Beth Trissel's Blog, page 8
March 9, 2015
���In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.���
��� Margaret Atwood
���It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.���
��� Rainer Maria Rilke
Spring is coming to the valley this week, and we’re all ready to kick up our heels after the long winter. The post below is from last year, but it fits.
Heavy wet snow fell last night and the trees are laden, my crocus buried. But several afternoons ago after the rain showers ended, the day turned mild and I pulled some overwintering weeds from one of my flower borders. A whole wheelbarrow full. While bent contentedly to my labors, I heard the sweet trill of a meadowlark, my favorite songbird. Silent today. When the sun shines and the weather softens, I will hear it sing again. This crazy weather is typical of early spring in the Shenandoah Valley. A cold snap follows on the heels of a wonderfully balmy day or two. This year has been on the colder side and wet, which is just as well with our tendency toward summer droughts. We’ll take the moisture while we can.
Ducks and geese love all the puddles that come with the rain, and our farm pond is finally full again after dwindling to a sad state in the past. Happy quacks resound against the fussy geese fighting over nesting sites. These battles, and the meadowlark singing, are among the first signs of spring. And the pussy willow blooming. I picked a lovely bouquet of pussy willows yesterday. The fuzzy catkins brighten the kitchen in an old mason jar,
Back to the meadowlark, my goal is to ever actually see one of these elusive birds again. Theoretically, this shouldn’t be such a challenge, with our meadows and all. Once or twice, I���ve glimpsed a yellow flash and spotted the bird perched on a fence post before it flew. Mostly, they hide in the grass and skim away to another spot before I get a good look, calling all the while from various positions in the meadow.
Several years ago, my daughter Elise and I were determined to track down the evasive songster and take its picture, like photographing fairies. We tenaciously followed its calls, even climbed over the fence into the neighbor���s pasture and picked our way along the little creek that flows from our pond, but never caught up with that bird, or birds. There may have been more than one taunting us. Unless I catch another rare glimpse, I must content myself with their beautiful trills. Birds like this need tall grasses and untidy hedge rows for nesting. Bear that in mind in your own yard and garden. Keeping everything trim and cultivated robs our feathered friends of habitat. It���s also a good excuse for a less than perfectly kept landscape. A little wilderness here and there is a good thing.
���She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.���
��� A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young
***Images of spring in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia by my mom, Pat Churchman, ��Grady, the soft-coated Wheaton terrier, and pussy willow by daughter Elise. Beth and Elise in our meadow by my husband Dennis. Obviously, I had to purchase the image of the meadowlark
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: country life, family farm, farm meadow, Gardening, meadowlark, nesting geese, Pussy willow, Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier, spring, The Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
March 6, 2015
“All a green willow is my garland.” ~John Heywood
The beautiful willow tree has an ancient, varied history of use and lore, depending on which culture is referenced. While regarded as a cure-all in America, it had strong pagan associations in early Scotland.
From The Scot���s Herbal by Tess Darwin: ���Willows were one of the first trees to appear in Scotland after the last Ice Age and no doubt this versatile species has been used since prehistoric times for a great variety of purposes.
In addition to many practical uses of willows for basketry, rope, house building, fencing, beehives, lobster pots and coracle frames, it was a magic tree. A willow wand symbolized the goddess, and was used for divination���the original magic wand. Willow was one of the druids sacred woods���the word wicca (the craft and wisdom of witches) is said to be derived from the use of willow to make a wicker frame to build an effigy of the Celtic God Balder, king/consort to the queen/goddess, ceremonially sacrificed on Beltane.
Fear of the power of willow persisted long into Christian times: witches��� broomsticks sometimes had a willow shaft, and persecuted witches from North Berkshire were said to sail in willow winnowing riddles. In central Perthshire willow wands were reportedly used to work the evil eye. Black magic worked with willow could be counteracted by rowan.
On the other hand, a branch of willow catkins in the home is still believed to bring good health; this may relate to its medicinal uses. The bark contains acetylsalicylic acid (the main constituent of aspirin) and has long been used as a pain killer.���
In America, the willow is considered ���one of Nature���s most valuable gifts to mankind.��� From Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants by Bradford Angier. He goes on to say, ���The North American Indians soon discovered that tea decocted and steeped from the cambium of the majority of willows was important for arthritis and for reducing fever and many pains���this centuries before the isolating and marketing of aspirin. The ashes of burned willow twigs were blended with water and used for gonorrhea.
Willow roots were powdered with stones and turned to in an effort to dry up sores from syphilis. The settlers soon joined the Indians in using potent teas brewed from the cambium or inner bark of the bitter willows to treat venereal disease.��The dried and powdered bitter bark, astringent and detergent, was applied to the navels of newborn babies. It was utilized to stop severe bleeding, as were the crushed young green leaves, the bark, and the seeds, also stuffed up the nostrils to stop nosebleeds. These were also used for toothache.���
And the uses go on, including a spring tonic made of steeped willow roots, an Indian practice adopted by the settlers. The roots were used to kill and expel worms and willow tea to bathe sore eyes. Some settlers also shared in the Indian practice of using pussy willow catkins as an aphrodisiac. Probably in the form of a bark tea, but it doesn���t say.
I vote for spring.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: alternative medicine, Gardening, herbal cures, herbal lore, history, Native American, sacred trees, Scottish herbs, willow tree
February 26, 2015
A warm welcome to my friend and fellow author, Patty Taylor, here to share about her fascinating Irish heritage and upcoming Celtic fantasy romance.
Good Morning Everyone. :) ��I wish to thank my friend and mentor, Beth, for inviting me as a guest today on her lovely blog. I feel honored to be here and hope I can come back again as soon as my first novel, ���Mortal Magick��� is released in June by Soul Mate Publishing.. By then, I���ll be able to share my cover and a peek at a few of the other stories I���m currently working on.��I write fantasy/paranormal romance with��a wee bit of magical lore woven into all my stories. I ���love animals���, and enjoy spinning exotic fibers on my spinning wheels where I���ve blended my beloved Samoyeds (dogs) undercoats with alpaca, sheep and even Angora wool. I���m hoping one day for the opportunity to get my hands on some white wolf undercoat (or any wolf���s undercoat), but that���s another story…
I enjoy centering my adventures in various places like Scotland���s mystical Isle of Skye, the magical Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland and the secluded wilderness of Alaska ��� where fairies, brownies, shape-shifters and mythical creatures come to life.
The person who influenced me the most to pursue my writing, was my beloved Mother, Evelyn V. Taylor. Her own story of how she came to live in the United States and became a citizen of this country has always inspired me. Born and raised in County Down, Northern Ireland, she served in the British Army during WWII where she met and fell in love with my tall and handsome Daddy, a US Sergeant. Soon after they were married, she crossed the ocean by ship by herself, to wait the arrival of my Daddy���s return to the states. I���ll always admire her strength and courage for beginning a new adventure in a strange country with no family of her own, to start a life with the man she fell in love with and raise a family.�� And with the discovery of my father having American Indian heritage, both cultures have made a huge impact on my imagination.
I inherited her superstitions and respectful beliefs in the wee people and fairies, along with her love for reading and storytelling. Mom was the first to introduce me to the magical world of ���The Chronicles of Narnia��� by CS Lewis. On my last visit to Ireland, my cousin, Yvonne, took me to see the Wardrobe statue outside the library in Belfast and I even sat in the chair. There were happy tears that morning. As a child, I fell in love with the movies Darby O���Gill and the little People and the adventures of Gulliver���s Travels, along with many other Walt Disney Movies she took me to see. To this day, I still tear up watching the ���Quiet Man��� ��� one of my mother���s favorites.
My beloved husband, Michael, still comments how he believes I���ll always remain a kid at heart, and I have both my parents to thank for that. Especially my Mom, as I still treasure the wee mustard seed necklace she gave me as a child to teach me about having faith. Without realizing it, she also planted another special gift deep within my heart. To never abandon my dreams, and my love for the enchanting world of fantasy and Magick.
