Sunday, March 8, 2009 is the new blogsite

As changes have unfolded in my life, I was lead to create a new blog to reflect the growth and change emerging in me and around me.

Look for more recipes, plant pictures and research, fun and family too because I love to share about LIFE at DreamseedsOrganicsblog

If you are a subscriber to Blessings of an Herbyfe, you can subscribe to the Dreamseeds Organics blog too to make the transition easy.

I have, as my first blog post, an interview with the woman that planted the seeds of herbalism in me (along with others, but she was probably most influential).
The goddess, Rosemary Gladstar :)

I will leave blessings of an herbwyfe up for awhile for those that want to reference some of the work, research, and plant info that is created here.

The best is yet to come and I am so excited.

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Herbalist Interview-Jim McDonald

jim mcdonald is a 36 year old married father of 2 boys ages 5 and 1 years old.
And a cat named chicken
little, and one named ceilidh (kay-lee).

I purposely typed jim's name lower case, because this is his style everywhere I have ran into him online.
No fancy nor formal spelling or capitalizing, yet his plant wisdom is really phenomenal and he is a really cool guy. Not only that, I have a thing for long hair!

I love bringing male herbalist's experiences to my students and readers because we seem to know more of the female herbalist. But beleive me, the men in our plant work are serious and dedicated and so knowledgeable. I am delighted to share jim's work today and his website is really awesome. You will find a link on down in the interview.

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

I was already quite a hiker, canoer, and park goer, but didn't really
know much about plants. Stephen Buhner summed up my state nicely when
he said he figured "small ones were plants, medium sized ones were
bushes, and big ones were trees".

In college, though, I happened to live on an overgrown 30 acre farm,
and my roommate left out Jeanne Rose's Herbs and Things. I picked it
up and that was that. I started trying some things, the whole
situation escalated into overflowing mason jars. There really wasn't
a point where I consciously thought "Hey, I want to get into this
more"... it just happened, then I realized it after the fact.

I pretty much taught myself, or, more honestly, learnt from the
plants. I figured out a lot of what I could use calamus root for just
by chewing on it a lot, and getting to know it. That helped me learn
how to figure other plants out directly. I didnt take any clases for
quite a few years, since there wasn't much of an herb community around
here and the internet wasn't really happening yet. I spent lots of
time outside, and would sit for hours in the big bookstores IDing
stuff I'd found and cross referencing in books they had there. I
would write stuff down real tiny on samll bits of paper.

How old were you at that time?

bout 23ish?

Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books,
blogs, video and lectures.

Foundationally, being with the plants, and learning that, yes, you can
learn directly from them. This was then reinforced when I found
Stephen Buhner's Sacred Plant Medicine. It "validated" everything I
was heading towards. I got David Hoffman's Holistic Herbal some time
afterwards, which got me more interested in understanding herbal
properties. And then Matthew Wood's Book of Herbal Wisdom. After
getting that, I tracked him down (hard to do, pre-internet) and then
went to a class he was teaching in ohio with Rosemary, whose down to
earth coolness I was inspired by. I kept in touch with both of
them, who've been super wonderful kind to me. Sometime later I
figured out about the internet, and through that studied ecletic and
physiomedical herbalism, and met oodles of folks. Among them Paul
Bergner has been incredible in the generosity with which he shares. I
also really dig on the nurmeous folks blogging and posting to forums
and mailing lists. Its an incredible resource for people who don't
live surrounded by other herbfolk to get exposed to new ideas and

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

By hand, if at all I can help it. I collect most of what I use, and
get almost everything else from the person who picked or grew it. Its
like prayer, meditation... its a practice of connection with the plant
to make medicine of them. You try and stay present so you can learn
from them as you're chopping, grinding, decanting...

I do everything by eyeball & feel except tinctures, which I weigh and
measure to keep consistant as I make them year after year.

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?

I met Rosemary the weekend that she found out that Terrance McKenna
had brain cancer. He was really into psychedelics. Someone asked if
she thought that had anything to do with it and she just said that
she'd seen so many people do everything "right" - eat good organic
food, drink teas, do ceremony, exercise, laugh - and still sometimes
someone would get this or that illness. That it just happened
sometimes, and wasn't because they "did something wrong". It was so
humble and so true, and she said it without in any way condescending
to the guy who asked the question. I really admired that. If you
ever meet rosemary, she's amazing. Totally down to earth and
approachable. She glows. She's not an encyclopedeia, she's not an
amazing writer, she's not some idealized flawless person, but she's
real and you look at her and you see that she's doing something very
beautiful for herself and the world around her.

So, she and a some other folks (I'll certainly leave people out so
I'll pass on a long list) are so kind and available for people, so
willing to help out others in whatever way they can. That's what I
really deeply admire and strive towards. Doing that is more important
to me than "making a living".

The other thing is when I get kind follow up from students or people
who visited my site or who are on herb lists... It creates this cycle
of I'm helped out, I help out, that person helps someone out... I
like that. I couldn't say that I valued a compliment from a very
knowledgeable herbalist any more than I value a compliment from a

Where are you located?

southeast Michigan. fields, meadows, mixed eastern hardwood forest habitat.

Do you work with the public and could you descirbe your work?

I consider myself a village/community herbalist. I teach, write,
speak, consult and share throughout my community.

Do you teach classes?

yes, often. Usually afternoon long classes with a lot of time for
discussion, storytelling and elaboration. I simply love finding ways
to present ideas that make them easy for people to understand and
connect with. Though I have long, detailed handouts, I pretty much
wing all the classes when i do them. I'm not goot at looking at
notes. Sometimes I'll use the handouts to look and make sure I'm on
track, but I figure when I go into a class, I already know most of
what I'm going to present. So the questions and discussions are what
make it more dynamic, and what i learn from.

Short classes are hard for me. I talk to much.

Do you offer consultatons?

yes, as time allows. I still have a day job to help pay the bills &
two little ones (one REALLY little one) and "formal" consults are fit
in as I'm able. They're not infrequent, but not daily occurances.
But I also do a lot of less formal consults with students and a few
other folks I cross paths with, who call or write. I'll occasionally
do housecalls.

Do you travel for herbal work?

Yep, throughout michigan, but also other places if there's enough
interest to cover my expenses and make it feasable for me. I've been
down to Ohio, and taught at the last and will teach at this years
International Herb Symposium. I've also taught at the mid america
symposium in minnesota, and in mississippi. It's something I really
like and want to do more of, though I don't want to travel too much,
cuz I don't really care for airports and miss my little ones (and the
other big one.)

How can people contact you to find out more about what you offer, calender of
events, blogs, weed walks, etc?

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

I'm reworking my long term class to make it easier for people who live
farther away, and I expect to teach "out" more at some of the
conferences. I'm working on a book, though that's been at a slothful
pace since parenthood. But it'll eventually get done. I'm sure I
could be more efficient at getting things done, though I'm far better
at showing up and teaching than planning, promoting, advertising and
scheduling. Ack.

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?
Spend time with the plants, and strive to make relationships with em.
If you're going to use stuff, know why. If you're suggesting things,
know what they all taste and smell like. Make your herbcraft visceral

life is short. we must move very slowly.

jim mcdonald
(248) 737-3589

Friday, February 27, 2009

Essential Herbal Giveaway!

I know I have told you about Tina Sams before on my blog. She is one of those people I have never met but love like an old friend.
Well she is opening up her heart to the world by offering a FREE YEAR subscription of her magazine, The Essential Herbal, to a well deserving person (luck as we often call it).

This magazine is filled with writings from farmers, gardeners, crafters, herbalists, soapmakers, those with cooking savvy, and other very open and real people.
What a delight to be part of this. Best wishes to everyone who writes a comment on my blog during this giveaway!

