Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrating the Winter Solstice

I hope you will indulge me as this post is not herbal in nature, has nothing to do with the moon or goddesses and is actually a reflection of a huge 'pause' in my day-to-day life that I referenced in the Samhain blog entry.  I have been participating in this blog experiment for two years (to the date!) and I am stretching a little by crafting a post with a different slant.

I have to admit:  my Winter Solstice newsletter did not get written, and it was the 'big one' that the entire world was talking about!  "The end of the Mayan calendar".  I spent the day at a Unity Celebration at the Art of the Heart in Chester, NJ with other like-minded holistic folks being focused on ascension energies and the crystal light flooding into our great mother earth.

As an herbalist, environmental steward, ethnobotanist and affirmed tree-hugger, these last few months have been quite enlightening and there has been a decided shift in my thinking:  I want to connect even more fully with the green world, with the plants, with the plant spirits, with my beloved tree friends.  To my mind, part of this interconnectedness incorporates Reiki, so as a Reiki II practitioner, I am striving to complete my Reiki III Master & Teacher Certification in January.


On this winter solstice, I baked mini muffins and placed them around my yard at the base of trees for the fairy folk.  I took the CDs that come in the mail for postage stamps and other various sales pitches and hung them in the trees as unbreakable reflective decorations to celebrate the the light is returning!  And have you noticed that it is not pitch dark black outside at 4:30PM as it usually is at this time of year?  Something is going on, and even if I don't have words for it, I can participate in the unfolding of it.
joy of the Yule Season: 

Wishing you much peace, light and all manner of positive energy on this Winter Solstice!  May 2013 bring abundance and good health.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celebrating Samhain!

As newsletters go, this one is decidedly late due to Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy visiting NJ on Oct 29 and plunging several million people in the NJ/NY/CT tristate area into complete darkness and chaos. In case you are not aware, the Jersey shore is forever changed, with several towns nearly wiped off the map and many of the historic boardwalks destroyed along with folks's primary homes. In a curious twist, Lucy the Elephant in Margate, NJ is still standing and reopened today.

Amid all this chaos, I am one of the lucky ones because my power was restored after 4 days. 13 days into this catastrophe, much of Morris county and huge swatches of NJ still remain without power, with the average night-time temps being in the low-to-mid 20's. Throughout the state, trees are still entangled with powerlines, and many roads remain blocked. A new FEMA center just opened today in Broadway, NJ (Warren county). Schools are still closed, and even Doctors Without Borders, the International humanitarian-aid group best known for conducting emergency health care interventions in war-torn countries, set up a makeshift clinic for Hurricane Sandy victims in one of New York’s worst-hit communities, The Rockaways. Transition energies have certainly grabbed our attention!

Hurricane Sandy's arrival at Samhain - followed closely by Winter Storm Athena - does not feel like a coincidence. Samhain is often referred to as the Celtic New Year - it marked the end of Summer and the beginning of the fallow time of year when the Crone aspect of the Goddess was celebrated. Traditionally, it was a time to embrace the darkness, the chaos, the death cycle of plants and nature. It is the time of year to follow the pattern that the trees follow: slowly and steadily shed our outer ornaments, thicken out our skins as the tree bark does to prepare for the coming bitter winds, ice and snow, and pull our energies within. Slowing, Rooting and Releasing is the order for the fall, and Samhain is the pause between.


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Charge of the Star Goddess

I found this online, and had to share it because it just resonated with me!  I hope you enjoy!

Star Goddess
The Charge of the Star Goddess
By Starhawk


Hear the words of the Star Goddess,
The dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven,
Whose body encircles the universe...


“ I who am the beauty of the green Earth,
The white Moon among the Stars,
And the Mystery of the Waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me.


For I am the Soul of Nature, which gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed,
And unto Me they must return.


Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices,
For behold – all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.


Let there be beauty and strength,
Power and compassion,
Honour and humility,
Mirth and reverence within you.


