Thursday, June 28, 2012

And the winners are…

Thank you to all who entered the recent contests associated with Anke Bialas’ virtual book tour, for her new book Homemade Health! I loved reading your comments!

The winner of the rose cream is Ti Bo

The winner of the signed copy of Homemade Health is Chantelle

Please email me your address ladies, at and I will get them in the mail to you right away! (Of course the word at should be the sign for at in that address. Must keep those robot spammers from having too easy of a time! lol )


Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cat and Duck Updates plus some Fishing!

Well in animal news, the kittens have turned one year old! Happy Birthday to Lilac, Mugwort, Earl Jr., and Cloudpaw! This is Mama Peppermint
mamapeppermint Remember when I found her and all the herbal helpers I used to help her get well from all her dog bite injuries? It makes my heart sing to see her so happy, healthy and gorgeous these days:) Mugwort is hanging out with some herbie books and Comfrey Fairy
mugwortoneyearold Lilac was sleeping on the back of the sofa, so this is her “I just woke up” look!
lilaconeyearold Cloudpaw was so tiny for so long, and also had some medical problems I helped with herbals. He is a fine, healthy fellow now!

He doesn’t look like it in this picture, but Earl Jr. is a huge kitten! I call him Mr. Pink Nose all the time:) lol!
earljroneyearold  We have a stray mama cat and her 3 kittens living in the gardens now :( I am trying to tame them down enough to even touch. This picture was taken through the window
At least I thought there were three kittens. This morning I saw the fourth! Yikes! Another instance where someone down the line didn’t tend their cat(s) properly, and now I must.. sigh…
Other pet news, Max and Ruby were parents again. This time 15 ducklings. Luckily, we have found homes for all the little ones
GEDC7644 Been super busy between the granchildren out of school for the summer and trying to do a little spruce up around here. This freshly painted garage wall in the next picture took me a couple of days. The house next door to us is one of our rentals, and its garage wall facing my gardens was terrible looking, so I tackled that over several days.
GEDC8117 Looks so much cleaner! In that photo our a rose of sharon, elderberry, joe pye weed, pleurisy root, feverfew, milkweed, valerian, and daylilies. Maybe click to enlarge to see better:)
Been scraping and getting ready to paint two more of those metal chairs and one metal double glider. Redid an old metal milk can, but forgot to take a picture of that. Going to use it as a table between the two finished chairs. In the queue, is scraping and repainting some windows… seems it is a painting kind of year! Do you like the color I did the swing in?
GEDC8113 In this side garden are lemon verbena, pineapple sage, 4 roses, red clover, rose of sharon, daylilies, comfrey, lemon grass, beebalm, echinacea, nasturiums, primrose, hollyhocks and more. I will have to do just a plant post soon:)
We did take time to do some jug fishing recently with brother Eric. Jug fishing is fun. You just tie a line onto a jug that will float and throw it out. You will see it take off when a fish hits it
Do remember I have two giveaway drawings going until the 27th. One on the guest post by Anke Bialas, on making a Stillroom book, and the other on my book review of Homemade Health!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottagesxx

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stillroom Book – guest post by Anke Bialas (and a giveaway drawing)

Last year I wrote a post on making a still room book to preserve family herbal traditions for future generations. It generated a lot of interest and Leslie liked the idea so much she asked me to write about the book that I ended up making for my family.
Firstly, what is a still room?
“During medieval times, the lady of the house was responsible for tending the sick and seeing that the kitchens were stocked sufficiently. Using the model of Roman and Greek times, special rooms were set aside in castles and manors to prepare medicines and distillations. The lady of the house oversaw the functions of the room, which grew to include brewing beer, alcohol and wine, creating cosmetics, preserving food, and mixing household cleaning agents. A still room might also serve as a pantry, larder, storeroom, or infirmary where the sick or injured could be treated.
It was the responsibility of mothers to teach their daughters practical household skills to prepare them to assume the responsibility of their own home. Over time, the still room became the responsibility of other relatives or household servants.” Source:

Not everyone had huge estates or servants, but even humble homes had an area where these things were prepared. The still room book therefore, is where information like recipes, formulas, harvests and purchases were recorded. Also, major family or historical events may make it into a still room book.
As I already mentioned, last year I made my own book which I called “The Catesby Household Journal – 2011”. Catchy, right?
You can make books yourself which would make for a wonderful heirloom piece, but in my case I took advantage of a freebie deal on and had a hardcover book printed to my design instead.
I started off with the family crest of my husband’s family (so that one doesn’t get lost down the track), then I added a very small family tree of just this branch of the family, in Australia.


Then follows about 4 pages of ruled paper to add family births, deaths and marriages.
Since this is meant to be a practical book, but also a hand-me-down I wanted to make sure it had information that I needed to keep have on hand in the kitchen but also a bit of a time capsule that might be of interest to future generations. Which is why the next few pages had basic herb info, ancient measurements converted to modern measurements, pictures of old world kitchen gardens and still rooms that I like and …speaking of conversions, two pages of metric conversions of pretty much everything that’s convertible
After all that there are about 150 blank, ruled paper to record
· Recipes
· how they worked
· what needed changing
· how did it taste?
· Experiments with dosage
· treatment successes
· garden successes
· gardening flops
· craft ideas
· patterns
Anything that takes place in your still room (kitchen) has a place in your still room book. My personal motivation was, what would I give to find a book like this, kept by my grandmother, or even her grandmother….wow. What would I find in there? Stains… would definitely have stains to show that it was actually used. And hand writing! Maybe even different hand writing from different generations, how cool would that be?
Now, I realize this isn’t the herbiest post I have ever written, but I think it is the perfect way to preserve your herbal ways.
Raised with herbal traditions passed down by her grandmother in her native country Germany, Anke Bialas has expanded her knowledge and application of herbs in unconventional ways, saying "Even a little bit of nature goes a long way."
With a firm believe that herbal health can fit into even the most conventional home, she makes all things herbal appeal to everyone.
Anke is known for her practical, everyday approach to herbal health which led to her writing the Herbology At Home series of guides. These guides provide a convenient reference for both the seasoned novice and those new to herbs and natural health.
Visit Anke Bialas at:

I want to thank Anke so very much for allowing me to be a part of her virtual book tour for her newest book in her Herbology at Home book series, Homemade Health. And also thank her so much for sharing her stillroom book with us! It looks fabulous Anke! What a family treasure this will be for future generations! And how handy to have all your lovely recipes and information in such a beautiful book for your own use:)
I would like to offer my readers a chance to win a signed copy of Anke’s new book, Homemade Health. All you have to do is comment on this post! The drawing will be open until June 27th. which is the last day of the virtual book tour:)
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Personal Herbalism –UK Herbarium Blog Party

