Monday, January 21, 2013

Apprentice Evaluation 2012

A review of my Springfield Sanctuary 2012

1. Which plants did I grow: new to the gardens would be

Dianthus - Dianthus caryophyllus

Vervain - Verbena officinalis

Goldenseal - Hydrastis canadensis

Sassafras tree – Sassafras albidum

and two new Rosa ssp.

2. and 3. Which other plants have I worked with and what have I done with these plants.

Well, this answer could be quite lengthy as I try to incorporate herbs into my daily life :)

I suppose the thing I did most was work with rose. I made rose sugars, syrups,vinegars, honeygars,  teas, floral waters, tinctures, creams, and more. I tried many different edible way to incorporate rose also.( That really deserves a separate post. ) I used rose hips in most of those ways also. I use a rose hip and hawthorn honey in my tea daily as well as use a lovely rose hip and hawthorn cordial every night.

I wild foraged Wild Lettuce – Lactuca serriola, which did not seem as potent a pain reliever as Lactuca virosa, so I made a double infused alcohol extract of that plant. Myself and my family got good pain relief from it when used for various reasons.

I made my first bitters, and used chamomile as my bitter herb in it.

Learned the value of elder bark for bruising and for spider veins too!

Wild harvested Wild Cherry bark – Prunus Virginiana and been using it this season as part of the helper herbs used in quieting coughs and easing sore throats.

Wild harvested Slippery Elm – Ulmus fulva – Used it in cases of loose bowels, both in humans and cats.

Wild harvested Sassafras –Sassafras albidum using both the leaves and roots. The root tea is a wonderful tonic and is useful in bringing on a sweat when someone is feverish to help cool the body. The leaves, I dry and crumble into various food dishes.

(these trees I harvest from are in a private deep woods owned by a friend and ethical practices are used when I harvest)

This year I focused deeply on incorporating herbs into daily food. I have worked extensively with not only finding the appropriate herb for flavor reasons, but also for the energetics I am trying to add to the dish. Several different herbs, including milk thistle, I have created special grinders of and have been using them a lot. Finding that Tumeric can be added in significant quantities to foods without being overpowering.

Started studying and using more essential oils. Something I had avoided due to the cost, but am finding them to be a valuable addition to the apothecary, with Hyssop EO and Eucalyptus EO having been used a lot this winter since my family has had one flu after another, amongst the various colds.

This last year I made honeys of so many things! And vinegars too. I splash the vinegars in most stews and soups, and the honeys in baking, teas, etc. I often time a spoon of each just into a cup of hot water to sip on. Been working on which one to use when depending on the flavor and desired effect aimed for.

4. and 5. Which workshops, study days, and festivals attended? What did I learn from these activities.

Alas, I attended none as I live on a different continent…I do greatly appreciate and enjoy the photos and other shares my fellow apprentices and teacher share though.

I have learned from the handouts shared though. I really got into the Humoral Handout research and have been using those learnings all year.

6. What books have I read?

Wow, lengthy list. When I say I have read them, I mean I have read every word.. perhaps why I don’t have time to blog more? ;^)

Lots of rose related books as she was my number one chosen ally this year. A couple of ones with a historic theme.

Climbing Roses by Christopher Warner

Rose Recipes  by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde

The Rose Book by Maggie Oster

The Traditional Healer’s Handbook – A Classic Guide to the Medicine of Avicenna by Hakim G. M. Chishti, N.D.

Culpepper’s Medicine- A Practice of Western Holistic Medicine by Graeme Tobyn

Health Secret of Plants and Herbs by Maurice Messegue

Flower Power by Anne McIntyre

An Ancient Egyptian Herbal by Lise Manniche

Garland’s, Conkers and Mother- Die by Roy Vickery

Hatfield’s Herbal by Gabrielle Hatfield

The Herbal Lore of Wise Women and Wortcunners by Wolf Storl

Herbal Emmissaries by Steven Foster and Yue Chongxi

Weeds by Richard Mabey

Herbal Rituals by Judith Bergner

plus the magazines Herb Companion, Herb Quarterly and Herbal Gram.

( I am sure I am forgetting some books)

Right now I  reading The Western Herbal Tradition by Graeme Tobyn, Alison Denhan and Margaret Whitelegg (excellent btw)

7. What have I really enjoyed this year?

Reading! lol!

very much enjoyed our monthly task list and the research involved also.

8. What have I found really difficult?

This year it was a challenge just to keep the garden going due to drought. My daughter and I were involved in the rescue, tending and re- homing of 22+ stray/rescued cats, so just the time to garden was difficult also.

How have I changed?

1. What can I do now that I could not do at the beginning of the year?

Grow roses! And propagate them ;^)

I learned a lot from the humoral research and how to apply that knowledge also.

Learning to make the bruise salve from elder bark was amazing too.

I think I have changed also in my approach to getting herbs into our daily diet consistently.

2. What have I decided to stop doing or do less of this year?

Hmmm I am praying there are less cat rescues this year so I have more time for herbal things..

3. What are my plans for next year?

I am getting ready to try a form of seed germination called Winter Sown!

Press more botanical samples and work on my stillroom book more.

4. What would I like to do more of this year?

Last year I acquired some longish deep concrete planting boxes and transplant some catnip and peppermint into them. I found this so handy for keeping the plants really clean and well tended. I would like to do a few more of these container type gardens. Dandelion, plantain, violets and a few others are the plans. These can be placed in appropriate areas as far as the plants needs are concerned. I just really want to wild forage and garden more in general!

5. What would I like to do differently?

Besides rescue less cats? I would really like to figure out a great herb drying system… Difficult in my home due to lack of space..working on that..

6. Who/ what can help me achieve this?

My husband. We have a lovely slide in truck camper that would be perfect for herb drying… Try to convince him to move it on to brick patio in back gardens instead of where it is now at a different one of our properties.. Or, haul the plants to where the camper is.. which is time consuming and with the grandchildren to tend in the summer.. hard to accomplish.. need to try to manage time even better, so I need to help myself with this also.



Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Wow, I'm exhausted and sneezing! I need a NAP! xxoo LVL

Anonymous said...

Leslie its great to read your evaluation -you did a lot. Interesting as we over here had too much water and you had too little.

Shazia Noor said...

You managed so much reading Leslie, I read a couple of books in November and December. Since then... Barely three chapters. Good luck with your second year xx

Comfrey Cottages said...

Nancy, your allergies would go into overdrive here! thanks for visiting xx love ya!

Yes, Jo-Ann, I kept wishing were would get some of your rain.. now I wish we would get more snow. Our water table is too low :( xx

Shazia, I a bookaholic! I need to join a support group ;^) I am glad we are on this journey together! xx

Sarah Head said...

Leslie, I meant to comment earlier, but got distracted. Thank you for sharing your evaluation with us. As Shazia has mentioned, I am very impressed by the number of books you have read as well as the amount you have achieved over the year.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Thank you Sarah! A big thank you to you for all your have shared and inspired me to do this year! I hope to do a better job of blogging as we go along this year. Fingers crossed xxx