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Archive for the ‘apothecary’ Category

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I left you all last with my needing to look up the botanical names of the  herbs in my apothecary cabinets, and then making new labels with both this botanical name and the common name. I also needed to do the same for labeling the different herbal extractions (honeys, vinegars, oils and alcohol, etc.). I debated on making my own labels, and threw that out the door as my printer just guzzles ink. I then did a little web search and found some gorgeous labels, but, money is a consideration, so maybe those someday…For now, I am quite satisfied with the apple trimmed designed ones I found quite cheaply at a local store. I have spent most of my free time, the last few days, getting these labels filled out and affixed, and taking an inventory of other tools that are useful in our home apothecaries. Knives slowed me down a bit, as I was pretty clueless on all the different types of knifes and have been blissfully just using me husbands different knives all this time! I have since dug out a package of knives my husband had brought me awhile back. I am guessing now that at the time he was hoping I would use them and quit dulling his! lol  I have been considering different sorts of cloths, and what and where they would be used and the reasons why each sort was suitable for each purpose. In the pictures are some of the lovely flat weave towels my brother Eric and others have gifted me. These will become liners for my gathering baskets. What good karma that will import to each gathering session, as each of these towels have good memories associated with them:) Containers, jars, funnels, brushes, cutting blocks, scissors, tapes, strainers and more were covered in this lesson also. I seem to have an until now, undiagnosed fetish for strainers, such as was mentioned! lol And jars/containers! Each tool was talked about in depth, and its function and description of what to look for in each one, was detailed thoroughly in the lesson. I have pulled out the tools I have that correspond with the lesson and assigned the ones to use that suit the requirements and made a list of what I would still like.  Really not to long of a list of wants so far. I would like to get a nice copper bowl, a small whisk (I know Eric, you tried to get me to buy that one when we were in the Kitchen shop in Galesburg shopping), and a few other things. I would like a nice natural bristle small brush, some more metal funnels, and a few other things. Many items such as the pots, bowls, wooden spoons, etc. , I am satisfied with what I have already. Most of my jars are narrow mouth and in the future am going to be getting some nice wide mouth ones. I started this apothecary with what was on hand and found through yard sales, etc, etc originally, so I am very much enjoying the process of tightening up in this tool department and knowing just what will best serve me so I can keep an eye out for these items.

A good solid wood cutting board is a necessity.  I have been in the habit of using glass cutting boards, but oh can see where I will like a good wood one for chopping up plant material better. My husband had this wooden one stored in the cabinet. I am going to use the clean it  to see if I can resurrect it for the time being. It doesn’t look to be cracked up, and is a solid piece of wood, so hopefully after cleaning it with apple cider vinegar and oiling it with vegetable oil, as she suggested, it will be fine. I am thinking that I might bring this subject up at our next herb meeting, as several of our members do timber work and I might interest one of them into crafting a few.

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Whenever I work in the Apothecary, I take the time to make a nice pot of tea. Today I chose Gunpowder Green tea. I just adored this woman’s explanation for the type of situation gunpowder green might be useful for

Major in the movie A Bridge Too Far: Major: “I’ve got lunatics laughing at me from the woods. My original plan has been scuppered now that the jeeps haven’t arrived. My communications are completely broken down.
Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?”
Corporal: “Couldn’t hurt, sir.”

Now that might seem a bit dramatic to you, but for me, taking the time to specifically do these lessons thoroughly, even though other things might be pulling me in different directions, well a good cup of tea does so help me focus and attend to the business at hand that I want to do! 🙂 The gunpowder green helped significantly and now I declare my self ready for the next lesson!

Big hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages

 

 

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Formalizing the Apothecary

 I came to herbalism through my garden, woods and field walks, my bees, ancestral call, and our families children’s eyes:) Since I didn’t start with herbs, but accumulated bits and pieces through the last few years, I was feeling rather disorganized  so spending the entire day devoted to straightening up the apothecary and making a list of what I do have herb wise. I still need to tweak the list and then make labels for everything with both the common name and the botanical name.I have been meaning to for a long time, but you know how it is when you have a million irons in the fire… so now I have my list of herbs and new labels right next to me on the couch so tonight when I am visiting with my hubby I can still be doing homework at the same time;-) He is being a sweetie and supportive of my time spent on this:) I expected no less though, as he has thoroughly supported and helped me with my gardening and beekeeping endeavors, also. So Wednesday I spent the whole day inventorying just the herbs and getting their cabinets arranged.  So many of these herbs I have either grown or wild crafted myself that you will see in these cabinets.

