Accepting Applications for 2016!

Accepting Applications for Apprenticeship Programs with Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies for 2016!

Serendipity Plant Lore is accepting applications for 2016 Planting Love, Red Cedar Love, and Black Poplar Love Programs!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Interviews will be scheduled from September until December, 2015. Serendipity Plant Lore’s Programs start in February and March, 2016!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our first year program “Planting Love” and our second year program “Red Cedar Love” cover the fundamentals of Wild Foraging, Plant Healing, Biological Systems, Botany, and Anatomy, for the Home Herbalist and for the Professional Community Herbalist. These programs are geared towards healers learning and having first hand experiences of Plant/Human Relationship, Stewardship, Biology, Wild Foraging and Plant Identification, Ecosystem Awareness, Field Training, Healing Autism and Other Neurological Diseases, Intestinal Health, Emergency Medicine, Immunity, Degenerative Diseases, Spirituality, Working with the Psycho Spiritual Aspects of Plants, Midwifery Herbs and Deathwifery Herbs, Nutrition and the Olde Ways of Unlocking Plant Knowledge handed down through my families own Healing Tradition. There are further clinical apprenticeships available for Community Herbalists, such as Black Poplar Love and Community Herbalist Love Programs, please send an email for details!DSC_0364

These programs will FUN from March through November 2016.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Email to receive details, dates, and registration information!

(c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical StudiesDSC_0386

All rights reserved.


November Happen-in’s, Azure, Salt Splits, Herbs and More! :)

WELCOME TO THE WORLD BABY ZACHARY!!! Congratulations Velazquez FAMILY!!! 🙂 

Howdy Folks! It’s time to talk about November Orders, Happenings and Events, Herbs and Teas! 

Our Azure Standard Ordering Cut-Off is this next Friday, November 1st at 4 PM! Pickup is the following Tuesday, November 5th. Please note a change in pickup times, pickup is now from 3-6 PM to allow space for splits between delivery and pickup. If you have a specific need, please contact me to arrange a pickup time prior to delivery…otherwise, I do ask that you please pick up your order and splits during the group time on the delivery day! Thank you!!! 

For those new to Azure, please give Azure Standard a call to get a free member number (then you can see prices!) and provide the drop point information. From then on out, you’ll be able to place orders directly inside the Azure Standard Website!  

Drop Point #

Vancouver, WA  (send an email if you’re local for details)

If you have questions, please shoot me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can! 

Salt Splits! We’re opening three bulk buys this month.  

The first is the Fabulous Himalayan Sea Salt, beautiful, red flaked and fine. $1.60 a bagged pound. 

The second salt is another equally beautiful salt called Celtic Sea Salt@ $2.90 a bagged pound. 

The third salt is Redmond’s Real Salt @ $2.30 a bagged pound. 

Thank you to our member Helen S. who is bringing down lovely bay leaves for our group to share this next delivery day. Thank you Helen for always thinking of us when you trim your tree!!!!! 

Workshop Announcements! This Tuesday is a Pear Pickling Party at Neighbors Market on Main Street Vancouver! If you would like to attend, please read the details in my blog post…and if you have an extra counter top stove burner, please bring it on down, I have a feeling we’re really going to be partying!!! DIGITAL CAMERA
On Saturday, November 9th is our Next Olde Fashioned Preserving the Autumn Harvest Workshop where we will learn even more about olde and healthy methods of preserving foods naturally and to the highest nutritional benefit with the lowest amount of electricity. I haven’t done the write up for this workshop yet, but here is the description for the one Serendipity Plant Lore did last weekend at Neighbor’s Market. Please shoot me an email if you would like to register, I am encouraging pre-payments as this enables me to know what I need in supplies! Thank you!
Share Orchards Donation Round-Up: Many of you have gathered things with me that we have swapped and donated down to the Share Orchards Inn, which is a 30 day Shelter for those people in need, especially families, children, and people with disabilities, to get back on their feet again. I feel very good about the work happening there, and many of us continue monthly to gather belongings to donate…but sometimes I forget to put the notice out. That said, got extra food, clothes, things in good condition you would like to offer to the group for barter and trades or for donation? Bring them down!!! Anything not taken at the end of pickup will get packed up and donated to Share Orchards Shelter directly by me!
Koya Designs (Herbalist Pat Wilson’s Creations)~ High Quality Shea & Coconut Balms $13.50, Italian Herb and Spice Blend and Pat’s (FAMOUS) Mexican Spice, $6.50 a bottle. Beautiful hand-crafter crocheted bags and washcloths by member Christine of Christine’s Creations, each $7.50.
Serendipity Plant Lore Herbal Tea Offerings~
Serendipity Plant Lore has beautiful hand grown, hand sourced, sustainable and ethically wild-crafted herbal teas for $7 a box/sack. Each of the tea offerings has been used by this herbalist for many decades to aid health, enjoyment and vitality, recovery from many health problems. They have “lived” with me for so long, they have become part of me, and I am excited to have these offerings which truly support our family and the work as I continue my ongoing education and offering sliding scale consultations for those in need. Customs blends also available. Choose from:

~Lovin’ Liver Tea (your liver will be happy!)

~Summer Time Afternoon Tea (relaxing and sweet)

~Great Grandmother Gertrude’s Memory Lovin’ Tea (brain cell oxygenating crew!)

~Green Tonic Tune (tuning cells and soul together!)

~Vanilla Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)

~Cinnamon Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)

~Great Gert’s Cold Hand and Foot Tea (circulatory warming tea for the cold)

~Galloping Gertrude’s Tea (relaxing and locally nutritious)

~Flu Flummox Tea (just befuddle your flu bugs in style!)

~Arabian Summer Tea (a tea to remind you of the smells of an Arabian Love Garden, with plants that touch our center, build up the immune system, and sweep away what needs to be swept away.)

~Shepherd’s Tea! When you want to corral those irksome viral beings and nondescript inflammatory triggers, what you need is a Shepherd to round ‘em up and over the bluff!

~Organic Olive Leaf Tea, an anti-viral, anti-oxidant tea to ward off the minions of Mordor!

~Delicious Radheish Chai!

~Organic Greek Oregano,the Incredible Edible of Viral Busting (and seasoning)! 

Not all teas are listed, I have many others drying or dried that haven’t made “the list” yet. If you would like Chamomile,Lemon Balm, Orange Mint, Peppermint, Spearmint, Rosehips,Rue,Motherwort, Comfrey and more, please give a hollar!! I’m still harvesting and drying, so doin’ my best to fill orders! Most tea herbs that are available are extras, and help support many projects happening at this Herbstead. Thank you for your support!

Holiday Scrubs!

Serendipity Plant Lore has boxes of lovely Bath Salts available for $7 a box. These are a combination of beautiful salts that are whole and lovely and good for a range of conditions, above all, beauty and enjoyment! Pamper yourself, or “treat” yourself with the following, made to order goodies that are organic, with no chemicals and only pure ingredients:

~Rosemary Pecan

~Mandarin Lime

~Candy Cane

~Balsam Rose

~Winterlyptus Land

~Lavender Sage Love

Gulyas Blessings!
Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

An Herbalist’s Table…Csalad!

An Herbalist’s Table. Tables are important to Herbalists, this time of year. They are full of harvested items waiting for hands to dry, ferment, cook, preserve, make healing and edible items with. Through all history, the hands of people have worked with plants, with foods, to make homes, families, health, festivities, survival, as well as part of every Holy festivity and occasion. In fact Holy, is everything of life, in life, EVERYTHING. How hands make Holy, working Holy, all food contains Spirit and Medicine. All Herbs contain Medicine and Spirit.


There’s nothing wrong with progress, but when we leave off the work of the hands, of the hands on Holy, the Sacred within Creation, our Family and our Lives, progress has only made peoples in developed nations skill dependent, which fuels a thirst for more from the environment than can be sustained. Not only more is required from the environment, which is our living home and has been renamed “resources”, but our thirst for cutting away the Holy of all life, makes us want and want more everything. More everything is always available to us, when we open our hands, or dig in our soil, or commune with our land. Our body comes from the land, every medicine of existence sits in our hand. The water that we drink to nourish the basis of all life is a Sacred Stream.

What have we done to pollute the Sacred Streams? To wage war against our small farmers to make way for machines and plants with animal genes and toxic chemicals woven into their DNA, war on the Herbalists who provide basic plant medicines and healing knowledge to prevent, maintain and preserve health, and move spiraling health processes back around to healing processes. Surgeries are great medicine, in the context of a condition needing  BIG medicine, but developed societies have forgotten the knowledge of their families, la familia, csalad. Loss of this knowledge means everything is for sale, and all experiences in life turn into needing BIG medicine. Bypassing the small medicine, leads to a greater dependence and necessity of big medicine. Big medicine is a gift to our world, but this too, has been abused in developed nations.


We remember, that great advances are only built on the practical knowledge of the peoples, built on the land. We remember, Cesarean Birthing should only EVER be used in a true emergency, not as a candy pill. Old ways of old women moving babies around with hands, should always be used first. Hands of ones Mother moving baby into birth position. In just a century, few women remember or know of the hands, the healing of hands, and now, these decisions are all made in contexts of people operating machines, learning from books, arguing about books without knowing the healers behind them or having transmitted the way of healing.

Yet, some of us remember, some of us are directly descended from those who lived their lives without machines, and remember. I remember my Great Grandmother, and living over 100 years, mowing her large lawn, raising her own fruits and vegetables, hand making all her own food, and food enough for an army of a family. Living alone. She ate what she could grow, of her surroundings. She made her own clothes, her own bedding, her own afghans.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The sewing and the weaving of a life, the sewing and weaving of health, the sewing and weaving of story back when story of ones life was built day by day, by choices, by meanings, by craft, by family. Then the story of ones life is handed down, with meaning. Storytelling not of fiction, but of something real, really lived. It’s a handed down tale of personal heritage, of the lessons learned, of character revealed, from living.

One’s story is ones medicine for the next generation, it informs them of the trials and tribulations of living a real life. Real life is always stranger, more exciting than fantasy, more fearsome then the greatest dragons imagined. Real life is more drinkable then commercially bottled water from what WERE public reservoirs and drinking sources. Real life is the battle we reach for everyday to live authentically, and without fear.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Under the beautiful and glittery TV commercials, our ways of real life may seem so simple, so lived, so real. Waking up at 3 AM in the morning to tend to a toddlers ear infection is a matter of healing course, of gentle stimulation through herbs, of nourishment…not a mad run to the emergency room for a prescription that kills all the bacteria in ones bodies non-selectively, worsens viral conditions, and doesn’t guarantee the infective bugs have died off in the ear, but guaranteeing temporary symptom reductions while those bugs who survive are stronger and more aggressive, with less friendly bugs to keep them in check.

Such a philosophy seems counter to progress, but look deeper. Progress, has been something sold to us, for sale. Antibiotics from hospitals, when used in serious life threatening conditions are more liable to work and save your life in situations of real need, IF one hasn’t been dissolving their fear of life in them by frequent administration over very tiny ailments, easily treated at home. If one has been dissolving their fear of life in frequent antibiotic administration, then one may find, in a truly life endangering situation, the antibiotics will not work.

We take our hands, our women hands, and our man hands, we remember the hands, we remember the skills, we remember health, we remember life. Placing Life in our hands, we learn and skill ourselves again. We ask for help from other hands when we need, but we are wise, we use our hands, and know what, who, and when to ask, as we feel through out hands the work that we do. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Otherwise, modern era progress gives temporary treats to de-land and de-skill folks. When one wakes up one day, in a very polluted environment with no land, and no basic skills, needing to buy everything, one realizes. Then one is in poverty of a sort that is deeper, unable to live on the land. The RESOURCES have all be sold. The tilled Earth has grown cheap junk, instead of abundance of a harvest that deeply nourishes.

There is no such thing as resources, please remember. Please remember the HANDS, the hands of all the Women and all the Men that have come before us, working with plants, birthing babies, sewing, making, shaping, loving, kneading of breads and open to the Spirit of Love. Remember the harvesting of medicines, before greedy pharmaceutical and supplement manufacturers remove everything from the wild. The price isn’t the cost you see, but the cost that life bears when we have forgotten our hands, our responsibility for stewardship, the renewing of all life.

I have been writing a bit less this week, as my own hands are very busy, just now, this season. My hands are harvesting, preserving, raising, loving, preparing winter gardens and winter classes, making live medicines. The late summer bump is the busiest time for an Herbalist, when Earth is still dreaming and the harvests come in. When she wakes in the winter, we’ll move into the working with the deep organs of our bodies, while drinking and eating of the summertime life!  Wake up to your family, to your healing traditions, it’s time!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

Of Corn and Nettles…Andras Farkas, Jr and LOVE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf Corn and Nettles…,,3217131-8137701,00.html

Click on sample song #10. You’ll find love! Nettles increase the neurotransmitter dopamine, as does beautiful, passionate Hungarian Gypsy music!

Nettle is a grounding and dreaming herb at the same time. She brings the nervous system and endocrine system into alignment along the arc of the spinal cord. Balancing blood ph, SHE builds blood with her trace mineral and protein content. She has a strong anti-oxidant capability due to her high chlorophyll and trace mineral content. As a diuretic, she helps the body to release its uric acid, and is an anti-inflammatory. Nettle (Urtica dioica) also works as an anti-histamine, and if a person is prone to allergies, one may be able to turn this whole situation around by building up the body and resting the inflammatory response! I’ve done so with my son, changing his body’s response to a severe bee allergy over a period of time with Nettle.

She contains an amazing amount of bio available calcium and magnesium. Setting those rock supplements aside, which are not small enough for the body to absorb and utilize efficiently, drinking Nettle will save a ton of money and improve health,  osteopenia and osteoporosis. Recent studies show many concerns that taking calcium supplements actually increases the rate of heart disease in folks.

I would say there is nothing new under the sun, healing doesn’t come from a bottle in most cases. Just as refined salt is terrible and hurts the body and kidney function, and is not natural (unrefined salt contains all the trace minerals of the ocean, which is found in the exact same balance in our blood), taking calcium from rock sources (limestone) instead of predigested Plant and Animal sources (Nettles, Wild Greens, Dandelions, Raw Milk, Bone Broth, Fish with Bones) makes no sense other than a marketing scheme. We are so intertwined with the other life forms on this precious planet, can we come to see this living vision?

Sweet Nettle contains choline and acetylcholine, which are building blocks for and a neurotransmitter in organisms. Dear Nettle plays a roll in slowing down Alzheimer’s Disease, and helps people with organic brain disorders have better motor and cross connective control. Especially, these days, in an environment that is filled with organophosphate insecticides and pesticides, one must take protective measures that are as ancient as humanity. Organophosphate chemicals kill pests and plants by destroying choline and acetylcholine, their neurotransmitters. In Alzheimer’s Disease, choline and acetylcholine are in declining numbers, as well as many present day illnesses like Autism and MS. Our modern lives depend on neurotransmitters for our very life, so do all plants and animals, and a world that is using organophosphates is a world that is killing its own basis for life. Needless to say, grab your power up, make a decision (drink more Nettle Infusion to increase dopamine levels that helps the brain make decisions), do not use or buy anything made with organophosphates, welcome the bees and pollinators back into your visual field, and get healthier by drinking your daily Nettle Tonic!

Life is filled with many problems, but its time to come home, get filled with love. Time to set aside what destroys life. Time to reclaim the simple and the abundant. We are magnificent life forms, may we cherish this! Nurture this! Come alive in this way!!!

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In Hungary, Nettle in your Heart protects you from lightening strikes! This is the time of Nettle, and a poem-song I write to you!

Nettle, nurture Me,

Nettle, please nourish me!

Wash away the cobwebs that weaken me.

Split the ground, split the Earth

Bring the waters up and out

for strength of birth 

and mendicant of gout!

Nettle, please nourish me,

until I grow so strong,

so shining,

just like you!  ~Summer (Spring 2013)

Here are some Hungarian Music Herbs to Dance the Soul! Drink with Nettle (Urtica dioica) Infusion and infuse in the love! A simple recipe for making a Nettle Infusion follows the music.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANettle, Urtica dioica on a platter!

To make a Nettle infusion, grab a fistful of dried Nettle, place in a quart canning jar, and fill jar with boiling water. Cover and let steep overnight, strain in the morning. Feel as she gently builds energy in your body, day after day, and thank her in return by taking care of your patch, teaching people how to protect her in kind, harvest her properly, and not allow her community to suffer, so abundance grows year after year!

Gulyas Blessings to Everyone!

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

Gizella’s Hungarian Stuffed Peppers (Toltott Paprika)!

My Grandmother Gizella’s Hungarian Stuffed Peppers are easy to make, and literally, the craving for them is out of this world!

I made these last night, and the smell, the SMELL wafting from the kitchen transported me to my own childhood. I can’t tell you how wonderful Traditional Hungarian cooking is!

Hungary, is a very unique country. She is a borderland between East and West Europe, where the two shores meet in the Ural/Carpathian Basin. Such as this case may be, there is a beautiful mix of foods and flavors all through Hungary. The Peasant cooking is highly refined, amazing, and whole food based, with a variety of influences.

Taking simple food, and lighting it with a flavor infusion, placing it on a platter in front of a hungry person is an art, absolute art form. For this, Hungarians are prized for.

Hungarians have always been considered the wildest of all European natives, because of strength of character, wild lands, and ability to live and thrive off the simple, producing the magnificent. The Carpathian Basin contains Europe’s largest virgin forest, the majority of Europe’s thermal and mineral waters, a third of all of Europe’s Plant species, the largest of Europe’s wild populations of bears, wolves, owls, lynxes, storks. From Transcarpathia to Transdanubia, I am proud to be of a people that has lived there for two thousand years, with a unique indigenous Magyar DNA stamp. There is a current study on Magyar DNA, as there are questions about our ancient ancestral connections, which appear so very unique and are housed under the “Finno-Uralic” linguistic branch, and are showing a connection with the Sami People, the Reindeer Herding People of the Arctic. I think that is just perfectly lovely, as it makes sense, love spreads!!! How could it be otherwise?

What does this all have to do with my Grandmother’s Hungarian Stuffed Peppers? Peppers arrived with the Turkish invasion of Hungary in the mid 1500’s. So yes, we Hungarians were introduced to Paprika love then. However, we made paprika our own. Even when the Ottoman Empire left the Carpathian Basin, we kept the paprika, and we kept the amazing pigs. Hungarians worked with paprika and brought it to a whole new level of sensory application. Wild Boar is also a highly prized food in Hungary.

I love that I come from an herbal, farming, forest dwelling and herding family spanning so many centuries. We are weavers and soul blessers. Making this food, you partake and become part of “MY” family. Bringing herbs and love to ones cooking produces health and stamina, with and through the action of love. Love the food, love the people, love the cooking, love the eating!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a bowl, mix in a couple of Tablespoons of Hungarian Gypsy Herb Paste from the Farkas Takacs Family:

~OR~ herbs of your choosing (savory and tarragon are amazing!), along with 6 cloves of chopped garlic and two chopped medium onions with approximately one and a half pounds of ground, pastured pork or wild boar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMix all the herbs, alliums, meat, salt and pepper with your hand, just so, until spice is evenly combined. Add in one and a quarter cups of rice, hand mix some more. Add in additional paprika if you desire (the Hungarian Herb Gypsy Paste has paprika in it too, so be careful if you’re using hot paprika!!!).

Bring to a boil a pot of 6 cups salted water on the stove to cook the peppers in. Next, cut and stuff your peppers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWash and cut the tops of your peppers. Remove the stem portion from the tops for compost and pile the tops next to the stuffed peppers. Remove pepper seeds. Stuff your peppers until the meat stuffing is flush with the top. Extra meat filling is rolled into meat balls.

See the one dried anchovy in the picture above? This adds a lot of pizzazz, we’ll drop it in the pot in a moment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen the water is boiling, first drop in your dried anchovy. Now, gently place your peppers in the pot sideways, drop your meatballs in, and the extra pepper top pieces. Cook for a few minutes, until done, approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, as those peppers cook, whip up your sauce!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a bowl, I mix together 1 cup of home-made tomato paste with a half cup water and a half cup of oat flour and another pinch of salt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARemove your stuffed peppers from the cooking pot with a slotted spoon. Leave in the anchovy and pepper top pieces. Add to the pepper cooking water your tomato/flour sauce blend. Simmer this for ten minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, place your stuffed peppers back in to the pot. They are already cooked, so just simmer them another 5 minutes, so they absorb the sauce!

This dish is perfect as a stand alone, but it also may be served with Csipetke.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHerbed Csipetke. Csipetke is a Hungarian pinched dough noodle. There are many different types of Csipetke that I make, and one day, will devote a posting to some varied recipes. It is simple, just some flour, egg, milk, salt and water, butter and herbs. Mix the ingredients until you have a stiff dough. Place in an oiled bowl to rest for 15 minutes. Roll out into finger sized logs, pinch small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, drop noodles in the boiling water, cook for 8 minutes or until floating on top of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon, and mix with butter. In the above photo, I added chopped cilantro and chives on top!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe these peppers with plenty of sauce, sour cream on top, or, as in the my photo, with herbed csipetke and Hungarian Sauerkraut.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADesert! Hungarian Doughnut Peaches, are so sweet, eaten out of hand. Love!!!

(c) 2013-2015, Summer L. Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH

Hungarian Gypsy Sauce from the Farkas Takacs Family!!!

Nomadic Fire Food at its Finest!

This recipe comes from my own FAMILY*, the Farkas and Takacs Tribes. It often relies on wild foraged plants, intermixed with garden plants, but can go either way. Make it on the wild side, or make it on the tended garden side. A mix of both is great.

This is a nomad’s stew. Herbs easy to carry in ones clothes while shepherding, before the times of “instant” this and that sauce and bouillons, there was our wholesome, instant whole food sauces, pastes and salts. Our home-made bouillons. Our home-made lives, which were far more delicious and nourishing and health promoting then what is available in stores these days.

Can we make our return to this easy whole food-ism?  I think the *only* thing in the way is our pervasive dependence through marketing and advertising to forget our olden ways, our healthy ways, and our connected ways.

First, we’re going to cut up a pastured chicken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis recipe calls for a whole chicken cut up. Do not buy a cut-up chicken, you’ll pay just as much or more for it, and not have the beautiful back to make stock out of.  Cutting a whole chicken for frying takes a bit of practice, but not much. When you pull the skin back on the chicken, you’ll see a map on it of fat lines. In the above photo, my thumb is pointing to a fat line, I’ll cut there. Preheat a large cast iron skillet with a cup of fat (butter or oil of your choice works). Cut up your chicken.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASave the chicken back, skin and scraps for making a future broth (I just bagged them up and put them in the freezer) or to prepare fresh broth ahead of time for this recipe. To make a simple broth, place the back, skin and extra bone pieces into a soup pan with onions, onion skins, carrots, parsley, etc. and gently simmer for 2 hours. This is why cut-up store-bought chicken is such a waste, you miss essential food ingredients the less whole your food!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATake your cut-up chicken pieces and salt and pepper then. Dredge them through flour, we prefer oat flour for this. Place in the pan and fry until the outsides are golden brown, about 6-7 minutes on each side. Remove when they are browned, and place on a warming stone while you move on to the Farkas Takacs Hungarian Gypsy Sauce* and the veggies.

I always joke, the secret is in the sauce! No truer phrase has been spoken. We’re going to make a paste out of herbs.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn a food processor or old fashioned mortar and pestle, place peeled, chunked ginger (wild ginger* (please see note at end of blog about wild ginger) or store bought/homegrown ginger), garlic scapes (or wild ramps or onion chives), cardamon seeds, coriander seeds, toasted cumin seeds, paprika peppers, hot red cherry peppers, mint (I use homegrown orange mint, but wild mint works too), basil, wild fenugreek leaves, a quarter cup of fish meat (carp or sardines), salt and pepper. Dribble a bit of oil, I used extra virgin olive oil.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what the final result will be. It can be kept just like this, in the refrigerator, stored long term in the freezer in cubes (fill ice cube trays with paste for freezing, then remove them to a freezer bag) or dried to take shepherding/traveling/hiking/foraging with you.

In a HOT iron pot that you cooked the chicken in, place minimum of 4 tablespoons of paste into it, and mix with the oil from frying the chicken. Blend in a couple cups of raw milk (we use goat milk). Add more paste to taste, slowly so as not to overdo! Depending on the peppers I use, it may be very spicy indeed!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdd your vegetables into the sauce mix. Here I have a handful of chopped red potatoes and onions with paprika.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACover your pan and allows onions and potatoes to cook until nearly done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the last few minutes, add your fried chicken back into the dutch over to finish cooking. You can make this Hungarian Gypsy Sauce for cooking with a vegetarian dish by simply removing the meat from the recipe. It may not be truly Hungarian any longer if you do so, but it will still be delicious!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe with Herbed Csipetke. Csipetke is a Hungarian pinched dough noodle. There are many different types of Csipetke that I make, and one day, will devote a posting to some varied recipes. It is simple, just some flour, egg, milk, salt and water, butter and herbs. Mix the ingredients until you have a stiff dough. Place in an oiled bowl to rest for 15 minutes. Roll out into finger sized logs, pinch small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, drop noodles in the boiling water, cook for 8 minutes or until floating on top of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon, and mix with butter. In the above photo, I added chopped cilantro and chives on top!

This is a family recipe of love, and convenience, as the Hungarian Gypsy Sauce Paste can be made anytime when there is an abundance of spices, and frozen/preserved for later use. In a pinch, it is quick! Mix with milk and a bit of oil, and you’re cooking soup, main meals, stir-fried veggies, deep dishes in a moment without harmful additives. It also has many, many nutrients and anti-oxidants!

*Wild Ginger, I do not believe people should be foraging this much anymore in the Pacific Northwest unless one has a patch that they are responsible for protecting, nourishing, and renewing. It is just as easy to grow one’s own ginger these days in a greenhouse or buy some while it is still on the commercial market. Remember, the WILD is not there just to take from, it depends on a reciprocal relationship of abundance. It is NOT a “resource” of endless supply with no giving back!

**As I share family herbal recipes and my life, livelihood and heart, please be respectful with my photos and writings, and ask permission if you would like to share, and give due credit to my blog by including it as the source. I’m tickled when people share my writings and recipes, but please do so respectfully! Have fun!!!

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

Azure and Herbal Goodies!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHello Summertime Folks! Azure is coming up super quick! Our order cut-off is this coming Wednesday, August 7th at 4 PM with delivery on Tuesday, August 13th. Pickup is from 2-6 PM.

We will have Serendipity Plant Lore Herbal Teas, Bulk Herbs (please email me ahead of time if there’s something you want to order from my garden, my friend’s garden or wild forages), Koya Designs Spices and Herbal Balms, and knitted crafted things from Christine’s Creations as extras!
Workshop Announcements are going out late this month, but please check the blog for further notices! Summer is a busy time for Herbalists, but our Planting Love Herb Circles are still in full swing on every other Monday.
If interested, check out what our family has been up to! Erik is still recovering from his car accident, but all in all, we’re drinking deeply from life and enjoying this precious Summer!
Serendipity Plant Lore Tea Offerings. Pre-order if you would like a guarantee that the tea you want is in stock. I keep batches super small, so they’re made super fresh!
Serendipity Plant Lore has beautiful hand grown, hand sourced, sustainable and ethically wild-crafted herbal teas for $7 a box/sack. Each of the tea offerings has been used by this herbalist for many decades to aid health, enjoyment and vitality, recovery from many health problems. They have “lived” with me for so long, they have become part of me, and I am excited to have these offerings which truly support our family and the work as I continue my ongoing education and offering sliding scale consultations for those in need. Choose from:
~Lovin’ Liver Tea (your liver will be happy!)
~Summer Time Afternoon Tea (relaxing and sweet)
~Great Grandmother Gertrude’s Memory Lovin’ Tea (brain cell oxygenating crew!)
~Green Tonic Tune (tuning cells and soul together!)
~Vanilla Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
Cinnamon Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
~Great Gert’s Cold Hand and Foot Tea (circulatory warming tea for the cold)
~Galloping Gertrude’s Tea (relaxing and locally nutritious)
~Flu Flummox Tea (just befuddle your flu bugs in style!)
~New! Arabian Summer Tea (a tea to remind you of the smells of an Arabian Love Garden, with plants that touch our center, build up the immune system, and sweep away what needs to be swept away.)
~ New! Shepherd’s Tea! When you want to corral those irksome viral beings and nondescript inflammatory triggers, what you need is a Shepherd to round ‘em up and over the bluff!
~New! Organic Olive Leaf Tea, an anti-viral, anti-oxidant tea to ward off the minions of Mordor!
~New! Delicious Radheish Chai!
(c) 2011, 2012, 2013, Summer Michaelson
Gulyas Blessings!
Summer Michaelson, CH

Transylvanian Chard Chowder!

It’s mid-summer, and the chard is rolling in from the farms and the backyard. I have this wonderful chard stacking up from my favorite local farm, Storytree Farm. Here is a very traditional Transylvanian creamed chowder, that I adore!

Transylvanian Chard Chowder:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStart with a bunch (somewhere around a lb, me no measure) of garden chard.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis step can be done one of two ways. If you want your chowder to be white with little crunchy bits, neatly slice the ribs into small pieces. I creamed mine instead, so I just loosely chopped up the above bunch of chard, added it to a pan, filled it with water and a dash of salt. I covered it, and brought to a boil, then down to a simmer to cook. Meanwhile….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took a small hunk of bacon slab (maybe just an inch in thickness), and sliced it then cross-sliced it until I had bacon ribbons. You could use sausage instead of bacon, or a combination of both. Not much meat is required with this dish (unless you desire it), but the flavor goes miles with just a little bit!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the size of the bacon cooking in an iron pan. When the bacon is cooked 2/3rds of the way through, I will add a sweet Walla Walla onion sliced in thin strands to match the bacon bits. I was going to post that picture too, but alas, that picture did not turn out! Keep cookin’ until the bacon is cooked and the onions are carmelized. The bacon and the onion will add much sweetness to our soup.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile the bacon and onion slices are cooking, get a garlic roux going. Take 5 tablespoons of raw, grassfed butter, and heat in a pot on the stove. Add to the butter a minimum of 6 fat cloves of CRUSHED, spicy garlic; stir constantly for 2 minutes. Next, add in 3/4 cup of flour, we use whole oat flour for our cooking.  Whisk this until there are no lumps (other than tiny garlic pieces). To this, add 3 cups of raw milk. Stir constantly until well combined, on very low heat.

Remove your chard pieces from stovetop and drain the water off well. If you sliced thin ribbons, add diretly to your soup. For a creamed version, run through a food mill or a blender until pulverized, and add to the soup. Add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Mix in bacon ribbons, carmelized onions, and sausages. Make sure chowder is fully heated before serving.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATasty Transylvanian garden food, best served with a very crusty sourdough, preferably, home cultured!

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

This Pacific Northwest Herbstead!

This is our Life, our Herbstead. Serendipity Plant Lore is our name for our way of life, our teaching, our consultation and healing work, our business, our personal life, and our love. We are of the land, sprouting, growing, speaking. Here are some pictures of our life, on our Herbstead!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADairy kefir makin’ it’s cheese from raw goat milk!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThumb’s up at Neighbor’s Market!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPickin’ Organic Blueberries at the goat farm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASalvia elegans, Pineapple Sage, a dream to smell!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Perfect Purple Thistle (Cirsium vulgare). What a Bees LOVE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATaking a break from picking Hood Strawberries!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) of gigantic proportions! This Mullein is larger than when I shared HER before…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHand grown, hand harvested herbs from my garden and a close friend’s garden, ready for bio-regional medicines and nutritious teas!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomatoes from summer before last still pickling in an olde fashioned crock, dare I gasp, before the advent of modern, denatured food processing. This is the way of food preparation that has kept my family alive for generations. The average lifespan of my family is 80-100 + years, on ones feet too! 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASmall flowers, so easily overlooked, yet so wonderful! Here is a Nepeta cataria (Catnip). Important to bees and breaking hot fevers!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA beautiful birdcage planted with succulents from our AMAZING, local, Hungarian Florist Zsuzsana D. of ZuDun’s Event Flowers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlpine sempervirens from an AMAZING gardening friend!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAForest Blessings! Little Forest Blessings are important and soul nourishing! Here we have Oxalis oregana, Redwood Sorrel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHungarian Red LOVE, Pelargonium x hortorum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIndian Cress (Tropaeolum). As usual, reflecting gorgeous light!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFuchsia sp. lifting up her skirts like a lady.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkullcap Kisses! (Scutellaria suffrutescens)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeautiful Butterfly Bush Being, Home of Bees that Bumble and Bees that Hum. (Buddleja davidii)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh, what heart you have Borage! WITH Borago officinalis!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFeverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) growing like there is no tomorrow. You apocalyptic Being of abundance!!! heehee

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMedicine worth her weight in gold, worth more than any weight in gold. Those gold traders on Wall Street are pretty funny with their inedible hordes. Blessings come in innumerable forms. She is an Elder in our community, Sambucus nigra LOVE! Those who attend some of my classes, know my funny saying about HER. 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA teensy flower of Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). So teensy, and so important! So unassuming, yet fabulously beautiful to one who takes the time to get to know her!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHello Lucifer! (Crocosmia aurea)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Legend of the Tree Dwellers. These are the people, they live in the trees, if you please!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Yin and the Yang. The Forest is of the Light and the Dark, together, combined, in beauty.

BEAUTIFUL BLESSINGS! Growing love, it’s all about growing stuff. Nourishing living beings, beautiful community. Communities take all sizes, shape and forms, and many exist together, side by side…even invisibly! Until we meet and greet, that is!!!!

Making love the weeds, the flowers, and all. May we all be thankful for this beauty we are given, may we all be able to touch and see this delight, this healing, this food, our HOME. Thanks for walking with me through a part of my Herbstead. The Michaelson Herbstead. 🙂

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

Workshop Announcement! Hungarian Plant Teachings of Love!

Workshop Announcement! This Friday, July 26th, 2 PM, Hungarian Plant Teachings of Love…Szerelem, Szerelem!

In this class, we will learn some very olde ways of working with the Geraniaceae Family. This is a “Living Heritage” workshop. Deadline for registration is Thursday, July 25th.




(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs Michaelson, CH

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