Pantry Pickles~ Cold and Flu Workshop at Neighbor’s Market!

Serendipity Plant Lore’s

Pantry Pickles Cold and Flu Workshop at

Neighbor’s Market!

Come and learn some old-fashioned and time proven methods for strengthening your beautiful body against viral villains by shopping in your cupboard and making your own villain stoppers! If you do succumb to a group of viral villains, learn to shorten your illness, make the bad villains good friends in an effort to strengthen the bodacious immune system! Together, we will get our hands messy with folklore, put together pantry pickles; listen to stories about emerging from immune suppression and planting the seeds of nurtured health. We will make strong and strange potions that are effective supporters of our unique lives. Learn the difference between innate and acquired immunity and how to stave off secondary infections. Learn to treat yourself to your own body wisdom and body cures!

This class is messy and is potluck; please bring a dish to share, your own mug, fork, spoon, plate and napkin. Be prepared to smell interesting smells, taste interesting tastes, and enjoy stories while we craft ourselves into wholeness and wellness!

Workshop Date: Saturday, January 7th, 2012

When: 2:30-4:30’ish PM

Where: Neighbor’s Market

Cost: $35.00

Supplies to Bring: Dish to share, Mug, Fork, Spoon, Plate and Napkin, Pen and Paper

Register with Neighbor’s Market or Summer Michaelson

(c) 2011, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH


Come and Join the Discussion on Local Sustainability at Neighbor’s Market!

Each one of us is responsible for our share of choices. Claiming that power, tho’, is a daunting step at first…the power of choosing what to do every day of our lives. Choices add up, whether it be junk food or whole food, driving around making extra, unplanned trips or consolidating sources and carpooling or walking. Big box supermarket or a small locally owned market that buys from locals? Do you check in with your local farmers to see if they have an item or can raise an item, or do you head right away for a computer deal? Do you subscribe to the myth that buying local is expensive? What is possible for individuals in our community? Are people waiting for leaders or are people waiting for themselves to step up? Who knows what will happen at this discussion, but I think that the more of us that show up and participate, the greater likelihood of inspiration flowing out into the community!

This cozy discussion will take place next Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 7PM at Neighbor’s Market. Some of my questions and thoughts are above, what are yours?

Summer Michaelson, Community Herbalist

Azure Cut-off is almost here!

It is almost here! We have a day and a half before Azure order cut-off!!!

Box of oranges has been split and is closed. Thank you’s to the splitters!!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday and enjoying some jolly time with friends and family! See some of you folks next Monday at my house, and hopefully more souls next Tuesday at Neighbor’s Market for the community talk on sustainability, where we can share ideas!

To everyone, I hope you and yours have a very Happy New Year! May blessings, gratitude, love and appreciation be the norm for the coming year, and may laughter find its way into all the crooks, crevices and crannies of our blooming community!

Summer Michaelson

Winterweed Love! Winterweed Seed!

Winterweed Love! Stellaria media…also known as Chickweed is nowadays considered a pesky garden weed. Where did this idea come from? Is there any possibility that this new, culturally ingrained idea worked its way into the modern lawn-scape so as to be sold products to fight with it? If you have Winterweed Love or Starlady Splendor…don’t fight with her! Make peace with her, feed yourself for free and glow with the vitamins and minerals she provides! I know I have written and spoken much about Stellaria media, but looking out on this frosty day to a pot outside with fresh greens that mysteriously appeared, I couldn’t help it!Angel Sightings! 001

Winterweed is one of Stellaria media’s common names…because she often appears here and there in winter. In fact…she appears all over the place…from Alaska down to Mexico! She has…what appears as ten white petals…which are actually five petals that are deeply lobed. Her pointy…oval leaves grow in opposite pairs along her stem. A significant identification can be made when one examines her stem closely…there will only be one row of hairs growing along one side. As we remember…that individual plants sometimes have slightly different characteristics…we won’t be surprised when we see a stem that has a secondary hairly line that is much smaller opposite. This may or may not be there…but both are Winterweed. There is another plant called Mouse-ear Chickweed or Fuzzy Chickweed (Cerastium fontanum spp. vulgare) which is fuzzy all over!

Winterweed is one of the seven spring herbs that is used in the Festival of the Seven Herbs in Japan on January 7th…a celebration for the coming spring by eating the few greens that are starting to peak through..combined with rice. This celebration helps to bring health and longevity into the spring season and the year ahead…and it is little wonder! Winterweed helps the kidneys with its diuretic actions and paves the way for better digestion with its slightly laxative qualities. Full of vitamins and minerals, including trace selenium, it is a preferable choice to any bottle of vitamins! To prepare a nourishing infusion…steep one ounce of dried herb to a quart of water for four hour hours or overnight. Strain and drink in the morning.

Winterweed makes a great poultice for rashes and skin complaints as well as rheumatic pains. Helps to bring mother’s milk in and to increase its richness. The whole plant, including the precious seed, is a favorite of chickens and has the added benefit of making chicken eggs most nutritious as well as helping to eliminate egg binding problems in layers if access is regularly included in a free range chicken’s diet. Even the old wives say that chickweed is good for reducing weight, and modern science shows us that she contains fat dissolving saponins. She makes wonderful skin healing ointments, salves and lip balms.

