Friday, 17 October 2014

Seed Sowing in Da Orchard

A team of amazing volunteers gathered together to sow the first wildflower seeds onto the muddy stripped fields that are to be Northaw Community Orchard …..
The land was dug up n all of the massive brambles and assorted rubbish removed, then it was walked and bramble roots picked out 
 We mixed 100g of wild flower seeds in 2 handfuls of builders sand and sowed a bowlful per 20m squared 

 It is a total privilege being part of a community group and hanging out with people that want to give, be outdoors creating positive change Thank you to everyone involved.

We plan to plant 75 trees mixed fruit and nuts which will go in next Feb, have a community bee project on the land and run educational workshops

We are looking for artists to come and create beautiful natural pieces, anyone any good with a chain saw? Because we'd love some benches…..

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Horseradish     Mars

It’s creeping towards the start of the freezy winter months and all things warming and spicy are the order of the season.  We’ve just been digging up horseradish root with our apprentices in preparation for the winter roots weekend in November.  Its a hot herb of Mars. 

Eva discovers hidden hot treasures beneath the ground

Horseradish is really circulatory and stimulating.  It is so hot that when you chop it up, the enzymes release mustard oil into the atmosphere and sting your eyes.  I was wearing goggles to chop it yesterday. When you chew a small amount, once the heat has subsided, has a distinct bitter taste which is responsible for encouraging the digestion by stimulating the liver and pancreas.  Great for helping to digest rich meat dishes!

It is said that the oracle of Delphi said to Apollo that Horseradish is worth its weight in gold.  She was right; it’s a hugely valuable plant both medicinally and as a condiment.

We use it as part of our Ache Ease balm to bring circulation to a damaged or inflammed joint or as a rub for tired achey muscles.  As you've heard it can be very irritant so it is best to mix with some other oils.  In our Ache Ease Balm we also use comfrey and heather oil.

Making Horseradish oil

Chop it up as thinly and as small as possible soon after harvesting.  If you wait too long and it becomes too dry and it is nearly impossible to chop.  This time I placed the chopped pieces into a brown paper bag and in the airing cupboard for 3 to 4 days to get most of the moisture out.  If you put the root in the oil still moist, the oil will go rancid.

Horseradish slices in almond oil

It then goes into a clean jar and covered in oil.  Almond oil is our oil of choice but any oil will do.  Olive is thicker with more smell, grape seed very light.  As it starts to mix and absorb the oil, the horseradish releases sulphurous gasses which you see as bubbles rising to the surface of the oil.  Every couple of days its important to release the lid to let the eggy gasses out....After 2 weeks you can strain  the horseradish out of the oil through a muslin cloth and store your oil to combine with other oils of your choice.

Foody ideas

We have kept a big lump of the root back to use in stews and on sandwiches.  The root needs to be kept wrapped up so that the air doesn’t get to it (this stops it from loosing its spicy volatile oils and going bitter) and stored in the fridge.  It can just be taken out and a small amount grated into stews or sandwiches.

Conscious harvesting

After harvesting we planted fennel seeds and gave thanks

Charli lovin' the horseradish

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sugar Free Rosehip Syrup recipe

Rosa canina is a beautiful delicate flower, turning to red sexy hip gracing many of our hedgerows. Growing abundantly often intertwined with her equally protective and prickly cousin Hawthorn. Her pale pink heart shaped petals give us a clear indication of one of her medicinal virtues – to sooth any anxieties especially of the heart and issues of love and grief, her hips full of vitamin C nourishing and nurturing.

Her delicate floral flavours are uplifting and cooling, her scent attractive and calming. It is important to take care whilst harvesting as her barbed shaped thorns can be oh so vicious –we take it as a no nonsense message to move on to another bush. Her sexy fruity hips out right now in Autumn, encompass the reproductive system in their juicy red nourishing shells filled with thousands of seeds – When preparing these it is important to be aware that the tiny hairs are extremely irritant and in fact are the origins of itchy powder.

Rosehips are renowned for treating arthritic complaints with great results interestingly especially the knees.  Perhaps the mode of action for this is through her amazing effect healing the gut, as well as the anti-inflammatory effects she imparts.

Emotionally we have used the the rosehips especially in syrup from to put nurture back in when you’ve been giving out to others.  This is a particularly maternal quality, the constant Giver.