And you who need to know Me,
Know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not,
Unless you know the Mystery:
For if that which you seek you find not within yourself,
You will never find it without.


For behold, I have been with you from the beginning,
And I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox/Mabon!

Autumn officially starts in September at the Autumn Equinox, when the hours of dayling and darkness are equal.  From this point forward, the daylight hours become noticeably shorter and the weather stars to cool with each passing day.  Autumn is a season of waning light and shadows, yet it is also a season of harvest, abundance and thanksgiving.

Autumn has always been a colorful season of reward and people harvested the bounty from the summer growing season and stored it safely away for the long winter:  the vegetables from the garden, the fruit from the orchards, and the grain from the fields.    Everyone in the community spent long hours participating in the harvest, and at the end, they were exhausted yet grateful, and looked forward to a celebration.

Around the world, there are Autumn Harvest festivals celebrated near the Fall Equinox:  from the English Festival of Harvest Home, to Michaelmas Day, to Bavarian Oktoberfest to American Thanksgiving.  (which was originally in October, then moved to the first weekend in November by President Lincoln, and then moved yet again by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress to the 4th Thursday in November to help boost the post-depression economy and assist merchants with holiday sales by giving folks a full month to shop.  ....No comment!)

Harvest Goddess Mythologies
In many mythologies throughout the world, a goddess of the grain, harvest and the good earth was celebrated at the Autumn Equinox, which is not surprising since the Earth herself is seen as a fertile mother or Gaia.  From this venerated matriarch, all life was born.  Throughout time and in various cultures, she is a great mother goddess known by many names:  Astarte and Ishtar to the Sumerians; Isis to the Egyptians; Demeter in Greece and Ceres in Rome.  To the indigenous populations of the Americans, she was known as 'Old Woman Who Never Dies' and Mother of Maize.

Equally important was the concept of the seeds from the harvest used for the next year, and considered Mother Earth's child.  In Greek mythology, we see this as Demeter being the harvest mother, the goddess of grain and fertile earth.  The seed that fell and was planted in the spring was  the child, or her daughter , Persephone.  The spirit of these future crops were often seen as the daughter, or a maiden, or a divine child.  In Russia, the child was simply called the Corn Baby.  The Aztecs called the harvest goddess Chicomecoatl, and a goddess named Xilonen was the Goddess of the New Corn.  Her son ws symbolized by the seeds and called the Spirit of the Corn.  In Egypt, the spirit of the grain was the goddess' son, Horus.  The Cherokee people called the harvest child the Green Corn Child.  In India, there is a harvest festival called Pongal.  It is a rice festival that lasts for three days.  The child rice that came from this harvest mother was called the Rice Baby.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating the Summer Solstice/Litha

Celebrating Summer Solstice/Litha!

On the Summer Solstice/Litha, the earth is ripening with life, fertility and abundance.  This time of year, when the sun is at its zenith, many cultures and traditions still honor the sun and the Green Man, both in their full glory.  The date can vary slightly, and generally falling on June 20th to 22nd.  From this day forward, daylight will diminish by a few seconds each day, until day and night are equal again on the Autumnal Equinox in September.

The Green Man, Hauntingly wise Green Man "speaking" in hawthorn leaves, Parish Church in Sutton Benger, UK   (c.1300)  
In Celtic lore, as well as many other cultures throughout recorded history, the Green Man is a symbol of rebirth, representing the expansive cycles of growth.  The power of the sun at Litha is at its most potent, as one can see all around with the bounty of growing life.  This is a time of year of brightness and warmth, when crops are growing in their fields with the heat of the sun.  In addition to festivities honoring the plentiful sun, the 'yang', male energy that is so verdantly abundant, Summer Solstice/Litha is a time when the Holly King retakes his throne.  It is reminiscent of the battle between light and dark.  The traditional lore follows that the Oak King, who rules the half of the year from the Winter Solstice to the Summer Solstice, relinquishes his power on the Summer Solstice/Litha to the Holly King, who then rules from the Summer Solstice through to the following Winter Solstice.

