December 29, 2008



That was what I needed! Wild time, quiet time, peaceful time, precious time, loved time.

It's another world down here, in the humid, salty, corrosive, restorative, refreshing presence of the Atlantic. I dug my toes in the sand, and allowed the waves and the foam to wash over me, cleaning away all that has built up, all that was getting in my way and needed to continue on. It was scrubbed off with every step I took, barefoot on the beach, navigating the waves and sandbars. I observed the birds, chatted with fishermen, smiled at children, digging holes to China, foiled by the Ocean. I nourished myself with fresh, vital seafood and local produce. I learned about Datil Peppers and green peanuts. I ate yams. I drank red wine. I shared long-overdue conversations with beloveds, and entertained children. I drove a fast banana :)

Now I am journeying home, eager to dive back into co-op planning and development. There are members to recruit, cabinets to refinish, and a practitioner room to build. I am so excited! This is a worthy project, and I love what we are creating - together.

October 23, 2008

Embracing the descent, and ways to cook squash

Today was gorgeous. I went to visit my friend at the organic farm where she works, and was finally able to settle into and embrace the descending energy of Fall. I walked the fields and harvested spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, pumpkins, kale and plantain. Organic farms are a far cry from the "conventional" monoculture farms that use NPK fertilizers and pesticides. Here there was bounty everywhere. Nature irrepressible! The kale volunteered from a previous year's crop, and everwhere there was amaranth and lamb's quarters. Motherwort. Plantain. Grasshoppers!

Now I'll be racking my brain to come up with varied and clever ways to put the bounty to good use. I would love to hear your ideas!
  • I have visions of a squash and coconut soup with green chilis and purple potatoes.
  • A squash coconut curry sounds nice, too. With chicken!
  • Roasted squash with olive oil, rosemary, hot pepper flakes and brown sugar like they make at Whole Foods.
  • Canned squash for later.
  • Baked squash with brown sugar, cinnamon and coconut oil.
  • Some wicked garlic squash shredded like hashbrowns.
  • I'd like to turn at least one of the pumpkins into a casserole with sausage, mushrooms, onions and nuts. I'm going to bake that one in the shell :) Maybe for Turkey Day?
  • Another pumpkin will be soup that tastes like pumpkin pie, with cinnamon, coconut milk, nutmeg, clove, ginger and just a bit of extra sweetness.
  • Spaghetti squash like spaghetti! Mmm, with buffalo sausage, oregano, mushrooms and onions.
There is something deeply comforting about aligning one's rhythms with those of the Earth. I've been out of sync lately, and I have missed the primal ebb and flow of nature. I sing when I harvest, to honor the plants and their generous gifts, and also to remind myself of the Sacred Nature of food and medicine. I think it is easy to forget that food is Sacred and Healing, when we get busy, and nourishment becomes something to check off our to do lists, instead of a deeply connected and thankful act of love. Love for ourselves, love for those we feed, and appreciation for the sacrifice made by that which feeds us.

Pumpkins and Squash are sweet foods, and Traditional Chinese Medicine has a lot to teach us about the flavors and energetics of foods. Loosely quoted ~ "Sweet flavors are associated with Earth in TCM, and they have influence over Stomach and Spleen Networks. Sweet has Yang qualities. Sweet flavored foods are warming, strengthening, harmonizing, relaxing and moistening. These foods strengthen Spleen Chi, and help with acute weakness. They also nourish body fluids, relieve inner tension and stabilize one's inner center." To help warm the Stomach when eating energetically sweet foods, use a warming cooking method like roasting, baking, adding warming spices, frying or grilling.

*Source ~ Chinese Nutrition Therapy by Joerg Kastner, M.D. L.Ac.

I could have rested in that field all day, but work and dogs were calling. The sadness of Fall was profound, but so was the gratitude that I feel for the harvest and knowing that I will have good food to see me through the winter.

Green Blessings!

October 7, 2008

Preparing for the cold...

It's getting cold! I'm not really ready for fall, but I don't think it will wait for me to be ready, so I am embracing the descending energy, and preparing for the cold.

I'm so reluctant to let go of the bounty of the harvest. I am spoiled. I love walking outside and picking most of my breakfast every day. Today I harvested Amaranth leaves, basil flowers, a purple bell pepper and a tomato, and cooked them up with half of an onion from the farmers market, a clove of garlic, a can of kippers, and some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I will miss fresh greens when they run out.

I have been cleaning up my neglected tomato plants, collecting finished compost and starting a new batch in the tumbler. That compost is black black black! It's beautiful, and the next round of crops are sure to love it.

Speaking of the next round, I am going to cover my tomatoes with a very low tech hoop house to extend the season a bit, and am considering what to plant underneath them. Broccoli? Kale? Chard? Leeks? Spinach? The tomatoes won't last too far into winter, even with the hoop, but I'd like to make the most of the subclimate the hoop will create.

I was at the Resource Sales Yard yesterday, hunting for PVC pipe for my hoop, and happened upon a great old door instead. It has 5 panes of glass, and will make a fantastic top for a cold frame. That old door is going to save me a fair amount of measuring, cutting and assembly. Now I just need to figure out the ideal angle and build myself a box! I also lucked out with a roll of chicken wire to contain the leaves that won't be fitting into my compost bins.

