Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My son Jon

My kids never cease to amaze me with their musical talent

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jenny Pottruff~Herbalist Spotlight

Jennifer Pottruff

Jenny is my classmate at Heart of Herbs School

At 30 years old, Jenny is a wife, mother of 3 children, and active in health work in Ontario, Canada.

I asked Jenny what was going on in her life that she feels lead her to herbs. She was 27 at the time. Here is her story.

I was working as a Pharmacy Technician. I felt that I just didn't have much responsibility or respect. I thought there was probably something better I could be doing. Then I found that alot of patients were coming in and asking about herbs. One of the 2 Pharmacists that worked in the Pharmacy would tell them all that they haven't been evaluated by the FDA (which doesn't effect us here in Canada, we need Health Canada to evaluate them) and so they should stay away from them. I said to him I would like to learn more about herbs and he said as a Technician, I only needed to know where they were on the shelves. The other Pharmacist at least made an attempt, but didn't know much about the herbs. At that point, I decided that people really needed someone to go to for advice on herbs.

Curious as to some of the influential work she has studied, Jenny says,

"I read a few books to do some self study while I was looking for the right program to take. I also needed a distance program because I was working and had my 3 girls to take care of. The books were ok, but I finally got Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women and that one really got me interested. She made Herbology sound so interesting and fun and she sounded like such a great teacher. Then I found my teacher who was actually a student of hers and just as wonderful".

Jenny, when making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?

I make teas the most because that is what my patients (we can call them patients here in ON, Canada) have the most interest in. I also make alot of extracts, and ointments. I have found lately that I am using syrups alot. My children love the syrups and my Father and Husband hate tea, so the syrups work much better for them too.

Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience with any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person used in your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today, Jenny?

The Ontario Herbalists Association President has been a great help to me. As well, my teacher Demetria Clark has been a bit influence. Her program was wonderful, and she is a great teacher. When I needed to do extra to be Registered with the OHA, she went out of her way to help me get what I needed.

Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it unfolds?

I am a Homeopathic Doctor and Herbalist and hope to be able to help as many people as I can learn about herbalism and homeopathy. I am excited to see how things will work out.

Jenny is currently working on opening a clinic. Her website and email are great ways to find out more about the work she is pursuing in Canada.

Jennys Website

Demetria Clark~ Herbalist spotlight

Demetria Clark is a wife and mother of 2.

She runs the Heart of Herbs school, which I have been involved with throughout

my formal herbal education.

I asked Demetria a few questions this week about her life. Here is what she

shared with me.

Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?

I had a headache at 7 and instinctively chewed on some "leaves" and it went

away. After that I "messed" with herbs for the rest of my days.

Demetria shares that her personal experiences with Rosemary Gladstar and

readings of the following authors have most influenced her. Ina May Gaskin,

Juliette Levy, Clan of the Cave Bear at 11, Mists of Avalon at 11 ( I was a


Demetria uses herbal nutrition, then tea form as her favorite herbal


One of Demetria's most memorable experiences came from the wise words of

another. Demetria said, " A teacher I really respected said, Keep Family FIRST!"

She hadn't and wanted to share her journey with me. I followed her advice! I

know that I have learned the most by living and loving.

I try to support my students with that suggestion and let them know that

studies and family life can go hand and hand.

Demetria in the director of Heart of Herbs Herbal School in the US

(Massachusetts) and Switzerland and also travels internationally to lecture.

She began her US based school in 1998. The web site for Heart of Herbs Herb

School is

Heart of Herbs

In the past 5 or so years I have personally known Demetria, I have heard several

pod casts, and have been invited to attend workshops and classes she has


Sadly, our paths have not crossed face to face, but I am fortunate enough to

have phone time with her on occasion to share my dreams, passions and failures

as an herbalist.
I also should add that Demetria is one of the directors for
Birth Arts International

Demetria has been a huge support and kick in the pants as well for moving ahead

in my herbal work without being so shy. I hope our relationship continues to


Along with her workshops and lectures, Demetria also has done some work for

colleges as we as Midwives College of Utah.

I asked Demetria what her vision is for the future.

"I want to work with the WHO(World Health Organization) recording herbal

histories and working to have indigenous herbal works respected internationally

as a healing modality"

That is a pretty amazing desire, Demetria. One that can also help our work here

in modern and advances nations as well.

How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calendar of

events, blogs, weed walks, etc? Yes of course. or visit

Heart of Herbs

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or sage

advice you could leave them, what would that be?

Demetria shares, "Take what you need and leave the rest. We only have one

planet, one family, one soul, love and honor them!"

