Bloggy update

I took this pic Sunday morning after spending a rough, storm filled night with, Zora. I truely thought her little heart was going to burst she was panting and shaking so hard. Poor thing. Let me go back to Tuesday…

The Knee Incident: I have a habit of not sitting down in bed bottom first, but rather putting my left knee down first then sitting down. I know this is not good for my knee but I thought I was not putting enough pressure on it to make it act up; I was wrong. It began to slowly ‘be affected’. On Tuesday, I was trying to find something to wear to go for a walk. I turned and stepped wrong. Sharp pain. Stiffness. Heaviness, and I have been hobbling around on it ever since. Thankfully, Zora is not a high maintenance dog. I was able to sit in a recliner with my knee on a pillow for most of the time I was at my sister’s house. I also taped my knee with KT tape which ended up ‘burning’ my skin, causing blood blisters and a rash. Delightful. I will be doing some red light therapy on my knee today to speed up the healing process.

Watching Zora! Zora is my 23 year old nephews kelpie dog. No she cannot turn into a sea creature. She is not THAT kind of kelpie. In fact, despite having webbing between her toes, this dog hates water. I was hanging out with her, and house sitting because she, the rest of her family plus my dad, was in Willow Springs watching my nephew, Colt Nixon 735 race! Follow him on Insta: @coltnixon735

Herbs: I have also been experimenting with herbal tinctures. My next attempt will be a spruce tincture. I saw a spruce tree on my walk yesterday. The buds are still too small to harvest. We live at a higher elevation and spring is slow to arrive. I did see some very large dandelion plants on my walk with leaves that were 6-8 inches in length. Some were almost a foot long. Suburbia does not usually allow plants they consider to be weeds to grow so large. Speaking of weeds, most of my backyard has been taken over by something. I’m not sure what it is. We stopped watering years ago in an effort to spare us from that expense. We think watering grass is kind of silly. Of course our lawn died. Nature abhors a vacuum, therefore something else, something hardier than grass, has replaced our lawn. I have drawn out plans for the backyard. Things I would like to see done; a chapel, a Mary garden where all of the flowers are white, a patch of herbs, a patch of berries, and a vegetable garden. Perhaps we could extend the patio a bit? Maybe put in a gas fire pit and some seating? May it be so.

How are all of you? It seems that while in lockdown, many people forgot how to be human. People barely holding on before the pandemic have seemingly completely reduced themselves to the worst version of themselves.

Violence and bad behavior are choices. choices no one needs to make. Just because it is YOUR [et thing to hate does not make it ok to hate or to become violent. I bring this up because of something I read on Instagram someone had posted. They ended their little ditty with, ‘and punch a man’. I called her out on it but my protests fell on deaf ears. She justified it because she was talking about attacking the ‘patriarchy’. No. Violence is never ok just because it’s your pet hate does not make it acceptable. I don’t care if you are a radical feminist, BLM, Antifa or whatever label you have adopted to make yourself feel good about bad behavior… stop it. Stop being part of the problem.

Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love. -Leo Buscaglia

I love; thyme, thyme, thyme

Only this single green stem of leaves remains in the sea of dead twigs surrounding it. This little twig is a remnant of the lovely, larger plant I cut up to use to make a healing salve.

The other day at the grocery store, I purchased three plants; thyme, rosemary, and a rose bush. The rose bush was over watered, right from the grocery store. Even though I let it dry out until the potting soil is hard as a rock before I water it, some of the leaves turn pale yellow/green in protest of receiving more water. I even cock the pot to one side by setting it on the lid of a jar to keep the roots from being puddled in water. I am not, however, discouraged. It popped out several bits of new growth many of which contain new, tiny, rose buds.

The rosemary bush is small but doing well. I am taking care not to over water it but our house is very dry and I am checking it daily. I long to have an herb garden in my backyard. These few plants are going to be the start of something great! They just need to survive a few months longer.

The thyme plant, however, is in plant I.C.U. The minute I chopped off the other stems to make my oil for the salve, it dried up. I thought I had left enough to keep it alive. It’s either too cold, or too dark in my house for it. I thought it was a ‘gonner’ but then, I looked at it after I had watered it a bit and there it was; that one, tiny, green sprig of hope.

Isn’t that kind of how it is with spring? Just when we think the snow cannot get deeper, the wind cannot blow colder, here comes a chick-a-dee, a robin, or a hummingbird to remind us; ‘Winter is almost over. It’s almost time to rejoice in spring!’. And so we wait, ever hopeful, patient, cold, peering into the sky, trying to tell if those are storm clouds or just cloud, clouds. We stare at the snow to see if the warmth of the day melted it any. We buy plants with hope that it cannot be cold and snowy forever. We buy plants with our hearts focused on spring, the future, life, warmth, breath. We buy plants…

I feel like an ‘herb nurse’ right now. If the thyme lives and becomes strong enough to plant, it will eventually find its way outside to my garden. Thyme is a wonderful, versatile plant with delicious culinary uses and healing properties. Years ago, I took a Christian Herbal Healing course. I just looked through my, Materia Medicas (Materia medica is a Latin term from the history of pharmacy for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing, (And you can make your own!), from the course, and not one of them has mention of thyme! I turn instead to my, Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. Published in 1993, and picked up at a book fair (remember those?) this book was my ‘gateway book’, so-to-speak, that first sparked my interest in herbs and herbal remedies.

