LeClaire is also the home of the now famous antique shop, Antique Archeology, made famous by the History Channel’s television series, American Pickers. We enjoyed exploring the shop and it was a pleasure to meet Danielle. She is just a sweetheart, who happily autographed publicity handouts, the shop provided.

After exploring LeClaire, we travelled on up the River Road and explored a bit in a few more towns, briefly, on the Iowa side of the river. One of the towns was Clinton and I would like to go there in the spring to visit the Bickelhaupt Arboretum located there. Then it was time to cross back over the river, which was frozen over from to shore to shore ,on a different bridge, and head home.


Imagine my delight when we got to the Illinois side of the river and found ourselves in the town of Fulton, Illinois. It was late in the day when we were there, so we just had time to locate and look through a couple of the antique shops and discover that this is a richly historical town also. One we would like to explore more thoroughly on another day trip. I really want to go there during the first weekend in May, when the town celebrates its rich Dutch heritage with the Dutch Days Festival. This is a picture of the working grist mill that was closed for the day. Another reason to come back as I have a thing for historic grist mills:) This one has a nice museum associated with it.


I found a very interesting book also. I will love reading about Susan La Flesche, the youngest daughter of an Omaha Indian Chief, who felt the call to medicine. About Bethenia Owens Adair, who traded in laundry work for a successful medical practice. And dozens of other women who lived and treated patients in the frontier-era West.


Speaking of that era, we saw the loveliest cupboard in one of the shops. It was reputed to have been crafted around 1800 and to have travelled, over the Atlantic Ocean, with an European immigrant. What a history associated with this piece! I can well imagine it being many women’s prized possession, through the ages.


Thank you for visiting Comfrey Cottages xx

LeClaire, Iowa

On weekends,  my husband and I like to do daytrips. Yesterday found us exploring some new areas in the state of Iowa. Illinois and Iowa both border the Mighty Mississippi River.  We are both very drawn to rivers, and living between the Illinois River and the Mississippi River, we enjoy exploring the history of the towns along them. Today, we headed for LeClaire and then we going to follow the The Great River Road on north to Clinton, cross the river back into the Illinois side and visit Fulton, Illinois.

LeClaire is just a lovely town. The main street runs right through the center of town, and while travelling it, the river is always in view on the east side. The river was still open, from all the barge traffic, so there were many types of birds all over it. We saw all sorts of ducks,  and geese and it was a generally refreshing scene to see that life was still abundant and busy, even in the deep of winter




Although, these Canvasback ducks, were quite content to tuck their heads under their wings and just bob along the water taking a snooze:)

LeClaire is a perfect town to visit. It is rich in historical sites with lovely museum’s and points of interest. We decide to visit the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum.  I will share in pictures some of the things we saw and learned about. And do visit the site link also. There is much more than simply artifacts relating to Bill Cody. There are many historic displays of events and peoples who have inhabited this region.


The history of an Elm tree that used to grow along the river, and was used as a navigational marker and landmark,  by many peoples, throughout the history of this community, appealed to me deeply.

More about this lovely community and our day trip, in another post.

Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages



Herb Garden Plan


Snow on the ground, 4 degrees Fahrenheit outside, so what’s a body to do but…  design an herb garden, which we will be planting in the spring.  I wanted to incorporate many “weed herbs”, but also incorporate others herbs and edibles in my design. After hours, upon hours of making graphs,( in order to match up soil, light,  growing room, etc plants with others needing the same thing), I came up with the above plan. Eric (Comfrey Cottages Two) and I will be putting in the above design in at his gardens. This works out just lovely as I am across the road at my son Tommy’s house almost daily tending Dylan, so Comfrey Cottages Two is as convenient as my own gardens:) For anyone who hasn’t room to garden or keep bees, I highly recommend considering if you could do so at a friend or relatives home, that might be nearby. So, I am re-exploring the garden design. I spent a good bit of time yesterday getting some seeds ordered and will be looking for the plants of a few of them.

Earlier this year, Eric, my hubby and I went to Burlington, Iowa to the junior college. Once a month from April through September the Southeast Iowa pigeon club, hosts a large flea market kind of affair, on the college grounds. We love to go over as you never know what you will find! On one of our trips, we  luckily found a little portable greenhouse for seed starting this year. Similar to the one in the link, only ours has a zipper. Now for the perfect place to put it…

Hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages




I would like to recommend these two books.


Robbing the Bees, by Holley Bishop is just a must read! Holley writes engagingly about the history and lore of beekeeping, along with her own personal experiences and  delicious recipes, this is just a honey of a read:)

Following the Bloom, by Douglas Whynott. Necessary read to fully understand the subject of migratory beekeeping. The book is an excellent, interesting read.

( I have to admit I do not condone modern mono crop farming and the necessity of migratory beekeeping, (at least not done the way it is now).  Big subject for me to even touch on modern farming methods….could get on my soapbox, but if you are reading this, I am preaching the choir anyway, so just read the book. You will be better informed on the subjects….)

Right, so off to the apothecary


My little kitchen/apothecary corner for things that need shook daily:) Decanting a yarrow/calendula spray.


