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[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 50 – Herbal Activities for May Day and Herb Day

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2015 by kristine — 1 Comment so far

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We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.

― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

This weekend is packed full of fun days to celebrate! Today, Friday, May 1 is May Day and tomorrow is Herb Day! This is a great time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, pick a few herbal friends and celebrate them.

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May baskets are a fun tradition of May Day. Making paper baskets, decorated with colors and symbols of spring, filling them with springtime pretties such as Dandelions, Violets, Lily of the Valley, Lilacs, Irises, Tulips, Jonquils and other spring blooming beauties as well as a few sweet treats and hanging them on neighbor’s doors is an tradition that is sadly dying out. Louisa May Alcott wrote about it in “Jack and Jill”:

The job now in hand was May baskets, for it was the custom of the children to hang them on the doors of their friends the night before May-day; and the girls had agreed to supply baskets if the boys would hunt for flowers, much the harder task of the two. Jill had more leisure as well as taste and skill than the other girls, so she amused herself with making a goodly store of pretty baskets of all shapes, sizes, and colors, quite confident that they would be filled, though not a flower had shown its head except a few hardy dandelions, and here and there a small cluster of saxifrage.” 

Kids today still adore this tradition, surprising their neighbors with a kind gesture of spring. Not only does it brighten people’s day to get a wonderful surprise but kids get to learn to be kind and generous to others for the sheer enjoyment of it. Alternatively to delivering them around the neighborhood, they could be taken to a retirement home to brighten the day of some elders who might enjoy a bit of spring cheer and nostalgia. Who knows the stories that might be conjured up from those spring laden baskets!

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It’s also a great way to teach others about herbs. Since Dandelions and Violets are blooming now, neighbors who might not think it so grand to get a basket of ‘weed’s left on their doorknob might enjoy a small note telling of the virtues of these sweet plants. Writing “Happy Herb Day” at the end of the note might share a lesser known holiday with them as well. Even though this is the 10th annual Herb Day, it’s still a holiday that is just catching on.

Other ways to celebrate Herb Day:

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Invite some friends over for a Herb Day tea party

Play herbal games, make foods from herbs such as Dandelion Fritters, Rose Petal Jam, Wild Greens and Flower Salad and Sautéed Nettles. Served with a favorite herb tea, of course.

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Host a Herb Day class

Invite friends over to learn about herbs. Use a copy of Herbal Roots zine as a teaching resource, there are plenty of fun activities and ideas in each issue!

Photo by Lisa Rose www.burdockandrose.com

Photo by Lisa Rose www.burdockandrose.com

Host a Herb Day plant walk

Take a walk through your back yard with your friends or neighbors, showing them a few ‘weeds’ that are actually medicinal herbs. It doesn’t have to be extravagant and who knows, maybe you’ll even convince one or two to stop spraying their Dandelions.

These are just a few ideas, there are so many ways to celebrate! Can you think of any more? Do you celebrate Herb Day? Do you make and pass out May baskets for your neighbors? We’d love to hear what you do to celebrate this time of the year!

May 2015 – You Say Cilantro, I Say Coriander! is Available

Posted in Uncategorized on May 1st, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

may15-coriander

 

For details and to purchase go to our sales page.

Giveaway Monday – Dried Herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27th, 2015 by kristine — 29 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO JESSICA, SHE IS THE WINNER!***

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This week, we are giving away a combination of dried herbs, perfect for your month of creating herbal remedies with next month’s herb, Coriander, which comes out on May 1, 2015 (released on April 24 for subscribers). This combination is part of the herbs needed for the activities in the May issue.

coriander-seed

8 oz Coriander

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4 oz Cardamom 

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4 oz Black peppercorn

Black Pepper is our herb for November of this year so you’ll also have some left over for using this fall as well.

Mountain Rose Herbs is a certified organic processor through Oregon Tilth which is fully accredited with the USDA National Organic Program. Since 1987 they have continuously worked for the advancement of sustainable organic agriculture and state they will continue this lifelong passion into the future. They wholeheartedly recommend discovering the joys to be found in organic food products and the best place to start is right here at Mountain Rose Herbs. From the herbs they offer, to the teas they process and the oils they have distilled.

