Winter Woods Salve for the Cedar Hill Christmas Tree Farm

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.

Cedar essential oil and hydrosol

My Winter Woods Salve is made using Canadian spruce resin dissolved in safflower oil, with added essential oils, many of which are from our own distillations, in a base of beeswax. Apply it to the neck and chest area for a cooling decongestant effect.
Winter Woods Salve

Winter Woods Salves – just poured and now cooling!

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.


Eastern White Cedar, ready for distillation

Spring Ice Storm with the New Moon in Aries in April 2018

I follow a lot of different growers, herbalists and nature websites and it has been hard to see all these baskets of lovely wild greens being harvested and eaten and even flowers blooming while this is my yard – ice so thick on the bird feeder it is weighting it, activating the squirrel proof mechanism that keeps it closed. I keep chipping away at it and am putting extra out on the table.
Everyone is desperate.

The spark of spring only exists in the wood stove just now but the one in my heart is smoldering as I stand in amazement at the variety of life and am beyond thankful that I don’t have to live outside all the time.  Thankful for my family, my warm bed and for my many aromatherapy blends and salves which carry me through while I wait for better weather.

Ice covering everything

Various Finches

Red Wing Blackbirds

Even the fox is hungry enough to come closer before the storm


Arnica, crowded and ready to be outside.

All babies potted up now and much happier but leaves little room for anything else until Spring comes around.

I was looking forward to this sorrel I found last week but……..

And definitely some of the Nettles coming up all around


Here we are

In our new spot,  just outside of Ottawa, Ontario.  It’s been a long journey.  We moved in on April 10 and it was under snow.  Everything is new. Again.

But, some things always remain the same, kinda.  The same kinds of birds are eager to get at the new feeder, same kinds but they’re different,  the Jays are very different.  The Moon is there, as always, sometimes full and others new,  every night but different.  This is what I notice, what has led me here now.  The cycles, the signs, the connections, they are all saying everything about what is important.  If I listen.

April 13

This is what I do when my heart feels a little broken over what I left behind,  Every time I have moved.  Every time I begin again.  I listen.  When I listen I usually get clues to what to do next on a multitude of levels.  When I listen I am learning about myself.

I feel deeply.  That’s what triple water signs do.  There is no way to doubt the importance of it all,  the plants, the sun, the water,  working together every day for life.  I’m not saying I know what is best or right,  I’m saying that when I listen to wind and to the bird song and plants, that’s when I understand why I do what I do.  Growing, sharing, caring.

This is my heart. Healing. Eve and Amelia. Peaks Island

What followed our move to Ottawa was (is) two months of snow, torrential rains and flooding yet we still managed to put in a small garden.     And like we seem to do again and again, we carve out a little bit more every day, week, month, Another row or corner or mound and we plant something.  So we are building,  it’s a life form making gardens.  With each joy my heart breaks,  like when a baby is born and you can cry and cry through ear splitting smiles.

Deck, pots, and two garden spaces

So, What we have at this point is two medium planting spaces completely fenced off from the deer and as of this week a small dome greenhouse I put together for the pots of Tulsi, Spilanthes and Rose Geraniums until it warms up (it’s been as low as 10 c several nights this week) and stops raining and raining. I really hope we can have a greenhouse by the end of the summer.  When a place is new there is a lot you don’t know and two nights ago we had torrential downpours again on top of daily hail and rain all week.  We had to shovel trenches to drain the water as our beans were beginning to float.  I have no idea what we will do about this problem.  Unusual weather but we can’t have this.  One step at a time.  Ian says this is washing the earth clean so we can start new.  Building, growing, and learning,  As usual.

working together to dig trenches as the water rises

Beginnings, endings and continuations

Secretly Sleeping in December 2016

I wanted to put together some photos that showed the garden and greenhouse in the beginning as they were being put up. We hand dug all the beds and created the soil.  The results are pure magic. We were only caretakers of something already there, even though you can’t see it.  Something that is available to all.  Nourishing.  Healing.  Teaching.

Now my journey will take me along again.  To build again.  To connect again.  I think I will miss this more than the many other gardens that I have left behind.  It has touched me in a special deep healing way.  It has such life, a higher power lives here, even now at the end of January,  especially now.  Feeding the soil,  feeding the birds,  resting and preparing to come back again in all its glory.  It will keep on teaching, keep on healing, like pure magic.

greenhouse being erected and only two beds dug at the top.

greenhouse being erected and only two beds dug at the top.

A blessing as always to work together as a family. This represents the deep change that is part of the season.

A blessing as always to work together as a family.  Early Spring.

After the first season.




Sept 2016 greenhouse

Successful Experiment: Sweet Potatoes

I love all the new things we try and this one turned out really great.  If we had had a bigger hole I think we could have had more veggie and less crazy loopty shapes,  It all tastes super great anyway!

Just beginning to dig, I wasn't expecting it to be this amazing!
Just beginning to dig; I wasn’t expecting it to be this amazing!
Sweet Potatoes!
Sweet Potatoes!
The hole and about 1/3 of the sweet potatoes.

The hole and about 1/3 of the sweet potatoes.