(Patty sitting in front of the famous wardrobe that leads to Narnia.)
(Images from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis, taken in a Belfast Library. ***Beth has to jump in here to say that this is my favorite author and book. I love all the Chronicles of Narnia, but this one is the best.)
Back to Patty: I feel blessed to be fortunate to visit my Mom���s home for the very 1st time in 2010, and got to see the building where my parents first met, the places she took my Daddy to visit and the mystical country where she was raised.�� Like stepping back in time, my imagination ran wild with the reality of finally seeing the magical qualities of this beautiful and amazing country. ��I���m delighted to share a few photos from my visit.
And we are delighted to see them, Patty. Wonderful pics!
I���m also excited to have this wonderful opportunity today to share a wee bit about my first published novel, ���Mortal Magick���, a time travel fantasy romance coming this June.
As Keara, a modern day reluctant witch from Maryland, finds herself whisked back to 18th century mystical Isle of Skye, she���s taught lessons in both magic and love after being rescued by the rugged and extremely handsome Highlander, Duncan McCord. To add a wee touch of ���when beauty meets beast��� charm to their adventure, along with the mischievous antics of a whimsical Scottish Brownie character, named Darby, Keara soon discovers that Duncan is dealing with a serious problem of his own. He���s been cursed to live a nocturnal life of half man and half beast for eternity.
I hope all of you will help me celebrate and look forward to reading my story, Mortal Magick, and the future sequel, Sea Wolf Magick.�� ��
��� Get ready for two magical adventures – Journey across the
Mystical Isle of Skye, to the Enchanting land of Fire and Ice . . .”
To find out more about me and my books, please stop by and visit my new ��website at: ��http://www.pattytaylorauthor.com/��
Thanks once again to my gracious and kind friend and host, Beth Trissel, for having me here today, and to all of you that took the time to stop by to meet me and leave your comments :)
Lovely to have you, Patty. I look forward to your return to the blog and your exciting new release in June.
(Images of Giant’s Causeway Stepping Stones and Primula Candelabra above)
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Celtic romance novel, CS Lewis, fantasy, Images of Ireland, Ireland, Irish heritage, Irish Lore, Mortal Magick, Paranormal, Patty Taylor, romance
February 23, 2015
An excerpt from my herbal,��Plants for A Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles:
���Who are the violets now
That strew the lap of the new-come spring?��� ~ Shakespeare: Richard II
Violet (Viola Odorata). Part Used: Flowers (dried). The leaves and whole plant (fresh).
Sweet violets grow at the edge of forests and clearings and can be detected by their scent. Sometimes they appear as unwanted guests in yards and gardens, but we like violets and encourage them here. Violets have a long history reaching deep into the misty past. There are over two hundred species in the world; five are native to Great Britain. Sweet violets are usually dark purple, but may be white. The flowers are full of honey and appealing to bees, but usually bloom before bees are really out from as early as late February into April.
Violets imbue liquids with their color and fragrance and make a divine perfume. A medicinal syrup of violets is given as a laxative considered mild enough for children, and for a variety of other ailments. Old herbalists recommended the syrup for ague (acute fever), inflammation of the eyes, insomnia, pleurisy, jaundice, and many other illnesses. They had great faith in its healing attributes. Among other components, violets contain salicylic acid which is used to make aspirin.
