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Tree Syrup
3/26/2020 3:19:30 PM
We are still here at 1729 Kane St, when we are not at the garden. Planting season is hard upon us. So we are very busy. Our recent late Winter activity has been collecting tree sap to make tree syrup. This year we collected around 40 gallons of sap from three trees, a Norway maple, a red maple and an ash leaf maple... AKA Box Elder. The flavor is a little different from the traditional Sugar Maple, but very tasty.
Plant "discoveries" by Raymond
1/22/2020 2:57:56 PM
by Raymond

Joe-Pye, Eutrochium maculatum,  also commonly known as gravel root. We have had this plant growing in one of our gray water beds for several years. Last year going into late summer and fall it looked like a number of Joe-Pye seedlings were coming up in several locations around the yard. I was not comfortable in my plant identification because the young plants had a different leaf count. So I was eagerly awaiting their return this past Spring and began to despair for that I was not seeing them return. I began to fear the -35 degree nights in February had done them in. Finally the old cluster of stalks started to return and the new plants came up… and up. There were more than we wanted in different areas of the lawn and became a question of where to let them grow. The young plants seem to transplant fairly readily so I will continue to refine where they are allowed to grow. 
I found that making a tea of Joe-Pye leaf or root, golden rod and Canadian Horseweed seemed to be calming for my overactive bladder. More on that and Canadian Horseweed another plant “discovery” for me last year.
January 16, 2020 A friend with cancer
1/16/2020 4:15:24 PM

I have recently been working with several client-friends who have Western medical diagnoses of cancer. Each person has a different particular type of cancer, but in each person's case I encounter a similar gap between standard medical treatment planning and my herbal/holistic nutrition/Ayurvedic perspective. This happens so regularly that I am no longer dismayed or frustrated, because together we all have gotten a lot more practice helping people sort out the tools at hand and deciding which ones are best to combine and apply to their health goals. I am more of a family practice herbalist though, not a cancer specialist. So each friend and each diagnosis and each question sends me back to the books and the research and the notes from my medical, nursing and herb trainings and teachers. And back to the foods and herbs themselves.


For example, my friend has a recent diagnosis of endometrial cancer, “Stage 3”. She called me and asked, “That's bad, right?” For part of this question, standard medical resources has detailed information. Refer below to the American Cancer Society's specific criteria for staging endometrial cancer.



Standard medical thinking is, I think, appropriately less specific about those all-important questions, how do I stay alive and healthy and enjoying life, and what are the measures most likely to increase that possibility? With any person and any living tissues, it isn't possibly to predict exactly what will happen with any treatment option over time.



On reading the standard literature, it seems that “Stage 3” needs further definitions, and cross-referencing with other evaluation criteria. So I would have that as first questions for my oncologist. I would not be surprised if hormone replacement prescriptions, chemotherapy and/or radiation are recommended. But I also read things that make me think, “File in brain under possible integrated nutritional and herbal treatment”. Here are areas where my knowledge base might add to the effectiveness of any treatment program:

  • endometrial cancer is linked to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which can be associated with metabolic syndrome. This ecology of diagnoses can be gently and effectively treated over time with nutritional improvements and supportive herbs that address both inflammation and the coordinated functions of liver and pancreas in controlling blood sugar and related metabolic products.

  • Estrogen/progesterone ratio and “estrogen dominance”. Even post-oophorectomy, herbs and foods can support all endocrine hormone production, and avoid the signs and symptoms associated with too much estrogen and/or not enough progesterone. Part of my friend's treatment decisions might be what standard prescriptions would help achieve this. And part of my homework would be what herbs and foods would help achieve this.



So for my friend, I would

  1. get the skinny on specifics of staging, to get a better idea of what treatments might be best

  2. 2. Look at nutrition and herbs that improve liver and overall digestive function (treat yourself like a Type 2 diabetic which is something all of us American SAD diet types should be doing anyway) and decrease inflammation.

  3. Look at prescriptions, herbs and foods that support a gently appropriate relationship between estrogen, progesterone and related hormones.


These are the areas that can be safely included in treatment plans even with chemotherapy, radiation or prescription hormone regimens. But I fantasize that every person (and their family) with a cancer diagnosis gets a weekly “kitchen medicine” meeting where yummy, nourishing and nurturing recipes are made and sampled....


More soon from other, non-standard Western healing perspectives. Of course if anyone has concerns, disagreements or questions about this article don't hesitate to comment. We are here to figure this out together.

Garden and anticipation
1/15/2020 1:14:21 PM
Garden Dreams by Raymond
The Solstice has passed and we find ourselves a little overwhelmed with tasks. This morning has been a long overdue work session on getting the website to be functional. Laurie is busy getting the herb catalog/pricelist updated. Look for it on the products page.

We are also looking into methods of distilling alcohol for fuel.

We take solace in these times by planning for the coming garden season. We have some seeds planted indoors and have many seed catalogs coming in the mail. So many seeds to consider.

We are also anticipating the arrival of the Spring evephemrals as they emerge. The Dutchmen's britches and Bloodroot are always a welcome sight. 
It is my intention to take a more active role in administering this website and posting weekly update on the blog..

Checking on the garden.
6/1/2019 10:53:00 AM
by Raymond

We are finally getting our feet on the ground at our new location and are planning to do classes. On June 20 we will be leading a Weed Walk. We will meet at Myrick Park center that Thursday at noon and at 6 PM to wander around identifying plants. Please consider coming alongl

Yesterday I went up to the garden to check on our seedlings and found the Star of Bethlehem in full bloom. These are plants I adopted from near the Trempeauleau yard waste area. They stood out in the woods as being of interest to my eye. So we plunked them in the ground near our address sign. These plants are non-native and can be invasive... so be careful and be ready to judiciously weed them to control them. 

We also have Yellow Ladies Slipper blooming in the garden. They are slowing spreading. We are looking forward to getting some more plants The Garden of the Blue Ridge.

Crazy busy... we have moved.
5/10/2019 9:57:47 AM
by Raymond

After a crazy April we are up and running in our new location at  1729 Kane St. It is an exceedingly cozy space for consutations. My wife Laurie's greatest strength is helping people integrate the American paradigm of healhcare with cost effective herbal, food other safe and effective self care measures. 

 With all the chaos of moving business and household we still found time to rescue a few bloodroot from an endangered location to our "Oma" garden honoring our mothers and grandmothers. 

Laurie transplanting bloodroot. Sanguinaria canadensis
Happy Spring
3/20/2019 5:50:23 PM

Happy Spring!

7 items total
by Raymond
by Laurie
March, 2019
May, 2019
June, 2019
January, 2020
March, 2020