Gardening, Plants & Herbalism APRIL Pt. 2

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Crocuses!

Hi dearest Fae readers!

How are you all!   I am currently sitting at my kitchen counter, taking a break from making pizzas to finally post my last experience with plants, gardening and herbalism of April 2017.  It has been a beautiful past week, the sun is shining right into the window before me, bathing the plants and warming my soul.  The wind has lost her bite and is back to being a good, powerful ally.  One of my favourite friends.

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A kitchen workspace, sitting on a stool and very happy indeed!
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True love ❤ Petey and Pangur sitting in a tree – this is usually the case somewhere in the house!

This week has been extremely busy and I am happy to finally sit down and not have a million things going on in my head at once (Although, I might still be buzzing – still need to finish those taxes… sigh).   We have been graced with the most refreshing rain (that Henry and I got caught in yesterday, drenched to the bone!), such pleasant warm temperatures and just a general blissful attitude in the midst of a little bit of chaos.

WHY have we been so busy?  Well, I am knee deep in garden working – sowing already potatoes, onions, kale, spinach and wildflowers, collecting natural fertilizer from the sea, planting trees, working with the indoor seedlings as well as just other general things.  Aside from that, which obviously is only limited to certain times of the day – our washing machine broke.  Yes, it  is a 12 year old machine that came with the house when we bought it. I felt rather stressed since we absolutely need a washing machine and the price to replace one is not cheap.  Moreover, the room in which our washer and dryer are hooked up is reached to by going through our upstairs bathroom (probably once a hallway to the room).  Well, the previous owners must have had the washer installed and afterwards, installed a corner shower in the bathroom because the shower blocks about 5 inches of the old door (I’m sorry if this is confusing!  It’s an old house and some things just negate common sense since these houses were not built for showers and washing machines!).   Our solution?  We tore out the shower with the intention of redoing the whole bathroom (it needed to be done at some point, why not now?).  So, our first renovation job for our house is coming a little bit earlier than anticipated! Thankfully, our new washing machine arrived yesterday, so I can finally, finally, finally wash our clothes at home (it has been broken 2 months – yes, we procrastinate and used a laundromat), including sheets and quilts and arg I am so excited!  I really never thought I would see the day that a washing machine would excite me SO much (Have you watched Tales from the Green Valley?  The old way of doing laundry was SO so so much work, I’m very grateful for these machines).  Next step is to build a clothesline and then I will be feeling very grateful indeed.

Anyhow, that was a little overwhelming and maybe a little too much about washing machines.  I wanted to share a couple of pictures from the week about some of the things we have been up to.  The crocuses and siberian squill are blooming – the tulips rising.  Dandelions are popping up all over the place and I have been digging up, scrubbing and cutting up the roots for roasted tea (the plants that have crept up in garden spaces).  The robins have been flying to and fro and I even saw 3 Cedar Waxwings the other day! The tide has been so incredibly low on our evening walks to the river and we are only spotting gulls and ducks – no longer the Canadian Geese.

On the New Moon,  I planted a bed of red and yellow onions, russet potatoes, kale and spinach.  I also began to dig a new garden by our driveway because the earth is amazing.  We think that some time in the past, someone must have had a fire in this spot.  I have dug up small glass bottles with twisted tops, forged nails, and animal bones. The soil is nearly black which is such a contrast to our regular red soil!  I look forward to planting flowers and am hopeful to perhaps start a rose plant for rosehips.  I’ve collected all of the dandelion roots in this area to roast for tea but first they are drying on a screen!  I am SO excited that collecting and working with plants again has begun 🙂  I do believe that we are about a week ahead of last year.

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The guest room is now home to many small plants
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The studio
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My work room – most of my energy is going into working with plants, soil and outdoor things so I am not in great need of this table (or that’s what I tell myself to not feel bad about my drop in productivity..)
Sea Lettuce
We live by a salt water river – a river that stems off of the Hillsborough River that runs through Prince Edward Island into the Charlottetown Harbour and eventually to the Northumberland Strait. Our river abounds with all kinds of seaweed, muscles, clams and even oysters. We have been taking bags down on our walks and filling them with seaweed to place on our garden beds. This kind I believe is sea lettuce (although i’m not completely sure) and is the most brilliant green as well as excellent compost!
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Some sea lettuce for a garden bed, I mixed this into the soil along with some of our compost and planted onions in this bed

 

Dandelion Root
I very politely asked these roots to let go while I was trying to pull them up and miraculously, they did! These are the only roots I’ve had such luck with – I’v been back to using an old fashioned shovel 😉
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Delphinium!
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Siberian Squill in the front yard, flowers for the fairies

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Lichen on our walk!

 

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Breaks in the woods
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Jamie ❤
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Walks in the woods

 

A R T & O T H E R  T H I N G S

Not much art has taken place – or anything aside from domestic and gardening stuff but alas, I did a couple of things!  Granted, they are small. But I thought you might enjoy them!