To which, I say Thank you for the reminder. We all need those seeds watered from

time to time reminding us of what is important.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Its Clean!

It has been a busy week at Dreamseeds and Ben has been plugging away at his creations and leaving huge mess everywhere.
Ray was able to pursuade him to clean it up and we would post the nice to be able to walk in the studio again.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Coriander Seed

Well after taking care of spamming comments all week, I feel frustrated that the beauty of what I desire to capture here gets spammed up.
However good things in store. The Coriander Seed was birthed this evening as an extension of Dreamseeds....Not sure why seeds are so integral in my naming things, but the experience I had with coriander today was magical. I think I'll write a song about it:)
I will expound on that more later:)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Herbalist Spotlight-John Gallagher Family

John Gallagher is a fellow herbalist I really admire. He and his wife Kimberly live in the Seattle area and have pioneered an intense network of herbology on the web. John is a homebody like myself with a love for the plants and a love for continuing to learn about them.

Kimberly is the creator of the famous Wildcraft! game you probably have heard me talk about sometimes the past year. I advertise it on my site as well. It is a great tool for the entire family, but especially good for little ones. My children get so excited when we play this non competitive game. They love learning herbs this way.

John, however, has taken the love they have for herbalism, and created a huge world online for herbal networking, learning, and fun. They started with Learning Herbs, offering simple recipes, nutritional columns, and interviews. This lead into Herb Mentor, which we will find out about in this brief inter view I had with John.

John is a 37 year old father of 2. Rowan is 8 and Hailey is 3. The family resides in Carnation, Washington, but John will tell you he is located on cyberspace.

I asked John what lead him to herbs. He was about 21 when he first sparked interest, but it was not until he was 29 when new herb related opportunities came his way. Here is his story.

I started working for Wilderness Awareness School about 18 years ago, and developed a big interest in edible and medicinal plants. However, it was hard to find a way to access the herbs. I guess I do not work well with books, and I really needed a mentor to cross that bridge from book to actually doing it When my son was on the way 9 years ago, it got me motivated to learn. I really wanted to learn how to help him naturally. I found a couple of mentors locally. I am fortunate to have such great teachers living around me in the Seattle area.
My mentors are RavenCroft Garden, Erin Groh, and Karen Sherwood, who are all local herbalists. They led me to the books that have made a difference. There are some great local guides and herb books, but Susun Weed's Healing Wise was probably the cornerstone. Anything by her, Rosemary Gladstar, Stephen Buhner, Michael Moore, Gail Edwards.... Herbals written by Herbalists... Also Gregory Tildford's From Earth to Herbalist is great. Sharol Tilgner's herbal video's were very helpful, but they are out of print. I "reprinted" them on, with permission of course.

I asked John if he has a favorite method of making plant medicine.

I'm a folk herbalist dude. Stuff it in a jar, cover it up, decant it. Easy as 1-2-3. Oils, tinctures, vinegars...all the same way. However, the most used remedy I make is a daily nourishing herbal infusion..mostly using nettles, oat straw, dandelion, burdock, comfrey, sea weed, linden...not all at once of course.

I guess you could call me "the lazy herbalist." Keeping it really simple shows other people who you know that this stuff is NOT HARD... And it makes it more accessible to them. Then, they learn and share with someone else. We can all be teachers. Keeping it easy, we can do this.

Johns met his first mentor, Erin Groh, in 1998.
Michael Pilarski (Skeeter) is a well known character in the northwest herb scene. He started an herbal fest in the Bellingham area (no longer happens). It was that event in 1998 when I met Erin Groh.

5 years later, Learning Herbs medicine making kit was an inspired creation by John.

He says, " I also had the idea for the Herbal Medicine Making Kit, which is something I WAS LOOKING FOR as a newbie. No one ever made it, so I did. We released it with our new site, in 2004".

John does not offer consults, nor does he travel around teaching courses. He does it all online, pulling in other passionate herbalists to share their wisdom and experience with others on his newest venue as well as reaching hundreds of people at one time.

John does have a weekend workshop May 9-11 at Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, Washington. There are some classes he does at the school. You can find out more at
Wilderness Awareness

I asked John his vision for the future and the plans he hopes will unfold. Here is what he says.

To build an amazing online herbal community on To continue to develop awesome training tools for folks. To make herbs accessible to anyone who wants to learn. To work with herbalists and herbal authors around the word, and support them by giving them exposure on HerbMentor. I love planting those seeds. Every Herbal Medicine Making Kit I ship out is like an "herbalist seed." Our Wildcraft! Board game works the same way. Thousands of seeds have been scattered. People around the world are learning to use plants again. I think the herbs are happy to be working with humans again. They miss us.

