Plant Medicine: Spruce Tip Tea

Come September I start boosting my immunue system with a swig of Elderberry syrup – Sambucol- every morning and every evening. That stuff works like magic! I am rarely sick and when I do fall ill it’s so mild I don’t even know I’m ailing.

Take last week for instance. I upped my dose of magic berry juice to 3x a day because I felt a cold coming on. After a week of slightly more snot, a slightly stuffy, itchy nose and a bit of a drier throat I realized THAT was the cold, ha! Thank you Mother Nature for the protection ❤

I was kind of glad to “sick” this year because it gave me an opportunity to try out my Spruce Tips! Do you remember when I harvested them last Spring? You can read that post HERE.

It was so easy, I popped 4 dried tips into a mug, poured some boiling water over top and let the whole thing steep for a bit.

After scooping out a few floaty things – spider eggs?- I took my first sip and got a very mild hint of lemon. I was worried that my brew wasn’t strong enough based on that but I was also worried that my throat wasn’t sore enough either. It turned out they were made for each other because even though the taste was subtle, it was effective. It was exactly the right dose for my throat. I went from having that hint of sore throat feeling to a lovely sort of cool, icy feeling. Almost like when you use an antiseptic numbing spray but not as strong (or annoying).

So that’s a win! Next time I’d use 6 tips instead of 4, just because I want a stronger taste – I like it!-. I might also pick extra tips and infuse them in raw honey over the summer to make a syrup that’s easier to take when I don’t feel like making tea. Raw honey has healing qualities too! Of course I’ll keep you all updated on the results 🙂

Do you have any plant medicine you use and swear by? Tell me all about it!

In Sync

In my quest to suffer less from a wonky seasonal brain, I’ve become very aware of the seasons and how they change.

( Although to be fair, I am an Earth Child anyway )

Photo by Designecologist on

A few Winters ago, I realized that while we count the Solstice as the beginning of Winter, it really wasn’t, seasonally speaking. Solstice is when the light comes back and we begin our slow climb back to Spring. It just didn’t make sense to me that Winter began then, when we were returning to the light… it seemed Winter began much earlier!

Anyone who lives in a Northern climate knows this, even if they don’t KNOW they know this. We know that snow before Halloween is light and impermanent. It’s not going to stick around long. But snow after Halloween is a different story! That’s the stuff that stays, along with the much colder temperatures. After Halloween is when weather gets real. November 1 felt like the true start of Winter to me.

Photo by Todd Trapani on

Once I learned this for myself, I started to question the other seasonal discrepancies. Spring starts at the Equinox, right? Sometime in mid March.

Well, if you’re paying attention you may notice Spring in the sky at the beginning of February instead.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on

How about Summer? June 21 is the Solstice…BUT it always felt like Summer in late April/early May. Right around May 1!

Photo by Valeriia Miller on

The Solstice is the mid point of Summer. The days start their descent into darkness. How can any of us call this the beginning?!

Photo by Min An on

When did you notice Fall this year? For me, it was in the end of July. But the Equinox and start of the season isn’t until mid September! Doesn’t the Equinox really feel like the middle of Fall? We’ve all “called” Fall, well before the Equinox!

Photo by hiwa talaei on

Our calendar doesn’t match up with reality. No wonder I feel so discombobulated! I’ve been out of sync with Nature for most of my life!

I came across an excellent piece that finally put all the pieces together for me. The author puts into words all the things I’ve noticed and reading it was clarifying! Way more cohesive than my jumbly observations. Written by Hyggejem on their blog – How to hygge the British Way- this FABULOUS post, tied it all together. Humans have been noticing these things too and celebrating them, most differently than we do currently, since forever! Go and have a read. I hope it resonates with you too!

I’m changing the way I mark the seasons now too. This appeals to my witchy self of course but mostly, it just feels right. More in tune with reality. In sync.

How about you? What do you think?

Chickakoo Lake – September 2,2018

I know that the calendar says, Autumn is on her way but Nature says, she’s already here! The signs are everywhere. In some places you have to look carefully, and in others Fall shouts out at you. At Chickakoo Lake on Saturday, things were subtle. The tops 3/4 of the forest are lush and green but thinning. The leaves at the floor are starting to put on a pretty show. Soon the whole place will be ablaze in colour.