Litha is a wonder-filled time to celebrate outdoors, especially if you have children.  Go swimming or turn on the sprinkler and run through it.  Have a bonfire or barbeque at the end of the day.  Make it a special night with music, storytelling, holiday sparklers or dancing at dusk with the magical fire-flies.  Consider letting them stay up late to say 'goodnight' to the sun.  Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the gifts that each season brings.  Blessed Be!

[Above graphic is of the Wise Green Man speaking in hawthorn leaves.  Found in Parish Church in Sutton Benger, UK  (c.1300)]


__________________________________________ 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making Garlic Mustard Vinegar

Back in March, I posted about making Spring Pesto with greens from our yard, especially using highly invasive garlic mustard (Allaria petiolata).  As a member of the Brassicaceae family, garlic mustard contains many healthful and medicinal qualities, so please see that post.  Herbal vinegars are truly an excellent way to preserve the goodness of nutritious, tonic herbs and to create a valuable nutritional supplement.  I am not talking about the 'culinary vinegars' decorated with a few sprigs of kitchen herbs like rosemary or thyme, but rather concentrated herbal formulas using nutrient-dense herbs and wild foods like Burdock, Nettles, Dandelion and other wild foods/greens.  The Spring Pesto post from March has great foraging and plant identification books listed.

In April, while harvesting to make yet more pesto - YUM! - I saved the roots and crowns (the part where the stem meets the roots).  Then, after gently washing away the dirt, I chopped them all into small pieces using a scissors since the some of the roots are thick and dense. 

(Wise Woman Tip:  Remember that you should be in a good mood when working in your kitchen and using medicinal botanicals.....    Set the tone with music, etc., whatever puts you in good spirits because the act of creating adds your own energy to the process and the items you make absorb your positive energy.    The same principle applies to making meals:  prepare them with positive, loving, healing thoughts and vibrations, and your family will receive that love two-fold!)

This is the simpler's method for making an herbal vinegar, so you will fill the jar twice

Put the pieces into a clean canning jar and fill to the top, gently compressing but not packing the roots down.  Add organic apple cider vinegar and fill the jar to the top again.  Since the jar has a metal lid, place a piece of wax paper between the jar and lid so the vinegar does not react with the metal.

After turning the jar several times to release trapped air bubbles, top off with a little more vinegar, and place the sealed jar on a small dish.  Be sure to check the next day and top it off again because the fairies will take their portion!  <wink>  Next, leave the jar to steep for about six weeks in a cool, dark place.  Check on it about once a week, turn it over to see if there are any more air bubbles - if so, then add a little more vinegar.  Remember you can add positive thoughts and give gratitude to the plants for their contribution to helping your family stay healthy.

After about six weeks, line a funnel with cheesecloth and decant into a similarly-sized clean jar.  Squeeze the cheesecloth to get out as much vinegar as possible, and add the used roots and crowns to your compost.  Label your vinegar appropriately - with date decanted, herb used, what type of vinegar, etc. and store in a cool dry cupboard or refrigerate.  A general rule of thumb is that herbal vinegars can keep from 3-7 years, however, I generally try to use mine within two years.

What is so great about Vinegar?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Free Screening and Discussion of Tom Shadyac's film, "I AM"

On an Environmental note, join me and other like minded folks concerned about the environment, global warming, sustainability and peak oil at this month's Transition Newton meeting on May 17th. Held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7PM... at the Unitarian Fellowship located at 1 West Nelson St., Newton, NJ.

This month is a free screening and discussion of Tom Shadyac's film "I AM". "I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world."

More info about the movie: http://www.iamthedoc.com/

More info about Transition Newton: http://transitionnewton.wordpress.com/events/

Monday, May 14, 2012

Making Risotto with our Shiitake Mushrooms!