This cabinet was my original herb cabinet. Due to the fact it has a glass front and is in a bit of window light, I have changed its function.

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My darling daughter Michelle, gave me that sweet little pillow. My soul sister in Wales, Linda, made me the cute little Grandma’s Remedies sign. And my sweet Katee Bug gave me the little bee and heart window cling. I like to intersperse little gifts and memories throughout my apothecary. They fill me with joy and make me pause before I ever work with herbs, to focus on the love I want to put into making herbal preparations. Time is always of the essence for me, and to see little reminders of love, inspires me to become present and focus on what I am doing, rather than be thinking of a million things still beckoning for my time:) The drawer has some teas, labels and little muslin tea bags.

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See those little tincture bottles in there? Those were quite a big deal for me when I got them! I think that is when I decided to quit being just a dabbler and get focused on learning!

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The cabinet itself was a gift from my husband when my herbal love outgrew my countertop space! lol On top of it, you can see my honey bottling pail. Now that tall, thin white cabinet off in the corner by the window, became my second cabinet when things kept expanding. On top of it is a big pail full of lovely wax. Eric and I are hoping to make beeswax candles this winter and some will be used in salves, ointments, and for little decorations for presents:) The red cabinet is my newest cabinet. Those corner two are holding most of the dry herbs.

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For now, I have kept some of the essential oils, salves, and extract tinctures with their corresponding dry herbs, if they have one.

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There is one other cabinet in my kitchen. Now folks, this took some ingenuity to accomplish this as my husband is not tiny and has to fit through doorways, so figuring out a way to get all four of these cabinets in my eat in kitchen in my hobbit cottage, well…. let us just say I think it is a miracle! lol This other cabinet has the rest of the dried herbs (each cabinet is alphabetically arranged with the tall white one being first, the red cabinet second and this pinkish one (a gift from my daughter) the end of the alphabet plus tinctures, elixirs, and vinegars we have been making this year at Comfrey Cottages:) The bottom shelf has the pots and pans, funnels, cheesclothes, etc we use in making salves and melting beeswax.

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This next picture shows that next to the cabinet is a five generation picture of my mom, grandma, daughter, granddaughter and I together. We have since lost mom and grandma, but they are still here in our hearts and in my work and intentions. With their help my intentions are to make wonderful preparations to keep myself, Michelle, Lily and the rest of our family and friends, nourished and healthy working with these herbs.

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Luckily, we have a small bedroom right off the kitchen, that I have taken over as part of the apothecary. There are three more cabinets in there and a baker’s rack.

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The green one is for books and extra small jars. The white one has herbal oils and honeys, as well as canned goods such as violet and wild plum jellies:) Some of the bigger supplies are on bottom shelf. What is the ammonia for you say? A mushroom identifying helper:) Too many interests right? LOL But they all blend together and need tools! lol Thus… lots of cabinets:)

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I can’t grow inside plants easily or well. We just have too many large trees and cats! LOL But, when my daughter gave me the bakers rack I am trying to grow just a sage and an aloe plant on the top shelf. Hopefully the cats won’t figure that out! I TRY to put the current things I am studying on the shelf. The wooden shelf is nice for garbling herbs, while looking out at part of the garden:)

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And underneath it holds some honey supers waiting to be processed.

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While arranging, I took the time to check each jar for freshness, using taste, sight, and smell and ended up with quite a few rejects! I used them in the bee smoker, while working my friends apiary with Eric, and they made a nice sweet smoke the bees reacted well too!

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There is one more cabinet in that bedroom/apothecary area, it is yellow and holds liquor, some spices, extra bottles, spoons, etc etc

Now I need to make the labels, inventory all my tools, such as funnels, strainers, etc. And determine what I would still like or need to have, and then make a couple of the extraction and preparations.

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Big hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages, from me and Comfrey Fairy! Who by the way, is mightily pleased with this tidying up around here! LOL

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Forgot to mention, Dylan is starting the potty training process again! Aunt Michelle comes and visits almost every lunch hour she has, and is seen here reading Dylan one of his potty training themed books:)

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