Thursday 22 August 2013

Racing towards September

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis must be wondering what has happened to me. No posts for such a long time. Life is hectic at the moment. Hectic and stressful.  Time and oppotunity  to write blog posts has been almost non existant. One day things will be back to normal (whatever that is!)

Festival News
In the mean time, I hope you have all checked out the programme for our herb festival at the beginning of September. It's going to be both fun and really interesting. Here are some tasters:-

Friday afternoon I'm running an energetic medicine intensive. We'll make a flower essence, talk about why we use medicines on an energetic level (What is an energetic level anyway?), which flowers and trees have which energetic properties and use guided and personal meditations to discover what messages the natural world can give to us personally. There will also be the opportunity to make meditation aids from wood.

Saturday morning we have a guest speaker from Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust who will be talking about water voles in Cotswold rivers. Following on, Ali English is running a practical workshop on roots, followed by a new speaker, Lynne Tynan-Cashmore is going to talk about learning from our Elders. Lynne is a folk herbalist who learned much of her lore from family members and elders from her village.

Saturday afternoon Debs Cook will be bringing loads of herbal goodies and teaching us how to make all kinds of things which smell wonderful. Our final speaker for the day is Charlie Farrow. After wowing everyone last year with practical applications of herbal smoke, she's back to talk about using herbs for blessings, cures and curses throughout history.

On Sunday we start by harvesting herbs from the Sanctuary beds and from hedgerows, then practice putting different combinations together to make winter tonics. Fred Gillam will be talking about the history of poisonous plants from Egyptian times until the present day. Fred is well known for his expertise in foraging and mushroom hunting but his first love was poisonous plants and their uses. After lunch, Anne Chiotis will be leading a plant walk around the Sanctuary and we finish with news about the Sanctuary Apprenticeship.

The festival is so much more than talks and workshops. Join in with our live music session and enjoy your tea and cake while watching the kites display in the air before you!

It would be great to meet some of my blog followers in real life if you fancy a fun weekend in the Cotswolds!

The new picture on my blog header is from the steps leading up to the freshwater holy well in Holywell Bay in north Cornwall. It's such a magical place, I wanted to share it with you all.

Today I've been cooking for my parents again. Last night while I was watering my tomatoes nettles stung my leg so I took that as a sign it was time for another nettle soup. Here's the recipe if you fancy making some of your own.

Nettle and Red Lentil Soup
A collander full of fresh nettle leaves washed
A medium sized seive full of red lentils, washed
One onion peeled and chopped
2 carrots peeled and sliced
1 celery stick washed and sliced
1 small fresh chillichopped
1 courguette
Coarsely chopped herbs - half a stick of lovage, a sprig's worth of mint leaves, one fresh purple sage top, lots of  fresh parsley
In a separate saucepan place the lentils, fill the saucepan with water and heat, scooping off the scum when it forms. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
In the main soup saucepan (holds 5pts (UK) water) heat oil and sweat the onion and chilli until soft. Slice the courguette and cook in the oil. Add the nettle leaves, carrots, chopped celery stick, chopped herbs and partially cooked lentils in their cooking water. Simmer everything for a further 45-60 minutes until everything is soft. Blend the soup with a stick blender and serve with crusty bread. (Serves around 8-10)