As you know, we have been waiting, watching, and waiting some more since January 2011 for our mushroom logs to produce shiitake mushrooms. (Did I mention that we've been waiting?)  The logs started showing signs of emerging mushrooms back in the beginning of March, (see post) and as you can see, they are finally here! My daughter and I ceremoniously harvested the three mushrooms with care and reverence, and then promptly made Mushroom Risotto for our dinner on Mother's Day.  Since we only had three fresh mushrooms, we added some diced baby portabellas and rehydrated the dried porcini mushrooms from the pantry.  YUM!

The stems were so dense, that I decided to make a mushroom vinegar with them, and they are now steeping in organic apple cider vinegar.  I will continue to add the stems as more mushrooms bloom. 
If you remember, shiitake are incredibly nutritious and wonderfully medicinal!  To recap briefly from my original post from January 2011:  
  1. From a medicinal perspective, shiitake - taken in the form of LEM - has antiviral, antifungal and immuno-modulating properties, and studies have shown tumor inhibiting properties as well.
  2. From a food standpoint, shiitakes are a nutritional powerhouse.  As with most mushrooms, one gains the maximum nutritional benefit only upon cooking them.  They contribute a wide range of essential amino acids, are low in fat, high in fiber and provide a wide range of vitamins including Vitamin D, thiamine, niacin, ascorbic acid, riboflavin and biotin.
And of course I just love trivia:  

Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebrating Beltane!

Celebrating Beltane!
Since ancient times, the May season has been a time of celebration and merriment, a time to acknowledge the return of growth.  Certainly, the rites of May are rooted in ancient fertility festivals traced back to the Hellenistic era of Greco-Roman religion.  May 1 was a time to honor the Roman goddesses Flora and Maia with offerings of flowers and garlands ~ the month of May is named for Maia.  Decorated wreaths were mounted on a pole adorned with flowers, garland and colorful ribbons  and carried in street processions in honor of goddess Maia so that she would bestow her fertile bounty on fields and flocks.  The flower garlands were a symbol of the inner connectedness between all things and a worthy gift in anticipation of the coming summer and harvest season.

Traditional Maypole dance

The maypole was traditionally made from a hawthorn tree, which is the third magickal tree in the triad of fairy lore of oak, ash and thorn.  In ancient times, springs of hawthorn and hawthorn flowers were taken home to banish evil.  In ancient Greece, wedding couples wore crowns made of hawthorn blossoms while the wedding party carried torches of hawthorn wood.  May is decidedly a fertile time - for the plants, the pollinators, and the community at large.

As herbalists have long known, Hawthorn  berry (Crataegus monogyna) is a trophorestorative for the heart, and now 'Science' finally agrees, too!!   A trophorestorative is a medicinal botanical that nourishes, tonifies and supports a specific organ or body system. ...Maybe 'science' will catch up on some other trophorestoratives that Wise Women have known about for generations:  milky oats for the central nervous system, stinging nettles seed for the kidneys, etc.  Here is the link to that article:   
http://www.naturalnews.com/035685_hawthorn_berries_heart_health.html.

Whatever your late spring holiday traditions, rituals, celebrations and/or spiritual practices may be ~ enjoy the warming days and the splendor of abundant new life and growth that this season celebrates in such vibrant colors!  Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the gifts that each season brings.  Blessed Be!

__________________________________________ 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Making Spring Pesto!

Ah, Spring!  A chance to sample the freshness of a new season after a long winter of using dried herbs, dehydrated and home-canned fruits and vegetables from last summer's harvest.  Even something as simple as sprouting seeds over the dark winter months provides an opportunity for eating 'fresh' greens that didn't travel thousands of miles to get to your dinner plate.

With the mild winter, this part of northwest NJ is bursting with new, vibrant plant life nearly three weeks ahead of normal.  (Do I really have to mow my lawn in March?)  Seeing new green fuzz on shrubs and trees along the roadsides is uplifting as I think about all the 'fresh greens' now emerging in my yard....   which makes me think of sautes, stir-frys and my favorite:  pesto!  Yum!