I also finished a hazel heather Pangur Bán sweater!  I will make a post next week, when it has dried and we have some photos for the etsy shop.

I am still reading Outlander, but have also been reading through The Celtic Realms by Nora Chadwick and Myles Dillon because… Jamie and I are going to  I R E L A N D in 2 weeks and I can barely believe this is happening.  Many of the places we are staying do not have internet, so I will probably not be using it much at all but I will be sure to make some posts about it when we get back.  This is a pretty important trip for us, especially since I was a Celtic Studies student and feel a great connection to my Irish Ancestry (which I’m always scoffed at for when I meet people from Ireland!!  Sorry, we don’t have thousands of years of history in Canada that we feel rooted in).  I am ecstatic… and have kept it in for several months since we knew we were definitely going.  But, soon dear fae friends, you will be bombarded by two small Canadians’ adventure on the emerald isle!!

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A tiny painting for a very dear customer who sent me tea when she read that I was feeling depressed last month – she brought me so much joy that I made her this small bookmark
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Very rough sketch of one of the Dandelion roots that I dug up – it looked so much like a fairy creature walking that I felt like drawing him!  Just going for a stroll into my sketchbook.
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Cutting up dandelion roots to dry!  Dandelion root is a overall health tonic

 

Sadly, I must go!  I enjoy writing these posts so much as I feel as though I’m communicating and almost having tea with all of you!  This evening we are having friends over for homemade food and a bonfire, sending off a friend who is going away for the next month and a half.  I am also seeing it as an early Beltaine celebration.   I have so many other things on my mind, that really makes me feel like blogging more despite the death of blogging (I know I am so late to this).

I’ll be back next week! taking another solid break from SM this week for my sanity and clarity of mind!

 

Blessed be, Merry May and make your own magic ❤

Julia

xo

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16 thoughts on “Gardening, Plants & Herbalism APRIL Pt. 2

  1. Oh Julia, your writings, photos and overall enthusiasm bring such joy! I can sense the plant energy coursing through your veins and fingers onto the digital page. We too have been planting seedlings indoors and are so excited when each day we see more little babies breaking through the soil – flowers, herbs, vegetables, and plants for dyes. We also planted pear, peach, pecan and hazelnut trees. And more blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry bushes. This is the first spring that we have been here fulltime, and it’s amazing to discover all the flowers that my father-in-law’s cousin planted years ago when she was alive and living here! We’ve discovered at least 1/2 dozen rose bushes, tulips, hyacinths (including the teeny tiny grape hyacinths), and hundreds of daffodils! And the wild violets whose scent is SO intoxicating! The maple trees are beginning to leaf out and we are so grateful for the syrup they shared with us this past February, asking their permission, of course, before tapping. And I’m discovering lovely lichen and moss all over the place. The wildlife is amazing – fox, deer, red tail hawk, great blue heron, and all the different birds beginning to nest. Our place is teeming with life and I breathe it in deeply! I’ve been taking dandelion tincture and tea to help boost my liver functioning, which is so important to do now to prepare my body for the upcoming energy and activity of summer. Yes, it’s still spring but summer will be here before you know it.

    Blessings on your travels and time in Ireland! Wish I could be a tiny little faerie traveling with you. Ireland is another magical mystical place that I’d love to visit someday. I look forward to your postings when you return!

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    1. Hi Bonnie!

      Sorry for the late reply! I have been very busy trying to keep sane and finish up loose ends before out trip next week! I have a mile long list of to dos to get through before, but thought to respond while I eat my lunch!

      It sounds like your property and surrounding area is absolutely blissful! We are not so lucky to have so much blooming at the moment but I can very well imagine all that you described! We also have heron and fox (many, many of both) however there are NO deer on PEI. I think they were hunted in the 19th century. Although I think that is very sad, I do not mind living in a place without deer – but it does feel strange since they have been roadside companions all my life.

      I still need to order the book that you suggested, I think I will wait until I return and the plants will be very much alive by then! Most of my seedlings have really grown up and I just get a sense that they don’t need me as much anymore, so I’m not as attentive to them. I still check in on them everyday but not the same level that I was when they were seeds/tiny.

      Thank you for your well wishes! I really am looking forward to Ireland and just want to disconnect a little more and go for some walks in ancient forests and mountains.

      Happy May 🙂

      Julia
      xo

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  2. Good Moring to you! Not much has been going on in the garden this week here, it’s been a bit too wet. Strong storms make for soggy ground and sticks to pick up. We did had our first fire of the season on Friday evening, it was nice but the wind was blowing too much for my liking. Lovely pictures as always. Your squill (I think that’s how you spelled it), reminds me of our wild violets in our yard. My two daughters when they were young use to pick little bouquets of them and I had these little vases to put them in. Our home project this summer is a new side patio for sitting and relaxing and evening fires. We have a nice crop of dandelions, I am new to the idea of making tea with them though interesting? Please explain more on the process, please? I live close to a river. It is not with in walking distance though. It is about 15 miles away, the Ohio river, it runs in-between Indiana and Kentucky. They have walking bridges to walk across it, but no way to walk along it. It is part of the city, all congested and not very isolated. Although there is a fossil bed, that has low tides where you can see and walk out pretty far. I have not been there in some time. Have a blesses week, talk again. Oh p.s. I have always wanted to go to Ireland, how exiting for you. ( I always hoped my roots came from Ireland since I have “red” hair! Lol)

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    1. Hi there Margaret!

