I have been looking for this tree, Populus balsamifera. I wanted to get to know it and make an oil with some of its buds, a traditional medicine. Today I found a small stand and have permission to harvest. The trees are a bit invasive where they are and so need to be managed and smaller ones removed so we can work together, a best case scenario! So grateful.
Our neighbourhood is called Cedar Hill, and there are many Eastern White Cedars (Thuja occidentalis) all around us. Also there are Eastern white pine, spruce, and balsam fir, and we are fortunate to be able to sustainably harvest and distill needles and greenery from the various evergreen species.
Winter Woods Salve is one of my most popular products at markets, and this holiday season we are happy to say that it will be for sale at the Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm. The farm is a wonderful local business and the perfect place to find a Christmas tree, but it also features a great sledding hill, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and Cafe Claus, which always features a warm fire and delicious homemade food. Run by the Martin family, the farm is an ideal place for a day of winter fun.
I’ve been delighted to discover all of these beneficial Insects working away in the garden beds.
I am amazed at the complexities of their life cycles and how they work synergistically to control the sometimes overwhelming numbers of leaf-hungry herbivores.
Gardening is a lot of work but It has become a very mindful activity for me while I watch how I use and move my body. Some of the plants I grow, like Tulsi, require a mindful and nearly daily tending, and this is where I get to witness many things over time that might be overlooked, such as nymphs and larvae growing into bugs and flying things, and seeing who is eating who. The four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapsus lineatus) tried to make a breakthrough in our garden this year but we were sure not to harm the beneficials by immediately overreacting, i.e. by using organic approved pesticides. Instead we mindfully picked off the adults for about a week or two and then their own life cycles were interrupted by the multitude of predatory beneficials who lay their own eggs and who effectively end the outbreak.
I am not an expert in this area but it is a very important part of permaculture and sustainable practices in agriculture. I am excited to be able to learn in this hands on, eyes on way.
June 9th at the Almonte Farmers market I will have a new hydrosol. Yoga Mat Spray is a co-distillation of wild harvested Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus )and our own organically grown Lemon Thyme (Thymus citriodorus). As with all my hydrosol blends there are no added anythings……no added essential oils, alcohol, or stabilizers. True hydrosols are a unique product obtained through the steam distillation of various leaves, flowers, barks, needles and roots and naturally contain all the water-soluble constituents of the plants including 0.05 – 0.2 per litre of essential oils (see “Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy” by Suzanne Catty). This makes them one of the safest forms of aromatherapy and herbal medicine.
This Yoga Mat Spray combination is antiseptic, antifungal, and antimicrobial – Spray on and let dry or spray on and wipe off. Depending on your own particular mat’s specific cleaning and maintenance instructions you could even add one drop of plain organic dish soap to give a little bit of extra wash.
Of course you may have figured out that the Yoga Mat Spray can be used many places, on many surfaces, and for many other uses!!
Here you can see the cluster of White Pine that this batch of hydrosol came from
We have been putting in this year’s crops and I feel good it is before June 1st. This work for me is one step at a time with an occasional flurry rush of team work. The result is abundance to share. That’s how it seems to work anyway.
I’ll be back at the Almonte Market on Saturday July 9th and I plan to have several new things to offer. One is a yoga mat cleaner and the other is lots of Tulsi plants. I’ll have instructions and growing tips. In addition, I will have potted Peppermint, Skullcap, and a few Arnica if you want to try for your own sun infused oil! As the season progresses I will begin distilling again and have new co-distillations for your pleasures, parched skin, and individual needs. And as always I will provide the few high quality aromatherapy blends to touch your senses and enliven the awareness that these plants are much more than roots and greens.
I’m still getting to know my new environment and always have my eyes open for plants and animals. Today I came across this beauty.
Here are a couple of the plants that will meet you at the market: