Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Online Herbal Course in February 2011!!!

Though I haven't been blogging, I have been busy at work designing an online course for the caretakers of young children.  The course spans 5 months and will provide instruction and guidance on wildcrafting, various medicinal preparations, herbal energetics, the energetics of illness, as well as how to provide a nourishing foundation for health, and much more!  There will be an online community to share experiences and ask questions.  I'm keeping the group pretty small the first time around, so don't procrastinate!  Early birds get a discount too!

Using Herbs With Young Children   
Starts February 15th!

We live in a era when common sense has been 
abandoned and prescription drugs are being 
recommended for small issues in even the 
youngest children.  This time is an excellent 
opportunity for mothers and fathers to arm 
themselves with information on how to treat children naturally, at home in a healing environment, and in such a way that truly promotes long lasting health.  

This online course is designed to empower caregivers, providing them with a foundational materia medica and the confidence to treat common childhood ailments at home.  We will cover herb energetics and actions, simple medicine making and delivery methods specific to children, incorporating herbs into daily life, as well as the nature of illness, immunity, and supporting the body in times of dis-ease. 

The course includes: 
~10 lessons ( two per month) in pdf and mp3 formats and at least one video
~an online discussion forum, as well as 
~email access to me at any time.  

Registration must be completed by February 7th, and a supply list will be sent out at that time.  The list will be fairly short and affordable.  Some of the herbs will be available for wildcrafting at the time the lesson is published, and many of the remedies presented are common culinary herbs, so you may have them on hand already!  I do not expect anyone to invest a fortune in herbs in order to learn.  This can be an incredibly inexpensive approach to health!

Cost for the course is $250.  Monthly payments of $50 are an option and anyone paid in full by January 1st will receive a $30 discount.  

Sign up now!  Space is limited so that I can assure individual attention as needed.  
Contact me at  atinyseed@gmail.com

Required reading materials (can be found used online for cheap!):
Naturally Healthy Babies and Children- Aviva Jill Romm
The Way of Herbs- Michael Tierra

And if you currently vaccinate or plan to, I strongly suggest, though it is not required:
Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent's Guide- Aviva Jill Romm

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Real Food Nutrition During Pregnancy : Part 1- The Do's

Information on what to eat during pregnancy is easy to find.  Accurate information?  A little bit harder.  Whole grains and low fat diets (!) are often emphasized for pregnant mamas.  It is hard enough to sustain a single body on such a nutrient-poor diet, but two?  Impossible without mom or baby suffering nutrient deficiencies (usually mom:loss of bone density, tooth decay, etc.)  So what are the diet "rules" for expectant mothers?  Eat real food and use your intuition.  That's it.

We can talk all day about micronutrients, like how much folate, and how many mg of calcium one needs, or we can talk about food.  Eating REAL food.  It is intuition that guides us as we make choices to truly nourish our bodies, instead of creating a state of mild starvation that manifests as cravings for high sugar, low-nutrient junk foods.  The first part of this article with focus on what TO eat (I thought it best to start out positively, yes?), and Part II will focus on pregnancy superfoods, and Part III discusses what NOT to eat and following intuition concerning food choices.  So what does a pregnant mama need?  Protein, fats, vegetables, fruit, and probiotic foods.  

Protein...of good quality.  Grass-fed/pastured eggs, meat, raw whole milk and cheese (if dairy can be tolerated)are superior sources, as well as small cold water fish.  If grass-fed is not available to you, organic is a good choice, but I do warn against pasteurized milk. Nuts and seeds are also good options.  It is wise to include a serving of protein in each meal, as well as most snacks.  Protein is the source for eight essential amino acids not manufactured in the body.  These amino acids are quite literally the building blocks of life.  No tissue can be created, no metabolic process completed, without these aminos.    Adequate protein in pregnancy can prevent low energy, deperession, pre-eclampsia as well as nutritionally-linked pre-term labor and low birth weight (when no other medical reason presents itself, lack of adequate nutrition is often the cause of these two complications).  Protein is also our most readily available source of easily assimilated iron, a pregnancy must-have.  Make protein rich foods the foundation of your diet.

"What about beans?", you say.  Beans do provide protein, and are a healthful addition to the pregnancy diet, but they are so carbohydrate-rich that I feel we shortchange ourselves if we are counting on them as protein sources.  "And vegetarians?"  Well, I will never be accused of being moderate.  I do not support vegan or vegetarian diets during pregnancy.  That being said, I will advise to avoid relying on the bean/grain combos often recommended, and focus on eggs, raw dairy, nuts and seeds as well as the protein-rich veggies.   Do not by any means eliminate beans, because they are healthful sources of nutrients and a certain measure of carbohydrate-rich food is necessary during pregnancy, but do not rely on them as your main protein source.

Fats...never have a meal or snack without them!  Not only will fats keep you full longer, keep your blood sugar stable and provide absolutely essential nutrients like vitamins A and D, but the right kind of fat is necessary to ensure a pregnant mamas neurological and endocrine (read: reproductive) health as well as the neurological development of  the unborn babe.  Research in the last decade has shown possible irreversible neurological dysfunction due to lack of good fats in utero.  So what are these good fats?

Grass-fed or organic butter and ghee are my favorite sources (ghee being butter with all milk solids removed leaving only the butterfat, and having an especially sweet and nutty flavor), vitamin D rich lard is a good choice in winter, and coconut oil is yet another delicious source of saturated (good!) fat.  All of the fats mentioned above, with the exception of butter, are appropriate for high-heat cooking, such as sauteing or frying.  Olive oil can be used liberally to dress salads and veggies, but not for cooking, as it is not stable enough to withstand high temperatures.  Foods like coconut milk in a morning smoothie or curry, and ultra versatile avocados, are delicious sources of dietary fat.  Additionally, supplementing with a high vitamin cod liver oil (containing both A and D) daily, for Omega-3 balance, rounds out the fat requirements. 

Take care to seek out sources of grass-fed fats.  Their ratio of Omega-3's to Omega-6's is preferable to their grain-fed counterparts, not to mention that conventional fats often carry more than their share of pesticide residues and hormones.  Organic is a good second choice, avoiding the contaminants, but sacrificing the superior fatty acid profile.

Vegetables...Eating a rainbow of veggies is going to provide all those necessary micronutrients we tend to obsess over.  Focus on dark leafy greens or broccoli daily, and compliment them with a wide variety of colorful foods.  The greens supply ample minerals, orange foods such as sweet potatoes, winter squash, and carrots, appear to be reproductive tonics, and red foods, like beets, nourish the blood.  Depend on vegetables, not fortified cereal grains to provide your vitamins and minerals.  B's, C, calcium, magnesium, all the trace minerals and more right there in the humble vegetable.  Look at your plate at each meal.  Is it two-thirds vegetables?  Are multiple colors represented?  Remember, eat a rainbow everyday.

