Plant Medicine – Spruce / Pine Tip Syrup & Tea ala Little Mountain Ranch.

Originally in this spot I was going to write about my experience trying my cannabis spray. Instead, I bring you today’s subject because the spruce trees are growing new tips RIGHT NOW and I wanted to get the information out there for anyone who wants to harvest their own! Cannabis is coming, I promise.

My friend Chelsea, has a YouTube channel where she vlogs about her homesteading lifestyle, amongst other awesome things.

She’s a truly great human being . The kind of person who inspires others and she shares some really awesome stuff.

She’s got a video up this week about making Spruce Tip/Pine Tip syrup. I had no idea a person could do such a thing!

Spruce and Pine tips are really high in vitamin C and while I’m not one for syrup, Chelsea mentions in her video that she also dries some tips for tea. Can you imagine the healing properties in that, right around cold and flu season? Now THAT is totally my jam, so today on my walk I brought along a bag and harvested my own spruce tips!

This is what they look like:

Like Chels says, you want the soft bits on the end and it’s pretty easy to tell the new tips from the old growth because the old growth is really ouchie to touch!

They pull off really easily too and it’s really pleasant to circle a giant tree, quietly picking off bits here and there. It would be wise to choose trees that are not near major roads and of course, it’s probably not a great idea to venture on to private property. I went to a local park that was well away from the road. Don’t take too much and if you’re witchy or so inclined, give the tree your thanks too.

But first, check out Chelsea’s video and channel here @ Little Mountain Ranch, for all the important information. She shares a lot of cool things and like I said, she’s an overall ginchy human you’ll want to get to know better.

I’ve got my tips drying in the sun right now:

And I’ll be back again, when I make my first cup of tea with them! Now get out there and get picking!

Best Of April, 2019

Hello May! I should note that is does NOT look like this photo in Edmonton as I type this! No, no. It’s currently snowing sideways and everything is covered in snow. It’s all OK because it’ll melt quickly and we’ll be back to green grass and better days 🙂

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why are the best months flying by? WHYYYYYYYY?! The days of nice weather are so fleeting here, these are the months when I wouldn’t mind it if the days dragged on the way they do in January.

Look at me, hey? No wonder I suffer so in September. I’m already mourning the loss of days that haven’t even happened yet.

I was super, super busy with all kinds of fun stuff last month. Visits with friends, walks in the nicer weather, lots of reading and Netflixing. I’ve been watching stuff on YouTube, too. I’ve been living vicariously through all the Through Hikers. I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail SO BAD. Nobody I know like hiking much though and I’m not sure I want to do it alone. We shall see. It’s getting to be one of those things that’s starting to “bug” me. The call has become rather insistent.

This is a pretty random Best Of:

Best Thing That Completely Took Over My LifeBlogging From A-Z Challenge! I met the most interesting humans and it was cool to have reading and writing be the main focus of my life most days. Stay tuned for a follow up post regarding the experience in greater detail.

Best Book– I read 18 books this month. I’ve reached something like 47% of my Reading Challenge goal. Fire! (That’s what the cool kids are saying these days 😉 ) Of these books, 7 really stand out for me. They are:


Best MovieThe African Doctor. Oh my heart! This was a great story. It’s on Netflix. In French, with subtitles. I always feel so cultured when I watch movies with sub titles, heh…I also watched Brene Brown: The Call To Courage An excellent watch! I was nodding and crying and bolstered throughout 🙂

Best TV ShowSchitt’s Creek. I am IN LOVE with this series. It’s Canadian. It’s clever and funny and silly and ridiculous and heart warming and progressive and modern and…oh it’s ALL THE THINGS. Watch it!

Best Meal– Taste wise, this would have to be a Teen Burger from A&W, with onion rings and a root beer. Nothing beats that. For my heart, that would have been my 21 year old daughter’s birthday party, with my son in law and my scrumptious grandson.