Welcome to our Herb Blog Group Contest!
For the week between Friday, February 27 and Thursday, March 5 you can enter simply by entering a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning a full year’s subscription to The Essential Herbal Magazine! The Essential Herbal is written by, for, and about herbie people and the things they love. It is a grassroots publication that talks about the things you want to know when it comes to herbs.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs. If you are already a subscriber, we’ll just add the free year on the end. Be sure to leave an email addy in your response so that we can reach you if you win!

Possum Creek Herb Farm

Garden Chick ***

SunRose Aromatics ***

Herbs from the Labyrinth ***

Patti’s Potions ***

PrairieLand Herbs ***

Aquarian Bath ***

The Rosemary House ***

Natures Gift ***

Torchsong Studio ***

The Essential Herbal ***

*** These blogs will be having contests for the next 10 weeks. Be sure to come back!

Blessings of an Herbwyfe will not be able to partcipate in the 10 week giveaway, so please keep up to speed after the Magazine giveaway by checking out the participants with the stars by their links. It is going to be fun and you will enjoy your time with each of these people as well!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In memory of Michael Moore, herbalist

The kids and I took a hike up Teton Pass. I carried with me a sadness of this great herbalist who literally has been very helpful to so many. He passed away on February 20.

To honor him, as well as my ancestors that have passed, I brought some tobacco up there and found a place with a tree and 2 wild plants sticking out of the snow.
There was an open patch in the snow, so we knelt down, gave gratitude and sprinkled the tobacco in that opening.

Thank you Michael for all you have done and your 'openness' are 'realness' of who you are, instead of what others thought you should be.

You will be a wonderful memory in my mind and heart.

Michael's website

There is an herbal gathering in New Mexico to honor him in April.
In gratitude

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day/Age of Aquarius

My mom, who passed away this past summer, use to play alot of music from the 50's and 60's. This Fifth Dimension song is one I remember well.
On Feb 14, the planets were lined up like the song, and an astrological chart was drawn up to reflect a time of spiritual transformation and relationships.
Now whether you beleive in this stuff or not, won't matter because regardless it was in the sky and that is fact. And that is cool.
I have a special soap I will be stocking to honor this planetary alignment. This will be at Random Eclipse on the 22nd of February. This soap will honor the 4 elements, the 7 chakra's and the flowers, earth, trees, resins, herbs, leaves and an elixir of amethyst.

Besides this special alignment, it was also Valentines Day, a time to show those you love some honor.
I must confess, V-day was never very special as an adult woman, as my 2 marriage partners over the years never celebrated it so it became another day.
This year I was on my own. And ya know what.....I celebrated!
My son and I went to see Schuyler Fisk and Ben Taylor in concert.
I donned myself with a very special necklace and earrings set from Greenlees Forest I have the Hold necklace. It is very special to me!

I had first heard Schuyler on My Space and her song Dont forget you love me, was my theme song for the My space page I had. I love her mellow folk style, however I must say SHE WAS ROCKIN.
I video clipped a small mellow part of that song I was just referencing.

After a short intermission, and a couple red stripes later, Ben arrived on stage. Ben is the son of famous father James Taylor and famous mother Carly Simon. Talk about soem serious musical genes! Ben was simply fun, had us laughing throughout the show and his music was a little folky, with some blues mixed in.
Here is a video clip of the last song of the set, again something really mellow and his band had walked off stage by then.

I dont know if it is acceptable to film anyone performing, so I got these brief clips to show the kids at home, just what we were up to on Valentines day.

And to encourage you all that if these musicians come to your town, lift yourself up outta cabin fever and go see em. You will really have a great time.

My son and I had a wonderful time! A great way to spend a Valentine's eve when neither of us had a valentine to share it with. This is my second oldest child....I have to laugh at how he towers over me.

