Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Fiery Cider

Misty's Fiery Cider
This is one of my most favorite recipes for staying warm in the winter time. It can boost your immune system  too, as well as it tastes kinda like Heaven. I call my version fiery cider at least for now. It has been a recipe herbalist have been tweaking for a very long time. Everyone has their own spin on it. I have seen some of the most interesting fiery ciders recipes! This is definitely a recipe to make your own and have fun with. 

I first learned about this delicious recipe from Rosemary Gladstar. I am currently attending her home study course, Art and Science of Herbalism. Her book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, was my very first medicinal herb book and it is a sight to see now. With all of its dog eared pages and worn edges you can tell it has been my favorite for a long time. There are recipes in the book called Fire Cider Zest and Hair Raising Cider. I made the Fire Cider Zest and fell in love! There are also tons of recipes online for different takes on this herbal classic. This is mine:

Before straining
Misty's Fiery Cider
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup grated horseradish
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 1/8 cup chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons  dried turmeric (I use fresh if I can find it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (sometimes more)
  • 9 or so pieces of astragalus root
  • Heaping amount of whatever peppers I can find (these in the pictures are habanero)
  • Enough apple cider vinegar to cover
  • Honey to taste
You can use extras like ginseng, rosemary, burdock, anything you find tasty! I have seen some recipes with fresh fruit!

Straining all the good stuff!

You throw everything in a quart jar and cover it with the AC vinegar. Throw the lid on and let it sit for about 4 to 6 weeks. Shake it everyday to mix it up a bit. When it's ready your strain it through some cheese cloth or muslin and add some honey to sweeten it up. It is so yummy on pretty much everything. I also find that if you can feel the start of a cold come on you can take a quick shot of it and it packs a punch to those cold bugs not to mention will clear your sinuses! 

There has been some issue this year with the name "fire cider". Like I mentioned earlier it has been used for a very long time by pretty much everyone. Lots of people tend to trace it back to Rosemary and she to her grandmother, but there are so many other recipes for apple cider vinegar mixed with honey and herbs/spices that have been around for years. The beginning of this year there was a company that trademarked the name "fire cider" so none of the small herbalist who sell small batches of their own blend could use the name anymore. It is sad and there is a grassroots movement happening here at Free Fire Cider. Check it out, read Rosemary's story and her ideas on how to make it right, support the movement if it calls to you but most importantly go make your own!!
However I will take this opportunity to shamelessly push my products! If you have no desire to make your own I do sell mine on my Facebook page under the photo album Wild Heart Herbals. It is a public album so everyone can see it. I should probably work on getting something a little more professional but not sure I am ready for that yet! Baby steps!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Shine Like the Sun

Winter Solstice Sun
Yesterday was the Winter Solstice. The darkest day of the year. The day for me started out like any ordinary day. Coffee, breakfast, and a brief check of what is going on in the world. 

I will say I do not watch a lot of news or keep up on things. Maybe this is naive of me, but when I personally watch too much I feel overwhelmed and fearful. After all, most of the things on the news these days is scary and negative. Not to mention most of it is opinion driven so you can't trust it to be completely true anymore anyway. So I was scrolling through Facebook and headlines and I saw so much negativity. Even from people who are normally pretty positive. So I closed my computer and the family and I went into the woods.

My oldest and I with a beautiful Cedar
This day is the darkest, but that doesn't mean the bleakest. That big, bright Sun was shining so brightly as we stopped for a rest that I couldn't help but think that even though the world may seem a little gloomy these days doesn't mean we should be gloomy too. We can be a light, even if it is a small spark, for the world, for humanity, for Spirit. We can light up the things that are similar in each other as well as our beautiful differences. We can teach our children to be little lights too. A smile, a helping hand, a kind word are little sun sparks. They can light a fire. A fire so bright we can't become defeated by the troubles in our lives or the world. The Sun doesn't stop shining because the night is longer, we shouldn't stop radiating LOVE because the news is dreary.

Keep love in your heart and spread it like sunbeams!!

Grandmother Cedar
May Winter find you warm and loved!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Raising Wild Children

Resting on some roots while hiking.

We are a Nature loving family. We love watching the skies for birds and learning about different creepy crawly bugs. Our field guides are always close at hand. We let spiders hang out in windows and watch them do their thing. We eat wild weeds and leaves from trees. The kids love it! They love to show their friends! That amazing spark you see in their friends' eyes when they discover something amazing about Nature is priceless. I tend to beam with pride when someone gets a boo boo and my girls run to find some Plantain or when they find a Sassafras tree and nibble a leaf because they taste like a fruity cereal. For the most part they are always open to trying whatever I tell them is safe to eat like Chickweed, Lamb's Quarters, and Sheep's Sorrel. My kids can identify without any help at least 15-20 plants and more than that many animals. That is why when I saw this it surprised me

"The average American child can recognize 1,000 corporate logos, but can't identify 10 plants and animals native to his or her own region." ~Paul Hawken

This wasn't as scary as some of the statistics I saw on how much TV/computer/video game time the average kid gets. We don't have a TV but we do have computers with netflix and hulu. I will admit there are days when my kids watch more than they should but I try to make sure those days are few and far between. As a side note I will say since we are in the holiday season that I am HUGELY GRATEFUL that there are very few commercials on hulu for kids! I don't hear a lot of "I wants" from them because they don't see it. When we go to my mom's and they see them it is almost instant. "I want that!!" 

I watched a documentary the other night while cleaning and it was eye opening even for me. It was called Project Wild Thing. You can watch it on netflix or on their website. They had some great ideas for "marketing" Nature to our kids. I had been tossing around the idea of ridding myself of my smart phone and this documentary helped me make up my mind. Even for a natural mama like me the thought of not being connected all the time is scary. But I notice when I leave my phone at home I am much more relaxed and and free to pay more attention to this big beautiful world we live on. So I have deleted all of my apps that I could from my phone. No facebook, no instagram, no pinterest...... and once we get the money to get a home phone I will turn it off for good which means no more texting either! This will allow me more time with my kids without interruptions. So I can show them that the limits I set for them I also set for myself  (my husband is in on it too!) and that what they have to say is important enough for me to pay attention completely.

As parents need to get our coats and hats on even in the dregs of winter and take our kids for a walk at the very least. Go bird watching, find a wilder area like a state park and take a hike, look at the trees, find some really cool mushrooms, learn a few plants, teach that is is ok to get dirty, breathe fresh air, just sit in the peacefulness..... There is so much we can do away from screens and gadgets. It not only teaches them how beautiful this planet is and how our actions impact it, but it can teach them life lessons like going with the flow and sharing your harvest and skills with others who need it. Nature is amazing and filled with wonders our kids need to see! We need to slow down and reconnect with real people, wild places, and natural things. We need plant a seed of wildness in our children.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things 
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry

A tree we found in upstate NY.