John, most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or
sage advice you could leave them, what would that be?

Keep it simple. Learn one experience at a time. One herb at a time. Keep it fun and inspiring. Focus on nourishing yourself and herbal first aid. Those are the secrets to learning about you do not get overwhelmed. Keep the mystery in it and it will always be new and exciting.

Plants are life, and life is never boring. Also, life can be simple or life can be complicated... So, simple or complicated? You choose...

The Gallagher family has inspired me to bring to fruition many of the things I do in the herbal community. Teaching, videoing, pod casting, these are all things I thought about doing, even talking to my husband about learning to do them, but we never had time to figure it out.

Seeing John "jump in and do it" inspired me to take the leap of faith to do many of the projects I am involved in. So in some ways, he is truly one of my herb mentors.;)

In closing, I asked John to share one last thing with you and here is what he says.

Visit us as and . launches to the WORLD on March 21. We have a GREAT community on the site already. You'll have a good time learning with us. is Herbal Medicine Made Simple.

And I would also like to share that I have been part of Learning Herbs for at least a year and Herb Mentor for about 4 or 5 months, whenever it was launched last year. There were some people who had been reading their newsletters from Learning Herbs that actually had the opportunity to get in on it early. I was one of those fortunate ones.

Wildcraft and Herbal Medicine Making Kit

More Vintage Books

I am a sucker, I tell ya! I love vintage books!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Speaking of stuff

And speaking of
I have a terrible addiction to old books. They seem so wholesome and brainy and right! This book is great because I can cram in a story on a busy evening and not feel stressed on said busy evening.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff

Check this out! You'll be glad you did:)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

You are the Pilot

Today as I was showering (oh yes,a blissful time isn't it) I pondered our power in our health.

Often, our health will be strongest when we CHOOSE to input what is best for it.
Sometimes thsi is work. So many food sensitivities and such these days have been recognized.

Maybe we should look at our ancestors and what they lived on to sustain their life.

Then again, so many of us are well blended. I know I have Italian, Irish, English, German and there is some Native American somewhere I am told.
I also think my great grandmother was Danish, but I do not remember.
Many Americans are such a blend that this may be difficult, but not impossible.
It is good to ask questions of our elders in hopes to discover the old ways and survival.

During my bathing ritual, the thought came to me...We are the pilot of our body.
Now some relgious folk say God is their pilot. But I think that is an incorrect statement concerning food for most people. Do you ask the heavens each time you pop something into your mouth? Everytime you consume that Starbucks Frappucino? Or Pizza Hut fare?
You probably give thanks, which is important. But you, are the pilot.

The heavens have given us the ability to choose many things.
Especially, in America, we have the ability to choose our food. So lets make it count. We are responsible for ourselves. Some things are out of our control as well, things we may not have the power to prevent.
But food again is our choice for life. Entertainment again is our choice. Too much of some entertainment may not be healthy. T.V. watching could harm our eyes eventually or concerts with blaring loud music may cause ear problems.

On the opposite side of this argument is orthorexia..those folks overly consumed with being healthy. Thsi is such an interesting issue because so many in America have this consuming thought, otherwise there would not be products on the market catering to those who want low fat, low calorie, no transfats and low carb.

I have been in both places in my life.

Today my anchor is simply this...I am the pilot of the choices of my life. I am a spiritual woman and I do ask the heavens about many things throughout my day. But I, in the end make the choice. So may wisdom fall upon me each and every day for my joy and health, the health and happiness of my family, and a better world which we all share.

Friday, February 15, 2008

10 for Feb

Amanda Soule encouraged us to consider 10 things that bring us joy. This is a good time for me to consider this because the week has been very challenging for us.

Ray and Liv has such a tight relationship, as well as with myself. This is a parents blessing.

We live in a beautiful area the kids can explore

Our Garden is coming along

My family supports me when I have abundant workload

Benny loves to create

I have a studio to contain my mess

The presence of my daughter warms my soul

Ray has created such great workable space for my studio with what we have collected. My cream making center is done.

