Making Magical Tinctures ☽ 🌕 ☾

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Army of Tincture Jars

N O S T A L G I A

Since I was a little girl, nothing seemed so appealing to me than living deep in the woods, immersed with the plants, the cycle of the moon, the animals.  The dirt swept clean with my broom and the leaves entangled in my hair.  I wanted to be a witch. In fact, most children I knew wanted to be witches or let’s face it – felt like we were witches.  I remember at around 7, speaking to the sky for it to rain and feeling the most awesome power when a drop, then another and another fell on my skin.

In the very back of our property, there was a large vegetable and herb garden as well as a large brick fire pit conveniently located beside “the witches’ fort.” This was an enclosure of twisted apple trees that not only formed 4 “walls” and a door, but a roof! My Dad laid the ground within the trees with red brick. I can’t really express how perfect this spot was, we had wooden shelves and stump tables and seats.  My Mom actually let us have an old broom out there as well as an ancestral cooking pot (I think she regretted it later), some wooden salad bowls and wooden spoons.  I didn’t really know what else you could want in life!

I remember walking barefoot to the garden, picking herbs and placing them in the pot with some puddle water while munching away on chives. Now, as an adult, I am essentially doing the exact same thing – still barefoot in the summer but making tinctures and infusions!

M A K I N G  T I N C T U R E S

During the waxing Snow Moon, I combined our homemade Apple Cider Vinegar with all of our dried dandelion leaves and roots to make a super tonic!   According to Mountain Rose Herbs, using a vinegar to extract and preserve a plant is an “extract” rather than a tincture (which uses alcohol) – but tinctures just sound so much more fun ;).

I simply combined dried dandelion leaves and roots in a large mason jar and covered with Apple Cider Vinegar.  I stored it in a cool, dry spot out of direct sunlight (a cupboard) and shook it every once in a while, to make sure the plant parts were completely covered with the liquid.  It sat in the cupboard for around 5 weeks (I mark it on my calendar so I know for sure). The vinegar extracts and preserves the potent healing elements of the plant as well as adding some super beneficial bacteria and enzymes (I’m not a health professional so don’t quote me on anything! I simply like old folk methods).

I decided to name them SAP MOON since I bottled them on the Full Moon in March.  My calendar calls this the WORM MOON but that really doesn’t make any sense for where we live in the North East.  Sap makes so much more sense since this is the time we tap our maple trees to make the most delicious sweetener on the planet, Maple Syrup :D. I also love the idea of working by the cycles of the moon for making concoctions as well as gardening and tending to plants!

I also love the idea of naming now all my infusions or herbal remedies the name of whatever full moon it is – that way I know the rough date (you can always check back online to see if you need the exact date) to know the age of your remedies.  I added a little “2017” on the label in the case that it somehow gets shoved to the back of my cupboard and makes an appearance in 10 years ;).

A P P L E  C I D E R  V I N E G A R

One of the apple trees

For years now, I have been reading about the amazing benefits of natural Apple Cider Vinegar.  I decided to try to make our own and now after learning how simple it is, I don’t think I’ll ever buy it again (or I hope not to!).  We have one very old, large apple tree that produce hundreds of large, yellow, sweet apples (not pictured above, the above has the most delicious, crisp apples).   I have no idea what type they are but I made several batches using this type.  They are a soft, sweet apple ideal for baking so our cider is light and sort of sweet tasting!

ACV
Behold the Living Mother!
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The vinegar on the left is the dandelion extract and on the right is just plain old apple cider vinegar

D a n d e l i o n  L E A F & R O O T 

Henry among some of our dandelions last spring
Henry among some of the dandelions last spring

Dandelions are such bountiful and healthful herbs!  Last spring, I watched the chickens go wild over the leaves and congregate around the plants.  I began to collect the leaves and even dig up some of the roots to dry indoors. We tried to eat them in salad but I found them too bitter to eat fresh.  And so, last spring I was determined to make an overall tonic with them in the form of a tincture.

