March just “blew” by! Here it is April and the look and smell of spring is everywhere. Hopefully, the burst of energy in Nature will also give me a burst of energy to get these blogs out more consistently.

April is gardening month, poetry month, pet month and stress awareness month, all of which we’ll be featuring with highlights on how herbs relate to each of them. Our herb of the month is Oregano and our featured Artemisia (2014 Herb[s] of the Year) is Sweet Annie.

Sir Gump Alot, Gump-a-Lump-a-Ding-Dong, Thump-a-Gump, The Gumpinator

In celebration of Pet Month, here’s an introduction to our blue-point Siamese cat, Gump. He was born 4/4/04 and came to us as a foster cat. My daughter brought him home and said “It’s just for a little while, Mom.”

He’s completely deaf and has no volume control, so the first few months were tough. He would “yell” at everything, especially if left alone. We communicate with him by stomping on the floor or hand signs. He may even read lips, but he’s a cat with an attitude, so it’s difficult to tell.

After almost dying when he got lost in the soybean field next to us for 12 days, he’s now an inside-only cat, except on special occasions and under a very watchful eye. Being sprayed by a skunk saved his life. When he was finally found, thanks to our neighbors seeing him on the road and letting us know, his spine was showing through his skin and his voice was hoarse from yelling. When does get to go outside, he heads to the Sweetgrass patch first, then over to the Weeping Willow to hang out watching the birds.

Animals are much more in tune with their bodies than most humans and will eat plants they need to stay healthy. Native Americans were known to watch animals to discover the uses of healing herbs, especially bears. Bears come out of hibernation and look for specific plants to get their systems functioning again. Many of the herbs they eat are the herbs we know as spring tonics. These are herbs known to get toxins out of the body, as well as invigorate the digestive system, which has become sluggish over the winter months. We can learn a great deal from paying attention to animals. Some are so bonded to their human they can even “sense” the human’s illness.