As with primroses, violets have been associated with death, particularly of the young. This is referred to by the poets, including Shakespeare in Hamlet. Ancient Britons used violet flowers as a cosmetic, and in a Celtic poem they are recommended to be employed steeped in goats��� milk to increase female beauty. In the Anglo-Saxon translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius (tenth century), the herb��V. purpureum��is recommended ���for new wounds and eke for old��� and for ���hardness of the maw.��� In Macer���s��Herbal��(tenth century) the Violet is among the many herbs which were considered powerful against ���wykked sperytis.��� ��(A Modern Herbal)
Askham���s��Herbal��Violet Recipe for Insomnia: ���For the that may not slepe for sickness seeth this herb in water and at even let him soke well hys feete in the water to the ancles, wha he goeth to bed, bind of this herbe to his temples.���
To Make Syrup of Violets: Tale 1 lb. of Sweet Violet flowers freshly picked, add 2 �� pints of boiling water, infuse these for twenty-four hours in a glazed china vessel, then pour off the liquid and strain it gently through muslin; afterwards add double its weight of the finest loaf sugar and make it into a syrup, but without letting it boil. (A Modern Herbal)
���Viola Odorata is an ancient heirloom, which the Greeks used in love potions, and��beloved by our grandmothers and their grandmothers because of its sweet perfume, delicate purple to deep bluish purple flower and heart-shaped leaves.��� ~ Quote from Cherry Gal, an interesting website that sells heirloom violet seeds, amongst other offerings.
“Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you.” ~Edward Payson Rod
“You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet.” ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: herb garden, herbal cures, herbal lore, love potion, natural remedies, Shakespeare, syrup of violets, violet perfume, violets
February 20, 2015
Welcome to my friend and fellow author Dariel Raye, here to share her new paranormal romance release, Dai’s Dark Valentine. Follow��Dariel’s tour and enter her rafflecopter to win prizes. More info and links below.
Story Blurb: What happens when a sheltered cat-shifter and a dark fey come together? Three-hundred years is a long time, but left to its own devices, what began as the vendetta of one man can grow to encompass even more formidable hatred. Daitre Salons is a beautiful but na��ve heiress whose true heritage has been kept secret even from her. Now, her abilities are emerging and her father���s enemies want her dead, but what bothers her most is that her new husband ���in name only��� insists on treating her like a child. Joban Beaucoup, professional guard to the Salons family, and dark fey (alternate spelling from Vodouin origin), has chosen to leave the quaint yet suffocating French town of his orphan-childhood and venture to the Americas, but he needs one thing he cannot concoct, despite his magical abilities ��� a wife. When Joban agrees to marry Daitre and take her to the Americas with him, he carries her three-thousand miles away, then whisks her three-hundred years into the future to assure her safety, but while Daitre struggles to adjust to this strange new world, manage her newfound powers, and make peace with her feelings for Joban, Joban learns that even here, their enemies have followed them, now more deadly than ever.~ Excerpt: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. – Present
Daitre instinctively wrapped her arms around Joban���s neck, wonder overshadowing every other thought and emotion.
Before she could blink, he slid her arms from him and took a step back. She blinked again and glanced around, the environment too strange for comprehension. What seemed like millions of images flashed around her synapses at once.
She closed her eyes again and did her best to ignore the rocks in her stomach, but the feeling of rejection would not go away. She���d over-stepped. He made it clear he did not want to be touched. Apparently he���d meant what he said about their marriage being a union in name only, and God alone knew where he���d brought her.
The magical orb resurfaced in her mind and she watched Joban in awe. She���d always known he was a time bender, and he���d even flashed her from one place to another before, but his particular species of fey were so rare, she���d never met another, and no matter what she thought she knew, experiencing the phenomenon was no less overwhelming and amazing.
Everything seemed to happen in a flash, glimpses of familiar and unfamiliar things slowly registering as the light faded. Joban told her they were in The Americas, the United States of America to be exact, three-hundred years in the future, the twenty-first century, and he began showing her odd clothing.
���Things are very different here and now, Daitre. You will need to adjust as fast as possible. I got these for you after your father told me your size. They will take some getting used to, but dressing is much easier in this century, I imagine.���
���What part of America are we in?���
���We are in a place called New Orleans, Louisiana. I should have family here, and so should you.��� He waved across his left hand and a picture appeared.
���What is it, Princess?���
She placed her hands on her hips and folded her arms. ���The picture in your hand. That���s something else I did not know you could do.���
���And why does this trouble you?���
She waved him away, the frown morphing into a scowl as she raised her voice. ���I do not know. You are all I have, yet I know nothing about you for certain. I find it very troubling.���
He sighed, but otherwise said nothing.
