepy
rashes will result if you touch the sap from a broken part of the plant.
For some, just brushing the foliage is
It usually turns brilliant red in the autumn, but other climbing plants
such as Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) do as well. Look
for the leaf count ~ Virginia creeper has five, while poison ivy has
THREE. Leaves of three, let it be. Don't
it, as if you breathe in the smoke you will become ill. There is a plant
growing nearby that will aid anyone who inadvertently stumbles into a
patch of Rhus ...... see my next post about jewelweed.
May 10, 2016: Along
harvesting a massive amount of stinging nettle which is drying as I
type, here is one of the jars as the AFTER picture of yesterdays
root.... thank you for your healing strength.
May 9, 2016: It has been a day of
blessings ... hummers are here, there are five orioles on the oranges,
and the green friends are making themselves known. My husband was
digging a new bed and felt this powerful energy.
We uncovered this wise
root of yellow dock (Rumex crispus) and reverently brushed away the
soil. This magnificent herb is known for its action on the digestive
system, having anthraquinones as one of its most active
constituents. Gentled by the tannins it also contains, it is an
invaluable aid for gut health.
May 2, 2016: Someone following Cats
Tail Farm on FB sent me this clip art shown on the left ~ and said that they were told
this is Siberian ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosis. Nope. I sure do
not believe so. I think
that this picture has been the subject of artistic creativity ~ this
clipart appears to show the root of a Panax ginseng, or P. quinquefolius.
is unable to be identified(?) with the berry structure of a panax but
the color of an Eleuthero. Panax berries rarely are that deep of a purple,
they are more crimson red. Panax is a herbacious perennial while E.
senticosis is a woody deciduous shrub. Note the UFO space type
flowerhead of the Eleuthero. Completely different plant with different
characteristics,different harvesting protocol, and different uses. I
grow both here at the farm.
May 6, 2016:This weather is producing
an abundance of herbs for spring medicine making. Cleavers is rampant;
the yarrow is soft, verdant and ready to be clipped for drying .... and
the treasured and indispensable stinging nettles are gaining in size and
stature daily. Nettle soup, frittata, pesto ... and drying for my
special tea blend. And for those who have been messaging me, have I
forgotten my class schedule? It is being finalized. If only family would
cease their "surprise events" this summer ..... all would have been in
17, 2016: What could be more satisfying
after a day of digging, cutting and weeding than to see such beauty ~
windflowers in bloom under the lilac; bloodroot in bloom, leaves
unfurling from stems clasped tightly; petasites, a gift from a dear
friend in Maine, with its first flower so wantonly displayed for all. In
addition, we were fortunate to view a sleek shiny fox nosing among the
litter by the stream, full bushy tail floating exuberantly behind,
searching for a tidbit to eat; and the first pair of bats providing an
aerial display at dusk. Thank you for this beautiful and blessed day.
April 10, 2016:
Finally. The text and photos in my website have
been 99% updated. The visual appearance remains the same, as I love the
creative design of my dear sister who spent so many hours not only
designing our website but who spent even MORE hours working on the
inside workings with the peculiar whims and requirements of my web host.
If you would like to attend a workshop or a program here at the Farm, my
aim is to post a schedule around May 1st ~ Beltane! Many Green Blessings
to all, and please, check out my humble efforts in updates.
April 2, 2016:
This past week was satisfying .... what could be more fun on a dreary
March day than crafting from your herb stash? My apothecary is brimming
with new combinations for various needs .... and here is one jar of our
favorite peaceful garden tea. Alongside are jars for smudging
which have been on my list for months to create. Sipping some newly
strained cocoa-kava elixir in the evening aids my creative processes!
Watch for my listing of one day workshops and classes to be offered here
on the Farm this year.... I invite you to welcome the Magic of Green
into your lives!
March 15, 2016:
The Universe has a message for me ... woodpecker has appeared.
While commonly one or two at a time at the feeders, this morning was a
distinct oddity. Feeder #1 ~ as I approached, two downies and a red
bellied woodpecker were sitting on the empty feeder. Two more downies
were perched in the tulip poplar a few feet away. Feeder #2, by the pond
and the peace pole ~ THREE downies, possibly a female yellow
sapsucker(?) in the oak tree, another downy in the lilac bush waiting
for me to leave the feeder. As I returned to the porch .... the pileated
flew along the top of the bank above the stream. With the heavy winds
that we have experienced the last few years, many damaged limbs and
trunks of trees are providing food and nesting cavities.
March 14, 2016:
Today I am organizing herbal workshop notes, planning summer
classes, and crafting mysterious potions. When you go through papers
with the intention of finally sorting them, thinking that is your
objective .... soon there is a "I have been looking for that, may as
well leave it out" stack along with a "I have requests for a class on
that" stack and of course a "looks interesting, need to make that"
stack. So now I have jars of herbs, bottles of oils, a gallon of honey,
some vodka and brandy for elixirs ~ of course as well as lots of little
piles of papers spread out everywhere in the kitchen. May as well make
it PRODUCTIVE and FUN!
Oh what a catastrophe for
man when he cut himself off from the rhythm of the year, from his unison
the Sun and the Earth. Oh what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it made a personal, merely personal feeling, taken away
from the rising and setting of the sun, and cut off from the magical
connection of the solstice and the equinox. This is what is the
matter with us.
~ D. H. Lawrence
2016: The silent night
was not disturbed, even though the prints in the snow told us otherwise.
A few evenings this past week we heard a huge pack of coyotes. This
morning ~ tracks of at least FIVE between the garage and the horse
stable. Not even a yip, a squeal, or a peep!
Our mission is to keep this little part of Mother Earth as much
as a sanctuary as possible for all of us. We avoid any adversarial
actions against wildlife and insects, preferring instead to peacefully
coexist with them. Our own composted equine manure along with certified
organic products are used in our stewardship /earth practices and
gardens. As a result, we have a very comfortable relationship with the
fauna who reside with us...... so much so that they also rely on our
plantings for optimal health .... but sometimes to our own lack of the
same plants when WE want or need them. Sometimes, land stewardship has
to be a compromise
2016: Red Winged
blackbird seen at the Farm!!! Yippeeeee! A sign of spring!
Omigosh. It is cold at Cats Tail Farm. This is what the indoor/outdoor
minimum - maximum thermometer showed when we came back in from the barn.
Left side is outdoors, right side is the laundry room. That is
MINUS TWENTY DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. Outdoors, that is in the SUN. With NO WIND. Even the laundry
room was chilly, but it has three exterior walls and the dryer vent,
.which does not keep the heat in well I think I will buy a second unit
for the horse barn to compare. May as well get things done inside that
we did not get done yesterday ..... don't think I will be spending any
un-necessary time out of doors today.
December 15, 2015:
I am missing the heavy fragrance of blossoms, the buzzing of the
pollinators, the warmth of the Sun on my face. The catalogs have been
arriving and so have my first seed orders. Pencil in hand, sketches
scattered about ..... lists of "must haves" and also of "do I want" on
sticky notes. I am not even snowbound, yet the dream of the green
pervades my being .....
2015: What a
difference one year makes. Last year on this date we were still dealing
with "Snowvember" and this year ~ neighbors are mowing lawns. We put in
some bulbs, cleaned up some of the veggie gardens (nope, have not
touched the perennials and herb beds, lets see if I can get to them
later) harvested a few handfuls of calendula ~ on November 19th? Topping
it off, we snipped a few stamens of saffron! I am bagging up some dried
harvest that have been hanging upstairs in the cottage .... several
artemisias, some yarrow, some comfrey .... the very last snippets of
tulsi that were still on the drying shelf ... I have smudges to blend,
some tinctures to strain for the winter. The weather has been too warm
to fire up the stove and sit with a glass of wine. Do you think we will
be blessed with an early spring?
No, not Hypericum tincture or oil .... not black currant cordial .... I
have tweaked my recipe for the fire cider. This is the blend that
really, really tastes GOOD.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh... October! Such a sensual month! Enjoy the scents of
falling leaves, of baking treats fresh from the oven or the stovetop ~
the spicy flavors of the ciders and spices ~ the crooning music of the
departing wildfowl, the symphony of the coyotes howling at Luna ~ the
fluttering sensations of the crisp air on your skin ~ and the riotous
display of the vibrant palette of color ~ it is a blessing to be alive
to enjoy all of this. I wish all my friends a blessed, wickedly awesome
October 11, 2015:
Elderberry elixir ~ a half dozen bottles, elder berries gifted from a
friend. Elderberry should be grown by everyone ~ it tolerates
rural, suburban, and even rural settings as long as it is a well drained
sunny area with adequate access to moisture. Grandmother Elder is
the Guardian and protrectoress of gardens ~ lending her strength and
steadniness to all those who grown hear her. The flowers contain a small amount quantity of
essential oil (containing palmitic, linoleic, and linolenic acids),
triterpenes, flavonoids (including rutin), also pectin, mucilage, sugar
while the berries are rich in many compounds, among which are
sugar, fruit acids, vitamin c, bio-flavonoids. The leaves have
toxic qualities. This is a "go-to" plant for respiratory issues
and assists in bacterial and viral assault.
October 11, 2015:
Salvia apiana ~ spirit medicine Smudging has been a sacred ritual
for many cultures and every religion uses sacred smoke in their
ceremonies. Whether they be Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Judaic,
Native American .... I have not found any faith that does not use the
burning of scented substances to carry prayers to God or the Creator.
The burning of herbs is used for cleansing, purification, consecration,
and connection with ones Relations and with the Divine. The subtle
shifting of energy from burning herbs or incense brings a state of
balance to ourselves and to our environment; with this balance,
interconnectedness is reestablished and awareness that we are not alone
but parts of the Whole.
You may say that I'm a dreamer, but
I'm not the only one. I hope someday you will join us, and the world
will live as one. ~
John Lennon, "Imagine"
August 22, 2015:
Sea buckthorn berries are loaded this year and I cannot keep
ahead of the harvest. Tangy but sweet, this power packed
little fruit is being researched as the next "superfood."
August 17, 2015:
Another magical day of medicine making at the Farm. The Green is so
thankful to be acknowledged ~ in return, they freely share their wisdom
and blessings with us.
July 27, 2015:
Woooeeeeeeeeeee. We are on overdrive with drying and processing our
herbal bounty. The garlic harvest is all hanging to dry in the upstairs
cottage, fragrantly curing. My husband is busy distilling several
hydrosols ~ lots of lavender, some tulsi, some yarrow, peppermint for my
triple peppermint cream, catnip for insect spray for the horses, clary
sage too, all freshly picked from the gardens. We secured some more
local honey for infusing with baskets of freshly harvested herbs for our
winter toasts, teas and baked goods. New elixirs are brewing ....
including a new Cocoa Kava creation. Black currant cordial
is infusing too! We still have a few herb plants for sale, so let me
know if anyone is missing a plant for their garden ... we may have it!
They may be gone after our next tour. Hummingbirds are still here, sadly
our nest of five barn swallows have fledged and left, but they are
routinely seen soaring around the barn and yard. The visiting feral
Momma Cat has departed, taking the three little kittens with her.
Perhaps someone will adopt them, if they can catch them..... while
our pampered house cats Inky and Banshee are snoozing full length in the
house in any cool spot they can find, while Merlyn and Misty are
snoozing in the barn in the shade, doors and windows wide open. If only
we could take naps too. LOL.
15, 2015: We pulled
the first of our garlic today! Only one or two varieties are ready. This
year I am making garlic broth and freezing it, along with making dried
powdered, minced, and sliced garlic. Yummmmmmmmmmm
July 8, 2015:
More rain fell last night. I think that the Farm will be able to
qualify officially as a rice paddy. Fourteen yards of the first sixteen
yards of mulch are down, as is 95% of the load of wood chips. Is that
enough, you ask? Nope. More to come ... We needed a lot to cover
unexpected washed out places ~ so now we are short again for several
areas. Water up to the ankles, so now, must I worry about shark attacks?
Sightseers are arriving Sunday ~ at least the herb garden is finished
and up to par. The echinacea looks like they will be truly spectacular
this year, as were the lupines and poppies earlier in the season.
Horehound, white sage, the new sweetgrass plantings are installed.
Catnip and clary sage are being harvested for distillation of hydrosols,
and some ceremonial herbs are ready for cutting as well as others to
tincture. The blue herons are visiting daily, the hummingbirds are a
fixture, and the chipmunks are planning their ornamental sunflower
gardens. If only they would submit their locations for approval ....
surprising and unexpected plantings are not appealing in the center of
the carrot patch!
Bear spotted Boston/Hamburg area. Bears usually follow a waterway ~ and
gaslines. They love to stop and browse for edibles along the way.
My elderberry bushes have still not recovered from the harvest by a bear after what, four years?
Lets all stay safe but stay calm. We don't need idiots shooting off
shotguns .... they can be more dangerous than the bears sometimes. I
speak from experience.
7, 2015: Our new Apothecary Rose bed
is planted ~ YIPPEE! New supplier, so I started
out with a small number to access their
Potatoes are planted: Green Mountain, Irish
Cobbler, King Edward, Maris Piper. Onions, leeks
and scallions going strong. Oats are planted for
milky oat stage, fingers crossed. All of our
varieties of garlic are flourishing and getting
ready to pop their scapes. If folk are
interested, I will have scapes to sell, as well
as our mature
garlic after harvest ~ all our crops are
organically grown but not certified organic.
Living in harmony with Nature is our Passion!
Harvesting lettuce for lunches and dinners, but
not much else yet.... too busy getting the herb
beds in order. What a beating they took over the
winter, combined with the late killing frost
that shocked many mature trees as well. We lost
so many plants! We are now drying nettles and catnip ....
tinctured some california poppy .... I missed
the hawthorn bloom which flew past in the blink
of an eye! Soon linden blossom will be in
demand, as well as the rose petals for elixir
and bath products. Some herb plants will be
available for sale, there may more varieties
after I finish transplanting. So far ~ yarrow,
valerian, borage, mugwort, sorrel, perhaps
feverfew, the true medicinal thyme, maybe some
elecampane. Send me a pm if you are interested
as there may be more varieties, and there are
only a few of each. I love making sweet early
June 6, 2015:
Harvested Eschscholzia californica for
tincture and sweet elixir. Such a lovely golden gleaming
This life is yours. Take the
power to choose what you want to do and do it
well. Take the power to love what you want in
life and love it honestly. Take the power to
walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take
the power to control your own life. No one else
can do it for you. Take the power to make your
Susan Polis Schutz
June 1, 2015:My Passion and my Path is EDUCATION
regarding our health and the health of the
planet on which we live. In Marilla, for the
past two years we have been fighting a company,
named "quasar energy" from Cleveland, Ohio ~ who
came to Marilla and other towns in Western New
York to store toxic sewage sludge ~ "equate" ~
and spread it on crops as fertilizer. The
EPA/DEC says it is perfectly safe because it is
"tested" for harmful ingredients, but in reality
they never test for THOUSANDS
of ingredients that are proven toxic to
humans, wildlife, soil, water .... and air. In
addition, sewage sludge or "biosolids" contain
bacteria, viruses, industrial waste,
pharmaceuticals. medical waste ... and more
... that can contribute to "superbugs" and
disease. Many foods available for
consumption in supermarkets are already
contaminated with these materials .... even
organics may have this in their makeup.
If you are questioning validity, be advised that
in addition, there are mountains of scientific
statements and papers by learned scientists to
support these findings of hazardous and
injurious material. Hunters and those who
consume harvested wild meat should be especially
concerned about PRION diseases as Chronic
Wasting Disease is on the rise and may be
directly linked to toxic sewage sludge - AKA "biosolids"
which is often spread on state lands such as
parks, etc., to aid "reforestation." . For
further information, please visit
May 16, 2015: Wow ..... more questions!