M0untain Rose also has a great YouTube Channel which offers an amazing amount of tutorials and educational videos, many created by John Gallagher and Rosalee de la Foret of Learningherbs.com.

You can also follow them on their Blog for more information and great Giveaway offers!

Love Mountain Rose Herbs? You can show your support by ‘liking’ them on Facebook. Tell them Herbal Roots zine sent you!

Want a chance to win this awesome package from Mountain Rose Herbs? Leave a comment, telling us if you’ve ever worked with Coriander before. For more chances to win, leave a separate comment every time you do one of the following:

-if you’re a kid, tell me how old you are and what your favorite Herbal Roots zine activities are

-Check out MRH’s website and tell me some of your favorite things

-Blog about it (leave reference link)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-Become a follower of Mountain Rose Herbs and Herbal Roots zine on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mountainroseherbs #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your twitter ID in comments so we can find you)

-Follow Mountain Rose Herbs and  Herbal Roots zine on Instagram and share this giveaway with hashtag #giveawaymondayhrz  and tag @herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-Sign up for the Herbal Roots zine monthly newsletter (and receive an issue for free!)

Sign ups end on and I’ll draw the winner on Monday, May 4, 2015. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Herb Fairies is Available for a Limited Time!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

herbfairies-ad500

Herb Fairies, that once a year delightful learning course for kids, enrollment is open until tomorrow night! Quite a few people have been emailing and asking when it would e open again so I just wanted to send out a note letting everyone know now’s the time to sign up if you want to join in this year!

Head on over to their website to sign up for Herb Fairies!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 49 – Of Mulberries and Silkworms

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23rd, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

Of Mulberries and Silkworms

Mulberries have been dubbed a ‘superfruit’ in recent years but herbalists around the world have known of Mulberry’s healing properties long before he was made popular. While the new rage is focused on the berry, the leaves, root bark and twigs all have great medicinal value as well.

Mulberry is a deciduous tree from the Moraceae family. There are two species native to North America Morus rubra, commonly known as Red Mulberry and M. microphylla, known as Texas Mulberry. Morus alba, or White Mulberry, is native to China and considered an invasive in North America. White Mulberry is probably best known for as a food to the silk worm. Another species that has been introduced to North America is Black Mulberry, M. nigra, which is native to western Asia.

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There are many discrepancies about the identification of the various species of Mulberry but they can generally be used interchangeably. Interestingly, though most studies found are on Morus alba, the few herbalists I know also use them regardless of species.  James Duke, herbalist and botanist, noted this would happen in his book Handbook of Medicinal Herbs: “I suspect that… herbalists, publishing phytochemists…don’t know which species (red, white or black mulberry) they last ingested for edible or medicinal reasons. Further, I doubt that most chemical and overseas clinical trials have been vouchered…I would, myself, use them generically for food and medicine, though as a botanist, I cannot prescribe such…I’ll bet in 10 years, someone bolder than I will treat them all generically as Mulberry, Morus. spp.”

Do you have a Mulberry tree growing near you? Check your local park, permaculture center or other wild area to find Mulberry if you don’t. If you have Mulberry, take a moment to try this experiment. Pick a leaf, a berry if they are ripening, and a twig from the tree. Be sure to thank the tree for his gifts. One at a time, taste each piece and see if you can identify the energetics. Start with taste, what do you notice? Sweetness? Bitterness? These are generally the two prominent flavors. Now let’s focus on his capabilities to warm or cool. Most people find the fruit and leaf to be cooling, the twigs to be neutral and the root bark to be cold. All have a moistening action on the body.

The berries contain resveratrol, a polyphenol flavonoid antioxidant. We’ll talk a bit more about that in a bit and the importances of this constituent.

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Nutritionally, the berry contains vitamins A, C, E, K, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folate (B9) plus choline and calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. No wonder he’s named a super fruit!

Medicinally, Mulberry leaf is antibacterial, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antithrombotic, antitumor, antivenomous, antiviral, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and styptic. Mulberry fruit is antibacterial, antihyperglycemic, antioxidant, antiatherosclerosis, laxative (mild), nutritive, refrigerant and tonic. The root bark is diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and sedative. Mulberry twig is analgesic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic and hypotensive. Let’s take a closer look at this…

As an antibacterial, Mulberry leaf has shown use in treating a inhibiting and destroying a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. See the side bar for a complete list.