Daitre fingered her gown and glanced warily at the pants, dresses, and other garments he���d purchased. All of her beautiful things were left behind ��� gowns, jewels, everything left in Monsieur Beaucoup���s carriage.
She wrapped her arms around her midsection. ���No.���
������No,��� what?��� His ominous tone did nothing to help the situation.
���No, I will not wear those. They are the garments of a harlot, and all of my things have been left in another place and time.���
To Enter the Rafflecopter click the Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/204547f631/?
About the Author Dariel Raye writes powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety). For more about Dariel, follow her blog or website. She also publishes a new��release newsletter and daily newspaper. You can contact her on Twitter,��Facebook, ��Goodreads, and Pinterest. Stay with us for the entire launch tour. Click the link below to join the Facebook party and view the tour calendar! Facebook Party ���Dai���s Dark Valentine��� Launch Tour Calendar ***To purchase Dai’s Dark Valentine visit:��Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Dariel Raye, fantasy, futuristic, New release, paranormal romance, Valentine's Day
February 12, 2015
I’m excited to announce my upcoming release, spine-tingling��historical romance novel Traitor’s Curse, book three in my Traitor’s Legacy Series, and the sequel to historical romance novel Traitor’s Legacy.
The series opens with award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, Unlike the first two novels, Traitor’s Curse is set shortly after the American Revolution, and has a ghostly, Gothic flavor. Although, come to think of it, a ghost also figures in Enemy of King. I can’t seem to keep��away from them. But Traitor’s Curse has a darker paranormal bent. Mystery and carefully researched history are strong elements in both Traitor’s Legacy and Traitor’s Curse. Enemy of the King abounds with adventure. And all three books pulse with the unpredictable and exhilarating scintillations��of the heart. And humor, I always incorporate touches of humor.
Blurb for Traitor’s Curse:
Halifax, North Carolina, 1783. Captain Stuart Monroe returns home from the Revolutionary War to find Thornton Hall threatened by a peacetime foe: debt. He knows the location of a treasure amassed to pay for the capture of Benedict Arnold that would restore his manor to its former glory. The catch, it’s hidden in the graveyard, and coveted by old enemies. Hettie Fairfax inherited the Sight from her Cherokee ancestors, and her otherworldly visitors warn her, and Stuart, away from the buried treasure. Half-dead from fever, she delivers a message: the treasure is cursed. But will he believe a girl half out of her mind with illness? Even when a very real enemy attempts to poison her? Stuart soon wants to marry Hettie, but she fears her “odd ways” will blemish his reputation. The spirits have their own agenda, however, and the battle against darkness tests everything the couple holds dear, including their love for each other.
Colonial American historical romance novel
Blurb for Traitor’s Legacy:
1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.
Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.
Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?
1780, South Carolina: While Loyalist Meriwether Steele recovers from illness in the stately home of her beloved guardian, Jeremiah Jordan, she senses the haunting presence of his late wife. When she learns that Jeremiah is a Patriot spy and shoots Captain Vaughan, the British officer sent to arrest him, she is caught up on a wild ride into Carolina back country, pursued both by the impassioned captain and the vindictive ghost. Will she remain loyal to her king and Tory twin brother or risk a traitor���s death fighting for Jeremiah? If Captain Vaughan snatches her away, he won���t give her a choice.
All novels in the Traitor’s Legacy Series are published by The Wild Rose Press and available in print and eBook from their online bookstore, in kindle and print at Amazon, in Nook Book at Barnes & Noble and in eBook from all major online booksellers. Local bookstores can order the paperback in as can libraries. Release date for Traitor’s Curse TBD, but probably late summer.
Graphic Artist Debbie Taylor did the covers for Traitor’s Legacy and Traitor’s Curse. Rae Monet designed the cover for Enemy of the King.
