How’s the winter been treating you? I hope you were able to observe the winter season as the breather that we all need. I’ve been trying to heed this wisdom but winter on the farm has its own quiet rhythms.
As I started this email I was sitting with my favorite herbal tea, looking out at a coating of ice on the trees and an even thicker coating of ice on the ground. Never in the 32 years we’ve been on the farm have we not been able to get up to the barn until this time. At least two inches of solid ice. We were able to get food and to the animals and fortunately,no new lambs yet. In a few hours this should be transitioning to freezing rain then rain. I’ve been busy in the house pottering and planning this new season of classes. We’ll be changing things up a bit.
The week I had in the ice gifted me time to really think. The guys were home and did most of the outdoors stuff, gallant lads that they are. My 70th birthday is coming up soon and I need to pause and fully comprehend the significance of that milestone. I’m totally reworking my pathetic gardening habits to incorporate mulched beds of food and medicine along our paths at home and planting a woodland garden in the yard of the cottage under the shade of the Linden Goddess. I’m excited that in April i’m attending Eaglesong Gardener’s Gardening Camp at her RavenCroft Garden for my birthday.
And, on a more personal note, I'm participating in my friend Ani's 13 month long "Witch Class". How can someone be an herbalist for better than 30 years and pay no attention to the phases of the moon except howl when she's full once in a while? I'm also going to be volunteering at Sheltering Silverton providing the folks there with some basic herbal instruction.
I love teaching these classes and over the years have made some changes in terms of content and length of the class depending on the ebb and flow of my life. And now that it has some spaciousness I'm adjusting again. Some of you that have asked for just the Herbal Basics lecture part of class or for me to only teach plant i.d. and foraging walks at as a separate offering. And there are some who have studied herbs but just want some hands-on experience. I sure needed that after my year long study with The Australasian College of Herbal Studies. I felt well prepared with my knowledge of herbs to take care of the basics but a couple of classes with Gina at The Oregon School of Herbal Studies and I was much more confident putting my studies to practice.
You’ve asked and I’ve listened. What this means is each class will offer something different, at different locations. January class will be the last one at the Grange for a while. See the schedule below.
This time of year nearer Imbolc and going forward we get to watch month by month as the world wakes up and things begin to bloo and there’s an abundance of herbs to harvest. And a surprising amount to learn outdoors any time of the year.
And of course, we’ll be doing so much more than the plant talks. Forage & botany basics, including wild harvesting and identification of common plant medicine families. The fundamentals of herbal medicine, from herbal energetics to harvesting and storing plants. How to formulate and make medicinal tinctures, teas, massage oils, glycerine-based extracts, medicine for children, salves, and hydrosols. I'm changing the status of my website so won't be accepting payments through it any more. I will have details of the classes and a payment link up at www.elderspiritherbals.com very soon.
Here’s the 2024 lineup:
January 28, 2024
The Heart of Herbal Medicine, at Silverton Grange
February 25 2024
The Family Herbalist, at the Silverton Grange
NO March class
April 21, 2024
Earth Day Field Trip to the Thyme Garden (details to come)
April 27 2024 Saturday
Oh, My Aching at Silverton Grange
May 19, 2024
First Things First at Silverton Grange
June 22, 2024
Soothing the Body, Mind, and Spirit (coinciding with Linden Harvest, Embree Farm)
July 28, 2024
Medicine Making in a Day, at Silverton Grange
August 11, 2024
Plant Spirit Medicine, Farm or TBA
September 21, 2024
Hawthorn Harvest, Farm