Lughnasadh Blessings 🌾

It’s the end of summer, and we are blessed to have a bountiful first harvest this year. The blackberries are ripening, the cucumbers are climbing, and the tomatoes are starting to turn red. Echinacea, lavender, and hyssop are drawing in tons of bees and butterflies, which just makes me happy to see. It’s time to gather the goods, harvest the veggies, and begin the process of long term storage. I canned 4 pints of dill and 4 pints of sweet pickles over the weekend… a first for me. Fingers crossed they taste good because I’ve already given some away!

I promised myself I would make blog entries each month over the summer with updates on the progress of the gardens and orchards. Obviously that didn’t happen hahaha! So I’m trying to forgive myself by reminding me that I DID take pictures each month. It’s a start. The herbal infusions I have made from foraging and my tea/herb garden will be the base for wonderful healing salves this winter. Working on herbal tea blends and home remedies may have taken precedence, but I miss the writing. Oh, and building a front porch also tends to dig into any personal time either of us has right now… priorities!

So as you all gather in your harvests, your hard work, your blood, sweat and tears – may they be fruitful, plentiful, delicious, nutritious, and amazing! May your hearts be full of love and laughter, may your home be filled with joy and family, and may the Gods grant you all good fortune. Bright Blessings!!

Blessed Be, Morgan 💫🖤

The Return Home

(and the start of the vegetable garden Spring 2022)

Spring has been such an amazing blessing for us this year. After sixteen months away in the South where we had zero access to a garden of any kind, we are finally back home in Western ME. It has been a joy to watch our fruit trees blossoming and showing the promise of a good harvest. I smile when I see the growing patch of purple columbine spreading out from the old well, and the truly deep scarlet of the flowering quince blooming in the front yard. The ancient lilac on the north side of the house now reaches two stories to the roof and floods both floors with its heavy scent. I have sorely missed this magical place!

The best part of coming home? Getting my hands in the soil, digging out the weeds, smelling the dank richness of good compost, placing the young plants in their new homes and watching them start to thrive. We had to start ripping and tearing our way through the raspberry bramble that took over the herb beds while we were gone though. It’s crazy how quickly they can take over a garden! Thankfully my herbs are well established and all but one yarrow plant survived the neglect.

I found a few new fun herbs to try this year: pineapple sage, chocolate mint (container only), valerian, and lemon verbena, plus some lemon thyme, an old favorite of mine. These will be a lovely addition to the garden along with the purple sage and chamomile I picked up. The existing thyme needs a little love but survived the winters, and the echinacea is coming up in full healthy mounds. It is such a gift and I am grateful everything survived as well as it did!

The world has changed so much since my last post. I am grateful to be able to return home and start a new adventure, yet I am conscious that so many are not able to do the same. So I give thanks and vow to always give back in as many ways as possible. Stay tuned for updates on the gardens, the fruit trees, and maybe even some hints on new tea blends! If you have any herbs you love to use in your tea blends feel free to share in the comments.

Have a magical spring! 🌺

Jade Mint Oolong

Most of us find ourselves stressed and exhausted from the pandemic and the last year, so finding something that is soothing and relaxing to enjoy can be a blessing. For me, sitting back with a good book and a great cup of tea is definitely one of those blessings. Being an avid reader and tea drinker has been a lifelong pursuit, and I love deciding what flavor or feeling I want for each moment.

Oolong is one of my favorite types of tea, and I enjoy varying the flavor by adding herbs and flowers. I found an organic Jade Oolong tea from The Little Red Cup Tea Company in Brunswick, ME that I fell in love with and have been experimenting with every other cup I brew. The Jade Oolong is smooth, with a sweet smokiness worth being enjoyed all on its own. Yet with the right herbs, this oolong helps create wonderful new depths of flavor.

My current favorite is a Jade Mint Oolong variation with Hyssop. I harvested and dried the peppermint and hyssop from my own herb garden, but you can find these ingredients at stores that sell dried herbs and spices. Both hyssop and peppermint are wonderful for helping to promote a healthy digestive system and give a fresh, bright flavor to the oolong.

I brewed an iced tea for the first batch, so the measurements are for a 2 quart glass container.

6 tsp dried Jade Oolong

2 tsp dried Peppermint leaves, crushed

2 tsp dried Hyssop flowers and leaves, crushed

1/4 cup organic sugar if desired

Steep in 2 quarts boiling water for at least 10 minutes then allow to cool before transferring to a glass container to be stored in the refrigerator

(To make one cup, brew 1 tsp jade oolong, 1/2 tsp peppermint, 1/2 tsp hyssop in 6 oz boiling water)

I hope you enjoy your cuppa and your book the next time you sit down to relax! Let me know if you try this recipe and how you liked it.