Fruits...always whole, never juice.  Without the fiber, all the fructose is overwhelming to the liver (which is already working overtime for you and the babe).   Not only will a wide variety of fruits provide nutrition, but they are hydrating and fibrous, a winning combination for overcoming pregnancy constipation.  Fruit will also provide plenty of carbohydrates and natural sugars for additional energy needs of the pregnant body, so again, eat liberally of wide range of colors.

Probiotic Foods like kraut, kombucha, and kefir (just to name a few) provide us with good bacteria.  These probiotic foods enhance digestion for optimal nutrient absorption, comfort (heartburn, anyone?), and easy elimination.  Additionally, lactic acid bacteria safely boost immunity and balance the flora of the body, preventing and treating the overgrowth of yeast and step B bacteria so common in pregnancy.  So, by growing healthy gut flora now, you can avoid unnecessary interventions of antibiotics during labor later, as well as prevent thrush.  The mother is the initial source of bacteria that colonize a babes gut, first in the vaginal canal and later through breastmilk.  Optimizing gut flora can help avoid infant digestive issues as well. 

Those are my 5 pillars of a healthy pregnancy diet.  You may notice grains are missing, to be discussed in Part III.  I REALLY would love feedback, so any comments, testimonials or challenges to this type of diet, OR if I have forgotten anything essential...let me know!  Part II, coming soon, will discuss yummy pregnancy superfoods!

 This is me at 8 months pregnant with the mystery twins, Sophia and Emma!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July Blog Party at Gaia's Gifts!

Darcey Blue of at Gaia's Gifts hosted a July blog party, "Adventures in Herbalism: What Wouldn't We Do for Our Herbs?".  I couldn't get it together to participate (or blog at all lately, huh?), but go check it out!  There are many wonderful posts on herbal adventures...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Upcoming Event! Conscious Wildcrafting and Medicine Making 101

Just click on the flyer to see full size.  If you are interested, please contact me.  I am requesting pre-registration for this event.  Thanks!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top 40...I mean, 50

So, first thing this morning I received a really great email.  The Family Herbal was included in someone's 
Check it out, there are 49 other outstanding blogs :)  Many are familiars, and some new to me.  What fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Berry Land

"One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry..."

Have you ever read Jamberry by Bruce Degen?  It is one of our favorite summertime books, and if you pick berries, a must have!  If you don't own a copy, the library should have it.  I think I enjoy reading the rhymes as much as the kiddos do.  It covers raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and mulberries, all of which we have picked recently.

Being a grainless family, we have been looking for different ways to eat our berries.  Of course we eat 'em right out of the basket (and before they even get in the basket!), as well as smoothies, in homemade coconut milk ice cream, on top of it, in coconut flour confections (I use that term loosely, lol!), and in JAM!  I would LOVE to hear some suggestions and recipes! 

Since we do not eat bread products, the occasion to use jam isn't often, but I sure do love the process of making it.  So far I have made blackberry jam only, as they were plentiful in the wild.  I occasionally make coconut flour pancakes to take on picnics and such.  We use them as bread, slathering them with the jam.  Mostly egg, they are pretty delicious.

From Bruce Fife's Cooking With Coconut Flour:
2 eggs
2T coconut oil or butter, melted (um, ghee anyone?)
2T coconut milk or raw milk (ok, raw being my own addition)
1t sugar (we use honey of course)
1/8t salt
2T coconut flour
1/8t baking powder

Cook as you would any other pancake.  I find that if I let the batter sit a while, it performs better.  Of course, for a family of five, we at least triple this recipe!

For the jam, I use the basic recipe in the Pomona's box.   It's great when using honey, which we do, exclusively.  I also love this great old book for preserving with honey.

The girls were not the only ones busy this weekend.  Stone, more commonly referred to as "Boo", has shown great interest in the poddy.  When I go, there is an almost inevitable "me too!".  Well, he has been getting on the big potty, but definitely needed a potty of his own.  We are not the kind to go out and buy brand new stuff that we'll only use a few months, and I'm not keen on plastic anything in the house.  So YogiDad and Boo made a simple potty, and mom donated a mixing bowl to the cause.  Sweet and cute, it is. 

He loves it, and can pee on cue!  It's amazing.  He's a little potty prodigy.  If this kid is potty trained by his 2nd birthday (August 1st), I get a promotion!

I hope you experience the joy of  picking your own berries this summer...nothing is more satisfying to me than gathering fruit.  Find 'em wild or at a pick your own farm.
Sending some fun summertime lovin' your way! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Wild Garden

Nearly everyday, when I am out harvesting one thing or the other, I think about a blog post.  The thing is, by the time I get to the computer, my body and brain are exhausted and writing doesn't happen.  I would like to think I can make more time for the blog right now, but there is too much going on outside!

Back in the spring, I was a bit envious of friends' gardens.  We had just moved, spread a bit thin time-wise and couldn't quite tame the overgrowth enough to plant.  Though I had no cultivated gardens, I was harvesting everyday.  Thankfully, I saw the sunlight and my perspective shifted.  I had a wild garden.  I didn't weed, I didn't water, I harvested and gave thanks.  That's all.  

Though we now have a small garden beginning to offer us fruits for our labors of double-digging, tilling, weeding, mulching, watering, the list of labors goes on and on, I still harvest from the wild garden everyday.  And it gives me more joy to do so.  The wonders of nature are forever around us and I am forever amazed by the bountiful wild world.  I can live off of the land itself, truly.

I spent the morning picking wild blackberries with a friend.  Joyous work, sweating in the sun, breeze blowing, good conversation and the shared excitement over finding a cane of particularly juicy berries.  The best ones just never make it home, why is that?

Later I harvested the daylilies.  I do this daily, some to eat, some to freeze, and some for an upcoming batch of wine.  I think they are on their way out.  There are some late blooming elders here and there, destined for the same purposes, and the red clover is giving her final efforts.  I will miss them.

I recently harvested dock seeds, mainly yellow dock but there are a variety of rumex species right outside of my door.  Right now they are sitting in paper bags awaiting processing.  I'll store them in glass jars until I want flour, then I will give them a turn in the herb and spice dedicated coffee grinder.  There are still plenty of young dock leaves to be harvested as well, for greens and pakora like fritters on the table.  