Filed under: Gothic historical romance, gothic romance, Historical, Historical colonial American romance, Historical Romance, Historical romance novel, Uncategorized Tagged: Colonial America, ghostly romance, Gothic romance, Halifax, Historical Romance, mystery, New release, North Carolina, old plantation home, paranormal romance, The American Revolution
February 11, 2015
With daughter Elise’s invaluable help, the print version of my herbal,��Plants For A Medieval Herb Garden��in the British Isles , is filled with images and available in print. The kindle version also has many pics. ***Note: A number of these herbs later made their way to America and are in use today. They’re not solely relegated to the Middle Ages. That’s just the main focus of the book.
From the Introduction:
The Middle Ages span a large chunk of time. In European history, the Medieval period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century and is subdivided into the Early, the High, and the Late Middle Ages. The plants grown in a Medieval herb or physic garden depended on time and place, as well as the avail��ability of the plants. The Crusades played a vital role in the introduction of new varieties. Some of the herbs we consider inherently English, notably, rosemary, sage, and thyme, were introduced to Britain with the return of the Crusaders (the 11th through the 13th century). Before the Crusades, fewer plants were available for an herb garden. Lavender, such a favorite, didn���t arrive on the scene in England before the mid-16th century.
Spices, so common today but rare then, also made their first appearance with the Crusaders. Among these were nutmeg, ginger, and peppercorns, only afforded by the wealthy. Medieval England was mad for these new taste sensations that added zest to their food and helped disguise spoiled meat. Nutmeg was touted as a cure for the plague. Ginger also made that claim, and peppercorns were worth their weight in gold. Wars were fought over spices, but back to the plants. Unless an individual lived in an isolated region and gleaned only native species, a Medieval physic garden would have had many varieties.
The herbs weren���t grown for their beauty alone, so much as for their healing properties. To the modern eye, they might appear rather weedy. Plants were peoples��� medicine kits, and aesthetics wasn���t the focus. These were not the opulent luxury gardens, but humble and earthy.
Not all of these herbs grow year round in winter, so root stock, cuttings, or seed would have been saved for the next season. Depending on what part of the plant was desired, the leaves, roots, bark, seeds, fruit, etc, determined whether they were used fresh or preserved. Methods of preparation include: waters (simple or distilled), infusions, decoctions, cordials, syrups, conserves, tinctures, oils��� ���Simples��� are the use of one herb, rather than a combination.
18th century botanist and apothecary Sir John Hill in his book, The Family Herbal, says, ���In general, leaves, flowers, and entire plants whether fresh or dried, are used in infusions; the roots and bark in decoctions.��� So decoctions are for the tougher materials. When fresh roots are used, he advises first cutting them into thin slices. Fresh bark should be shaved down to better prepare it. Grind dried roots into a coarse powder before using them in a decoction.
A decoction might be infused with nut oil, wine, vinegar, alcohol, or water and then dispensed by the spoonful or wineglassful in the proportions deemed appropriate. This was guesswork. Tinctures are concentrated and dispensed by drops. Only a skilled herbalist was able to more accurately judge how much was enough. In the case of potentially poisonous herbs, too much was lethal. And still is. Dosage is critical.
Herbs were dispensed singly or as a mixture. If an external dressing was needed, a poultice or compress might be applied. Herbal ointments were commonly made with lard. The wealthy might employ more exotic ingredients such as nut oil, wax, and resin. Medicinal baths were also used, or the patient breathed in the vapors of a steeping herb or the smoke from burning leaves. How the curative powers were delivered depended on the plant and the ailment or injury being treated.
I���ve compiled a list of many herbs, including some trees, that could have been grown in an English Medieval Herb Garden after the Crusades. These have been noted, also whether the plants were indige��nous, and, if not, when they arrived in England. Many would have been cultivated in other regions of the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, depending on climate conditions and access to seeds.
Where possible, I noted that too, particularly Scotland. Medical properties and uses are given after each one. I���ve listed the plants in alphabetical order. Or tried. The complete plant index is at the end of this work. Some plants make appearances in reference to others because herbs are often used in combinations in medical applications. And, depending on the full name, they may not appear in the order you expect.
