Monday, December 31, 2007

Winter Wonderland

I’m imagining the Winter Queen made a journey through my neck of the woods last night. As her snow white swans silently pulled her silver chariot throughout the realm, a blanket of white descended to cover the earth. Can I be sure that what I see falling from the sky is snow? Perhaps the sparkles are fairies cascading through the still air to land gently upon the frozen ground. Are the little creatures looking for a winter residence within the spruce branches? Or under the rhododendron foliage? I espy a softly rounded shape in the snow. I don’t recall a rock or outcropping there before the snows fell. Surely, a fairy mound! The soft tinkling of bells compels me to look closer. I’m mindful of the stories of humans unable to return from the fairy realm. Am I ready for that experience?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

antique crazies

In addition to making modern crazy quilts, I collect antique crazy quilts. And not just crazy quilts, but needlework booklets, some needlework tools and other vintage linens. There had been discussion on a list about a book which talks about historical quilting news. Mention was made of a catalog which listed items in a crazy work exhibit. I have a catalog similar in my collection. The cover is shown above. Inside, there is a listing of 1808 items on exhibit. There are also ideas for crazy quilt stitches within the catalog.

Not everything listed is of a crazy nature. Examples:
7. Picture, "English Line of Battle Ship," worked by Capt. Thomas Wood, during his leisure hours at sea. For sale.
115. A painting on Velvet, exhibited by Mrs. H. C. Blake.
202. Pillow Shams, drawn thread, exhibited by Miss A. McDonald.
1443. Crocheted skirt, exhibited by Miss Mary Woods.

Some of the crazies:
2. Crazy Quilt, consists of 5,000 pieces, exhibited by Miss Ella McArthur.
19. Pin Cushion of Crazy Work, made forty years ago, exhibited by Mrs. Roach.
29. Sofa Pillow of Crazy Work, exhibited by Mrs. I. W. Derby, made by a gentleman, and contains 2,500 pieces.
42. Crazy Quilt, entered by Miss H.I. Ellis, made of pieces of the dresses of the leading society ladies in Washington.
123. Crazy Chair, upholstered by the exhibitor, Mrs. E. Dunne.
189. Crazy Quilt, made by a lady sixty-four years of age, exhibited by Mrs. Thos. Cahill.
273. Crazy Fan, exhibited by Mrs. H. Hart

Interesting to note that in this 1885 exhibit, #19 was a "Pin Cushion of Crazy Work", made forty years ago. That would make it 1845. I would like to see what the pin cushion looked like! Was it as I define crazy quilting now, i.e., random piecing and decorative embroidery? If so, that would date crazy quilting well before the 1876 centennial exhibition. I believe crazy quilting had been around for a number of years and simply acquired the name of crazy quilting (or crazy patch or crazy patchwork or crazy word) after the centennial exhibition of 1876. The mosaic-like patches in a crazy quilt reminded viewers of the crackled/crazed glazing on Japanese pottery of the time.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Solstice!

Saturday is Solstice, the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere where the days start getting longer once again. After the longest night, the sun starts to make its northward journey, bringing light into the land. Each day, a few more minutes of daylight accumulates. This year, Solstice also happens to be a full moon. Surely, a day of good omens! This is the day my husband, children (and now grandchildren) get together to celebrate the season. Apples trees are wassailed, bayberry candles are lit, greenery is placed about the house, presents are exchanged and much feasting is enjoyed. This year, I made bayberry candles from real bayberry wax and beeswax. In a few years, my bayberry bushes will be producing berries of their own and I will be able to make candles from wax I have processed myself. Until then, I have procured real bayberry wax, not the artificially fragranced stuff so prevalent in stores. The folk lore about bayberry candles is:

"Bayberry burned to the socket
Brings food to the table
And gold to the pocket."

Meaning, if you burn a bayberry candle down completely during a night at the holidays, you will get good luck. My mother always had us burn a bayberry candle and the scented smoke would drift across the miles, bringing thoughts of loved ones separated by miles.

Envision something you would like to accomplish as the light returns. Scratch that sentiment or wish into the side of your bayberry candle and light the candle. As the candle burns to the socket, know your wish has been carried to the heavens.