Of Mulberries and Silkworms

Mulberry leaf is used for treating general coat symptoms as well; sore throat, fever, headache, red, sore, painful, dry eyes, dry cough, especially when there is heat involved (think dry, hot coughs that are painful).

For dry, hot, painful coughs, Mulberry leaf work to lubricate the lungs, helping to stimulate and expectorate mucus that is stuck.

The leaves can be made into an eye wash for soothing dry, painful red eyes.

The leaf has also been found to possess anti-venom actions and has been used to help protect against the local and systemic effects of the Russell’s Viper (Daboia russelii) poison, according to Timothy Scott in his book Invasive Plant Medicine.

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Studies are showing Mulberry leaf to be effective in the treatment of over 1,600 patients with elephantiasis.

The fruit is very nutritive, giving high energy without a lot of fat. It has blood glucose lowering properties, making it a great fruit for diabetics to consume without spiking their glucose levels. At the same time, Mulberry is helpful for reversing atherosclerosis and is a natural antioxidant. It is also a refrigerant, making a refreshing juice for those who are overheated in the summertime or from a fever. As a mild laxative, Mulberry fruit can help to stimulate bowel movements for those who are constipated.

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The dried Mulberries taste similar to raisins, if you have a tree growing in your neighborhood, be sure to harvest and dry some for eating year round. The choline found in Mulberry fruit is food for the brain, helping to stimulate better memory function. Eating a handful of Mulberry each day is like eating for your brain!

The twigs of Mulberry have traditionally been used to treat joint pain, arthritis, and edema. They are often used to promote circulation.

The root bark is used mainly for the lungs, clearing heat, calming wheezing and stopping a cough. It is also used as a diuretic, stimulating urine and reducing edema in the body.

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Though native to China, much of the world now has Morus alba naturalized thanks to the silk worm industry. Thousands of years ago, silk was a magical fabric and a well guarded secret. When at last the secret was discovered, Mulberries were soon planted in other areas in hopes of creating a silk industry in other parts of the world. While the silk worms often didn’t do well in their new habitats, the Mulberry did, taking over landscapes around the world. Today, in North America, the White Mulberry poses a threat to our native Red Mulberry as it hybridizes easily.

Nevertheless, silkworms are a fascinating creature! They consume only the leaves of the White Mulberry, devouring leaves as they grow and go through four molts before spinning their silken cocoon. Today, silkworms are domesticated and cannot survive outside of captivity. Those raising silkworms must feed them Mulberry leaves or a specially formulated artificial food or they will die.

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Want to add a silkworm unit study to your month of learning about Mulberry? Here are some great resources:

Check out the book Silk Worm By Dina Drits at your local library
A Silkworm printable from EnchantedLearning.com
Silkworm lifecycle printable
Teacher’s resources about silkworms
Raising silkworms
Buy silkworms for a school project
Silkworm Information

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While I have mixed feelings about the demise of the silkworms for making silk, I find them to be fascinating.

Do you have Mulberries growing in your area? Do you harvest the fruits? Will you be harvesting any leaves this year for making medicine?

Giveaway Monday – Mulberry Tea Cup from Mulberry Mudd

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20th, 2015 by kristine — 55 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO 12 YEAR OLD MARY HELLEN, SHE IS THIS WEEK’S WINNER!***

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This week I am delighted to give away this beautiful Mulberry teacup from Mulberry Mudd. This one of a kind handmade ceramic teacup features Mulberry on both sides and is perfect for serving up your favorite cup of herbal tea or steaming cup of nourishing bone broth.

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This beautiful teacup is handleless and rests comfortably in your hands. The  clay, natural green glaze and acrylic accents make this a work of art that is as beautiful as it is practical!

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This teacup holds approximately 16 oz. They fit comfortably in your hands, warming them as the hot beverage contained within it warms your insides!  What would be your favorite drink in this cup?

