Autumnal garden activities )O(

Merry meet all,

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. It surprised us all  here in Halifax. The leaves are showing those famous fiery colors. The elderberries ripen on the stems, the queen Anne’s lace, goldenrod and burdock slowly go to seed. The sky is overcast here, and everyone is scrambling to get ready for hurricane Fiona. 

I was out in my rain soaked garden this morning. Slugs clung to leaves while wasps sipped pollen. This is a bittersweet time for me. The squash and tomatoes are setting fruit late this season, I am not sure why. It could be because we had a heatwave this summer. You would think that heatwave would have been beneficial for sun loving tomatoes but no. The tomatoes are growing now. Ah well. 

I have to put my garden to sleep for the cold winter ahead and I am sharing how I plan to do that in this post today. My witch hazel flowers late in the year. I love my witch hazel. I plan to buy a huge bag of soil and arrange the soil around the trunk, then I will add a big bag of worm castings into the soil to leave nutrients for the witch hazel. I might even buy some wood chips to act as mulch. I am trying to think of what else I can leave there as a nutrient rich compostable mulch for the roots to feed on all winter. I would have to remember to remove the wood chips because the lungwort blooms wonderfully under the witch hazel in the spring. 

The leaves cascade to the earth every autumn. I usually just keep the leaves there all over my garden all winter. They act as a natural mulch/ blanket that protects my garden during the harsh winter. I rake them away in the spring. I may sprinkle worm castings, bonemeal, eggshells and coffee grounds all over my garden. 

The leaves of the plants, the vines, flowers and whatever I don’t harvest naturally dies back. This is the most free natural compost ever. I have a wooden compost box. I will store the faded dead leaves, branches, stems in the box. Most of the foliage I leave where it is to act as a natural compost and soil nutrients all winter. I spread the soil I used to grow the potatoes over my garden. The soil was amazing! The soil was loose, loamy, obviously nutrient rich and dark black. I loved it and I am sure the garden did too. The rain washes away the soil so it was nice to add rich soil to the garden. 

I still have to harvest the celery, lemon basil, raspberry leaves, mint, tomatoes, healthy disease free witch hazel leaves and beans. The red flowers of the scarlet runner beans are growing so well now. The pollinators are busy. The beans also grow overnight it seems. The leaves I keep on the soil are a nice refuge for hardworking insects too. I’m letting the purple coneflower go to seed. The bees love purple coneflowers. The nasturtiums are still blooming, and I watched as a wasp visited one fiery nasturtium bloom this morning. The wasps built a nest on the inside of the shed door. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I harvested the beautiful Chinese lanterns in the photo above. I am amazed at how rich the colours are. I’m waiting and hoping the calendula blossoms soon. I have no idea why it takes so long. I harvested and pressed the lovely yellow heliopsis and I have pressed many other flowers. I want to make a Samhain/ autumn candle lantern like I did with the  Summer Solstice lantern. I want to paint the jar a rich deep Burgundy colour so the autumn colors really pop out. Yup I think it will be gorgeous. 

Pressed purple coneflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still have to harvest the elecampane roots, seeds and flowers. The stalk is turning brown. I will harvest in October. 

I have recipes to make elderberry mead, hawthorn cordial, elderberry syrup, cranberry sauce . They are perfect for guarding the health of your immune system all winter. Winter is known for the time when colds, flus and illnesses spread. Those recipes are sure to boost your immune system! Elecampane has inula in the roots. I can’t wait to harvest elecampane and feel like a true herbalist. I have harvested mullein root, and I want to harvest dandelion and burdock after a cold snap. The winter squash has a flower now. I don’t understand why it waited till now but plants follow their own calendar, not the calendar we impose on them. 

Elecampane

 

What to Forage in Fall: 30+ Edible and Medicinal Plants and Mushrooms

I’ve included the recipes here for your own convenience. I hope you try them and let me know in the comments below how it went. I am available here if you have any questions on how to make herbal remedies to guard your health and your family’s health this coming fall season. Now is the time to stock up on ginger, onions, elderberries ( remember: they are not edible raw!), echinacea tinctures, etc. But more on that later! Blessed Mabon to everyone! Or, if you prefer, Happy Autumn Equinox! 

Blessings, Spiderwitch

How To Clear The Garden In The Fall – What To Do With Your Plants & Soil!

How to Make Elderberry Mead

Homemade Bug Bite Salve for Itchy Spots

How To Make Homemade Fire Cider (With Video!)

Soothing Herbal Cough Syrup with Elderberry, Elecampane, & Licorice

3 Tips For Foraging Goldenrod This Year

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, organic, Paranormal and Witchy Fiction, Samhain, seeds

Autumn wonders

Merry meet all,

I am proud to announce I graduated from the Intermediate level at the Herbal Academy. I look forward to new challenges and learn about new ways to use herbs in the next level, Advanced. I am sure there will be many challenges ahead for me. Bring it on!

I found new  fun ways to use herbs this summer. I dyed a big pile of plain muslin cloth with goldenrod. The fabric dyed a beautiful muted gold/ yellow shade. I’m infusing garlic cloves and garden grown basil in vinegar. I made a potent rose petal elixir, I concocted a St.John’s wort tincture and two salves, and I plan to make a jar of elderberry syrup. I look forward to using my herbal potions and learning more about herbs at the Herbal Academy. This fall I have a grow light. I just transferred the herbs I began from seed and my root cuttings of mint, basil, rue, nettles calendula, thyme and dill. The thyme and dill are growing in a yogurt container so their deep roots have room to grow. The other herbs were transferred to a deeper pot. They are all growing under the grow light. I wonder how I ever managed without a grow light. Grow lights are awesome! I’m trying to grow root veggies too. I hope that goes well. 

