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A Spring outing with my son to gather Arrowleaf Balsam Root leaves.

Well there goes May, and with it Spring leaves me as early Summer rolls on in. My month of May was impeded by a chest infection but I still managed to get out to my Herb School classes and spend time wildcrafting and medicine making. I have welcomed into my life the act of prayer. In the past I had always associated prayer with religion and so avoided it. But as I grow older and connect deeper with Nature through my studies and passion for herbal folk medicine, my perception of life expands and opens, and my heart asks me to be more still, more quiet, so I can listen to the voices of the forest, of wild water and animal chatter, and if I am lucky perhaps for a moment I will hear the song of their Spirit. Prayer gives me a way to offer my intentions to all of creation here on Earth, be it of healing given or needed, love shared and received, joy and sorrow. It opens the door to communion with loving, healing, spiraling consciousness. And maybe it does far more… For me it is also a way to give offerings of love and to announce my intentions when working with the plant world.

Belly to the Earth, intoxicated by the scent of Oregon grape inflorescence.

Arrowleaf Balsam Root (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

Leaving the magical Nettle forest…

May brought fresh Nettles once again, something that makes me very, very happy. I have a weird fear of not having enough Nettles! I can’t live without them. On Mothers Day, I drove out to a friends farm with my son and husband and we spent the day picking beautiful, vibrant green Nettles. I dried about 10lbs, steamed off some for the freezer, made nettle infused oil for an under eye cream I am working on for Herb & Petal, my herbal skin care line, and cooked with nettles to my hearts content. I made a very yummy rustic nettle and goat cheese pie with whole grain sage pastry. I wasn’t completely happy with the result, next time I will add more creamy goodness to it like cultured cream cheese and mix the filling well with it, rather than leaving the cheese in chunks, to make for a richer, moister pie. When I have perfected my recipe I will share it with you…

Drying Nettles on an old screen.

Chopping Nettles for oil infusion.

Making Nettle oil infusion for skin care.

Cooked Nettles.

Making Rustic Nettle and Goat Cheese Pie with Sage Pastry.

Nettle and Goat Cheese Pie.

May also brought a ‘Super Moon’, which was very beautiful, although by the time the Moon rose over the mountains behind my house I had  missed the effect of it’s largeness. It was still an energy charged night and I was determined to have a fire outside to enjoy it. I searched around for a second hand brazier to enable backyard campfires but there was no way I was going to pay much for one. So I got my spade out and dug a lovely fire pit for free. 10 minutes later I had an awesome, rock lined fire pit and we have been loving it! Besides, I can cook on my backyard fire pit. Braziers are for….

The full Moon as it drifted over my side of the mountain.

I also had the opportunity to go to Summerhill Organic Winery for the Fertility Festival and interviewed local folk punk band The Dirty Earth. Lots of fun, yummy food and wine, artists, artisans, music and beautiful, shining people everywhere. I’ll post the interview in a separate blog entry soon!

The Dirty Earth played in the Kekuli at Summerhill’s Fertility Festival this May.

Well, I had more to say but I am fading in my enthusiasm presently. It’s been a long week, motherhood has been trying for me lately with low energy levels and the lingering infection in my lungs. Finding time to do all I must and rest to recover is almost impossible. I haven’t even set up shop at my farmers market yet this season, something that bothers me to no end. I must persevere and hope that I am filled with boundless energy soon!

Thanks for stopping by, see you again real soon!

Danika.

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I LOVE cooking on an open fire or camp fire. Check out this yummy inspiration: Campfire Roast Chicken with Flowering Onion and Dill over at Nourished Kitchen. I’m roasting a Cornish game hen this way tonight, using the herbs growing abundant in my garden. A recipe is meant to be a guideline only, so go wild… ♥

http://nourishedkitchen.com/campfire-roast-chicken-with-flowering-onion-and-dill/

Enjoy, Wild Ones!

Love,

Danika.