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About Rebekah:

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Artist and herbalist Rebekah Dawn has been walking with the plants for as long as she can remember. A life long love has translated into passionate study of herbal lore that has deepened and grown through the years. She currently lives with her family at Labyrinth Gardens, a United Plant Saver Botanical Sanctuary, where she gives monthly plant walks and medicine making workshops. When she is not in the garden or wild-crafting she is most likely in her ceramic studio. Rebekah is the Teen Camp Coordinator for the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference.

Be sure to stop by to check out her other items in her store. She makes beautiful Herbal Faeries, pendants, birdhouses, mugs and more! She also does custom orders so if you have a special ally or idea, convo her with questions! There may be a few other one-of-a-kind pendants featuring past Herbal Roots herbs as well! Rebekah uses naturally found elements in nature combined with clay to create these amazing pieces. Her sculptures are amazing, incredibly original and just plain wonderful. I fall in love with each one she creates.

Each piece in Rebekah’s store is original in every way, she uses no molds or reproductions ever. A percentage of her profits go to Tree Sisters and Radical Joy for Hard Times each month, and the rest builds her own Botanical Sanctuary at Labyrinth Gardens.

You can become a fan of Mulberry Mudd on Facebook if you would like to do so.

If you’d like a chance to win this one of a kind Mulberry tea cup, leave a comment below, telling me what your favorite beverage would be to sip in it. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-blogging about it

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite item in her store

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots and Mulberry Mudd on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #mulberrymudd #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 27, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets] No. 48 – Garden Tools for Kids

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16th, 2015 by kristine — 1 Comment so far

garden tools for kids

One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener’s own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race.

-Wendell Berry

The sky is sunny, temperatures have risen to comfortable levels and the back yard is calling but you’ve got small (or maybe not so small) kids to keep an eye on. How can you garden with them around? Bring them out with you and provide them with a bit of space for them to work with! Kids love to dig in the dirt and given the opportunity, they will dig and weed and plant right along side of you.

I have taught enough kids classes to see how parents often forget that kids learn best by doing. Just as you can’t expect a child to create a beautiful masterpiece the first time they hold a paint brush in their hand, you can’t expect them to be perfect in the garden their first try. But given time, kids learn quickly and can be quite helpful with weeding, pruning, planting and harvesting once they’ve been shown the way.

How do you get them started? Give them their own child-sized tools.

But not cheap plastic ones. Invest in some nice wooden handled, metal tools. These are some of our favorite tools to have on hand for the garden…

spade

A spade or hand trowel
Small shovels can be handy for digging small holes in the ground for planting plants or helping with digging up weeds.

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A hoe
Sometimes you just need to hoe a row. Kids love to use hoes for weeding and even if you’re practicing permaculture gardening techniques, sometimes a patch gets away from you and the necessity to weed is there. Having a kid sized hoe makes this a fun chore for kids to do.

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A wooden dibble
These tools are great for punching a hole in the ground to plant seedlings, bulbs and seeds. Kids will love having one and if yours are like mine, they’ll love doing this to help plant!

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Gloves
Though they probably won’t care about getting their hands dirty, they may need a pair if you’re working with tenacious plants such as Nettles, Thistle and Poison Ivy.

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Wheel barrow
If there’s going to be hauling involved, a child sized wheel barrow is another great tool to have. My kids love being able to haul their own debris to the compost pile.

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A pot maker
If you are starting your own seeds, this handy tool converts newspapers into plantable pots!

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A garden tote
These are great for teaching your kids responsibility…a place for everything and everything in its place. They can stash their tools in this handy tote to carry to/from the garden. A garden tote should be large enough that they can stash a journal, plant markers, a writing instrument, gloves and the seeds they are planting in addition to their garden tools.

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Hori knife
As an adult, one of my favorite tools is the hori knife. I haven’t found a kid-sized one but my kids have learned to use mine safely in the garden.

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A Garden journal
Keeping track of what you plant, when you planted it, and care instructions are best kept in their own journal. It’s great to be able to look back on it over the years, and for this reason, I love the Lee Valley 10 year garden journal.

Besides tools, what else can help kids to enjoy working in the garden?

Give them their own garden plot.
Mark off a space for them to garden. Let them choose what to plant and where to plant it in their space. The first couple of years the garden may be a mess but over time, they will learn proper spacing and companion planting.

Give them their own seeds.
Let them pick out 3 – 5 seeds to grow. Younger kids might enjoy watching sunflowers and squash plants while older kids will enjoy growing their own herbs. Some great sources for gmo-free heirloom seeds are:

Thyme Garden
Horizon Herbs
Botanical Interests
Baker Creek Seeds

Learning through doing.
Younger kids like to mimic adult activities. Bringing your toddler to the garden may sound like a disaster but if you start off working in hardier locations, you can start teaching them what to pull and what to keep. At the same time, they can start identifying those ‘weeds’ that you might not want growing in your garden patch that are good medicinal and edibles. Weeding the garden becomes harvesting dinner.

Books and resources for gardening with kids.
Want more inspiration for gardening with kids? Check out these books!

Activities for Gardening
Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
Sunflower Houses: Inspiration From the Garden – A Book for Children and Their Grown-Ups by Sharon Lovejoy
Project Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Planting, Growing, and Enjoying ALL Your Backyard Has to Offer by Stacy Tornio

Storybooks about Seeds and Gardens
How a Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan
The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow by Joanna Cole
Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals

Do your kids enjoy working in the garden? What tools do your kids like in the garden? Do they get their own patch to work in? If so, what do they like to plant?

P.S. As a Reminder…This week we are giving away a $50 gift certificate to For Small Hands to one lucky winner! Be sure to sign up for this awesome giveaway, and if you win, you’ll get to choose some awesome tools for kids.

Monday Giveaway – Gift Certificate from ForSmallHands.com

Posted in Uncategorized on April 13th, 2015 by kristine — 39 Comments

***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO LIZ, SHE IS THIS WEEK’S WINNER.**

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Spring is here and it’s time to get the kids out into the garden, helping with the cleaning, preparing and planting of the spring garden. And to celebrate that, we are giving away a $50 gift certificate to the website www.forsmallhands.com.

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I just love this website for all things small! Kids love to have ownership in their own tools for whatever job they are doing and this website gives parents access to tools for every job, whether it be in the kitchen, in the garden, in the laundry room, cleaning house, in the wood shop or craft activities.

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It can be hard to find well made tools for kids, most often they are made of plastic that breaks. www.forsmallhands.com has quality tools that have wood or bamboo handles and metal parts so kids can actually do grown-up work along side their parents.

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This is one of the best gifts you can give your child, the ability to mimic your daily work with appropriate tools that make work easy and fun for them. From the beginning I have brought my kids into the daily activities of cooking, cleaning and gardening and having small tools made it safer and more enjoyable for all of us.

veggiechopper

About For Small Hands:

Since 1976, Montessori Services has focused on bringing hard-to-find, child-size Practical Life materials into the classroom. Although our School Catalog focus has expanded to include materials across the curriculum, materials for the exercises of Practical Life remain our specialty.

Founded in Pennsylvania by Jane Mills Campbell, an AMI-trained Primary Montessori teacher, the original Montessori Services School Catalog was created with a simple goal: make it easy and cost-effective to find the specialized items used in the Montessori classroom.

In 2004 our family resource catalog was created at the request of Montessori teachers. For Small Hands gives parents access to many of the same child-size items children use at school, enabling children to participate in the home environment with the same ease and success they enjoy in the classroom.

Jane’s “kitchen table” business grew steadily, moving cross-country by school bus (yes, by school bus) to the Campbell’s California garage, from the garage to a small storefront, and eventually to our current location in downtown Santa Rosa, about one hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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You can become a fan of For Small Hands on Facebook if you would like to do so. Tell them Herbal Roots zine sent you!

If you’d like a chance to win this gift certificate, leave a comment below, telling us what you would buy with it if you won it. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-blogging about it

-checking out For Small Hands’s shop and telling me your favorite item(s)

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite section(s) of Herbal Roots zine

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags  #forsmallhands #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#forsmallhands (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#forsmallhands (list your Twitter name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 20, 2015. Good luck!

[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 47 – Eat Something Wild Every Day Challenge

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8th, 2015 by kristine — Be the first to comment!

Eating-Wild

Once we have tasted wildness, we begin to hunger for a food long denied us, and the more we eat the more we will awaken.