The first light frost is coming up quickly, and afterwards will be the ideal time to plant the heirloom garlic I ordered from Seed Savers. I've never grown my own garlic, and I'm really excited about it! I ordered 3 different varieties, and need to prepare their bed. More about garlic later!

So, what are you doing to extend your growing season? Who out there has built a cold frame or a hoop house? What tips and tricks do you have to share?

Green Blessings!

August 26, 2008

My Thoughts On Death, Dying And Love

What a difficult post to write. The quotes may not be exact, but you get my drift.

When you find yourself in Hell, keep walking. ~ Winston Churchill

You are made to survive this. ~ Doug Jones

People don't talk much about death as a real event, have you noticed? We as a society (well, not me) make games out of human murder. We abstract death, put it on a video screen or on the TV, and desensitize ourselves to the painful reality of what it means when Humans die. There are video games like grand theft auto, and sniper games, the mobsters game on myspace, and a vast assortment of others. Kill another human, score points, gain status. There are horror flicks, full of blood and gore and gruesome, painful death. These are all meant to entertain us, to stimulate us, to initiate a cascade of stress hormones. Are we really so jaded by our lives that this is needed to make us feel alive?

I have learned that for me personally, death is on the level of politics and religion. I know how I feel, sometimes, and I don't want anyone else to tell me how I am supposed to feel or what I am supposed to believe. I have to figure it out for myself, search deep and feel deep and think deep, and keep moving. This is a sobering, foundation-shaking, life altering REAL experience. I am embracing this process. I can't avoid it, I don't want to put it off. There is no pretending it hasn't happened, although there is disbelief, and the waves of realization and denial and anger and grief and sad and ok but still sad alternate at their own rate.

What I have found, what I am so thankful and grateful for, is the revelation of a previously silent network of friends, family and acquaintances. I feel like I have been initiated into a new level of experience and understanding. Those who have never lost a very close loved one, despite their best intentions, can not relate to how I feel, and so I could not previously relate to how my silent network feels about grief, about death, about still being amongst the living. It has been so comforting to talk with these precious people, these surviving fellow suffers, about what is normal, and what I can expect as the future unfolds. This is different than being told how to feel. This is the sharing of deeply intimate pain, grief and suffering.

Love doesn't die. People die. Love is outside of that phenomenon. What is death, anyway? The body dies, but life is so much more than the body. I don't have answers for all of this, but I don't believe that death is the end. It's counterintuitive. I also don't believe that our short time on Earth earns us an eternity anywhere. I think it's a process, a cycle, an evolution of time and space and matter and energy and experience. We are such an integral part of nature, and nature shows us the cyclical nature of life, if we take the time to watch, look, learn, observe.

So, for now, for me, I am focusing on Life and Living and Love. Death is a lesson, a natural part of our process. All life dies. Plants and Animals give their lives so I may live. One day, if my wishes are followed, my body will feed the cycle. Until then, I consciously enrich the soil wherever I am planted. I want my dash to be significant. The love doesn't die, it swells and takes on a richer meaning, providing opportunities for understanding and appreciation and nuance.

It is so gratifying to meet people with stories about my Dad. He did so much in his life, helped so many, and worked so hard. He wasn't perfect, nobody is, and it doesn't help me to dwell on his shortcomings. He was loved by many, and he will be Dearly Missed Every Day. I am proud to be my Father's Daughter, and I treasure all that he taught me, and all that he is still teaching me now.

Please, if you don't have a will, do it now. This week. No later. It will spare your loved ones from unnecessary pain and troubles after you are gone.

August 11, 2008

Basil ~ Materia Medica and Unconventional Usage

Mmmm, basil :) I planted a lot of basil this year (too much?) and am now fully involved, as Shawna said, in "sexually frustrating my basil." I hate wasting those fragrant blossoms, and the tiny leaves that come with them. So, I have been cooking with basil flowers, and adding them to really awesome teas. By themselves, they are divine, and as a compliment, they are unequaled. Today's tea is simple - basil blossoms muddled slightly in my mortar and pestle, add hot water. Wow.

Let's see, I promised unconventional uses, didn't I? In Belize, Rosita taught us the magic of Spiritual Bathing. That's one of the reasons I planted so much basil, actually. For my spiritual baths. The Maya call Basil Ca-cal-tun, and it is used in baths "to cure spiritual ailments such as susto, envy, grief and evil magic." Basil, Rue and Marigold are a powerful combination for this kind of therapy. Their gifts go deep, and I find them to be invaluable allies.

I have more plans for those lovely flowers. On the docket are: infused oil, infused vinegar and tincture. I have visions of using the oil in a lovely bug repellent recipe next year.

Watch at the market for fresh snipped basil to put in your pasta!