Can I arrange a special class if you organize a
group? OF COURSE! Want a Ladies Day, or a family
outing discovering your own Green Spirit?
Learning basics of the wild greens growing near
you .... identification ..... how they help us?
What to do with them? Explore all that waits for
you, meeting your own Allies and awakening your
wild awareness of all Nature. If you want to
consider this experience or have questions,
message me. Available dates are shrinking. We
can always schedule next year if we plan now.
May 15, 2015:
folks, people have
inquired from me if I
would consider doing
weed walks on their
property, or a nearby
wild area. YES!
Cultivated herbs, wild
plants .... all love to
be introduced to the
brethren. They may be
waiting for the
opportunity to be
recognized! Message me
if you want to arrange
May 11, 2015:
dehydrator all ready.
Cleavers is running
rampant in the vegetable
garden! Two huge
baskets of nettle leaves
are harvested, and I was
careful to leave the
plants standing that
were visited by the
Nettle ~ a magical
one of my herbal allies
May 6, 2015:
May 3, 2015: Rose
breasted grosbeak at feeder!! No hummers yet.
April 29, 2015:
Thankful today. One young man, from a brief meeting about
sewage sludge, sought me out to ask about the power of the plants in
healing ones self. Willing, attentive, polite, and eager to listen
and learn. The Green is so willing to share with those who have a
true interest. My heart is happy.
April 26, 2015:
The wrens have returned! Pepe LePew is seen often strolling the yard,
doing his share to search out grubs and lawn insects. We have a mated
pair of mallards in the stream, the nest is in the brush in an unmown
part of the field. There are several pileated woodpeckers heard daily
with several owls hooting in the evening. I have not seen the
redshouldered hawk recently; perhaps he/she has moved on. The brief but
not unexpected snowfall several mornings ago
has blunted the beauty of the daffodils, but the grass is greening, the
willows are leafing, the coltsfoot is in bloom! Alas, soon my exuberance
will wane with the mountain of yard work that needs to be done. We lost
several full size trees, many ornamental shrubs, but too soon yet to
view all the perennials. Seeds are in trays under lights ~ the promise
of lushness and renewal. The cycle begins again. Aho.
Live in each season as it passes; breathe
the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the
influence of the earth.
Henry David Thoreau
April 20, 2015:
Bloodroot is in bloom. Nettles are peeking through the
leaf litter. Chickweed, cleavers, baby dandelion .... popping up
everywhere. Roses have new shoots. Willows and birch are budding.
Sorrel leaves are stretching. I found some self heal in full leaf! I
few sprigs of tasty dill .... the parsley is greening and spreading.
Lady Lobelia is shy, but but visible. The Wheel has turned. Life is
March 15, 2015: The top crust of
the snow is icy and glazed, making the footing to the barn a bit
precarious. Pepe LePew found a new home, under my husbands workshop. At
the feeder: one solitary junco, no cardinals, over one dozen chickadees.
Red tailed hawk perched on sand ring fencepost, looking for breakfast?
One male bluebird, preening on the snow shovel handle (I will not be
moving that shovel anytime soon) and NINE whitetail deer on the treeline
by the stream, five resting contentedly, four standing and browsing.
Time for a nice cuppa.
March 14, 2015: Along with the
familiar doves, multitude of cardinals, juncos and the woodpecker at
dawn ... about twenty robins were perched in the plum tree this morning.
Returning from the barn, FOUR red winged blackbirds were merrily dining
on oil sunflower. First sighting this year!
February 13, 2015: Nature and the animals know best, no matter how superior and
scientific we humans believe ourselves to be. Does anyone recall my post
that my horses started their winter coats in early JULY of last year? I
was concerned about the cold and hard winter that signs were indicating?
I hate to say "I told you so" ~ but, I told you so.
February 8, 2015: WOOT! WOOT!
The Cats Tail Farm herbal program for new students in 2015 is FULL.
Please PM me if you want to be added to the cancellation list for this
year, or to have a place on the 2016 program early notification list.
January 1, 2015:
Recent communications are making me
concerned. People have been messaging me with questions, much more so than
usual, mostly on plant ID and uses .... the identification of the plant is the
most critical to knowing IF you should use a plant
for its gift of medicine or not. If you rely on purchasing dried herbs from a
local store to use, it is not the same a gathering herbs fresh and making your
remedy yourself. The plant healing begins with greeting the plant in the ground,
communing with him or her; telling the plant your needs for its healing
strength, asking permission to gather, then harvesting responsibly. The last and
most important action is to thank the plant of its gift for your benefit. Now
while I realize that not everyone has access to an entire garden of cultivated
medicinal herbs, or to wild plants out their door, lets face it.... almost
everyone has access to dandelion, plantain, chickweed, and self heal within
fifty or so feet of their residence. You need not know fifty different medicinal
plants, but five plants ten different ways. Again, the issue is KNOW YOUR PLANT
~ which brings me to the point of this posting. People were writing me, confused
with native wild ginger being identified as zingiber, then again with absinth
wormwood which is different from one of the many other varieties of wormwood ~
being the same as southernwood (no, it isn't!) Now I am reading from others
questions about yarrow being the same plant as lady's mantle. The only (far
reaching) similarity is that yarrow is ACHILLEA, while lady's mantle is
ALCHEMILLA. Just a difference in the word and perhaps some folk are consulting
some of the same printed material, where they are most likely listed next to
each other. Alchemilla is a member of the rose family, related to apples,
hawthorn, raspberries (HUH?) and roses of course ~ while yarrow is called
"woundwort" and has many valuable properties, among them being a styptic and one
of the three ingredients in the herbalists cold tea remedy which every self
respecting herbalist uses as a staple in their arsenal. Rather than ramble on
even more when I am irritated with inaccurate information being shared, here are
photos of each plant so that you may see for yourself. The white yarrow is often
found in the wild and may easily be transplanted into any cultivated setting,
but keep in mind that hybrids of yarrow (the pastel colors) have limited
medicinal constituents, while the yellow is only ornamental and has very very
low amounts, if any, of medicinal properties. Lady's mantle, or the Alchemilla,
can be grown in a cultivated setting as a ground cover and has a beauty for the
eye and spirit as well as being a valuable ally for humans ~ especially the
December 28, 2014:
favorite motto states, "Teach respect
for the Earth and ALL living beings" know that you will be
acknowledged in return for your efforts. This reward can be in
the form of the most majestic sunset for your delight, the
appearance of an inquisitive fox
that shows no fear of you, or perhaps a visit from a relatively
uncommon avian friend to your window feeder. Sometimes, Mother
Nature has a sense of whimsical humor and gives you a smile
along with a gift ~ look what we found just today in the bin of
potatoes we harvested from the land here at the Farm!
In the last week
or so, for some reason I
have received several inquiries to
clear confusion regarding the
native ginger found here as a woodland perennial, and the ginger
commonly available in supermarkets. Which is the true ginger?
Well, they both are but they are NOT the same plant, not
remotely related, and do not have identical constituents. The
photo on the TOP, with the tall spike leaf is the ginger that is
primarily used in medicine, Zingiber officinale ~ a tropical
plant used primarily for digestive, circulatory and digestive
issues. It can be grown here as an annual or in a greenhouse
with some pampering but is not hardy in this zone. To show the
other, the image with the "violet-like" leaf is a member of the
Asarum family, Asarum canadense being one of the most commonly
found here. Note the unusual bloom. This native ginger can be
found in shaded woodland areas of Western New York and have less
strong medicinal value, but this plant is a supreme example of a
species with a clonal root system which can exist as long as a
ten-year time span.
The snow has not only been taxing
to the two legged, four`legged, and the furred and
feathered .... but the one legged are suffering. I
see a beautiful powerful white pine, Pinus strobus,
down by the stream, with limbs broken and twisted from
the weight of the snow. I will take a basket,
shears, a knife ... and an offering. The needles,
sap, tears and wood have power healing to the body,
the spirit, and the soul. Gather with gratitude.
