Spring is all about new beginnings, the beginning of a new season, a new cycle, a time of re-birth and awakening. What a way to start a new beginning than to call in the element of FIRE to burn away the old, to create space for anew. This is a perfect example of the healing and transformational power of FIRE.

We have been busy working alongside Kettle Creek Conservation Authority over the past 6 months, and on Easter Sunday, the first stage of our new wildflower meadow, began. KCCA have been incredibly supportive in our dream to turn our hay field into a vibrant wildflower meadow (we are after all called Wildflowers Farm!), by awarding us funding through their Clean Water Stewardship program. Click here for more information

A wildflower meadow is a complete ecosystem all on its own providing food for a wide range of wildlife, including one of our faves, the HONEYBEE ! As you know, bees are vital to mankind, yet these beautiful insects are under considerable pressure from habitat loss and disease. So, we want to do what we kind to give back to our sweet pollinators, along with a whole host of wildlife, birds and insects.

Why BURN? Common practice these days is to use ROUND UP, to kill off the grasses, weeds and many woody plants to be able to start the restoration project, but if you know us at all, you will know that R.U. is kind of a bad word around here! We want to restore our land, whilst maintaining our rich organic soil. So, with much discussion, we came to the agreement that the safest way to protect our soil ecology whilst ridding of those pesky invasive grasses is to do a PRESCRIBED BURN, which was done by a wildfire specialist.

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For thousands of years, tall grass prairies and open meadows were kept free of trees by the occasional wildfires that cleared the landscape every 2-50 years. These fires were caused by lightening, or set intentionally by Native Americans. They had discovered that fire killed woody plants, but encouraged fruit bearing shrubs and forage producing grasslands. IMG_0029

Prescribed burns today are used most frequently to maintain and restore native grasslands. Prescribed burning can recycle nutrients tied up in old plant growth, improve poor quality forage, increase plant growth and improve certain wildlife habitat.

Check out our time lapse video of the prescribed burn here!

We are incredibly grateful to be able to follow our dreams with the support of KCCA, helping us to create the world we wish to see- full of flowers and bees!

Next up: the planting!

Spring is a time of re-birth, this re-awakening. Just take a look at some of the first spring ephemerals- their delicate nature, and childlike glow, which always happens to stir up feeling of excitement and wonder for the spring season. Seeing my girls get giddy over snowdrops and aconites, warms my heart to no end, and reminds me too how taking a moment to admire each new beginning with innocent curiosity, brings us directly into the present moment.

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Winter brings it own blessings of inertia and inward movements, a time to recoup, rest and go within. Spring, on the other hand, begins to call us to begin to move outward, and give us hope (especially for us Canadian folk!) that we will feel the sunlight on our faces once more, and begin to peel back the layers, one by one.

Ayurveda speaks of this particular time of year as KAPHA season, made up of Earth and Water, and imbalance occurs when these elements are in excess. Imbalance can occur simply because the elements are high in our natural environment (think cool and wet) but can also be aggravated by our diets and lifestyles. We can end up feeling heavy, sluggish, congested, lethargic and depressed. Balance can be achieved by cultivating the missing elements at this time through practices such as yoga; daily routines and rituals rooted in Ayurveda; along with our local herbal allies, bringing us into a place of ease and harmony.

The philosophies of Ayurveda, Yoga & Herbalism have created such an impact on my life, deepening my connection with nature, and understanding myself more as I move through each season with awareness and understanding, bringing me towards a more vibrant, balanced and healthy life. This is why I am so passionate to share these teachings with you! If you are interested in learning more about my blend of yoga, Ayurveda and herbalism, check out my events for further details.

 

 

Wildflowers Farm Video

 

 

 

Just recently, I was able to attend the Traditions in Western Herbalism/ Herbal Resurgence Conference in Coconino Forest, Arizona. This was a huge weekend for me, not only because I was able to attend some of my most admired herbalists’ workshops, but I was going on an adventure ALL BY MYSELF.

With excitement and nerves, I loaded up my backpack, remembering the last time I used it was travelling around South East Asia at the ripe age of 22. What I remember most about that trip, was the freedom I felt, to go as I please, live minimally, and be so close to Mother Nature. As I left my brood (who thought I was going parachuting by the looks of my pack), I felt this enormous gratitude for having this opportunity to explore this part of the world, and most importantly, to be able to explore myself.

It took a long time to be able to unwind, feeling very aware of the fact that for the past 9 years, I have been living on an element of tension. I don’t mean to complain about where I have been, but being aware that whilst raising children, maintaining our home, going to school and starting my business, has all meant that I have been multitasking to the extreme. When I arrived at the airport, I only had to worry about myself getting through those gates, not keeping the kids together, making sure they didn’t kill each other while they wait, as best they can, in a long line to then be asked to take all of your belongings off of you, to only put them back on momentarily. If you left a penny in your pocket, you were screwed. As adults, we are more conditioned to put up with this, as glowing lovely light children, it’s absurd.