Safety tip:  First and foremost:  KNOW your plants!  Many toxic botanicals look confusingly similar to edible or medicinal botanicals - so DO YOUR HOMEWORK and/or have a knowledgeable botanist, herbalist or forager help identify these with you. 

IMPORTANT:  Do NOT use any botanical that has been sprayed with herbicide, pesticide, is found in a run-off drainage ditch or is located within 15 feet of a road.  (Do you really want brake asbestos and road salt in your food?)  ONLY harvest from known sources where you know that it is clean.

While there are many fresh greens in your yard that you can add to your dinner plate, today I am focusing on Garlic Mustard (Allaria petiolata). 

Description: Garlic mustard, ~ also called hedge garlic, saucealone, jack-by-the-hedge, poor man's mustard, jack-in-the-bush, garlic root, garlicwort, and mustard root ~ defends itself from insects by smelling like garlic. It is on the USDA’s National Invasive Species Information Center and is classified as an invasive, noxious weed in at least nine states since it crowds out native plants. It is not native to the US, the deer won't eat it, and it does not have any known predators. 

A biennial herb, its heart-shaped leaves give off an aroma of garlic when crushed. Typical of the mustard/cabbage family, the flowers are four-petaled and cross shaped. This plant is allelopathic, meaning that it secretes a toxin that is not tolerated by other plants, and thus they will not grow well near it ~ black walnut and eucalyptus trees do the same thing ~ thus ensuring its relentless spread.  You can pick as much of this plant as you want without fear of overharvesting!  Actually - you will be providing a great service to the environment since this plant IS so invasive! 

So harvest away!  And not with anger or malice, but with gratitude for Allaria's bounty! It is delicious, available year round, and loaded with important phyto-nutrients such as sulforophane.  Susun Weed makes a delicious vinegar from the roots, so maybe I will write about that in another post.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Join us for our local Red Tent Temple!

Let's Fill Up The Tent!

You've been invited into a Red Tent Temple on Sunday, March 25th at 1PM (OR come at 12 to help decorate.) 

We will sip tea, share stories, play, rest and who knows what else will bubble up in our co-created space. Go to Junie Moon’s site,  http://www.soulfulexpressions.net/  and look under her Events/Workshops tab for all the information about the gathering.  You can tell friends and let them know that we ARE gathering, and that there is a place for them to come and be seen, be heard and to get nourished.

Don't know what a Red Tent Temple is?

Well, let me take a few words from my website home page to tell you about this, because it is part of a much larger movement.

watershed (ˈwɔːtəˌʃɛd) n. 1. landmark, turning point, watershed. An event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend. 


Every once in a great while, a watershed event happens in your lifetime,
only you are not aware of it until much time has passed, and you can
view it from an historical perspective. 
 
The Red Tent Movie, in tandem with the Red Tent Movement,
is just such an event -
only this time...

YOU can take an active part in it and participate in making history. 
For more information or to find a Red Tent near you, click on the Movie graphic below.
 Red Tent Movie - 2012
Willow Moon Herbals is excited to endorse The Red Tent Movie!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Learning about the Environmental Benefits of Rain Barrels!

"Make a Rain Barrel" class at the
Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris County, NJ
Today's post is more about Environmental Stewardship than medicinal botanicals.  Last night, I spent my Spring Equinox evening learning to make a rain barrel as part of my ongoing education toward a more Sustainable Living.  In this case, the class focused on water conservation, reducing rain water runoff that can erode the environment, and water pollution control by diverting the water that customarily runs down the driveway carrying brake dust, antifreeze, oil drippings and other not-so-desirable debris into the storm sewers.

Did you know:  an average rainfall event in NJ yields 1" of water!  Spread over a basic roof area of 800 sq ft (roughly 40' x 20'), that 1" of rainfall will equal about 500 gallons.  NJ has an average of 45" of rain per year, so rainfall from one rooftop for the entire season can average nearly 22,500 gallons of water!