And, don't forget to catch your sweetheart under the mistletoe!

I made the fiber postcard above for my friend, NutMeg, last year for Solstice. May you all have a blessed Yule!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

tagged for meme

Allison Aller just tagged me for meme. So, here goes:

4 Jobs I have had:
1. Medical Transcriptionist and Instructor
2. Regional Secretary for European offices Embry-Riddle University
3. Admin for Family Advocacy
4. Owner, Green Spiral Herbs

4 Films I can watch over and over:
1. Practical Magic
2. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
Don't watch many movies!

4 TV shows I watch:
1. Monday nights on CBS
2. CSI
Others, I can take or leave.

4 Places I have lived:
1. Philadelphia, New York up near the Canadian border
2. England
3. Mojave Desert
4. Nebraska

4 Favorite foods:
1. Dan's chili rellenos
2. chocolate cake
3. Dan's smoked pulled pork
4. fresh peaches

4 Places I would love to be right now:
1. Right here in my cozy home in the northern Catskills
2. Mountains of North Carolina
3. Shipwreck Beads
4. Margaret's studio

4 names that I love but would not use for my own children:
1. Ardelia - except I would use it

4 People I would love to tag with this meme
1. Leonie
2. Tina
3. NutMeg
4. Sarah

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Heart-warming soup

The snow is falling heavily here in the hills. It's a brisk 20 degrees. A perfect day for home made soup. Here's a recipe we have enjoyed for many years:

Potato Cheese Soup
1 Tbsp butter
Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3-4 potatoes, cubed
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup milk
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
chives for garnish

In large pan, saute garlic and onion in butter and olive oil until translucent. Add veggies, chicken broth and water. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in milk, cream cheese and spices.

Pour mixture into blender and puree. BE CAREFUL!!!! Hot mixture will really cause blender to bubble over. Do it in very small batches. Or use an immersion blender. Return pureed soup to pot, add cheddar cheese and stir until all is warmed and melty. Serve with chopped chives and a dollop of sour cream, if you desire.

Of course you can add other ingredients as you like. Broccoli is very good. A couple shitake mushrooms are also delicious. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Old Stone Fort

The Old Stone Fort is located in Schoharie, NY and is now a historic museum with emphasis on its participation during the Revolutionary War. The Old Stone Fort has a Festival of Trees each year and this year I decided to decorate a tree. The tree is artificial and is 3 feet tall. Each ornament (and angel topper and tree skirt) is hand made by me. These have been ornaments I have done over the years and the tree skirt itself was made in 1991. If you would like to see the entire display of "Christmas at the Old Stone Fort", go to Schoharie, NY December 1-9, 2007. for more info.

Today, Friday, November 30 and tomorrow, Saturday, December 1 you can find Green Spiral Herbs vending their herbal goodness at the Holiday Farmers Market in Cobleskill, NY. Held at the Elks Lodge at 1 Legion Drive, the Market runs from 3-7 pm Friday and 10-4 on Saturday.

Sunday, December 2, from 11-5, Green Spiral Herbs will be vending at the Chocolate Expo and Holiday Marketplace at the New York State Museum Institute on Madison Avenue in Albany, NY. Stop by and say hello and get your herbal goodies for the holidays!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lemon Herb Bread

3/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm
1 Tbsp chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh lemon verbena
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 lemons
Confectioner's sugar

Add herbs to milk and scald. Let sit until cool and strain. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs. Alternately add creamed mixture, flour mixture and herbed milk. When mixture is combined, pour into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes or until insterted toothpick comes out dry. When cool, make lemon glaze by combining juice of lemons with enough confectioner's sugar to make thick glaze. Pour onto loaf.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Beaded Ornaments

There was a request on a crazy quilt list: please show us your beaded ornaments. So, here are some that I have beaded over the last few years. They get to be rather addictive to make! My holiday tree is decorated with handmade ornaments I have fashioned over the years. I have made a crazy quilted angel and tree skirt as well. In mid December, when the tree is set up, I'll post a picture. This year, I'm decorating a tree for the Historic Stone Fort in Schoharie, New York as part of their festival of trees.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First snow of the season