B E N E F I T S (Information below taken from: Lust, John ” The Herb Book”1974):

” Aperient, cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, tonic.  Dandelion has two particularly important uses: to promote the formation of bile and to remove excess water from the body in edemous conditions resulting from liver problems.” Lust, J. 171.

Aperient – mild laxative

cholagogue – agent used to increase the flow of bile into the intestines

diuretic – agent that increases the expulsion of urine

stomachic – agent that strengthens, tones and stimulates the stomach

tonic – agent that strengthens the organs of the entire organism

 

My little tincture
My little tincture ❤

 

And so, my first ever REAL LIFE magical concoctions (that isn’t tea or just food).  My childhood self would definitely approve.   I have a batch of 10 of these little gems and thinking in the future, perhaps after the next trip around the sun, I will put some of my remedies in an online shop or just sell at markets, etc.   Simply add a few drops to your morning water or herbal tea and you are golden 😉  (as long as you don’t have an allergy to ragweed..)!

FARE THEE WELL & MERRY PART !

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Some of our poppies last June!  I can not WAIT, I can hardly contain my excitement >.<

(On one other side note, I am trying very hard to have regular social media ‘detoxes’.  I have simply decided to not go on instagram (my only social media really) during the weekdays. I could write a whole other post about this because I think it’s actually really important but maybe for another day!  I just wanted to shout out if you have noticed me absent… which I doubt anyone has…  it’s because I am just choosing to be offline and seek balance in my everyday life. This is something that has sorely been lacking since I have a compulsion to check social media throughout my day. Thank you <3)

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13 thoughts on “Making Magical Tinctures ☽ 🌕 ☾

  1. Your apple tree house from the childhood so much reminded me of my own! We had something similar, but it had grown around a bench with a giant jasmine bush on one side and raspberry bushes on the other. A bit prickly, those raspberries, but tasty! 🙂 We also had a magical apple tree in the garden, it produced many different varieties of apples. My grandfather was very skilled at grafting foreign branches to it.

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    1. Hi Elena!

      Thanks so much for sharing this with me! Apple trees are so magical, don’t you think? I think that if you grew up with an “apple tree house” (such a perfect description!) it would be difficult to disagree 😉 Yours sounds wonderful! I wish so badly I had photographs but sadly the trees were cut down before we moved away.

      We also had a black raspberry bush near ours! That sounds amazing to have a tree with different apples growing from it… wow I wish I had your grandfathers skills! Grafting is something I am very interested in, I wish I had a grandfather to show me, instead I have youtube videos 😦

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      1. From what I remember, he always used to say that you have to start with a strong, healthy tree, hardy, reliable. Then you graft no more than one branch in two years because to graft a branch, you have to cut off an existing one. You need to give the tree time to recover. And you have to nurse the graft, cure infections, apply anti-fungals and antibiotics… for apple trees, obviously, not the human variety. 🙂 Then you can graft any kind of southern tender branches, you just wrap them up in winter a bit, the tree will do the rest. And this was in Russia, mind you, it gets -30C to -40C in January and winter lasts half a year. He grew peaches and paradise apples on that tree, those apples fill up with juice and become completely translucent when ripe. You can see the seeds inside…

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      2. Thank you so much for this information! I’m going to copy it all down into my gardening journal. I prefer this kind of handed down knowledge over reading articles, etc. We get -30C in the winter here too so you have given me hope! Thank you!

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    1. Hi Margaret!

      Well thank you very much! I am trying out not opening the app during the weekdays, period but it’s the weekend now so I will be posting! Thanks for stopping by the blog and I hope to have 2 knitting related posts in the next couple of days!

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  2. I have missed you on IG, but that’s a wise approach to dealing with its tendency to become overly consuming. I renamed the Worm moon the Maple moon for the same reason. So much more fitting for our climate and locale! Love reading about your tinctures and ACV, and your witches’ fort!