The lovely Ali English, of Eldrum Musings blog, is hosting this month’s party. Thank you Ali!
My form of practicing herbalism is very personal indeed. Those of you who follow this blog know, I do very little that doesn’t involve my grandchildren. It has been my greatest joy in life to help guide them down the herbal/wild foraging/gardening/ nature loving path, and I hope these early adventures will give them a life time of joy, and good health!
Lily (age 7) and Dylan (age 4) helping make this years elderflower cordial
Almost everyday we explore together, our world. We take walks and it is a great joy to hear the children naming so many plants and whether they are edible or we can use them to help us stay healthy or feel better if we don’t feel so good.
Dylan and his chickweed garden
My own herbal journey started rather late in life. The year my third child was born, and I turned 21,  Jean Auel wrote the book Clan of the Cave Bear. The setting is 30, 000 years ago and throughout this well researched book, there are many references to plants as both food and medicine. I was intrigued! I was taught while a young girl, growing up on a Midwest farm, some of our local wild edible plants and mushrooms, but I had nothing in my background about using plants as medicine. Herbalism was just beginning a resurgence her in the US, and even though we were starting to have some stores that carried some herbal teas and such, there was really no one in my area to help me learn more… I asked around our town if there was any of the older folks known for using plants as medicine, and got dribs and drabs of info, but no one alive to talk to…. Fast forward to my forties and I had just learned about Healing Touch, which is similar to Reiki,  and had began taking weekend classes to learn it. My mother had been diagnoses with cancer and I became a caregiver. Any of you who have been there know what a soul wrenching experience it is to tend a loved one with a serious illness, especially one that ends in death.  My brother Eric and  I discovered the China Bayles mystery series of books by Susan Wittig Albert. This series of books is centered around the lead character, China Bayles, and her herb shop. During this time of sorrow, and feelings of helplessness, Susan rekindled my intrigue for herbal medicine, and my mother’s illness provided the fuel. I also credit Susan with saving our sanity during this time, as there is no better medicine for sorrow than to be looking in a forward direction, and her China Bayles books gave me a new learning direction.. herbalism.
Since then, I have weaved the world’s of being a grandmother, a beekeeper, healing touch practitioner, and herbologist into my daily life. I do lots of reading of some of the great herbalist’s and ethnobotanist’s books, essays, and other shares. I have networked with many lovely, sharing herbalist around the world and learn daily. I meditate with the plants and use my senses I refined through learning Healing Touch to pick up the vibrations of my green allies and learn from them. I experiment, taste, touch, smell, look, look closer, and watch the changes through the seasons. Whereas I feel many times I was born in the wrong century, I am very grateful to having been born during a time when I can easily communicate with my herbalist friends to ask questions, compare ideas, and to learn from. I am grateful to online book sellers where I have been able to buy books that have explained to me and taught me much of the historic, time honored uses of plants. If I would have had all these more modern means of learning back in my early twenties, I would have been able to share these things with my own children then! Now, I have to smile as I watch my grandchildren teach them :)
My personal herbalism is all about taking back my herbal heritage I earned as a human on this planet and sharing it with my grandchildren, or anyone else who cares to learn with me. And using this knowledge to help steward our planet, and help keep healthy, help with diseases or injuries myself, my loved ones, or my friends and pets.
Lily playing animal vet. I so enjoyed listening to her play this game with Dylan. They used elderflower, linden flower, peppermint, plantain and yarrow during this game:)
Dylan harvesting dandelions
By the way, it is not too late to get in on the drawing for a jar of my rose cream. Just follow this link to read my review of Anke Biala's new book Homemade Health and leave a comment before the 27th!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Litha Issue of the Pooka Pages is Ready!

This issue is jam packed with crafts, activities, gardening, stories, herbal first aid, and herbal cooking and other fun things, folks! Lot’s of ways to enjoy and celebrate Midsummer Eve :)
In this Issue:
the Storybook Chair – Pooka’s Midsummer Picnic by Lora Craig-Gaddis
Coloring Page – Litha Pentacle by Nathalie Dussault (original artist unknown)
Little Book of Shadows – Summer Solstice Ritual by Ashley Sears
The Goddess’s First Aid Kit by Evelien Roos
The Dandelion Story by Evelien Roos
Seed Blessing Ritual by Deanna Anderson 
Make a Mini-Green House by Mathew Two-Shoes
Coloring Page – Fairy Flyers (Illustration from an old book)
A Letter from Scotland by Fiona Tinker
Little Kitchen Witch – Fairy Candy by Leslie Postin
Coloring Page – Litha Banner by Nathalie Dussault (original art by Amara Karuna)
Lotions & Potions – Midsummer Fairy Potion by Suzanne & Connal 
WitchCrafts – Moon Phase Plaques by Rayne Storm
Story – Leah’s Lesson in Balance by Bridget Di Luzio
Short Story – Pooka’s Post Office Surprise by Lora Craig-Gaddis
Letters to Pooka by Wendy Fischer (and Pooka)
That’s right, your truly contributed to this issue! Pooka and I went to the herb garden and harvested some flowers and leaves for making Fairy Candy!
Enjoy this Litha issue!
Honey and Herbal Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Book Review- Homemade Health (and a giveaway chance)