Today I begin a new chapter in my life, as apprentice to a Wise Woman Herbalist. For the next 9 months I will be a student of Wild Roots Herbal Learning Center and partake in the Womens Herbal Intensive. We will learn the ways and traditions of women healers. I am so friggen excited!! And, nervous to be an apprentice. I do have a sense of going to Baba Yaga’s house to complete her tasks in exchange for snippets of her wisdom. But this herbalist is very much a natural beauty and as far as I know, she does not fly around in her mortar and pestle at night! But you never know…. Actually, I wouldn’t mind taking my own mortar and pestle for a spin! Wouldn’t that be fun?

Enjoy the new Moon energy, you crazy, wild wonders….

Love,

Danika.

He whah kai rongorongo e mahia ana mai i to po, he irirangi roreka oro ana ki te ao, e whaka arongo atu nei.

The pleasant voice of song, a divine sound wafted tremblingly from the now silent past to the listening present.

Not plant roots. Ancestral roots. Spiritual roots. Heart felt roots. O.k then, plant roots too…..

I am home sick. I am here in Canada because of a pull I could not ignore any longer. I felt a drum beat for months, maybe it was years, I don’t remember… Calling to me, pulling me from my home in New Zealand, drawing me nearer. A beckoning. I had people to meet, places to see. Important voices to be heard. Important words to speak. And I still do. Although, apart from my family I am still not sure why exactly I ended up making my home in the Okanagan of British Columbia.

I feel like an oddball. But then, I think maybe I always have felt that way. But growing up Kiwi has left it’s impressions on me and I am inherently Kiwi. Born in Canada to a New Zealander father and Canadian mother, leaving the north for the islands of New Zealand at age 2, I have always been split between two worlds.

I love the people of New Zealand. The ones I grew up with, my first loves, my teachers, my relations, my community. Yet I always felt apart from them. Different. I don’t know that I was ever wholly accepted as one of my own human community. But the wild land of New Zealand, the earth and plants, the spirits, they accepted me and drew me near. For real. Every time I left my islands I mourned for the land more than the people. I love the people, they are my kith and kin, but the land, she is spooky. She claimed me as her own and calls to me from a great distance. She calls to me now. It’s powerful shit.

Ask pretty much any Maori person, young or old and they will tell you how real this is. Like the time I met Mahuika on the Takaka Hill, a mountain full of crystals and tomo’s. I was minding my own business, walking near the summit with my male room mate a few metres behind me on the path, brushing the turpentine plants with my fingers and then out of the green, there she was, the fire woman. Talking to me. “What is he doing here sister?” Ummm, say what? Holy crap, what just happened? I looked back towards my room mate and couldn’t see him. But I understood. She doesn’t trust men. They tricked her into giving up her fire. The fire that burned from her finger tips. A gift to mankind, yet stolen. A story all women can relate to. That shit is real.

And now I am land locked in the arid zones of Canada. A delight unto itself for I had no idea there were deserts here. But far from the sea and the familiar. I don’t know when I will get to go home again. I worry about the future of all islands as Canada and the rest of the world turn their heads from the effects of their actions, the relentless need to burn fossil fuels, to disregard the rest of the planet as long as there is benefit to their own economies. To continue living in a ‘throw away society’. The tar sands, now there is a heartbreaking reality… There will be dire consequences for island nations soon enough. The Pacific nations may cease to exist within my sons lifetime. I hope not.

As giving as the plant world is here, as much as it teaches me and puts up with my curiosity my heart aches for another place.

And that is my life, for now… It is how it will be and I must accept that. For there is much more that I must learn here. That much I feel in my heart to be true.

With love,

Danika.

Photo credit: Barbara DuTot

Early Sunday morning, two days before Valentines day I found myself up early and driving north up the Okanagan valley to the “heart” of the Shuswap on my way to Wild Roots Herbal Learning Centre. Barbara DuTot, Wise Woman Herbalist and founder of the herbal learning centre, had invited me to assist her in running an all day Love Medicine workshop. How could I say no? The very intrigue of the thought of love medicine had me curious and excited about how the day would unfold.

But first lets back track…. How did I go from lonely herbal wanderer, seeking kinship and community through a blog to assisting a beloved local herbal teacher? Well, it has been some time since we last got together on Girl Gone Wild and Weedy and I have been keeping my adventures secret, shall we say?

Barbara DuTot. Community Herbalist. Seen here enjoying some dandelion love.

I met Barb in person last year at the end of summer by attending her Heartfelt Hawthorn plant study class. How I never came across her school when I was looking in earnest for a local, grass-roots herbal teacher is beyond me but it was actually through Kiva Rose of Anima Herbal School, New Mexico, that I found Barb. I became Kiva’s student because I could not find a local teacher!  Actually, one of my first assignments from Kiva was to find a traditional healer in my area so when I found Barb I was very excited.

Well for some reason Barb must have thought I was all right because she has kept inviting me back. Through Barb and her school, a community of home and folk herbalists is forming and uniting. Women (and men) from up and down the Okanagan/Shuswap Valleys are celebrating their love of plants and nature, nourishing their bodies with weedy wonders and strengthening their bond with the natural world through the gift of heartfelt knowledge, offered by Barb. How lucky am I to be a part of that?!

Photo by Barb DuTot.

Back to the road trip to Wild Roots… I arrived early at Barb’s adorable homestead in the beautiful Trinity Valley and was put to work minding the beets roasting in the oven and tending the rising bread, setting up the tables with pink and red cloth and laying out cups and glasses for herbal rose petal vinegar water and hot herbal love cacao.

Photo by Barb DuTot

As the guests arrived I hugged familiar folks and poured glasses of waterfall water with a splash of rose petal vinegar to sip while we pondered this: Five words to described what you feel love is and three things you love about yourself.

I should have kept the paper with my answers, well, I was under the influence of damiana and cacao by the end of the day… but it went something like this:

1. Passion. Love is passion.

2. Babies! Baby boy’s, baby girls, baby animals, baby plants…. Love is new life.

3. Patience. Any mother of a 2 1/2-year-old boy will tell you, love is patience.

Hmm, I am having trouble recalling the last two as there were so many good answers from all the people there that they are all merging into one memory. There was some great ones. Let’s go with how I feel right now about love…

4. Willingness. Love is willingness to love and be loved. Love is the willingness to see the ugly, the dark, the grotesque,  and the sick and not shy away, love is letting healing take place.

5. Love is universal. Not a living thing on this Earth is immune to the power of love.

Love is Babies in violet fields! Photo by Barb DuTot.

I like the way Barbara puts it: “Love is multifaceted”. There are so many things love is to each of us. What a great way to get your students thinking about the topic of love medicine. It is not a black and white topic of interest by any means. It is multifaceted.

As for the three things I love about myself… That’s private. 🙂

Heart loving Hawthorn. Photo by Barb DuTot.

After introductions our conversation turned to the heart, physical and energetic. Barb explained the function and intelligence of the heart. She introduced us to the magnetic field that pulses beyond the physical body around the heart area of your torso. She led us through an exercise, perceiving our own ‘heart field’ and then opening up to perceiving a partners. We pondered the reasons why we feel love and heartache in our hearts and not another part of our selves. And then we moved on to the herbal aspects of the day….

As Barb said “so there are a myriad of ways to experience Love, so are there are a myriad of herbs to facilitate Love. With such a plethora of plants from which to choose, Barb decided to focus on herbs that nourish and open the heart and to “spice it up” with some herbal aphrodisiacs!

We sipped and tasted tinctures, honeys, elixirs and teas, familiarizing ourselves with the taste, impression and effect of each plant: rose, hawthorn, self-heal, oatstraw, violet flowers, nettle (heart of the world – Rudolph Steiner), tulsi, motherwort, cacao, damiana, kava, macca and we discussed so many more . We sampled incredible elixirs made of wild rose petals and powdered cacao, brandy and honey. (I had to restrain myself from running away and hiding with the jar of cacao elixir so we could be alone…)

Photo by Barb DuTot.

“In the Tantra, the mystical and spiritual philosophy that exalts the union of opposites at all levels, from the cosmic to the infinitesimal, and in which man and woman are mirrors of divine energies, violet is the colour of female sexuality; which is why it has been adopted by some feminist movements.” -excerpt from “Aphrodite, A Memoir of the Senses” Isabel Allende.

We experienced food as love medicine, sharing a beautiful, simple meal. If you happen to be at Barb’s house, you know you are going to eat well! Her basic philosophy is “Food is Medicine” and she advocates choosing local and organically grown food whenever you can for the most nutrient dense foods for building health.

Lunch included butternut squash soup – high in beta carotene– important for the production of estrogen and keeping the mucous membranes lubricated and healthy, nibbled home-made focaccia, and snacked on super yummy roasted beet salad, so good for libido and health, dressed in “heart-healthy” hawthorn and honey vinaigrette. We shelled and ate cacao beans and sipped glasses of bubbly and sweet raspberry, hawthorn and elderflower spring water spritzers. And then we delighted in dark and chocolaty tofu brownies with rose petal whipped cream. Then, we all basked in the afterglow…

After our senses regained we moved on to arguably the best part of a Wild Roots Herbs class- the medicine making! We made pink St. Johns wort lip balm for puckering up, Aphrodites Atomic Love Bombs- handmade truffles with a sesame paste base, chocolate chunks, honey and plenty of macca. (Macca is said to increase a mans potency by 200%…!!!  That’s pretty potent!) Love Elixir- a blend of damiana and raspberry syrup that totally transports you to a dreamy lovey state, and sensual creamy massage oil that we each scented to our personal desire with my plentiful essential oil kit that I brought along. I chose to enhance the chocolate aroma (from the cocoa butter) with rose otto and cinnamon. It is so good it is literally edible. So warming and deeply sensual, a match made in heaven!

Photo by Barb DuTot.

I left feeling incredible, with an armful of delightful creations to bring out on Valentines day…

Valentines day: It fell on a Tuesday. Dance night! I learn American Tribal Style Bellydance at Blackthorn Bellydance and the Valentines day class was one of the best so far. So much awesome energy shared between women who love to dance with each other. I came home on a high to my child already fed and bathed and ready for bed. My man had a meal cooking in the oven for me –  the most perfectly cooked, organic, local rack of lamb I have ever had. (Well done, husband!) Served with roasted baby potatoes and asparagus roasted with romano cheese and a local cabernet sauvignon. We sipped wine and savoured our meal over beeswax candlelight, left the dishes and retired to our deep red and earthy bedroom to finish our wine and get into our love potions. I played the dreamy music of Solace as we sat on the bed chatting and eating love bombs in the flickering light. We switched our wine for love elixir, it tasted so good! Feeling dreamy and sensual myself and still in costume of tucked and layered gypsy skirts, nettle hip scarf, deep red choli and beautiful coin bra I got up and danced a serpentine dance for my love, for the very first time. He had never seen me dance before then. Maybe it was the love bombs, maybe the wine or the damiana kicking in but I have never seen my husband so mesmerized. The rest of the night was blissful….

Love medicine is potent. 😉

Want to try making your own creamy, dreamy massage oil? Here’s a recipe for my take on the creamy massage oil we made…

Rich Chocolate, Cinnamon & Rose Massage Oil for Lovers.

  • 1/8 cup pure prime pressed cocoa butter- wild or organic
  • 1/2 cup wild rose infused almond oil or grape seed oil (you can use plain almond or grape seed oil if you don’t have rose infused oil but do try making your own rose oil if you ever get the chance. It’s pure love in a bottle!)
  • 4-5 drops best quality cinnamon essential oil (be careful, cinnamon can be irritating in too strong doses, it is a stimulant to the skin… Ooo tingly!)
  • 15 drops pure rose otto

To make your creamy massage oil, gently melt your cocoa butter in a small pot on low heat.