Yesterday, November 10, we awoke to the first snow of the season. It was just 2 inches, but left a pretty coating on everything. It melted with the sun. This morning it was 15 degrees. So, autumn has definitely departed, no matter what the calendar says. I still have clean up to do in the garden - putting away decorations, bird baths, etc.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Necklace for Business Cards

Discussion on a list turned toward what you can make with crazy quilting that wasn't a quilt. I've made lampshades, vests, jackets, ties, runners, box covers, etuis, pillows, purses, tote bags, book covers, wall hangings, Christmas tree skirts, Christmas ornaments and an angel tree topper. And lots of other things. I made this necklace to hold business cards in the mid to late 90s. It's been through a lot of wear, as you can see by the missing beads on the right hand side of the fringe at the bottom. It's just large enough so I can fit a few business cards in it. If I am teaching at a hotel conference, the room key can slip into it as well. I knew someone who made them a little squarer and called them "Prom purses". You could fit a condom package into the Prom Purse! Fill yours with what is most useful.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Clematis are lovely flowering vines that come in a wide variety of colors. There are vining clematis and bush clematis. The clematis in the center is an example of a bush clematis and is called 'Betty Corning'. It is absolutely covered in blossoms for most of the summer. Clematis likes its face in the sun and its feet in the coolness. So, we make sure other plants are around the base of the clematis. So far, it has worked well for us. The clematis on the left I can't remember the name off the top of my head! I'll look it up later. The one on the right is 'Polish Spirit'.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Journal Quilt for Houston

For the past several years, Quilts, Inc., who run the huge Quilt Festival in Houston every year, have had a journal quilt exhibit. They have asked artisans to make up an 8.5 x 11" quilt page as though from a journal. Participants were asked to do a page a month. You could try new techniques, play with color, whatever. This year, the idea changed slightly. Rather than send in several pages, make one larger page that was equivalent in size to four pages. Dimensions were 17 x 22. So, I decided to join in on the fun this year. The top portion of the journal page, which I have entitled, "Spiral Out", is based on an old engraving and shows an alchemist/philosopher breaking through the cosmos. Last night was Halloween/Samhain. Tonight and today are when the veils between the worlds are thinnest and perhaps breaking through is easiest now? The bottom portion is pieced with my favorite fabric. Tool has a song called Lateralus. Part of the lyrics: "Following our will and wind we may just go where no one's been, we'll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one's been. Spiral out, keep going." (BTW, Tool is terrific in concert - we saw them this summer!!) So combining all these elements and mindful of my sister, brother, and friend who have all passed in the past two years, this journal quilt was conceived and created. Nearly all the work was done by hand. The only element not done by hand was the piecing of the spiral fabric in the block in the bottom portion. All embroidery and quilting is by hand.

Monday, October 29, 2007


A couple years ago, I made these beaded circles while staying with some creative friends. I made the little faces out of clay, using a push mold, then painted them with Lumiere and added some mica powder. Then, I beaded the faces as cabochons and added swirls and such. The circles had been lying around, waiting for me to come up with a way to use them. Over the weekend, I was playing with this great green spiral fabric (my favorite fabric ever) and was doing some free-form piecing. I got out the circles and it worked perfectly in the overall design. The pink "dots" are sequins that I embroidered in a shisha style. I've done this with pennies as well. I free motion quilted and added more beads, rose montees and the word, "Transmogrify".

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


It is a glorious autumn day today and my monkshood (Aconitum) is blooming quite nicely. If you look at an individual flower, you can see how it does look like a medieval monk's hood. Caution: monkshood is poisonous! It's also known as wolfsbane. Legend has it that wolfsbane was added to ground meat and thrown as bait to kill wolves. Must be how it got the reputation for keeping werewolves away as well. From Rodale's: "Greek legend says that aconite grew on the hill of Aconitus where Herecules fought with Cerebus (the three-headed dog that guards the entrance of Hades) and from this raging dog's mouths fell foam and saliva onto aconite, giving this plant its deadly poison."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beaded Pendant and Found Treasures

Last Friday was a cold, windy, rainy day. Time for another beaded project! So, I got out the Aug/Sep issue of Beadwork magazine and did the project on page 40. I changed the pearl color from bronze to burgundy. It was quick, simple and lovely! I wore it out Saturday for my birthday trip. We leaf peeped, antiqued, shopped (bead stores and health food stores) and ate at a great Greek restaurant. A really fabulous day.
Here are two of my finds:
The first is an antique chenille embroidery on a light blue velvet. The goldenrod and daisies are very well done. Note the thermometer on the left! This is circa 1900, possibly 1880s.