There is strength here.
November 22, 2014:
Accomplished: roof shoveled, and three sides of my car are visible
We are making progress. Two old cranky people, we do pretty good.
November 18, 2014 8:30 PM
update: Our power went out at 2PM and JUST came back on. When we
have no power, we have no water as there is no way to run the well
pump ... and our phone is digital. My cell coverage is poor here
too. We trudged thru 3.5 feet of snow with headlamps to the barn
hauling water. Horses seem happy and it sure is good for both hubby
and I to get back into the house. We have homemade soup and bread
and going to crack open a bottle of WINE.
November 18, 2014 UPDATE from
earlier post: I still cannot see the road and we have about another
foot of snow since my earlier post. It is still snow thundering and
there is NO sign of a plow. OR any vehicle. At. All. The temperature
rose to a balmy 15 degrees F. The vehicles are half buried and we
have not attempted the path to the manure pile. Black bean soup is
on the stove and bread is rising to be put in the oven. Cats are
sleeping and we have discovered two dead lines of tree lights. Maybe
I won't be ahead this season after all.
August 25, 2014: Returning home from the Women's Herbal Conference, I
pondered the message that we have sent out from the fire.... 650 strong women,
lovers of the Green, dancing, singing, drumming, sharing our wisdom and our
power of healing. Many youth were there to take
their first steps onto the magical path of the Green Ways! We have left the
lake, candles lit for the path of those to follow us .... and as a beacon of
light until I and our sisters gather again.
August 20, 2014: A
sample of the ayurvedic herbs now found at Cats Tail Farm ~ bringraj.
August 19, 2014: A
lovely photo of a sacred herb, Seneca tobacco here at the Farm. Many
thanks to a Native sister for the generous gift. We are saving the seed
for next year to carry on the strain.
steps in making a herbal salve at Cats Tail Farm. Freshly harvested Green
gifts, lovingly infused in golden oil. What magical healing .... so much sweet wild medicine in
there! Plantain, lady's mantle, milky oats, lavender blossom, lemon balm,
St. Johnswort. Everyone's first aid kits now contain a tin of
this gift of Mother Earth.
2014: Yummmmm ... the harvest has begun. Some varieties
had larger heads that anticipated, while one variety was smaller than we had
hoped. The flavor is intense and powerful, and we have LOTS. Pickled garlic; garlic
broth; our own dried garlic powder. Bring on the vampires! There is
more in the ground to pull, and omigosh this year we had scapes by the
POUND. Perhaps next year I should consider "garlic bed weeding for pick your own
scape harvest" as a barter option.
July 10, 2014:
only our hummingbirds love this monarda,
the rose scented bee balm.....
She is a flower love of bodacious beautiful
blossoms, so one creation is our CTF rose scented bee balm infused honey!
Anxious for winter pampering in teas, on scones or home made toasted crumpets by
the breakfast fire.
May 27, 2014: Working
with the magic of the Green .... the first seven trays of nettles came out of
the herb dryer and bagged, nine trays (so far) of comfrey went in. What an
abundant year for comfrey! And the nettles are taller than I can remember from
previous seasons..... flats of St. Johnswort, clary sage, white sage, borage,
thyme, and astragalus are hardening off for planting.
Clippings of various green are being set aside
for soapmaking, and I am already out of vodka from root tincturing. Poke is
appearing strong and sturdy, and lots of little lobelia seedlings have sprawled
around the garden beds. There was a lot of lavender lost this winter, but the
survivors show great promise of blossoms. Absinthe wormwood .... never ever
May 25, 2014:This
evening it was such a lovely twilight, with the scent of lilacs everywhere. I
grabbed my pruners and a basket and walked to the stream, only to find Pepe
LePew a mere ten feet from the lilac bushes. Stopping in my tracks, I called to
make by presence known. The little one was busy eating whatever, so I was able
to clip ~ cautiously. He kept glancing up at me, and believe me, I kept an eye
on him. No fear and no reactions. And my lilacs still smell like ... lilacs.
May 14, 2014: Finally it is HARVEST TIME!
This is one of the couple of
baskets of Urtica (Stinging nettles) that I harvested last night. Don't let the
size of the basket fool you .... some of those leaves are bigger than my hand.
The first batch is in the herb dehydrator, I am waiting for my tea makings to
2014, Monday: The day is a bit humid with blackflies in abundance, so
the horses are snoozing in the stable. On my morning ramble through the gardens,
I that the arum and the candelabra primrose that were presents from a Greenie are
healthy and strong (thank you!) but our cauldron in the herb garden had a
fatality ~ our Nymphaea odorata succumbed due to the frigid winter temperatures.
I have a replacement, a TINY one .... it will take some years to have it reach
the size that our previous lily had spread. Upon removing the remains ... an
indignant frog swam to the surface, popped his head above water, looked us
square in the eye, and voiced his extreme displeasure at being disturbed. Much
wildlife these last few days..... thrashers, flickers, hummers .... and I
finally convinced our oriole to pose for a shot. The condition was that he would
consent to a session only through the kitchen window.
19, 2014, Saturday: Frost on the windows at dawn, a
breathtakingly beautiful sunrise, a cup of oolong tea, the fragrance of rose
petals scenting the steam, unfurling around my mug; the welcoming nicker of my
horses this morning at their breakfast time; daffodil buds plump with a promise
of golden glory to come. Thank you, for this blessed day.
15, 2014: Hop tendrils are unfurling and stretching!!!! Woohoo!
Brewing awaits! Another herbal entrance
this spring is Chickweed ..... Stellaria media, not to be confused with
"mouse-ear chickweed" which is not related to chickweed even remotely, being
Cerastium vulgatum. It looks like chickweed in need of a good shave.
14, 2014 : Comfrey, sorrel, mugwort, all making their spring debut;
vinca major has several bright blue stars; elderberry in bud; sage and lavender,
foliage both showing verdant green; catnip showing vibrant sprouts; chamomile
rampantly and brazenly spreading; the goldfinches had been appearing in their
summer wardrobe of lemon gold. Tomorrow ~ in search of bloodroot buds.
12, 2014: We listened to the turkeys gobbling in the fields; found some
baby coneflowers (yay!) discovered that bluebirds have inhabited another nesting
box; checked on the newly emerging comfrey and nettles; pruned pruned pruned;
hauled round rocks and flat stone, all by wheelbarrow; and yanked out some
feisty quackgrass that was long enough/strong enough to knit hats and scarves
for every resident in Marilla.
11, 2014: the Spring Peepers in Marilla are singing!
10, 2014: Hypericum (St. Johnswort), Melissa officinalis (lemon
balm), Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot), Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) ~ all
happy and poking through the leaf litter, showing their faces in the garden ~
2014: Lobelia siphilitica and cardinalis! Salix is budding! Achillea
tufts poking from the soil ....... even the alchemilla is waking. And the
chipmunks have been scurrying back and forth, back and forth ..... on a mission.
11, 2014: YAY! Three snow geese
winging across the back fields, a flock of red winged
blackbirds in the spruces by the road, and PUSSY WILLOWS!
Last year, I gathered these in mid April. Old Man Winter,
blizzard or no, you are not going to dampen my spirit.
March 6, 2014:
Even when the temperature is frigid and below zero, you can still find
natures medicine available to nourish and heal. These rosehips, found
outside my library window, are one of the strongest sources of vitamin C
in the world. They are found to be rich
in vitamins E, K, many of the B vitamins, and are exceptionally fragrant
in the hip stage as well as in the lovely flowering stage. A bit tart,
different varieties prove a bit different in flavor. The freeze and thaw
actions sweetens them even more. Did you know they are related to
hawthorne, apple, raspberry and even Lady's mantle? Lovely, vibrant,
gifts of the Green!
This is one of the coldest and snowiest winters on record for Marilla,
New York. Both March 4 and March 6 saw overnight low temperatures
of fourteen degrees below zero fahrenheit. February 28 and February 12
both registered a low of seventeen below zero fahrenheit. That is
without wind chill! The water source in the barn froze both times
even with precautions, and the poor horses water buckets were frozen
pretty severely. Mittens really did nothing to keep the cold away.
January 25, 2014:
If you are like many folk right now, you are feeling cabin bound and
stir-crazy, and even lethargic, this is the perfect time to consider
journalling your winter observations. Donald Stokes has a good book for
this season …. “A Guide to Nature in
Winter.” Put on your warm coveralls, don a wooly hat and mittens, and go
outside to see what you can find! Animal tracks are a great subject to
begin with. Are they domestic cat? Squirrel, possum, mink, or raccoon?
Sketch them, use a ruler for scale …. Note the number of toes, the
indentations, the pattern of the prints in the snow. Follow them and see
where they reside. Are there signs of feeding on plants? Often their
choices of food is a clue to their identification. Allow yourself the
opportunity to study over a course of a few days. Then once you have
identified the animal, research it to find their activities and habits,
their preferred foods, and their behaviors during the seasons. A whole
new world may open to you …. You may find yourself sketching, or writing
poetry, or starting a new hobby with that digital camera that you
received for a gift. And don’t forget to leave some seed or treats for
our feathered friends. This is a difficult time for them as well.
December 16, 2013: Coming
in from evening chores ~ eight degrees below zero. The
two horses were frosted with sparkly sugar in the light
of the full moon .... they loved running in the deep
snow and did it with such grace. Four wheel drive is a
definite advantage when playing in three feet of the
Trees are sanctuaries.
Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them,
can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they
preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. ~Hesse
July 16, 2013:
Such fun having herb
society folk visiting Cats Tail Farm! Two weeks ago it was Batavia Area
Herb Society, today it was the Orchard Park Garden Club herb interest
group. Love those herbal sisters ~ and so rewarding to see the spark of
the Green fanned ..... we toured the gardens, shared
herbal tales, sipped herbal teas ...... and even visited the four legged
members of our family. Misty, our beloved Arabian mare, loved all
the attention and here she is getting ready to bestow a nuzzle on Sandy
from the Genesee county herb group.
We harvested our first few varieties of garlic
... turkish, and the transylvanian .... yep its REALLY good for vampiric
issues. Once we harvest our remaining varieties and we see how
they cure, we will have garlic for sale.
We also make Rosemary Gladstar's pickled garlic recipe, some
garlic broth for the freezer, and even garlic powder.
Garlic recipes will be distributed should you decide to buy
some garlic from us. Aptly named the "stinking rose"
it sure helps to keep a body healthy.
July 6, 2013:
We went cherry picking. Wow are they costly this year, and the
cherries had so much moisture in them. Nevertheless, we hauled home two
baskets and have plans for preserving them for winter pleasures. Four jars shown of Cherry-Raspberry conserve
(we have a pint jar open in the fridge already, can you blame us?) and
two jars of an old Polish recipe ....... then last
night we finished off the sours and made three bigger jars of
Cherry-Blackberry conserve, and another quart of brandied cherries.
There are still enough sweet cherries left over to sit on the porch, put
up our feet, and spit out the pits. If it cools down enough to sit
outside, that is.
June 16, 2013: Last evening at twilight we planted
tulsi basil, feverfew, echinacea, baikal skullcap, mad-dog skullcap, St.
Johnswort. Still to plant are elderberry, ginkgo, yarrow, nettles,
ashwaganda, red-root, maral, monarda fistulosa, artemisia (three kinds)
and one or two others. Rain, rain, go away!
June 13, 2013: This was not the flood
crest. You are still able to see the rocks outlining the circuits in
this picture. Ten minutes later - you couldn't.
The flood came down from Wyoming county, thru our
yard, and continued on to the west. I was marooned as the flooding
water closed both sides of our road ..... both the Bennington side
and the Wales side. This seems to occur every eight years or
so, and while distressing, it no longer sends me into a tizzy of
despair. Even with taking precautions, our newly built bridge was
washed out but retrievable. Our losses so far: the maize
from the Three Sisters garden, four hills of organic Salem potatoes;
along with the bridge, we lost one hanging basket and four solar post
June 5, 2013: Dig, dig, dig. This is one flat of
our own Salvia apiana seedlings, all tucked into Mother Earth. Full
sunshine! Next ~ the flat of Urtica, or stinging nettle, a true vitamin
powerhouse. Then after that ~ only seven (sigh) more flats of Green
friends to plant into Mother Earth.
May 15, 2013: Mayflower ~
Crataegus ~ hawthorn blossom. The flower essence effects changes on the
heart chakra. Especially useful to ease broken or troubled hearts during
or after a traumatic love relationship. It eases emotional extremes in
matters pertaining to manifestation of heart disease. An aura spray of
hawthorn is thought to be even more beneficial than the liquid drops.
May 14, 2013:
I have enough cleavers (Galium aparine) growing to supply a
medium sized Third world country.
May 12, 2013: Our ginseng is
spreading! Our goldenseal is blooming! Our black cohosh, blue cohosh,
wild ginger and spikenard have all popped out! YAHOO! We transplanted
some hops and centaurea this morning and weeded part of the labyrinth.
Our highly unusual hawk and crow pair have returned for the third year ~
so amazing and remarkable to see them perched not a foot away from each
other. Buzzed by chattering hummingbirds while we worked. More to report
later ~ its already 10:30 AM.
Until one has loved an
animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. ~ unknown
15, 2013 : Teeny teensy tiny baby nettles at Cats Tail
Farm ~ yum! What a vitamin powerhouse, and they really are
tasty if you know when to harvest and what to do with them. They
are a staple in my favorite herb tea blend here at Cats tail Farm.
April 14, 2013:
The weather in Marilla changes in the blink of the eye!
Ice layers on Thursday, over seventy degrees today. We
had fun playing with the horses in the paddock, chasing
them between their itchy rolls in the sand. On a short
walk to explore the
flora in the fields, look what we found ~ we startled
three turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) perched on an old
abandoned barn roof. Look closely by the pine tree and
you will see one of them soaring into flight!
Those birds are BIG! The wingspans were over three feet,
if not more!
April 13, 2013: Still
bitter and raw outside. We had over three inches of rain and the
ground is saturated. The Green is happy with the ample supply of
moisture and I am hoping for a good year for horse hay for Merlyn
and Misty. Report: the bloodroot is barely peeking through the leaf
mulch, the hellebore has a few plump rosy buds, the Anemone
pulsatilla has ferny foliage spreading about; our Chinese chestnut
tree may be lost due to deer rub debarking; the lady's mantle has
teensy tiny leaves; we may have lost several patches of E. purpurea
(thank heavens we started some in flats) and wondering if the E.
angustifolia will show herself at all; the yarrow wantonly spreading
through uncharted territory. More reports tomorrow ~ searching for
the Marsh marigolds.
March 27, 2013: Mother Nature
is playing tricksy on us! It snowed at morning feeding time, so I
left the barn shut.
Later that morning, the temperature rose ... and rose ... to mid
forties. At 2:00PM ~ the temperature dropped, the snow
started, and did not stop until another five inches carpeted the Farm.
Everything was covered, and the only brightness were the brilliant
coloring of the male cardinals flitting about the shrubbery. Then,
they too, despaired and departed.
March 10, 2013: This morning
returning from the barn I heard a faint call from above, not unfamiliar
and eagerly anticipated. I large V of snow geese were passing
overhead to the north, probably winging their way to the Iroquois Refuge
at the Alabama - Shelby townships of western New York State.
distinctive underside of white with black wing markings, along with
their honk, not the same timbre as a Canada goose, make this a joyful
experience each March and September. Our first experience with
this birds was at the Lake Champlain Valley part of the North Atlantic
flyway several years ago near Ticonderoga ~ thousands were overhead and
settling on the lake, to the delight of several dozen groups of birding
enthusiasts who scheduled this as part of a yearly ritual.
Today's temperatures were in the sixties and the snow melt is rapid.
Of course we strolled the property and planned ~ more gardens.
More elderberries, more nettles, more bloodroot and solomon's seal ~
tonight I will have paper and pencil and make a "wish list" along with a
"to-do" list. The Green can be very inspirational!
February 25, 2013 : Maybe I shouldn't jinx myself, but I have an
entire apothecary full of winter medicines for colds and coughs and
sniffles. I haven't needed or opened any this year!
February 24. 2013: Winter is
softening … can you feel it? Although the winds can still howl, sting,
some mighty limbs, there is a promise of light, of sweetness,
of a caress …. the mammals are stirring,
buds are quickening! This evening’s walk had a purpose. Instead of
a simple trek on the frozen ground, we toted a drill, spiles, and sap
buckets. We are anxiously awaiting the nectar from the one-leggeds. Only
a few taps, placing one on each tree. Soon we will be a-boilin’ the sap
down for a bottle or two of golden goodness. Two mornings ago I was checking the
thermometer before our morning feeding of the horses. The bird
feeder was just out of my field of vision. Suddenly, as if a
bomb exploded, the birds scattered and feathers, the same colors as a
junco, were flying everywhere!
Two seconds later, a kestrel swooped three feet from the window to
settle on an apple tree branch. I saw no remains of the bird, so I
trust that it escaped mortal injury. That feeder was
vacant of any diners for at least two hours, until they felt safe to
The new bridge for the tractor has been
rebuilt over the summer. The stream had widened, thanks to a lack
of maintenance downstream and the old bridge was no longer safe nor
stable to use as a foot bridge, let alone for heavy equipment. As
a result, we were unable to pile the fresh horse manure into tidy and
manageable piles, nor were we able to retrieve any for new gardens,
The weeds and scrub had grown waist high, and the whole area was an
unkempt mess. We now have a bridge, only to have our old walk
behind brush cutter break a critical part! Of course, that
machine is no longer manufactured, and a search for parts yielded no
results. Anyone have any goats for rent?
October 3, 2012: Our Peace Pole is installed, with wishes for
peace expressed in English, Polish, Cherokee and Tibetan.
Undecided as to the design of the surrounding turf, we planted crocus bulbs for naturalizing, a souvenir of our trip to the
Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine ~ via Ipswich, Massachusetts! A
small family owned bulb company calls Ipswich home. Lovely
crocuses, our choice for bulbs not being appealing to deer. Sadly,
we neglected to take other mammals into account and found large holes
where crocus bulbs once resided. This spring will prove the
"Once you make that
connection to Nature, you see things in a different light, and once that
bond is made it can never be broken, it just grows stronger."
September 2, 2012: What a year!
The winter that wasn't, the
spring that arrived before the snow, the summer of the drought ~ it was
a challenge for all the Green to flourish, and for the two-leggeds that
tend them! A winter that rivaled any of previous spring seasons
had many "city-folk" celebrating. "How can you NOT love this?"
they exclaimed, while joyously donning shorts and sandals early in
March. The true believers in the ways of Nature were shaking
our heads, worried about bird migration, food cultivation, and the
altering of seasonal patterns. Well, what do the "simple" folk of
the country know? Unfortunately, we were were proven right in so
many of our warnings. There is a scarcity of peaches, pears ...
apples are almost non existent.... and we did not have ONE black currant
to make our favorite "Black Currant" cordial or put up any jam!
Last year, we were bemoaning the need of a raft to traverse our
backyard due to the uncommonly wet spring and very heavy precipitation. This year, we were contemplating developing pole-vaulting
as a skill to cross the caverns that appeared in our parched and cracked soil.
The wells of many neighbors were dry, leaving them unable to irrigate,
but my sweet husband had the foresight to install many rain barrels for
collection ~ even the slightest and tiniest drop was captured and stored
for our gardens. Our bridge across the stream to the upper acreage
and the compost piles is rebuilt, after many hours of hauling the wood,
sawing the wood, nailing the wood ~ not to mention buying the wood.
Yikes! We were able to reconstruct many raised beds and cultivate
tomatoes, green beans, beets, turnips, radishes, kale, peppers,
winter squash..... plus we tore out one old eyesore
garden and installed a kitchen culinary herb garden.
Now our parsley, sage, rosemary and more have a place to call their very
December 16, 2011:
solstice has not yet arrived and the Green is slumbering in anticipation
of Spring’s renewal. Roots are buried deep in Mother Earth, infant buds
are tightly clasped, only a promise of Summer’s shimmering verdancy.
The strength and the power of the plant kingdom are quiescent until the
brilliance of the sun’s awakening stirs their beings.
all ~ may we at Cats Tail Farm wish a blessed holiday season, and the
coming new year, full of joy, peace, prosperity, health and good fortune
to you and yours.
August 31, 2011: You can taste
autumn's distant promise - a whisper, a softness ... a mellowing of the
scent and sound around us .... the plumpness, the ripening of the fruit
... our feathered brethren gathering on the telephone wires to finalize
their departure. Even the insects are changing their summer
patterns. It's time to bring in the hay, the grains, the fruit and
make our larders and apothecaries groan under the laden shelves.
It has been an intense summer for us, and it has been a banner year for the garlic and the shallots, a poor year for elderberries (although it was a VERY GOOD year for
whichever furred ones stripped our shrubs clean!) the apples are
making up for the last few years of barren fruiting, laden branches
drooping almost to the ground under their weight. Jars of canned
peaches are on the shelves with our other preserved efforts, but
our blackcurrant ale failed. Our cordials continue to be truly
magnificent, if I may say!
This years the NE Women's Herbal Conference was held at a new venue in
New Hampshire. What amazing energy was generated with over six
hundred participants in attendance ... learning, exchanging, drumming.
dancing, all Wise Women of the Green! I am always in awe of the amount of herbal
knowledge and wisdom that is shared. Each time I attend a
conference, or complete more training, I am humbled to realize
just how much there is to know. When I expressed this to one of my
her response was, ""If
they open their minds
and hearts, herbalists will learn until the very day they die. And even
then is is more to learn. "
"If ever the
world sees a time when women
shall come together,
purely and simply for
the benefit of humanity, it will be a
such as the world has never known."
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)
July 28, 2011:
The gardens here at the Farm are
struggling with the lack of rain. Of course, our local
meteorologist has been touting the "large and heavy downpours" that we
"will be" experiencing, only to never have any arrive. We had a
very small sprinkle of liquid a few days ago. Everything and
everyone perked up! When
drifting off to slumber we were serenaded alternately by a fox, coyote,
a barred owl AND a boreal owl. What a magical evening!
I think everyone
was celebrating the rainfall, scant though it was for us here.
Since then, nothing has fallen, and we have
been raiding the rainbarrels to give the plants a drink, but one can
only haul so many pails. The "flora of
miscellaneous culinary and medicinal virtues growing in misguided
locations" are vigorously overtaking the medicinals that are intended
for that site. The lack of moisture must not be a handicap to
them. A few friends and I need to gather for a rain dance!
In the last few weeks, our pantry has new additions
of black currant jam, black currant cordial, and black currant beer.
We missed the
strawberries, but blueberries are next on our list for "putting up."
The elecampane is suffering from thirst, so this autumn we will harvest
half of our stand and tincture some, make cough syrup with some, and dry
the rest. The white sage is doing well... it likes the heat and
dry! Our garlic and shallots are absolutely spectacular this year,
and we expect many culinary adventures utilizing their bounty. The
skullcap is magnificent, the eleuthero is gaining in size and stature,
and the arnica is popping up in unexpected places! Rather than an
adversarial stance, this year I decided to allow the plants to propagate
where they wished. After all, they know their needs better than I
do. The stand of wild mint has doubled in size; peppermint
glycerite for the apothecary; comfrey leaves and yarrow for
tincture and drying for the first aid kit; oils to be
infused and salves to be made. Our second batch of soap, birch
leaf, is curing alongside the white sage and sweetgrass bars. So
much to do!