Megan is home from the hospital

Our herbal allys

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Winter Walk to VALENTINE-we are here:)

This picture says it all. Olivia is such a lover and she and her daddy have such a good relationship. As I type this post out she and he are watching Elmo together on a LaZBoy with a quilt atop.
The holiday is not a huge celebrated holiday at our house because we celebrate love everyday. May love find you, cheer you and warm you today

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winter Walk Day 31

Swing that hammer Ben! Ben is my creative child. He comes home from school an hits me up for paper and glue. We created a nook for him in my studio. He is helping us with our 4 X 4 boxes we are building for our garden this year. we live on a hill so we hope this will help:)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Winter Walk Day 30-wow day 30

She is still not home......Brian is on his way to be with Rach and Meg today from his training place pre Iraq. It will be good to see him:) Meg is not breathing well when seh sleeps so it may be a few more days.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Winter Walk Day 29 Happy Birthday Liv. You are 4

A peek in our dining room at 6:45 this morning. It is a special day but I warn you before you click


Happy Birthday my sweet Olivia Grace

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Walk Day 28

This is our little dumplin Megan in the hospital with RSV. I saw her Friday night and filmed her. All day yesterday I just wanted to hold her.
Hearing her little cry and all the coughing made me sad and want to just hold her. I feel my emotional strings growing tighter with this baby. Trying to be a hands off grandma is tough, however being too far away just dont feel right.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Winter Walk Day 27

This is my earthy birthy beautiful pregnant friend Joy of The Color Farm Showing Ben, my crafty soul, the art of mandala tye dye.
He loved watching the colors come together and the process evolve. His eyes lit up when Joy showed him the finished product.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Winter Walk Day 26

I need to fix the part where the color bled onto another, however the tinderbox was quickly filled with misc things to help start our woodstove in 3 days! So hence I have not taken time to fix it yet.
So wonderful to recreate this ugly old trunk into soemthing that matches our colors and is useful. The top is also where we store our library books. We very carefully open the lid if we need tinder

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Winter Walk Day 25

My son Joey with Megan.

We love Megan! My gbaby is in the hospital with RSV. My heart a healer, I may have helped her prior to this event, but I had not seen her this week. Received a call from my daughter saying they spent the night in the hospital.

I am sure everything will be ok. I was surprised and sad but it sounds like if she will start eating again and can breathe without oxygen she can come home today. I offered my home for them this week as Rachie is sick too. If they feel they need to be taken care of my apothecary is stocked:)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Winter Walk Day 24 HaPpY bIrthDaY JoSh my 16 year old we upgrade his learners license for a true drivers license, and enroll in GED Testing.
So we are off and running. Not sure what we will do, probably a special lunch out or something fun for him. Tonite, Ray and I might be doing the pizza delivery together so we dont have much planned. The real party will be around MArch 1st when Robyn comes down with my first born granddaughter.
We will then celebrate with cake and music and have grandpa and grandma over and celebrate Ariella's 1st bday, Olivia's 4th and Josh's 16 as a family.

Happy Birthday son

Monday, February 4, 2008

Turnera diffusa aka Damiana, Blog Party

Thank you to my friend and awesome woman/bath and body goddess, Ananda of
Plant Journeysfor hosting our blog party this month.

Damiana is an often used medicinal herb in my home. About 2 years ago, I lost my uterus to cervical cancer, then needed radiation for cells that were found to try and travel.
The radiation fried my ovaries, and I began a quick decent into the world of the crones. It was a difficult year indeed. I almost left my husband in the process. He was a patient partner indeed.
I discovered in that first year just why many crones left their mates. It appears that when a woman loses her reproductive functions, she also feels like just BEING. And being alone too.
But that is another path on the journey, I am to share about Damiana.

So let me go back to 2003 when I first befriended Damiana. I was a new Master Herbalist student with Heart of Herbs school and had been studying womens health, infertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and female related experience.
Damiana came up in the studies so I ordered some from Mountain Rose Herbs and began to drink infusions laced with this interesting herb.
I found the blood flow did indeed fill my pelvic region and often times I felt intensely sexual. I was breastfeeding a child at the time so this was a good thing. But there was a down side. In the few weeks I was trying to understand the power of Turnera diffusa, I conceived my last born daughter, Olivia.
It tooks several weeks to have joy again as I was NOT prepared for a 7th pregnancy.

But the proof was there that it could enhance the fertility. I began to make a tea to help so many women that have come to me in hopes to bear a child. In the 3 or 4 years I have made this blend, about 50% of the women have conceived. This is good news.
One woman got pregnant just in time before her doctor performed a hysterectomy for another female issue. She desired one more baby before the final end to reproduction.
I wonder if the mind may have anything to do with the successful attempts at pregnancy with this herb, but with personal experience I did get pregnant while nursing (an older child) but I did conceive when I was not wanting to. Just as the Mayan folklore stated with their women.

If you go to my blog on January 28, 2008 you will see a story I shared about Damiana. We adore Damiana so much at our house, my sweetheart bought the pregnant woman/goddess looking bottle of Damiana liquoure for our 8th anniversary.

