Monday, November 25, 2013


I've spent the summer gloating over our herbs and flowers as they took over their beds in the garden - today, I'm beaming down on them in their little jars. It's really thrilling to see something grow from seed to plant, then watch it shrink and dry on the rack, jar it up and know exactly where the herbs in your tea or salve have come from. Personally. It's a relationship, and I cherish these relationships.

We have Calendula, which has been an amazing producer for us in the past couple years..and has such a sticky, golden feel to it when fresh, and beautiful variety in the shades of yellow - from Jersey cream to bright gold. We use it almost exclusively in salves and balms. Calendula is so healing - skin just loves it! It does well in the tub a little mesh bag with oats and oils. Or loose, if you don't mind cleaning up drowned petals. I like bathing with Calendula in the winter especially, because my skin tends to get dry.

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Comfrey is one of my favorite herbs. My midwife gave me a bunch of fresh comfrey after Yarrow's birth, and I've put it in her butt-balm ever since. Comfrey heals. It loves to heal. Comfrey is a resistant herb too! We tilled ours in twice this spring and it came up in abundance! Rashes, cuts, scabs..all manner of hurts flee from comfrey. Just make a poultice and rest it on the sore spot, or infuse an oil and rub little soothing drops onto wounds. I like mixing it in with St. Joseph's oil (he likes healing too) and letting them work together on my woundedness.

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Mullein was a surprise this year. We didn't plant it, we've never had it here before, but this summer we found five Mullein plants towering over our back garden. I was thrilled! Mullein helps with Asthma - which I have - either in tea form, or 'smoked'. It opens up the lungs and gives some quick relief (NOT as quick as an don't be careless with your health!). The transitional season - from warm days to cold - is the hardest time for my respiratory system, so I'm happy to have Mullein around as a stabilizer. 

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I mainly just put Bee Balm in tastes like pure youth and springtime. It goes well in apple jelly too..throw in blossoms at the beginning and strain them out before cooking down to jelly. Bee Balm is health-some though, all on it's own. It's a very safe way to fight off colds and fevers, calms digestion, and I think it's scent brightens the whole mood of the day - which is so helpful in February!

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We have so many more..but these are some of my favorites! We love our herbs, and their ability to last through the winter months in various useful ways is a delight. Now that winter's come -weather-wise at least, we're appreciating them more and more!

Do you harvest any of your herbs or flowers for the winter months? Tell me about it! There's no better time to start planning for next year.


  1. Hello Masha! I've been following your blog quietly for some time now. I found you after searching for yurts and I admire your lifestyle. It looks so cozy, and I envy the quiet space around you! I live not far from some very busy streets, but I am lucky to have a patch of sunny yard.

    I made the "mistake" of planting chocolate mint straight into the ground last year without a pot to keep it in check. Of course it spread rampantly (the honeybees were happy!). I harvested many jars of it dried, and it's a perfect tea especially this time of year. For some time also, I've tried to yank out the Poke plants that grow along my fence. I never thought to before, but a friend used some to dye her wool a gorgeous fuchsia. Next year I plan to let those plants grow to their heights and then I'll harvest the berries to dye more wool too!

    Planning the next year is what gets me through the dreary Midwestern winters in Indiana. I can't wait for the seed catalogues to begin arriving!

  2. Hi Local Gal! Thanks for commenting!!!

    We got all our regular mint from my mother-in-law, who made a similar 'mistake' years ago and has been reaping the benefits ever since! I'm determined to try Poke-dying now! I had no idea it could make a fuchsia!!!

    Midwestern winters are long..a lot like ours in Maine, but with the 'lake effect' (shudder!) I used to live in southeastern Michigan, and it is bitter! A cup of chocolate-mint tea and a whole pile of seed catalogs are so necessary!! :)