21, 2011: Happy Solstice
everyone! T'is the season of abundance on Mother Earth. This
is a time of growth and of unlimited possibilities; be joyful and
celebrate! Eat, pray - do ceremony - expand your visions - dance -
open your heart to the beneficence of Nature........ run through
the warm rain ...... gather ye rosebuds while ye may!
So many plants were clamoring to
be recognized! From the shy woodland ephemerals and the cultivated medicinals, to the wild, unfettered garden "weeds" that hold many
healing powers..... to the unexpected blessings that made an an
appearance. A zebra swallowtail alighted feet away from us and the
hummingbirds darted playfully through the group. of friends. Many plants are still not yet at peak,
others are already at or even past their prime. Mother Nature must
have teamed with Coyote this year, they are playfully teasing us and
keeping us guessing. Be vigilant, they whisper..... pay attention
to us...... you must be ready when WE are ready to be
It’s SOAP MAKING WEEKEND! YAHOO! We went through our apothecary stash of
homegrown dried herbs and soapmaking supplies. Lots of dried calendula,
noted for cell regeneration . lavender and rose petals (the fragrance is
awesome!) … hmmm… even lots of salvia apiana and cedar. My distiller is
going to be running nonstop the next few days. Beauty soap and
purification soap for ritual cleansing coming up! Already we
have collected rose petals and made our Rose Elixir and rose skin toner,
along with skullcap glycerite, lemon balm glycerite, and collected
the first cutting of sweetgrass. Now we sorely need some gentle
Our task must be to free
ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~
May 1, 2011:
Sunny, breezy day. Not only was I
able to work in the dryer area of the yard, but I went for a walk to see
how the Green is renewing! Everything is later in appearing this
the weather was so cold for so long. I found several trout lilies
(Erythronium americanum) nodding in the breeze, a solitary purple
violet, some spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) ,and a few brave
dandelion blossoms. The blood root blossoms have faded, but the
stands have increased in size and vigor from last year. We finally
located some tucked away spots where they want to put down roots, and
not float away, to re-establish themselves in locations only visible to
the fairy folk. Up in the old marsh in the corner, the marsh
marigolds are brilliant against the tannish grey hue of the old weeds
and grasses. They were happy to see Father Sun as well.
Coming back through the woods I stopped to check on the lady's slipper.
Too cold and mucky for her as of yet. Soon, she whispered......
crisis is also our spiritual catharsis. In healing the
Earth, we heal ourselves.
~ Kenny Ausubel
March 1, 2011: The stream by
the cottage is running swiftly, carrying away the winter piles of snow
that were accumulated from the last storm. The thaw was
welcome, only to have a sudden drop in the temperature ~ and
realize that our turnout area for the horses now is a skating rink! (oh,
to have four feet!) The freeze realistically was not unexpected.
After all it is only March in Buffalo..... this morning, on the way to
the barn to feed the horses, we heard and saw several red-winged
blackbirds and our first bluebird of the season. It is time to get
the boxes ready for occupancy! To hear their melodious voices
along with the chickadees, the towhees, the downy woodpeckers, and the
rowdy blue jays, with Father Sun shining benevolently, daylight faintly
lingering until the evening hours ~ it is a blessing to be alive!
The cottonwood buds are swelling and ready to be harvested for their
medicinal virtues. Maple sap is running, as is the birch - now is
the time to try the Birch Beer recipe. Speaking of, our labors in
our Elderberry Ale were WELL received. Our few bottles had quite
the "kick" to them, while our blackcurrant cordial was our smoothest
batch yet! We will be planting more small fruits this year,
more sea buckthorn, more blueberry bushes, and red raspberries. We
may have to replace our wolfberries, thanks to the browsing mammals.
While the cold winds blew, and the wood fire toasted, our skin suffered
and turned dry and red. Indoors, we were busy playing with our
infused oils and our home distilled hydrosols from the plants on the
farm. We used peppermint hydrosol in a barrier skin cream, our
Apothecary's Rose hydrosol with rose infused oils for body cream, and
rose geranium hydrosol combined with aloe for a luscious hand cream.
All were created for our own taste, and what a decadent and luxurious
treat they proved to be! I am forever grateful to Rosemary for
sharing this simple recipe in her teachings to us.
December 8, 2010: Winter arrived three weeks early
with a massive snow system moving across Western New York.
Actually, it hovered,
stationary, over parts of the area for more
than one day. Our farm and town received only fifteen inches of
snow, but many were not as fortunate. Other areas near us were
covered with more than three feet of frozen white. Commuters were
caught unaware and were unfortunately marooned in mountains of slick
snow on the NYS thruway, most in excess of twelve hours, some as
twenty hours. Not us! We were snug at home, listening to the
forceful winds, sitting by the woodstove, dinner
and snacks at hand, sometimes napping after the shoveling and snowblowing efforts. The next morning after
feeding the horses and barn
chores, I trekked out to the cottage and stream with the camera to capture some of Nature's
brilliant display of new white finery. To our dismay, we
discovered a few toppled trees on adjacent property, and a large limb of
our Amelanchier (Juneberry) tree had snapped, and is now lying on
top of the Echinacea angustifolia bed. Nature does her own
pruning, without heed or assistance of the Earth's human inhabitants!
All is quiet on the Farm. We are using the "down time" from
outdoor labors to do some painting, wallpapering, building bookcases, and
just general home updating. I ventured into the basement to begin
inventory of the dried botanicals on hand for crafting herbal teas
and smudges for friends, with the result that we are now making lists of "seeds to buy",
"ideas to contemplate" and "things to do" for the spring season.
The apothecary is stocked with many tinctures, cordials and salves, so
next year we will concentrate on botanicals to dry. I have had
queries about anise hyssop, nettles, peppermint and lemon balm, to my
surprise. These green healers have such a proclivity to naturalize
that I foolishly overlooked their abundance and did not harvest a
sufficient supply. If anything, these green spirits are
encouraging me to "think outside of the box" when I am formulating.
At least until we transplant these to new beds, and give them a new
accessible area to stretch their roots!
Good people, most royal
greening verdancy, rooted in the sun, you shine with radiant light. ~ Hildegard of Bingen
A few weeks ago we paid a visit to Andrea and Matthias in Avoca. When we arrived, they were finishing a
garden tour with a group of naturopathic students from Canada.
Hosts, students, and a few friends all had jars in hand, gathering and collecting
buckthorn for tincturing. If you have never had the opportunity to
harvest sea buckthorn, it is an awakening experience. These
brilliant orange berries are gathered after the frost, so your fingers
are numb and fumbling from the cold. The lack of feeling is a good thing as you must make a
conscious effort to minimize the damage done to your hands by the
fierce and plentiful thorns on the branches. (This plant is aptly named.) Of course, they
do not bear heavily, so you need to reach well into the interior of the
shrub to grab them - only to find that the slightest touch makes them
pop like an overripe slug. One friend had more berries on her face and
on her glasses than she did in the jar.... I won't mention
names........... Then came our tour! What a blessed land,
beneficent energy............nettles, hops, crampbark....... Mother Elder and her
children........rows of angelica..........the lodge grounds by the
running stream. After our foray we all warmed up with soup, bread and
glasses of our homemade cordials and elderberry ale. The
companionship was even better, if possible! We departed
in a very mellow and satisfied frame of mind! And promptly
returned home, and harvested our own sea buckthorn berries.
September 28, 2010: Autumn has
arrived, and so have the snow geese with their melodious "cooing" calls,
so distinctive from their Canadian kin. The horses are growing
their winter coats in preparation of the long, dark winter nights.
The hours of daylight are growing short, the darkness is lengthening,
the air is crisper, with an elusive and indefinable scent.