Best Time Outdoors– I gave my Mountain Ash a haircut. It was the first time I’d been out doing yard work and I don’t know…it was kinda magical. At the risk of sounding like a total nut (oh wait. I’ve already established that ) I thanked my tree for her leafy coverage and listened to her for guidance as I trimmed her up. The wind was blowing, the sun was shining, the birds were singing…I was connected to the Earth.

Best Naughty Act– I’ve been feeding the birds, Crows in particular but of course the other big birds have been getting in on the action too. The Magpies and Jays. My goal is to develop a relationship with the Crows in my neighbourhood because Crows are cool. I’m gaining an appreciation for the Magpies who seem pretty intelligent too. They’ve started talking to me and while I’ve seen crows do that ALL the time, it’s a first for me with Magpies. Jays seem to be squawky and … I don’t even know. I don’t have a read on them yet!

I had a Raven come by just yesterday! A RAVEN! Squeeee! I was so surprised because while Ravens are my FAVOURITE I wasn’t holding out any hope to get THAT lucky. But lucky I was. It flew straight into the yard in front of me but was nervous of Claudette and settled on the fence instead. I tossed a peanut into my garage roof and it grabbed that and sat and yapped at me before flying off when a car came by. It came back later, sitting on my neighbour’s roof calling for more but I resisted the urge. I don’t want to turn them into pests! I was so struck by how much MORE they are compared to the other birds. Bigger, smarter, more personable. And that’s saying something because I find the Crows and Magpies to be marvellous creatures. I went to bed happy for the experience. What a gift!

Best Hot Drink– OK, hear me out. 7-11’s Spiced Chai Latte. I know, I know! BUT you have to just try it. It costs two bucks, and its spicy! One note mostly, cinnamon but still, it actually has some spice to it. ( I rarely get a good cup of spiced chai in this western world) It’s rich and creamy too, without being oily -Tim Horton’s I’m looking at you and your hot chocolate- and it comes out of the dispenser HOT! I pay 5 whole dollars or more for a drink at Starbucks and even after I ask for it extra, EXTRA hot, I still get something barely warm. Booooo!!! All in all, a quality product for a great price. 7-11 for the win!

So May! I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day and my son’s birthday. I’m excited about planting my garden and all the plants and life that is going to start popping up. I saw a bee the other day! And I’ve seen a ton of butterflies. My ants are very busy in my front yard and the other day a bird dropped a GIGANTIC worm on my deck *shudder. I’m just waiting on baby bunnies, dandelions and bumblebees.

OH! And it’s one month until Lune, my birthday month. Shit, I’d better start preparing for that! I have like, no presents and I need 30 of them! If you have a birthday coming up, I highly recommend you celebrate ALL MONTH LONG too. I think the older one gets, the more important birthdays become. Plus, one of my personal mottos is : Celebrate Everything. So there!

What are you looking forward to in May?

C Is For *Camping. A-Z Challenge.


I bought this mug the other day and its sitting on my kitchen shelf, calling to me. ” Fill me with booze”

I’m a teetotaller for most of the year but when camping season comes around, I spend my weekends sitting sideways in a plastic Adirondack chair, having a little drinkie poo out of a coffee mug.

I guess its a good thing, I can only camp and sit outside comfortably for a few months out of the year! I do other things whilst camping too though!

What other things? I like to go for early morning hikes in my nightie, leggings and hoody.

I like to take naps. I like to eat ALL THE THINGS. My favourite thing being, fajitas cooked over the fire.

^Not fajitas but still good! Yes, that’s one meal. For me. One person. Camping requires great sustenance.

I like to walk through the campground and snoop on my neighbours. I play Spot the Airstream and dream of the day when one is MINE, ALL MINE!

I like to drag my Hubs on hikes and walk through mud puddles in my bare feet because I only ever hike in flip flops while camping.

We both like to ride our bikes like hooligans through the trails and pretend we’re hardcore mountain bikers. Hey! We’ve got mud on our bikes, true story.

I like to take photos of EVERYTHING.

I like waking up to absolute silence as the morning light shines into the trailer feeling so grateful to be wherever I am.

I like sitting on a bench watching the water if I’m near a lake and hoping that a bear or a wolf saunters down for a drink. It hasn’t happened yet but it will. I’m sure of it 🙂

I like to listen as the birds start their song and the campers wake up to start their fires and brew their coffee and fry their bacon.

