Today’s Post

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After a hectic, intense week working on the “Blog Like a Pro” challenge last week and being pushed way beyond my usual comfort level in regards to all things computer, I decided this was all I had left in me: This post!

With the weather finally leaning towards sunshine and warmth in this part of the cornfield, I will have more interesting things to post beginning next week. Especially since soon we will have baby chick escapades to contend with and seeds to get started under the grow light.

I hope each of you is enjoying the arrival of Spring and find a little whimsy in your day. Thank you for being a part of Whimsical Moon Herb Farm.

 

 

And the Winner Is…..

270The winner of the Spring Renewal eBook drawing is: HumbleBee Farm.

HumbleBee Farm can expect to receive the Spring Renewal: Herbal Tonics and Cleansers for Body and Soul in your e-mail box on Saturday, March 26th, 2016.

Thank you everybody for participating and for spending time with me at Whimsical Moon Herb Farm.

Have a delightful, inspiring, creative, abundant Spring, y’all!

 

 

 

Spring Renewal Give-Away

 

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Spring is almost here! March twentieth is the official first day of Spring and if you are anything like me, it’s about time! I am more than ready to shed my heavy jacket and wool mittens and pack them in storage for next Winter.

I look forward to digging in the warm earth again and walking in the sunshine with my daughter looking for birds’ nests and lilac buds. The days are getting longer, and there is a feeling in the air that lifts the spirits and causes outbursts of random giggles and joyous gratitude.

In celebration of this refreshing season, I am giving away a copy of my e-Book  “Spring Renewal: Herbal Tonics and Natural Cleansers for Body and Soul”. This includes simple herbal recipes to wake-up your metabolism, cleanse your digestive system, pamper your body, and waken your senses with nourishing tips and ideas.

Just leave a comment below, and I will randomly choose a winner on March 23rd, 2016. Happy Spring!

 

 

Wild-crafting Herbs: the Ugly Truth!

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We first arrived on our farm in the middle of Winter, 2014. Our Buick was packed tightly with two adults, two Chihuahuas, a St. Bernard, enough essentials to last a few days until the moving van arrived, and high hopes. It was 1:30 in the morning Christmas Day when we pulled into the driveway after a stressful 12 hour drive, and we were exhausted.

That day, after a shower and several cups of strong coffee, I was able to walk the property that I would be calling home. This would be Whimsical Moon Herb Farm. I had played my dream through my head and my heart many times over the past few years and I had finally arrived. The ground was frozen with a skim of crusty snow and the hard-wood trees surrounding the property were bare. Acres of last season’s corn and soybean stubble surrounded the farm and the sky was a sharp clear blue.

I walked our back wood-lot looking for the tree that was circled with a rusty metal band. I was checking for signs of the ginseng patch that my partner’s Mamaw Edith had cultivated when she once lived here. As a practicing herbalist and a gardener, I was ecstatic when I learned about this treasure right in our back yard.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed when spring passed into the warm heat of summer and I still did not find the ginseng. The old rhubarb patch was growing like crazy, and hundreds of Edith’s favorite poppies were in full flouncy  bloom, but it was with dismay that I learned from a neighbor down the road that the ginseng had been over-harvested by past tenants. There would be no ginseng this year.

Sadly, you will most likely not find wild ginseng for harvesting. As many of our native medicinal herbs became popular in the late 1990’s, there was a great demand by the herbal industry and also the pharmaceutical companies to gather, manufacture, and market their herbal products. These popular native herbs, like ginseng, goldenseal, Echinacea, black cohosh, and bloodroot are habitat specific and they have a limited range. Wild-crafters looking for a profit harvested them without concern, as they were only hoping to fulfill the market demand. They did not worry about next year’s crop. Many people using herbal medicine had no idea that demand was outpacing Mother Nature’s supply.

As we are now faced with the possible extinction of many  of our native medicinal plants, it is extremely important for us to be aware of and understand where our herbal products are sourced. We need to let go of the notion that our planet will not be depleted and that all resources are endlessly renewable.

I believe in the healing aspects of herbs and have used them for many years. I raised my children on herbs and still mail them care packages of herbal tinctures and salves to keep them healthy. I admit, I am guilty of once being an unaware consumer of herbal products when I first learned of their benefits.

Now, I am just a small herb farmer growing herbs, vegetables, and flowers to supply my local farmer’s market and to craft small-batch herbal soaps and healing products. I am a tiny part of a huge infrastructure that has been growing these past many years. An infrastructure that is working to create sustainable and renewable resources for our planet. We have many options to choose from to purchase our herbal products, and we have resources at hand to educate ourselves concerning how these products were sourced.

I challenge each of us to educate ourselves about the products we choose to consume and the impact these purchases have on our planet. The planet we leave our children.

This spring, I will plant a new ginseng patch in the back wood-lot. It will not be ready to harvest for another five to seven years. I tell my daughter that we are planting for the future.

My favorite resource for purchasing sustainably harvested herbs:

www.mountainroseherbs.com

Inspiration and resources came from: Planting The Future. Saving Our Medicinal Herbs, edited by Rosemary Gladstar and Pamela Hirsch. 2000, Healing Arts Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whimsical Moon Herb Farm Manifesto

Growing up in a small mill town in the Columbia River Gorge, I was raised to appreciate the outdoors and the simple things in life. We didn’t have a lot of money for frivolous consumption, but we were comfortable and we made do or we did without.

