Hello to all my blogging friends. It’s been almost a year since I have felt the urge to come on here and write again. Finances were an issue for part of it because I didn’t feel like I could add one more expense to my list and this personal blog, with my own domain, has a fee attached to it. Yet, I have felt very guilty for not writing and adding to my blog as a form of journaling, for quite a few months now. I definitely invite you to follow my herbal Instagram account to see what I’ve been up to, @annesbackyardherbal, or my Etsy shop to see what new herbal extracts and skincare products I’ve been crafting: Anne’s Backyard Herbal Shop . As a new season approaches, and with life being altered due to a pandemic, I’ve decided; for my sanity and to have another creative outlet to document some of my new endeavors, it’s time to make sure I come on at least once a month and write something. It also means reconnecting with blogs I miss and see what has been happening in your lives=)!
My daughter is in 6th grade and is adjusting to this new, never seeing her friends or navigating the freeing hallways of a new middle schooler’s life, pretty well. We all have our struggles and hers is definitely lack of social interaction; just like her dad.
My son who started his first year of regular, all day, kindergarten doesn’t say he misses his friends or school very much but his behaviors say, “I need peer interaction!” He didn’t really want to get up for school each day, but he also doesn’t want us teaching him in the way it happens at home. Too much engagement and not enough sitting by friends, listening from afar, and participating more when he chooses; other than every time I or his dad ask him a question. It gets a bit more frustrating & challenging every week.
My husband started a brick & mortar antique store about 4 months before everything stopped, as we normally know it to exist; so I guess that was not the best time to start a new endeavor. Especially since life was already pretty hectic the first few months because a week or so before opening day…….he broke his ankle skateboarding 🥴. Well, this past 6 months has been very challenging so far; yet successful at the same time. It’s such a surreal time & every day I wake up it definitely feels like Groundhog Day📆⏳🔄🥺!
We have been getting outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine; when it’s available here in the Northern Woods of Wisconsin, and foraging for plants now that some are sprouting up. Most recently we discovered two separate patches of wild Stinging Nettles. It’s exciting since it’s our first year finding them!! Especially a treasure at this stage in growth, when they are smaller, more potent and less painful.
I have also started hunting for some fungi; mainly Chaga and Turkey Tail mushrooms. It would be great to find more if only to start learning more identification and maybe finding a treasure; like Morels. I’m still on the hunt for a wonderful fungi field/identification guide for our hikes through the woods. I have a feeling there will be A LOT of hikes during this spring, summer and into fall. It keeps our spirits up, is my daughter’s favorite outdoor activity next to camping, and helps me get more hands on experience searching for, identifying & harvesting (sustainably) wild herbs and mushrooms.
Last year I started crafting salves and lip balms with my oil infusions; which has been an easier way to share and sell a more complete, ready to use & versatile skincare product. I tried to craft some deodorant and that was a bit trickier than some of the other products. I also discovered that there are quite a few people, at least in my community, who do not want baking soda in their deodorant. This is something I plan to consider and improve upon this year.
Two other products I will be trying my hand at, and challenging myself with, is crafting a sensitive skin facial lotion & a sunscreen; either salve or lotion. Mostly for myself & family but, as always, if they turn out successfully, I want to make some available to others.
Last season I also experimented with different types of extractions. My main formulas are tinctures, glycerites & vinegars, but to offer more well-rounded products; I opted to do combinations of these as well. This is something I will be practicing again this year, but I have learned more about taste, quality and scaling back on some herbs that are not as sought after by customers. This will be considered when crafting this season, and I will be making higher strength tinctures (Everclear & Organic Vodka) with infusions/decoctions incorporated into the extract once the initial one is completed. These will be done with spring water by taking the marc(leftover plant material after extraction) and using it; along with fresh material(if available) and letting it simmer for several hours in spring water, sit over night once it’s done simmering, and straining it the next morning. This will then be added to the tincture/vinegar/glycerite at the end. I have done this with Reishi and Chaga tinctures, it makes for a beautifully balanced extract with more minerals, nutrients and constituents incorporated into the plant medicine.
The sun is out today, and since its been cooler, rainy and horribly windy for days; now it’s time to go take and look at what the rain and sun have brought to the garden. I will post some photos once I take a walk around.
Thanks so much for reading and love to all of you,