We were in the park recently and happened upon a large mulberry tree.  We harvested off of the ground and the tree probably a gallon of berries, not counting the nearly equal amount the five of us stuffed in our mouths as we harvested.  Food is everywhere!

Soon there will be elderberries, wild grapes, persimmons, walnuts, roots...it keeps going year round.  You don't have to go far or look too hard.  The Mother provides.  The wild garden grows where ever you may be.  

For the locals:  I will be leading a plant walk in Renaissance Park next week.  Wednesday, July 7th, 7pm.  The park is quite wild, with its undisturbed woodland paths, and the native plantings in between the mounds and the marsh.  It is quite the exhibit of wild plants for food and medicine right in downtown Chattanooga!  We will take a brief look at all we find, spending more time on what to harvest NOW and what is forthcoming.  Cost is $10-$20 sliding scale.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Flowers and Candy...and Wounds?

Ooh, it is a kitchen day!  Free of crazy four year old twins, Stone and I created some scrumptiousness that had been in the kitchen queue for a while.

Seaweed gomasio set it all off.  The smell of gently toasting sesame seeds wafting through the house in enough, but add a little bit o sea salt, some kelp powder and dulse flakes, and wow!  We top salads, greens, any roasted or sauteed veggie, eggs, and everything in between with gomasio.  The seaweed is my personal favorite because of its enhanced nutrient qualities.  Check out Susun Weed's fabulous seaweed article to find out everything it can do for you!

I couldn't stop there, we moved on to pasteli, a Greek honey sesame candy, a recipe found at Nourished Kitchen.  I adapted it a bit by using rose infused honey and adding local bee pollen.  So good!  By this time I was feeling inspired, so we headed outside for some foraging.

There were still plenty of luscious dandelion and young yellowdock greens to be had, not to mention daylily, elder, and red clover flowers.  Um, fritters!!!  So, adapting Rosalee de la Foret's recipe found in her Wild Foods Cookbook (available from Herbmentor only as far as I know, but check out Rosalee's blog and see what you can find) to our gluten-free, dairy-free home, we had fritters of all three flowers.  I used half garbanzo bean and half brown rice flour (a rare treat, we are pretty grain-less all around) instead of wheat flour, and seasoned lightly with rosemary and thyme (I didn't want to overpower the flavor of the flowers).  Phenomenal.  My men were shoveling them in with no room for comment.  That is what I like at the dinner table :)

After dinner we headed out to harvest some more elderflowers for wine.  We had to climb, or scramble, over a fence to get there.  Silly me, skirt, fence climbing...massive chunk of flesh missing from my thigh.  It was actually hanging off of the wire...gross.  Besides the pain, I am a little excited because this is the first wound I have had in years, and I get to practice treating an especially nasty one!  In the field I dressed it in plantain until I could get home.  After rinsing, I have dressed it in honey and "bandaged" it with a plantain leaf.  It is feeling much better, and tomorrow I will probably apply my all-purpose yarrow, plantain and neem salve.  I am waiting for the beginning of a scab before applying comfrey, which I think will be needed as it is pretty wide, but nice and jagged for strong healing. 

Exciting stuff, eh?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Elder Essence

After an entire day away from home (always exhausted by that), I managed to get a little harvesting/foraging done before bedtime.  Some young yellow dock leaves and dandelion for breakfast or lunch tomorrow, whatever red clover that was in the yard, and huge, heavy elder blossoms!  I am planning a bigger expedition tomorrow with even bigger plans for herbal preparations.  We'll see how that goes.  The elders are exploding, and those sweet fragrant blossoms do not last long.  Tinctures, elixirs, vinegars, and honeys are all on the list, and I usually make flower essences, too, but I seem to be well stocked on those at the moment.   I need to find a new plant for this though, as it is one of my favorite preparations to make.  So ritualistic.

And flower essences are so gentle.  The vibrational "thumbprints" of flowers, they work in the body on an energetic level, appropriate for all.  I especially like to use them with children, very effective. Click the link for more info.

According to various sources, elder flower essence elder stimulates energy, vigor, resilience, joy, and our powers of recovery and renewal.  Others have experienced greater connection with their inner source of youthfulness, and others point to its use with those "feeling their age" and feeble elders.  For me, elder's fortitude, strength, and aid in healing both physical and emotional resonate with me most deeply.  I have experienced her powers of renewal deeply and directly.  I often take it in emotionally troubling times, when I feel exhausted and hopeless.  I like to add a few drops to elderberry syrups and elixirs, as well as other healing blends.  When it is healing that's needed, I feel that elder essence is an appropriate addition to most formulas.

Making a flower essence:

  • Fill a wide and shallow glass bowl (your choice of size) with spring water.  Not tap water, not overly filtered "dead" water.  
  • Cover the surface with flower blossoms of your choice.
  • Leave the bowl in strong afternoon sun for at least 3hrs up to however many you are called to leave it.  Rest the bowl on a brick, stone, etc., NOT grass or any other plant.  We are imprinting vibrations here, so purity is essential.
  • Strain the flowers out.  Whatever amount of water you have, or choose to use, add an equal amount of brandy.  This is your mother essence.
  • From this mixture, take 10-20 drops and add it to a 1oz bottle of spring water.  This is your stock bottle.  You may now take the essence directly, or add it to water.  Frequency, not quantity of dosage is important with flower essences.  A single dose is helpful in acute situations, but if it is a more chronic issue you are moving through, physiological or emotional, adding it to the water you drink all day is best.
  • Remember, flower essences are vibrational remedies.  Crudely put, the blueprint of a plant's electrical frequency in water (again, check out the above link for more eloquent explanations).  Some say yes, others say no, I say that strong electromagnetic fields DO have an effect on flower essences (they have an effect on our DNA, no?), so keep them away from the computer and cell phone especially, and don't store them on or above the fridge or other appliance.  I follow these guidelines with all of my herbal preparations. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Few Gems

Today was a little rough around the edges, as some days go.  There were a few gems to be salvaged...

Decanting of all things rose...honey, vinegar, elixir, and infused almond oil.  Yes, the oil IS divine, and I'm so glad the almond held up without going rancid on me.

A little weeding was done around the squash and cucumbers...or should I say a little meditation was done around the squash and cukes?

I managed to harvest a few fabulous elder blossoms before the evening rain.  They are now marinating in a bath of raw honey.  This is my very favorite infused honey.  Of course I eat it, blend it with medicines, but I also wash my face with it on special occasions.  I am back to honey as my daily face wash and I wonder why I ever deviate from that?  Delicious, luxurious, affordable, and I LOVE what it does for my face.  Oooh, thinking I might make up a scrub...