I even used herbs on my witch’s broom. I know that cinnamon brooms can be bought online. Why not do it yourself? I coated the broom with glue and dabbed the ground cinnamon onto the broom then I sprinkled cinnamon essential oil. It has dried in a large clear plastic bag for two weeks. The broom that I also made myself smells lovely now. Argh I do believe I have been stung by the very nettle I just transplanted. I grew a big lovely pumpkin vine but no pumpkins. The bees love the male flower pollen but all their hard work is for naught. Every female pumpkin flower has turned brown, shrivelled and died. There are many male pumpkin flowers. The tomatoes are finally growing and the scarlet runner bean vines are flush with beans. I plan to harvest all the herbs from my garden soon and bring the rosemary and oregano in for the winter. 

I’m harvesting lovage which I did earlier and made a lovely jar of lovage salt! Lemon balm, lemon basil, lavender, calendula, mint, sage, borage leaves, chamomile, chives, raspberry leaves, astilbe seeds, elecampane seeds and roots, dandelion roots, cucumbers, shallots, kale ( may overwinter it). The nasturtiums are annuals. I will miss them, I find the leaves so tasty. I will be busy this fall harvesting roots, flowers and seeds!

Being near this abundance of nature sure saves me money for studying at the Herbal Academy. It’s expensive enough to purchase and store the herbs. I have to have enough jars and room to store the jars. I don’t have enough room so I just don’t splurge on a huge amount of herbs at once. I buy 5 grams or more at least and then I can just refill the labeled and dated jars in my apothecary. 

I have to make sure I downloaded all the PDFs for the Intermediate level at the Herbal Academy. I left a glowing testimonial on how much I enjoyed the fun yet mentally stimulating. Herbs have taken over my life. Maybe I should say this course has taken over my life. I find I don’t have much time to do all the other things I need to do, like get back into my writing horror fiction for one. I hope I can manage it all. 

The fall season is off to a great start. On top of that, Mabon and Samhain are not far away. I can’t wait. I look forward to hearing about how all of you readers are spending your fall season too. Comment below!

Blessings, Spiderwitch

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Our Paranormal Future

Merry meet all,

Do you feel it in the air? Do you smell it or taste it in the water? I do. I know many others do because they told me online. But try to feel it in the air. I am talking about this change, something heavy in the air. It is not always heavy but I think that it represents a change, not necessarily for the better. 

I sense a change in the air. It is transitioning to autumn, fall. Yes Samhain approaches. (Which means I need to get my shit together but that is another topic). I just feel like a darkness is coming over the world. I think it goes beyond the Goddess is pissed at us for disrespecting the earth on such a huge global scale. I think that that is part of it. I would be called crazy for talking about this stuff but I can post this here. 

Ok so… I believe we are going to see a lot of change in the near future. If you don’t believe me or in the paranormal, then go read up about Skinwalker Ranch. I do. I also believe that the paranormal has something to do with it – the aliens which I believe exists, and the spirits roaming the earth now also know about the change. Of course, they are just waiting around for us mortals to figure it all out. I not only believe that but I feel it. I imagine or understand it as a darkness growing over the world, like some people say the devil is having his way. 

I sense that if people are being good to the earth that they might survive. If someone or an organization has harmed the earth like the destruction of the amazon rainforests, deforestation, etc, then they are not going to be fortunate. The evil companies will drive us toward a mass destruction of our planet. I don’t even use pesticides in my garden. I did catch a Japanese beetle in a jar from my garden. I tossed the jar in the dumpster. But if I did use pesticides, that would throw off the balance in my garden. Balance can’t be touched or tasted or felt but it exists. I keep a balance in my garden. I grow nasturtiums which attract aphids. That draws the predatory insects to the aphids. I grow the nasturtiums because I know that some bugs want to eat the aphids such as ladybugs. I keep a balance. It keeps the insects out of my apartment and keeps them productive in the garden. I have a beautiful thriving garden.  I work with the energies and the land spirits that are already there. I also offer gemstones, coins, honey, milk to the spirits in the spring and fall. I give thanks to the spirits and the Goddess/ God for the beautiful garden I have. The gratitude I show ensures I can have a good harvest and that they will continue to help me. 

I think we should all hit the pause button and reflect deeply on not what the paranormal is about but why it is suddenly the hottest thing to hit social media. Why is it so huge right now? I believe that it has something to do with what I mentioned above. This is a good time to strengthen relationships with your chosen deity or gods that you follow. It is a good time to strengthen relationships with your mortal friends too. 

Aliens, UFOs, crop circles, cattle mutilations, poltergeist activity etc are so hugely popular now. I am on the fence about Bigfoot but I would believe in aliens way more than Bigfoot. I know that social media connects us globally. We can now have information at an unprecedented rate now and faster than ever before on earth. We all communicate globally within mere seconds or minutes. So this is why we all know so much about the paranormal and many other things of course. I am terrified about aliens. I don’t want to think that they exist. 

The greed, corruption, the huge demand of the earth’s resources, violence, crime, war (Ukraine, anyone?), and apathy sweeping over the planet now is not helping anything. It casts a dark shadow  over the earth. I don’t know what happened in Skinwalker Ranch that ignited all that activity occurring there but it is a great example of what I am talking about here. We have to remember that we are not in control of the earth like we want to believe. We need earth but she doesn’t need us. We can’t live anywhere else. I have zero intention of leaving earth and moving up the stars – where the aliens are watching over us. I serve the Goddess, she doesn’t serve me. I was meant to be here on earth. This is how it works for me. 

Not everyone believes in these things. But for those that do and that includes me! The paranormal is so hot right now. I feel that something is coming, and I also feel that whatever that is isn’t good at all. I mean if all this crazy stuff is happening, there has to be an explanation for it all and that explanation might make you uncomfortable. I am still feverishly curious. You have to admit this is all cool. 

I would love to see all your comments on what you think this is. It is ok to be a skeptic! It’s ok to believe. It is real cool when skeptics become believers. Be good to the earth, be good to your fellow man, and be good to yourselves!

I love this blog post and I have posted a link to it. It affirms what I believe. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2016/06/the-otherworld-is-bleeding-through.html#disqus_thread

I enjoy this post as well: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2016/11/the-veil-is-shredded.html#disqus_thread

Here is a cool link to a paranormal post about Skinwalker Ranch: https://youtu.be/cxjHba9OO0I

Whatever transpires for us in our weird paranormal future, let’s hope it is for the best of all mortals and animals -or amphibians out there. I do sense a darkness coming. It is good to remember from time to time that change is good and that as long as we maintain the balance of life,  we just may be fine. I hope I am wrong but I wouldn’t be shocked if I was right. 

Blessings, Spiderwitch 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Helen Creighton – Canada’s Lady of Folklore

Merry meet all,

As I type here, the rain’s pouring. The sky is heavy and overcast. I haven’t been out to my garden yet. It’s mid-August but the bugs are still harassing me, the weather is still warm but stores are stocking Halloween goods early. I am not ready for the spookiest time of year. That has to do with the goods in my garden growing late in the year due to the heatwave.

Here is a fascinating story about a true paranormal investigator. Read on and enjoy!

Canada’s Lady of Folklore

Helen Creighton

 Helen Creighton was a celebrated folklorist, author, and pioneer researcher. She is  best known for her book Bluenose Ghosts about firsthand accounts of spine-chilling tales. Creighton excelled at collecting local folk ballads, folk tales and ghost stories. She is also known for her skill at collecting local dances, games, cures and proverbs.
            She was born with a caul. A person born with a caul will have a warning before danger. This proved true when Creighton explored the province in search of folk tales. One night she stayed at an inn the night before the Miramichi Folk Festival and had a dream of a child coming towards her. The next day a deer jumped in front of her car on the highway. She would have several of these portentous experiences including her own doppelganger warning her of danger. It made her the perfect person to lend an empathetic ear to those sharing their own experiences.

Because Creighton encountered their stories with a sense of empathy, people trusted her and felt comfortable opening up to her about  their tales, customs and ghost stories. An elderly man once told her, “You’ve got a way with you; you’d bewitch the devil.”

The blurb for Bluenose Ghosts reads: “Haunted houses, headless ghosts, phantom ships, supernatural warnings of death – these are just some of the unexplainable and mysterious phenomena that appear in Bluenose Ghosts. Written in a personable and accessible style by celebrated folklorist Helen Creighton, Bluenose Ghosts is based on the experiences of ordinary people as told to the author over a period of thirty years. These chilling stories come from across the Maritimes – the Highlands of Cape Breton, the woods of New Brunswick, and the harbours around Halifax. First published in 1957, Bluenose Ghosts is a classic of Nova Scotia folklore presented here in a new format and with a foreword from Clary Croft.”

Her career as a folk tales and songs collector spanned forty years. Her celebrated book Bluenose Ghosts focuses on true ghost stories, superstition, witchcraft and buried treasure. She recorded first-hand accounts from the people she interviewed and did her utmost best to maintain their authenticity. She was a collector of tales, not an analyzer, and she received an unfair amount of criticism for that. Creighton collected the folk tales with no intention of analyzing them. That made her stand out from her colleagues and is what was so unique about her.

She took painstaking care to record the folk songs that she collected. She had limited means to work with as she transcribed her work. Over time, Creighton met people who would assist her in accurately transcribing and preserving her work.

It happened by chance that Creighton began collecting local ghost stories. She originally set out to gather folk tales and songs. Bluenose Ghosts is chilling because the scary accounts are from real, everyday people. That is what gives her book so much appeal. The scary experiences are shared by people who have no reason to lie and know how to tell a tale. I dare you to read it at night with the lights on.

Creighton was often found carrying a meter long melodeon in a wheelbarrow when she visited people. She used a tape recorder when it was invented ten years later.  Creighton worked tirelessly to collect four thousand folk songs and tales of eerie spectral encounters. It demonstrates her immense respect for what ordinary men and women had to say. She was determined to preserve their tales to keep them from disappearing in the mists of history.

Creighton may have recorded thousands of folk tales, ghost stories and songs. Yet it was the voices of those she interviewed that shone in the books and tapes. She never got in their way or tampered with their words. She was given the nickname the Ghost Lady by those she interviewed.

Here is an unsettling excerpt from the book: “An East Chester woman said, “My uncle was a contractor, and when I was fifteen, he and I were going home to Mahone Bay from Western Shore. When we were in the woods I heard a horse and it seemed to be so close that I could almost feel its breath. I looked around and what I saw was a horse all right, but there was a man sitting on it with no head. My uncle didn’t see it, and I was too scared to speak until we got home and then all he said was, ‘That’s nothing. Lots of people have seen that horse and rider.’ Since then I have asked many people but nobody seems to know who the rider is supposed to be.”

A headless ghost and his horse, top that. That is one of many chilling tales from regular people simply sharing their stories. This is why I love the book and why it spooks me.

Here’s a second excerpt about a sea captain, the devil and a set of playing cards:

“They were his own cards anyway, so he put them in his sea chest and locked them up. “That night he was awakened from his sleep and was surprised to see a man sitting on his sea chest. He was dealing cards, and he dealt four hands. Then the stranger saw that the captain was awake and asked him to sit in and have a game with him. Before he could make up his mind he looked at the man’s feet and saw the cloven hoof. He screamed and the stranger disappeared, and that was why he would have nothing more to do with playing cards.””

The excerpts above demonstrate how spine tingling the book is. No other book compares to Bluenose Ghosts. I highly recommend the book to anyone who craves a salty maritime ghost story.

Creighton left Canadians with a trove of rich folklore. She ‘still hasn’t been matched”. Her style and approach were considered unconventional. “Horace Beck wrote (that), “Perhaps your most important achievement is that you have done something no one else has been able to do in North America. You have brought folklore to national and public attention and given it a status in Canada it has never achieved in the United States. This you have done most singlehandedly and for this all folklorists must be forever grateful.””

Helen Creighton left a legacy to those who are passionate about ghost stories and the paranormal. She was a true pioneer. When Helen Creighton began her career, she was untrained and inexperienced but that didn’t stop her.

“Over the course of her career, Creighton collected over 60,000 materials including 4,000 songs and ballads. She authored thirteen books of traditional songs, ballads and stories, of which her Bluenose Ghosts is the most widely known. She also wrote an autobiography, and a number of articles. She received many awards, including Distinguished Folklorist of 1981 (Canada); six honorary doctorates; Fellow of the American Folklore Society, Honorary Life President of the Canadian Authors’ Association; and The Order of Canada. Helen was awarded Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 by Folk Alliance International. In 2018, Parks Canada designated Helen Creighton a nationally significant person who helped define Canada’s history.” The collection of her life’s work now resides at the Nova Scotia Public Archives.

 

Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Herbal Book )O(

Merry meet all,

I tried my hand at bookbinding. I want to tell you all about in this post. It turned out real well. My cat is seated on her favourite, well she loves all the rugs, and trying to keep cool in this infernal heat. I will tell you how to bind your own herbal book. As most of you know, I’m studying at the Herbal Academy. I don’t know how you all feel but I hate binders. They are so mundane. The bound book includes the lessons from the mini courses – Botanical Drawing and Flower Pressing –  I took at the Herbal Academy. 

Now I’ll tell you how I bound a book brimming with beautiful flower illustrations & photos, and of course, butterfly stickers. I borrowed that curved needle from my Mom. I don’t know what you call it but it is for book binding. I bought all the supplies I would need, such as a large bottle of glue, paint brushes, bookbinding cloth, endpapers covered in butterflies- it’s truly beautiful. I also obtained a meter of dark forest green broadcloth from the fabric store, a bone folder, and linen thread.

I laid down newspaper onto the table. Glue can soak through anything and make a real mess. Newspaper, paper towels are great for keeping things clean. The book covers are 9 x 12″. The pages are 8 1/2 by 11′. I like the way it turned out. I deliberately wanted the covers bigger just to be on the safe side. It is better than too small to fit anything. I also returned the small needle to my Mom and end up using ribbon to secure the pages. 

The pages for the book were already printed out. A few things went wrong as I began the project. I poked tiny holes into the pages on the wrong edge of the paper. The linen thread broke too easily. I felt down right intimidated by the project. I kept hearing that nagging inner voice to work on the book but I resisted. Finally I caved in and found an alternative to binding the pages together. Ribbon! That was much easier on me. I already had a beautiful purple ribbon. I dug it out and put three hole punches in the pages. By now, the pages have the tiny needle marks and the three hole punches in them but I didn’t care. This book is for me and that is that. 

I punched the three holes in careful to keep all the pages aligned. I had a total of 150 pages. Then I wound the ribbon in. I tied tight knots and dabbed a small drop of glue on the ribbon knots to ensure they never come undone. I lit the ends of the ribbon with a lighter so they never fray. Ok now that the pages were secured, I moved onto making the actual book covers. I had already glued book binding cloth onto the two book covers. I cut out the spine of the book which measured about 2 inches. I cut the green cloth to size. One thing here about book binding: leave nothing to chance. Measure EVERYTHING. You will thank yourself later. 

The spine wasn’t already covered in fabric. I found a white cloth which I ironed and laid it out on the spine. I glued the cloth to the spine piece. I have a cool little yellow tool for spreading glue. I have no idea how I lived without it. It sure comes in handy. I covered the spine of the book with the white cloth and glued it to the spine of the pages. I let it dry but I did use my yellow stick to smoothen out the glue. The book binding cloth was a lighter shade of green than the fabric for the outer covers. I didn’t mind because it will never show. I smoothed the edges of the dark green cloth over the book covers. I did opposite ends first and I used a lot of glue. Like I mean a lot of glue. The glue will soak through the fabric so it is good to have what is under the book to not be too absorbent. I smoothed out the glue to prevent bumps or puckers. I let it dry. 

Then I glued the spine of the pages to the spine of the book covers. I laid the book – insides facing up, and I kept the pages in place with two peanut butter jars. I did that so only the stuff I want glued together is glued. I left it all to dry for several hours. While I waited, I made a herbal bookmark. I had some endpapers left over from the book. You can see the print on the inside book covers in the picture. 

To make the bookmark, I glued the printed endpaper to a piece of cardboard with a glue stick. I gathered lavender and rosemary and glued it with Mod Podge to the cardboard.  I hole punched a hole in the top of the bookmark. I left it to dry. Leaving these types of projects to dry overnight is best. It takes patience to complete these projects. It is worth taking the time to do them carefully. They turn out much better than if you rushed it. 

Now the book is done! I suspect the pages are not in the correct orders & there are pages I didn’t expect that are glued in but it is all trial and error. It still looks beautiful. I love it. This book is a treasure to last for years to come. I am so grateful to study at the Herbal Academy. 

However, the glue stains show on the outer book covers. I will find something pretty to hide that. The book is bound and I love it. I hope this inspires you to create something too. 

I was busy with herbal recipes in my witch’s kitchen yesterday. I brewed a jar of rose elixir. It involves honey, rose petals, lemon petals and brandy. The potion will steep for a month. I am sure it is worth the wait. The potion in the labeled jar looks beautiful. The herbs are growing amazingly in my garden. The beans are growing well and my cucumbers. I wish the heat would go away because the pumpkins and tomatoes haven’t set fruit and I am getting worried. I deeply watered the garden this morning. The heat will be unreal today. 

As I type here, sipping mint tea, and forever grateful for the fan on, I want to express my gratitude for the bounty of nature around me. I cast a spell to have this apartment and nature was on the list of things I wanted. I love living here. I can’t wait for the insects to be gone though, mainly the mosquitoes. Yeah they can go – and the wasps. August is the spiders month. Once August rolls around, there are spiders EVERYWHERE. 

Merry Lammas !!!

Blessings, Spiderwitch

Leave a comment

Filed under gardening, magic, organic, Paranormal and Witchy Fiction, Samhain, seeds, spring

Herbal Crafts )O(

Merry meet all,

I am enjoying my herbal studies at the Herbal Academy. The flowers I’m pressing are beautiful. I plan to press a good deal more flowers soon. I”m making a flower essence out of the local summery flowers here. That includes borage, mint, lavender petals, red clover, chamomile. Mmmmm I can’t wait. I am steeping the essence outdoors in a glass bowl in my garden. Soon in another hour or two I shall strain the flowers and make the potion with brandy! Sounds good to me. 

There are so many herbs outside in my garden and the nature trail. I sure have my pick of plants. Borage, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, burdock, goldenrod, clover, and many others. I love living here as it makes my studies at the Academy much easier. The herbs I need grow in abundance around me. This encourages me to be more sustainable in my practice and to be an earth steward! Right now, I am loving the ample sunshine and loving that that will aid my floral essence in my garden. The bowl of flowers must absorb the sunlight. It is crucial to the floral essence being made properly. I plan to strain the flowers with a strainer outdoors. I am sure the glass bowl of flowers soaking in water will have some bugs in it!

I plan to do a bookbinding project of the herbal course material too. I will finish it this coming weekend. I just have to complete some stuff before that. It really is a weekend project. I promise to show photos here once I am done. I already have the supplies and I have bound/ covered the book covers in bookbinding cloth. I am not anywhere near done. I have to sew the folios together and still cover the book covers with more layers. That will give it a nice seamless look. I hope this goes well. I want to decorate the pages with pressed flowers and of course, butterfly stickers. 

There are so many crafts I can do! Flower pressing, flower essences, bookbinding, or making floral handmade paper – I am only limited by my imagination! I am covered in mosquito bites. I’m also waiting for the delivery of a beautiful embroidered leather binder from Etsy. It’s traveling as I type from the UK to Canada. I hope I don’t have to wait too long. I am using the binder for my materia medica. I can’t wait! It’s so beautiful. I think my herb notes deserve to be stored in something truly beautiful. 

On top of the herbal crafts I mentioned above, I am also helping the other plants in my garden grow to their very best. I’m growing veggies too. Celery, tomatoes, squash, parsley, coriander, lovage, basil, mint, pumpkin, potatoes, a carrot or two, beans, root veggies like turnip and radish and beets. I’m also growing chives, shallots, tons of nasturtiums, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry. The haskap berries are past their season now. The bean vines are so aggressive. I bought two poles to support the scarlet runner bean vines. They are growing a little too well. The elecampane is yet to flower. The flower buds are formed. I am just waiting on pins and needles for it to blossom! 

I bought a big tool chest from Canadian Tire. It doesn’t hold hammers and nails. Instead, the huge chest holds all my craft supplies. I now have more room in my broom closet. It filled up fast. I got the big chest on sale. I just love it. Everything I need is finally in one place and I have a place for everything! I can now enjoy doing more herbal crafts with a lot less stress. I just love the big ‘pirate’ chest. 

I wish you dear readers would let me know what herbal crafts you are doing now. Do let me know in the comments below. 

BB Spiderwitch

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Herbal dry cough syrup

Merry meet all,

If any of you are worried about contracting Covid, or are just guarding your health for your own reasons, here is a beautiful herbal remedy. I love this cough syrup. It should have a shelf life for a year. 

Ingredients:

  • Elderberry tincture – a preservative
  • hibiscus, dried and ground in a mortar and pestle
  • horehound, dried and ground in a mortar and pestle
  • echinacea root, decocted, dried and ground in a mortar and pestle
  • liquorice root, decocted, dried and ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 quart of water

Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe for a Dry Cough

Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe for a Dry Cough | Herbal Academy | This herbal cough syrup recipe containing demulcent herbs is just wonderful for soothing throat tissues during a dry cough or sore throat.

A dry unproductive cough can be caused by irritation such as dry air, smoke, allergens, and pollution, or develop during a respiratory infection. Worst of all it can be really uncomfortable, disrupting sleep, work, school, travel, and other activities, and can cause a headache or a sore throat that lasts. A dry cough and sore throat will perpetuate each other. For soothing relief, I will share with you how to easily prepare your own homemade cough syrup recipe, including moistening, inflammation-soothing, and demulcent herbs.

These herbs come to your aid in a dry cough when natural protections like healthy mucosal production are lacking and the throat feels dry and scratchy. So, instead of suppressing the coughing, this herbal cough syrup is helping to reduce the irritation causing a cough so the coughing fits aren’t so painful and become more productive. The demulcent quality can also support natural healing in many cases!

dried herbs and honey ready for dry cough syrup recipe

Herbal Allies For A Dry Cough

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root, marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root, plantain (Plantago spp.) leaf and seed, and hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyces are all demulcents. The slippery nature of demulcents contributes to and influences the quality of mucus even when it has become sticky, dry, and stuck, helping to unstick and thin the natural mucosal layer, making it more functional and protective. This effectively makes demulcents expectorant too!  This is particularly supportive in a dry cough or when there is an urge to cough but no cough is present. In these cases, mucus may be present though it is too thick, hardened, and inert to elicit a cough—or too thick and sticky to expel effectively by coughing. These herbs can also be used to reduce the impact of airborne allergens and other irritants, such as smoke or pollution that often occurs in densely populated areas. 

Licorice – Glycyrrhiza glabra (root)

The Genus name, Glycyrrhiza, is of Greek origin, with glykys meaning “sweet” and rhiza meaning “root”. A well-suited name for this herb!

Licorice is a sweet, neutral, and moist root that restores, relaxes, and softens. Polysaccharides in the root contribute to its soothing, demulcent quality. Licorice also has anti-inflammatory properties making it ideal for afflictions that are hot and dry, such as sore throats related to bronchitis and dry coughs. 

Licorice may also act as a broad-spectrum antiviral that either prevents a virus from entering cells, directly kills a virus through a variety of mechanisms (e.g., stops replication, inhibits growth), or stimulates the immune system to attack a virus.  

Glycyrrhizin, its most noted antiviral constituent is also 50 times sweeter than sugar and gives licorice its sweet taste. (Buhner, 2013)

Safety: Licorice should not be taken long-term (more than 4-6 weeks) or in high doses (Buhner, 2013). Licorice can induce a drop in potassium, leading to high blood pressure, and weakness. Those with high blood pressure, heart, liver, and kidney disease, diabetes, and pregnant women should not use whole licorice. 

infusing herbs in a jar for cough syrup recipe

Marshmallow Root – Althaea officinalis (root)

The demulcent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and emollient properties of marshmallow have long been in use to soothe inflammation and sore throats (Whelan, n.d.). Nowadays herbalists still value this demulcent for supporting mucosal membranes. Additionally, the German Commission E, a scientific federal medical advisory board, has approved marshmallow root for oral and pharyngeal mucosa irritation and dry cough (Hoffmann, 2003).

Plantain – Plantago spp. (esp. P. lanceolata and P. major)(leaf)

This seemingly lowly little weed, ubiquitous in disturbed and compacted soils around the world, has a surprisingly broad range of uses! Among these many uses, plantain is a powerful ally for lung health, helping to soothe inflamed and irritated airways (Gray, 2011). 

Hibiscus – Hibiscus sabdariffa (calyces)

The calyces of the luscious hibiscus plant are both astringent and demulcent, making it juicy and yet tonifying, supporting the functions of our natural barriers in a balanced way.
Besides that, it comes with a rich supply of antioxidants, including polyphenols, rutin, and anthocyanins, and has a lovely fruity taste, therefore rounding out the syrup recipe perfectly (Groves, 2016).

dry cough syrup recipe in a jar with dried herbs on table

Homemade Cough Syrup for a Dry Cough

An herbal syrup is prepared by combining a concentrated decoction and/or infusion with honey. The honey works well for any kind of cough and increases the shelf life of the decoction. Also, honey increases the palatability of less tasty herbs. Children especially find syrups to be delicious!

Ingredients

2 tablespoons licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root, dried
2 tablespoons marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) root, dried
2 tablespoons plantain (Plantago spp. (esp. P. lanceolata and P. major) leaf/ seeds, dried or fresh
2 tablespoons hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) calyces, dried
1 quart of water
1 cup raw, local honey

Directions

  • Grind the herbs in a mortar and pestle.
  • Prepare a concentrated decoction with the licorice and marshmallow root:
    Combine the dried roots with a quart of water in a saucepan as follows.
    Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the liquid volume reduces by half.
    Keep an eye on the decoction to ensure it stays at a gentle simmer and be sure to remove it from the heat before the mixture becomes too thick or scorches.
  • Prepare an infusion with the plantain and hibiscus, using the finished root decoction (Should be about 1-2 cups): Pour the hot, strained decoction over the plantain leaves and hibiscus calyces.
    Steep for at least 1 hour though not more than 8 hours.
  • Strain with a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or French press and return the liquid to the saucepan. 
  • Add the honey to the liquid in your saucepan.
  • Warm the mixture just slightly to enable the liquid and honey to mix.
    (not heating above 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Transfer syrup into a clean, dry, sterilized glass bottle(s) or jar(s) (ideally, a dark-colored jar or bottle to protect from light exposure) using a sterilized funnel. 
  • Label and store in the refrigerator.

To Use: Take 1 tablespoon every 4 hours for adults, 1 teaspoon every 4 hours for older children.
Shelf Life: Up to 1 year in the fridge.

This delicious sweet syrup makes a great addition to many beverages or foods. Or, it is tasty enough to be taken on its own. Enjoy this herbal cough syrup with a warm cup of tea, or in sparkling water or desserts—get creative here!

Being Prepared For The Allergy Season

Even if you feel balanced in the present, it’s always best to prepare as much as you can in advance so you feel supported through all of the challenges the allergy season ahead can bring. This syrup containing demulcent herbs is just wonderful for soothing throat tissues during a dry cough or sore throat. Also, consider making a batch ahead of time if you plan on spending time in an area that is heavy with pollutants or other airborne irritants.

Be sure to also check out our Homemade Cough Syrup for a Wet Cough!

Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe for a Dry Cough | Herbal Academy | This herbal cough syrup recipe containing demulcent herbs is just wonderful for soothing throat tissues during a dry cough or sore throat.

REFERENCES

Buhner, S. (2013). Herbal antivirals. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.

Gray, B. (2011). The boreal herbal: Wild food and medicine plants of the North.Whitehorse, YK: Aroma Borealis Press.

Groves, M. (2016). Body into balance. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press

Whelan, R. (n.d.). Marshmallow [Online Database]. Retrieved from http://www.rjwhelan.co.nz/herbs%20A-Z/marshmallow.html

A Free Ebook Just For You!

Sign up for the Herbal Academy Newsletter, and we’ll send you a free ebook.

Please add your email address below and click “Submit” to add yourself to our mailing list. Then check your email to find a welcome message from our Herbal Academy team with a special link to download our “Herbal Tea Throughout The Seasons” Ebook!”

Copied and pasted here from the Herbal Academy. 

I hope you all make your own beautiful herbal recipes. I would love to hear about your amazing conjurations. 

Blessings, Spiderwitch

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Summer Herb Crafts

Merry meet all,

There is so much exciting news.  The sequel to the long- awaited Stranger Things Volume 4 episode is a few days away. That and summer is here. What could be better? Yeah summer’s here. My garden is almost in full bloom. We’ve had serious rain for the last few days. On the plus side, it helps my garden grow. Plants don’t have to reach so deep for moisture. I prefer the sun though. 

I just found some mandrake and elecampane seeds! Ok now for a planter and soil. I hope that this is the year that the elecampane flowers in my garden. I want more elecampane plants. Elecampane is a medicinal herb. It has been used for its medicinal qualities since Ancient Greek and Roman times. It is used for respiratory health. I love my elecampane plant. However, this herb demands patience. It has taken a few years for it to get big and not one flower yet!

I plan to start plant spirit Magick this summer. I began reading the book Entering Hekate’s Garden: The Magick, Medicine and Mystery of Plant Spirit Witchcraft by Cyndi Brannen. I can’t wait to learn from it and try all the rituals. My cat Penny is perched above the bookcase, gazing out the window, just doing what cats do best. 

I’m enjoying my herbal studies. I finished the Fairy Home. It’s enchanting and oh so cute. I made a Summer Solstice lantern, and I am pressing sage, violets and lavender in my flower press. I just checked on my garden which is growing just beautifully. I just love this time of year. I am not so sure I love all the insects but that can’t be helped. I have a garden and they are part of the territory. 

I want to buy a beautiful leather binder from Etsy. I want to use the binder to store my Materials Medica in, my herbal monographs. I don’t want a boring binder. It says nothing about the Materia Medica. I just found a beautiful one on Etsy. I sure hope it is available tomorrow. It’s perfect. Leather can stand the test of time. I hope it would be big enough to hold all the papers I have. I want something magickal, witchy and beautiful and that binder is perfect. I am really enjoying the Flower Press course at the Herbal Academy. 

The Herbal Academy has changed my life. I don’t regret it. I can’t believe how much I have learned. It was not what I expected but I can go with that. I hope to get a good career out of this. I would still do my writing. Maybe I can write more about herbs for magazines or something. I will figure something out. I may even make gift cards with the flowers I press. I could make the gift cards out of homemade paper. I have a mold and deckle. That would be one way to make money. I told my Mom to save all her shredded paper. 

Happy Summer!

Blessed be, Spiderwitch

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Summer Solstice Lantern )O(

Merry meet all,

Happy Summer Solstice!!! I hope you are all celebrating the summer solstice. I did too and I’m going to tell you all about it in this post. I will post a link below to the blog post from Herbal Academy that tells you how to make it. I’m taking the summer course on how to press flowers at the Herbal Academy. 

To make a Summer Solstice Lantern, clean and wash a large glass jar like one you use for pasta sauce. Let it air dry. For this project, I didn’t press the flowers first but they are supposed to be pressed. Also, instead of white glue or Mod Podge glue, I used a hot glue gun. I used the watered down white glue at first. I discovered that a hot glue gun was better at making flowers adhere to the jar. Afterwards, I bought and used Mod Podge to give it a permanent finish. It looks great and yours will too. 

You will need the following supplies:

  • a hot glue gun and glue
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • a clean dry jar
  • flowers
  • white glue
  • Mod Podge glue
  • paper towel and a work surface – glue can get messy
  • twine, a wire
  • salt
  • tealights

Ok let’s get started. So once your jar is clean and dry, set it down on your workspace. Have old newspaper and paper towel nearby. This can get messy. If you pressed the flowers ahead of time, that’s great. I used the flowers I picked today for this project. Clean off any bugs and snip off the stems. It’s a good idea to use flat faced flowers for this project such as buttercup, white Shasta daisies, violets, red clover leaves. Use a paintbrush to dab on the glue of your choice to the jar. Before the glue dries, pick up the delicate flower with the tweezers and stick it on the jar where you dabbed the glue. Apply the flower with gentle firm pressure. 

