Smudge sticks are tightly bound bundles of dried woody, resinous herbs, that are slowly burned as a way to purify and cleanse the air. While the roots of burning a smudge stick, or smudging, is in North American Native purification rites and ceremony, they can be used by anyone to bring the woody smell of the outdoors inside.
If you have a garden, chances are good that you have enough ingredients to make at least one smudge stick. The traditional and most popular herbs used in smudging ceremonies are white sage (Salvia apiana), Cedar (Thuja), Sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), sagebrush (Artemisia californica), and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). However, in my travels I have noticed that the smudging sticks available vary by region and there seems to be a lot of opportunity to branch out (so to speak) with other woody, resinous herbs including, but not limited to: Continue reading
I’m currently preoccupied with preserving the harvest [aside note to say that Preserving is now a category on this site rather than a tag]. This list includes herbs and while there are several ways that I go about ensuring that the herbs I grow are put to good use and available year-round, drying is by far the simplest, easiest, and in many ways most versatile way to do it.
I’ve tried many different methods over the years and tying up bundles to hang is the best method in my region for the majority of the herbs that I grow. I say “my region” because humidity has a profound effect on how quickly and effectively herbs dry, which is why unless I absolutely must harvest a particular plant, I prefer to avoid drying altogether when the humidity is high or there has been a lot of rain. Worse case scenario I will use my cheapo dehydrator and it gets the job done.
If you’ve read my books or attended my presentations, you’ve probably heard this one by now. This method of storing freshly harvested, edible blossoms over the short term is a miracle worker and has completely altered my ability to keep and use them more effectively.
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a Mediterranean tree whose leaves are most famously used as a flavour boost to soups and stews. I bought econo-sized bags of scentless bay leaves for years before I was converted by my first experience with the real thing. Bay has a sweet and heady perfume with a spicy nutmeg note. Dried leaves are actually stronger than fresh; however, dried leaves that have been sitting in a bag on a store shelf for eons are not.
We’ve hit midsummer, a time in my area when the garden tends to go downhill. While there is much bounty to be had, many plants begin to suffer in the heat. Or it is just their time to go. Or we’re just too darn tired/hot/fed up/over it to keep up with garden chores.
Sometimes we need some perspective, a reminder to just let it be. Your garden is good as it is. A garden doesn’t have to be fancy or perfectly quaffed to provide pleasure, food, pretty things to look at, or respite.