• Goldenrod

    Goldenrod – sunny fall beauty – our inspiration for coming winter

    This time of year we have pretty gold yellow goldenrod blooming all along roads, in the fields and meadows. It is one of my herbal favorites.  You are not allergic to goldenrod! Its pollen is not wind spread, so lots of seasonal fall allergies come from blooming ragweed, which is a short herb that many …

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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Honey – the food of the gods

    Most of us have a jar of honey at home.  But do we know how beneficial it actually is? People used it since ancient times in Egypt, Rome, Greece, Slavic region, India and China.  It was called the food of gods, bringing health and longevity and it was the only sweet food known to people …

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  • Fireweed – Russian ancient traditions in your tea cup.

    Fireweed – what is in the name… I love when I start seeing beautiful pinkish-purple flower tops of blooming fireweed in August. Fireweed is a narrow alternate leaf plant from Evening primrose family, Epilobium Angustifolium. It loves to grow in burnt or logged areas in slightly acidic soil in full sun.  Sometimes you see it …

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  • Mushroom mania

    It happened again, it hits me every year, in the fall.  I get a strange magnetic pool, that drags me to the woods, with the basket on my shoulder, and a pocket knife at my belt, to discover the hidden forest gems, the mushrooms.  It is a thrill, an adventure, anticipation of what is there …

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  • Wild cherry cough syrup

    Collecting wild cherries During second part of August is a perfect time to collect wild cherries.  They can be a little dry and astringent when they are not completely ripe and therefore they are great for jam.  But what I discovered several years ago was even better: wild cherry cough syrup! If you have a …

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  • birch benefits

    Birch gifts – sap, tea and other uses throughout the year.

      The birch trees grow in temperate forests of the North.  It is an official national tree of both Finland and Sweden and an informal national symbol of Russia.  It is also the most common tree growing in Norway.  There are many different kinds of birch: white or paper, river, silver, weeping, yellow, Himalayan, cherry …

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  • Presenting Wild Oyster Mushrooms! It is the middle of June in Northern Wisconsin, and we see them popping up everywhere! They grow with one flat side attached to the tree trunks of dead wood. Sometimes you have to look high. They lack the traditional mushroom stem, and have gills underneath the cap. Their smell resembles anise, and it is one of the main clues. Mushrooms are whitish yellow in color and can grow quite large, so just watch out for competitors inside, insects love to eat them too!

    Wild Oyster Mushrooms – delicious and sustainable fungi

    It is the middle of June in Northern Wisconsin, and we see Oyster Mushrooms popping up everywhere!  They grow with one flat side attached to the tree trunks of dead wood.  Sometimes you have to look high.  A lot of the times they lack the traditional mushroom stem, and have gills underneath the cap.  Their …

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