The small box is an herbal remedy of mullein leaves. This is circa first decade of the 1900s. Wonderful that I grow and use mullein still, 100 years later.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

recipe for Pumpkin Chiffon Cake

The Essential Herbal list was talking about pumpkins and recipes today. First, let me tell you a pumpkin story about when I was growing up. My brother, Rod, was nine years older than me. He doted on me and I adored him. I believed what he told me...the gospel according to Rod. One Halloween when I had just turned 6 and he had just turned 15, he was in charge of carving pumpkins for the younger kids (me, my younger sister and younger brother). Of course the first step in getting a pumpkin ready for carving is to cut the top and scoop out the innards. Rod made a big production out of the situation and we young 'uns were thrilled. The first scoop of pumpkin goop came out amidst squeals of "Ewwwww" from us. The second scoop came out and lo and behold there was a Snickers candy bar amid the pumpkin seeds and stringy orange slop! Our eyes got as big as dinner plates. Wow! Another scoop into the pumpkin and wouldn't you know, ANOTHER candy bar appeared. We were clapping and wondering how candy bars ended up INSIDE the pumpkin. Rod smiled and said, "Must be the Great Pumpkin knew you three had been good this year."

Pumpkin Chiffon Cake
2 cups cake flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
½ tsp ground cloves
½ cup vegetable oil
8 egg yolks
½ cup water
¾ cup canned or freshly cooked and mashed pumpkin
½ tsp cream of tartar
8 egg whites

Sift all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl

Make a deep well in the center. Add, in order, oil, egg yolks, water and
pumpkin. Beat until satiny smooth.

Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat until very stiff, but not

Pour the pumpkin mixture in a thin stream over the egg whites; then gently
fold into the whites with a spatula.

Bake in an ungreased cake pan 55 minutes at 325. Then, increase heat to 350
and bake 10 more minutes.

Let cool and use the following cream cheese recipe for frosting.

4 Tbsp butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat together until fluffy and smooth. Frost cake.

Beaded Paisley or What I Do on Rainy Days

A friend, Margaret, and I have decided to stitch paisleys. We start with the same design and then we can use any surface design we desire. We keep it to ourselves until we are done. I got the line drawing for this paisley from Sharon Boggon's fabulous website, Go visit her site for embroidery inspiration! I decided to bead this paisley. I started off with the large oval rivoli in the center and used size 15 seed beads to form the frame around the crystal. Then, I added the crystal marguerites (given to me by Margaret!) Next came the seed beads and sequins. Then the leaves are done in small bugle beads for the stems and seed beads. The small paisley at the tip is outlined with size 11 and 15 seed beads. Then, some vintage crystals that Margaret found at Nicholas Kniel's fabulous ribbon shop in Atlanta. I'm pretty pleased with it! I'll post Margaret's work when she has finished.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Inconsequential assignment

Tina, from The Essential Herbal magazine, challenged bloggers to go outside and find something "inconsequential" to blog about. I grabbed my digital camera and wandered into the garden. I spied (with my little eye) butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) setting seed. You can see that it is in the milkweed family by its seedpods. Butterfly weed (not to be confused with butterfly bush) is also known as pleurisy root as the root is used to treat, you guessed it, pleurisy. The pleura is the membranous lining around the lungs and pleurisy is inflammation of the pleura.