      I hope the weather has improved in your neck of the woods!

      Sounds like you’ll have a lovely summer with a new patio and evening fires! We had our first fun bonfire last weekend (opposed to just our regular burns to get rid of so many of the fallen branches on our property).

      The whole plant , root, leaves and flowers of the dandelion is edible! Albeit, it doesnt taste the greatest. You can just pick them and infuse them fresh or you can dry the leaves. You can honestly do so much with dandelions! The roots are the most nutritious. I am digging them up – cutting them into small pieces and drying them on a drying rack (you cut them up because once they dry out, they are very tough to cut up). This week, I’m going to roast the roots at a low temperature (probably around 200) for half hour or so and then use a coffee grinder to grind them into a powder. When you brew root teas, you should really let them steep for considerably longer than flower or leaf teas . Why drink dandelion root? It has a rich full body flavour which many people use to replace coffee (if you read any pioneer literature – they mention roasting chicory or dandelion as a replacement for coffee). It’s extremely cleansing for your liver, gets rid of our nasty toxins that there isn’t really much we can do about! Anywho! Message me if you have any more questions 🙂

      Sounds like an interesting place where you live! I very much would love to go to Kentucky, do you live very close?

      Perhaps your ancestry is Irish! I think the Scottish and Danish have a higher percentage of red heads than Ireland (could be totally wrong on that one but I think I heard that)! I’ll keep an eye out 😉

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      1. Yes, I live about 15 miles from the Ohio river, cross the bridge and you are Louisville Ky. It’ s crazy over there now because it’s ” Derby” time. Horse racing, I have never been, but people come from all over the country come. Too many people for me😉

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  3. I enjoy your blog immensely. Your words and photos are kind of like a sanctuary in this world that has gone quite mad. We went to Ireland a couple of years ago and I have been longing to return to that beautiful land. I am looking forward to your Ireland posts, and just know, you will leave a piece of your heart there, my dear. Blessings for a safe and happy journey🍀

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    1. Thank you dearly!

      I’m so glad to know you are looking forward to My Ireland posts and that you yourself enjoyed your time there! I am scrambling at the moment at home to get everything finished and ready before our trip!

      Many thanks for your blessings and I wish you a happy weekend!

      Julia

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  4. Ireland!!! So exciting!!! I have never been there but have seen it from the air on a flight home from England and it really looked like an emerald island. Hope you have a wonderful, magical time! Love seeing all the new life in your garden and especially your dandelion fairy man.💚🌿 Happy Beltane to you!🌱

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    1. Hi Valerie!! Happy to *see* you here! I am scrambling at the moment trying to have our place prepared for my mom and aunt who are house sitting and simply getting everything just finished and done before we go! It is exciting!!! We have not been on a trip since Iceland, 4 years ago now! We usually just go on day trips etc to beaches are here, so are both so excited to go to museums and monastic sites! I’m very excited about New Grange and the Hill of Tara as well as Kells, but anywho!! You are lucky to have travelled to England, I really hope to some day!

      Blessed May to you!!!

      Julia
      XO

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  5. Your photos of seedlings make me envious! Ottawa has been practically just rain lately. We did have two nice days in a row last week. We were thrown back in pouring rain by Sunday. The sun is out for a little bit today and it will start raining again later.

    I’ll step outside and get some sun while I can.

    A trip to Ireland sounds exciting!! I can’t wait to hear all about that!

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    1. Hi Kimberley!

      We have had some cooler and rainy days too this past week. I am hoping to wash my quilts and put them out to dry but it has just been too wet 😦 But everything is breathing green and that makes me very happy!

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      1. Flooding around our area is getting bad. Our town has some flooding. I am up high and safe but some residents are not.

        We are under another rainfall warning… the ground is so wet that you wonder where will all this water go? It will rain all weekend again. No work outside.

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      2. Oh my goodness! I had no idea, what is the current situation? I really hope it is improving. I admit, I’m sitting in the sunroom right now while it literally pours. We have not had any flooding (that I’m aware of) or warnings, but we have had lots of rain. Is the Ottawa River very high?

        Stay safe and hoping for some sun very very soon!

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      3. I just started watching the news/reading CBC and can hardly believe what I’m seeing! We have been so busy this past week that I haven’t even looked at the news or anything. Hope your family and neighbours are safe and I’m thinking of those that have had to leave their homes.

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