• Wood sorrel – the Irish detective story of botanical error

    We all know that shamrock, or three leaf clover is a symbol and official trademark of Ireland, right? I thought that too. It is interesting how when brain hears something for thousand times it just assumes that it is the fact, or the truth…  Clover or wood sorrel? It all started a couple weeks ago …

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  • health day

    April 7th – the World Health Day

    Did you know April 7th is the World Health Day?  Let’s celebrate it as a way of life. We hear a lot about health and healthy lifestyle nowadays. I remember when my husband visited me in Russia in our first year of knowing each other, he said: You guys live so healthy! I remember being …

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  • Eating dirt? Bentonite clay miracles.

    Why to eat dirt? Once a year I try to do a cleanse that involves eating dirt:-) Or calcium bentonite clay to be precise. It is mined in the hills of Colorado and Texas, and purified for internal consumption.  The Smectite family of clays, which includes Bentonites, are called “living clays” because of their ability …

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  • Christmas Tree for dinner?

    Cut or not to cut? This year I had a dilemma. We had a chance to cut a nice fir from our own woods to serve as holiday decoration and inspiration. But I was hesitant. If million of people cut their trees every December, we have million trees less on our planet. The other choice was …

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  • horseradish leaves

    Two spoons of horseradish a day…

    Old is new again We all know ordinary horseradish, right? I grew up eating lots of it. My dad likes to spread it on a sourdough bread and eat it with his soup. I always followed his example. It is commonly served with meat dishes, to help digest a fatty meal. Then I forgot about …

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  • black currant herbal tea health benefits

    Black currant berry – turn this European staple into your daily diet awareness.

    Russian legacy – black currant bushes in every yard When I moved to the US 15 years ago I planted black currant bushes by the house right away. Then we moved, and the bushes came with us:-) Every garden in Russia have this woody shrub full of aromatic shiny tart berries. I remember picking them …

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  • nettles herbal tea benefits

    Nettle – spring tonic and a useful sting.

    Nettle. Stinging nettle. Why does it sting? Is it to protect itself from herbivores, or may be to serve humans? Here in Northern Wisconsin May, early June (before blooming actually) is a perfect time to collect nettles.  When I pick them barehanded, I don’t mind an occasional sting, it feels good, it feels medicinal.  In …

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  • Black garlic is a super vegetable

    While black garlic is still a novelty for most of the world, it has an ancient history that goes back to the 1000s years old preserving traditions of Korea and Thailand.  It has been in use and respect there for a long time.  According to their mythology it prolongs life, and people add it to …

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  • cork oaks

    Cork purse future – it is better then leather

    I would like to transport you to sunny dry Portugal.  That is where the evergreen cork oaks grow, and constitute 28 percent of their forest.  Portugal and Spain are two major producers of this natural material.  It is endemic to Southwest Europe and northwest Africa. If we think about it, cork is used a lot: …

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  • Natural ecological wool felted footwear from Russia – Valenki

    Russia is mostly a northern country.  It is hard to imagine it without its national symbol – felted Valenki.  Every person there remembers them from childhood. Amazing footwear for northerners – like walking on a warm soft cloud These felted boots are super helpful for outdoor work in northern climates – forestry, construction, expeditions, oil …

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