kitchen witchery :: winter remedies and teas

Inspiration from the fall swap I recently hosted, and the simple observation that an increasing number of students at art class have been calling out due to illness have reminded me that 'tis the season to stock the medicine cabinet with some homemade remedies.  And so, fire cider, echinacea tincture, an immune blend tincture (I change it up a little each year but this year blended elderberry, echinacea, ginger, usnea, red clover, red root, and astragalus), elderberry syrup (with fresh ginger, cloves, cinnamon, reishi, astragalus and honey), and a few tea blends (one heavily inspired by a couple of Rosemary Gladstar's nourishing teas for women, a 'peace' blend, and a throat soothing blend) were recently made.  There will be at least one more batch of elderberry syrup coming (I give the little miss a spoonful daily along with a few other things), and I'll make cough/bronchial syrup when and if needed, but with these and the large batch of elderberry tincture that is already ready to use (and being used) I am feeling like we are fairly well stocked to ward off a lot of the funk that inevitably comes our way.

I started making a lot of our own medicines a few years ago and I've found it to be one of the most rewarding and empowering do-it-yourself kitchen-witchy things I do.  It is easy, accessible, and fun, and anyone can do it~

here's to winter wellness!

(I have found this 'key to winter wellness' to be quite useful when trying to pinpoint remedies and support for specific symptoms)


she and him

she had a big lesson the other day.  lots of firsts.  first jump, first time picking his hooves on her own (doesn't sound very exciting, but watching her lift and then balance that big foot all on her own was like watching a special kind of dance between the two of them), her first real bit of cantering, and...... her first fall.  her teacher (a good friend of ours) had been telling me at the last few lessons that I should be prepared for it, that it would probably come soon as she was starting to be more confident and taking on new things at her lessons.  she practiced emergency dismounts, just in case.  and then last week, after taking him over a little jump several times and with both of their energy levels pretty high and excited, she trotted and cantered him around on the lead rope for a while and as he came into the short end of the circle he started to break into a canter and things got a little wonky and off she came.  I had been trying to get a photo of her cantering and ended up getting that first fall.  it went as well as a first fall can go, I think.  she stayed pretty in control and slid/fell/jumped off, landing mostly on her feet and then rolling to the side.  he stopped.  our friend congratulated her on an excellent first fall (keeping things light, you know) and popped her right back on him to ride him around a bit stirrup-free (she had broken the safety strap on one stirrup) to get them both feeling better after the excitement (he seemed more upset by it than she did- he is good old horse who really looks out for his smaller riders).

I haven't been bringing my camera with me (generally, wherever we are) as much as I used to, and I'm so glad I did that day.  and I'm so grateful that she is able to have this horse, and these experiences, in her world.


up, up, up

('scenic overlook' in the misty morning fog and clouds- beautiful still, just another kind of lovely)
(ice on the branches up at Craggy Dome)
(icy, frosty firs atop Mt. Mitchell)

(for a bit of perspective- that fall is approximately 800'!)

Our Wednesday 'Forest Days' are (as I mentioned in the last homeschooling post) something I have so come to treasure.  They are a dependable and much-needed pause in the middle of our week, sometimes slow and quiet, sometimes bursting with play with friends.  Always, always good.  I'm writing this just after finishing this week's hike up to the top of nearby Lookout Mountain just in time to feast our eyes on the glorious fall leaves right here in our town while they are at their peak.  We were last up there three weeks ago and my what a difference these three weeks have made!  This post, though (and all of these photos), is about last week's forest day.  Claire and I drove an hour up the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway and met friends at the top of Mt. Mitchell, which happens to be the highest peak this side of the Mississippi.  We started off down around 2,300' above sea level and drove up, up, and over and around.  We drove through fog and mist and we were up in the clouds at some points along the way.  There were ice and frost-covered trees and flurries on top of the mountain.  It was a winter wonderland up there!  Driving back down we were again in a bright and colorful fall world.  What a beautiful morning it was.


these days

the last of the figs, a blurry self portrait, brand new baby niece knitting and an overly ambitious pile of library DVDS (no, I didn't make it to any of them during the week I had them), apple coffee cake for my people, tea & breakfast, beautiful stamps (in hopes they will encourage me to write more real letters),  the Sunday Times (also, it would seem, overly ambitious for me- it takes me all week to read it!), some of the last of the monarchs before it got chilly, and the finished baby niece blankie.

this (along with, obviously, the homeschooling and the after school-art-class-teaching and the general day to day parenting and such) pretty accurately sums up my last few weeks.