If every household used one (1) 55 gallon rain barrel like the one pictured from class, each family can save about 1,400 gallons of water from April through October - simply by redirecting one downspout into the barrel.  If you wanted to get fancy, you could daisy-chain several barrels together with connector hoses and save more rainwater for gardening, and helping to protect landscaped yards during a drought or from too much run-off water all at once.  Building a rain barrel is pretty straightforward, and there are even directions easily found online. 

Not fond of that bright blue plastic barrel clashing with the theme and colors of your home - get artistic!  Grab some sandpaper, an appropriate primer paint for plastics, and some colorful acrylics to create a custom-decorated rain barrel to blend into your yard. 

Be sure to check out the Frelinghuysen Arboretum for other eco-friendly, sustainable living classes, such as "Eco-Friendly Lawn Care", "Planting a Pollinator-Friendly Garden" and so much more.  http://arboretumfriends.org/events#1214

As we turn the wheel of the year, get out and be a part of this new season! 
Happy Vernal Equinox and Green Blessings!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrating the Vernal Equinox (Ostara)!

What a difference a year makes!  Here in northwestern NJ, last year’s never-ending-winter was still maintaining it’s snowy/icy grip at the Vernal Equinox, and now in 2012, we have had such a mild season that I can hardly even call it 'winter'.  Six weeks ago at Imbolc, the daffodils were already pushing up through the unfrozen ground;  this year as we approach March 21, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips and crocus are already blooming, trees are budding and decorative shrubs, roses, lilacs and viburnams have their new leaves emerging.  The ground is soft and moist, but not soggy.  With barely one noteworthy snowstorm this winter (excepting the freak Halloween storm that pummeled the trees and knocked out power for 8 days here) I can hear the cries of ‘drought’ in the not too distant future.  For now, the world is greening again as the days lengthen and the daytime temps soar into the unseasonably warm 60’s and 70’s, as they have been doing intermittently for the last six weeks.  The weather forecasters are calling for temps to be in the 80's for this Thursday, March 22.  As we turn the wheel of the year, get outside and be part of this new season!


Found this lovely graphic of Ostara
on several sites, citing one:
 www.thespiritofthegoddessis.nl/
March 21st is widely-known as the Spring Equinox, one of the two days a year when the sun is directly over the equator, and when there are equal amounts of hours of daylight and nighttime. For thousands of years, indigenous populations, clans and tribal peoples and even religions have marked the beginning of spring with rituals celebrating the return of warmth, sunshine and new life.

One ancient holiday associated with the Vernal Equinox is Ostara, which is a traditional celebration honoring the Saxon lunar goddess, Eostre.  Different tribal traditions tell the story slightly differently, but the underlying thread is still the same:  Eostre once rescued a wounded bird, whose feathers and wings had become totally frozen by the harsh cold of winter.  Eostre changed her into a hare, enabling her to survive the winter more easily.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Shiitake Mushroom Logs are Starting to Sprout!

"The mushrooms are coming!"  "The mushrooms are coming!"  I feel a little bit like a cross between Paul Revere and the Nanny in "101 Dalmatians":  both were excited to deliver their message of important news. 

So as not to reiterate the entire post from last January 31, 2011 (discussing the class I attended about growing your own shiitake mushrooms that was held at the Sussex County Fair Grounds) I will just give the highlights for the last year while the shiitake mycelium was devouring the log from the inside.  I had kept the logs in a shaded area up off the ground on two upside-down plastic buckets so that bugs, slugs and mold did not take hold before the mycelium had a chance to spread and to its thing.  Sometime in August, I submerged the logs in a garbage can full of water overnight.  I then replace the logs on the buckets in a less-shady-but-not-too-sunny location on the eastern side of my house - so they got maybe an hour or so of morning sun, and then were in the shade for the rest of the day.   They have not been protected from rain or that freak Halloween snow storm that we were treated to last fall when fully 1/3 of my silver maple was scattered like flotsam all over the yard, the fence, the garden,    ...and on top of my mushroom logs. 