Ocimum basilicum; Labiatae

Common names ~ Basil, sweet basil, garden basil

Part used ~ aerial parts

Dosages: Tincture ~ 10-30 drops, Tea ~ standard infusion

Vitalist Actions and Energetics ~ spicy, warm

Meridians / Organs affected ~ lungs, stomach

Clinical Actions (properties) ~ diaphoretic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, carminative, stomachic, galactagogue, aromatic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic

Biochemical Actions ~ antimicrobial, choleretic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic

Primary uses

Internal ~ fevers, colds, flu, stomach cramps, vomiting, indigestion, intestinal catarrh, constipation, enteritis, whooping cough, headaches and menstrual pains, loss of appetite, nonulcer dyspepsia, minor inflammations of the GI tract, genitourinary tract, and upper respiratory tract. flatulence, colic, nausea, nervous irritability, fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, migraine

External ~ as mouthwash or gargle for inflammation of the mouth and throat, as mouthwash or chewing for bad breath, as wet compress, poultice or ointment for wounds and as a hair rinse for hair loss, insect repellent, insect bites

Cautions ~ not to be used during pregnancy or lactation

Arvigo, Rosita and Balick, Michael ~ Rainforest Remedies
Chevalier, Andrew ~ Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
Tierra, Michael ~ Planetary Herbology
Skenderi ~ Herbal Vade Mecum

August 7, 2008

Excellent Read!

I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Wow. Just Wow.

You'd think the story of a family eating locally for a year would be dry, but not when it's written by Barbara Kingsolver! Many things impressed me about this book: specifically, it is full of recipes :) and the sidebars written by her husband, Steven Hopp, are informative and full of resources for further learning. Her chapter on Harvest Day is insightful, practical and compassionate. This book is inspiring, and an invaluable catalyst to raising awareness about local and sustainable food sources. This is a "we can do it" kind of story, and it leaves me with a greater-than-before desire to do more. I want chickens, and a bigger garden!

July 23, 2008

I'm this week's featured vendor at the farmers market! Come on down!

This week's write up for the market! Check out the farmers market crop report for what everyone will have this week! I'm this week's featured vendor! Isn't that exciting?! Come on out and see me! I'm giving away FREE travel sized rescue remedies with the purchase of any bagged tea or herbal blend!

Heather Luttrell CCH of Wild Vitality is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, Reiki Practitioner and Nutritionist. She is a Louisville resident and small business owner, with an office on Main Street where she sees clients by appointment for herbal/nutritional consultations and Reiki. Sign up with Heather to stay in the loop for class offerings this fall, and don't forget to enter the drawing for a FREE Reiki Session! (an $80 value!) Heather specializes in custom formulas, so please ask for what you need if you don't see it offered!

This week Heather has a special offer for all farmers market attendees! Buy one bagged tea or herbal blend, and receive a FREE travel sized bottle of Rescue Remedy! (while supplies last!) Rescue Remedy is a flower essence formula developed by Dr. Edward Bach, and is indicated in the patterns of imbalance of panic, disorientation, loss of consciousness, acute trauma or pain. The positive qualities that it conveys are calmness and stability in any emergency or time of stress. This is a great remedy to keep in your purse or car, for any circumstances when someone needs immediate help, before and after moments of difficulty, and for accidents or upsets. Its calming influence is especially helpful for children, animals and plants.

This week at the market, Heather will have:

· An assortment of culinary and medicinal herb plants

· Teas & herbal blends ~ tummy tea, nutritive tea, peace tea, demulcent drink, aphrodisiac infusion, tonic soup herbs and the much loved antioxidant bomb!

· Flower essence sprays ~ 5 flower/rescue remedy spray, Road Rage spray, No More Monsters spray

· White Sage Room Clearing Spray (think liquid smudge with extra goodness)

· No More Bugs! ~ no scary chemicals here! Reapply often to stay mosquito-free without DEET.

· White Sage Salve

· Handmade semi-precious gemstone beaded jewelry

July 22, 2008

I have a dream...

Somewhere in my future lies a charming, warm, inviting little healing center, surrounded by lush gardens, and filled with a multitude of delightful medicines. I envision a little cottage made of cob, a bit like a hobbit house. There will be a clinic room or two, a small foyer, a bathroom, a kitchen with a health department approved triple sink, and an herbal pharmacy. Nothing so large as to be cumbersome to maintain or pay for, but a place just right, just big enough for all who need it. The thickness of the cob walls will be a blessing, blocking out the sounds of the busy town around it, staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Maybe the foyer will be bigger, and not be a foyer at all, but an herb shop. I could see clients in the mornings, before the shop opens, and there would be classes and events, herb walks, and celebrations.

I would like to build that little healing center, and promote health, vitality and localization in my community. We could have a summer day camp for kids, where they could learn all about how to plant seeds in a garden, watch how the different plants grow, and learn what gifts those plants have to offer.

What a pleasant dream, this dream.

July 6, 2008

This week's Farmers Market feature - Tummy Tea!

The crop report is up! Here's my write up for this week, but do check out the link for all that will be offered!


Heather Luttrell CCH of Wild Vitality is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, Reiki Practitioner and Nutritionist. She is a Louisville resident and small business owner, with an office on Main Street where she sees clients by appointment for herbal/nutritional consultations and Reiki. Sign up with Heather to stay in the loop for class offerings this fall, and don't forget to enter the drawing for a FREE Reiki Session! (an $80 value!) Heather specializes in custom formulas, so please ask for what you need if you don't see it offered!

