Monday, June 25, 2007

Wise Women of the Hollow

My prayers for a wise woman visitation were answered this past weekend - in the form of a Saturday morning medicinal herb workshop with Catherine Boston of Innisfree. Just down the road from my house - to boot! I was in heaven.

Innisfree Village is a community of volunteers, residents and staff who work with mentally disabled adults through its gardens, weavery, wood shop and bakery. It is nestled in 550 rolling, verdant Blue Ridge Mountain foothills. Wonderful things come out of Innisfree, including a CSA, herbal goodies, incredible wooden cutting boards and woven treasures. Oh - yes! All of my wedding flowers were from Innisfree, too.

On Saturday, we walked Catherine's herb gardens, made salves and tinctures, sipped tea and learned many new things in the company of some very cool women.

The highlights included seeing some of the herbs that are growing all around our woods. Black cohosh, goldenseal, ginseng and wild yam. We also harvested calendula and lavender for lotions. Chocolate mint, chamomile and sage for teas. I also had a chance to really see their new herb center and greenhouse, Violet, in action. Corey built Violet (second picture from top, below) for them this past winter. Makes me all sorts of proud . . .

Something about being with other women, watching the whole process of collecting and creating things with herbs - was so exciting and grounding for me. I immediately went home and started rethinking my own raised beds - to make sure larger sections would be here-to-fore dedicated to herbs. For future Sugar Hollow teas and tinctures.


Lonnie said...

Innisfree is a great community. Thanks for blogging about it. I did mention that my wife works there, right?

Catherine's work in the herb garden is especially admirable (and she's also just a really friendly person). I wish I'd taken time to learn more from her while I was living there.

Actually, I think Twin Oaks also does a yearly herbal conference that might interest you as well.

Tracey said...

Yo Lonnie,

I love Innisfree - did not know your wife worked there. Too cool. Thanks for the heads up about Twin Oaks - I'm going to investigate now!

Steph said...

Oh it sounds heavenly!

(What is steeping in that jar?)

Tracey said...

Steph - Oh, yes!!

Calendula in olive oil. To make a salve. SO simple.

After two weeks, I'll drain the oil. Then, heat up the oil with a cube of beeswax (to melt the wax). Put that mixture back in the jar. Put a regular lid and DONE! Calendula is magical for my sensitive skin . . .