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June 2014

Milady's Pantry- Claire's Herbs: Linden


" I should have warned you before that we'd likely end up sleeping in haystacks, wi' naught but healther ale and drammch for food. " "I don't mind" , I said. He nodded toward an opening in the trees, not taking his eyes off of me. "I havena got a haystack about me, but there's a fair patch of fresh bracken yonder. If ye'd care to practice just to get the way of it...?"

Diana Gabaldon - Outlander


I want you to meet one of my favorite allies;  the lovely  Linden tree or  you may know it by it's other names, Lime tree or American Basswood. It's an easily identifiable tree with lovely boxy leaves, long pod shaped leaves and pretty seed pods. It's also the easiest tree in the world to identify when it's in bloom. All that you need are your ears and your nose! A Linden tree is also called a "bee tree" and for awfully good reason. Walk underneath one and look up. If it's covered with flowers it will undoubtably be covered with honeybees. I have been obsessed with it's fragrance for many years. It's gorgeous, clean yet floral, a Linden in full crown is the scent of warmed raw floral honey and freshly mown hay. If you'd like to smell that heady smell but don't have a Linden tree nearby , let me introduce you to one of my favorite perfumes, the lovely Jo Malone French Lime Blossom which quite frankly is heaven in a bottle combining French Linden blossoms with a touch a tarragon and bergomot...


The leaves and flowers of the lovely Linden make a truly relaxing tea that can be enjoyed at anytime and is one of the best natural nervines that I know of. A few handfuls of the fresh or dried leaves and flowers steeped or infused into a quart of water and then sweetened with raw honey is truly ambrosia.  Enjoyed with a nougat cookie or a fine piece of shortbread elevates it to a truly remarkable experience. Apologies to Marcel Proust, but  most of the time I'm not crazy about Madeleines:)

For me the real strength of the Linden was found when I began struggling with the moody sweaty symptoms of perimenopause. If you're anything like me, at age 54 it can be a little bit tricky to get a good nights sleep. My husband puts his head on the pillow and sleeps like a baby but oh no...not me. Menopause by itself can have me sweating , tossing and turning and if you add a bit of stress to the mix, I'm bound to be up for most of the night. Removing caffeine and alcohol before bed is very helpful, but I also have found that 2 dropperfuls of my favorite Linden tonic in a cup of warm water with some honey about an hour before bed works wonders! Then just slide under the covers, enjoy  a book for a bit and doze off. You should wake up refreshed and ready to start your day!

This tonic is an infusion of some of my favorite green allies. I'm  a bad candidate for any sort of sleeping pill and I'm naturally very intense, so I made friends with all of these plants quite some time ago out of absolute necessity.  Everyone of them is cooling, soothing and promote a lovely restfulness without drowsiness. Hops and valerian are well known relaxants but you won't wake up feeling as if you've taken a sleeping pill. Linden is one of the loveliest nervines that I know and is used all over the world to promote rest and relaxation. Oatstraw helps to keep all of your lady parts content, cool and juicy while the chamomile and lavender are natural sleep enhancers, slowing the activity of the nervous system while promoting lovely dreams. Anise Hyssop is a delightfully licorice tasting anti-anxiety herb and the catnip speaks for itself. All you need to see is your favorite kitty rolling around on a catnip pillow to know why I included it in the mix and then there's the Rose Absolute. Rose Absolute is just such a beautifully evocative scent and is in my opinion the ultimate aphrodisiac, nervine and antidepressant.  Its magical presence in this elixir provides the alchemy that ties it all together and makes it work so well.


 Herbal Sleeping Elixir/ Beth Schreibman Gehring

I make this tonic in large mason jars so my measurements are for one of those!

In each mason jar layer:

2 tablespoons of raw honey

1 and a half cups of tart cherry juice

1 and a half cups of frozen (more antioxidents!) blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

3 tablespoons each of:

Linden flowers

Anise Hyssop







10 drops of organic, culinary rose absolute  ( My favorite culinary essential oils are the Chef's Essences by Mandy Aftel)

Vodka (or blackberry brandy)


Layer all of the ingredients into the mason jar and top with vodka. Close the top of the jar and shake until blended. In about three weeks, strain and funnel into dropper bottles. To use, add two dropperfuls of this tincture to a cup of warm water or  herbal tea. Add honey if you'd like and sip, preferably in a warm bath or wrapped in a soft robe.