Winterweed especially loves to grow in damp, well drained areas, and especially overturned garden soil/pots and fields. She is numerous, plentiful and free. Her leaves makes great nutritive vinegars, which eaten raw in a salad or tossed at the end of a stir-fry or soup, gently cooked in rice or taken by the teaspoon before a heavy meal is a boon to digestion. She has a pleasing and green flavor, and in this herbalist’s opinion, tastier than many cultivated greens! Did I say that she is free? Free to those who find her free spirit and let her thrive when garden plots and pots aren’t in use. She pops in and out with the seasons…here…over there…now here…so let her move where she will…garden when its time…let her live…eat her when its time…and you will have a cycle and circle of Winterweed Love that nourishes and tonifies with Love!

(c) 2011 Summer Michaelson

Rumex obtusifolius…Our Wonderful and Common Nourishing Friend!

The dock family…who doesn’t love this family? The buckwheat family, Polygonaceae, includes many useful edible and medicinal plants! Let’s focus on one which grows incredibly well and just about everywhere in our Pacific Northwest climate.  Rumex obtusifolius…otherwise known as Broad Leafed Dock or Bitter Dock is one of the plants/herbs/doorstep weeds that is an aid to human beings. The leaves themselves make a wonderful poultice for nettle stings…as my son Ben found on an afternoon hiking. Ben lost his footing on a downhill trek and reached out for support to prevent a fall. He reached out to another one of our favorite plants…a nice tall and sturdy Nettle (Urtica diocia). Well…as I watched in what seemed slow motion…Ben grabbed the Nettle sturdily before I could grab him…and he had himself a nice sting! Dock growing nearby came to the rescue! We made an emergency poultice by chewing some dock leaves and spitting them out in our hands to put on the sting. You can achieve the same result at home in a blender…but in the woods the old fashioned blender is the mouth!

The greens are high in oxalic acid and tannins and can work to eliminate some types of warts and other pesky skin problems. While it is not a cure for poison ivy or poison oak exposures…it certainly is a plant to make use of in the woods or at home to mitigate some of the itching effects!

The very new growth of leaves can be eaten raw in salads…but the larger leaves need to be boiled a good ten minutes before being added to a soup. The seeds are edible and if you’re willing to sift the seed bracts can be toasted then rolled in peanut butter and honey balls or ground into flour.

The stalks dry out in the fall and are hollow so make a wonderful kindling that is kind to trees. Many of our garden plants produce nice stalks that dry for kindling…don’t overlook this abundant resource if you heat or cook by fireplace or woodstove!

Let’s get down to the meat of this plant…the long taproots that are nicely yellow colored. They are yellow and full of nutrients including iron and calcium…as well as a range of vitamins and trace minerals. A tincture can be made from the fresh dug roots that is very nutritive and perfect for anyone struggling with anemia preparing for pregnancy or menopause. The roots have a laxative effect. Both the roots and leaves increase the body’s production and flow of bile entering the intestine…which in turn helps digestion…especially of dietary fats. This plant is a clear example of the bitter principle put to very good use for healthier organs. It’s buddy Rumex crispus (yellow dock) both help with low stomach acid conditions. These plants are mild diuretics. Their taproots grow deep…pulling up from the earth life building elements. Even pharmaceutical companies are making products from them. Why buy when you can dig them up everywhere and use them in their whole…tonic form? Just a thought to put out roots!

If you are bothered by these plants…don’t spray them away! Take care of your weed problem by digging them up and using their tonifying nutrition so you have greater energy for digging…which saves you money from excess expenditures on supplements…the gym…and healthcare. Get to know your invisible plant Brothers and Sisters…live frugally and in rhythm with your surroundings!

I’ll leave here with a re-posting of an Ode to Dock!


A Dock for you, a Dock for me

A Dock for all the splendid company

You’re bitter to your root

You sting my buds

You’re best well cooked

In a change of fluids

Your roots make tea

An extract you see

The leaves are a potherb

Just to give a little blurb

The seeds can be thrashed

To be smashed, toasted

Popped and roasted

They grow everywhere

Wild and weedy

A poultice for stings

Are just the right thing

Baby leaves are bopping

To make a salad topping

Stalks dry out good

For burning like wood

If you’re in need

Go harvest some seed!


© 2011 Summer Michaelson

Serendipity Plant Lore’s Wintry Autumn Herbal Workshop at Neighbor’s Market in Two Days!!!

Put up some edible brews for wintertime sniffles, joyous whiffs and holiday gifts!

This Autumn herb class will cover fun, edible, sometimes delicious and sometimes strange concoctions that nourish the body and spirit. Together, we will prepare nourishing infusions, syrups, vinegars, medicinal honey’s and other fantastic, nurturing fun! This class is a ‘happening’ and hands on work-shop, so come prepared to roll up your sleeves and play! This class is also potluck, so please bring a dish to share, as well as your own mug, fork, spoon and napkin.

Be prepared to smell interesting smells, taste interesting tastes, and get your hands dirty with folklore!


Where: Neighbor’s Market, Main Street Vancouver, WA

When: Thursday, December 8th from 6:30 PM-8:30 PM

Cost: $35 (cash or check only)

Materials to bring: A dish to share, a mug, fork, spoon and napkin

What a wonderful potluck!!!

Woke up this morning feeling SO GRATEFUL for this beautiful, wonderful community! Azure delivery was a blast. Our heat was restored to our house (some naughty neighborhood cats had ruined the duct work)…and just in time for this super cold wintry spell! The day finished off with a potluck with household barter and trading, and a collection of goodies for the Share Orchards Inn, a local shelter just down the road from the house.

Goodies we all collected last night for the shelter:

Wrapping paper, Ribbons, Books, Boxed and Canned Food, Sweater, Coloring Book, Herbs and Spices, Crochet Thread, Kitchen stuff and more!

I’m kind of thinkin’ this is somethin’ we all should do more often! Here’s to a wonderful, wonderful winter! 🙂