Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Friday, June 12, 2009


Rain and lots of it. GBH Farm is growing, GROWING, GROWING. Gotta get in the garden!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Herb Garden

Well, my poison ivy has at last run its course. Still red. Still itchy. But, not spreading and not blistering. There have been SO many folks at market with pi or know someone who has it. One customer said her doctor has encountered more pi cases this spring than in his entire career. My neighbors both have pi yet they have none in their yard. The conservation commission says the urushiol oil is getter much stronger and by observation, I see it is getting much more proliferate. A fellow farmer at market said her husband took their backhoe and scooped up an entire load of pi where none had been last year. So, BEWARE!

Take a look at some of the herbs growing here at GBH Farm.
Valeriana officinalis
--isn't she beautiful? This plant is two years old and stands as tall as I do boasting her queenly status to the entire garden. I tincture the root (www.GBHfarm.com )for its famous nervine and antispasmodic qualities. Valerian is the first herb ever recommended to me by my first herbalist many years ago. I can still feel the remarkable effect it had on my female system.

Artium lappa
Beautiful, luscious GIANT leaves. This photograph was taken last week and already the leaves are considerably larger. I will make tincture from first year roots this fall that I use to draw out fliuds--any fluids--such as sweat, urine, even menstrual flow. Burdock is great in salves for drawing out inflammation and infection. The roots are good in the spring for soup, but I don't dig any as I want to save them for medicine. Burdock root is a nourishing tonic and supplies optimum nutrition to our immune and glandular systems...it's good for so many things is it any wonder I cultivate this "wild weed" in my herb garden.

Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis
One of my staple herbs, lemon balm smells heavenly! I use copious amounts of Melissa in my tinctures, teas and cosmetic preparations. I formulated Sunshine Ti (available at www.GBHfarm.com) especially for my grandchildren as an alternative to that red stuff! In addition to being a nervine and antispasmodic Lemon Balm is a carminative--good for digestion. Makes a marvelous "lemonade" for the summer!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Poison Ivy

Why does experience have to be the best teacher? I am severely allergic to poison ivy. Just typing the words makes me itch. Well, maybe it's because I currently have poison ivy that I itch. And burn. And hurt. I look like someone held me by my toes and dipped me in hot bubbling oil. I had to cancel my appointments for this week because I can't stand clothing to touch me. And, because half my mouth is caked and cracked. You get the picture. So, I look at the glass as half full...once again I have the perfect candidate for experimenting with herbal poison ivy remedies! In my many bouts with this innocent looking ivy, I have tried the drying lotion route, the healing salve route and now I'm on to the spraying route. I have a bottle of potion I'm spraying periodically all over my upper torso and face...I'll let you know how it works out.

Now, as my daughter so aptly pointed out, how is it that an herbalist always gets poison ivy? I am very adept at recognizing it in its various disguises..it can be a vine, a bush, a shrub; it can be green or red, with or without green or white berries; leaves can be shiny or matte, notched or not; vines can be hairy or smooth depending on the size. One form I failed to recognize--the invisible urushiol oil on my dog Sophie's coat. I'm pretty sure that's how I got this latest batch.
So, now she gets rubbed down with Kitty Klean, a product I developed for my cats, each time she comes in from outside. (It's good for dogs, too!) The urushiol oil can get on gardening tools and clothing --pretty much anything that comes in contact with it. It's particularly clandestine in winter with no tell tale three-leaved growth to warn you. Poison ivy has become more virulent than in years past; the oil is stronger and nastier.

One of the best treatments is the homeopathic "rhus toxicodendron" by Boiron. Its side effect, and what they market it for is joint pain improved by motion. Isn't that great?! One of the most informative web sites is www.poison-ivy.org. They have a skin rash hall of fame, and yes, I'm in there.

My herb teacher taught me to WEAR CLOTHES from toes to nose when gardening or "weed walking". When you're working with plants is not the time for sun-bathing. We love our herbs, but respectfully recognize the incompatibilities of raw nature with our human skin.
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