This week Heather will have:
  • an assortment of culinary and medicinal herb plants
  • teas & herbal blends ~tummy tea, nutritive tea, peace tea, demulcent drink, aphrodesiac infusion, tonic soup herbs, and the much loved antioxidant bomb!
  • Flower essence sprays ~ 5 flower/rescue remedy spray, Road Rage spray, No More Monsters spray
  • White Sage Room Clearing Spray (think liquid smudge with extra goodness)
  • Bug Spray ~ no scary chemicals here!
  • White Sage Salve
  • handmade semi-precious gemstone beaded jewelry

This week's featured product is Tummy Tea! Tummy tea, a favorite recipe amongst my colleagues, is a wonderfully healing blend of Calendula flowers, Chamomile flowers, Plantain leaves, Marshmallow root, Peppermint leaves, Fennel seeds and Licorice root.

Tummy tea
is helpful for those with digestive upsets, leaky gut, food allergies, dysbiosis, flatulence, diarrhea, and really most digestive "stuff". Tummy Tea won't get to the root of what's going on with you, but these herbs are great allies while you're figuring it out! I suggest drinking Tummy Tea 20 minutes before your meal, and/or after your meal. I recommend a quart a day for my clients with digestive maladies. For best results, use anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1 Tablespoon of herbs per cup of nearly boiling water, and brew covered for 20 minutes or so. I like my herbs floating freely in the water, and I strain them out right before drinking my tea. You can use the muslin bag that comes with your bag of Tummy Tea, or a simple kitchen strainer. French press pots and travel mugs are fantastic for brewing herbal teas! Sweeten to taste with honey or stevia and enjoy! The package is re-usable, compostable and biodegradable! Call me for a refill and I'll give you a discount!

June 4, 2008

Solar Cooking

I don't have one, but I want one! I remember reading a lifetime ago about a woman who used her solar oven to cook everything, including her Thanksgiving Turkey. Really? That's pretty cool, I remember thinking. And off I went, busy busy busy, working too much and living too little, to pay for life.

Life takes us a lot of places, and lately I've been trying to really go with the flow, and learn what I can along the way. I'm meeting interesting people, and the prevailing theme has been one of localization, sustainability, simplification, conservation, nourishment and love. Love for ourselves, love for each other, and love for the Pachamama. Gaia. Earth. Our very special Blue Planet.

They are compelling, the problems facing the environment and humanity. How do we lessen our impact? Of the many baby steps, many small changes, many meaningful actions that can be taken to make a difference, which ones speak to me? Which ones sound the easiest to implement? That's how I approach dietary changes with clients - what works best for you? What can you see as the easiest to integrate? We start from there, and the client makes more changes as he or she is willing and able. So, back to our environment - what can I do today that will make a difference? One of the experts who spoke in
The 11th Hour said that "people are doing the best that they can within their awareness." So raising awareness is crucial. There are so many people raising awareness, and it is heartening.

I think it is important to acknowledge what we are already doing, and build from there. I recycle, compost and use compact fluorescents, I try not to buy very many packaged foods, and I think about the lifespan of a product as I'm making my consumer choices. I bring my own mug to the coffee shop. I'm learning about cover crops and carbon sequestering, and this is the year of the organic market garden for me, with the goal of growing most of my produce and selling my surplus. I will preserve what doesn't sell. I try to support local businesses, and I buy grassfed meats. I eat wild greens (weeds!) as my first choice when I'm harvesting for meals.

That said, I have a lot of room for improvement. I was only barely aware that compact fluorescents are recyclable. I would like to use less gas. I'm trying to walk and ride my bike more, and drive my old beater truck whenever I can, instead of my Blazer. That old beater gets pretty good gas mileage. I would love love love a scooter (84MPG!), but that's a years in the future acquisition.

I think a solar oven is a really fun way to consume less fossil fuel! It has the appeal of a crockpot, with a set it and forget it kind of thing. I like that. I'm busy, and have lots of gardening to do! And then there's the farmer's market, continuing ed, and building my practice! What a cool way to spend less time cooking! The Solar Oven Society is a not for profit working to distribute solar ovens to sun rich but fuel poor countries around the world, and purchasing your oven through them furthers that goal. For the frugal do-it-yourselfers, I found plans for making your own solar oven online. Choices! I am especially fond of the cob solar oven, as it matches my cob dream house. I will probably make one of the box style ovens, they seem to be cardboard lined with foil. If I can acquire enough scrap lumber and an old window, I might make a sturdier oven. It ought to look a lot like a cold frame. Another benefit of solar cooking is that my kitchen will stay much cooler this summer!

So, lots of room for improvement, but a solar oven and more self-powered transportation sound like a good start to me, along with the continuing garden projects.

What do you do already, and what are you going to do?

May 22, 2008

Dandelions and other Wild Foods

I should start off by saying that my yard is a haven for dandelions. In fact, I encourage them ;) I'm sure my neighbors are horrified by the wildness of my lawn, but it makes my heart happy every time I lay eyes on it. I've long seen the importance of having a safe, pesticide and herbicide free place to harvest wild foods. I met a woman last week at the market who was so fearful of harvesting dandelions! She kept saying how you had to be so careful of pesticides. Well, there is truth to that. What are your neighbors doing, and does it run off into your lawn, or does the wind carry the vapors to your neck of the woods? These are important considerations. I am fortunate that I have rentals on both sides of me, with an alley out back. I purposely rented a house with a neglected lawn, that had been a rental for about 10 years before I moved in. Renters tend to neglect lawns, and the presence of dandelions and bare spots in the grass confirmed this for me. We also had just come out of several years of water restrictions. So, I earnestly set about encouraging my dandelions. (ha, I wonder how they would feel about being "mine"?) I water the dandelions, and make wishes whenever I can. This spring, as I sat in the front yard harvesting blossoms, I was delighted to discover that I was actually sitting in the middle of a nursery! There were big grandmother plants, and tiny little baby dandelions all throughout the lawn.

