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!