My children Michelle and Tommy and their families, gave me a gift of money intended for herbal things for my holiday present. I was able to order several extract tinctures I have been wanting to try and some more tools for the apothecary. I had luckily found one little metal funnel at a flea market earlier this year, and so ordered one to give to Eric. The little dispensary cup with pouring lip is just what I needed! I used it several times today while mixing up different herbal remedy recipes:)

Look how handy the dispensary cup and metal funnel are for filling bottles



So, I spent a part of the day mixing and bottling this and that for the herbal first aid kit I am working on . Notice the jar of vinegar in the above photo. Do you remember when I shared with you about making our own apple cider vinegar? Well, that is some from our first batch, Eric took the  second batch with a Mother, to start the process at his house also. I just realized, it is time for me to strain off the one that is working in the crock now and then start my fourth batch of apple cider vinegar! Yea! For me, it is a lot about sustainability. I love it when I am able to use ingredients that I don’t have to buy. Not only for my pocket books sake, but because of saving those carbon footprints:)


I am a candy cane nut, especially when they are corn syrup free, with no artificial colors or flavors. Good for the tummy and nice to have wee ones suck on when distressed and needing treatment from the first aid kit. Take their minds off things, you know;-)

Another look at the dispensary cup





Did you notice the cool 3 spout cup Eric gave me? I have probably already shown you this! lol I just love it so:)


Good news, Earl is acting his old self now:) Who knows what was wrong the other day?! Just grateful he seems fine now. Thank you for all your wishes and prayers for his recovery, they helped!! xx

Thank you for visiting Comfrey Cottages xx

Woke up this morning to a bit of a problem, physically, that made me miss seeing my Dylan and Zoey today:( Maybe something I ate.. who knows! But what makes it a stressy kind of day wasn’t that I felt under the weather, it was because of our 4-5 year old, Earl of Seven


I noticed first thing this morning that Earl just wasn’t himself. He was acting uncoordinated, brushing into things, missing when he leaped, restless, whiny. But, I couldn’t figure out why. Pupils were equal and responsive, and looked just like the other cats eyes looked in the morning sun. I did a thorough body palpitation bit, flexing his joints, checking his responses to stimuli, etc etc. Outwardly, I could see nothing wrong with his ears to cause unbalance. No recordable pain responses anywhere. Eating-check, drinking- check, jumping-check, walking-check. Take a temp- check. Follow him to the box and check out his bodily eliminations. All seems the appropriate amount, color, etc. Exposure to a chemical? I don’t see how. Nothing in the house he could get and I use very safe, natural cleaning products. Not even one plant in the house, too many big trees surrounded us.I am flummoxed and getting a bit uneasy. It appeared his back legs would slide a bit, he would walk through a doorway and head would rather glance the door jam… What the hell is this? I decide to make a vet appointment. I drag my not so well self off to the vet with a very freaked out puddy cat.  The vet finds… nothing! Ugggh! So we are home and he actually is resting a bit without me sitting near him so I am thinking it is time to relax, not clean, cook, nothing, just chill a bit. What say you? Clean or go take a nice long soak, and enjoy soaping up with one of these lovely soaps my friend Marci shared with me

I agree the soak it is! Marci has been such a sharing, generous friend and has just today shared exquisitely detailed directions on making soap. Just visit her blog Herbal Nature and see what she has shared:) I am so grateful for her for posting all about soap making:) On my list to do soon, the proper way, this time:)

Now clean and relaxed from the tub, I think it is time to evict Patrick Starr from my roosting spot and relax with a double tea bag cup of chamomile, and have a shot of valerian flower extract tincture as a chaser:) My nerves are a wee bit fried. I do so worry about my furbabies:) I will keep you posted on how he does.

For the meantime, I am hitting the couch and will soon be smothered by a purring, furball. It might be…


Wisteria, Hyacinth Bouquet, or maybe Violet Joy



or Dandelion, or maybe Rose Marie’. Or any combination!


Earl seems to be a bit more comfortable resting at the moment. I open the closet for him in case he felt like a hidey hole, as cats do when feeling poorly. Guess he must not feel as bad as I do just watching him as he hasn’t went and hid. Sigh.. will keep you posted.

Big hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages



I always knew that how I transported my herbal aid supplies was not ideal. I used to just throw this and that in a basket if I were heading out in the woods or to the park with the kids. Looking back it is probably a good thing we never had anything besides a very minor scrape or bump to deal with as my haphazard basket, probably wouldn’t have met our needs very well. I am still gathering/making things for the herbal medicine kit, and am amazed how many times it has already been useful. Just yesterday we had a splinter under a fingernail, an issue needing dandelion tincture and a minor burn, in my little village!


When you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see the tools and herbal helpers I used. I love the little blue flashlight. It is a very powerful light that is just the right size and is useful for these older eyes when I am examining something up close, like the splinter. The lovely old magnifying glass has been passed down on my mother side of the family. I love its design, connection to my ancestors and the nice long cord to drape around my neck so I don’t drop it or loose it. Another useful tool for the older eyes 😉  The chamomile tea was used to calm down Lily, the victim of the splinter:) Then the pine salve was put on the area were the splinter was under her nail, to help draw it out, with a bandage on top.

I will continue adding some things to the herbal first aid kit and replacing things as they are used.

And my last ethno botanical book from my wish list came in! In love:)


My last news, but not least, is I have a new grandpuppy! lol This is Dylan, my soon to be 3 year old grandson, with new puppy Zoey:)


So this morning I was exploring another new to me site, when I ran across this one, The Self Sufficient Gardener . I am very impressed with the content of this site, and wanted to share with you all:) The page I just linked you to, has some text posts and podcasts leaned toward the medicinal uses of plants. Jason Akers site is one I am sure I will be exploring more, and thought you might enjoy it also:) I giggled at his video The Passion of the Bumblebee


Thanks for visiting Comfrey Cottages xx