This is tricky. You can’t tear or cut the flower. I brushed from the centre of the flower out to the petals. I dabbed the glue over the face of the flower in gentle, outward strokes. I suggest making sure the flower face stays flat. So be gentle with this step. Add more flowers to the jar. Think about the design you want it to have. Let the jar dry thoroughly. Be patient with this project. Arrange the flowers around the jar as you choose. Keep dabbing glue on to the jar and applying gentle firm pressure till you are satisfied with it. Place stems around flowers or under flowers or in whichever design you choose. 

Gently dab glue over the flowers. I suggest using Mod Podge for this step. It gives the flowers a frosted finish. When it has all dried, then you can proceed to the next step. You can wrap a wire around the opening of the jar. I secured mine with a dab of hot glue. I love my hot glue gun, can you tell? The instructions on how to do this are in the link. Then add a few inches of salt into the jar. Put a tea light in perhaps one with essential oils added to the candle, and watch the candle glow in your personal Summer Solstice Lantern. I hope you have fun with this and show me pictures of your own summery crafts. 

Below is the link to the blog post from the Herbal Academy:

Link: https://theherbalacademy.com/flower-lanterns/ 

Happy Solstice!

Blessings, Spiderwitch

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction

Fairy House )O(

Merry meet all,

Summer Solstice is almost here. Here is a beautiful idea to celebrate the Solstice. I was inspired to create a fairy house. I am not sure what inspired me but I trusted it. I’m posting here to tell you how I constructed the beautiful fairy house. I almost want to move in, except I am not small enough. That’s why it is a Fairy House!

Let’s get started:

SUPPLIES

  • A glue gun
  • lots of glue
  • lots of popsicle sticks
  • acrylic paint
  • paintbrush
  • paint sticks
  • cedar bark
  • pinecones
  • acorns
  • twigs
  • ivy leaves
  • witch hazel leaves
  • oak leaves
  • arrowhead, miniature furniture, fairy doll (optional or add later)
  • a sealant of some kind to preserve your creation
  • Patience

To begin, set down newspaper and paper towel. You will need lots of it. That is now your workspace. Lay out all your supplies. Also, this can’t be done in one day. Don’t rush it and do take your time. It will turn out much better. Now snap the paint sticks in half and arrange them vertically in your workspace. This is the base of the house. Glue them together and paint them your desired colour. Set it aside. 

Now lay seven to nine popsicle sticks together horizontally. Keep them neat and very close to each other. Now without moving the sticks, set down two popsicle sticks on the right and the left of the sticks. Glue them together with the hot glue gun. Be sure they are glued together. Do this with 4 other sets of seven to nine sticks. This is to build the roof and walls of the house. Let them dry. Once they have fully dried and are truly glued together, you can paint them your desired colour. Or you can use popsicle sticks that are already coloured. I was going for a rustic look and so used lots of browns but it is your choice. 

I didn’t add windows but you can if you choose. Now here is the tricky part: assembling the house. Determine how you want the house to be. I set the walls of the house down on the base. I kept shifting the walls until I liked the way it was. Be flexible while you create your house. I glued a stick to the bottom of the walls. I glued a popsicle stick to the popsicle sticks then was able to glue it to the base. The popsicle sticks have curved ends. It would have been tricky to adhere otherwise. Once the walls are glued to the base, then work on the roof. Once you glue everything, it is permanent. Be certain it is the way you want it. Or maybe you want the roof removable. Glue the roof to the walls of the house. 

Once the whole house is glued and secure, you can decorate. I would suggest completing this step first. Now that that is done, you can go outside and gather pinecones, acorns, twigs, leaves, flowers, herbs or stones. It’s early summer here so I had a hard time finding any acorns. I finally found an intact acorn in a jar in my kitchen. Use twigs and leaves to hide any awkward ugly corners from view. Use twigs for windows or doors. I set a bird nest on the roof. It clipped on so I didn’t have to glue it. 

Before you adhere a pinecone to your masterpiece, you may want to clean them for critters. If it just came in from outside, insects may have been living on it. Soak pinecones, twigs, acorns, leaves and twigs in water and half a cup to a cup of vinegar for 20 minutes. Bake the pinecones and acorns in the oven at 200 F for half an hour. Let them dry then pat them dry with a paper towel. 

Now you can decorate. Oh and to make the door, stack five popsicle sticks together neatly then arrange a stick on the right and the left. Then glue and paint them. I snapped two popsicle sticks in half. I hope by now you can see why I said lots of popsicle sticks and glue earlier. Then I laid them on top of each other and glued them. I glued them to the five popsicle sticks. That made the door. 

Now feel free to decorate the house. You can decorate to your hearts content. I layered the leaves over each other on the roof. I set down two big cedar bark pieces on the roof. Then I added the cedar, oak and ivy leaves. I used the ivy leaves to cover bad spots and to create a path to the door. Search your house for tiny treasures such as the arrowhead I have on the roof of the house. I hope you have fun creating the house. You are only limited by your imagination. I wrote Fairy Home on a popsicle stick and glued that to the roof. I used the twigs as windowsills, to fill in spaces and add decoration. 

Have fun creating your fairy house. Don’t forget to add a fairy or two to inhabit the house. You can search toystores for miniature furniture. I don’t have a fairy or mini furniture yet but soon. Don’t leave the house outside or it won’t last. You can coat the entire house in a silicone sealant to preserve your creation. Don’t use cardboard to make the house. Wood is much sturdier. When you’re done, perform a fairy blessing on it. 

Enjoy!

Blessings, Spiderwitch )O(

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Paranormal and Witchy Fiction