An afternoon snack an siesta on the front porch while we watched it rain.  There was a little nudity and raindrop bathing, too.  I decided to move our antique card table and chairs out to the porch for an outdoor eating area.  The porch is shaded all day and the kitchen gets hard evening sun, so I forsee a lot of dinners being eaten out there.  Today, we at breakfast out there, too.

We planted a few winter squash seeds...spaghetti, bush buttercup, Jeff Poppin's accidental pumpkin cross, butternut, and seminole (a native).   This was challenging considering the 21 month old and two little bouncy, ankle-biting puppies.  Jeez.  Everything Sophie, Emma, and I did was nearly undone two or three times!

Well, now there is some serious bath splashing (after the rain bath they covered their naked bodies in sunflower seed butter, go figure) and soon Daniel will be home.  Aaaah.  Feels good just thinking about back-up sometimes.  But before anymore relaxation happens, I need to figure out what fabulous dinner we are going to have on the front porch :)

What were the gems of your day today?  Please share!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Little Pukey-Pants

Illness: the opportunity to watch the healing powers at work.  

When involved with the work of healing, children are a blessing.   Amazing healers and teachers themselves, it takes fortitude and courage on the part of the parent/herbalist to step back and let the process unfold.  If we can hold back and not rush to STOP! the illness, but support the body's own healing response only, true transformation can occur.  If not artificially ended, childhood illness, especially when fever is present, can render a child stronger, more robust, and ready to take on the next task of growing, physically and emotionally.

We are experiencing a little fever and a some vomiting around here today, otherwise known as pukey-pants.  What is needed to deal with this situation?   Of course rest and some gentle loving are essential to healing in any situation, but we need to address hydration, calming the child, and calming the stomach.

First of all, keeping the child hydrated is the best way to support their healing.  We make a home made electrolyte drink:
1 cup of water (hibiscus or lemonbalm tea work well here, too.  Be creative)
1/8 tsp sea salt or other real salt (himalayan, mineral, etc.)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2-3 Tbs raw honey  

We make our own, although good ones are available at health food stores.  Gatorade is not an electrolyte drink, it is artificial colors and high fructose corn syrup.  These things never helped anyone heal.

So, now you know how to use those infused honeys.  I like to use a combination of ginger infused honey, and a lemonbalm one.  Lemonbalm covers a lot of bases, helping calm the child as well as the spasmodic stomach while providing antiviral protection, and ginger can quell the nausea and kill the bug that might be causing the illness, bacterial or viral. 

The electrolyte drink with infused honey is my first supportive measure, but an old favorite combination is also helpful here, chamomile and peppermint.  I offer small sips of the infusion to help calm the stomach.  Other options might include catnip, red raspberry or blackberry leaf.  

Infused honey:

Making an infused honey really couldn't be simpler, but do it now so you have them on hand, whether for illness or pleasure!  Ginger, turmeric, elder flower, honeysuckle, lemonbalm, mint, rose, and ground ivy are just a few delicious and medicinal options.  Ginger infused honey will be found in our refrigerator year round (that's where you want to keep them).  Just fill a jar of your choice loosely with the herb/flower, then fill it up with good quality raw honey and put a lid on it.  Put it in an obvious place so you remember to turn or shake the jar a few times a day.  After 3-5 days, strain and enjoy :)  Straining is easier than it sounds b/c the honey is much thinner because it has pulled the liquid from the herb.  Don't forget to finger-lick the strainer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nothing is Lost

I feel like I have been gone too long, but it was just long enough to step back and redirect.  After just a short time of writing, I was lacking inspiration and none too thrilled about my blog entries.  I now feel motivated to move forward.

That moving forward seems to be the theme around here.  Our families space has been a bit like the weather forecast recently, cloudy all day and watch out for those scattered but severe thunderstorms in the afternoon.  I have been feeling stuck in a negative headspace and heartspace, but I am working with it, trying not to resist, and always looking for the lessons of love hidden inside.  I think we are all moving towards a more sunny place, and I hope Mother Nature wants to follow.  Everyday I look outside with longing at all of that soaking wet red clover I long to pick and dry for infusions, but lately, it has been the elder captivating my attention.  I catch myself gazing out of the kitchen window daily at her developing flower buds.

In a difficult moment yesterday I stepped outside into the drizzling rain to try and get a new perspective.  I looked out onto my bountiful, medicinal land and demanded "Which of you is going to help me?".  If made with an earnest heart, I feel the plants do not rebuke or shy away from those with demands.  I needed them.  I stood, waiting, looking from plant to plant, spirit to spirit, trying my best to quiet the turmoil inside and listen.   It was the elder who called me.  I went, barefoot into the tall grass and shin deep ground ivy, stopped and overcame my paralyzing fear of snakes (a metaphor for larger fears I assure you), and stood under her sweeping, blossom laden branches.  She didn't want me to take her medicine, she's not quite ready for full bloom yet, but allowed me to be cradled in her comfort.  A moment of peace, real peace, is what she gave me.  My tears turned from sorrow to release, joy, and gratitude.  I can heal, I can regenerate body and soul.  Learn from this moment.  Nothing is lost.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Blog Party hosted by Green Man Ramblings

May Blog Party: Herbs For Sexual Health and Vitality

How do you promote healthy, vital, joyful sexuality?

Its May, and with the sap risen and the world coming into blossom, this month's Blog Party focuses on herbs (and complementary strategies) for sexual health and vitality -- from aphrodisiacs to contraceptives to herbs for the reproductive system to herbs that help to heal our emotional and spiritual relationships to our bodies and our sexuality.   -Sean

Get over to Green Man Ramblings and check out the offerings from 10 of Sean's wild and weedy friends :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Day In the Woods

There's just so much going on her lately, who has time to expound?  By the time I'm done with the harvesting and preparation I am ready for bed!  

I feel that the lack of good pics in the blog lately has made it a bit bland.  My camera is having technical issues, so I finally broke down and used the phone.  Please, forgive the poor quality of these photos :)  Besides, here is a nice little shot of our wood nettle, laportea canadensis.  We took a field trip to the "hills" last week for a day of harvesting.  When your days are full of flatland living, there is NOTHING quite like a day in the woods.

My house carried the aroma for days after because of the many strands of nettles hanging to dry.  Just today I stuck my nose in the jar and, aaaaah, woodlands.  

On this particular day of harvesting, I had an amazing experience not with the nettles, but with the skullcap growing around it.   Our skullcap (scutellaria lateriflora) isn't quite blooming yet, but there are many buds and even more small shoots.  I injured my neck the night before (I have a very specific vertebrae that likes to rotate at the slightest invitation, leaving me nearly immobile.  There have been occasions when I couldn't get out of the bed without assistance.) and was trying to navigate my day with limited mobility and quite a bit of pain.  One would think I might stay home and rest, but I was called to the woods.  

