The Calendula symbolizes joy and protection. Wishing you both!
In January, my intention was to post an herbal collage every week, but my life changed dramatically and “life got in the way”, as the saying goes.
Zippy, my precious 17 year old puggle, passed over the rainbow bridge in mid April. Loving and supporting him through the transition was difficult. His no longer being by my side was even more difficult. Many of you sent me warm condolences and they were greatly appreciated.
Preparing to sell the house in Maryland, a greatly needed escape with a dear friend to Cape Cod, and finding, purchasing and setting up a home, limited my time in the garden, art room and on line.
Several things played into my deciding to sell my house and move back to central PA - most of all my two lovely daughters and my new son (in-law)! Moving closer to them has brought me great joy.!
Since the calendula represents joy, it seems a perfect segue back to my illustrations, collages, gardening and herbal experience and research! It also symbolizes protection. I wish each of you good health and a feeling of safety and calm in these challenging times!
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lavender blossoms
I cup (two sticks) butter at room temperature
2 cups almond flour
1 cup flour
Combine the sugar and fresh lavender blossoms using a food processor.
Add the butter and combine. Next add the flours.
Mix until thoroughly combined.
The batter will be soft.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Flour both sides of the dough and place between two long sheets of waxed paper.
Using a rolling pin, roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Work quickly. The dough will get soft again as you work with it.
Cut cookies with a floured cookie cutter.
Remove all the excess dough and return to the 'fridge. This will make it easier to move your shaped cookies.
Gently lift cookies onto a cookie sheet lined with baking parchment paper.
Chill the cookies on the baking sheets for 30 minutes
Set oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Once the oven is preheated, bake for about 30 minutes. Begin checking at 20 minutes and don't let the edges of the cookies brown.
Cool on a wire rack placed.
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon water.
Mix thoroughly with a fork. Add a little more water if needed.
Keeping the cookies on the wire rack, move them over the sink if your rack fits, or place waxed paper under neath for easy clean up. This can get messy!
Use a spoon to lightly glaze the cookies. Top with lavender blossoms. Let the glaze set up and serve.
My last harvest of lavender and almond lavender cookies to celebrate the summer solstice.
Memorial Day 2012 was the most meaningful and memorable Memorial Day I've ever spent.
We joined hundreds of volunteers to carry an enormous flag out onto the beach at Ocean City, Maryland. Those of us on the outside are visible but many more are underneath, ensuring that the flag would not touch the sand.
The flag measured 45,000 square feet and weighed 850 pounds: the seamstress in me kept wondering where and how such an enormous flag could have been pieced. Betsy Ross would have been stunned! You can get a sense of the size of the stars from the picture on the bottom right.
There was a reverence and strong sense of pride and gratitude as we carried the flag onto the beach. I thought of my grandfather who fought in World War I, and my dad who fought in the Korean War and World War II. There was a mix of civilians, and veterans from every branch of the service, some distinguishable by their t-shirts, and a few by their tattoos.
Kudos to Ocean City, Maryland for hosting such a dramatic and heart felt tribute in memory of those who fought to ensure that we can live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. God bless America!
St. Patrick wasn't Irish, he wore blue, not green and there were no snakes.
But there were vampires and leprechauns and witches. Oh my!
In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, I'm using my alphabet prompts to learn more about all things Irish. I'm only doing one or two topics per letter, even though I can think of many more for some.. Even so, be warned. This will be a long post. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
A - Abhartach - the Irish Vampire
Let's start with something light and fun! Ha!
A is for Abhartach, the Irish Vampire.
Even though Dracula, the character created by Bram Stoker, is most often associated with Transylvania, in reality he may have been based on an Irish king, Abhartach. He was said to be a dwarf and considered to be evil and feared by all who knew him.
He was a very jealous man and was suspicious of his wife, convinced that she was having an affair. While spying on her from a high castle window, he fell to his death. The entire kingdom was relieved.. They buried him upright, apparently the correct burial position for royalty, and enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep. One. Just one.
Because the next day, he rose from the dead, and demanded that all of his subjects slit their wrists and drain their blood into bowls. Well, you can imagine they were upset, so they traveled to the next village seeking help from another king, Cathan, who came, killed him and buried him once more.
You guessed it. Up he came, ready for yet another snack.
This continued until Cathan decided to seek help from a saint who explained there was no way to kill someone who was already dead!
His suggestion was to bury him upside down, cover him with thorns and ash branches, and top it off with a huge boulder. As far as we know it worked, and peace returned to the kingdom. He served as inspiration for Stoker's Dracula, and all lived happily ever after!
B - Banshee
A banshee is a terrifying, wispy, floating specter with a piercing scream who warns of a coming death in the family. First reports were in Ireland in the 8th century. This alarming figure, usually female, varies in age from a young maiden to an old woman. Some families were reported to have their very own banshee, possibly having been a family member who had passed. They were known for their keening, mournful singing and wailing, as they lamented the death of loved ones.
C - Children of Lir
,King Lir, Bobd Derg, was left with four motherless children, one daughter and three sons, when his wife Aoibh, the queen, unexpectedly passed away. The king decided to marry Aoife, his wife's sister,
The Queen of Flowers - the Rose
Over the next few weeks, as we approach Valentine's Day, I'll be revisiting some of the herbs associated with love and romance.. When it comes to matters of the heart, there are no limits to the human imagination in pursuing, wooing and attempting to ensure their love will be returned. Some of the uses are romantic and beautiful, elegant and sublime. Some are tender and heart warming.
Herbs can add a sensuous dimension to all aspects of life. Their beauty, aroma, flavors and touch delight. Some are showy and enticing with an distinctive and noticeable fragrance. Others you might walk by, or even step on, and not even notice! Often the greatest gifts are found in herbs you might not immediately notice. Hopefully these little snippets will entice you to learn more about the endless history and legacy of these treasures.
Our herb series continues with the Rose, the Queen of Flowers and the undisputed floral symbol of love. The Society of American Florists predicts that nearly 250 million roses will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
The rose is a perfect example of beauty, romance and sensuous living. She is a vision of delight, her petals are velvet, her fragrance is divine and her delicate flavor is sublime. i wish you all the gifts the rose offers - love, friendship, beauty, romance and sensuous pleasures.
The legend states, "those who kiss under the mistletoe
Wheat and roses are also associated with St. Barbara.
"Barbara, the Saint, was elected of God,
She gave her bread to the poor,
Her miserly father rebuked her
And threatened her with his sword.
When he caught her with bread in her lap
She cried unto God in her fear,
God turned the sword in his hand
Into a crochet needle.
When here father demanded to see
What she concealed in her lap,
She cried unto God for help
And the bread in her lap turned to roses."
~ Translation from The Syrian
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Do The Write Thing
Fashion And Fabrics
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!