Back to the seed pods...I had gathered some a few days ago and had set them aside to let them dry completely. Then came the task of separating the fluffy bit from the seed. As a child, whenever I saw a milkweed seed fluff in the air, I always exclaimed, "Fairies!" and ran to catch one. If I did catch one, I would close my eyes and make a wish. Then, with a gentle breath, I would blow the seed from my hand and if it got carried on the breeze, the wish was taken to the fairy queen to be granted. Fast forward a few decades and here I am separating the fluff from seed, putting fluff in one pile and the seeds in a bowl. An errant whisper of air manifested and raised all the fluff in a spiral of dancing fairies. How delightful! Enough fluff to grant many wishes! But as I am so blessed with many granted wishes in my life, these fairies are not for me, but are to float along on the currents, perhaps floating into your garden, ready for your wish. So get out into the autumn air, inhale deeply and keep your eyes to the that a fairy you spy with your little eye? Best wishes!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bead Necklace

I asked glass artist, Maryanne Schwartz, from to make me one of her amazing vessels and, oh, by the way, could she incorporate our logo of a spiral in there somewhere? No problem was her valiant reply! I got the vessel in the mail and was thrilled. I've spent the last two days beading the "straps" for it so I can wear it as a necklace. Now, to fill it with a few secret herbs!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

October's Bright Blue Weather

We have been having a streak of gorgeous weather. Ah, autumn. It calls to mind one of my favorite poems by Helen Hunt Jackson, "October's Bright Blue Weather".
O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather,
When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Later aftermaths are growing;
When springs run low and on the brooks,
In the golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noislessly in the bush
Of woods, for winter waiting;
When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather,
O suns of skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

And October's birth flower is the pot marigold, or calendula. Not to be confused by other marigolds which are common in gardens, calendula is a venerable herb. It's orange or yellow petals are edible (which is why it was called pot marigold - throw the petals into the cooking pot). The color lets you know calendula is high in flavonoids. A tea of the petals can be drunk to help inflammation of the digestive tract. Externally, calendula makes an excellent remedy for skin inflammation. I make an infused calendula oil and a wonderful salve (Healing Comfort) that has both calendula and comfrey in it. One of the best things I have ever tried for soothing rough, irritated skin on hands, heels or knees. I garden and stitch with silk. If I didn't have this salve, I would not be able to stitch as the silk thread catches on any skin that isn't as smooth as, well, silk. My husband uses Healing Comfort salve to repair his hands as he must wash his hands often with a harsh soap at work. A dear friend used this salve during her chemo treatments. Her feet were swollen and sore and this is the only thing that worked for her. My brother used it on his radiation scars to excellent effect. It is a good thing. Calendula is easy to grow too. The large seeds germinate quickly in the spring. It's an annual, but one that self-sows quite readily. Calendula is 2008's Herb of the Year. I encourage you to grow and know calendula!

To order Healing Comfort Salve go to and click on the shopping link.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Crazy Quilts

I am a textile artist and instructor (in addition to all the herb stuff I do). I've been on Simply Quilts on HGTV demonstrating crazy quilting. Here is a sample of some of my work. All of my embroidery is by hand. Most construction (sewing seams) is by hand with long straight lines done on the machine. I love all the embellishment that goes with crazy quilts - embroidery, beading, etc. The first picture is of a heart done with cream embellishments on pink fabrics. The second is a fantasy landscape (which has been my passion lately). The third is "Homage to Ardelia". Ardelia was my great-grandmother who died before I was born. She was a quilter and an herb woman. Genetics, eh? This quilt has won many awards, including Judge's Choice at Threads of America and Best Needlework at the Vermont Quilt Festival.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Holy Shitake!!

Last year, Dan and our sons (Zach and Ryan) inoculated 60+ oak logs with shitake, maitake and reishi. Now, we are starting to see a mushroom harvest. We had mushrooms tonight with our homegrown garlic, tarragon and thyme. And some applesauce made with apples from our trees. Yum!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Unity House Fund Raiser

My daughter, Rikki, works for Unity House in Troy, NY. Unity House offers many community services such as assisting victims of domestic violence, children with developmental delays, adults living with mental illness, adults with HIV/AIDS and families living in poverty. Their yearly fundraiser, Harvest Supper, features an auction of donated items. This year, I have made a purse and a tea cozy to be auctioned off. These items can be mailed to the winner, so you need not be present to win. Go to this site:
and look for Betty Pillsbury as the donor. You will see the purse made with a beautiful black and white flocked fabric and a tea cozy in a similar fabric. Bid much to support such a worthy cause!

comfrey uses

One of my favorite things I make is Healing Comfort Salve. It has comfrey and calendula in it. Of course, I grow both herbs in my garden so I know they are organic and of highest quality. It makes for very smooth hands for stitching. Also great for cracked heels, chapped hands, etc. We use it all the time.

Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts

Green Spiral Herbs will be vending at the Remsen Barn Festival of the Arts in Remsen, NY (north of Utica on route 12) this weekend. Stop by and see us. Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5. There is no admission and there are over 300 vendors! Mention you saw us on our blog and receive a free lip balm. Good only if you come to our booth at Remsen and tell us! See you there.

drying comfrey leaves

Someone on The Essential Herbal list asked how to dry large-leaved herbs, such as comfrey. Here is my reply:
There are a couple ways you can go with drying comfrey. Firstly, be tender handling your comfrey leaves as they bruise quite easily. You won’t know it at first, but upon drying the bruised leaves will go brown rather than green. Secondly, comfrey leaves shouldn’t be touching when they dry. Again, browning rather than greening when dry. So, if you have lots of room, you can lay the leaves on screening. But, you can also hang them to dry. If you do bunches, like you can for so many other herbs, they tend to brown or mold. So get some heavy duty thread (more like crochet thread) and get it into a large eyed needle. Then, skewer each leaf near the fleshy bit where the stem attaches to the leaf. Thread on each leaf like that until you have several and then hang the thread up. Think stringing popcorn and cranberries. Leave a gap between each leaf and make sure you have good air circulation. You could also string up a clothes line in your house and clothes pin each leaf to it. Only clip the stem, not the leaf part. Make sure you wear gloves as those little hairs on comfrey can dig into skin worse than any splinter and be tougher to get out. (Then you would need my Grandpa Benson’s drawing salve.)

You don't know about The Essential Herbal??? Go to to find out about this terrific magazine! It's herbalicious.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Rose Arbor

Last year we were vending at an herb festival in Oriskany NY. The grounds had a wonderful rose and herb garden. The rose garden contained "gothic" arches and I looked at DH, he looked at me, and we knew we had to have something similar in our garden. So this weekend, Dan took an extra day off and made me the rose arbor. They are 13 feet tall. We will add spires to the uprights and paint them in the spring. The roses and herbs will get added in the spring as well. The temporary supports will get removed when the cement cures. It sure is handy having Dan around!

Friday, September 14, 2007


I love sage. Salvia officinalis. So many think it is just for Thanksgiving stuffing. There is so much more to do with sage! There is an ancient quote to the effect of, "Why should a man die when he has sage in his garden?" Meaning, sage is so good for health, wouldn't everyone grow it? It is wonderfully anti-bacterial due to its volatile oils. We make an infusion of sage leaf, fresh ginger root, fresh lemon slice and honey for a VERY effective sore throat soother. And it is darned yummy. Traditionally, pork dishes had sage added because sage would help with digestion after a fatty meal. Add sage to your next batch of pork chops. Try wrapping a deveined shrimp in a sage leaf, then in bacon and either pan frying or oven baking. Delicious! In this photo, I have taken leaves of different sage varieties I have in the garden. All are salvia officinalis and all are edible. From top left is "regular" garden sage. The next is Dwarf Sage (Salvia officinalis, Nana), next is Bergartten Sage and the final on the top row is Lavender-Scented Sage (Salvia officinalis lavandulifolia). It has this wonderful mix of sage and lavender going on. Heavenly! In the second row, starting from the left we have Purple sage (Salvia officinalis purpuracens), Tricolor Sage, Golden Variegated Sage and White-edged Sage. In my zone 5 garden, the Tricolor sage doesn't survive the winter (unless it is abnormally mild) and the purple and golden sages sometimes survive, sometimes not. I suggest you grow your own sage and enjoy the wisdom of herbs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


This is the blog of Green Spiral Herbs, an educational herb farm in the northern Catskill Mountains in New York State. Dan and Betty grow nearly 300 herbs and make herbal products of the finest quality. Additionally, classes, herb walks and lectures are enjoyed at Green Spiral Herbs. We'll be sharing some of what goes on around here. Enjoy!