– Stephen Harrod Buhner

It's always exciting when the first Blackberries are ready for picking! Caution is needed as the prickles are vicious.

It’s always exciting when the first Blackberries are ready for picking! Caution is needed as the prickles are vicious.

This is a little challenge that I like to take every year. Add something wild to one meal a day. Some days I succeed in adding to all my meals, and some days I’m lucky if I remember to run out and eat a wild flower. Bringing my kids on board with this challenge is a great help in reminding me to eat wild every day, they love this sort of thing! Each year I try to push it further into the season. My goal is to eventually practice this daily year round. 

Harvesting Maitake mushrooms on an autumn walk. We harvest enough to enjoy them fresh and dry them for using throughout the winter in soups, stews and other dishes.

Harvesting Maitake mushrooms on an autumn walk. We harvest enough to enjoy them fresh and dry them for using throughout the winter in soups, stews and other dishes.

What is wild?

Wild foods grow all around us. They come in many forms. The more you learn about wild foods, the more you’ll discover all around you. They can be simple like the Dandelions, Violets, Chickweed and Plantain that grow in our backyard, providing greens and flowers for our salads, or roots, such as Chicory and Dandelion for roasting and drinking as our morning beverage. Local trees such as Mulberry, Wild Cherry, Apple, Peach, Plum and Pear are often planted as landscape trees and then abandoned, offering a multitude of wild fruits at our reach. Berries grow in pockets of wild as well: Blackberries, Raspberries, Wineberries, Dewberries, Currants, Gooseberries, Elderberries, Grapes and Blueberries often can be found. Don’t forget the nuts! Acorns, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Beechnuts, Hickory nuts are just a few that can often be found in neighborhood parks and woods.

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My forage for today…Dandelion flowers and Nettles to add to fritters and Violet flowers and Chickweed for our daily salad.

Why eat wild?
There are countless reasons, here are a few…

Eating wild speaks to the feral child inside of us. It returns us to our roots, grounding us in nature.

It helps us to weed our gardens. Suddenly, all those Dandelions have value. Violets add color and nutrition to our salads. Chickweed adds variety to the ho-hum salad or grilled cheese sandwich.

Wild foods often have more vitamins and minerals than garden grown foods because they choose to grow where the most nutrients are available.

Wild foods are not treated with fungicides, herbicides, pesticides and such. They do not get waxed as produce in the grocery store often is.

Eating wild gives us confidence. We can learn to provide food for ourselves and not rely on the grocery stores to feed us.

Wild food is sacred. It connects us to the divine sacred. Eating wild food is honoring the divine sacred inside all of us.

With the drought in California, food prices are going up. Adding local, wild food to our diets gives us a healthy variety without worrying about the cost.

It forces us to slow down and be aware. By taking 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour a day to walk to the wild places, we learn to observe. What is growing and available now? What is almost ready? What is finished growing? Where do the most lush wild foods grow?

It fuels a desire to learn and remember. Discovering wild foods in your area can inspire you to keep a nature journal of what grows where and when it’s ready to harvest. It can inspire you to want to learn more about that plant. Yep, I love to eat Nettles. Besides the nutrition, what health benefits can I gain from it? Will my allergies really go away? These questions are best answered through experience and keeping a journal helps to keep track of those experiences.

Maitakes, known as Hen of the Woods, and Laetiporus, known as Chicken of the Woods, getting prepared for a dinner sauté.

Maitakes, known as Hen of the Woods, and Laetiporus, known as Chicken of the Woods, getting prepared for a dinner sauté.

How to get started eating wild?
Take a walk through your neighborhood. Look for wild areas. Even cities have abandoned lots which sprout wild foods. Make a list of what you find and where you found it. Search your backyard. Have you made a list of what’s growing in it yet? Look up those plants and see what makes a great edible plant as well (there are lots of resources at the end of this article).

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A few of my favorite foraging books.

Resources and recipes for eating wild
The following are a few of my favorite resources for identifying wild edibles and recipe inspiration.

Foraging and Feasting by Dina Falconi

The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer

A City Herbal by Maida Silverman

The Wild, Wild Cookbook by Jean Craighead George

The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes by Connie Green

Mushrooming without Fear by Alexander Schwab

The Complete Mushroom Hunter: An Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms by Gary Lincoff

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson. Don’t have a wild patch of earth nearby? Check out this book to see how you can eat on the wild side with every day produce.

