backyard medicine

Backyard Medicine Book Winner (+Newsletter Giveaway)

Lara was randomly selected as the most recent book giveaway, Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal. I’ve decided to extend this giveaway to one person on the newsletter list. I’ll be randomly choosing a winner on the morning of Monday, July 22, so you have until

Making Plant Hydrosol with an Alembic Copper Still

Experiments in Plant Hydrosol Distillation

Oh, how I love my alembic copper still! I’ve been having such a great time experimenting with it over these past few weeks. The process of distilling plant matter in water to make hydrosol is creative and right brained, but it also engages my left brain in just the right way. It feels like alchemy,

Alembic Copper Still for making Plant Hydrosols

Let’s Make Plant Hydrosols: An Alembic Copper Still for My 40th

I got a handmade wooden pinhole camera for my 30th and now, with a month left before I turn 40, I have gifted myself this beautiful handmade alembic copper still from Portugal. I’ve been doing a lot of wildcrafting this season and have been experimenting with D.I.Y methods for making plant hydrosols aka floral waters

Sonoran Desert Food Plants

Books to Take with You to the Desert

T-minus just a few days before we leave on our 10 day desert trip and the madness is in full swing around here. I am never again going away on such a long trip at the height of planting season. Lesson learned. Still, I figure I will stop fussing and fretting about my own garden

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Shopping for Seed Starting Gear at the Dollar Store

While I will always promote gleaning your gardening gear from the recycling bin or second-hand via garage sales and thrift stores, there are times when buying new is required. A lot of gardeners looking to save money have been turning to the dollar store over the past few years, especially since many chains have been


Holiday Gifts for Cooks, Home Bakers and Food Preservers

For the Cook: Schmidt Brothers – 15 PC. Knife Set with Block $165.32 CAD: This sleek knife set probably won’t cut it in a professional kitchen, but it is a good deal and well above average for the home cook who doesn’t mind putting in the extra care that is needed to preserve the beautiful


Holiday Gifts for Gardeners 2012

Brass Frond Earrings $45 US: This Australian jewelry designer makes gorgeous and sustainably produced wearable art that is inspired by nature. Her work reminds me of walking along a beach or through a field picking up little bits of water-worn glass and pebbles or beautiful leaves and putting them in my pocket to be rediscovered

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Crispy Shallots, Shallot Oil, and Cookbooks

Recently, the addition of an island/counter that has suddenly provided me with more counter space than I have ever had before, as well as the well-timed arrival of an indulgent purchase of newly published cookbooks has us spending whole days in the kitchen. I am always drawn to the kitchen in other people’s homes. It’s

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

I Bought a Cleaver. In Fact, I Bought Two!

Emboldened by a cleaver buying guide in the book, “Vietnamese Home Cooking,” I set off to Chinatown on Friday afternoon with the intent to buy a cleaver. As a teenager, I worked a handful of sweaty kitchen jobs where I was taught proper knife skills and somehow, through the experience of chopping a hell of

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Making Botanical Cellphone Macros

I recently purchased the wide angle/macro lens to use with my iPhone. I bought it specifically for the macro lens as I find that the built-in camera lens is wide enough. There are other cellphone lenses available; however, I bought this one because it was affordable at $20 for the pair and looked to be

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Historical Re-Creation Programs for Flu Season

I’ve been sick with a virus this last week, hence the lack of posting. As it is hard to do much when you are laid up in bed with the plague, I spent much of my quarantine watching historical re-creation reality shows on YouTube. It began with a re-watch of my favourite show in this

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