Courtesy of Everything lavender.com


A lavender and hops filled sleeping pillow is the perfect sidekick to this tonic and so easy to make.  Just get two pieces of rectangular shaped soft flannel ( How about Tartan!) and sew them together , leaving one side open. Fill the pillow with arborio rice or buckwheat hulls, lavender and hops flowers and then add about 20 drops of lavender essential oil. Sew up the open side and roll the pillow back and forth to distribute the lavender oil. Either take it to bed as it is or heat it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes. You'll be dreaming sweet dreams in no time flat!



Milady's Tinctures, Tonic and Teas: Claire's Herbs - Elderberry


“Well, it’s no usually the first thing in my mind when I take ye to bed, Sassenach. Far from it. But then…” His hands cupped my breasts softly, and his lips closed on one nipple. “I’d no just say she was completely wrong either. Sometimes…aye, sometimes it would be good, to be inside again, safe and…one. Knowing we cannot, I suppose, is what makes us want to beget. If we cannot go back ourselves, the best we can do is to give that precious gift to our sons, at least for a little while…” He shook himself suddenly, like a dog flinging water from its coat.

“Pay me no mind, Sassenach,” he murmured. “I get verra maudlin, drinking elderberry wine.”

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Outlander.”  



When I was a little girl my mother made me become a Brownie in the hopes that I would follow in my sisters footsteps and become a Girl Scout.  My mother was a beloved troop leader and was just thrilled that she had one more chance to do it again! She spent my Brownie year choosing amazing things for us to do and wonderful places to go.  I don’t remember most of it because it was all overshadowed by the one place she chose that was perfect.

One of her best friends when she moved into the Orange School District was a woman named Dolly Temple.  My mom was the youngest PTA  member and Dolly was the oldest, but the two looked at each other and became instant friends. It was because of the huge  Navajo Squash Blossom necklaces that each was wearing around their necks in a community that was a hotbed of diamonds and Mikkimoto pearls.  As my mother told it, she walked into this thoroughly stuffy group of very fine 50’s housewives and then there was Dolly.  She and mom gravitated to each other immediately because of those necklaces  which at that time absolutely no one understood or valued.  My mother looked amazing when she wore her Indian Jewelry and so did Dolly. Both were incredibly strong women, with  striking features and even stronger personalities. The Indian jewelry that neither of then were ever without simply mirrored the strident boldness that each of them carried within.  Both wore black during the day way before it was acceptable to do so!

They were just fabulous , the last of a generation of  the “they just don’t make broads like that any more”. (Sort of like Claire!)

Dolly was a transplanted southern girl who owned 36 of the most incredibly beautiful  acres in Moreland Hills Ohio, complete with a gorgeous Georgian mansion,  horse barns, orchards and pastures. She raised the most beautiful Arabian horses and had several lovely little Welsh ponies that she drove as teams.  

Dolly Temple was my first mentor, the very first women who ever put me on a horse.  My mother in an attempt to keep her youngest daughter interested in the “Silly Brownie Stuff” as I called it took us out to Dolly’s farm.  She should have known ...I took one look and was smitten.  The day came to cross the Brownie Bridge and approximately 5 minutes before it was to be my turn I looked at my mom and said, “I don’t EVER want to be a Girl Scout…I want to go back to that place with the horses and learn to ride. “ My mother  simply smiled and called Dolly.  If she was disappointed she never let it show. Her generosity that day completely changed my life. I don't live well without horses. My mother knew that and let it be. 

From that day on I practically lived at the Temples and at least 4 times I week I would go there after school, catch and brush the horses, saddle up the ponies, have my lesson and then go riding around her woods. I’d come into her house afterwards for homemade hot chocolate and huge slabs of crusty warm homemade bread with her home churned butter.  Sometimes I’d walk in and she’d be plucking a duck or a chicken that she’d just killed herself and the end result that day would be the most incredible homemade chicken and dumplings which she served on lavish Royal Worcester plates with her mothers gorgeous sterling.


Once or twice I accidentally walked in on her in the middle of the butchering process, but I actually didn’t mind because she walked her talk. Nothing was wasted.  Dolly was very wealthy, but she did everything herself. She used everything that she raised from fruits and vegetables to the animals that she kept.  She taught me to forage on her property for food and was the first woman to teach me about the value of eating wild plants.  I adored her.  She had blueberries everywhere and raspberries and plum tree surrounding the riding ring. There were French chestnuts that lined one of the lanes and the pastures were filled with apples tree. Everything had a purpose and was in just the right place.  She let me explore all of it as if I were her own child.

