Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Herbal Halloween
Think of Halloween and what comes to mind? Jack O’ Lanterns, black cats, witches riding their brooms across a moonlit sky, bats? Not too far-fetched actually. Many traditions that we use to celebrate the autumn holiday comes from superstitions and the medieval use of herbs and charms to ward off evil spirits used for centuries.

So, pull up the quilt, turn on the light, bolt the door and read on…

Centuries ago, the village herbalist would often brew up a concoction to provide relief from whatever disease happened to be plaguing the folk at that time. However, as time passed and as other religious beliefs took over, the lowly herbalist was forced to hide her gardens and her tools of trade. Witches they were called back then and for many who were caught they often were punished for creating what was thought to be dangerous or even were accused of calling upon the devil himself while dancing around their cauldrons. What we have found out about these women and men who tried their best to take care of those folks who came begging for help is that many herbs and plants were most beneficial in healing or repelling diseases or the cause of the disease.

Juniper, rosemary and thyme were hung at each doorway of the village homes to rid the house of vermin. Today we find that the antiseptic properties of these herbs help repel mice, ants and other little critters that want to make their home our home. The twigs of Ash, Willow, Hazel and Elder were reported to be protection against snakes and warts. Apparently no snake worth his skin would cross a line drawn with an ash twig. Even today the juice from the Hazel twig is helpful as in antiseptic for wounds, warts, bruises and bumps. Of course, we call it Witch Hazel.  Mugwort, of the Artemisia family, offered protection from evil spirits, lightning and bad fortune. It was placed under the bed, in the shoe, or sown in a dress hem to be carried everywhere.  Mandrake, considered a powerful aphrodisiac, was said to shriek loudly as it was being harvested. And then there is good old common parsley. Believe it or not, legend has it that parsley was the devil’s special favorite. And apparently only the wicked and bewitched can grow it. Uh oh….

But there were some herbs of saving grace back in medieval times. Rue stood for repentance and was an antidote against poisons. Rosemary grew in the gardens of the righteous. A symbol of faithfulness, love and purity, it kept away bad dreams.  A bountiful sage plant growing in the garden meant prosperity and good health to the household. St. John’s Wort was used as a protection from illness and made one think they were invincible when going into battle and Yarrow banished all fears.

A legend that began many years ago which has thankfully gone by the wayside was that giving of a cutting or a start of a plant was considered unlucky and it was thought unlikely that the plant would ever grow. Friends refused to offer a cutting and often turned their backs so the other could “steal” a piece from the desired plant. What work that would be today.

So, enjoy the full autumn moon in your herb garden.  Carry a little rosemary, mugwort, garlic, sage and thyme in your pocket and whistle a little tune. Just because…
mmmwwwhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa........from Possum Creeeeeeekkkkkkkk!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

CSA from Possum Creek Herb Farm

A PSA about a CSA from Possum Creek
Sometimes it's the little things that make a person really happy. Sometimes it takes something really big that has been a part of you for a while and that thing just falls into place like it was meant to be. I think this may be just that thing.  After several months of planning I am happy to say that I can now offer shares in an Herbal CSA here at the farm. What is an Herbal CSA you ask? Please read on and I hope you will join me in this endeavor.
Herbal CSA

 Herbal CSA (community supported agriculture) Full and Half Shares are an easy way to have quality herbal products at your fingertips all year long from a company you have trusted for almost two decades. As part of the herbal community you help the farmer by prepaying for a full or half share of the herbal bounty. A full share is an entire year (four quarters) of herbal products while a half share is a half year (two quarters).

Nov./Dec. 2012 Readying for Winter: An assortment of herbal tinctures to combat the cold and flu season (Elderberry, Echinacea, Holy Basil), Winter Thyme Tea, Basil Roasting Mix Seasoning, current issue of The Essential Herbal Magazine, lip balm, recipes and handout explaining how to use everything you receive. 

Feb./March 2013 Spring Cleaning: An assortment of helpful cleaning kits that you can add simple household ingredients to in order to create healthy products to rid your home of winter's blahs, Tinctures of Nettles or other springtime tonic tincture, laundry sachets, tea, current issue of The Essential Herbal Magazine, recipes and handout. 

May/June 2013 Planting Thyme: An assortment of seeds and 10 plants to get your garden growing for the summer, full color garden plan to inspire you, current issue of The Essential Herbal, recipes, tea and soap to wash off the dirt at the end of the day. 

Aug./Sept. Harvest Thyme: An assortment of products to enjoy all Fall long. Teas (2), Bonfire Chai, Seasonings or dried herbs (2), a kitchen wreath to snip from when creating wonderful Fall soups, a cookbooklet written by Possum Creek Herb Farm, and some good smelling stuff such as a room spray or potpourri.

 Disclaimer: there is always a possibility that one or more items may not be available. However, I shall insure that you are satisfied with each share that you receive. Weather and other life events do sometimes throw a wrench in the works. You will be notified of any changes to the current lineup of shares.

 What does it cost?  Full Shares are $200.00 and half shares are $110.00.   Shares can be mailed or picked up with prior notification at farmers markets during the regular season.

 Only twenty full shares will be sold so please order soon.   

Thank you for your support of this new endeavor! 

Michele Brown