I was an avid book-worm, spending many hours lost in fantasy worlds and great adventures. I found many ways to express my creative urges with paper and pencil, a hand-me-down sewing machine, and a small scrappy flower bed I turned into my herb garden. We were taught to be creative, handy, and independent.

It is this simplicity and sense of self-reliance that has followed me into adulthood and continues to motivate me to grow my own vegetables, heal and craft with herbs, and live as close to the rhythms and cycles of nature as possible.

Just this past year I have found myself carving out a small herb farm right smack in the heart of the Midwest. We are surrounded by acres of agri-corn and soybean planted and harvested with huge tractors and combines, and watch as the produce is stored in grain bins waiting for the price to increase or to fulfill government contracts. This corn and soybean will eventually be used to feed livestock or manufactured into ethanol fuel.

Our small farm is being grown one natural garden or herb bed at a time using sustainable growing methods including composting, mulching, cover crops, plant rotation, and soil management. Despite my desire to grow organically, we are unable to label our farm organic when the farmland surrounding us is managed with GMO seed and herbicides.

My desire is to live in the most self-sustainable way possible and show other people how we are doing this. I prefer growing most of our own food, including vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, and someday our own meat. Living simply without falling into the trap of mass-consumerism and a throw-away lifestyle is what I am striving to attain and what I want to share.

My purpose is not to start a war with the farmers who are working hard to make their living growing government corn and soybean but to create a quiet revolution in sustainable living awareness beginning with my own family and our small herb farm.

I want to share how we create our gardens, raise our chickens and bees, revive our woodlot, craft and heal with our herbs, and find peace and enjoyment living a simpler lifestyle within our four acres. I want to share how we create a cottage business using our harvested herbs to make natural herbal soaps and how we market them either online or at local farmer’s markets.

As I consider my manifesto for Whimsical Moon Herb Farm, I find myself feeling the need to share what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we plan to make our dreams happen. This declaration has taken on the significance of a calling. I am called to dig in the dirt, grow healthy gardens, care for the land, and create a lifestyle that is nourishing to both body and soul.

I would like to invite each of you to share a cup of hot cocoa, a moment of whimsy, and your own expression of creative dreams and aspirations.

Greeting the Dawn

This morning greeted me with a lovely sunrise cresting above the neighbor’s farm. The past few days have been drippy and dreary, so it was a delightful surprise watching the vibrant colors as I sat on my front porch sipping my hot orange-spiced tea. An aromatic Apple-Fritter Bread Pudding was baking in the oven, and I could smell the sweet spices wafting through the screen door. What a lovely way to begin another day on the farm.

I was able to get my  flower bed dug recently and planted with flouncy peonies, delicate bleeding hearts, and several day-lilies that survived the move last year from Virginia.  I intend on adding sunflowers, hollyhocks, and lavenders as the season progresses.

I hope to get the main garden turned over before the alien chives take possession. Late last summer I had planted a buckwheat cover crop to break up the sod and enrich the soil but in the process ended up with wild chives taking over the garden. I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of this growing season heavily mulching around the vegetables in hope of suppressing this crazy chive action.

As the first day of Spring draws closer, I find myself spending a lot of my  time outdoors enjoying the fresh air and walking the property planning where I will be digging up herb beds and establishing more vegetable growing space. I remember I still need to clear the area where the future chicken coop will be standing and I really need to get the compost pile turned over and add more brown plant material to help it wake up.

For the time being, sitting on the porch watching the sun rise is a great way to hang out with Mother Earth.

 

 

 

 

Crazy Cat Lady Alert!

It’s official! I have joined the ranks of the ‘crazy cat ladies’. It all began just a few short weeks ago with a handful of kittens we found in our shed. Tiny, cuddly, sweet, purring little kittens.

NOW….they have taken over the house! Not-so-tiny, cuddly, sweet, purring terrorists. Did I mention that they purr when they attack our feet? Our toilet paper? Our St. Bernard? All of our dogs just want to say, “please, send help.”

Nothing is sacred. Nothing is beyond the reach of these sweet, purring, destructive, rangy beasts. RANGY!

My futon is no longer my sacred space. You can now find me napping with two chihuahuas, four cats, and me, clutching my pillow as I am hemmed in on all sides. If I should dare roll over, the wave of kittens only shifts with the flow, while I seek for a place to put my feet.

I am pleased to announce, though, that the kittens have been earning their keep. What I thought was a catnip mouse being tossed around by Sweetums, upon closer inspection was actually a “live” dead mouse. As in, not a catnip toy. After getting over my initial horror, I felt a sense of pride that our little Sweetums was growing up to be a big boy cat.

Our girls, the puffy princess, aka Whimsy, and the tortoiseshell twins Pookie and Bella Boo, have also followed in the paw steps of their brother and are blossoming into serious mischief contenders.

I can now honestly appreciate the title of “crazy cat lady”. It’s not the lady, necessarily, who is crazy. Just let me put this up for debate: those cats are absolutely nuts! For instance: they prowl through my houseplants like they are in the jungle; they climb my furniture like it’s a jungle gym; they have WWE kitten smack-down on my living room rug; they confiscate all of my favorite writing pens; AND they pounce on my toes when I am sound asleep. I rest my case!

However, they have romped and cavorted into my heart with their little purrs and cuddles and have become an essential part of Whimsical Moon Kitten (Herb) Farm.