Building an Earth Oven, Part II: Insulation, Finish Plaster, and Cob Mosaic — The Druids Garden

In last week’s post , we began exploring the build of an earth oven.  An Earth Oven is a simple structure, made of clay, sand, straw, stone, and fire brick, that you can use to cook foods in a traditional way.  Last week’s post walked you through the first set of steps for building your…

Building an Earth Oven, Part II: Insulation, Finish Plaster, and Cob Mosaic — The Druids Garden

The Perfect Lilac Shortbread & The Art of Enfleurage — Gather Victoria

I am enamored of lilac. Her scent on warm spring evenings evokes the happiest of memories. Every year I attempt to capture her glorious scent in baking and every year I learn yet another lesson about her culinary intricacies.  Through trial and error, I discovered what perfumers knew long ago, lilac’s intoxicating fragrance is notoriously…

The Perfect Lilac Shortbread & The Art of Enfleurage — Gather Victoria

Building an Earth Oven Part I: Foundation, Dome, and Structure — The Druids Garden

An earth oven is an oven made of cob (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw) with insulating features (firebricks, bottles).  It is an extremely efficient and sustainable method of doing any baking you might need to do. One firing of your earth oven can allow you to bake different things for hours (pizzas, bread,…

Building an Earth Oven Part I: Foundation, Dome, and Structure — The Druids Garden

Black Madonna of Montserrat: Chocolate Rose Crown Cake — Gather Victoria

I thought I’d share this recipe from Gather Victoria Patreon for two reasons. May is the sacred month of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in Roman Catholic tradition, roses are the emblematic flower of the Blessed Virgin Mary – and roses will be blooming shortly!  On May 31st  a “crown cake”  is typically baked “affirming…

Black Madonna of Montserrat: Chocolate Rose Crown Cake — Gather Victoria

Know Your Tarragon – The Herb of the Month

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

French tarragon in a potIt pays to pay attention to plant labels. Especially in the case of tarragon–especially if you are planning to use tarragon in your cooking. If you are growing tarragon for culinary purposes, be sure the label on the plant or seed that you buy says “French tarragon” or Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’, to be sure. If the label says only “tarragon,” you may be purchasing Russian tarragon, which is not the tarragon you want for your roast chicken or béarnaise sauce. 

Tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, is The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for March. Read on for more information about the plants we call tarragon.

French tarragon — Artemisia dracunculus ‘Sativa’    

The botanical name for tarragon, Artemisia dracunculus, comes from the Latin word meaning “little dragon” or “snake.” It is thought that the plant was given this name because its roots…

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Gather Ye Redbuds While Ye May – A Colorful Harbinger of Spring…and Edible, Too!

The Herb Society of America Blog

by Karen Cottingham

Eastern_Redbud_by Dan Keck via wikimediaHere in Texas, there’s a saying: “We have two seasons – summer and winter.” That’s not quite true; but if you’re not paying attention, spring can slip right past. And the last thing I want is to miss a single day of our glorious, but ephemeral, spring. 

The nights here are still cold – sometimes approaching freezing – but the robins have arrived, so I know springtime is near. It’s time to listen for a hushed prelude to seasonal change, time to look for intimations of life beginning to stir. Every few days, this calls for a visit to the two redbud trees in my Houston neighborhood to check the trunks and bare branches for any evidence of tiny pink flowers. Nothing to see for weeks on end; then suddenly, here they are – scattered crimson buds emerging straight from the furrowed bark, swelling with life, and…

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Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

What more appropriate treat could there be for an occasion of the heart like Valentines Day? After all, many herbalists consider hawthorn berries the ultimate heart tonic and every kitchen witch knows that bewitching hawthorn opens the heart to love.  Heart-warming.& heart-strengthening, hawthorn heals, protects and uplifts heavy hearts, supporting us physically, emotionally and spiritually. …

Hawthorn Berry Brownie Cake w/ Hawthorn Berry Buttercream Frosting — Gather Victoria

A 21st Century Wheel of the Year: Reskilling at Imbolc

The Druid's Garden

Imbolc–the first signs of spring (artwork by myself and my father, Mark Driscoll)

In a traditional neopagan Wheel of the Year, Imbolc is the holiday that offers the first signs of spring.  Most traditionally, this is when the ewes began to lactate, and the snowdrops appeared on the landscape in the British Isles.  In the age of climate instability, traditional seasonal interpretations become challenged for many reasons–not the least of which are climate disruptions.  So how might we bring the holiday of Imbolc into the 21st century and think about what this holiday means to us today?

As I’ve discussed in earlier posts in this series, the 21st Century, the Age of the Anthropocene, offers us a set of unprecedented challenges and yet opportunities.  As a permaculture designer, I think it’s important to recognize that while the problems we already face are unavoidable, these problems give us a…

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An Incredible Herb Right Under Our Feet…or Above Our Heads

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Katherine Schlosser

For most of us, our garden tools are cleaned and stored, the holidays have passed, and we have a little more time to simply enjoy what we find in meadows, forests, fields, and even in our own backyards. Lichens can fill a part of the void we may be feeling. Their curious forms and means of growing and spreading, with which many of us are unfamiliar, can fill our minds with the wonders of things we normally pass without notice.

There are more than 5,000 species of lichen and lichen-dependent fungi in North America, with colors ranging from blues, lavender, yellow, red, orange, and gray to many beautiful greens. Color in lichens can depend on whether they are wet or dry. A major paint company even created a color they call Lichen to mimic the natural, earthy beauty of the organism. Perfectly described by Ed Yong in…

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Mother Holle Cloud Tart w/ Cranberry & Hawthorn Berry Curd — Gather Victoria

Happy Winter Solstice! I’m sharing this recipe from the Gather Victoria Winter Magic ECookbook because it encapsulates the archetypal drama of the season – the rebirth of the light. And that meant plenty of cakes, cookies, and confections for the old winter witches like Frau Holle! Their symbols are very much alive in our holiday…

Mother Holle Cloud Tart w/ Cranberry & Hawthorn Berry Curd — Gather Victoria