I love planning out our recipes, and scrolling Pinterest for new tips and tricks.

I love all the new dogs I meet and the kids that race around like maniacs. FREEDOM!

My first camping trip was with a friend as a child. I was so grateful to be invited (camping was not done in my family) and that one experience set off a hunger and appreciation inside me that has never left.

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Besides that pivitol first trip- where I roamed like a wild child for three days- my most memorable trips have both been in Tofino,BC.

On the first, I was sleeping on the beach and a cougar woke me up for a staring contest in the night. *shiver!

On the second one we were visited by Ravens who left their footprints all over our mist dampened towels and a Bear, stroked my head with it’s body as it walked past my tent.

How lucky am I? I’ve experienced the coolest things! ❤

My worst trip was the night it rained dumpsters as opposed to buckets and I forgot 1. the frying pan. 2. the tarps.

Did I tell you it was during the middle of a thunder storm and the kids and I were trapped in the tent while the Hubs (who is not a fan to begin with) went to purchase said forgotten items? The lightening would snap and crackle and boom away above us while my 3 year old whispered “I’m scared”.

Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

It was wet and damp the WHOLE time ( we were at Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge, BC amongst the tall shady trees ) and my daughter peed her bed, soaking it further the very next night. Abort. Abort. Abort!

Nowadays, we’re in a trailer (so much better. I don’t care what anyone says. It IS SO real camping) and the comfort level is much higher. I spend most of my time out by the fire anyway.

I could and do spend hours just sitting there, thinking and drinking. Talking and laughing. Staring at the fire. I love chopping wood and slicing kindling. I love experimenting with different fire methods and keeping my survival skills sharp. My Hubs and I even “fight” over who gets to make the fire, we love it that much. Ha Ha!

I had big plans to restore the Hoopty- our 1983 Vanguard- but now I think we’re going to sell the crapper to our son in law and buy something a little newer and start fresh. Or maybe the camping Goddess will gift me with a decent Airstream to focus on…only time will tell. In the meantime you will always find me wandering the woods or cradling a naughty coffee cup in my chair 🙂

Do you like camping? What was your most memorable- good or bad- camping trip?!


Spring!

Spring! Spring! Spring! Spring!

SPRIIIIIIING!

Can you tell I’m excited?

And so is everyone else in the neighbourhood! I walked past a couple the other day playfully throwing snowballs at one another, laughing away. People were extra chatty and smiley. It just feel GOOD to have crossed this threshold into better weather.

Something I always do is paint my toes and fingers in celebration. The colour I chose this year : Cherry Blossom.

Apropos, non? It’s very soft and pretty but I chose it for another reason.

Impermanence! Cherry trees blossom in Spring and delight us with their fluffy brilliance and then…they’re gone! Pink piles of softness in the dirt become mere scummy brown bits that just get ground into the soil. They only last a little while.

Such is the way with everything else, including my beloved Spring. I thought it’d be a pretty yet valuable way to keep that knowledge right there in my mind. I’m curious to see if it makes a difference in the amount of whining I do come Autumn. Ha ha.

Soooo, RECAP time! How as your Winter? Mine was long, cold and lonely. But a lot of that was my own fault as I was in full hermit mode. I read a lot of books, looked for some jobs, went for a few interviews, enjoyed my family and friends, ate a lot of things-SUGAR- and really just settled into the warmth of my self made cocoon.

Plans for Spring- More walks. More friends. More fruits and veg. How about you! What are your plans for Spring?

Winter Weather Survival Guide

I went from this:

 

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to this:

 

to this:

cleared road near trees and light post during nighttime

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

I’m having a hard time adjusting.

BUT in my 16 years of long, hard winter hating living, I’ve learned a few things a person can do make the cold seasons, a little less shitty. Sadly, I don’t have a magic wand to make it ALL go away – you could move South?- but if you do a few of these things a day, you too can survive until Spring. (Spring, Spring. Not the date on the calendar. We all know Spring doesn’t really come to Edmonton until June. Ugh)

ANYWAY. Here we go!

  1. Ignore it. Seriously. Don’t look outside. Don’t watch weather reports.  Don’t complain about it. Don’t engage in conversation about it. Don’t even acknowledge the outside world. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. The weather is like a bad ex you see on the street. Avert your eyes and walk on by. You’re better than that! They don’t deserve your attention!
  2. We may be ignoring the -20c but we’re not stupid. Buy yourself some warm gear. Spend the money, if you can, on a good jacket. Buy those cute (warm) boots, buy a colourful scarf with hats and mitts to match. Hell, buy several! The dollar store is your friend here. The trick is to put as many warm things as you can between your skin and the asshole weather. I hear layering is a good thing. Do that!
  3. Remember the transition period is the hardest part. Once you acclimatize from Summer to Fall, you’ll feel better. Let yourself be grumpy. Take extra care of you during this time. Trust me, 5c is going to start feeling warm soon and then you’ll know you’ve made it! I’m only miserable for ten minutes until I warm up! Time how long it takes you to warm out and celebrate your success as week by week you acclimatize too!
  4. Drink warm liquids. Make an event out of it. Soups, teas, coffee, whatever. Add these into your day as a time just for you. Embrace the warmth of the cup, the flavours, the coziness of the break in your day. This is how we get by, sip by sip.
  5. Movies! Movies are your friend. Preferably in your own house so you don’t have to go outside. Movies are a great way to kill a few hours of yucky weather AND if you choose a documentary you’ll learn something too! You’re going to be a genius by the time this is over!
  6. Exercise. Yeah. Lame. I know. BUT exercise improves your mental health and in order to survive something challenging, we need good mental health. There are lots of things we can do indoors. Hell, sometimes on really cold days I just walk in circles in my home, like the caged animal I am. You could go to a mall or find a gym,or go online, or lift weights or do yoga or get yourself a treadmill…move that body. Your Spring self will thank you.
  7. Take advantage of the sun. No, no. I’m not asking you to go outside. All I’m saying is that IF the sun is shining, go get yourself some rays. Sit in the window. Let your body get some Vit. D. You may very well find yourself inspired to go outside. And that’s ok too! Just don’t become one of those smug assholes who does nothing but talk about how much they loooove winter while the rest of us sit there miserable. Gah.
  8. Don’t force yourself to go outside. Don’t force yourself to love Winter. You feel what you feel and that’s OK. You might even find once you stop shoulding on yourself you WANT to go out and do things. It could happen. Yesterday I chose to walk to the mall after choosing to hole up inside the day before. Balance people! Oh. And choice. You have free will. You don’t like the cold. That’s just fine. It doesn’t make you bad or negative. It’s just a preference and its yours. ignore those smug Winter lovers, I betcha they’re lying anyway.
  9. Have you heard of Hygge? It’s a whole thing about coziness and comfort and WARMTH and LIGHT and fun with an emphasis on well-being. It’s perfectly suited for the cold season. Go find out for yourself. And then hygge it up!
  10. Stay connected with the humans. It’s very tempting to isolate oneself ( I’m looking at you Lael) Resist the urge. It just makes these dark days all the darker. Get out there and be social. However that comfortably looks to you. Doing stuff with friends, even just coffee, makes the time go by faster. My friends are sometimes the ONLY reason I make it in a day and I love them for it. And hey! YOU could be the reason someone else makes it. You never know…Just get out there, at least twice a week and be social. You can be a hermit the other 5 days. Trust me, Winter will go by faster.
  11. Hang in there. Dec 21 is the Solstice AND the start of Winter. This used to depress me until I realized that on the Solstice, THE LIGHT COMES BACK! Sure, it’s still freezing ass cold but its on its way out. The light comes back and with the light comes more hours of sun. And with more hours of sun comes the heating. And with the heating comes the Spring. Before you know it, you’ll be saying “Winter? Did we even have a Winter?” Back in glorious denial but hopefully a little wiser than the year before and ready to face the cold weather once more. YOU CAN DO THIS.