There is such a different energetic in wild foods. My breakfast today consisted of buffalo stew meat cooked with fresh shiitakes, onions, olive oil, garlic, barbeque sauce and greens! I wandered around my yard looking for the greens, and feel such deep gratitude that wild, nourishing, free food is there for the asking. I harvested some dandelion greens, and supplemented with spinach, kale and chard from my garden. It felt like a feast!

I have been weeding my garden, preparing to put in summer vegetables. It bothers me to weed. It feels so wasteful, to pull out perfectly happy plants. There is so much to weeding. It is compassionate, making room for others, and nourishing if you can find another use for those misplaced beauties. So, while I ate my breakfast I pulled out my beloved copy of Steve Brill's Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants. I love this book! He gives very good and detailed information, along with common sense cautions. The illustrations are amazing. Also, there are recipes! They are structured to be a guide, and to help you be creative in coming up with recipes of your own. He even breaks it down into habitats and seasons. According to Steve, I can make a salad with those wild lettuce leaves that I have been pulling out of my garden. I think I will include them with my cooked greens for dinner instead, and see how that goes. Some of them, the ones who have volunteered to grow in convenient places, places where veggies don't need to grow, are welcome to stay and grow to their full glory. They get big, at least 5 feet tall, and they make very good medicine. That post will be later in the summer.

As for now, I have leftover buffalo with fresh wild greens to eat for dinner, an old favorite book to read over, salves to make and gardens to build!

Green Blessings!

May 21, 2008

Living Ritual and the Power of Intent

Last night was the first gathering for the advanced apprenticeship I am participating in this summer. It is a 12 week journey, entitled Living Ritual and the Power of Intent.

We are in a time of great transformation, as individuals, as communities, as a society, and as a planet. The veil is thinner now, and our abilities to create and co-create lasting change are very real. We contribute to and co-create change every day, and as a result, the future is uncertain. Rather than feeling helpless due to this reality, feel inspired! It means that we can make a difference! The Call has gone out, and there are many who have heard and are responding, and many more who would like to respond, who feel the pull, but don't know what to do about it.

Live consciously, give back to your community, and conserve resources. Eat local, support small business, compost! There are many many ways to make a difference, and everything adds up. Look around you, and see the people in your community who are trying to make a difference. Talk to them, see what you can do to help! Maybe you have a great idea, and need resources, or maybe you are the resource. Be a part of the solution, in whatever small (or large) way works for you, speaks to you, feels good to you.

My homework for the next two weeks, until we meet again, is to actively engage in my daily personal practice, which involves meditation, movement and personal practice. To devote time to myself and my process daily will be a challenge. I am not used to taking such good care of myself. I am looking forward to building the discipline necessary to stick to it, to learn to stay, as there is a piece of my soul, ever growing and straining to occupy more space, that craves this activity, this devotion. I look forward to working with my commitment to deepen my connection to the Earth and making the world a better place through sustainability, education and becoming more involved with and in my community. I am so thankful for the web of support we have created in our group, and love the holding of that space.

The last piece of our homework is to watch The 11th Hour, a movie produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio about the state of affairs here on our Blue Planet. We are to watch with a friend, to share the process, because awareness and change is for everyone! Have you seen this movie? I would love to hear your thoughts, feelings and ideas about it! Please share!

Green Blessings,

May 20, 2008


Wow. It's so hard to
believe that I've graduated! I think I've gotten lost in the process, and can't see the forest for the trees. It's been all about plugging away, learning, writing up cases, reading cases, writing feedback, writing my thesis, etc for so long, that I don't quite know what to think now that it's finished. The learning continues eternally, of course, but the structure has fallen away to leave me with a glorious springtime in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Our ceremony was unbelievably lovely. It's been 15 years since I have
graduated from anywhere or anything, so I really didn't know what to expect. Penny organized the lovely space, Bobbie and her Mom did a fabulous job decorating, and Karen organized the compostable place settings. We all pitched in for a Nutritionist potluck, and I have got to say, the spread was amazing! I made Michael Moore's perversely decadent guarana fudge and a kava beverage to balance us out. It was a nice party! Family and Friends came out to honor us and celebrate with us, and for that I am truly thankful. There was so much love and support in the room.

It moves me to tears to realize that our graduation ceremony may be the last time I sit before Paul Bergner as he tells us wonderful stories to inspire us, bring us to deep reflection, and help us remember the lessons. He is a gifted storyteller, and would have made a very successful Bard, in those times. His generosity, compassion and vision are integral to the impact he has made upon all of our lives. I know that mine will never be the same. What a wonderful gift to humanity, to be a Teacher. I know that his rewards will be great.