***Disclaimer: I am not advocating the medicinal use of these plants, only providing information about their age-old uses. Any applications are strictly up to you. Added cautions are provided for potentially poisonous herbs. Heed them.
***Amazon Link:��Plants For A Medieval Herb Garden in the British Isles
Filed under: herbal treatment, herbs, Uncategorized Tagged: herbal lore, herbal medicine, Herbs of the Middle Ages, medieval herb garden, physic garden, preparation of herbs, Scottish herbs, the British Isles
February 5, 2015
Years ago, after I’d first written��Shenandoah Watercolors, my nonfiction book about the joys and trials of life on our small dairy farm in the Shenandoah Valley, Mom showed the manuscript to a local historian. He said I’d beautifully captured a vanishing way of life and that this book must be published. His insistence, coupled with the term ‘vanishing way of life’, gained my attention. I knew it was hard for small farmers to hold on with mounting pressure from the broader dairy industry, unregulated imports, and the growth of mega farms, but I didn’t realize we faced extinction.
Irregardless of our fate, the consumer will always have dairy products, but are they of the quality you desire?
Have you heard of Milk Protein Concentrates, also called MPC’s? There’s scary stuff sneaking into food, we need to become aware of and speak out against.
(Cows in our meadow by daughter Elise Trissel)
From��Food and Water Watch:
“Unregulated imports of cheap milk protein concentrates are driving down the price of domestically produced milk and putting American dairy farmers out of business. And fewer American dairy farmers mean fewer choices for consumers, who are seeing increasing amounts of MPCs��� new, unregulated protein source��� in their food supply.
MPCs��� are created by putting milk through an ultra-filtration process that removes all of the liquid and all of smaller molecules including the minerals that the dairy industry touts as being essential for good nutrition.
What is left following the filtration is a dry substance that is very high in protein and used as an additive in products like processed cheese, frozen dairy desserts, crackers and energy bars. Because MPCs��� are generally produced as a dry powder, exporters can ship the product long-distances very cheaply, and almost all of the dry MPCs��� used in America are imported.”
Visit the above link for more on MPC’s, not inspected or subject to the quality standards demanded of American dairy farmers. Check your labels carefully.
(Harvesting rye in the valley by my mother, Pat Chuchman)
My question is, do you care where your milk and other food comes from? ��Are you concerned about the quality of what you’re feeding yourselves and your families? If so, then support your local farmers. We’re a dying breed.
Back to our farm which has been in the family for five generations. To try to preserve our way of life, we banded together with 20 other farmers in 2013 to form Shenandoah Family Farms Cooperative. Our goal: to purchase our own creamery and sell local natural milk and other dairy products from our farms to appreciative consumers. Nothing tastes as good, or is as good for you, as milk fresh from happy cows grazing in grassy meadows. We’re as picturesque and idyllic as the hobbits in the Shire.��But a growing shadow hangs over us.
(Our farm garden by daughter Elise Trissel)
Marketing our own dairy line was a great concept, and our products were very well received by the public. The work farm families poured into this venture is beyond description, No one could have tried harder to succeed than this group, but the creamery was too costly to run on our own. We failed to gain vital investors and co-packers. In mid-January 2015, after less than one year of actual production, Shenandoah Family Farms was forced to close. Our products are no longer offered. Instead of better helping our farm(s) to survive, we have further endangered ourselves. Our story is woeful, indeed. Barring a tidal wave of support, we’re not going to recover.
(Our farmer son and grandbabies by daughter Elise)
If you want to help the Trissel farm family and learn more of our lives, buy my book,��Shenandoah Watercolors, available in kindle and print with lovely pictures taken by my talented family. There’s also much in here of interest to gardeners, to anyone who loves the country and a more natural life style.
Our beautiful valley. For now. Some things are worth fighting for, some things worth saving. If this isn’t, I don’t know what is.
Image of the Shenandoah Valley in early spring by my mom.
***Disclaimer: I am speaking as an individual farm owner and NOT as the official spokesperson��for Shenandoah Family Farms Cooperative. .I am entitled to a voice. This is my post and mine alone.
