Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Raptors at Our Farm

We have seen quite a few raptors here at our farm including owls, hawks and bald eagles and I wanted to share some of the pictures with you. Although its quite exciting to see these great predators, I do worry about my small animals; cat, dog and chickens. We’ve seen this great horned owl in a tree by our house several times. According to Wikipedia the great horned owl is the only owl known to have killed a human. Many cultures have a special place for owls in their storytelling. I’m told in both Native American and Irish cultures the great horned owl was considered a messenger of death or at least ill well but also associated with the medicine men/women. Other stories say that the great horned owl is associated with the soul of the dead. Perhaps it is one of my parents or my sister looking out for me. Owls in general are said to give energy, wisdom and bravery.

The barn owl we found in our driveway. It could not move its legs and so we put it in this cage and my son drove it to the owl rescue group. Unfortunately we do not know what became of it afterward. Other raptors we have seen include falcons and the red tailed hawk. We have also been visited by a blue heron.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Under The Sun

Tina Sams never fails to amaze me. I have mentioned before about her magazine "The Essential Herbal"; now she has compiled articles from the first 5 years of publication and put them into a book entitled "Under the Sun, the First Five Years". The book is organized into chapters on gardening, in the kitchen, just weeds, herbal first aid, the stillroom, traditions, the herbs and herb business. You will find articles about soapmaking and cooking, drinking and crafting and lots of just naturalist experiences. The magazine has been a dream of Tina’s for some time. Writers contribute their time and skills because herbs are their passion. I only recently joined Tina in her venture and am glad I did. Reading the articles in this book is like listening to old friends discuss their lives and their passions. It is a sizable book of 220 pages so it will take some time to read. I would highly recommend going to Tina’s website and ordering your copy (http://www.essentialherbal.com).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Tussie Mussie

I miss my Mom. She died two years ago. When she was alive I remember giving her a tussie mussie one year for Mothers Day. This year I will walk my garden (and look in my dried collection) to see what plants I have to pay tribute to her on this Mothers Day.

Basil for the unconditional love she gave me and my siblings.
Rosemary for remembering her and the lessons she taught me.
Sage for her endless wisdom and to represent my grief.
Scented geranium for our happy times together.
Lavender for her devotion to her family.
Thyme for her strength and courage in raising 8 children.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cold Sores

As if one weren’t enough, I have two huge cold sores on my lip. My normal procedure for cold sores is to take vitamin C, vitamin B and apply a lip balm that I made that contains lemon balm infused oil. Although I did that yesterday it has gotten worse. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This virus will reside in a dormant state in the nerve tissue. In the case of cold sores on the lips the virus is typically in the trigeminal nerve ganglion (a collection of nerve cell bodies). For some unknown reasons this virus will travel down the nerve to the skin and start to replicate there cause fluid filled vesicles. Things that trigger these outbreaks include stress, sunshine, menstruation, injury or an immune deficiency. In my case it is typically stress that causes a cold sore. In the past few weeks I have been busy planting Nanking cherries, choke cherries, roses, lavender, cedar trees, roses, raspberries and some miscellaneous herbs. I am also finishing up teaching for the semester and getting grades done. Then the normal animal care and family activities that increase towards the end of the school year. Together, these and unnamed things have caused me a little stress.

Since this cold sore has gotten worse overnight I think I will have to do more than my normal regimen. Although there are antiviral drugs available to treat herpes, there have also been an increasing number of resistant viruses as a result of this. I would hate to think that virus’s will develop this life threatening condition that has occurred in bacteria due to overuse of antibiotics. I will pass on the antiviral drugs and try some other herbal treatments I don’t normally use. Perhaps I will apply lavender oil to the sore or Echinacea extract. I might also drink lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) tea or sage tea and have some garlic toast (my favorite cold remedy). I may use myrrh essential oil to relieve the pain as well. And what about relaxing a little? It’s a somewhat rainy day today which decreases what I can do outside so maybe I’ll sit around with my cup of lemon balm/sage tea for awhile.


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