With hardly a moment to breathe, or process the transition, my first day at the Louisville Farmers Market was Saturday. The weather was perfect Colorado Springtime, and it was the best opening day I've ever had at a market. I am inspired and hopeful. To be sustainable is my goal, and it will be lovely to make a go at it with the market and my private practice.

I've had my hands in the dirt every day, and have given up removing the last bits of soil from under my nails. I have been planting seeds, dividing and transplanting herbs, cleaning last year's dead wood, and hauling cinderblocks for my new veggie garden. I've eaten fresh, wild greens almost every day, and last night shared a meal of barbequed buffalo, greens and fingerling potatoes with a dear friend. I feel good about the work ahead of me, and hopeful. I meet more people every day with the vision of a greener, more sustainable life. It is heartening, and I welcome my place in this grassroots evolution.

May 5, 2008

My logo is done!

It's done! The logo is fantastic, and the business cards have been ordered! I'm excited, and it was absolutely worth the wait!

I've been seeing purple and green everywhere. My office, my tomato seedlings, the grape hyacinths that hypnotize the honeybees. Everywhere!

Graduation from NAIMH is May 15th, and the first day of the Louisville Farmer's Market is May 17th! Whew! There's enough to do for myself and clone, but it'll get done!

Last weekend I went to a really cool workshop put on by Mary Barnes, RH (AHG). I like her, she's one of my favorite teachers, and she's a formulation whiz! We percolated licorice root, infused comfrey oil and formulated a really nice muscle balm. Her tips and tricks were great, I learned new things! I love learning new things about topics I think I already have handled. I've been infusing oils and making tinctures for about 10 years, but I have never percolated a tincture before last weekend. The physics of it are really cool, and it's a great science project! Also, it solves the problem of how to get the last drops of precious tincture out of the marc. Delightful! Since the workshop, I've been dreaming of percolating tinctures, and it solves the problem of how to make what I need to make in time for the market.

What is this market I speak of? Louisville is finally getting a farmer's market! The organizers are organized, and understand the magic of good marketing. I'm hoping for a good turnout on May 17th, our first day. Come see me if you're in the area! I'll be set up on the corner of Walnut and Front Streets in Old Town Louisville, just off of Main Street. Head east when you see the barbershop! The hours are 9-2, and we are open every Saturday until October 25th. I am bringing herb and heirloom veggie plants, teas, tinctures and salves. Later I will have organic produce from my garden. It's going to be a great opportunity to meet and greet my community!

Come out and see us!

Green Blessings,
Heather Luttrell

April 29, 2008


Dandelions rock! I love them. I remember living in Michigan, and sitting in my Grandmother's front yard with the dandelions, just hanging out and getting to know them. It was a magickal feeling, communing with the dandelions, and pondering the gift of their medicine. As a little girl, we rubbed the flowers on our chins to see if we liked butter or not!

This sweet little dandelion lives in my front yard next to the walk, and I couldn't resist a picture, cozy the way it is with that grape hyacinth. They are two of the first flowers for the bees, and make me so happy. I "encourage" the dandelions in my yard, and this year there really are a lot of them. I always make a wish before I blow on the puffballs :)

Dandelions are an invaluable wild food, prolific and early, and full of vitality. I try to eat some almost every day as we come out of winter. The first day is a little odd, I'm never really sure how I feel about that bitterness. A funny thing happens to me on the second day. I can't stop thinking about dandelions! I begin to crave them.

Bitter is cold and dry energetically, the perfect flavor and energetic to lift the dampness and "stuck" feeling I have by the end of winter. My body craves fresh, wild foods.

Cooking with dandelions is so easy! I go outside with my steamer basket or a strainer, whatever I have handy. Look out across your lawn, and notice which plants call to you. You may think that some look brighter than others, or feel inexplicably drawn to some over others. These are the dandelions that are offering you their medicine. Be respectful of these beings, and thank them sincerely for their offerings. I always say "thank you" as I am harvesting. Take some from each plant, being careful to leave enough greenery behind to feed the plant.

Dandelion greens get more bitter as the season progresses, so later, when the bitterness becomes too much, you can pickle the leaves. Now, while the bitterness is tonic and pleasant, they make a nice addition to sauteed onions and mushrooms with garlic. I like to chop them and put them in soups, or make pesto! Dandelion pesto is fantastic! There are many many ways to prepare Dandelions. Be creative!

Last week I sauteed an onion with coconut oil in a saucepan until the onion was translucent. Then I added a can of pumpkin, a can of coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. While the soup was warming back up, I went out to my front yard and picked a basket of dandelion greens. Rinsed and chopped, they went into the soup. My friends raved about that soup! It was tasty, and was adapted from a recipe I found in Susun Weed's
Healing Wise. She has a really nice chapter on dandelions.