I had been checking them regularly - at least 2-3 times a week with no detectable sign of any change.  I ran into Ian, the mushroom man from Sussex County, at the Slow Food Festival in early February 2012 in Morristown, NJ and he said that as long as the ends of the logs had discernible 'rings' on them, that all was probably moving ahead correctly, and that it could reasonably be another 6-8 months before any mycelium pushed through the bark as a mushroom.  As you can see, much of the bark is covered with tiny 'V' shaped cracks through which the white fruiting body, or mushroom, is emerging.

Now I just have to be patient, let the mushrooms emerge fully and grow to a decent size, and then beat the squirrels to them.  I was thinking about moving the logs inside the garden, but that part of the yard gets a significant amount of sun daily - and I don't want to dry the logs out too fast and wither the remaining mycelium inside.  As you can see, I still have more to learn about this process, and will keep you posted!

Green Blessings as we move into March and count down the days until the Equinox.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Embracing Menopause" class rescheduled!

This divine picture of Khione found on 
Google from goddessmoms.wordpress.com
The enchanting Snow Goddess, Khione, draped her wintry cloak over NJ today, Saturday, Jan 21, so our "Embracing Menopause" class at The Room Above in Brookside, NJ will be rescheduled! (Update:  New date:  Sat, April 14 at 1:30PM)

This is a wonderful opportunity to slow down and take a few moments to enjoy Khione's sparkling presence with a warming herbal tea!






Give this tea a try on any brisk wintry day:

  • ~ 2 Tablespoons grated ginger root
  • pinch of cayenne powder
  • juice from one fresh lemon
  • honey, to taste
  • 1-2 star anise pods  (optional, but oh so yummy!)

Grate about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root, add to saucepan of boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour into a quart or half gallon-sized mason jar.  Add fresh lemon juice and honey to taste.  Sprinkle barely a pinch of cayenne pepper powder and add 1-2 star anise pods.  Cover with a towel and let steep about 20 minutes.  Strain and enjoy! 

Not only will this tea increase circulation and thoroughly warm the body, it can also be used for sore throats, congestion, colds and flus.




Friday, January 20, 2012

Transition Newton - Building a Sustainable Community

Last night another Steward of our precious, beautiful blue-green Earth - Anne of Degage Gardens - and I attended a viewing and frank discussion of the movie, Call of Life:  Facing the Mass Extinction. 

Hosted by the Transition Newton group, the movie dares to address the accelerating loss of biodiversity that is becoming so severe, scientists are calling it a mass extinction event.  Globally, species are becoming extinct at an astonishing rate - between 1, 000 and 10,000 times faster than normal.  At this rate, nearly half of all plant and animal life could be extinct within the next several decades, threatening the stability of the Earth's entire biosphere.

I liked this group immediately, and am glad to find a like-minded group of ordinary folks who are making the effort to DO something about the alarming rate of biodiversity destruction by forming a transition initiative in their community.  Because they are concerned about the realities of climate change, peak oil and economic instability, these folks are pro-actively seeking solutions to these issues while building a cohesive community.

Transition Initiatives are springing up all across the US, so look for one near your community and get involved.  Make 2012 the year you actively participate!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Just say "NO" to SOPA and PIPA!



Make no mistake about the seriousness of this issue: If SOPA (or PIPA) becomes law, it will sooner or later result in the government seizure and shutdown of virtually all alternative news websites, including sites dedicated to Alternative Holistic Modalities. People should have the right to choose the type of healing modality that addresses their health-care needs, and they should have the right to research different modalities to make the best informed decision for themselves and their family members.  Should SOPA or PIPA be passed, alternative healing sites like Willow Moon Herbals could be censored and seized, and you would find a message like the one above when you tried to access our site for information about medicinal botanicals.

Think this is a fad?  Check out Google, Reddit, NaturalNews, Wikipedia and over 5,000 other sites that have 'gone dark' today in protest of these two draconian bills before Congress.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on this on January 24. Tell them to vote NO to SOPA and PIPA. Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/034682_SOPA_online_piracy_protest.html#ixzz1jqGjPs9x