Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

At year’s end.

In Animals, arigna, sustainable living on December 31, 2012 at 3:02 pm

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Well what a year that was!  So many changes for us. Some of you already know our biggest news of the year which is that we are on the move. Prospect Cottage is sold and we are leaving Arigna. We will however still be in Roscommon but that is all I am revealing for now. We move to our new place at the end of January and I will start a new blog shortly after that.

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Changes too as regards animals. We have both become intolerant to goats milk so when we sold the house Bella and Enid, our 2 milking goats,  went to our friends Paul and Deborah in Co. Clare. They have an organic smallholding and the girls are happy there. We know they will be well cared for and we can see them when we visit. Apparently they are both smitten with male goat David who also resides there.

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That left us with Smokie the Goat and Daphne the donkey to accompany us to our new place. They had been companions since we got Daphne 8 years ago. Sadly it was not to be. Smokie passed away rather suddenly in mid November leaving us very sad and poor Daphne alone. Donkeys love company and it really is’nt fair to keep a lone animal. We decided to try and get Daphne into a sanctuary. We were so lucky to find a permanent place for her at Sai Satya Sanctuary for donkeys and ponies in Castlebaldwin. That’s not too far from us so we can visit her there. The sanctuary is run by an amazing woman called Sue Paling. Sue has a genuine love of animals and has devoted her life to them. Daphne is settled in well there. She has made friends with two older ladies, Esmerelda and Bonnie. You can check out the sanctuary at www.donkeys.ie .

016Gardening has always  played a large part in my life. I just love growing flowers and veg and get immense setisfaction from harvesting vegetables and herbs and using them in our meals. Our new place has about an acre of land with an already established fruit, veg and flower garden. At least I won’t be starting from scratch but of course we will make changes and put our own stamp on the place. We are moving at a good time as a full gardening season will be ahead of us in our new abode.

013 All that remains for now is to wish you all a wonderful 2013. May you have love, happiness and abundance in the coming year. Hopefully many of you will continue the journey with us in the new place. Happy New Year! xx

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Neighbours, Herbal Lore and Wisdom…on country lanes.

In Folklore, herbal remedies on February 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Walking each day on the lane is great. It exercises myself and the dogs, it gives me a chance to observe the hedgerows and sometimes take pics for the blog, but best of all one has chance encounters with the neighbours. This I really enjoy as you never know where the conversation will lead. Yesterday , Joe, who farms sheep further up the lane was in a great mood for chatting. After the usual pleasantries about the weather and such Joe’s topic of the day was health, so many people taking tablets now and still in ill health. Joe is quiet elderly, one would’nt dare ask his age, but other neighbours say he is near 80. Anyway he is old enough to remember when folk did’nt take so many tablets and relied on herbal cures.

Joe has a great memory and he was happy to tell me of a few cures he remembers. One was for gout: in the Spring when nettles have some nice new growth, take a handful, boil with a couple of cabbage leaves. Strain and retain the juice. Keep the juice in a cool place and drink half a small glass  first thing each morning on an empty stomach. This has to be done for 9 days. The nettle and cabbage can be eaten as a vegetable.

The next cure was for an infected foot resulting from a thorn or walking on a rusty nail. Cut an onion in half and apply the cut side to the affected area. Bandage to keep in place overnight. Next morning the onion will have drawn the poison from the infected foot.

All this talk on herbal lore reminded me of a book given to me by years ago by an old lady when I lived in Tipperary. It is called Mrs Lavenders Herbal Book and as you can see isn’t in great shape. It does have all it’s pages and is an interesting read. Published in 1930 and sold at a cost of 6 old pence it talks of garden and wild plants as cures for all ailments.

On Beetroot Mrs Lavender says: “All who suffer from jaundice or similar liver troubles should eat the ordinary red beetroot freely. Also it is excellent for growing girls and women of all ages, doing much to strenghten them and to cure weakening diseases to which they are liable.”

St. John’s Wort is mentioned as “useful in all lung troubles, particularly if there is any tendency to phythisis. If the flower and leaves are chopped fine and added to melted clarified lard they form an ointment that will heal almost any wound.”