Harvesting wild Persimmons. This little monkey loves to climb in the trees to reach the juicy sweet ones high up.

Harvesting wild Persimmons. This little monkey loves to climb in the trees to reach the juicy sweet ones high up.

Online articles and inspiration, food for thought
Wanting a little more inspiration? These articles and websites are my go to inspiration to eat wild.

Why you should eat like a gorilla

Nourishing the wild self: wild food and community

Foraging in the winter

Return to Nature

Wildy Nourished

Wild Food Girl

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Nettles and Dandelion flowers chopped up and ready to add into the fritter base.

A wild recipe for you
This is a versatile recipe that changes as the seasons go by. Carrots or zucchini can be added as a base if your family gives you the hairy eyeball over it being filled completely with wild greens.

Combine together:

3 beaten eggs

1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic or 2 cloves freshly minced

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Add in:

2 – 4 cups of chopped wild foods such as Nettles, Dandelion leaves and/or flowers, Lamb’s Quarters, Chickweed, Purslane, etc.

If only adding 2 cups of wild edibles, add in another 2 cups of grated zucchini or carrot

Stir together until combined.

Fry in a cast iron skillet in bacon grease, butter or coconut oil until brown on one side. Flip and cook on the other side until brown, about 3 minutes per side.

Sprouted acorns ready for processing. Some will be ground into flour and some will be used in a wild chai blend.

Sprouted acorns ready for processing. Some will be ground into flour and some will be used in a wild chai blend.

Wild is all around us! Do you harvest wild foods to add to your meals? What are your favorite wild edibles? Will you take the wild food challenge this year? How do you think it will help you and your kids to learn about the plants that grow around you?

Giveaway Monday – Winding Road Studio Ceramic Mug

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6th, 2015 by kristine — 42 Comments

*** THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO 6 YEAR OLD CIARA, SHE IS THE WINNER!***front

This week I am excited to share a new artist with you! Winding Road Studio has beautiful offerings in pottery, stained glass, paper and brooms.  This beautiful ceramic mug proudly displays Mulberry’s berries and leaf with vibrant glazing and intricate leaf detail.

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About Winding Road Studio:

“I have been asked many times why I do so many different things, my best answer is that I am a restless soul, with too much in my mind that wants release. I am always trying to find the best medium to express the journey, the connection and find that inner balance.

The things I make resonate with my passion for the inner and outer worlds. I strive to imbue everything I do with an energy, be it whimsy or wisdom that others can connect with and enjoy.

I have been  doing pottery since 1992. My pottery can be found throughout the U.S. and in 8 countries around the globe. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t painting or piddling in some form of art.
Mostly I divide my time between the many different forms of art that call to me. In the winter I can be found painting, quilting, weaving and teaching classes. In the spring I segue back into pottery, stained glass and broom making. During the summer months I add soap making, jewelry and whatever new form catches me.”

 

You can become a fan of Winding Road Studio on Facebook if you would like to do so. Tell her Herbal Roots zine sent you!

If you’d like a chance to win this beautiful mug, leave a comment below. For more chances to win, you can leave a separate comment each time you advertise this giveaway by:

-Kids, you get 1 extra point for being a kid! Leave a comment telling me how old you are and what you like best about Herbal Roots zine.

-can you tell me what hidden treasure is on the Winding Road Studio website?

-blogging about it

-checking out Winding Road Studio’s shop and telling me your favorite item(s)

-tell us which herb you’re most excited to be learning about this year with Herbal Roots zine

-telling me your favorite section(s) of Herbal Roots zine

-share this giveaway on your Facebook page

-follow Herbal Roots on Pinterest and pin this giveaway with hashtags  #windingroadstudio #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine (list your Pinterest name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots on Instagram and pin this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#windingroadstudio (list your Instagram name in comments so we can find you)

-follow Herbal Roots and Winding Road Studio on Twitter and tweet this giveaway with hashtags #giveawaymonday #herbalrootszine#windingroadstudio (list your Twitter name in comments so we can find you)

Sign ups end and I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 13, 2015. Good luck!