• rosehips
• apple juice concentrate
• spring water

1. place the washed rosehips in a large pan
2. cover with spring water
3. bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 mins
4. mash it all up with a potatoe masher
5. Put it through a food mill (see picture)
6. Pour through a jelly bag/or muslin square
7. Add the apple concentrate at a ratio of 2 parts apple to 1 part rosehips and boil rapidly for another 5 minutes. Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal immediately.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Antimicrobial Aromatic Potion to ward of Colds and Flus

Our garden path is lined with the most delightful scented aromatic herbs and it is a constant wonder to the children and adult’s alike hands are trailed along and wonderful smells released each journey up or down it. Amongst others you’ll meet the uplifting, protective, rosemary, calming lavender, pungent thyme, heady sage, smoky wormwood, tasty marjoram and sweet myrtle. All aromatics are anti-microbial in their very nature the high scents are often part of the plants own protective system to ward off pests and illness. Aromatic after the word aroma just means smelly!

Today I have decided to make a tincture to go towards making the next Tonsil Tickler Throat Spray of ours. The way I make tincture is very simple. I choose the herbs I want in it, so in this layer cake there is calendula, daisy (lymphatics), rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, myrtle (aromatics) lavender (anti inflammatory aromatic) Nastursium Flowers, Borage…..delicious and so pretty a mix.

I harvest the plants on a dry day after the morning dew has evaporated, the moon is nearly full so all the energy  of the plant is at full power….

Then I chop up the pack as much as possible into a jar and cover with good quality  vodka, label and date the tincture and one lunar cycle later strain the herb out and what is left is your tincture.

I shall be making elderberry syrup to add to this potion in the autumn and then I shall mix it all up together.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Magical Lemon Balm - Anti depressant, Anti Viral, Cold Sore Healing ……..n many more!

May Full Moon and what a treat we have with wonderful sunny warm weather a prefect day for a garden harvest, I love to harvest the Ariel parts of plants inuring the full moon when I know all the energies in the herbs are pulsating upwards to bathe in maximum light. I was in my shed dispensing and noticed that last years lemon balm (Melissa) tincture was almost finished so what better time to replenish stocks…

The Lemon Balm is in full leafy glory at this time of year and each time I wander up my garden path, brushing past various aromatics, the sweet sharp lemony aromas makes me smile. I found a glass jar then holding an intention of calming, uplifting healing, began harvesting juicy leaf tops whilst opening my voice and letting words flow through me. I found myself singing about community love and support and the importance of self-nurture. Each plant has a song and I find it great fun to let my imagination and creative play free whilst working with plant energies.

Once the jar was full of green, delightfully smelling leaves I covered half the jar with Vodka and the top half with 80 percent alcohol from a holiday aboard. I want to have a higher strength alcohol to extract some more of the volatile oils. I am going to put this tincture out side in the moon light, standing on a picture of symbols for love support community and self care for the next 3 nights before straining, I have a mantra to speak to the potion, ‘ With Great Love and Respect I ask for Powerful Healings, Calming, Uplifting Support & connection between all Life. Thank you.’

Lemon Balm is a very easy herb to grow one of the Mint family (recognisable by their square stems) it is quick to establish in the garden and move around taking over beds (I don’t mind too much!).

Lemon balm’s Greek derived scientific name “Melissa”
Is from the fact that it is a favourite of bees and in
Ancient Greece sprigs of lemon balm were placed into beehives to attract wandering honeybee swarms we now know that one of its citrusy scents mimics the homing pheromone of bees. It is delightful to watch the honeybees drinking her nectar on summer days.

It is thought that during the 10th century the Arabs who had it as a valued part of their Materia Medica for many hundreds of year’s prior introduced the plant to Europe. So thank you for that wonderful present!

Lemon balm seemed to be a favorite of William Shakespeare; lemon balm was used as a secret messenger or code, in the language of flowers, between lovers to signify sympathy. And is written into several of his plays.

Recent scientific studies have proven the anti-viral effectiveness of lemon balm specifically in shortening the healing time of herpes cold sores and outbreak of shingles (we have it in our lip balms with hypericum another great anti-viral herb) & there are ongoing research programme in the treatment of Grave’s disease, hyperthyroid, and Alzheimer’s/dementia. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Native Superfood Kale….Delicious Curly Kale Crisps…

On my Raw adventuring I am delighted by curly Kale crisps, happily tucking into a bowl of them with an evening film when the world around eats dorites….
I have purchased a food dehydrator and this new recepies of dried tomato and cashew Kale crisps is my favourite this month.

