The meandering thoughts of a modern-day hearth witch.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


"One of the infant class I am
With little, easy lessons, set
In a great book; the higher class
Have harder ones than I, and yet
I find mine hard, and can't restrain
My tears while studying thus with Pain"

I had to go to hospital today, after a couple of days of worrying about the increasing pain in my chest and ribcage. My doctor had told me she was concerned about a blood clot in my lung which was a terrifying thought. 

Luckily it isn't a blood clot. It's pleurisy. I say 'luckily' because even though it hurts like hell, there were people there today who will have 'harder lessons than I'. Hospitals are so filled with pain it is palpable; but if this year has taught me anything its that it undoubtedly goes hand in hand with love. To quote a couple more stanzas from my childhood favourite...

There are two Teachers in the school,
One has a gentle voice and low,
And smiles upon her scholars, as
She softly passes to and fro.
Her name is Love; 'tis very plain
She shuns the sharper teacher, Pain.

Or so I sometimes think; and then,
At other times, they meet and kiss,
And look so strangely like, that I
Am puzzled to tell how it is,
Or whence the change which makes it vain
To guess if it be--Love or Pain.
(from 'What Katy Did' - Susan M Coolidge)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wheel of the Year // Hibernation

Image courtesy of 'Garden of Babylon'

The more I think about it, the more it seems like a blooming good idea.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Hearth and Home // Faerie Lanterns

I have been wanting to do this for ages.

The necessary items were gathered together - an empty jar, a small amount of salt, some strong wire, hedgerow berries and leaves and a pair of scissors. 

Wire was wrapped and looped tightly around the jar, providing a sturdy handle from which to hang the faerie lantern.

Salt was sprinkled in to the bottom of the jar, providing a layer of sparkly 'snow'. 

Twined around the handle, ivy and hawthorn berries bring Nature's Yule offerings and the colours of the season. 

A candle was lit and the lantern is bringing light and cheer to my living room.

I loved making this! So simple yet it brings together my favourite aspects of the season; the berry red and evergreen plants from outside and the flickering light of a candle.


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Herbcraft // Turmeric and Ginger Tea

After yesterday's post about the healing benefits of turmeric, I thought I would share a recipe for turmeric and ginger tea. This is absolutely perfect for warming the body and soul on these bitter cold, wintry days.

You could of course cheat and buy these Pukka Herbs 3 ginger teabags. They are lovely, but pricey and I find there is something 'off' about treating the body to some healing, natural goodness if it comes in a tea-bag which has been made most unnaturally (possibly with a chemical called epichlorohydrin, a compound also used in insecticides,  which when combined with water creates a chemical called 3-MCPD, a known cancer causing agent). 

I know, I know, practically everything today is potentially carcinogenic, but  if I create my tea from scratch using fresh ingredients, it feels less likely to be 'poisonous'. Plus it will save me some pennies. And taste better. will need...

2 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger or 1/2 cm piece finely chopped ginger root
1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric or 1/2 cm piece finely chopped turmeric root
(optional, 1/2 piece finely chopped galangal root)
2 teaspoons honey
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Simply bring the water to the boil, add the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the lemon juice, strain the tea into a mug or cup and stir in the honey.
Drink warm.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Herbcraft // Turmeric

Only yesterday did I learn about this spice's wonderful medicinal properties and I have made sure it is on the shopping list for my trip out to buy groceries. (Thanks for the tip, Mum!)

Turmeric root is a member of the ginger family (you can see above how similar it looks to root ginger) and is used in South-East Asian cooking readily for its warm, spicy flavour. One of the active ingredients in turmeric is known as 'curcumin' and it is this which makes turmeric one of nature's most powerful healers.

Curcumin is a yellow pigment derived from turmeric.

Images courtesy of

Here are some reasons to ensure you have a jar of powdered turmeric, or some turmeric root, in your pantry at home...

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. You can use it to make a paste which can be placed directly on cuts and burns, to disinfect and promote quick healing.

2. It is a natural liver de-toxifier, acting against toxins such as alcohol.

3. It is a potent anti-inflammatory and can work as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs, without the nasty side-effects.

4. It has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

5. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.

6. Likewise, it can aid in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. 

7. Clinical studies have shown that turmeric may help to slow the progression of Alzheimers, by reducing the build up of amyloid proteins in the brain. 

8. Because of its rich stores of antioxidants, laboratory studies indicate that curcumin is useful in the treatment of many types of cancer. For example, it kills cultures of leukaemia cells; it appears to cause melanoma cells to 'commit suicide', slowing the growth of the cancer; and studies are ongoing to determine the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma. 

Turmeric is considered a 'safe' herb and is used widely in cooking throughout the world. Although overdoing it could lead to an upset stomach, it would seem that a little sprinkle of spice in our food would do us all the world of good!

If already taking blood thinning medicine, such as warfarin, turmeric should be avoided. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor before taking a turmeric supplement. 
Related Posts with Thumbnailslinkwithin_text='From the same cauldron...'