I also baked a salmon with rice and dandelion greens last week. I had high expectations, as everything that went into that pan was yummy! Turns out, according to my friend with a culinary degree, that I actually
poached the salmon instead of baking, and that's why it came out kind of bland. I sprinkled Old Bay, Dill and Garlic powder liberally over the salmon fillet (wild caught Alaskan), then poured 1 C of rice around the salmon, covered the rice with 2C of hot water (should have been something with some flavor, like veggie stock) and then put washed and chopped dandelion greens on top of the rice. Yum, right? Not so much. The fish was bland, as was the rice. I put tamari on it and that saved the day. Had I used veggie stock instead of plain water, it would have come out the way I had anticipated. Now I know, and so do you! I baked the salmon at 350 for about 45 minutes. Next time it will be as fabulous as I imagine.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a gorgeous day, followed by a cold and rainy/snowy day, so I'll be out bright and early to harvest dandelion blossoms. Susun Weed has a recipe for Dandelion Cordial that is calling to me! I'll stop by the liquor store on the way home for some really nice Vodka, and keep you posted on the results!

Green Blessings!

April 20, 2008

2008's first sunburn

It's spring!! I know we've all known this for awhile now, but I am finding myself filled with the realization and reveling in this crazy season. Spring here is contrary, sometimes we experience 70 degree days followed by cold snowy days, or frosty nights. I love it! The second round of tulips are up, the grape hyacinths are all abuzz with happy honey bees, and the lovely little Lemon Balm in my garden has woken up.

I planted pansies as soon as I could, and some violas just went in. I tucked spinach and swiss chard amongst the blooms, hidden in plain sight on my front porch. Kale babies are nested in the holes of the cinderblocks that make up my garden. The dandelions! I love them :) Today I picked dandelion greens to doctor up my soup, and they were stupendous! There's just something about that bitter goodness that makes me wonder the firs
t day of spring that I visit with them, and crave them every day thereafter. I even overheard an older couple walking down the sidewalk comment about cooking dandelion greens, as they witnessed me harvesting in my front yard.

Yesterday I took Athena to the dog park, wandered briefly at Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat, and walked to work in the evening. This was enough to earn me my first sunburn of the year :) It's just a little burn, and not painful at all. I am happy for spring and my war paint to prove it!

Walden Ponds is an interesting place, and I hadn't visited it before. Funny, I've lived in Boulder County for 6 1/2 years now, and haven't ever been. It's beautiful, and another of those great dichotomies of our culture. "Walden Ponds Wildlife Habitat is located 5 miles northeast of Boulder, ½ mile south of the Jay Road and North 75th Street intersection on the west side of North 75th Street." link ~ The site used to be a gravel pit, and is now reclaimed, having turned into a very important wildlife habitat. It is fed by Boulder Creek, and is the transient home to many species of migratory birds. While I was there yesterday, there were red winged blackbirds singing, lots of Canadian Geese, an otter and a flock of really cool looking white birds with black edges on their wings. These were big birds with long legs, and without binoculars, I was clueless as to their actual identities. Gorgeous in flight. As you drive in, this beautiful sanctuary is on your right, you've just driven past a verdant pasture with horses grazing, and then there are piles of reclaimed asphalt and dirt on the left. Dichotomy. Regardless, this is an excellent place to go for fishing, birdwatching and simple enjoyment of nature. It could make for a nice out and back hike, as well. I'll be back on a day when I have good shoes and a hat!

April 11, 2008

My Speciality...

I am a very busy woman, and I wear many different hats. I am a Healer. Student. Gardener. Entrepreneur. Daughter. Doberman’s Person. Friend and Sister. Conservationist. Feminist. Environmentalist. Idealist. Worm lover! Musician. Wise Woman. Vitalist…

I don’t have time for things that don’t work, or that take so long to work that you’re never really sure if they’re working at all! I like to see and feel results. I am a fan of what works. Reiki works. Flower and Gem essences work. Herbalism and Nutrition work. Spiritual bathing works. There is much in the world that works, but I can only speak to what I know.

I love it when after a Reiki session my client is riding out the door on the Bliss Train. I love the wonderful allies we have in essences, and their bringing-us-back-into-balance medicine! I love the life-altering effects of getting to the root of chronic illness through Diet, Lifestyle and Herbs! I love the way Spiritual Bathing can touch the things we often do not have names for, but sometimes do, and wash them away with warm, messy, colorful buckets of Sacred Water. I love the Magick and Wisdom of Wild Places, and the insights gained from quiet moments spent in solitude.

I am often asked what I specialize in. People want to know what I prefer; Reiki, Herbs or Nutrition. I have difficulty answering this question when put on the spot, as I have been busy following my heart along the Student/Healer path, and hadn’t really thought about a specialty before. I thought I should spend some time and really think about what I would like to say.

"I am a Healer, and I have many tools in my Medicine Bag. The tools that are brought out depend upon what that Person needs and is open to receiving. Everyone is unique, and so I specialize in plans, formulas and strategies tailored to the needs of the Person in front of me. My approach is Wholistic, and my intention is to treat People like People, instead of like a presenting set of symptoms."

You could say I specialize in making the world a better place, little bits at a time.

Green Blessings,

Heather Luttrell

March 25, 2008


I read somewhere once, so long ago that I don't remember where it came from, about a woman who improved the soil everywhere she ever lived. That idea has stuck with me ever since. Grassroots movements need good soil to grow, and I think we're all a grassroots movement in our own little ways. It's when we find each other and join forces that the movement, well, moves!