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    1. Awh, Valerie I have missed you too! It is the weekend though so I will be breaking my …break haha. I am going to do my best really for the next couple weeks to continue to stay off during the weekdays. I am simply just so much more productive in areas that I have been neglecting lately (like reading and baking bread!) and especially the next couple of months since the outdoor work is endless (our back yard looks like a tornado flew through it – felled trees everywhere and branches strewn about wildly).

      Maple Moon is excellent as well! I was thinking of making a moon calendar and renaming the moons for our own climate, I’d love to hear some of your other names!

      I’ll “stop in” today to say hi!

      J

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  3. As always, Julia, your posts warm my heart. My childhood was also spent in the woods, though I had a mother that forbade me to do so (she was terrified that I would get hurt). I would sneak out and wander back into the woods by the pond, conversing with plants, animals and all kinds of crawly things, and stones, and built little secret homes for myself. I could never figure out how my mom knew I had disobeyed her. All she had to do was look at my clothing to see the mud stains & water marks from wandering at the pond’s edge! Ha! Ha! Though she would discipline me, I always went right back out to the woods. Fortunately, my father was an avid outdoors person & farmer/gardener, and fully supported my passion for the outdoors and nature. He even would bring home injured animals for me to nurse back to health! I, too, now make my own tinctures, teas, dyes/inks, etc from our wonderous plant friends…and still wander freely through the woods. 😉

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    1. Hi Bonnie!

      This is a really wonderful story! I’m glad for you that you still got to roam the woods despite your mother being worried about you! You definitely are lucky that your father was an outdoorsman and you were encouraged to love the natural world. I remember as a child, knowing every single aspect of the property I grew up on – knowing exactly how to run as fast as I could or hoping from rock to rock or climbing trees so I would not get hurt. Did you grow up in the country too?

      It’s funny, my mom was very happy to just get me outside. I just remember her calling my name so I’d come in for lunch and then for supper! I loved the trees and moss more than anything.

      I would love to make dyes and inks. I have started to collect some recipes and am hoping to start soon, especially using the local flora and fauna of PEI and Nova Scotia. If you have any tips, I am all ears (or eyes).

      Happy Spring!! Luck & Light for the new Season!

      ** As for social media, oh boy! I could have a lot to say about it. In a lot of ways, it’s awesome and has changed my life for the better but in a lot of ways, I find I am just mindlessly wasting time on it or comparing my life to others and in the process developing a pretty unhealthy state of mind. The breaks from it have been helping a lot! I’m glad to see others feel the need to “break” from it as well (so I don’t feel like I’m an odd duck!). I actually prefer blogging because I feel like I have a better relationship with the people I communicate with on here and and I just feel like I can share more of who I am on here if that makes any sense.

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      1. Well, we have one more thing in common, for I too was always running as a child. I loved the sense freedom it gave me as if I could fly! Yes, I grew up in the country in western NY, near Buffalo. The area was surrounded by farms and woodlands. Sadly, that area has all fallen to development of fancy big houses in subdivision after subdivision. My husband grew up in a very rural area along the southern shores of Lake Ontario – also farmland and woodland. Fortunately, it still is this way. We purchased a house and some land about 3-1/2 years ago and worked at getting it ready. Lots of hard work to totally gut the place and redesign the entire interior to support the way we live out lives – doing most of the work ourselves. Last November we moved in! It is such a joy to be in a place that energetically is attuned to us and we to it. 😄 I truly am living the life that I have longed for! When I get a chance I’ll send some tips on dyeing/ink making. And I’ll let you know when I get back to blogging too. 😉

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  4. I forgot to mention that I haven’t noticed you missing from IG because I have been missing from IG, too! It’s so easy to fall down that cyber rabbit hole! I have begun establishing a new discipline, like you, to severely limit my social media time. I check emails most everyday, but IG and blogs I limit to one or two days a week. I like your idea of weekdays off and weekends on. Weekdays I try to spend in my studio, and for all the work related to living a sustainable life in the country now…one I have longing for all my adult life!

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