Harvesting the Basil

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So far the toughest part about blogging about life stuff is remembering to take the pictures. You’d think it would be fairly easy in this Age of Instagram but I keep finding myself running for my phone half way through my projects.

Anyway…. I’ve harvested most of the basil. We’re having a strange summer. August wasn’t as warm as it usually is and September has been rather cool.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this weather. I thrive anywhere fro 60* – 80*. My poor Basil, however, prefers it hotter.

A couple days in the low 70’s and my poor plants started fading. They don’t tolerate cool weather. So out to the garden I went with my clippers and just snipped those babies at the base of the stem.

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I left some of the smaller plants; the ones that were stunted by the bigger plants and shielded from the cold.

I secretly hoped we’d get a last hooray; a week or two of hot weather to let those babies grow and thrive. (It seems my wish was granted. Its 88* today!)

I grow a lot of basil. I plant it from seed at the end of May and by June I’m chasing the Renaissance Man out of the garden. He starts picking the leaves off before they’re big and I panic because they need their leaves to grow! Basil is the flavor of Summer and he loves to cook with it.

His favorite is Tomato-mozzarella salad. It’s technically not cooking because its a cold salad but he also makes Chicken Parmesan with the big basil leaves between the chicken and the mozzerella and he’ll add whole leaves to his deep dish pizza.

He’s the reason I’ve gained weight. I blame him and Italian food. Completely. Its just really hard to practice portion control when he cooks!

In spite of all the the things we use fresh basil for, I always have a lot left at the end of summer. So I dry it.

I don’t really like drying it in the oven or dehydrator.
              ( I have this dehydrator, It works great on other things.)
The heat turns the leaves really dark and I feel like it looses a lot of the flavor. In the past I’ve just laid the clean leaves out on trays and let them air dry. It takes a couple days and a whole lot of space. I have a lot of basil. This year I set up a drying rope in my hall. The hallway runs down the middle of the house and gets no direct sunlight. It’s also right in front of the return air vent so there’s a constant air flow. Its working beautifully.

I’ll take these stalks into the kitchen and put them in a sink full of cold water. Swish them around, paying attention to the bottom leaves. Dirt likes to splash up onto the leaves and hang out in the crevices. Its really important to get the dirt off. No one wants to eat dirty basil.

I’ll pull out each stalk individually, pluck off any yellowed or crunchy leaves, trim of any burnt chewed up edges. Once I get the stalks clean and free of poor quality leaves I pat them dry with a towel and tie them all together to hang on the drying line.

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*sidenote*
I don’t use any pesticides in my garden. I do a little companion planting to deter bugs but unfortunately the basil is the deterrent. I stick a few plants by my tomatoes to entice bugs that would otherwise munch on my fruit.
The bugs then move on to become pollinators or food for the birds so it’s okay, I grow extra just for them!

This is my favorite part.


When the leaves are all dry and crunchy, I gently snap them off the stalk and start chopping. The Renaissance Man is in love with the smell of fresh basil but I much prefer the smell of dry basil.

To me it smells like magic and hope.

Basil was one of the first herbs I used in spell craft, years ago when I was just a baby witch. I rolled a candle in store bought basil and cast a money spell. It worked. The Idiot won a raffle and bought a pool- not the point…

The point is, it was really exciting and I’ve attached the smell to the feeling.

Basil is my go-to herb for money spells. Add to jars, wallets, cash boxes. It draws abundance and prosperity.

Basil is also used magically to bring love, peace and happiness. Use in sachets, charm bags, stuff into poppets or just sprinkle it around your house for protection.

It has been thought to “lift spirits and relieve melancholy” when consumed. It can be brewed into a tea often used to relieve headaches and other stress ailments.

Fun Folklore!

Sorry -not sorry, my inner Hermoine is butting in right now.

European lore say that Basil belongs to Satan and one must curse the ground while planting Basil in order for it to grow properly. The French idiom, “Semer le basilica” means “to sow the basil” and is used to refer to someone ranting.

More fun folklore – Witches were said to drink basil juice before flying…

I can attest that neither are true, I have never curse the ground and my basil always does well, I also do not drink basil juice before flying….I prefer vodka.

If you need some Basil, for craft work or whatever, I have plenty. You can find it here in my etsy shop!

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No herbal product is intended as a substitute for competent medical care. Please see your physician before adding any herbal supplement to your diet.

All information herein is from traditional or historical reference and intended to help you make an informed decision.

Daffodil (2019 update)

Okay, so a little back ground on my adventures with daffodils.

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I love these little rays of sunshine!

They are the first flowers to show up in my yard every spring. For me, its the first sign that the long, cold, miserable, Midwest winter is almost over.