This is book three in Anke Bialas’ Herbology at Home Series.  What really speaks to me, in this book, is the fact that it helps show us that herbal home medicine making is a craft that has been practiced for eons and it is accessible and practical for all of us. Through the ages people have been using common culinary herbs not only for flavoring food, but also for the medicinal qualities of these plants. Anyone can tend themselves or their loved ones with some of the everyday complaints we humans are prone to, with the help of these herbs. Homemade Health will help you learn how to create remedies for forty three different health ailments using herbs you probably already have in your larder or growing in your kitchen garden. I will share this, I have been making my own remedies for quite awhile now, and I still found lots of new information in this book! Anke has drawn upon the herbal knowledge her paternal grandmother passed down to her and I thank her so much for sharing with us, through this book!
There is a section with the healing properties of some common culinary herbs, over 160 remedy recipes, tips for when to harvest and how to preserve the herbs, easy to follow directions for preparing base remedies, such as creams, ointments, syrups, tinctures and more.
Anke’s goal of her Herbology at Home Series, is to help us realize that each and every one of us have the ability to help support and tend some of our own health issues, (or prevent them), right at our own fingertips. We don’t have to be doctors, herbalists, great gardeners, or chemists! With the help of her tips, ideas, suggestions we can start using common culinary herbs right in our own kitchens to make our own homemade health:) These are home remedies your grandmother knew. Simple and effective treatments right from your own pantry.
In celebration of the honor of being part of this virtual book tour, I would like to offer my readers a chance to win a jar of my rose cream. You will get several chances to win if you do each of these things.
1- Leave me a comment. If your comment also includes a family recipe for homemade health, you will get two chances instead of one.
2- Like Herbology on Facebook and come back and tell me you did so.
3- Sign up for Anke’s newsletter on her site, Herbology, and leave me a comment that you did so
4- Look around the Herbology site, come back and leave me a comment about what tip, recipe or article you especially liked there.
There you go! An opportunity to have your name in the drawing for the rose cream not once, but 5 times! I am leaving this contest open until the end of Anke’s Homemade Health Virtual Book Tour, which ends on the 27th of June. I will announce the winner on the 28th. Make sure and visit the other blogs on the tour for more giveaways! The tour includes question and answer sessions, a radio interview, posts about wild foods, herbs for pets, starting on an herbal health journey, herbal cleaners and more! On the 22nd of June make sure and come back and visit here at Comfrey Cottages where Anke will do a guest blog post about making your own Stillroom book – recording herbal traditions for future generations! I am so excited about this folks, as I have long thought to start a stillroom book, and Anke will help us all get started making our own with her ideas, and suggestions! On that day, I will be hosting a giveaway chance for a signed copy of her book, Homemade Health!
Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx

Monday, June 4, 2012

You Got to Enter to Win!

Anke Bialas, owner of Herbology website, and author of her newest book in the Herbology at Home series, Homemade Health, is doing a virtual book tour this month. I will be doing a book review on Friday, (with a giveaway chance at an herbal goodie), and Anke will be my guest host, here at Comfrey Cottages blog , June 22nd on the topic of making a Stillroom book, recording herbal traditions for future generations! I will also host a giveaway chance to all who comment on my blog that day, for a signed copy of Homemade Health. So mark your calendars and be sure and visit Comfrey Cottages for these events!

Tomorrow, Renee’, of the Accidental Hippy blog, is hosting Anke on the subject of Herbal Cleaners. You won’t want to miss that folks! Renee’ is also giving us a chance to win a signed copy of Homemade Health! You got to enter to win, so follow the link to sign up for your chance to win this amazing book! And do visit The Accidental Hippy tomorrow to learn more on making herbal cleaners.



Herbal and Honey Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages! xx