The ARTful Apothecary
Over the next few days I am going to cover the lost art of Apothecary. You see many years ago we; well not you or I but our bygone relatives did, made their own soaps and shampoos, medicines and so much more. Over the years we have let the big corporations take over this. Why? Well it is much easier to go out and buy a bottle of something then it is to create it right? The issues with that though are many. I don't know about you but I can't afford to buy every product I want or see anymore. Not to mention of course the amount of chemicals in them that we keep introducing to our bodies. It's no wonder people are getting more chronic illnesses because we keep getting away from nature and the natural things that made our ancestors strong like bulls. Believe it or not we are one with nature. We are part of it and yet we keep building concrete jungles to separate ourselves from it.
This first edition of the Artful Apothecary is going to cover building your own windowsill herb garden so you too can be an urbanite farmer. Now let me tell you that in Georgia the ground is mostly red clay. It makes for long hours of using a pick or machinery to dig through it and then you have to go out and buy black dirt and other things like manure to mix with it because nothing of any quality will grow in the red clay. Not to mention a person with disabilities like myself just can't handle the heat and the drudgery. But I would still like to reap the rewards of fresh herbs for my Apothecary concoctions. This makes a windowsill garden prime real-estate. How ever before we get started a word of warning to cat owners such as myself. Cats love to dig in these gardens and chomp on the leaves. Be sure you do not plant anything poisonous to harm kitty. Or you can create a window sill box that Kitty can't get into. May I suggest planting greens just for kitty that you keep at his/her level to help discourage them from getting into yours. Here is a link to ASPCA's 19 of the most common poisonous plants for cats:
Ok now that we have covered Kitty and thankfully to our diligence its' not with dirt. We will move on to the windowsill garden. Above I showed you a picture of some sample ideas for your window garden. Below there are some additional ideas. You do not have to have separate containers for each and every herb and to be honest if you have the room to make one bed like the photo below left, it will be the easiest because it will stay moist longer and require a little less care. Just make sure you mark what each plant type is if you do this and do keep them trimmed back.
You can use anything for containers. Plants are not too fussy but do require proper drainage. You can achieve this by making sure you have a couple of small holes in your containers at the bottom or add rocks to cover the bottom then cover with dirt. The reason for the drainage is
to ensure water doesn't stay pooled around your roots so they don't get root rot and also to discourage mold growth. I have created a slide video below of some fun planter ideas and a lot of them are Kitty focused.
Medicinal herbs are among the most rewarding of garden projects, providing both a dose of aromatherapy and the materials to make high-quality, cost-effective herbal products. Plus nurturing and talking to plants and making your own remedies are healing activities in themselves. Depending on how fast you want to grow your garden will determine how you should go about it. If you start from seed it could be a year before some of your plants are ready to yield so it's best to begin with a nursery transplant. Start your own apothecary garden with plants such as lavender, chamomile, mint, lemon balm, rosemary and thyme -- and make remedies for stress, digestion, immunity, and more. Read up about each of your herbs because some of them like to take over a garden like mint.
So now that you have a project to do, go forth and build your gardens with confidence. The next edition will discuss harvesting your herbs and drying as well as some ideas of how to use your herbs for medicinal purposes. The third edition will cover 4 Steps for Creating Your Own Apothecary, including presentation, bottling and label ideas. I will of course include some recipes too so don't miss the next addition in the Artful Apothecary.
So quite a few years back I noticed a spot that kind of looked like a mole under my left eye. Then the mole grew and it kind of looked blisterish. I went in to the dermatologist and lo and behold skin cancer. The big C word.
Now to be honest I do not panic when they tell me things like this. Why? Because honestly no one gets out of this life alive and SOMETHING is going to get you one way or another. I find both the humor and the beauty in it. Because out of death grows new life and how odd to know everything will continue the same when I am gone.
I can only hope that I have a positive effect on those around me and continue to reach out and touch the world before I check out. But check out time isn't until later and luckily enough it was Basil Cancer on my face and not a Melanoma. So what do they do with Basil Cancer? They cut it out and try to make sure they get the skin around it too. So there I was laying on the operation table wide awake with a local stuck all around this growth. I did tell you it was under my eye didn't I? And just left slightly down from the bridge of my nose. I could hear the cutting through skin as the skilled plastic surgeon slipped the scalpel into my face. Sort of an odd scraping noise. She cut a little triangle portion out and then expertly sewed it back together with instructions on how to avoid scarring.
Can you see a scar? Yep barely and mostly if I point it out. But I think that's the beauty of a scar isn't it? It shows we are not indefectible. Sometimes the flaws make a face more beautiful and real both in art or movies. Look at Brad Pitt for instance. Beautiful. Gorgeous walking art work and guess what? He has a scar under his left eye too. From what you may ask? Briefly, he was in junior high when he got hit in the eye with a baseball. Sixteen stitches. I only had three. Anyway the point is the human body is gorgeous with its flaws and non-imperviousness. Because we are not perfect and because we have flaws we are beautiful one of a kind creations.
However scars may be ok but Cancer is not. Not in any form. As a matter of fact because I was so severely burned by the sun many years ago I have lot of watching to do on my skin. I thought I would share with you today how I have to check my skin over for Skin Cancer periodically and I may currently have some spots again. My hope here is to make you aware of how bad the sun is for your skin as well as maybe educate you to a new place you never thought you should look for Cancer. Now I know you know how bad the sun is for your skin. More than likely your mom harped you about it growing up. For good reason. I knew a woman who had cancer so severely on her nose that it looked carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey when they removed it all. Beautiful to me? Yes, to others? maybe not so much. So lets try and avoid that shall we?
First I have a really cool free PDF for you that you can download. It goes over how to check your body for skin cancer. Cool right?
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