Keys to our Shop

We got the keys to our new store yesterday afternoon.

IMG_2026

A new apartment in the country, a new shop in town, family and friends close by.

Emily, Maryjane, and their friend, Becca put together shelving.

Emily, Maryjane, and their friend, Becca put together shelving.

Happy Autumn!  Time for pumpkins and Halloween costumes.  And new shops to open.  New beginnings and lots of good memories!

The White Wolf Medicine Shop

shop 3

This is the view facing out from my soon-to-be shop.  I am so looking forward to it.  Our first shop opened October 15, 2010.  It was a lovely little old building from the turn of the century with crooked wooden floors and a view of Main street.  That first summer after Doug had his nervous breakdown and left his job and as we both decided to leave our house we were going to end up losing in 2009 along with a whole lot of other people out there, we were really scared.  We had three teenagers and no work.  We did eight farmers markets a week and really hustled.  That fall we were getting nervous as to how we were going to make it and it was a beautiful sight to see that building come up for rent.  I felt bad for the jeweler that was leaving just as the antique store owner felt bad for me as I was leaving but we were all happy to have that little shop!

shop

Now the dream begins again.  Doug has a steady job now and our children have grown.  The shop represents a central place for me.  I attempted to be a community herbalist from home but folks don’t always know where I live!  Every day the community will need to retrieve their mail from the post office, grab their cups of coffee, get their dogs groomed, pick up their healthy food, and visit the Mexican restaurant for margaritas.  In that same central location the White Wolf Medicine shop will welcome the community.

IMG_2005

When I was on Main street there was a shop down the street called the Karma Cottage.  The proprietor’s name was Katie, which in a small town did cause a bit of confusion.  Folks came in to my shop to sign up for palm reading classes and into hers for hormone medicine.  She moved to Florida and her shop was missed, just as mine was.  I hope to incorporate a little of both of our shops to meet the needs of the community.  I will be putting together little bags of specially blended smudging herbs that I have harvested for praying and ceremony.  I will invite a few folks in to do readings that I KNOW are not quacks.  No woohoo scams here.  I will have my friend who makes the most beautiful dream catchers and handmade Native inspired jewelry to make his work in the shop.  I would love to have a community artist wall.  I will hold my herbalist classes there.  I will customize every single medicine to the person asking for it.  We will carry Margie and Ursula’s Garden Fairy Apothecary.

IMG_2007

Margie had the brilliant idea for me to have available samples of various herbal tea blends.  So each week I will have a pot of tea that helps with a physical ailment or tonic, one that helps with spiritual needs, like a broken heart, and one that is just for fun, say like Chai.  We need comfy chairs and places to read so that people feel comfortable coming in for a cup of complimentary tea and a visit.

IMG_2008

Each herb will have its English name as well as its Cherokee name.  I want this to be a lesson for homeschoolers as well.  I dream of parents bringing their kids in and see the various plants, how they are made into medicine, let them blend their own teas, see the Cherokee language and how to pronounce the words, color a picture, or sign up for a class.  I truly want to meet the needs of the community here.  And when I say community, I mean anyone that feels the desire to come visit the store.  I have learned from this blog that my community expands pretty far!

shop 2

There is an office in back to make products.  There is everything I need.  The medicines will be done October 13th so that will be my first day open.  I will have a huge grand opening party Saturday, October 17th.

Logo Start

My little shop is without furniture or money for paint or décor.  Anyone that has a bookshelf, small hutch, a dresser, a few comfy chairs, a side table, a counter, a small round table, or long folding tables, or money for paint or time to help me paint will be rewarded with a huge holiday party and dinner thrown in their honor!

IMG_1984

I know this will all come together beautifully.  Every door has just flown open on this venture.  I look forward to sharing a cup of tea with you!

Setting Yourself Free (Part 4- Using Spirit Herbs for Balance)

Herbs have been used since the beginning of time to heal ailments.  Herbs are perfectly synergistic to the animal body and work amazingly all the time.  No need to patent or change or manipulate herbs into allopathic medicine, they are perfect the way they are.  Since our bodies are so complex it is important to realize and understand that many ailments may not be strictly mental or physical.  Everything is interconnected and our spirits and our outer shells work together.  So, if one is stressed or consumed by fear, it effects the pituitary gland, which controls the hormones, the lymphatic system, and the nervous system.  The pituitary gland is located on top of the head, which incidentally is where the Crown Chakra is located.  Our connection as spirit to the Creator and the spiritual realm is concentrated there.  Connecting with the Creator, having hope and faith, relieves stress and gives us joy which relieves pain and ailments.

IMG_0207

I have written a lot about herbs for physical healing but this piece is about spiritual healing and connection.  If you have ever seen a deceased body there is no doubt that it is a shell, an empty vessel.  The soul/spirit has gone back to it’s Source.  By keeping our connection to the much larger scope of universe and spiritual world, we keep our perceptions clear and also empower ourselves to keep our minds thinking of positive as opposed to negative thoughts.  We grow and learn on this journey.

I am writing a devotional right now that will be out this fall.  Our family’s favorite gift for holidays was always writing books.  Blank sheets of paper waiting to be filled with drawings, poems, and writings thrilled me and the children.  Still, a new journal pleases me so.  I am writing a devotional that will lead folks through meditation each day and include a spirit tea to secure that meditation with plenty of places to write and dream.

IMG_0195

For instance:  If I focus on the word LOVE during meditation then my tea would be herbs like hawthorn and roses which are specific to heart which protect and increase happiness.  Here are a few blends for you to try.  You can get herbs from a local apothecary or online or wild craft them yourself!  Most herbs are dried.

LOVE

1 teaspoon of hawthorn berries (heals heartbreak, protects heart)

1 teaspoon of pink or red rose petals (infuses love, mild nervine)

1 teaspoon of rose hips (anti-inflammatory, protects heart chakra)

a 1/4 inch slice of ginger (root chakra, connected to the earth, respect for all)

Pour boiling water over herbs.  This makes 2 cups.  I like to reuse the herbs later that day.  A quart a day of this tea is lovely.  My friend infused delicious honey with lilacs (one of my favorite flowers) and I use that in my teas.

PROTECTION

1 teaspoon of angelica (creates shield of protection on home and self)

1 leaf of bay (protection from evil spirits)

1 teaspoon of lavender (calmative, faith)

1 teaspoon of roses (love, heart protector)

1 teaspoon of borage (barbed, happiness inducing/fear reducing)

HAPPINESS

1  teaspoon of St. John’s Wort (named after John the Baptist, protector of spirit)

1 teaspoon of borage (joy, nervine)

1 teaspoon of hawthorn (heart protector)

1 teaspoon of lemon balm (uplifting)

a squeeze of lemon (brightness and joy)

This is our fourth day of the Setting Yourself Free series.  I hope that you are choosing happiness, releasing blame, practicing a bit of yoga, taking time to think and meditate, and I hope you will enjoy your tea today.  Tomorrow we will dream and plan and manifest!

Herbal Tea Gifts

IMG_1398

As an herbalist, I have an entire room filled with jars of colorful herbs, bags of fragrant herbs drying, and back up stashes of sealed herbs in boxes to use throughout the year until it is time to harvest or reorder.  You can easily obtain herbs from World Market or a health food store if you do not grow your own.  You can also order online from Mountain Rose Herbs, San Francisco Herb Company, Starwest Botanicals, or a myriad of other herb suppliers, or from your friendly neighborhood herbalist, such as myself.

IMG_1402

The Tea Basket

Tea one– 1 part chamomile, 1 part skullcap, 1/2 part lavender, and a big pinch of ginger for sleepy tea.

Tea two– 1 part elderberry, 1 part Echinacea, 1 part peppermint, and a big pinch of cinnamon for cold/flu tea.

Tea three– 2 parts dried orange peel, 1 part cinnamon chips, 1/2 part black loose tea.  A delicious, fragrant tea blend for cold winter nights.

Tea four– simply package loose Earl Grey tea or other delicious teas like Oolong, or blend Hojicha (a green tea) with spearmint to make Moroccan Mint Tea.

IMG_1399

You can use a jar as simple as a four ounce canning jar or you can purchase fancier jars at Sunburst Bottle or Specialty Bottle Company.  Be creative with what you have though!

IMG_1400

Now add a tea ball, tea strainer, or ready made tea bags.  Maybe a beautiful tea cup from the back of your cupboard or the thrift store. (Or I guess you can buy a new one!)

IMG_1403

Arrange everything in a basket (old Easter basket, from the dollar store, or baskets on hand) with some tinsel and wrap it up with cellophane and a bow.

IMG_1404

A beautiful gift to behold and receive.  One that can be enjoyed for months to come!

Farmgirl Money and Calming Tea

Katie at Market

The one universal comment made to all wannabe homesteaders through books and peers is “How will you make money?”  Many homesteaders, and even farmers and ranchers take other jobs to help make ends meet.  I constantly hear around me, “I have to make more money,” from every walk of life and lifestyle.  That is a lot of pressure when we are here for such a short time.  Is that all there is?  Every time my kids say they need to make more money, I say they need to spend less.  This annoys them to no end.

We’re in the middle of our journey.  We have already had “successful” and monetarily acceptable jobs.  We have lived in the suburbs (gag) and driven new cars.  We have taken the children on Caribbean cruises with credit cards that didn’t seem like they would become a problem!  We have pursued the good fight for the American Dream!  We have owned houses (not all at the same time), worked hard, made ourselves nervous and grumpy and not anywhere near where we wanted to be.  Jumping ship is scary, but very rewarding as well.  In a few years, we’ll be jumping to the next ship; see where that takes us.  I have found a few towns that are even cheaper than this one.

Back to jumping ship the first time, ok people pay attention, cause this could be your way out of the rat race.

We now rent (you have more flexibility, if your homestead falls to pieces, you can simply pack up and go to a different one).  Owning was an anchor where our house was worth a lot less than what we owed and not worth the long work days.  We now live in a town thirty minutes from where we were living where the rent is half the price we were paying for mortgage.  Baby steps to the big homestead!  I couldn’t afford a house on lots of land so we have a house in a little town; spacious yard, great house, small town philosophies (chickens, gardens, and clothes lines welcome).

We don’t have a home phone, we have a cell phone that is our home and work phone.  It was only ten bucks to add each kid on.  No data or fancy phones.

We went for a long time without cable.  I might have made the error of having Doug transfer the internet (which we wouldn’t have if I were single, but it’s a requirement for Doug) to the new house and somehow we have cable now.  With a contract.

We have NO credit cards.  Everyone says they pay them off each month.  If that were true then these companies wouldn’t be making so much money off of us, screwing us over by changing the interest rate and date due (when we cancelled our cards, they were at 25% interest and we never received any notice; that was with good credit!).  It is a mini-loan.  If you are going to make it, no loans, no borrowing, period.  No loaning to other people either.  If you have the money, give it to them as a gift, if not, say no.

No car payments.

We still eat out and go see movies but not as often as we used to.  We rent movies and books from the library, play pool at the bar down the street, play board games, and have friends over for dinner.  We sing karaoke at the coffee shop.  These things cost little to no money.

Ok, now you have your bills to bare minimum.  You are putting a little in a coffee can each week and forgetting about it.  You have to make money to do that!

We found a niche with the herbs.  People can’t afford health care or are sick of it (like us) and want herbal medicines.  We have a school.  Teach what you know.  It seems you would put yourself out of business but it is the opposite.  You empower others to help themselves and you make money for a new board game.  Teach classes on how to knit, crochet, make butter, make cheese, how to draw, how to garden….simple things that come easy to you are in high demand for others who want to learn.

A girlfriend of mine posted pictures of soap on facebook. She had such an overwhelming response of people wanting to learn that she has set up 2 hour classes every weekend at $25 a pop (we would pay more).  They are filled through February.

Farmer’s markets and craft shows are great ways to get your crafts/canned food you put up/baked goods/teas/excess veggies/eggs, whatever your thing is, out to the public.  Set up shop in a small town.  The rents are cheaper and the people more loyal.  Use integrity in your business and small town people will be your customers forever (even if you teach them how to do things).

There is Etsy and other websites to sell your stuff.  Get your handiwork in stores in bigger cities.  Go to locally owned businesses and ask for them to put a few in the store.  They will likely say yes.

Now that you have only a few bills, 5 hand carved bears (or whatever you sell) will cover them.

I can imagine when I get my next homestead I won’t have to pay water (extremely high out here) because I will have a well.  I will use a ton less energy because I will have a wood stove that I can cook on and in and heat my small house (we’re talking 500 sq. ft here)!  That will drop more bills off of what I have to make.  Stepping stones.

While you consider jumping ship in the new year and while you are enjoying your holidays, here is a recipe for calming tea.  1 cup is great for calming children and adults, 2 cups will help you sleep.

Calming Tea

1 pt each: catnip, lemon balm, chamomile, hops, skullcap.  (health food store or online)

1 teaspoon per 1 cup of boiling water, steep 4 minutes.  Add a little honey if desired.