One day in the spring when I was riding   I noticed one of the most beautiful bushes that I’d ever seen. It was growing down along   the driveway and it was the filled with the heaviest clusters of creamy flowers that I’d ever seen ,  draping on beautiful purple stems with thick green leaves. It was also emitting a very strange musky sweet aroma that reminded me a bit of my grandmother not in a bad way, but more like a bottle of vintage violet perfume that’s turned a little bit dark and dirty. I later learned that the beautiful blossoms were Elderberry flowers and that the plant although most parts are filled with more than a little bit of cyanide was one of the most beneficial of the wild tonics.  Dolly made wines , cordials and syrups out her Elderberries and she also took some of those flowers and made wonderful  fritters, covered in a very light batter and dusted with a bit of confectioners sugar. They were amazing, the heavy flowers were delicious prepared that way although definitely not for anyone who suffers from a battle with seasonal allergies!

If you’ve access to some elderberries of your own you should try to make the fritters and at the very least the syrup! You can buy elderberry syrup in any health food store and it’s absolutely indispensible during cold season for helping to beef up your immunity. One of the best tonics that I know of is a simple tea made from the syrup and a bit of chopped up crystallized ginger. I use this when anyone in my house is recovering from a nasty upper respiratory infection and it was my staple drink when I was stricken with a bout of pneumonia 15 years ago.  Elderflower has been documented by herbalists for centuries as possessing the ability to be able to inhibit a virus and truly shorten the duration of a very nasty flu by several days. I always keep some form of it in my stillroom.

St Germain

The very same syrup makes a wonderful iced tea in the summer laced with cinnamon and a bit of fresh mint. You can also use it to make a marvelous martini and a bit of elderberry syrup drizzled over berries and homemade vanilla bean ice cream is a wonderful treat. One of my favorite finds of the last several years is a golden liqueur from France made of Elderflowers named St. Germain. Although not nearly as heady and wild tasting as the homemade syrup it’s a delightfully fragrant addition to a glass of champagne.

If you’d like to try to make your own syrup you should definitely do so but remember that all parts except for the flowers and berries (including the seeds) are potentially toxic.  Start with a lot of the ripe berries (about 2 lbs of them) and cook them gently in about 4 cups of water until they are soft.  Some people put them through a food mill but I prefer to  GENTLY mash the berries and let the weight of them strain the juice through a chinoise or a fine mesh strainer. Put the juice back into a saucepan , add a cinnamon stick, some crystallized ginger and a cup or two of maple syrup. You can also use honey if you’d like or plain old sugar.  Gently reduce the syrup until it’s as thin or thick as you like, taste and bottle. That’s it. Make this once and you’ll never reach for another bottle of Robitussin again!



Elderberry Photograph courtesy of ThriftyLiving.net 

St. Germain Poster courtesy of St. Germain

 Lavinia Platter Courtesy of Replacements

Milady's Pantry and Stillroom : Sel Fou or Fools Salt!

Milady's Pantry: Sel Fou
Sel Fou

Every year in October , the Western Reserve Herb Society holds an Herb Fair and this year because I'm in charge of Ways and Means I'm one of the chairmen! It's a colossol job but it's also a wonderful job. It takes a huge committee to put it on and we all learn so much from each other. Everything that we make comes from the huge herb garden that we lovingly tend. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days that we spend in the garden and the summer is spent harvesting fresh herbs every week.  My friends and I just got done harvesting thousands of historical rose petals for potpourri and vinegar and now we're harvesting fresh oregano , lavender, thyme and basil actually we're harvesting whatever is ready in the garden and that changes every week! In autumn we'll be harvesting fresh quinces to make membrillo, which is a luscious Spanish fruit paste that is eaten with marcona almonds and cheese and apples to make pulp for spicy apple pulp pomanders! I encourage all of you if you have the time (and even if you don't!) to do something nice for yourself and join your local botanical garden and if you have one a local Herb Society. You can join the Herb Society of America even if you don't have a local one. Trust me. You'll enjoy it alot! I am fortunate that The Herb Society of America is housed close to  Cleveland where I live. I love to go out to their beautiful location in Kirtland Ohio and explore their library for hours. 