I adore Chickakoo Lake, there is a nice network of trails for every mood and level, fire pits and picnic tables, benches and little hidey holes. You can hike, huff and puff on your bike or even ride your horse. It’s the one place close to Edmonton I happily return to again and again. I never get bored with the place. Its different every time and always a joy.




Lush Review, Shampoo/Conditioner Bars: Godiva & Jungle

Have you ever seen those photos from Asia of the beaches and oceans completely inundated with plastic bits and other garbage? Shocking and hard to look at, am I right? That was the big smack upside the head for me.

I’d already heard about the Great Pacific Garbage patch and been suitably disgusted but it wasn’t until I saw the photos from Bali that I really thought long and hard about my own plastic use and made an intention to do something about it.

Its challenging because plastic is cheap and! It feels overwhelming and hopeless at times. It feels like it’d be easier to throw up my hands and say “Oh well”, leaving it at the that.

But I cant do that in good conscious. And while it IS overwhelming it is NOT hopeless. If each of us does one small thing every day, collectively we can affect change. It might come slowly but it WILL come. Just watch and see.

In preparing for my upcoming trip, I remembered that Lush makes solid shampoo and conditioner bars. The last time I tried them, frankly, they sucked. I think it was a combination of lack of knowledge on my part and unsuitability on the product’s end.

Simply put, I didn’t know how to use them and I bought the wrong kind for my hair.

I decided to give them another try but this time I did some research and gained some tips-which I will share with you-and made sure I got products that met my hair’s needs.

My hair, much like my personality, is ALL OVER the place. It’s straight in the front, wavy in the back and drier than the desert. I’m about 50% grey-which tends to run dry anyway-plus, I bleach it and bleaching is very hard on hair. (I dream of the day when I go all natural!)

ANYway, the very nice girl at Lush, in Kingsway Garden Mall recommended I try a Godiva Shampoo bar. It was the most moisturizing one out of the bunch. I wasn’t all that keen on the dominant scent-Jasmine- but bought it knowing it suited my needs.

Next up- conditioner!-Jungle was what I bought, to “soften and tame wild hair” HA! That’s exactly what I need.

I also bought a couple more metal containers to store them in and this is what the whole lot looks like:


Smoothed over from one use.

So what’s the verdict?

I like! My hair, while still not completely smooth is SO soft! I annoyed the heck out of my husband ALL day with “Honey! Feel my hair! Soft, isn’t it?” Ha Ha Ha, poor guy.

The shampoo bar makes a very nice, rich lather and my hair felt clean. I even managed to get over the smell, finding that I liked the scent on my drying hair.

The conditioner bar was odd at first. I was able to get it to soften up and release conditioner onto my hands but ended up running the bar over my head to ensure I got something more out of it. It seemed like I wasn’t getting enough. After I combed it all through my hair though, I could see that it was indeed doing its job and felt better about the whole thing. And then after I rinsed it all off, the glorious silky feeling confirmed it for me.

So two thumbs up for both products from me. I’m happy with the results and my hair DOES feel well moisturized. The bars were super easy to use and are completely packable for travel. Leaving me with more room to haul over sunscreen, essential oils and bug spray. The best part about all of this though is that I’ve stopped contributing my shampoo and conditioner bottles to the plastic problem we all share in. Yay!

OK, now for some tips:

  1. Some people rub the shampoo bar over their heads, from forehead to nape, in one straight motion, but its better for beginners to work up a lather in their hand and then apply that to the hair.
  2. The exception to this of course is that if you are unable to work up a lather or release any cream from the conditioner bar, it might be best if you do run it over your head. Play around and see what works best for your noggin.
  3. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Paying special attention to the nape of you neck. Rinse for at least one minute.
  4. Set your bars on a small towel to dry before putting in their container or line your containers with parchment or fabric. (Cut up an old washcloth) The bars will be wet and squishy after use and will become stuck like glue. You will have one hell of a time getting them out otherwise!
  5. Identify your hair needs and buy accordingly.

Have you ever used a shampoo/conditioner bar on your hair? What was your experience? What do you do to reduce your plastic use? Do you have any tips you think are clever and helpful? Please share!