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: country life, farm life, Gardening, local, Milk, MPC's. milk protein concentrates, Natural, preserving the small family farm, produce, sustainable agriculture, The Shenandoah Valley, what's in your food
February 2, 2015
If you’re among those who insist on referring to said spider as ‘Itsy Bitsy’, so be it. I was raised singing The Inky Dinky Spider. But back to the point. Given the number of posts I’ve done centered around inspiration, it’s likely not a surprise to hear I’m experiencing some challenging times. ��Being a spiritually minded individual, I’ve prayed hard. Last night, I told God if he had a sign for me, I was sorely in need, as I’d given up. This morning, I awoke singing, you guessed it, The Inky Dinky Spider. ��I have no idea why. It’s not a favorite of the grandbabies, and been years since I sang it with my kids. As I pondered this seeming Divine response, I gleaned the deep wisdom in these simple lyrics.
‘The inky dinky spider climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the inky dinky spider climbed up the spout again.’ (In order for that last bit to rhyme, you must pronounce again with a British accent).
So, the message of the Inky Dinky is this: troubles come, but the sun returns and we try again. And again.
I’m also a big fan of the beautiful song, The Impossible Dream, but will save that for another day.
*I couldn’t find an image of a spider, but there are many in our garden. The big Charlotte’s Web writing spiders are especially evident. They’re in here somewhere.
Images of our garden by daughter Elise Trissel
Filed under: Adversity, inspiration, Uncategorized Tagged: Garden, Inky Dinky Spider, inspiration, perseverance, spring
January 23, 2015
Some of us are finding our way. In need of inspiration? God knows I am. Sharing some quotes from the ever inspiring Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship of the Ring. I love the camaraderie, the loyalty, the sacrifice, and the profound truth.
���I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.���
And so I am pondering.
Very cute exchange below. One of my favorite ever.
Pippin: “What about breakfast?”
Aragorn: “You’ve already had it.”
Pippin: “We’ve had one, yes. What about second breakfast?”
[Aragorn turns and walks off in disgust]
Merry:��“I don’t think he knows about second breakfast, Pip.”
Pippin: “What about elevenses? Luncheon? Afternoon tea? Dinner? Supper? He knows about them, doesn’t he?”
Merry: “I wouldn’t count on it.”~
Legolas: “Lembas!”��[nibbles a corner]��“One small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man!”
Merry: [to Pippin] “How many did you eat?”
Boromir: “Our people, our people. I would have followed you, my brother… my captain… my king.”
Aragorn: “Be at peace, Son of Gondor.”~
���Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.���
��� J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Sam: “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”~
Pippin: “Are we lost?”
Pippin: “I think we are.”
Merry: “Shh. Gandalf’s thinkin’.”
Pippin: “I’m hungry.”~
Aragorn: “Are you frightened?”
Aragorn: “Not nearly frightened enough. I know what hunts you.”~
���Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.��� ~Gandalf to Frodo
���I give you the light of E��rendil, our most beloved star. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.��� ~Galadriel to Frodo
���Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.���
��� J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Arwen: Do you remember when we first met?
Aragorn: I thought I had wandered into a dream.
Arwen: Long years have passed. You did not have the cares you carry now. Do you remember what I told you?
Aragorn: You said you’d bind yourself to me, forsaking the immortal life of your people.
Arwen: And to that I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.��[hands him her pendant]
Arwen: I choose a mortal life.
Aragorn: You cannot give me this.
Arwen: It is mine to give to whom I will. Like my heart.~
���But it does not seem that I can trust anyone,’ said Frodo.
Sam looked at him unhappily. ‘It all depends on what you want,’ put in Merry. ‘You can trust us to stick with you through thick and thin–to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours–closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo.���
��� J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
���Yes, I am here. And you are lucky to be here too after all the absurd things you’ve done since you left home.���
��� J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Filed under: courage, friendship, humor, loyalty Tagged: inspiration, J.R.R. Tolkie, quotes, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings