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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Prehistoric Projects with Lynx

Part of the reason we moved to the Methow Valley was to be closer to Lynx Vilden. After years of studying with other outdoor living schools we were excited to find Lynx who, along with her partner Rico, were taking things to the next level. They truly live what they teach and are a daily inspiration to me and my husband.

If you are interested in reconnecting to the earth through primitive living skills consider taking classes with Lynx.

Copied from her flyer:

November 16 - 22 Basic Skills Intensive
In depth fire making and use, stone tools, cordage and gloves, primitive cooking, shelter building, and animal processing.
$550 with meals and camping or $400 with out meals and camping

December 7 - 13 Winter Skills
Winter travel and safety, shelter, clothing, fire, food and water procurement.

All prices have a 10% discount for early registration - inquire for details.

For information on classes or for the 2009 project Contact Lynx:
Four Seasons Prehistoric Projects
929B Twisp River Road
Twisp, WA 98856

Friday, November 7, 2008

Free talk on Plants in the Methow Valley

For those of you local readers I'll be giving a free talk next Tuesday on Medicinal, Edible, and Poisonous Plants of the Methow Valley as part of the Methow Conservancy's First Tuesday programs. I've been working on the powerpoint presentation for weeks have humbly think it's going to be a fun entertaining evening. Hope to see you there!

For more info about the Conservancy go here.

Here's a blurb about the evening:

Monthly Program: Edible, Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of the Methow Valley
Tuesday, November 11th, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at the Twisp River PubBitterroot, photo by Mary Kiesau
(on the 2nd Tuesday due to Election Day!)

Rosalee de la Foret will help us explore everything from beloved natives to disastrous weeds and look at how they have been used in the past as well as today for the health and well-being of humankind. We’ll also look to the villains of the valley to learn what poisonous plants have to teach us. This informative evening will be full of pictures and tasty recipes right from your back yard.

The pub will open at 6:00 p.m. for attendees who would like to purchase drinks or something from the light menu. The event is free and open to everyone. Questions? Contact Mary at 996-2870 or

Out for the count

Earlier this week, while performing normal activities, I somehow threw out my back. "Throwing out my back" is not a technical term but stands for I-am-in-so-much-pain-I-can't-move-a-muscle.

Amazing what a few misplaced vertebrae can do.

Being an herbalist I, of course, grabbed the phone and called the neighbors to bring me some IB profen. I can't believe I am admitting this, but I truly did. I haven't taken IB profen in years, mostly because I love my liver, but somehow being in that much pain reduced my thinking abilities and I resorted to some habit of long ago.

I took the IB profen, but never found much relief. It wasn't until a few days later (after seeing a joint specialist and soft tissue specialist) that I finally thought to myself, "What the hell am I doing?" and reached for the herbs.

Taking a cue from Kiva, I had my husband apply rose liniment to my back followed by an aches and pain salve containing infused oils of rue, artemesia, and cottonwood. Relief was almost instantaneous.

Using herbs for back pain has been something I have pondered a lot this year. As a Structural Medicine Specialist I have the tools to diagnose and treat back pain without herbs. Unfortunately it's a lot harder to diagnose and treat myself and I am so relieved to have these helpful herbs in my medicine chest.

If you are interested in learning more about herbs and back pain, check out Jim McDonald's essay.

Immune Supporting Bone Broth Recipe

Winter may be officially lurking over a month a way, but yesterday we received our first snow. We celebrated by cooking up a delicious beef stew, letting it simmer all day on the woodstove. We kept it simple by only adding carmelized onions, garlic, burdock root, carrots, and locally raised grass fed organic beef in a base of bone broth soup.

Nourishing Bone Broth
Grandmothers knew best by spoon feeding us this incredibly rich immune system nourisher, and science has now validated this time-honored tradition by verifying this is high in many vitamins and minerals readily absorbable by the body. 

Bone broth soup is high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, trace minerals, chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine. Boiling the bones releases gelatin into the broth. (Which is why it hardens slightly when cooled.) 

Besides nourishing the immune system, gelatin has been found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice, and cancer.

The following recipe can be made without the use of burdock, dandelion, and astragalus, but I highly suggest including them. All help the body maintain health and overcome illness. 

Astragalus especially supports the immune system – using this in our broth is one of the main ways we support our immune system and stay healthy.

Several bones from poultry or beef (preferably bones that have marrow)
1 T apple cider vinegar (helps to draw out the calcium from the bones)
1 onion coarsely chopped (skin too)
2 carrots coarsely chopped
2 big pieces of burdock coarsely chopped or a handful of dried root
Several dandelion roots coarsely chopped or a handful of dried root
couple large handfuls of  sliced dried astragalus root
2 celery ribs coarsely chopped (or any other vegetable chicken scraps)
Handful of herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano

Place everything in a large pot except for the handful of herbs. 

Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil slowly. 

Once it is boiling, reduce to a simmer. 

After awhile you will see some foam forming at the top. Gently skim this off every couple of minutes until the broth runs clear. 

Add the handful of herbs and simmer for 8-24 hours. 

When ready, strain off all materials and discard. 

Store the broth in the fridge or freezer until ready to use for soups, roasts, chili, etc.

This can also be cooked in a crock pot.