Burdock is recommended for kidney troubles. “Two ounces of burdock root boiled in half a gallon of water till the latter is reduced to a quart makes an excellent medicine for many kidney troubles such as gravel or stone, and also for those who are suffering from dropsy.”

So between Joe and Mrs. lavender’s guidance we should be able to cope with all eventualities in the health department!!

In future chats with Joe I hope to draw more of this wisdom from him. I have started writing it down as this is part of our folklore which needs to be held on to. As with Mrs. Lavender the turns of phrase are different to those used nowadays. I would however be a bit suspicious of some of her cures…especially the use of snails as a cure for consumption!!!!

 

The Wider View. Part 2.

In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on August 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

The gate to the vegetable garden.

First thing to see is this Victoria Plum tree laden with fruit again this year.

Following the path, Blackcurrant bushes on the left, veg beds on the right.

There are 2 polytunnels. The biggest one is 63ft long, the smaller one about 22ft. Among the vegetable beds there is a seat, an essential in any garden. It is one of my fave places to sit and contemplate or just observe the beautiful nature which surrounds us.

At the bottom of the small tunnel and looking back towards the house there are fruit trees, Plum and Apple. These are planted in tyres as the ground here is heavy and wet. Herbs and flowers are planted round the bases of the trees.

More veg beds beside the small polytunnel.

Looking over the fence we can see the house through the Birch  tree. The cottage garden bed is at the other side of the fence.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

The Herb Garden.

In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on June 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

The Herb Garden is a new venture opening tomorrow in the Bush Craft Yard in Carrick-on-Shannon. Owner John Gaffey already has a small gift shop called The Crafty Cave in this lovely little courtyard. He is now extending beyond the paved area to open this new enterprise.

The main emphasis will be on herbs but John also does hanging baskets, window boxes, trees, flowers and vegetable transplants. Many of the plants are grown in his greenhouse in Mohill. In these days of trying to reduce air miles this has to be an added bonus for this venture.

John’s ingenuity is aptly demonstrated by this mini polytunnel which he made from some discarded piping and plastic plus some wood for the base. Is’nt it fab!

Love this arrangement of Oats growing around a Birch tree.

Less talking lads, work to be done!

So there it is, local person, local business, locally grown plants, very reasonable prices too. Go along and check it out if you are in Carrick-on-Shannon. Beside the Bush Hotel, which was the first hotel in Ireland to be awarded the EU Flower Eco-Label in recognition of its commitment to sustainable tourism and protection of the local environment.

Use of Herbs being sanctioned by EU. Not at Prospect Cottage!

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on March 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Lemon Verbena and Nasturtiums.

Herbs have been grown at my various gardens since I started gardening, both culinary and medicinal. For me the difference between herbs for cooking and herbs for treating ailments is not totally separate. For instance nasturtiums which we use for their spicy flavour also have antiseptic properties and contain vitamin C and iron. Lemon Verbena which makes the most delicious tea has mild sedative properties and is good for bronchial and digestion problems.

Feverfew, a traditional remedy for headaches.

On April 30tht the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive comes into force in all EU countries. This directive is set to remove access to the vast majority of herbal medicinal products. Herbalists will be restricted in what they can prescribe. Under the new rules, herbs, many of which have been in common use for thousands of years, will have to undergo the same testing procedures as pharmecutical drugs. As this costs between 80,ooo to 120,000 euros for each herb the outcome is already known, the road is clear for Big Pharma. The lobbyists have won the day, or have they?  I for one will increase my stock of herbs and the remedies I make with them.

St. John's Wort.

St.John’s Wort grows and spreads very easily. A tincture can be made from it which is known to be very effective for depression. Natural and without the side-effects of Prozac, but of course that does’nt create income streams for Big Pharma. Does’nt disempower people and turn them into addicts. The flowers and leaves covered with olive oil and left in a sunny spot for 4-6 weeks will turn a lovely red colour, that is good for burns, swellings and other skin traumas.

Pot Marigold.

Pot Marigold which self-seeds here each year is a visual delight sprinkled on a salad. It also has soothing, healing and antiseptic properties. Do empower yourself if not already doing so, grow some herbs, eat some herbs, make tinctures and ointments. It is an enjoyable process and liberates you from Big Pharma.