I’ve always grown these – I’ve been adulting since ’92 and bought our first house in ’96. I’ve grown them at almost every house I’ve lived in since.

I didn’t start intentionally using them in magic until 2014,  when I first wrote this post. 

That year I tested out some spells and rituals. I was quite happy with the results so I began picking and drying out the flowers towards the end of their growing season.

I picked too many.

So I offered them in my shop.

It became an accidental success so I continue to harvest my daffodils every year.

This year looked like I was going to have a bumper crop. Two years ago I divided them and moved them around. They did well. I never doubted them. One of the reasons I love them is that they’re incredibly dependable and resilient. 

I started picking the ones growing on the south side of the house. Those always bloom first. I almost started picking the ones up front yesterday but the butterflies were dancing through them so I decided to give them a few more days.

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Daffodils 2019

I’d hate to deny the butterflies a happy meal after all.

Imagine my surprise to wake up this morning  to sleet and snow! I sat in the front window for an hour, drinking my coffee and watching the slush pile up on those poor flowers.

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I’ll know by tomorrow if they’ll survive. Its supposed to be back up in the 50’s.  And I guess I  can be thankful that all the bulbs I transplanted to the back haven’t bloomed yet. Those will show up in another week or so.

I’ll have a fresh batch of dried daffodil flowers  available by the middle of May, just maybe not as many as I anticipated.

So what do you do with Daffodil flowers? 

Well, I’m a big supporter of being creative with your magical workings, I won’t tell you what to do or how to use them.
(*except I highly suggest that you not consume them. All parts of a daffodil are toxic and can make you sick)

I will share some of the properties and how I use them.

Daffodils symbolize joy and happiness, hope and cheerfulness.
Traditionally their ‘power’ includes Luck, Love, and Fertility.

  • I put fresh cut daffodils on my altar and throughout the house to attract friendly Spirits.
  • Add dried flowers to a mojo or medicine bags to a dash of joy.
  • Add to a poppet for emotional healing.
  • Sprinkle on a doorstep to keep negative energy from entering.
  • Roll an anointed candle in crushed flower petals.

Also fun fact: Daffodils were adopted by the Druids as their flower.

Do you have a favorite way to use Daffodils? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

For the Love of Daffodils

A few weeks ago I joined a group that is all about learning and making Flower Essence. I love flowers. I keep a garden. I collect plant material for Art and Spells. I knew nothing about Flower Essence but I jumped in feet first!

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The first flowers to come up in my garden  were Daffodils. Big ones and Little ones. These were the beauties that agreed to lend me their essence. Daffodils are toxic so I didn’t pluck their flowers. I just set my jar of water next to the plant in the bright sun for a few hours.

I buried some banana peels around them first, as a thank you.

When I retrieved my jar of water I felt a surge of cheerfulness. It’s not a common emotion for me. Happy, yes. Content, often.

Cheerful?  ummm…no. Cheerful has it’s own signature.

The water definitely had it’s own vibration and it was a cheerful one 🙂

I also realized after the fact that I collected the essence on 4-11-14. According to Doreen Virtue’s Angel numbers it pretty much says:

“Angels are helping you to keep your thoughts positive so that you only attract your highest and best out comes. “

The one thing I’ve always been bad at is keeping records of  magical workings. I’ve been dabbling for years and I kind of recall the different results, but I can’t be sure on a lot of things  because I didn’t write it down.

So beginning with the Daffodil Flower Essence, I’ve decided to have fun with my research and results!

 I’m keeping records my way. In bold color. With personal drawings and fun quotes and odd facts!

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I suppose when I get around to mustering up spells and amulets and magical recipes, they too will be written more artfully than a standard Book of Shadows.

I’m discovering that The Art of Flower Essence is more in the Intuition needed to ‘hear’ the message and ‘feel’ the vibrational energy.

Obviously I got “cheerful’ from them but some of the other  messages were:

  • Shine.
  • Inner Light.
  • No more Doubt.
  • Listen.
  • Know.

These messages correlated with what I researched. Which is awesome but it makes me wonder if I’m only feeling what I expect to feel. So yesterday I was out collecting the dying flower heads for amulets and spells, the hyacinth began to beckon me. Dancing and singing and teasing, I decided to collect the essence before I researched, so as to accurately compare my data with others. I let you know how that worked.

 

And not to disappoint anyone, The daffodils did request their own likeness and I’ve begun and Spirit doll in their honor! I have everything ready. I just need to sit down and do it!

**Update – the Daffodil doll is finished and can be found here!

Although it is the last Daffodil project on my list and I’m not sure if I want to move on just yet.

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