                1 large bunch of kale, stems discarded and leaves ripped up
                30 grams homegrown dried tomatoes, soaked in water to soften for at least 1 hour
                1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
                2 large garlic cloves
                2 tbsp fresh lime juice
                2 tbsp yeast flakes


  •  In two separate bowls, soak the sun-dried tomatoes and cashews in water for at least 1 hour, I left them over night but it can be done quicker if you need.
  • ·       After soaking, keep the tomato soaking water. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  • ·       In a food processer then mince up the nuts and add crushed garlic and the rest of ingrediants including the tomatoe water
  • ·       tear the kale into pieces in a large bowl. Pour the sauce on top of the kale and stir with a spoon. Then toss the spoon and get in there with your hands to massage the sauce into the kale until well coated.
  • ·      Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • ·      Dehydrate for about 8 hours at 115F.
  • ·       EAT


In the wild, the Brassica oleracea plant is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe but Kale has been cultivated for over 2,000 years. In much of Europe it was the most widely eaten green vegetable until the Middle Ages when cabbages became more popular. Historically it has been particularly important in colder regions due to its resistance to frost. In nineteenth century Scotland kail was used as a generic term for 'dinner' and all kitchens featured a kail-pot for cooking.

Kale was grown as a staple crop in the the Scottish Islands due to it’s extreme hardiness, and was given protection from the elements in purpose built Kale Yards. Indeed, almost every house had a kale yard and preserved kale in barrels of salt, similar to sourkraut in Germany. They also fed it to livestock through the winter. Kale continued to be extremely important until potatoes came to the Islands towards the end of the 18th century.


Portion for portion kale is hard to beat when it comes to the number of nutrients it contains and a great choice for those wanting to enjoy a healthy balanced diet. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as containing useful amounts of manganese, copper and phytochemicals, which are believed to help against certain types of cancer.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Hepatitis C / Shingles Demon Rash from Hell…..

I have an itchy irritating rash on my torso and under my breasts. It first appeared last springtime and after 3 separate visits to my GPs I was none the wiser as to a ‘diagnosis’. I treated it as Shingles and after 2 weeks it disappeared leaving a slight itch but no visible sign of rash. Now a year on it is back and I feel very irritable and annoyed at myself that I haven’t led a purist lifestyle so perhaps let it back into my life…I chuckle as I write this because only one side of my Gemini self feels annoyed the other is treating this as another interesting challenge, what can I learn, how can I grow?

This rash began after a few days of not getting enough sleep on holidays and I wasn’t eating my preferred diet…even though I took my juicer away I was eating lots of bread and cheese, chocolate and salted nuts…..Anyhow I don’t know what it is called this rash but it feels to me like a herpes infection. The reason that the GPs didn’t diagnose shingles or Herpes Zoster is because this rash is all around my torso and shingles are normally along one dermatome or on one side of the body.

I have browsed the net looking at loads of rashes and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter what it is called all I need to understand is how to treat myself so that my system can shake it off and get better.

So this is how I am treating myself –

Because it is extremely itching and irritating I am using herbs to support my nervous system I am taking hypericum as a Nervine tonic and also because I know it is an excellent ant viral herb and I am sure this rash is viral in some way. I also have Hepatitis C (another virus) so the hypericum supports my liver.

I am eating Aloe Vera gel most bitter but it feels good. Topically I started with the Aloe Vera gel and Lavender essential oil but as the rash has progressed and is now open and weeping I am using calendula, hypericum and lavender in our own home made healing balm I have added peppermint oil to this which is amazingly cooling and pain numbing.

Milk Thistle I normally take daily but I have upped my intake to 5 capsules a day this is a fab liver herb. I have gone entirely raw with my food and having 3 green juices daily with plenty of lime and lemon juice in water in between.

Teas of calendula, red clover and hypericum are free flowing, both Calendula & Red Clover are lymphatic herbs and will help clear all the old viral particals and dead and dying skin cells, transporting the debri away.

Through the night I am taking valerian to help me relax to sleep alongside yogic breathing and meditation –

I have found it helpful to practice a 4 part breath – 
4 counts inhalation 
2 counts pause 
4 counts exhalation 
& another 2 counts pause.

Visualising inhaling fresh cooling healthily oxygen,
in the pause I search for all the irritation in myself & collect it up for exhalation
Breath it all out
then in the pause I collect cool fresh air again

repeating this has really helped me to relax and let go of the constant itch.

I have been using the shiatsu point the great eliminator for a few moments before each juice… and thinking about all the things in my life that I find irritating, making lists to burn….

Oat bathing has soothed and nourished the skin -I simple take a generous handful of porridge oats and tie them up in a muslim with a rubber band, then use them like a sponge in the bath they go all creamy and create a lovely milk that I have left on the rash to dry.

With Hepatitis itching skin called Puritis is a common symptoms as are rashes makes sense that if the liver a primary organ of detoxification is struggling that toxins will come out in the skin. The rash is Hot so to me it makes sense to cool my system I just hope that I can keep cool when it leaves. It is in fact my body talking to me telling me that I need more rest and relaxation and more time to be mindful of myself, take more care over my nutrition which relies on having the space to think and prepare what I am eating with care, more meditation time and more cuddles with my loved ones.