Once the butter has melted pour in your rose infused oil and swirl or stir your mix with a chopstick. You may have to gently warm the blend if the cocoa butter hardens a bit after adding the oil.

Add the essential oils and stir again with your chopstick. Make sure your massage oil is well blended.

Pour into a swoon worthy bottle that will entice you from the bedside.

Give your creamy massage oil a gentle shake before using to make sure the cocoa butter stays incorporated in the oil. If it gets cold, you may find you need to warm your oil if it stiffens. Do so by placing the bottle in warm water for a few minutes.

This massage oil blend smells incredible and may make you want to devour the skin it comes in contact with. Resist! Or don’t… It’s totally edible, as long as your lover doesn’t mind.

Violet Honey. Photo by Barb DuTot.

Well, that’s it for now. I hope you have enjoyed your read and perhaps found a little inspiration for making your own love food and aphrodisiacs. Have fun! And remember…. “Love is the greatest aphrodisiac”

With wild and weedy love,

Danika.

I want to give a big, heartfelt thank you to the lovely Barbara DuTot for being, among other things, an editor extrodinaire, lending me quotes from Isabel Allende’s beautiful book and the use of her beautiful photos. Thank you Barb! <3<3<3

Not the most attractive picture of me but look how lovely those nettles are. So photogenic!

Bahaha, I’m so friggen funny. Sorry for being a dork with the title.

Obviously, I have not been writing for some time and as we don’t know each other that well, I will spare you the details of my turbulent life of late. Let’s just say that being a nature worshiping, plant loving, wild food eating heathen does not spare you from the occasional heartaches of life. All is not sunshine and butterflies all the time, as one might be led to believe. Life is bloody hard at times for all of us, whatever our passions may be.

But here I am on this damp, snowy afternoon, giving it a shot again. I feel a bit word shy as it has been so long since I wrote anything of interest. I feel it best to be frank about that fact I am feeling unsure of my ability to write at the moment. But enough whining! I am back to my usual mischief and there are people out there that want to read about it and I would love to share with you all, once again.

Believe me, I have not been hiding under a fallen log all this time, even though that sounds pretty good to me! I have still been out and about, sowing my seeds, grounding my roots, living and loving with the herbal community that is growing around me. It’s about bloody time I got over myself and put finger to keyboard! The herbalists of the Okanagan are coming out of the wild woods and I want to share our stories with the world. And today’s story will be all about a Sunday spent at Wild Roots Herbal Learning Center’s love medicine workshop, as Wise Woman herbalist Barb DuTot’s spoon washer, I mean assistant. (Love you, Barb!)

I am off to fill my tea cup and smoke some sage, then back to the business of my awkward typing. Article to be posted after I check with Barb for accuracy on certain points.

See you again real soon!

With love,

Danika.

Hi there!

It has come to my attention there are bloody ads on my proudly ad free blog! What the hell?! Call me naive, I am so new to the world wide web, blogging and IT. Heck, I don’t even own a cell phone. I have a perfectly good home phone, after all.

Anyways, the only way to make my blog truly ad free is to pay WordPress. This has to wait until I go back to work in the fall, cause I am a poor home study student with a very small business making skin care to sell at the farmers market. I just don’t have any spare money to pay for the right to be ad free on my blog right now. Sigh…

Luckily, I work at the local university during the school year and work will begin again soon.

I hate ads being on my work. Sure, I have badges linking to other awesome herbal goodness and people. Because I believe in what they are doing and want to support them. I get no monetary benefits from doing so. But as for the wordpress generated ads, well I can’t stand it so soon, they will be no more on Girl Gone Wild and Weedy.

Hope this clears up any confusion, I feel so silly for not being aware of the way things are.

Hope you all have an awesome weekend doing what you love!

Danika.