Despacho Ceremony

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I wish more people would take advantage of the retreats we have and be able to experience the “magic” that seems to happen on a daily basis here.

Two gals called and ask about doing a Despacho retreat.  I was intrigued and honored by the request when I learned more about this ancient Peruvian ceremony.

Here’s one link to more information on Despacho ceremonies:

I knew this would be a special night, but didn’t realize how special until just before sunset when we had an extraordinary experience. A lone fawn ran through an open area by the bonfire right in front of us.  We were awed at the sight and wondered not only why he/she was alone, but what seeing her/him during a time of ceremony could signify.  Here’s our answer:

The meanings associated with the deer combine both soft, gentle qualities with strength and determination:


Ability to move through life and obstacles with grace

Being in touch with inner child, innocence

Being sensitive and intuitive

Vigilance, ability to change directions quickly

Magical ability to regenerate, being in touch with life’s mysteries

“Being in touch with life’s mysteries” is the way an herbalist lives.  We all have the ability to be one.   Herbs are readily available and anyone who wants to benefit from their healing power can use them.  Listen to their wisdom and learn their mysteries.  They have much to teach us.



Linden and Lightening Bugs

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Since we harvest Linden from other places we depend on harvesting notes and Nature to tell us when the flowers are ready.  Not always do the notes work because of Nebraska crazy weather, but Nature rarely fails us.  When we see the first lightening bugs, the Linden blossoms are ready to harvest.

Last night there were lightening bugs dancing around our Summer Solstice bonfire and today, when I was in the small town near us, I went “looking” for Lindens by sense of smell.  I drove up and down all six streets and found a lovely, low-branched, full-bloom Linden tree.  After inquiring at information central about who lived there, I went to the house, introduced myself to Ardene and asked if I could harvest from the her tree.  I also asked if it had been sprayed which, to my delight, it had not.

I pulled by car up under the branches and covered the top of the car (a Subaru Outback with a long top.)  I just sat there and pluck the flowers from the branches.  The time passed so quickly with my head swimming in honey-sweet scent, I stayed for two hours.  Ardene said I could come back and I promised to bring her bath bags with Linden and Elderflower used in a footbath to treat colds and flu.

Here’s the “haul” of Linden from today:

Linden harvest June 24th, 2013

Linden harvest June 24th, 2013

Update on Herb Gardens

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It’s been too long since my last post – my apologies for the delay.  It’s been a happenin’ place here the past couple weeks.  We’ve had a couple tours and a couple classes and done a presentation at the Herb Festival in Lincoln at Pioneers Park Nature Center.

The gardens missed me!  Rain and sunshine have done their duty – everything is growing like weeds, including the weeds.  My fingers have their summer grime worked into the skin so much it won’t wash out, not even with scrubbing.  I guess instead of a piece of paper, it’s my hands show the proof that my gardens are organic.

June is the busiest month for harvesting.   Not only are there herbs to harvest for their leaves before they bloom, the herbs harvested for their flowers are blooming.  Our drying room is full to capacity every day.  We no sooner get dried herbs stored and labeled before their place is taken with fresh herbs to be dried.  We put the smaller bunches in baskets and use the screened shelves for larger ones.


Solomon’s Seal in bloom

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Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal on a rainy day.

Solomon’s Seal is like candy to deer so we grow ours behind the cellar door in a shady area, trying to mimic a woodland setting.  The roots are harvested in the fall and used to treat muscle and bone injuries as well as an anti-inflammatory for connective tissue.

Comfrey – Common and Russian

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We grow two kinds of Comfrey – Common (officinale) and Russian (uplandicum) – both are used medicinally.  Russian Comfrey is reported to have more allantoin, the constituent that makes Comfrey able to heal skin so well.

Several sources state that Russian Comfrey has purple flowers, but these have white flowers.  The leaves are slightly thinner and more pointed than Common Comfrey leaves.  NOTE  – these plants were purchased from Richters and we’re relatively sure they correctly labeled the plants, but we’ve learned that not every label is correct.  (We recently discovered that a Lilac we’ve had for years had been labeled “Japanese” and is really “Korean.”)

Russian Comfrey

Russian Comfrey

Our Common Comfrey was purchased about 15 years ago.  We divided that original plant over the years to make two 30′ long rows (about 40 plants.)  They grow along a path on a hill under the shade of a Cottonwood tree and a  Mulberry tree.

Common Comfrey

Common Comfrey

Comfrey is from the Boraginaceae family.  The leaves are very similar to the rough leaves of Borage.  Both will cause a skin irritation from their prickliness.

Class at Red Road Herbs

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Herbal Medicine-Making Class

Wildflowers – Shell-Leaf Penstemon

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Shell-Leaf Penstemon

Shell-Leaf Penstemon

This showy prairie wildflower was once used by Native American tribes to treat toothaches, fever and snakebites.


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