Mar 28, 2011

Spring Projects

Such a busy weekend and now the week begins again.  I'm trying to catch up on many things (visits to blogland, included) but Beau does not make it easy to spend much time on the computer.  The above photo is rare - usually she lays across the keyboard instead of posing beside the screen.

This is what it looks like when I try to get my Inner Temple homework done:

Beau's distracting lounging aside, I was able to work on a few projects this weekend.  I made a batch of herbal all-purpose cleaner.  I use it on my counters, floors and everywhere.  Plus, it's cheap to make and I love infusing it with all that herbal goodness!  I've posted a 'quickie' recipe on my FB profile (in the comments of the post that mentions the cleaner) but I'll post a proper recipe here the next time I make a batch - which should be soon because my mother, neighbour and a friend each made off with a bottle!

Also I picked red willow on Thursday with my smudge/meditation group and again on the weekend for my own use.  It's such a versatile plant, and grows like a weed here along the river.  Red willow has Salicylic acid  (think Aspirin) and can be effective in the relief of headaches as well as other inflammations like arthritis, fevers, etc.   

It is the inner bark of red willow that is traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory and a smoking material, either mixed with tobacco, or by itself in a ceremonial pipe.  However, with all the work involved in peeling the outer red bark off a branch and then peeling the inner bark, it seemed a shame to me to toss the outer  bark just because it wasn't as favoured.

The outer bark can be smoked, mixed with tobacco, if you are a smoker.  I don't smoke, but I do like the sweet, woodsy scent of it, so I've mixed some into my smudge mix and also mixed some into my little bag of tobacco that I use as an offering when I do my wild harvesting.

The leftover willow wood is heading for my garden, where it will be used as stakes for plants this year.  One especially nice piece may even have the makings of a wand as it fits so nicely in the hand.  Time will tell...

Image found HERE.

Mar 24, 2011

I Spy With My Little Mastercard

Now that my Mastercard is slowly recovering from it's Christmas thrashing, I'm feeling the itch to give it another workout - albeit a much smaller one.

This week I discovered two fab Etsy shops and promptly ordered their sweet treats.  These "lip embelishments" are made by a clever shop called: For Strange Women.  (Note: no actual poison ivy was used in the making of the above product - which really should go without saying...but you never know when one might take something seriously that is meant to be cheeky.  Or in this case, lippy.)

And thanks to a visit and a comment from Jen at Dirty Girl Clean, I found her Etsy shop and her lovely products!  Vanilla, Bergamot, Anise & Ylang Ylang all make their way into this "Eros" scrub.  Yum.

Here's to smelling delicious and having soft skin & lips!


Mar 22, 2011

Spring Sunshine & Seeds. And Rain.

The sun appeared on Saturday and my parents hauled in some new soil for their raised beds.  And I was on hand to handle the dirt.  It was too much to resist - all that fresh, new soil!

Ever the optimists, my mother and I planted peas and a few lettuces in her beds and said a few petitions to the gods of good growing.

For those who are interested, I live in Southern British Columbia, Canada.  We are a zone 6.  Usually, we wait until May long weekend (May 23rd - Victoria Day) before we do any serious planting of perennials or vegetables such as tomatoes & peppers.  But if you have raised beds you can usually plant weeks earlier, depending on the crop, because the earth in raised beds warms up earlier in the season.

Raised beds generally have better drainage as well as aeration for the plants, because the dirt in the beds does not get compacted by people walking on it.  The only downside, is that they can take up alot of space, and if you use wood to frame your beds, it will eventually have to be replaced as it decomposes.

All this garden excitement is somewhat tempered by the torrential Spring rains we are getting.  I'm not complaining though, because the rain is greening up the grass and giving the parched Winter earth a good drink. 

Soon the buds will open, and the seeds will sprout.  I don't mind waiting a little longer.

Mar 18, 2011

Spring Sights Along The River

Buds - opening soon!

