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Dandelions- Herbs for Beginners

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I asked my children what plant they wanted to study next. Decidedly they said, “Dandelions!!!” As I have studied dandelions, I think children and dandelions may be kindred spirits. They are often overlooked, but they are joyful and full of hope. They renew life. They grow without asking permission! They pack a lot of life and energy into a small size. They are a beautiful gift from God.  Last year we were at the cemetery on Memorial Day to visit my father-in-law’s grave. My mother-in-law put many beautiful flowers around his grave. My children looked around and noticed many graves without flowers, some of them over a hundred years old. They asked why so many graves had no flowers. We told them that maybe the people who knew them had died or moved away. They began picking dandelions and putting them on the forgotten graves. They were so happy running around the cemetery putting dandelions on the grave markers. Thinking of others makes you happy, but also one of the gifts of dandelions i

Roses- Herbs for Beginners

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Roses captivate us with their sweet smell when they're in bloom. Their fragrance is calming, grounding, and helps us remember the beautiful things in life.  Identification Wild roses have 5 petals in a cup like shape. The petals themselves are the shape of hearts- a clue that they are good for the heart- both physical and emotional. The leaves are oval shaped and serrated (zig zag edge around the leaf). Their leaves are compound (form in groups of leaves), and have 3 to 9 leaflets. Their thorns tell us that they are protective, they are protecting something special. In plants, thorns protect very special gifts. Roses need bees for pollination, and for the fruit and seeds to form.  People have bred roses for their beauty, fragrance, and fruit for thousands of years, all over the world. Cultivated roses often have more than 5 petals. Sometimes roses are bred to not have thorns or rose hips. People who grow roses are called "rosarians." The most fragrant roses are the most m

Pine Tree Gifts- Herbs for Beginners

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Pine trees are amazing! They provide food, warmth, shelter, and medicine. Birds, squirrels, and deer find shelter from storms under the branches of pine trees. They shelter us too- most of our homes are built with 2x4’s and plywood made from pine trees. Pine wood is used for wood fire places- providing heat. Pine trees provide food in the form of pine cones for many birds and small animals. Pine needles are high in Vitamin C, providing essential nutrients for deer and other animals in the winter when most other sources of Vitamin C are gone. Pine seeds, pine resin and pine pollen are also wonderful gifts of pine trees.  Identification Pine tree needles are connected to the tree branch in groups of 2,3, or 5. Fir trees are in the same family, they have short, flat needles, and they usually have a more blueish tint to their needles. Look for pine cones around the base of the tree or the branches to help identify it. Pine trees are part of the conifer family- meaning they produce cones. T

One Cup of Tea and One Plant at a Time

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 I have taught a few classes this fall on making herbal oils, salves, and lotions, and I plan to teach some more in the spring. The most rewarding thing about the classes has been the friendships formed. The most common question I've been asked is, "Where do I start with learning about herbs?" I remember feeling overwhelmed too with that question. There's still so much I don't know about plants! The more you learn, the more you realize how vast the world of plants is and how little you know.  My advice is to start with getting to know one plant or tree that grows near you. Maybe it's mint, a pine tree, a rose bush, a raspberry patch, a quaking aspen, or a willow tree. Plants grow where they are needed. Somewhere near you a plant is growing that will help you or a family member feel better. Start with one plant. Learn its common and scientific names and how it might be used, and any precautions associated with it. Smell it, taste it, bring it into the house, an

Massage for healing

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Massage can be a powerful healing tool. It doesn't require going to a trained professional, although they are wonderful! You can do simple massages at home for yourself or your loved one.  A little story about massage. My parents had newborn lambs a few years ago, and we went with my children to see them. There was one baby lamb that was not doing well with breathing, my parents thought it wouldn't live very long. They had brought this lamb into the house, in a small tub with straw bedding. At the time, I was recovering from a miscarriage and I was moved by the struggling lamb. I wanted so much for it to live, as I had wanted the baby inside of me to live. I used massage I had learned in a short class, on the lamb, massaging its spine. Instead of massaging the feet and hands like you would for a person, I massaged the soft pads under the lamb's hooves. I asked my husband to come and bring peppermint oil, which he did, and we put it on the lamb as we massaged its back and 4

Winter Gifts

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Finding the gifts in every season Watching nature, we see that winter is a time to rest, and reflect. The deer lay low on the ground, conserving their energy.  Many animals either hibernate or slow down. Even with heavy snow, dried sunflower stalks are strong, and hold their heads above the snow to feed little birds.  Trees and plants are kept alive by the life in their roots. Somehow trees know to let go of leaves but hang on to fruit. The fruit and berries on trees feed birds through winter. It is amazing that trees can tell the difference between what to keep and what to let go. It is harder for us to know what to let go of and what to hang on to! Even with snow on the ground, birds sing and chirp, happy that the sun comes up every morning. I hope you also take time to rest, reflect, and feel sustained by God, who gives us all life. Winter is a perfect time to enjoy the flowers that bloomed in the spring and summer. Our skin care products are made with nourishing and healing flowers

Hurray for Spring!

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Spring flowers are some of my favorites. They come up amidst storms and snow, and the petal's colorful hues are treasured and so welcome after winter. Spring flowers are like old friends that remind us that it is possible to bloom beautifully in adversity.  Using oils infused with these flowers in your skin care is a great way to bring nature's gifts and flowers into our daily lives. When I use the our lotions and lip balms made with the plant infused oils, I think of the flowers they were made with and am thankful for the gifts our Creator put in nature for us. I hope you will also feel a connection to these plants and nature in what I share with you, and in the lotions and lip balms.  One of my favorite spring wildflowers is arrowleaf balsamroot. The bright yellow petals are similar to a sunflower. The leaves are shaped like giant arrows, pointing to the sky and its Creator. They are covered with soft velvety hair. The resinous tap roots reach deep into the ground to store th