While harvesting nettles, I would occasionally munch on the leaves and flower buds of the skullcap.  We had a great harvest, a picnic by the creek, and then headed home.  It wasn't until I had been in the car nearly an hour when I felt a bit a discomfort.  With that came the realization that I had full mobility in my neck and had not felt a twinge of pain in hours!  The skullcap was so effective I had forgotten about the painful misalignment altogether.  Skullcap is wonderfully powerful for loosening up tight muscles to allow vertebrae to return to their appropriate positions, so it may not sound so amazing.  Understand that I use skullcap regularly and have never achieved such results.

In the latter months of my last pregnancy, I lived amongst the skullcap and munched on the flowering plants regularly, with a little relief from the tense muscles and structural weakness I experienced then.  I have tinctured this plant in the flowering stage twice and get a really nice medicine, but none of my previous experiences compare to this.  It renews my faith and fascination with the potential of the unopened flower bud!  Not to mention that the great majority of the plants I ate did not even have flower buds, but were leaves alone.  So, I am going to tincture the plant pre-flowering this year and compare it with previous preparations.  There are so many variables (pregnancy, various years, ingesting directly vs tincture) I do not know what to expect.  I will be sure to share what I find.  A plant geek like myself gets excited over this stuff!

Just a few of the other flowers we have seen here recently...yellow trilliums, or trillium luteum.  It is pretty much finished blooming for this year.  They are so many in number that it is hard not to step on them!
There was an unusually plentiful display of Jack-in-the-pulpits...
...not to mention, the largest community of solomon's seal I have ever seen!   Ignoring the poor picture quality, I am trying to show how the individual flowers are hanging below the leaves, in comparison to a false solomon's seal with the flowers as a terminal cluster at the end of the leaves.

As usual, any trip to the woods is a satisfying one :)  If you live in or near an undisturbed woodland, take a trip out and look around.  Even if you don't find amazing pain relief, there are lots of beautiful wildflowers to see, and don't forget to root around in the leaf litter for that delicious smell of woodland earth.  Decay never smelled quite so good :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Motherhood and Sex

No, they are not mutually exclusive.  Yes, exhaustion, leaking breasts, vaginal dryness and screaming babies CAN be an issue, but intimacy is not a pipe dream.  Sometimes integrating mother/baby and sexuality is smooth and seamless, for others it may present itself as a mountain of stress, fear, and expectations.

Be reasonable with your self.   If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, there is an increased demand on your body.  The reproductive energy our bodies usually have for sex is now being focused on sustaining life.  Even if you are finished breastfeeding, your body may be left feeling depleted.  Now is the time for rejuvenation and nourishment.  It is Spring, the season to celebrate fertility, so get outside and dig in the dirt.  There is nothing like the smell of earth and spending time with plants to reconnect you with the cycles and rhythms of nature, reminding you that you are, like everything else, a naturally sexual creature.  Isn't motherhood the fruit of that fertility?  Does the moon not hold sway over your body still?  It does.

After rejuvenation comes nourishment.  If you want a healthy libido, you must eat adequate minerals and fat to support the endocrine system.  We need good fats for hormonal production and balance, soothing the central nervous system (stress?), and remaining supple where it matters.  Sure, take your fish oil, but don't forget the liberal use of good quality olive oil, butter, ghee, lard, and coconut oil on your food.  Not only are the fats themselves supplying you with various necessary nutrients, but they will help you utilize the nutrition in the other foods you eat.  If you really want the minerals from those veggies, have 'em with butter.  Go ahead and fry those eggs in bacon grease.  Eating fats with a meal slows digestion and therefore keeps our blood sugar stable so we don't spike and crash.  When blood sugar drops, so does serotonin production.  Who wants sex when they are feeling burned out and blue?  (*one note here: always use organic and pastured animal products.  As good as fat can be, if it is coming from an industrially raised animal it will be full of hormones, antibiotics, and heavy metals.  Remember, fat is where our bodies store the toxic molecules it can not metabolize and secrete as waste.  The spread of heavy metals across Europe from the Chernobyl disaster  was tracked by testing butter!) 

Be sure not to forget the nourishing herbal infusions!  Nettle for energy, oatstraw for stress and libido, red clover for hormone balance, and comfrey for moistening up mucous membranes.  In addition to their unique affinities, all of these are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals as well.  One quart a day of at least one of the above herbs is adequate.  I have nettles almost everyday, along with one other infusion (I rotate).

Poor body image can be another intimacy killer, so if you are trying to lose weight, watch your carbs and love your fats (as long as they are quality ones).  Not all calories are created equal.  Check out the book Eat Fat Lose Fat by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.  It is full of science-based (not corporate agenda based) information on nutrition and weight loss.  And do not forget that on demand breastfeeding can be a great weight loss program!  Most importantly, being able to love and accept the bodies that house our hearts can be the key to satisfying sex in a relationship.  When we can approach our partners without fear or shame, truly transformational heart connection can occur.

If the problems are a bit more physical, there is an herb that makes a great ally for mothers, Shatavari, or Asparagus racemosus.  As its genus name suggests, shatavari is a wild asparagus native to the Indian sub-continent, used for millenia in ayurvedic medicine.  Ayurveda regards shatavari as a prime rejuvenative or rasayana, and it is especially so for women.

Shatavari, or "she who possesses a hundred husbands", is one of the true adaptogens.  Adaptogenic herbs generally work through the endocrine system to bring the body back into balance.  Whether a particular gland is over-active or under-active, adaptogens like shatavari have the wisdom to right the wrong in either direction, strengthening the body overall.   This is useful in hormonal imbalance, energy and immunity, an excellent choice for the exhausted mother.  Oh, but her wonderful properties do not stop there.

Shatavari is also a galactagogue and demulcent, or THE herb for breastfeeding mothers!  A galactogogue is an herb that aids milk production, and a demulcent moistens, coats and soothes mucous membranes.  In this case, coming to the aid of vaginal dryness experienced by mothers, due to breastfeeding.  So shatavari is going to help us with hormonal balance, energy, milk production, vaginal dryness, and (!) she is also known to be an aphrodisiac.