Thanks for sharing this day with me and a HUGE thanks to the various people that took time to wish me love on this day, knowing I was alone. I was overshaddowed with love from you and it sure made me feel good!


When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelation
And the mind's true liberation
Aquarius! Aquarius!

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

Let the sun shine, Let the sun shine in

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weekend of beauty

It had been an intense week of caring for others, and ending up not feeling so well myself.
Sometimes during illness, emotions come up. Do not ignore them. If frustration and anger swell up inside, then pay attention and see that sometimes these stuffed emotions need to come up and be dealt with. Illness sometimes is a result of stuffed emotions, or it brings things to light often times.
So I spent some of the weekend writing letters to release some trapped feelings I had.
But also, due to the oppressive nature of feeling down, I HAD TO GET OUT IN THE WILDERNESS!

Sharing what the day presented to us. The morning started out beautiful, as you can see in the above picture.

Ben has a project on Elk, so we decided to hit the road in search of the herds.
We drove 70 miles and did not run into any, but we did run into Moose foraging near the Gros Ventre River.

We also cruised on up by the hot spring to see the beauty and observe the trees.

The beauty of the Tetons is always changing and simply magnificent!

Since the elk were not found on our own efforts, we figured we had better go to the elk refuge and at least get some footage of the mighty animals.

On our way, there were at least 5 coyotes dancing in the snow apparantly catching whatever little critters that fly and survive these winters.
Here is one of them

And then to the Elk Refuge to film the herds. The Elk Refuge is land that is preserved for the elk to winter. There is a feeding program for them, where you can pay to go out on a horse drawn sleigh and watch them closer during the feeding. We have not been able to do that yet, but will sometime.

So from the main road, Ben films his elk. Look closely at the mountains in the background and see if you can see the Indian, with headress, laying down with his arms on his chest. This mountain is called Sleeping Indian.

Nature always inspires and heals so I sealed my inner stirrings with a kiss to thank her:)

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A sunny day-time to play

Or rather work and play. I had about a dozen packages to ship today!! Thank you for those who support my work!
The sun was shining, and with moderate temps this week, the roads are mostly clear.
And since we had to be out today, I decided that after errand running, I would take Olivia to hang out at Planet Palate.
This is the little cafe I worked at for like a day:) Some of you might remember, the schedule I could keep with Olivia's classes, weren't truly good for the restaurant and the day I worked I could see that clearly. The owner, Amy Young, really tried to make it work. Thanks Amy!
I did some work for Planet Palate after that, while Amy was out of town and really got a feel for the place and more about Amy's vision.

It was so refreshing today, after a busy run around day, to chill out and relax with Liv.

Here is Liv on the steps to enter in. The ski hill in the background is Snow King.

We are always tempted when walking in the door with fresh baked goodies, most organic, some gluten free or vegan.

I had a favorite beverage I enjoy there which is their Tiger Chai.
Which is a beverage with infusion of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, peppercorn, clove, chickory orange zest, and jasmine tea. With organic milk.

Then our meal. We split a cup of cream of spinach soup and a Margherita, which is basically an egg sandwich on foccacia, with basil, tomato and roasted garlic aioli. IT IS SO GOOD

I was able to read the daily paper, which is free here in Jackson, well one of them is, as well as bus service is free in town. Thankfully, I did not have to take the bus today:)

The day was crisp and clear, pretty quiet with birds singing throughout the day. You can almost feel spring is saying, WONT BE TOO LONG NOW, although in Jackson, Spring is still a ways away compared to most places.
This is on the road home. It was so majestic today to have a clear sky to see the mountains that surround where I live

Upon arriving home, I made a nice warm brew of thyme tea and sat out in the sun briefly before heading to do laundry.

What a glorious day! The beauty of nature uplifts my spirits so much! I have an infusion of neem on the counter to work with later. Trying to understand some of its benefits with oral care. I have really looking forward to it, but hoping it wont be as bad and bitter as I suspect it to be.

Have a Glorious Day!