Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Russian Tea for Cold and Flu Season

It was our first truly cold and snowy evening this season and I had made plans several days ago to visit my dear friend and neighbor.  I bundled up in my new sweater that I had just finished knitting, knowing that my friend, being an avid knitter herself would enjoy seeing my sweater.  A big part of me didn't feel like getting in my cold car, away from my family and the warmth of our wood stove, but it had been way too long that I had seen my friend and shared an evening of catching up.

So off I went, down the road, and I could tell she was waiting for me because her outdoor lights were on and they looked so beautiful with the snow falling down.  My friend lives in a magical home built of straw surrounded by gardens of herbs, flowers and vegetables.  I always love visiting her. It's one of those homes that nourishes the soul.  So I ran inside, careful not to step in the puddles of slush and she greeted me at the door and immediately took me over to her stove where she had a big pot of Russian tea brewing.

I had never had Russian tea, but it smelled wonderful and I couldn't wait to try it.  We settled into her cozy living room with our mugs of Russian tea.  My first sip just warmed my insides to my core.  It tasted so yummy and with a perfect blend of spices, just instantly relaxed me and I felt so deeply nourished.  We were so busy catching up for the rest of the evening that I left without asking for the recipe.  But VOILA!  The next morning, DIY Natural, had a recipe for Russian tea.  So I thought I'd share it with all of you.  I included the story of my visit with my neighbor because sometimes there's a warm drink or a delicious dessert that is part of a whole experience and the two just can't be separated.  Such was the case with my first experience of Russian Tea!  Enjoy!

Homemade Russian Tea Recipe


A note about ingredients: It can be difficult to find organic varieties of some of these juices. You’re likely to have better luck at a natural grocery store.
  • 1 gallon + 2 cups of filtered water
  • ½ tsp organic whole cloves
  • ½ tsp organic ground cinnamon
  • 4 bags of organic black tea
  • 6 cups of organic orange juice
  • 6 cups of organic pineapple juice, or one 46 oz can
  • 4 cups of organic apple juice
  • ½ cup of organic lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ to 1 cup of organic cane sugar or other natural sweetener of your choice


  1. Get out two pots – a large stock pot to start your water mixture, and a small one in which to brew your tea.
  2. In the large pot, pour one gallon of water. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. In the small pot, pour two cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the four tea bags and reduce heat to low. Let the tea bags steep as you wait for the large pot of water to boil.
  4. When the large pot of water has come to a boil, add the ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and the ½ teaspoon of whole cloves. If you know for sure that you want to add sugar, this is a good time to add it. Once all of these ingredients are combined, pour in the tea that has been brewing.
  5. Next, you’re going to start adding juices. It doesn’t matter what order in which you pour them – just get them all in and stir them well.
  6. If you didn’t add sugar before, now you’ll need to taste the tea and make sure you’re happy with that decision. It’s good without sugar, but a little sour, and my family prefers it with half a cup of sugar added. If you do add sugar, stir well.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and allow the tea to simmer for a few more minutes to make sure everything is fully combined. This also concentrates the taste more.


Keep in mind that this recipe will make just over two gallons of Russian tea. You’ll need to have a few large containers to hold it all. Store it in the refrigerator and reheat by the cup. The ingredients have a tendency to settle, so shake or stir well before serving.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for ROOTS!

I love collecting roots in the fall.  I typically collect burdock, dandelion, chicory, and yellow dock roots for making bitters.  But this year, seeing that my backyard was full of yellow dock, I decided to explore this plant a little more.  I like to see what's growing in my backyard because it often gives me a clue to what plant medicine I'm needing.  I believe that the plants you need most, grow the most prolifically right in arms reach.

So in researching yellow dock, I found it to be an excellent blood cleanser.  I've also experienced it being great at pulling toxins out of your intestines.  The other thing I learned is that it's very high in iron and if you tend to have heavy menstrual bleeding, it helps to make your flow more manageable.

Besides taking yellow dock internally, it's also great for external ailments.  This summer one of our chickens had a wound on its foot.  We first used lavender to fight bacteria and then we used comfrey to reduce the swelling.  It seemed to be working okay, but our friend Nicole who came to visit, mentioned that soaking the chicken's foot in an infusion of yellow dock might help.  I had never used it this way, but we thought we'd give it a try.  She had said that she experienced it helping someone with severe gangrene.  And sure enough, Nicole and Nora soaked the chicken's foot in an infusion of yellow dock root and the swelling reduced considerably.

I've collected several yellow dock roots this fall, washed them, chopped them and boiled them in water.  The infusion is almost black, full of iron.  I keep it in a mason jar in the refrigerator and drink about a half a cup a day.  It's funny when our bodies need something like an herbal infusion, it tastes good to us even though it's not necessarily a pleasant taste.  Enjoy the fall everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

HELLO to everyone who reads my blog!  I'm almost at the 11,000 mark and I just want to say a big THANK YOU for visiting my blog.  I would love to hear from you and find out what it is you are most interested in.  Do you want to see more herbal remedies?  Do you want to see more writings about the mystical side of things?  Or did you just stumble upon my blog by accident?  Whoops!  What are your interests? What would you like to learn more about?  Feel free to comment below.  I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ridding Your Home of Pantry Moths

If you buy organic flours and grains, chances are you've had to deal with pesky pantry moths.  We started having a problem a few years ago so began keeping most of our grains in the freezer.  But still there was often not room in the freezer so something would inevitably get put in the pantry.  Last year, when I was getting my certification in aromatherapy, one of my homework assignments was to write a paper on Mugwort.  I was familiar with this herb since we have a huge Mugwort plant that grows right near our barn each year.  I also knew that it was a plant that the native people used to help promote dreaming.  But what I found out as I researched this plant for my paper, is that it helps to rid your home of pantry moths.  So I gathered bunches of it and placed one bunch in my pantry and the other bunch I hung right next to one of my kitchen cupboards.  It really helped.  There was a noticeable difference in our home.  This is a great time of year to pick it and I personally love the smell of mugwort, but not everyone cares for it.  But if it helps get rid of pantry moths, it's well worth tolerating the smell!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making Herbal Wine

Wine making is easy and you don't need all the fancy equipment to make a really yummy home-made wine.  If I'm making a big batch of wine, I use a 5 gallon crock and if I'm making smaller batches then sometimes I'll use a really big mason jar.  You can pretty much use any fruit of your choice.  Traditionally, I make elderberry wine every fall and dandelion wine with oranges and grapefruit in the spring.

But this year, I thought I would try something different and make an herbal wine with grapes.  I had spent all winter reading a book comprised herbal lore and remedies of Hildegard of Bingen.  Most of her herbal remedies were added to wine and administered as a drink.  So I thought I would try this only instead of adding the herbs to the already made wine, I 've added them to the wine right from the beginning so they are actually part of the fermenting process.
I took the grapes off their vine and placed them in a pot filled with water to just barely covering the grapes.  I then let them boil while I helped to mash them and break their skins.  After they cooked for awhile, I strained out the grapes and measured the remaining juice.  I added about the same amount, maybe a bit less, of honey and stirred til it was dissolved.  Then while it was still hot, I added yarrow and echinacea flower petals and leaves, stirred and let cool a bit.  While it was still warm, but not hot, I added some wine maker's yeast.  (you don't want to add the yeast when it's still really hot or it will kill the yeast.)  I've been stirring it every day and it's a very alive culture of goodness!  The fermenting process will last for weeks before it's ready for a second straining and bottling.  Usually when I put it in wine bottles, I cover the tops with balloons and let sit for a bit longer.  This way I can tell if it's still fermenting, because it will make the balloons stand on end.  And trust me, you don't want to bottle and cork your wine before it's done fermenting. 

So get creative this fall, and make some wine with your favorite fruit, herbs and even roots!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Mother Matrix

I'm super excited to be offering a new online retreat this spring for the whole month of May.  It's called the Mother Matrix, Raising our Children from the INSIDE OUT.  I'll be sharing with you information that I have been using with my own family for years as well as our small community here at Hawk Circle.  It is information that can help you to heal relationships, transform self-limiting patterns and support yourself and your family with having authentic and long lasting bonds.  And if you have a child that is struggling, this will help and provide you with tangible results.

So what is the Mother Matrix?

It's a field of resonance that we can learn to align with that will support us in bringing healing and transformation for ourselves and our families.  I can imagine almost all moms have had the experience of seeing one of their children struggle; maybe with a health issue, or maybe with an issue at school.  And I'm sure you received a number of suggestions and reasons for their struggle, all very rational, perhaps reasonable and sensible, and maybe even information based on statistics.  And as a mother you felt something else tugging at your heart but didn't have the words for it.  So what do you do?  We tend to go with what is known, what the person of authority is saying, what the norm is.  To go against the grain of what everyone else is saying, particularly the doctors or the therapists, takes quite a leap of faith and you often have to do it alone.

Well I can assure you, what you feel in your heart, what tugs at you in the face of reason, is something very real, very powerful and very ancient.  And it has the power to heal and transform your family.

I've spent the past 20 years traveling to sacred sites all over the world.  I would purposefully set aside any reading in regards to what each temple was about so I could experience the temple first hand.  I'm so glad  I did this, because it allowed me to freely experience the temples with out any conflicting rational thoughts or beliefs.  It allowed me to fully tune into the field of energy at the temples that had more to do with the language of emotion, feeling and symbols that the ancient people knew so well. 

This is what I refer to as the Mother Matrix and am so excited to introduce this ancient knowledge to all of you.

This retreat will open your eyes to your true power as a mother and how beneficial and necessary that power is for our growing families.

I've been a mother for the past 25 years and have applied what I learned at the ancient sacred sites to help both my family and our small community here at Hawk Circle.  After spending many years 'testing' this, I'm so excited to be sharing this with  you.  Although I'll be focusing on moms and working with our children, everyone can benefit from this knowledge and help you with your relationships and/or clients.

If you are looking to discover a whole new way to work with your family, then CLICK HERE to register for the Mother Matrix, Raising Our Children from the INSIDE OUT.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fire Cider, an anti-flu and anti-infection remedy

    This is the original Fire cider recipe from Rosemary Gladstar.  It's a great remedy for warding off both cold and flu.  I made a similar recipe this fall and used many of the same ingredients but added a handful of fresh basil, rose hips and hawthorn berries for their high vitamin C content.  Anytime I feel a cold coming on, I take a teaspoon of the vinegar.  I've even sprinkled it on freshly grated cabbage and carrots where it adds a great spicy flavor that really enhances the taste of the vegetables. 
    • 8 oz. chopped ginger
    • 8 oz. garlic cloves
    • 2 red onions
    • 6 oz. fresh horseradish root
    • Three Chimayo or Jalapeno Chilies
    • A bunch of fresh rosemary
    • A bunch of fresh oregano or bergamot(bee balm) or 1/4 c. dried
    • One organic orage or lemon with the peel
    • Enough apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs twice

    Place all these ingredients in a mason jar, add a few extra ingredients if you like, pour in the apple cider vinegar and let sit for a few weeks.  Strain into a mason jar for storage.  I keep mine right on my kitchen counter so it's always handy when I need it.

    I found Rosemary's recipe on Karen Vaughn's blog and wanted to share it.  Rosemary, along with so many other herbalists share their wisdom and pass along great recipes from one generation to the next.  It's such a blessing that there is such valuable information freely shared.