Now I'm sure she's fine standing alone, but while we are dealing in aphrodisiacs, why not make it fun?  How about a little chocolate and honey mixed up with powdered shatavari?  Maybe a little rose water in there, as rose opens the heart and strenghens relationships.  A yummy spoonful of that before an evening with your sweetheart could be fun, or, you could heat it up and take it right into the bedroom!  Shatavari, roses, chocolate, and sex?  Sign me up! If you are more practical, you can add the powder to smoothies and shakes, or take a shatavari liquid extract. 

Yes, "she who possesses a hundred husbands" is a fine description for certain, but shatavari is not only for women.  She is a fabulous tonic, adaptogen, and aphrodisiac for men, too, especially those of the pitta constitution.  So share that shatavari concoction with your sweetheart.

The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, Dr. Vasant Lad & Dr. David Frawley
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, David Winston

This post is part of the May herbal blog party hosted by Sean, of Green Man Ramblings , that will be up on May 15th.  I'll send out a reminder then so you can check it out!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Call to Action: Midwifery is Threatened in Tennessee!!!

Here in Tennessee, Certified Professional Midwives practice legally and with an impressive amount of autonomy.  
That will change if we do not fight.  
Our midwifery council is governed by the board of osteopaths, and it appears that they may be seeking greater regulations concerning practice guidelines, so prosecution of midwives is more clear cut.  As it stands, CPM's must have a "collaborative" relationship with a doctor, but the doctor has no liability, or say in who can see a midwife.  These new regulations, among other things, will demand that midwives have ob/gyn backup, which will not happen as long as ACOG speaks out against homebirth.  Without backup, a CPM will be practicing illegally.  If that wasn't enough to suppress homebirth, it is also left up to doctors to decide who is considered a low-risk candidate for midwifery care.  As you can imagine, that is never going to happen.

To fight this, we are forming the Tennessee Birth Coalition, a non-profit lobbying group for birthing rights.  We need volunteers, exposure, and donations.  We are in the organizing phase, so it is a bit hectic and there are a few women/families, doing A LOT of work.  We need help.

First of all, join the Tennessee Birth Coalition Yahoo Group.  This is a good way to keep up and get involved.

Second, if you know someone on any level of government that may lend us support, contact me with their information and I will get it to the appropriate people.

Share this on Facebook and forward it to anyone and everyone on your email list.

If you are outside of Chattanooga, help us get a group started in your area.  If you have received or are receiving midwifery care outside of Chattanooga, make sure your midwife is aware and involved.  Let her know you are concerned. 

I am the head of the fund-raising committee.  If you have any ideas for fundraisers, would like to offer something at your business, etc., or would like to make a donation (however small, we need it all!), PLEASE contact me.

Or if you would just like to make me a batch of oatstraw infusion, lol!  I know the nutritive herbs are going to be my greatest allies right now.

My contact info:  atinyseed@gmail.com

If you are a homebirther or a friend of midwifery, THIS IS THE TIME FOR ACTION!  We can not let politics force midwifery underground! 
Mothers and babies have a RIGHT to safe birth!

These are pictures of my most recent homebirth (tipi-birth, actually), August 2008

Thankful am I, for the loving care of midwives!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Beef Heart: It's what's for dinner

That's what I said, beef heart.

Yes, I am fearless when it comes to animal foods.  I take my relationship with them seriously, not only the value of their nutrition, but what I percieve as their spiritual value as well.  There are a few rules...

Rule #1  If you are going to eat meat, you should be able to kill an animal.  Reconnect with the food chain.

Rule #2  Though shalt not discard the bones!  I think we have covered that before.

Rule #3  Though shalt not discard/refuse the organ meats...and here we are.

Why did we let dietary recommendation steer us away from organ meats?  Prized in every culture but that of modern N. America, we find them disgusting, repulsive, exotic at best.  These are the organs of an animal, what gave it life.  So, after liver, I was drawn to heart.

I have been brought to tears just discussing the importance of eating the heart of an animal.  There was hesitation before slicing into the raw heart.  Not repulsion, but a feeling of unworthiness.  Yep, lot's of issues come up from consciously eating an animal.  Did I deserve this heart?  What had I done to earn it?  I paid for it with money, a tainted and perverse institution of trade.  Did I earn that money in an honorable way?  I did not kill THIS animal.  We never even met.  These are the complications with omnivery in an industrial society.  At least for me.

All of these feelings took only a moment to process.  I shed the feelings of shame, took a moment for thanks, and sliced right in.  I am a human animal.  I need nourishment.  Besides raising the cow myself, I took every step I could to insure that it led a healthy and natural life before it's death.  I know that it's death was humane. I am worthy of a heart.  It was difficult to process all of symbolism and cultural connections to the heart, but then...

 My children and I had one of the most delicious and nourishing meals of our lives.  I am still shedding a tear or two of thankfulness as I write this post.  I feel stronger and more grounded.  Consider the energy, the character, of a cow.  I can not think of a more grounded animal.  I need that desperately.  My heart holds grief, clings to pain, and I too often refer to it's "cracking open".  Can it not just sustain me, physiologically and energetically, by beating steadily ?  I need a little more cow energy :)

I feel I have shown the animal the greatest respect by cherishing and consuming it's heart, and it has given me it's most precious gift. 

  "I value you."   "I thank you."   "I deserve you."  "You are delicious."

And my liver-shunning kiddos gobbled it right up.  The texture is more firm, and the flavor less intense.  After a few bites they asked what kind of meat it was and where on the animal it came from (there is a lot of animal death talk over the dinner table these days...those kiddos are curious).  I saw a glimmer of surprise, of contemplation, when I told them it was heart.  And then they chewed their way through a heap of it.  I sliced it thin, dipped it in brown rice flour, and fried it in lard with plenty of garlic.  And it was SO good.

SALE!!! Serious overstock on tinctures!

Once upon a time, I thought my role as an herbalist was to be making and selling herbal medicines to the public.  The path has taken a turn, so now I have largish quantities of some herbs, all packaged up in 1 oz bottles and cute little labels.  I am offering them at what I think is a great price, as I sure can't find anything this affordable on the store shelves.  Some of them I have in large quantities, and others may have a bit of label damage, but the medicines are FINE.  I have used them all personally or with family/friends/clients.  

I am offering these extracts at $5 per 1 oz bottle plus shipping.  I estimate that to be around $2, but will charge exactly the cost, no more.

A lot of these are not "popular" herbs on store shelves, etc., but commonly used by grassroots herbalists for a variety of reasons.  I will give extremely brief descriptions of uses, and recommend you research their uses elsewhere if you are interested in one.  Matthew Wood's The Book of Herbal Wisdom, seems to me to be the most complete and useful profiles on these plants.  Susun Weed may also be another great resource. 

Dandelion Leaf-cooling, diuretic, urinary/kidney remedy
Cleavers-cooling, lymphatic
Woodland Nettle Leaf (laportea canandensis)- allergies, urinary, men's health
Violet-cooling, lungs, cysts, lymphatic
Red Clover-alterative, antineoplast, phytosterols, great for balancing hormones (both sexes),general good   health (I love red clover!  She will be making an appearance on the blog as soon as she is blooming!)
Wild Lettuce-  insomnia, pain (I love it for back pain), severe anxiety
Plantain - astringent, great for clearing wet lungs

If you are interested, contact me through FB or my email:  atinyseed@gmail.com

When they are gone, they're gone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wild and Weedy Meals!

I don't know about you, but we are busy stuffing our mouths full of Spring's goodness!  Get it while you can, as Spring fades fast here in southeast Tennessee.

We missed a whole week of chickweed as I discovered that it is aptly named.  Giving my chickens complete freedom left me with bare patches of dirt where chickweed once flourished!  Yesterday I discovered a wonderful patch across the fence and under some cedar trees, so chickweed is back on the menu!  I am thankful for its cooling energy helping us adjust to these intensely hot days. The chickweed based salads have always been fabulous, dressed only in fruity olive oil and salt, but they have a whole new life with the addition of mustard and red bud blossoms.  Who can resist pink and yellow flowers in your salad?!  Seriously!   Mustard adds a gently pungency, while red bud offers a hint of sweetness...so perfectly complementary.  We call it Faerie Salad.

The mustard is pulling double duty, as I am also harvesting the greens.  I simply saute in coconut oil w/garlic and there are never any left over.  There is a particular unkempt field near my house that I harvest from nearly daily.  Mustard season is short and I will miss it when gone, so we eat as much as we can now.  There are a handful of common wild mustards, all edible, so get yourself a field guide and some free food!

Here and there I still find some young yellow dock leaves to cook, but they are growing larger and the plant is preparing to bloom.  That means seeds (more on that later), but I will miss their lemony essence in my wild green mixtures.  Those mixtures are never complete without...

Nettle!  Our native species, Woodland Nettle (Laportea canandensis), is just coming up.  With only two or three sets of leaves, it is the perfect time for harvest.  I like to observe the "one mooncycle" rule.  Basically, do not harvest and eat nettles that have been above ground longer than a month.  Some people have kidney trouble or headaches from eating older nettles.  When I was pregnant with Stone I at them into early June, just before they flowered.  I did not suffer any ill effects, but I really feel the quality of the younger nettle is superb, especially for making medicine. 

This harvest, I collected enough to make a couple quarts of vinegar and supply some meals.  Vinegar is my favorite way to preserve the nutritive offerings of plants, which is most often what I am after.  Next time I will take my alcohol with me to tincture some nettle in the field.  No bringing home wilty plants to tincture!  I am excited to prepare some woodland nettle because I am not sure what kind of medicine she has to offer in a tincture.  Stinging nettle leaf tincture is somewhat adaptogenic (restorative to the adrenals/vital life essence) and I am hoping that woodland nettle is, too.

And there is dandelion, wild lettuce, cleavers and more!  Spring is so generous!  The selection is changing nearly everyday, and it is hard to keep up!  We have been creating our meals around the offerings of the weedy wild things, being truly seasonal.  You know you are eating a well balanced diet if you live off of what is being offered right now.  There are no decisions to make, no labels to read, no dietary recommendations in the wild!  What you will find is an abundance of minerals and other nutrition in more concentrated amounts than cultivated foods.  I feel so satisfied with our meals, truly nourished throughout.  After ingesting such potent energy, I can tangibly feel the heightened vibrations in my body, almost as intensely as lying on the Earth and feeling her pulse, which I have been doing in times of frustration lately.  Talk about getting grounded!  I lie, near the yarrow and under the cedar tree, and peak through the branches at the blue sky.  You need to go out and lie down on the ground tomorrow!  You can feel the glorious energy rise up through your body, and nothing, nothing, can be wrong after that :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Food For Life 2010

Food for Life is held and the Sequatchie Valley Institute the first weekend of June.  Check out their website for more info.  If you are anywhere in the area, it is NOT to be missed!

Food for Life 2010 — Schedule

(Schedule will evolve as we add workshops and presenters – please call if you want to be sure about a particular workshop)

Food for Life is run on Central Standard Time.


tour of sequatchie cove farm in the am?  lunch? 


4:00-6:00  *  WILD WINE, MEADS, AND HERBAL ELIXERS: an Exploration into Fermented Magic Medicine & Party Drinks (Patrick Ironwood and Marissa Percoco) - We will gather materials from the garden & the woods, then brew various wines, meads & brews for everyone to take home.  Please either bring your own honey (1qt/gallon of mead) or  local honey will be available for $5/#.  In addition, please bring 1(or more) gallon jugs (wide mouth with lid preferred), and any fruit or herbs to share; we will also harvest whatever is in season from the surrounding forest and farm.

6:15     DINNER - FERMENTATION POT LUCK - Please bring your favorite ferments to share with everyone during our first evening together.  Plan to share recipes and stories...

7:30    WELCOME CIRCLE and Vision Sharing – We’ll open Food for Life this year with a circle in which we will brainstorm about ways folks can reclaim food from corporate control. Bring ideas, visions, and fantasies of grassroots action to create better food choices. In our circle we will share our visions and inspire one another to action.  (or this can be changed - it’s up to whoever is facilitating the opening circle - this is what we did last year and it’s already up on the svi website for this year’s schedule as well...)

FRIDAY, June 4

8:00-9:00     BREAKFAST


9:30-12:30  *  FERMENTATION OVERVIEW (Sandor Katz) - Experience how simple it is to harness the transformational power of microorganisms to make foods and beverages more delicious, more nutritious, more digestible, and more stable. Learn about the healing qualities and nutritional importance of live-culture ferments, as well as their illustrious history and integral role in human cultural evolution. Empower yourself with simple techniques for fermenting these healthful foods in your home. Be part of the fermentation revival!  We will make sauerkraut, discuss kefir and yogurt, wild yeast alcoholic beverages and much more.

12:45-2:00     LUNCH



*  BREAD MAKING/BAKING W/ KIDS (Tricia Baehr) - Kids of all ages will learn how to measure, mix, knead and bake bread from scratch...we will explore the rising process, developing gluten with kneading, shaping and baking. 

*  HOW TO MAKE BUTTER (Tricia Baehr) - Start with cream and watch how butter is made in an old fashioned hand crank churn while our bread dough is rising. Rinsing and salting and shaping butter. Kids will learn how butter doesn’t come from a plastic tub in the supermarket and how great it tastes on freshley baked bread.