Still waiting for the foals to come.

Busy beavers!


Magical moss.

Mar 17, 2011

March Giveaway Winner

The winner of the March giveaway "Ask The Queens" deck, is Sparrow!  Please forward your mailing address to me at rueandhyssop (at) gmail (dot) com.

Stay tuned for the April giveaway - coming soon!

In other news, I've been spending alot of time here:

Mar 12, 2011

Reading about Roots

This is my reading at the moment: 
(Click on any book to take you to the author's page.)

Does anyone else have a fascination or practice that encorporates Hoodoo/Rootwork?

Mar 7, 2011

Strewing Herbs

Upon entering my home last night, I noticed a spray of organic material of some sort up my wall and on the inside of my door.  At first, in the dark, I had a moment of panic thinking that those little spots all over the wall was a bug infestation of some sort.  Nope.  But what?  Potting soil from my plants?  No...not quite dirt.  Plant material?  I took a chance and picked a piece off the wall and took a sniff.  It smelled herbal.  Herbs?

Walking past a few other scattered pieces of this substance, I entered the kitchen to find my cat Beau looking pleased, and a torn, empty tea bag on the floor.  Apparently, leaving the tea bag in the sink is not a good idea.  I'm not sure if she was just bored, or this was her way of helping out, as I had planned to mix up some strewing herbs today for my Spring cleaning.  Either way, the house had a good preliminary sweep last night!

Strewing herbs are just that.  Herbs tossed on the floor.  In the days of packed-dirt floors or meagre flooring, fresh herbs were strewn on the floors to keep out insects, mice and other undesirable critters.  It was an added bonus that the herbs released their lovely scents when walked upon. 

Today, we don't need to keep the herbs on the floor.  Instead they perform two duties that help keep my home feeling fresh.  I give the floor a cursory sweep, and then toss handfuls of my dried herb mix onto the floor, and leave it sit for a time.  The scent of the herbs and their energy infuses the room.  Then, when I sweep them up, the sharp edges of the material helps to gather up any dust particles, cat hair, or anything else the broom missed in it's first sweep.  The heaviness of the herbs keeps the dust down and ensures I collect it to toss away, rather than it blossoming up into the air, only to settle again later.

My mixture is simple.  Rue, hyssop and lavender.  I grow all three of these in my garden but you can purchase these herbs from your favourite supplier.  Some other great strewing herbs are rose petals, mint, thyme, rosemary, sage, tansy (great for ants) and meadowsweet.  You can choose herbs for their scent, availability, or for their magical symbolism.

Also, chamomile is a great strewing herb, so I guess I owe a big thank you Beau for the chamomile tea addition to the floor last night!

Mar 3, 2011

Speaking of Giveaways....

Stop by "Buccaneers and Ballgowns" to enter Alia's giveaway!  She's giving away some wonderful treats from the tea room where she works, to one lucky winner! 

(Nope - not the latte mug above - that's just a pic I took last summer!)

Mar 2, 2011

Women's History Month Giveaway

According to my "Getting in Touch With Your Inner Bitch" Calendar on March 1st:

Today is the beginning of Women's History Month - because women, apparently, only did stuff in March.

All sassy-ness aside, I have to say that I'm totally up for celebrating some great accomplishments by fierce females.

"Our History is Our Strength" is the theme of this year's National Women's History Month, and I thought that it would be fun to giveway a sassy card deck featuring some historical ladies.

"Ask The Queens" by Kris Waldherr - "40 Queens, 40 cards, 40 nuggets of wisdom - from beyond the grave."

As always, all you have to do to win this fun deck, is be or become a follower, and leave a comment on this post.  I will draw the winner's name on March 17th - because I'd rather celebrate women than a certain saint...  (Although you know I'll be drinking something green that day!)

PS - I know on a previous post, I said I had picked out a kit for this month's giveaway - but this deck suits Women's History Month, so I'm saving the kit until next month!