Happy Canada Day!

We hope you all have a wonderful long weekend, filled with family, friends, sunshine and joy! For those of you that do not know, I am not Canadian by birth, I am in fact British born, and California raised, finding myself back in the Uk at 15 where I stayed for 11 years. When people ask, “where are you from?” I have to take a minute to decide which version I should share, the lengthy one, or the brief one, both of which usually heed the response, so how did you end up here? Well that, in itself, is another long story, so I then decide which track I want to take, the short or the long .

How I ended up here always amazes me, meeting my now husband Chuck in Malta, I never imagined we would end up in St Thomas, Ontario, Canada. A small town, holding many of the same people who were born and raised. Having an adventurous spirit and desire to explore new places, I was certainly up for exploring this town my husband was from, just to visit.

Briefly coming here in 2002, I enjoyed my time in St Thomas and travelling to Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City. There was a “feeling” I got from Canadians as a whole, and it was something to the effect of, kind, generous, polite with a good dose of humor along with a strength that I hadn’t witnessed for some time. This strength comes from getting through the winters, but also a sense of togetherness, like we are all going through the seasons together. Shoveling snow in the early mornings, to lighting up the BBQ’s in the summer, I felt a sense of inclusiveness that isn’t always the case in other areas I have lived.

With that, it took us almost 2 years before we were to return, this time with a new baby and a sense of excitement as we embarked on our new journey as a family of three, committed to living in Canada, and hoping to live off the land.

You see, it was the expansiveness and spaciousness that really caught my eye when first visiting. Living in the UK for so long, we could hop on a train and ride the length of the country in 8 hours, yet in Canada, it took us 8 hours just to get to another province! There was just so much space, and room to grow, we quickly decided that raising our children on the land was the thing we wanted most.

We didn’t move to the country straight away, it took us almost 5 years for the farm to find us, and I mean that honestly, as the property was never “for sale”. It just happened to land at our feet at the perfect time, and before we knew it, we had 3 months to pack up and move in to our now family farm we named Wildflowers.

We have seen such growth in our community since arriving here in 2004. The community has brought in many of the same stories, of people wanting more to be in touch with the land, getting out of the big city, and starting afresh. The amount of small businesses that have arrived, including artists, chefs, famers, visionaries, makers- Elgin County itself has flourished, and we couldn’t be happier to see this.

Our community has embraced us, and in turn, has inspired us to give back and provide the best service, events and experiences that we can.

Not only has our community embraced us, but the land has given back to us in so many ways, from the tree plantings flourishing, the plants, the wildflowers that continue to pop up and offer their gifts, to the animals and humans (!) it brings, we couldn’t feel more blessed and lucky to call Wildflowers and Canada our home. Happy Canada Day!

 

Full Moon Blessings

Today we celebrate the full moon in Virgo, an Earth sign that supports us in both critical thinking and our desire to nourish- both our physical and mental, especially as Virgo is the sign associated with thinking. This can be seen as deep thinking, over thinking and often self- critical thinking, however when channelled in the right way, Virgo thinking can be enlightening!

This Virgo Moon also occurs when the Sun (the opposite energy) is in Pisces, which represents the water, and supports us with our receptive and intuitive side. So in many ways, this moon represents the push pull that some of us may experience in our daily lives, this feeling, intuiting and dream like piece of ourselves, with the analytical deep thinking, Earthy opposing side of ourselves.

Can we find balance during this time? One of the ways I have found to move through these seasonal transitions is by taking the time to get outside, re-connect to nature, nourish with a full moon soak in the tub, release with a fire outside, attending a drumming circle, or practicing some releasing and opening yoga postures to help clear the mind.

As many of you may know, during the warmer months, we host regular outdoor drum circles on the farm—stay tuned for new Full Moon circles in the next coming months!

Blessings on this last full moon of winter!!

March has arrived!

It is hard to believe we have already landed into the month of March! There are have been many shifts and transitions this month for us, as we ease away from winter and towards spring.

I recently had the honour of being a student of Deva Tree School of Yoga , where I graduated in the Restorative Yoga Teacher Training. It seemed to end on a very auspicious time with the New Moon and Solar Eclipse happening on graduation day.

What I did not anticipate, was the unfurling of years and years of holding; whether it was stress, trauma or old patterns. Given the space to ease into the postures, for long periods of time, gave me the time and space I needed to reflect, and let go. I truly felt as though I had cocooned for 6 days, and came out a butterfly, ready to spread my wings from the discomfort of my shell, to re-new and begin again.

As you may know, I have been busy teaching many weekly yoga classes, creating new content for workshops and hosting events, along with of course, raising my young family. My heart goes out to all of my students, and I hold space for them all as they open their hearts and bodies in my studio. Giving myself the time to be a student, and sink into the restorative practices was exactly the self care I needed, filling my cup in order to pour it out to others. Practicing what I preach!

I look forward to sharing my new teachings with you all soon, in our next restorative yoga class!

It seemed very fitting on the return of my training, that my children and I found one of the first snow drops had arrived. New Moon, new beginnings!

Happy Imbolc!

Today is the day that marks the winter cross quarter, the half way point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, it is a celebration of the life-force, also known as Candlemas, Brigids day or festival of earth awakening.

Nature brings about this opportunity to give way to winter, and all the inner wisdom we have gained through the winter months and to move forward into spring time energy- planting your visions, ideas, and hearts desires and leaving them to germinate.

This can be seen as a time of initiation and healing, for reclaiming what has been forgotten, and to bring understanding of yourself- this is the special energy of Imbolc, which will help you find your way forward.

You can light a fire or lots of candles to cleanse and transform what you wish to leave behind, or simply lighting candles for our brothers and sisters all around the world.

We will be lighting candles this evening, in honour of this new cycle!

Coming Home

Our family recently embarked on a trip “back home” to San Diego, California and then a road trip to Tucson Arizona to end the year. Our trip started off with our plane having a small engine fire. As we were taking off, the smell of smoke filled the air, I can’t say I have ever been more terrified. There is one thing to smell fire where you know you can escape, or at least get help, but to be lifting off of the ground, knowing there is nowhere to go brought me to a place I hope to never return. Knowing my small children were there with us, looking to us for comfort, pushed me beyond my comfort level. Needless to say, we made an emergency landing back into the airport, and got off safe and sound.

What was really interesting, was that I was seated next to a woman, whom throughout the duration of the short take off and landing, talked about how blessed she was to do her life’s work, how many miracles she had witnessed as she brought victims of the holocaust to the “Holy Land” and how she trusted that when it is her time, she will know. I felt as though I was seated next to an angel, talking me through the chaos, and reminding me to trust.

Still shaken after that episode, it can only really sink in now that I am home safe and sound. WE COULD HAVE DIED, what I have feared for so many years about flying ACTUALLY HAPPENED, and WE CAME OUT ALRIGHT. I cannot agree more, that it wasn’t our time, that despite my biggest fears, it ended well, and now it is time to step into 2017 with trust, devotion and gratitude, to let go of old fears, worries and doubts- for we have this life to live, that the present moment is where we can find joy, and all the small stuff can be put to rest. That it is time to come home, to self, to walk this path of healing, to allow myself to be guided through the work I know I am meant to do. I’m ready 2017 and I hope you are too!

wf-family-christmas16

Prior to about 500 years ago, a flavorful beer known as “Gruitbier” was the most common style of beer in the world. The word ‘Gruit’ referred to a combination of herbs, plants, and spices used by local brewers to craft a beer that was flavoured with the naturally occurring plants that grew around the brewer’s home. This meant that a traveler crossing many regions could sample the signature flavours and aromas local to each district, which were literally reflected in the beer the area had to offer. But around the year 1500, something changed. The flavoring agent we call ‘Hops’ became the universal flavoring agent for beer, and the uniquely flavoured, individualized Gruitbiers faded into memory.

They didn’t fade for everybody, however. This summer, in celebration of the 4th Annual Summer Solstice Festival being held at Wildflowers Farm on June 26th, St. Thomas Herbalist Jane Magri is partnering with Railway City Brewery to bring a local Gruitbier back, and this one bears the distinctive tastes and properties of local St. Thomas herbs. A medieval – inspired Gruitbier created from the unique combinations of plants, roots and spices that populate our region, brought to life in beer again for the second year of this distinctive partnership.

If you didn’t get a chance to sample Railway City’s ‘Summer Solstice Gruit’ last year, you’re in luck, because this flavourful, refreshing beer is back! The Summer Solstice Festival, held on June 26th at Wildflowers Farm from 3-7pm, is a grassroots, community supported family festival that features live bands, drumming workshops, yoga, local art and artisans. The Railway City Gruit will be featured at a licensed outdoor beer garden. It will also be available while supplies last at the Railway City store at 130 Edward Street.

This year’s Gruit features the bitter taste and healing properties of Yarrow – a plant used throughout history to treat a soldier’s wounds on the battlefield, and the spicy undertones of Juniper Berry. These strong tastes are softened by the mellow, aromatic notes of soothing Lavender, a combination which when put to use by the talented brew masters at Railway City has resulted in a light, refreshing brew that’s sourced and bottled right here in St. Thomas, Ontario.

How will lovers of traditional beer respond to a throwback Gruit that’s flavoured without the benefit of Hops? If last year’s sales performances are any indication, the Gruit sold out in record time, leaving those that hadn’t tried it out of luck while those that had the chance were clamoring for more!

So if you’re in the mood to try a uniquely local brew that resurrects the proud tradition of using herbs and spices from the place you live to flavor beer brewed where you live, don’t miss out! Get your Summer Solstice tickets in advance at wildflowerstea.com/events and try some of Railway City’s Summer Solstice Gruit this year.

 

Jane Magri

Registered Herbalist, Certified Yoga and Ayurveda Instructor + Health Coach