There is much to share this season!
The tree, which moves some to tears of joy, is in the
eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way. As a
man is, so he sees. ~ William Blake
Some of our news did not take place ON the Farm! We have just returned
from a brief visit to Maine, to partake in the Common Ground Fair
sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
very dear and special friends have graciously consented to "pamper and
care for" both the cats and the horses, so away we went! We
meandered through Portsmouth, shopped through Freeport, dined through
Rockport, Camden and Belfast, and then toured the rugged, rocky
agricultural lands on the way to Unity. The weather was damp and
breezy, but truly not unpleasant! Because of the chill, it was
ideal for enjoying hot apple cider, spicy chaga chai, and the many local
and organic foods being purveyed on the grounds. The riotous
colors of the produce stands provided a sharp contrast to the overcast
skies, and the scent of Sweet Annie blanketed the entire fairgrounds!
We saw innovations in permaculture and sustainable living , home
building and construction, in alternative energy, in small-plot grain
processing, in vegetable production, seed cleaning and storage, in
beekeeping methods, in animal husbandry ~ even a "big people " hobbit
house was for sale! There were several well respected herbalists
giving presentations on the medicinal properties of herbs, as well as
fiber crafters, potters, metal smiths, stone masons, Native American
artists......... and so much more. On our return
home, the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont were at almost total
autumnal foliage at the end of September, and we were doubly blessed by
the unexpected early display of scarlet, russets and gold.
During our absence, back at the Farm, the calendula was still offering
sunny blooms, the white sage was growing taller and stockier, the rose
scented geranium was as fragrant as ever. Time to plant the
garlic, the ground is getting cool enough. The promise of frosts
are ever threatening, so we must rush to harvest the rest of the tulsi
basil, the ashwaganda, the andrographis, and all the remaining annual
medicinal plants for processing before we risk losing them. It is
the time of making salves from the fragrant oils that have been infusing
on the apothecary shelves, of gathering fragrant armfuls of herbs to
soothe us during the ever lengthening hours of darkness. It is the
time to withdraw, to become introspective, to tunnel and burrow within
our selves and our abodes, to reap the joys of our labors and to humbly
give thanks for our harvest. It is also the perfect time to sip
herbal tea - and study some of the new books on green spirituality
and earth medicine that I have been accumulating since April - but
have NOT had time to enjoy!
Not Politics! ~ The Green Mountain Witches, Sage
Mountain, July 2006
September 12, 2010: The hummingbirds
vanished last week, on their way to warmer, more tropical habitat.
Such a long distance for such a tiny bird, traveling solo! The
Canadian geese are making their "V" shaped appearances overhead with
purpose in mind and miles to fly. The ever more obvious tinges
of rust, orange and crimson are feathering the tree branches, soon to
carpet the ground beneath. Even the air carries that elusive scent
and promise of the Wheel slowly, inevitably, turning to autumn.
It has proved to be a bountiful season, even with the drenching rains of
June, the heat and drought of July, the insect damage of August, and the
browsing deer of September. Our Sweet Annie, famed for both
its scent and its healing power, is over seven feet tall! Today we
harvested baskets of andrographis for tincturing and drying for immunity
support, another cutting of our "Attar of Roses" scented geranium for
distillation into hydrosols, and our first harvest of this years
English thyme, sweet marjoram, and tender rosemary ........ these
last three, comforting and fragrant, essential to wintertime stews,
soups, and savory herb breads. Soon the frosts will arrive (not
TOO soon, we hope) so we may gather the vibrant roots of burdock,
dandelion, yellow dock, elecampane - and a new one for us - ashwaganda.
We found a stray horseradish plant, growing outside the gas line, which
escaped from the long ago kitchen garden of Owen and Jean, our well
loved and dearly missed former next door neighbors. We take this
root, give thanks for the blessings that we have been given, and choose
a small section for our use. We will replant the rest of the root
to ensure a steady and renewable supply of horseradish to make our
annual supply of Fire Cider for winter chills and battling the ever
threatening seasonal virus. We are fortunate to have many of our
cold and flu essentials recently tucked away for this years needs ~
elderberry syrup, elderberry cordial, elderberry jam, elderberry ALE!
Black currant cordial, elecampane cough syrup, rose elixir .......
packets of herbs for steam inhalation to ease congestion, sore throats,
stuffed and or runny noses...... jars of herbal bath
combinations for aching bones or the "chilled through to the core"
feelings that we all experience...... bottles of fragrant warming
massage oils and lotions to ease our way to restful slumber.
And we have jars and jars of peach jam for our morning toast, with a
steaming mug of tea on a dark, chilly winter morning!
15, 2010: This was Elderberry Picking Weekend! Bambi &
Company took their share, until we put the netting up to save what we
wanted for ourselves. Then we gratefully put the berries away
..... we made Elderberry Syrup, Elderberry Jam, Elderberry Cordial - and
this year we tried a recipe we found for Elderberry Ale. The
fermenting mash is bubbling merrily away, its first day in the carboy.
How exciting! We froze elderberries to make syrup later in the
winter as well. As we harvested these luscious berries, we found
several new plants sprouting from the base... the babies are spreading.
Now, how to keep them safe and secure from browsing mammals.......
It has been
a productive past two weeks, with putting away corn relish, jars and
jars of zucchini pickles, the elderberry syrups, jams and ale, and
preserving Moroccan Lemons in brine for culinary adventures. The
herb dryer is full with skullcap, anise hyssop, calendula, Tulsi basil,
comfrey leaves, coltsfoot leaves, mullein leaves and more......the
cupboard is packed with jars of new tinctures, some are lobelia,
yarrow, boneset, anise hyssop .... and several jars of oil for salves
and liniments are steeping alongside. The garlic harvest was very
disappointing, as there was an overabundance of moisture and rain during
the bulb forming stage, and we only have about 50% of what we had
expected. We have on hand a few new varieties to
plant, to see how they will do here at Cats Tail Farm. There is
still much hope for garden produce as we planted our late summer crops
of bush beans, lettuce, radishes and a tiny bit of chard.... all are up,
leafy and growing by the second. They were only planted ten days
ago! The Little Green Herons have been seen frequenting the stream
behind the cottage. Now there are SIX of them! There must
have been four little ones from the nesting pair, all are now winging
through the trees, squawking loudly. The dragonflies and damsel
flies are dancing in the evening twilight, an aerial symphony of colors
and patterns. Of course, the three pair of ruby throats are
still here, now feasting on the coneflowers, the sweetspire clethra and
the Rose of Sharon. Soon they will be departing, and we will miss
their acrobatics and chattering trills.
Walk gently on the
Earth. Simplify your steps. Increase your strength.
Make a home in your heart. Choose a vehicle for your journey.
Embark on your path. Share your dreams at the crossroads.
Embrace the stranger on the road.
July 19, 2010: This past Saturday
we were walking along the meadow edge, we were fortunate to
view fritillary butterflies, a zebra swallowtail, and a darner
dragonfly resting on the newly opened Joe Pye blooms. We found
fresh scat of a curious shape along the gas line..... we all
exclaimed the same thought. It did not resemble coyote, fox or
deer...... the only close matches in the field guide show bobcat or
bear, which are unlikely but both are plausible. We gave
thanks for the opportunity to observe and learn, and passed it by!
The valerian was scarce to find unless we crossed the road, so we
continued on. Blue vervain is plentiful, so I will return tomorrow
to gather some. The peppermint is ready.... must cut it before it
is too late. The elderberry umbels are filling out,
promising a good harvest for syrup for winter immunity, and the
elecampane is blooming! Stately elecampane, also known as Elf Dock
and horseheal..... a magical fairy plant! Since we have both
fairies and horses as residents here at Cats Tail Farm, it is especially
welcome. I gathered yarrow and some St. JohnsWort for oil
infusion. The purple coneflower is blooming its little heart out!
There is such an abundance of gifts for healing.