Lets discuss a moment what the known usage for Turnera diffusa is.

the main action of the herb is aphrodisiac, antidepressant, nervine, and anti anxiety tonic.

Used primarily for stimulating sexual desire, erectile dysfunction and enhancing organsm in both sexes.
Tones the central nervous system and easing the stress of emotional issues such as depression or anxiety.
Helps balance hormones.

May help colic, dyspesia, and upset stomach.

Also considered helpful in dealing with mental disorders such as hypochondria, obsessive compulsive disordeer, paranoia and minor depression.

The only contraindication I have seen noted is that iron may not be absorbed as well when Damiana is consumed.

Damiana is grown in Mexico, South America and West Indies.
This small shrub grows 1-2 meters high. The aromatic leaves are serrate. The scent of the leaves....aaaahhh. I smell sex and candy here......or something like that. The scent of Damiana entices my more playful side and each time I receive a bulk order in, I find comfort and relief just from the scent of this herb.

I typically add about 1 oz of Damiana to my 2 quart mason jar I make my infusions in. I also add another herb such as oatstraw, or red raspberry leaf to enhance my vitamin and mineral intake of the day.
Some have reported to me the distaste they have for Damiana. Yes, it is different, but certainly not any worse than the fresh dug echinacea angustifolia root we have gathered on our land.
If you can open your wild heart as Gail Faith Edwards would say, you may find that the scent and flavor are the call to the inner sensuality trapped inside the socially correct YOU.

I dont drink Damiana daily, but probably every other day or every three days.

Another really wonderful way to take Damiana is to steep 1 oz of herb into 2 cups quality vodka for aobut 5 days.
Strain and pour liquid into a mason jar and set in your pantry a few days.Place the leaves from your straining into a mason jar and cover the leaves with 1 1/2 cups sprain or distilled water.
Leave the leaves and water blend for about 3 days. Strain and compost the leaves. Mix the Damiana steeped water with 1 cup honey adn wamr over low low heat until the honey is dissolved.
Add the alcohol extract and mix well. Pour into a mason jar and add a bit of vanilla extract and rose water or a drop or rose otto essential oil. Allow to set at least 1 month.
When ready to consume, add 1/2 cup chocolate syrup to each cup damiana liquoure. You can add a few drops of almond extract and another dash of rosewater at this time too.
The chocolate will want to set at the bottom, so mix well before consuming.
This is the recipe Rosemary Gladstar shares in her book The Family Herbal.
I will be honest, I love the 5 day liquor honestly. If I have had a tough day or the kids have been exteremly active, a little glass of damiana infused vodka is a real nice mellowing drink for me.
I also have made this liquoure with sugar free chocolate and omitted the honey completely.

Another nice drink for "one of those days" is drinking the water from the soaked leaves. It tastes good and has just enough alcohol to calm the nerves, along with the power of Damiana.

Damiana has become like a friend to me in my time of hormonal lack. I can testify that Damiana does help both myself and my husband with sexual issues we battle.


Winter Walk Day 23

I was a bit shocked when I was reading local harvest yesterday. I was adding Dreamseeds Herb Center hoping it will help locals connect here.
I was seeing if my friend Patrice was listed on the farms.

Not only was he listed, but guess who the listing picture is....LMAO!

Winter Walk Day 22

I love the way my husband, Ray made this church look. He did the ceiling work(everyting in wood) also sheathing and other things you cannot see.

He built this baptismal (the open area in the wall) and the stage. The stage was made with heavy oak and I think he lost about 5 pounds that week getting that built.

Beautfiul work Ray. Smooch!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Winter Walk Day 21

I have these little handmade bendies around my house. They remind me so much of different ages of myself. This bendy, if you can see her is what I hope presents my life now.
I have an old winter fairy that fell into the water and her hair turned course, just like a crone. I sometimes feel like her

I also have one, and I should take a pic called wise woman. It was made by Danielle of Natural Playthings adn she called this littel doll wise woman and said it reminded her of me. A dear mama bought it for me and had it sent. She sits on my essential oil shelf and I love her so much.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Winter Walk Day 20

This is my bedroom, A place I never spend much time in, yet a sacred space in my home. I think pillows are so inviting to look at, but who has time to recline?

A wise woman I worked with at the restaurant last year said that when her sones were small, she woudl take them fishing after school. Now, people dont have time to do that. WTH is happening. I wonder?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Winter Walk Day 19

The menew as Ben would call it. Sometimes we behave as though we have a fine restaurant. The kids can help create the meal or part of it and they post the menu outside the door for daddy to see when he gets