One of my jobs this year is Culinary chairman and I'm having a ball coming up with different things to make and sell at the fair. I'm working on a line of slow cooker blends and a apple cider/ maple Manhattan mixer.  I decided that this year it would be fun to throw a few exotic things into the mix. Hence this recipe for Sel Fou, which means Fools Salt and if you didn't know what it was you'd be fooled indeed!

Sel Fou is a classic French seasoning salt and it is my understanding that every French woman has a recipe that is very much a reflection of her own cooking style. It's very simple to make. This is my personal recipe! Yours might be different! 

You will need:

3 tablespoons of fine sea salt

1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch

1/2 tablespoon of confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon of powdered horseradish

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of onion salt (do not use shallot salt- too moist)

1 tablespoon of dried thyme

1 tablespoon of dried marjoram

1/2 tablespoon of dried dill

1/2 tablespoon of dried chives

That's it! I put all of it into a jar and shake it well and then whisk it with a fork. You must use the cornstarch and the sugar because it works as a stabilizer, keeping everything dry and mixed well. Decant it into a salt pig or a covered jar and keep it by your stove. This is a wonderful secret ingredient. I use it in stews , soups and braises of all kinds and it will turn an omelet into a gourmet meal. Sprinkled onto a salad which has been dressed with a simple oil and vinegar dressing...Unbelievable!  Do yourself a favor and make some.  If you come up with a different mixture , please share your creation with me on Facebook at My Outlander Love Affair - Milady's Pantry and Stillroom!


Milady's Pantry and Stillroom: Incense and Peppermint



“I unlaced the front of my robe and rubbed my body quickly with handfuls of the lavender and valerian. It was a pleasant, spicy smell, distinctive and richly evocative. A smell that, to me, conjured the shade of the man who wore its perfume, and the shade of the man behind him; shades that evoked confusing images of present terror and lost love. A smell that, to Jamie, must recall the hours of pain and rage spent wrapped in its waves. I rubbed the last of it vigorously between my palms and dropped the fragrant shreds on the floor.

With a deep breath for courage, I picked up the vial of ammoniacal spirits. I stood by the bed a moment holding it, looking down at the gaunt, stubbled face. At most he might last a day; at the least, only a few more hours.

“All right, you bloody Scottish bastard,” I said softly. “Let’s see how stubborn you really are.” I lifted the injured hand, dripping, from the water and set the soaking dish aside."

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Outlander.”  

Incense and Peppermint

Please enjoy this lovely chart! Click on it, blow it up and print it out! I don't know who to attribute it to but I'm very grateful that it showed up on my personal facebook page.  It's one of the best tools that for creating incense that  I've seen in a long time! I love incense and I make my own and burn it often for healing, conjuring or simply when I just want my home to smell simply wonderful.  There are all kinds of glorious combinations that you can use when you want to provoke different emotions, for example, an incense of cinnamon, rose petals, cloves, dried apple, basil, lavender buds, vanilla bean , cardomom and sandalwood sprinkled with a couple of drops of essential oil of rose is one of the sexiest love potions that I know...... 

Abolone shell with white sage smudge stick/ origins of photograph unknown

 It's truly easy to create your own.  Take a flameproof bowl and fill it 1/2 way with sand. I use a beautiful abalone shell that I bought years ago because it does have a wonderfully feminine vibe! Then get a pack of incense charcoal disks and lay one on top of the sand. Light it and let it burn until you're sure that it's ready (It will be ashy and glowing, not flaming!) and scatter any combination of herbs and spices around and on top of it. Please be sure to only use leaves , petals , spices and woods  that you know have not been treated with pesticides and have fun....the magic's even more personal if you've gathered them yourself. Just be sure to gather conciously. Never take an endangered species . Don't take to much of any one plant and be sure to ALWAYS leave a little love token for the fey folk !

You don't want to upset them you know:)

image from home-school-coach.com

 My husband laughs because he does the laundry (love that man!) and he's always emptying my pockets which are filled with offerings of seeds, pennies and pretty stones. You can even add a couple of drops of any essential oil that you love, provided that it's organic. Please don't use perfumed oils. Perfumed oils are generally derived from petroleum products and other nasty things. They will produce a horrid black smoke when you light them and the magical correspondences are not  present in chemically produced scents. My favorite? A combination of White sage, Lavender , Bourbon Rose,  Bay and Pine.  Please write me at My Outlander Love Affair/Milady's Pantry and Stillroom  and let me know yours!

Now for fun:)


Tea Leaves and Tarot Cards - Brewing the Perfect Pot of Tea!

This is the first article in a series
that I've  been longing to write
for years , detailing
the proper way to serve a
fabulous tea for any occasion.
As I always say, once you know the rules you can break the rules.
That's when it gets to be fun, so stay tuned!
~ Beth aka Milady's Pantry/ The Windesphere Witch

“It was nearly evening; his room was growing dark, and he could smell the luscious scents of tea preparing downstairs: fried sardines, fresh buttered crumpets, lemon sponge, cucumber sandwiches, sliced ham. He swallowed, suddenly ravenous.
He was strongly tempted to go down and have his tea instantly, but there were things he wanted more than food. Clarity, for one.”

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “The Scottish Prisoner.”  



How I love Lord John Grey and the way that he passionately follows his stomach and devours his tea. I love British tea period...it's  an exquisite type of dining that brings such pleasure.   Lately, I've really been craving a properly prepared cup of tea.....actually, not just craving,but obsessing over the thought. I've reread every book about tea that I owned, and went out and bought a few more. I've been fantasizing about a tea room , or perhaps a salon where friends could come and have a wonderful cup of tea and a sandwich (or two or ten)! 


His Lordships Tea! Lord John Grey Tea has been created by The Old Wilmington Tea Company- http://www.oldwilmingtontea.com/Lord-John-Grey

This fascination with afternoon tea has been with me for a very long time, actually ever since I was a little girl. Fortunately I had a mother with wonderful taste, who made it a point to introduce me to the art of afternoon tea very early in my life! Some of my most favorite memories are of the darling silver child sized tea set that she owned, that she used to let all us us play with whenever we wanted.

My mother had a lot of beautiful things, but we always used to joke and say that the little tea set was the one thing that we'd all fight over when she left us. My sister is it's keeper , but we  promised each other that when we finally had grandchildren that we'd share it! That little bit of silver holds such extraordinary memories for us all. 

This same wonderful mother, used to bring me tea and breakfast in bed when I was sick, on beautiful blue and white breakfast dishes. Somehow, I always got better quickly, but not until I'd milked at least two more days of lavish spoiling out of her! She was an amazing sick bed cook, making simple consommes for us , toasted cheese and cream tea...there was always tea and plenty of it!

No matter where we found ourselves together, mom and I always made time for tea. (Martini's too, but that's another story!) High teas, Afternoon teas, breakfast teas, luncheon teas, bridal teas , tea dances...whatever the occasion she could create a tea party around it! So many of the promotions that we did for our gift store were tea parties, there's just something about little sandwiches ,wonderful cookies and Wedgwood teapots that just makes anyone, even a very masculine man feel very relaxed and romantic!

We had Afternoon tea everyday in England, at every wonderful hotel and each seemed to be more delightful then the last. We were there touring every great porcelain factory that the UK and Ireland had to offer and everyday at 4:00 time would stop no matter where we were and out would come trays of lovely sandwiches and sweets and steaming hot pots of tea with lots of scones with clotted cream and fresh jam. My favorite was always the jasmine, my mothers, the Earl Grey.  Lord John would have loved her. I can promise you that there isn't anything like the experience of having tea in the Spode factory.  I'm salivating as I type this. 

My mothers favorite London tea room at the Dorchester Hotel!

 I've digressed though...I began this by talking about my current preoccupation with tea! When I was most recently in North Carolina , I fell in love with that so very Southern specialty known as sweet tea! You probably already know this, but everywhere you travel in the south, when you order an iced tea, the waitress will ask you if you'd like regular tea or sweet tea.  It's addictive stuff, it really is.  I've recently given up coffee, and you can blame it on that sweet tea!

A proper sweet tea is just delicious and easy, you start with a really good tea brewed, with the addition of a simple syrup and heavily iced! Some of my Southern friends insist that you need to forgo the syrup and instead stir superfine sugar into the hot tea. It doesn't matter to me, both work estimably well to my taste.  

 I returned home, made a  simple mint syrup and went to brew a pot of tea. Imagine my horror when I realized that even after three decades in the family business where I handled the most beautiful china, crystal and silver that you could imagine, that I didn't even own a simple teapot with which to brew a some really good tea!  Here's a little known fact to most Americans... you simply cannot  brew a really GREAT pot of tea in a fancy teapot! Now, nothing is more wonderful to me than a bergamot and lavender infused Lady Grey tea served in a lovely Spode , silver or Limoges teapot...just not brewed in it! The English (who have made an entire lifestyle out of a glorious afternoon tea!) , know this well, which is why they created the teapot that I set out to find....The classic Brown Betty!

"Brown Betty Teapots are still made in Stoke-on Trent, formed from clay which comes from the same area where Elder Brothers found clay in 1695. The method of producing these pots was known as 'Jolleying' but over the years it has been modified to slip casting which gives the pot an even thickness and a smooth finish both inside and out. Generations of Englishmen have proved that the Brown Betty, as these Red Ware teapots are affectionately known, make the best pot of tea in the world. The shape of the pot causes the tea to be gently swirled as the boiling water is added. The red terracotta clay with its Rockingham Glaze, holds the heat better and simply brews the perfect cup of tea."

Well now that's quite a reputation to live up to, but I have discovered this to be the finest teapot that I've ever used! She's quite full bodied, with a lovely round shape and dressed with a beautiful brown glaze inside and out, made with solid red clay that's earthy and warm to the touch! I warmed her up with hot water while I waited for the water for the tea water to boil, dumped the water out and put the tea inside and added the boiling water. Then I waited bloody impatiently for the requisite 5 minutes that it takes to brew a great pot of tea!

Well to make a long story short, it was wonderful and it was the best pot of tea that I'd ever made. 
I found a lovely Staffordshire cup (let it be known that for the most part I really hate mugs!) and added the mint syrup and a tablespoon of cream and took a sip!

It was Heaven, better than I'd ever imagined it could be! With some freshly baked lemon scones from the gluten free bakery around the corner it was ambrosia.....


You can find fabulous loose tea almost anywhere these days, and the choices to be made...black or green? Herbal or Gunpowder? are almost endless. For loads of fun, learning and an almost endless selection of some of the finest loose teas on the planet go quickly to the  http://www.boulderteaco.com/


Water Temperature for Your Perfect Cup of Tea!

From twoleavestea.com

"The temperature at which you steep tea matters - delicate leaves steeped at too high of a temperature will burn and leave a bitter flavor in the cup. Each two leaves tea company™ tea has recommended steep temperatures, but there are a few hard and fast rules you can follow to determine what steep temperature to use:

Below Boiling Water Temperature 
White and green teas have delicate leaves, and therefore require below boiling water temperatures between 170 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Too high of a temperature will cook the leaves and ruin their delicate flavors.

Medium Boil Temperature 
Oolong teas should be brewed at temperatures between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

Full Boil Temperatures 
Black and Herbal teas brew best at a full boil temperatures 208 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit."


Coffee, and it's endless jitters willl soothingly become a very distant memory!

Milady's Tinctures, Tonic and Teas: Claire's Herbs - Cannabis and Hemp


 For reasons that would be considered "Spoilers" until 90 percent of the world is done reading Diana Gabaldon's brilliant "In my own Hearts Blood"...I will not disclose the why's,  when's and wherefores of this particular little bit of writing. Just read the new book...you will love it. It's absolutely brilliant in the way that only DG can be and you will know in due time why I wrote this...


I am still such a happy, silly old hippy. I just can’t help myself…. I seriously take great joy in living part time in a state where Marijuana is barely criminalized, and definitely enjoyed by a huge percentage of the local population openly and without fear on a fairly regular basis. Indeed , Cannabis needs absolutely no introduction to anyone who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s and I don’t think that it’s popularity has ever dwindled, regardless of the mass prohibition and vilification that this incredibly helpful herb has had to tolerate for the at least last 70 years. Its remarkably fragrant qualities and euphoria producing tendencies make it a very attractive and comforting intoxicant for those who really don’t like to drink but want to enjoy a relaxing state of being that really doesn’t  produce a nasty hangover in the morning or leave you wondering if you said or did anything that you shouldn’t have!

My own history with  marijuana goes way back to the early 1970’s when I was coming of age as a teenager. Quite frankly I loved it and I found smoking a joint or two with my friends around a bonfire to be a fair relaxing way to pass an evening.  We weren’t causing much trouble at all, unless you can call a bunch of pretty intelligent kids sitting around listening to Genesis, Yes and discussing politics, existentialism and quasi pagan philosophies well into the night trouble. Who needs complications of alcohol when you can have a   a delicious brownie or two? I loved the smell of it..burning maple leaves and just a bit of illicit spice. I loved the fact that when I smoked it, I could simply relax and wax poetic for awhile. 

To understand the politics of Marijuana  in America , you truly have to look no farther than the corporate interests that widespread use of Hemp and Cannabis would impact.  Hemp, one of the Cannabis cousins is an incredibly useful plant with nary a fraction of the “enlivening”  components of Cannabis Sativa.  It also makes fabulous paper, cloth, food, oil, and can be converted into energy.  By now everyone knows that the original Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper and that Jefferson , Washington et al. were hemp farmers. One doesn’t need to read between the lines to see that the reintroduction of legal hemp farming across the United States would completely impact the timber, cotton and paper industries.  

The reasoning behind the prohibition of Hemp is that simple and it’s the powerful impact of industrial Hemp farming on other industries that keep it from widespread legalization here in the United States. In 1938 the Dupont Corporation had already patented the processes for creating paper from wood pulp and many of the powerful industry captains of that time were  heavily invested in the factories that would be creating paper products. There were studies done at the time showing that paper made from hemp instead of wood pulp was not only a better and more stable product, but was easier on the environment.  The processes used to produce hemp products are much less toxic than the ones used to produce paper and it was widely known that hemp was incredibly useful.  However the enormous wealth of men like William Randolph Hearst enabled them to persuade our government to outlaw it because of the vast amounts of money that they stood to lose at the time.   


Henry Ford on the other hand....

“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” 




The many incredible health benefits of using Cannabis Sativa wisely as medicine  are well documented.   There are studies now that show the ability of marijuana to help children and adults with Attention Deficit Disorder gain focus in their lives and the effects of Cannabis on Glaucoma have been well understood for years. People with deadly asthma no it as a bronchiodilator and many with cancer and fibromyalgia use it to find relief from pain without the horrendous side effects and addictive tendencies of traditional pain medications. Cannabis is also an appetite stimulant as many who suffer from the loss of appetite as a result of traditional treatment can attest. Crohns patients and those with IBS and other inflammatory bowel diseases who are fortunate enough to live in states where Cannabis has been decriminalized can find easy relief from the painful  and completely debilitating  pain and intestinal spasms that they experience daily as part of their disease .  There are even new groundbreaking studies that show that breast cancer can be put into remission by a daily dose of cannabis and patients suffering from the horrific side effects that chemotherapy produces can easily and safely find relief by ingesting a simple  THC med strip, a sublingual delivery system that  dissolves under your tongue and has the pain relieving properties of two  Vicodins without the terrible side effects.  

Personally I look forward to the day when marijuana is as legal and as easy to purchase as a bottle of vodka, which I consider to be far more damaging.  Living in San Diego part of the time, I experience daily many terrifying stories of the murderous drug wars that are raging on approximately 45 minutes from my lovely coastal home.  At a dinner party last year I met a government agent who had been brought into San Diego specifically to help secure the Tijuana border. His made his feelings very clear, that Americans need to insist upon the legalization of marijuana immediately in this country.  Regulate it like alcohol, tax it  (it’s California’s largest cash crop!) and shut down the need for the illegal trade that results in so much horrific bloodshed along our Mexican borders.   

Perhaps I’ve said enough of the reasons that I believe that Cannabis should be decriminalized in this country.  It’s never made sense to me that I could go out and legally drink myself silly, potentially leaving myself open to reeking some real havoc on some unsuspecting souls life forever yet if I wanted to indulge myself by smoking a bit of pot   and relaxing in my living room I could really get into some serious trouble for it. That finally seems to be changing in this country and perhaps it is as simple as all the boomers are coming of age. The last staggering statistic that I heard on National Public radio was that approximately 54 percent of American seniors still admitting to smoking it and perhaps that is why we are many steps closer to finally demanding its total decriminalization. In Colorado it's completely legal and I am told that although there are definite difficulties with the law that  close to 70 percent of the residents do not wish for the law to be revoked, only reworked. At this point in California and many other states, medical marijuana is available in all forms to the lucky residents and all you would need  to procure it without risk to life and limb is a qualifying diagnosis from your physician .  There are strictly enforced dispensaries where those lucky enough to enjoy the privilege will find all sorts of ways to indulge themselves. There are fancy edibles like lollipops, ice cream and brownies and even sodas made with cannabis for those who wish not to smoke their medicines.   


 tea set

  Personally, I don't think that there's anything lovelier then a pot of Cannabis, Bee Balm , Catmint, Rose and Lemon Thyme tea with honey when I'm in a state where I can legally drink it.

Relaxing, Romantic and simply one of the Sexiest sips ever......


For more of My Outlander Love Affair i hope that you'll bookmark : https://www.facebook.com/Outlanderloveaffair 

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More Fun from Milady's Pantry- Win a Lovely Plant Press in Honor of MOBY!


“Tucking my handbag firmly under my arm, I marched into the shop and bought the vases.

I met Frank at the crossing of the High Street and the Gereside Road and we turned up it together. He raised his eyebrows at my purchases.

“Vases?” He smiled. “Wonderful. Perhaps now you’ll stop putting flowers in my books.”

“They aren’t flowers, they’re specimens. And it was you who suggested I take up botany. To occupy my mind, now that I’ve not got nursing to do,” I reminded him.

“True.” He nodded good-humoredly. “But I didn’t realize I’d have bits of greenery dropping out into my lap every time I opened a reference. What was that horrible crumbly brown stuff you put in Tuscum and Banks?”

“Groutweed. Good for hemorrhoids.”

“Preparing for my imminent old age, are you? Well, how very thoughtful of you, Claire.”

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Outlander.”  


Releasing your inner Claire! A contest in honor of the release of MOBY!

Tuesday, June the Tenth is the day we've all been longing impatiently for the release as it marks the release of the long anticipated 8th novel of our beloved Outlander series; Written in my own Hearts Blood. I've cancelled all of my appointments and will be found swinging in my hammock, with ale , homemade oatcakes and lavender shortbread.

 The one appointment that I will keep is my weekly Tuesday morning volunteer time in the Western Reserve Herb Society gardens. We'll be harvesting fresh herbs for vinegars and rose petals and geranium leaves for the jellies that we make for the Herb Fair that we hold every year. The harvest doesn't wait, even for MOBY. I'm hopeful that Jamie Fraser, farmer and Laird would approve! For those of you who are reading this and don't quite know what I'm talking about, here's a brief synopsis if the Outlander series. If you haven't read it, trust me when I say you must!

Releasing your inner Claire! A contest in honor of the release of MOBY!

So where does the surprise for all of you comes in? The other day I was wandering through the Botanical Garden gift shop and I came across this wonderful flower and plant press. I bought two on the spot... One for me and one for a very special one of you!

The minute I saw it I thought of Claire and her delight in pressing little bits of flora and fauna! It comes with some blotter paper and it's ready to use! Pressing plants is so much fun and a great way to really learn about them by really studying them at close range.

While pressing them in a book like Claire did is wonderfully romantic,( I once bought an old book that had at least a hundred 4 leaf clovers pressed into it!) pressing them in blotter paper allows them to dry out faster and really retain all their colors. You can make beautiful notecards or your own Material Medica. Whatever you create I promise that you'll have a lot of fun doing it!

To enter just go to the Outlander Love Affair-Milady's Pantry Facebook page,
"Like" it if you haven't already and then go to the event page and click on "Join" just like last time! It will immediately enter you into the drawing! On Tuesday morning before i settle in I will download all of the entrants like I did last time and put the number through the random.org sequence to choose one lucky winner!





Milady's Tinctures, Tonic and Teas: Claire's Herbs - Wedding Eve Tea


This is one of my favorite teas. The herbs that I use for it are soothing and romantic, just the sort of thing that might keep a virgin Scot and his terrified English bride from bolting from their bedchamber in fear. In the wintertime I pull from my stash of dried herbs but in the spring when everything is wick I just trot around my gardens with my cutting basket and a scissors.This evenings tea is full of wonderful flowers and herbs that are known to promote relaxation and of course some oatstraw, fresh rose and cinnamon for a bit of seduction. Lavender , sage and parsley are nothing but relaxing and the anise hyssop, raspberry leaves, raspberry fruits and violet flowers do nothing but set the stage for love to blossom.and the womb to open. The Laphroaig? We all know what that does!

Milady's Pantry: Claire's Herbs- Wedding Eve Tea

Put about 4 handfuls of these mixed fresh herbs and flowers into a pan and cover with about 8 cups of filtered water. Bring it to a soft simmer for about 3 minutes , turn off the heat and cover. Let it steep for about 5 minutes , strain and add raw honey to taste and a generous dollop of Laphroaig. Serve while touching for best results.......