Composting, in all it's dusty, dirty, damp, wormy and rotting wonderfulness is a small way each of us can improve the Earth, in a very literal way. When we bag our grass clippings and leaves and send them away, be it to the landfill (please don't!) or recycling center, we are effectively mining our properties of nutrients. The chemical fertilizers many of us resort to to put those nutrients back into our soils actually degrade our soils, and reduce the nutrition in what we grow in those soils. Why pay someone to mine our yards and then pay another company to give us back the nutrients we just sent away, but of a sub-standard quality?

This tumbling compost bin was my birthday present to myself. It is a batch style composter, which means you fill it up, add a bit of activator, moisten and tumble it daily for 4-8 weeks. Voila! Compost is done and ready to be added to your garden, enriching the soil, and making for bigger tomatoes. This is great, but then what do you do with your yard and kitchen wastes while a batch is cooking? Costco to the rescue, with a very reasonably priced and enormous compost bin, pictured on the right. A pile works just as well, but I have a precocious dog (Athena) who loves to eat anything she can get ahold of, and even better if it's in some stage of decomposition.

Google provides tons of information about the hows, whys and why nots of composting. It can be as simple or as complicated as you have the time and inclination for. A big pile in a corner of the yard works just fine, and it'll be done when it's done. Nature doesn't need our help to make things rot, it's the way of things!

What if you're impatient to get that black goodness, like I am? I have veggies to plant this spring, and they will be happier with a nice top dressing of compost. Well, then there are guidelines. Ratios of greens vs. browns. Greens are things like fresh grass clippings, kitchen scraps and, yes, even coffee grounds. Greens are fresher, moist, and nitrogen-rich. Browns are things like dead leaves, dry grass clippings, and shredded paper. They are carbon rich and dry. Ideally, you are looking for an equalish parts of greens and browns, and you should water your compost to be moist, but not soggy.

Air is important for decomposition, so don't soak your pile! You can turn your pile periodically to keep it aerated, which is why the tumbler is so fantastic. It's much easier that turning with a pitchfork, and less messy. Some people set up a three bin system with pallets and chicken wire, turning the pile from one bin into the next, with finished compost ending up in the last bin. I like this method, both for it's simplicity and containment, but Athena would like it even more.

Compost piles that sit directly on the ground have an advantage over piles that are contained in a tumbler. Critters. Microbes, insects, worms, and other miscellaneous and extremely valuable agents of decomposition. Help out the helpers by converting what you put in the compost into as small of pieces as possible. More surface area = faster decomposition. They've got little mouths! Consider putting your kitchen scraps in the blender before you dump them in the pile, if you're impatient like me :) You can buy compost activators at your local garden center. The one I found is made by Age Old Organics. Soil Bio-Activator & Compost Accelerator (Kelp Meal Granular) We'll see how it works, but this is a good company, and the product came highly recommended.

OK, so what can't go in the bin? Basically, anything that rots will, given enough time. Sticks, however, take a very long time. It's best to save them for the chipper or take them to the recycle center. That said, don't put meat, dairy, greasy scraps or pet wastes into your bin, or you're likely to attract vermin, and it's going to smell pretty rank. However, waste from herbivores can go in the compost. (rabbits, hamsters, goats, sheep, etc.) A healthy pile shouldn't stink. If it does, it probably needs to be aerated, and make sure your food scraps are buried.

Your compost is done when it doesn't look like what you put in it anymore! It should be dark, moist, and smell like the earth in the springtime. Forget oil, this is the true black gold! Crumbly and dark, you can use it to top dress existing plantings, or mix into the soil in preparation for a new garden. Backyard composting is the ultimate localization of resources. You don't use any fossil fuels to transport anything, unless you buy a prefabricated bin (made of recycled plastic), and the rewards are substantial.

What are you waiting for? Go get dirty!

March 22, 2008

Wild Vitality!

Wild Vitality
After much consideration, brainstorming, soul searching, thesaurus utilization, meditation and dreaming, I have decided to name my practice Wild Vitality.

It’s a tough thing, finding words to express in a "pearl" all that I am offering, but Wild Vitality does it! I was meeting with Amber, my highly skilled metal smith and web designing friend, when I realized that Avena’s Herbs sounds like an herb shop (5 year plan) and would be misleading once painted upon my office window. How to wrap Herbalist, Nutritionist, Reiki Practitioner, Vitalist, Fun, Organic, Growing, Movement, Healing, Change and ENERGY all into one little pearl? One little pearl with the big job of being the name for my website and my clinical practice, and having the ability to grow with me for 10 years or more?

Wild Vitality
Heather Luttrell
Certified Herbalist
Reiki Practitioner
Providing Momentum for Personal
Evolution on All Levels

What better day to decide upon such a great name? The moon is full and the Spring Equinox today is full of the promise of flowers and verdant green. There are crocuses blooming in my garden, along with the spring shoots of Valerian, bronze fennel and Comfrey. There was a tough little catnip volunteer, but Medea ate it a week or so ago. I planted some purple pansies last week, and this weekend’s projects involve assembling the stand for my compost tumbler, spring cleaning in the yard and garden, planting onion sets and sowing seeds for kale, spinach, beets and carrots under a floating row cover.

Today is the day the Earth wakes up, although many of us have noticed her stirrings for awhile now. Today the Wheel of the Year turns with a Wild Vitality. Green Blessings!

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