© 2021 Mistwalker Herbal

Favorite herbal teas

Each time I begin heating the water for a cup of tea, a dialog starts in my head of what exactly do I want to make. Am I in the mood for an Earl Grey (meaning is it wet and rainy out)? Is there a nice fruity blend calling my name (apricot or blueberry, maybe)? Or do I need something more for my day? Feeling down, stressed, sick, or lacking all motivation? There is almost always something in the cabinet for just that!

Honestly, though, some days I’ll just make my favorite black tea (British blend Tetley tea) just to avoid having to make a choice. Or I’ll pull out my current go to black or green tea blend, like the Harney and Sons tea apricot blend I found that really is quite good. There is nothing that says you always have to make your own tea blend to enjoy a cuppa.

Yet I have found more satisfaction when I make or amend my own blends. I posted earlier on the Feverfew, Mugwort, & Yarrow blend that I’ll brew up if I need it. Adding herbs to my cup of green or chamomile tea can make all the difference in the taste and how it affects my day. Lavender has been the most difficult herb to add for me. I tend to overdo it and the tea comes out almost soapy tasting, so I have been avoiding that particular flower. Instead I’ll add hyssop or elderberries if I’m feeling a little under the weather, or peppermint if I feel a little nauseous or have a stuffy nose. Peppermint tea always brings up my mood and during Yule I always sweeten my tea with candy canes while I can get them.

Fresh ginger can also be a tough herb to add to a tea, and I do so sparingly so as to not overpower the other tea flavors. I don’t mind the heat of fresh ginger but not so much in my tea. Adding dried blueberries and lemon balm when you have them on hand makes for a delicious blend, and lemon balm can be a great sleep aid. Cinnamon and orange peel with a clove is definitely a favorite of mine. I never tire of cinnamon, and usually sprinkle it in my coffee each morning. Each of these herbs are helpful in one way or another, yet they also simply make your herbal tea taste divine. Cinnamon can aid with blood sugar levels, cloves are anti-inflammatory and can aid in improving liver function, and both are ingredients in delicious chai teas. Add in some ginger, cardamom, and black peppercorns, and you’re well on your way to a spicy tea heaven.

What are your favorite herbs to add to your regular tea blends? What herbs are the worst in your opinion? Let’s have some fun exploring new blends!

Feverfew, Mugwort and Yarrow tea

There are so many herbs one can find in tea blends, some for calming and others for invigoration. Today I needed something completely different. As we get closer to menopause, our cycles tend to go haywire. At least mine is, and today has been brutal. I have found this particular blend to help me on these painful, heavy days. The herbs I use are ones I have grown myself in my organic garden, so I know they are not tainted with pesticides. I did not have a large chamomile harvest last year, so I’ve purchased a box of organic chamomile tea bags supplement my stock and use as a base for this tea. You can use loose green tea if you prefer.

1 tea bag – Organic Chamomile – promotes relaxation and is an anti-inflammatory herb

1/2 tsp. – Organic dried Feverfew – this is an anti-inflammatory herb that can aid in menstruation

1/4 tsp – Organic ginger -chopped – this has anti-inflammatory properties and can aid in pain relief, even dismenorrhea. I add this for flavor and overall good health.

1/2 tsp – Organic dried Mugwort – used to help regulate menstrual cycles and ease painful menstruation. *Please note Mugwort can cause uterine contractions and should never be used if pregnant or nursing. Not recommended for use for longer than 1 week at a time.

1/2 tsp – Organic dried Yarrow – used to stop wound bleeding and heavy menstrual flow

You can put the loose dried herbs and ginger into a separate tea ball and add to your mug with boiling water and steep for up to 5 minutes. Any longer and you risk the tea becoming bitter.

Sweeten with honey rather than sugar to avoid negating the anti-inflammatory benefits of this tea. It has an earthy flavor overall, and is quite pleasant. I found that one mug does the trick for me on my worst days.

Do you have a favorite tea blend that works for you on your worst days? If so, please feel free to share it here. I’m sure we all could use some healing and relaxation during our monthly cycles, and finding new blends and flavors are always fun to try.

(I am not a doctor or pharmacist, and although I do my due diligence when researching herbs and blends for internal use you should always check with your physician before imbibing herbal blends.)

Copyright © Mistwalker Herbal 2021