2:15-3:15  *  SLOW FOOD, FARM TO SCHOOL, PRESERVING FARMLAND (Trish King) - Discussion on the philosophy of Slow Food USA: promoting good, clean, and fair food.  How will a good, clean, and fair food system benefit communities?  What are the implications for institutional food systems such as school lunches?  What will happen to our local food economy as land use changes and farmland is threatened by sprawl?  From a global movement to the local food scene, we’ll discuss what it means to live Slow.

3:30-5:00  *  THE MEDICINAL PANTRY  (Rachel Fee-Prince) - Learn what common foods and culinary herbs/spices can also be part of the home apothecary.  As time allows we can cover everything from childhood issues, colds/flu to chronic illness.

5:15  DINNER

6:45  *  THE WAY TO HEALTH THROUGH FOOD AND HOW NUTRITIONAL SCIENCE CAN HELP (joel kimmons) - Lets talk about nourishment- ecology and where we fit in- how can we live an inspired gastronomic experience while nourishing the earth and all her communities.  Local food, CSAs, farmers markets, community gardens, green spaces, school gardens, cooking, eating, and how to be more than just poop factories.  Bring  short questions (or don’t) and we will work towards the best answers in a real world and whole world perspective


8:00-9:00     BREAKFAST




* COMPOSTING 101 (Tricia Baehr) - One of the most important things we can learn these days is how to compost. With more and more people learning to grow their own food, nutrient rich fertile soil starts with home composting. Kids will learn what to compost and what not to compost. The science of how things break down and the importance of composting.


* SAFE AND HEALTHY WAYS TO SAVE YOUR EXTRA FOOD - PART ONE (Carol Kimmons) - Safe and Healthy Food Preservation.  This hands-on workshop will cover fun and easy methods of canning, pickling, freezing, and drying your surplus from the garden or market.  Materials and instruction booklets included. 

10:30-12:00  *  Fat, Fat, Fat: Making Ghee and Rendering Lard (Rachel and Daniel Fee-Prince) - We will make ghee and begin the process of making lard from local foraged hog fat.  All the while discussing the positive role these nourishing  and delicious fats can play in our lives.  Both products will be available to take home later that evening.

12:15-1:30     LUNCH
lunch discussion groups will include grass roots development in Cent Am/ 3rd world and down to earth opportunities to get involved (Sandy Hepler)

1:45-2:45  *  ICE CREAM AND INDUSTRIAL COLLAPSE: ARE THEY MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE? (Patrick Ironwood and Marissa Percoco) - Learn the basic use of hand crank ice cream makers, through a variety of recipes, including exploration of goat & cow milk, and also risk going hi-tech with liquid nitrogen to do a large quantity for an ice cream and crumpet party... participants are encouraged to bring ice cream  makers of all types to use and share, milk & any of your favorite yummy add-ins  



GARDEN CRITTERS (Tricia Baehr) - Discover the creepy crawly garden helpers from worms to ladybugs and preying mantis.  Let’s talk about how they help in the garden and why they are important.  

CREATIVE PLANT MARKER MAKING (Tricia Baehr) - Garden art is fun and makes our gardens more colorful while we are waiting for plants to grow. Have fun painting markers to help distinguish plants for your garden, a friend’s garden or even a community garden.


* THE PHILOSOPHY OF EATING WILD (Alan Powell) - This workshop is about the value of wild foods in the context of human history as well as modern human life.  Alan will talk about plant identification as well as harvesting philosophy (understanding how much to take and why).  He will discuss why we stopped eating wild foods and the effect on human health and diversity in a healthy diet.  The format will be an herb walk with much commentary and discussion.

5:15-6:45  *  ARTISAN FARMSTEAD CHEESE TASTING AND THE STORY OF SEQUATCHIE COVER CREAMERY (Padgett Arnold) - Enjoy a tasting of cheeses made here in the Sequatchie Valley at Sequatchie Cove Creamery. Learn about the background of this new enterprise at Sequatchie Cove Farm, and how making this cheese fits in with the philosophy of the farm, and the local foods movement here in the southeast. A slide show of photos from the farm and its in-depth research into artisanal cheese-making will accompany the tasting. Bring your own wine or other beverage to share.

7:00  PIZZA AND WOOD FIRED COB OVEN DISCUSSION – we will disscus sourdough & wheat fermentation, wood oven use and tips on building your own… as we bake.

SUNDAY, June 6

8:30-10:00     BREAKFAST


10:30-12:15  *  TRADITIONAL FOODS (Didi Wildrover and Chad Ananda) - This workshop will explore the process of nourishing our future by reclaiming the endangered foods and foodways of the past.  We will start with an overview of nutritional practices utilized throughout human history that have relied on foods that are locally produced/gathered, nutrient-dense and more highly digestible, and minimally processed and stored without dependence on refrigeration or electricity. Given the extreme dependence of our modern societies on fossil fuels, high-tech food production methods, and pharmaceutical short-term health solutions, embracing traditional foodways is a movement toward greater community-based self reliance, and deeper foundations of health.  We will spend some time looking around the kitchen at the variety of traditional foods we have incorporated into the food scene at Moonshadow, and do some basic hands-on activities to illustrate traditional foodways: making farmers’ cheese from raw milk, mayonnaise out of eggs and olive oil, acorns into edible meal, and turning whole corn into nutritionally superior “masa” or “hominy,” all of which we will incorporate into our final meal together.

12:30-1:45  LUNCH



MAD HATTER TEA PARTY (Tricia Baehr) - The annual FFL Mad Hatter Tea Party for kids of all ages! Wear a silly, fun or sophisticated hat while we explore the world of teas from history to healing properties of herbal teas. Learn how to brew tea while enjoying sipping and trying different varieties.


* SAFE AND HEALTHY WAYS TO SAVE YOUR EXTRA FOOD - PART TWO (Carol Kimmons) - Safe and Healthy Food Preservation.  This hands-on workshop will cover fun and easy methods of canning, pickling, freezing, and drying your surplus from the garden or market.  Materials and instruction booklets included. 

3:15-4:45  *  CHOCOLATE SURPRISE (Sandy Hepler) - Explore an all-time world favorite. Cacao itself is health food and can be made healthier.  Original Aztecs drank it as a hot, bitter, peppered drink (did they ever add honey?).  A really healthy, great-tasting chocolate is possible!  samples of delicious organic chocolate are guaranteed. These are handmade in northern Tennessee by Sandy Hepler himself, our Mad Kitchen Scientist.