When things are meant to be, it becomes effortless, and this is how my trip came about. My sister, who just moved to Flagstaff, lives 20 minutes away from where the conference was being held. Synchronicity- and so I had to go. Being able to connect with my sister was amazing, just the two of us. Balancing that with one of my most favorite things- herbs- and I am one happy lady.

One of the talks that stuck out the most was by Kathleen Maier, sacredplanttraditions.com, The Heart as an organ of perception. During this talk, she spoke about tension and stress, and how when we once used our fight or flight response in real cases of fear (think saber tooth attack) when now we are living off of this state, becoming addicted to this cortizol release, it is the new drug. So we are jumping out of planes, extreme everything, down to being constantly connected through technology, multitasking to the max, we are slowly burning out. This stuck out, as I knew being away from my everyday life, gave me an awareness of how I was carrying this tension. By becoming grounded again, and being able to meditate, brought me back into my body, not my mind. As Kathleen spoke, she spoke truth, our minds are not an organ of perception, we cannot sense with our brain. And when we live in our head, our senses are atrophy.

What a relief, to give my mind a rest, and to settle back into my body. Scullcap, Blue Vervain and Lemon balm, have been very helpful in this, all nervines and relaxants. When I allowed my mind to rest, I was able to hear the gentle cues from my body and soul again. What feels right and what does not became much more obvious, helping to drown out the indecisiveness of the mind- the worry of figuring things out, and what if I made the wrong decision. We are supported, and knowing this, allows the tension to ease off, and the trust to ease in. We are our own healers, if we choose to listen.

After three days of learning, listening and absorbing, we took a lovely ride down 1000 ft to Sedona. Talk about powerful! Winding down and around becoming one with the red rocks around us, and ending with a swim and a water slide down the rock- what a confirmation of the beauty that is all around us. Our minds did not create this, nor can it fathom the sheer magnitude, it is beyond words. As we stood in between the rocks, watching the sun set, my heart expanded, opening to the possibilities that arise when we live within in our hearts and get out of our head.

Flower Power

The Daisy. What a beautiful, fun, innocent flower. Simply stunning.  This flower brings me to my childhood, sitting underneath a patch, gazing up at this beauty, with total presence. As a child, you only know this presence, this safety to be who you are. It isn’t until later on, that we decide we are not utterly perfect, just the way we are; imperfect.

So by keeping busy, taking on various roles through my life, I have come to a point, where I need to bring this innocence back. This means to me, freedom. Allowing myself to make mistakes, allowing myself to jump in and take risks, and allowing myself to be loved. Giving myself time to just be. No roles, no deadlines, no excuses and no guilt. Why is it we feel guilt when we give ourselves a few precious moments of silence?

So, I sat with my old friend daisy. Imagining what my 3 year old would have thought doing this exact thing. I invited my inner child to come and play. So, I lay there, in the grass, feeling the earth and watching the clouds float by. Bliss.

When I look through my studies of the daisy, I find that the essence is for feeling empty and a lack of joy and laughter in life; time to let go of the mourning and start living. Never underestimate the power of these flowers!

As I apprehensively write my first submission to my blog, I realize this is perfect timing. On the eve of a full harvest moon, I reflect back, as to all things I am able to harvest. We certainly as a family have been on quite a ride. From moving to Canada from the UK, to finding a wee home in the suburbs to call our own, to finding our dream home surrounded by tall trees and red clover fields, we feel truly blessed.

Our gardens are a reflection of who we are at this moment, so why is mine full of weeds?! Feeling slightly frazzled and over worked, we have brought upon us more “weeds” than we would like. This harvest moon is a reminder of taking what we need, and letting go of what no longer serves us.

As I pull out plants that are not supposed to be there, I ponder, knowing full well the advantages these plants have, and the gifts they have to offer. I use these plants as medicine, whether it is the chickweed, alfalfa, dandelions, they all serve a purpose. Why are they popping up in the gardens? These plants are known as dynamic nutrient accumulators. They are opportunists, popping up wherever they can, allowing the soil to be nourished. I realize as I decide who stays and who goes, that they all serve a purpose, much like the people in our lives. We may wish we wouldn’t have to have that run in with an angry person, or get caught up in gossip; however, these incidences are all here to serve us. Reminding us again who we truly are, and that we carry all of these personalities within us. Which relationships will we nourish, and which ones do we just accept, learn from and move on.

As my kids kick it into high gear on full moons, my patience gets tested. Rather than chase my tail, I took my troops out into the garden, to harvest some lovely herbs. We found ourselves standing amongst the Lemon Balm, a beautiful plant that is said to “make the heart merry”- indeed it did. As we picked, weeded, gathered and brought back our bounty, I was completely astounded as to how much therapy a garden visit can be. Feeling the abundance that is in bloom right now, and harvesting on this harvest moon, brought me gently back to earth. When in doubt, get in the garden.