The Complete Medicinal Herbal: Ody, Penelope: 9781550134803:  Books

For a quick minute, as I thumbed through its pages, I thought it too would have forgotten the amazing yet humble thyme plant from its pages but no! There it is on page 104… thyme, pronounced Time, not THym. Like Thomas not THat, or THis.

Garden thyme is known as; thymus vulgaris, wild thyme is thymus serpyllum. Not just great to use when cooking, thyme has many medicinal properties that make it a must-have in any herbal medicine cabinet.

All parts of the thyme plant (except the roots) may be used in making herbal remedies. Thyme is good for insect and sea creature bites/stings. In folk traditions it was used to give the wearer strength and courage, which it of course can still be used for today. Bathing with thyme oil is said to help the bather ‘let go’ of issues. Thyme can help with chest congestion (it is an expectorant) when made into a tea or syrup (or the essential oil inhaled). An infusion or diluted tincture can be used as a gargle for sore throats (great for people who make podcasts or sing), place 10 drops of the essential oil into 20ml of a carrier oil and rub on the chest to help clear chest infections. Ten drops of the essential oil can also be added to water to treat insect bites or skin ailments (infections). Add a couple of thyme sprigs to warm, not boiling, water to make a tea, or1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dried thyme if you do not have fresh. Remember when I said it can help improve strength and courage? Add a few drops to bath water to strengthen a person or relieve arthritis symptoms (which is also a great way to open up the lungs when congested), please make sure not to draw too hot of a bath, you’re not an egg that needs boiling. Keep the water at around 100 degrees.

I placed my thyme stems in sweet almond oil. The stems are infusing the oil with their plant essential oil. I plan to leave the stems in the oil for at least 6 weeks. I could heat the whole lot up on a very low setting to cause the infusion to happen faster, but I am in no great hurry. I will have that infused oil for a while. I plan to add it to other ingredients such as bees wax or shea butter, some other essential oils and by the time I am through I will have a nice salve to put on cuts or bug bites.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is thymeoild.jpg
Thyme stems in sweet almond oil waiting to be turned into home made healing salve.

I have been asked in the past, “Why not just buy some from the store?’. That’s a good question. If I ‘just buy stuff from the store’ I miss out on the satisfaction of having made something from scratch that benefits me, and whomever I choose to bless with a gift of the salve. If I ‘just buy some form the store’ I am stuck using whatever the store has whether or not I am completely happy with the product whereas if I make it myself, I know exactly what ingredients were used in its preparation and I can customize the essential oils to those which I prefer.

Making a salve from scratch is immensely satisfying. I would miss out on all of that joy if I did not make it myself. Plus, making it myself helps to solidify the knowledge of thyme, its benefits and how to craft herbal remedies. Practice is needed to become proficient. You cannot by experience. It must be earned… acquired.

When using, thyme please be sure to avoid it during pregnancy. Always dilute thyme as it can irritate mucus membrane.

If you wish to wild-craft your thyme (look for it in the wild as to buying or growing it), look for a bushy plant whose stems are bright-medium green, thin and covered in small roundish leaves that grow in pairs opposite one another. The plant sometimes has some purple leaves but always the flowers are purple. The plants can sometimes look different from what I have just described. A quick Internet search will show what I described but also give you thyme plants that look different from what I described. The plants in your region may look different, please be careful and do your own research to make sure you are not harvesting something deadly. If you are unsure, walk away. It’s better to be cautious than dead.

This is just the first of many more articles to come about herbs and herbal remedies. Please share them with friends and family. The more we can do for ourselves during these times, the better.

You can begin your own, Materia Medica to keep track of herbs, how you use them, how you process them, even how you grow them and the results of all of the wonderful ways you put them to good use. The more information you fill up in the pages of your Materia Medica the better reference you make for yourself, and for future generations who might be interested in your herbal research.

You can include images of the herbs, either photographs you took or illustrations you drew. You can include the medicinal/healing properties of the herbs as well as the folklore associated with the plant. You can be as technical, or not technical as you like. Try thyme in your baking as well as your cooking. savory scones into which you baked thyme would be a delicious accompaniment to teatime. Thyme infused sugar cubes to put into tea would be lovely. Thyme essential oil can be inhaled before a job interview, a date, a family gathering to bolster you and give you strength.

Vintage Materia medica images:

How to Make a Materia Medica - My Kind of Medicine Blog - Heirloom Gardener  | Materia medica, Medica, Herbalism
Herbal Materia Medica Series - Interfaith Neighbors : Interfaith Neighbors

Thyme and bee keeping. Thyme is a great insect repellent that does not bother bees (In small doses.).

group of bees
Photo by @timothylbrock from Unsplash.

In my online research, I came across information on bee hives and thyme. Some keepers of bees place a few sprigs at the top of each hive. The bees drag it down to the exit, through the hive, releasing the plants beneficial essential oils along the way. This is a gentle way of lightly applying the essential oils/fragrance of thyme without overwhelming the bees. The individual who reported this experience noted that they had a significant reduction of mites. Thyme is also anti-microbial which means it can help to reduce or eliminate fungi/molds that can grow in enclosed places such as bee hives which is why European bee keepers have been using Thymol with their hives for several years now. Please look up and do your research before applying thyme oil or Thymol to your hives.

I hope this post gives you some good ideas on how to use thyme besides stuffing it inside of a turkey on Thanksgiving day!