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July 2015

Jamies Horses ~ 10 dead horses is 10 too many.



Channeling my inner Jamie Fraser......I'm a lifelong horseman . There are a million reasons that I could recite that...

Posted by My Outlander Love Affair- Milady's Pantry and Stillroom on Monday, 27 July 2015

Jamies Horses ~ 10 dead horses is 10 too many.



Channeling my inner Jamie Fraser......I'm a lifelong horseman . There are a million reasons that I could recite that...

Posted by My Outlander Love Affair- Milady's Pantry and Stillroom on Monday, 27 July 2015

Claires Herbs ~ Herbal Medicine for Horses & Humans


One of my Stallion's ~ Setauket Station  


“Jamie disappeared for a few minutes. He came back with a handful of dark green oblate leaves, chewing something. He spat a glob of macerated green into the palm of his hand, stuffed another wad of leaves into his mouth and turned me away from him. He rubbed the chewed leaves gently over my back, and the stinging eased considerably.
“What is that?” I asked, making an effort to control myself. I was still shaky and snuffling, but the helpless tears were beginning to ebb.
“Watercress,” he answered, voice slightly muffled by the leaves in his mouth. He spat them out and applied them to my back. “You’re no the only one knows a bit about grass-cures, Sassenach,” he said, a bit clearer.”
Excerpt From: Gabaldon, Diana. “Outlander.

Many people over the years have asked me about my involvement with alternative medicine, most specifically my use of herbal remedies to address the various maladies that periodically plague me, my friends or my family. As we find out with increasing frequency about the corruption of the large pharmaceutical companies as well as the continuing dangers of the untested drugs that they create, I think that it's natural to have become more curious about holistic methodologies and their effectiveness. The overuse of antibiotics in America has created some of the scariest and most resistant strains of Staphylococcus and other superbugs that we've ever seen and having had a 3 year fight with one of them (a strain of Klebsiella that only 2 antibiotics could fight, one of which would have knocked out his kidneys within 6 months)that eventually killed my father, I do believe that there is cause for alarm.

I've seen a dramatic rise in the number of people turning to alternative remedies for self healing and daily I'm asked for suggestions to increase immunity. Although there has been much improvement, health insurance (or lack of effective coverage) is still at the forefront of the current political debate.  It's clear that it's become time for a powerful paradigm shift relating to the way that we deal with illness. 

I became familiar with herbal medicine very early in my life, because as a child I had an Irish riding instructor from County Galway who hardly ever used veterinary medicine to treat her beloved Welsh ponies.  Colic , which is a horrible impaction of the gut was never an issue with our horses. Every morning she would boil flax seed on her stove and create a jelly to be given in the mornings feed. We rarely wormed our horses with the fancy new paste wormer filled with chemicals, but kept them parasite free with  the pine and spruce that she kept in the pasture for them to eat. 

Yellow Dock

 I began to notice that our horses were eating all kinds of different plants that were growing with rarely any ill effects and they ate them readily. Horses that seemed a bit lackluster  ate certain plants and when I pointed them out to her she was always able to tell me what was ailing them because of what they were eating. One day, one of the horses went straight for a patch of yellow dock which she told me indicated a weakness in his stomach. After a day or two he brightened and was much happier and far stronger than he'd been several days before. Not a miracle cure at all, he was just an animal who trusting his natural instincts to choose the plants that would help him heal. It was pretty amazing stuff for an impressionable 12 year old to see. We used tinctures of  chamomile and beer in the bran mashes that we made to help promote calmness and vitality before horse shows. We  rarely used chemical liniments, relying on herbal vinegars that we made with saltpeter, sage , fresh mints and comfrey leaves.


Fresh Comfrey

I use poultices of comfrey and French green clay to draw out abscesses and instead of relying on injections to help keep Setaukets sperm count up and his energy  balanced during breeding season, I added a few fresh artichokes, beet pulp and Guinness stout everyday to his feed until breeding season was over. He never dropped weight like so many stallions do and was happy and very easy to handle.

I think that it  was only natural for me to question the amounts of medicine that were being used by my family Drs. to "promote health" , because I had been exposed to something so different in my very early years which made complete and total sense to me. 

In my early 20's after a tangle with birth control pills, antibiotics and the ensuing amount of damage that they did to my body,  I really swore off of the convenience of modern medicine as the first resort when I fell ill, always the last. 

In my mid 20's  (I'm 55 now!) I was fortunate to find a wonderful wise woman named LaWanna Rine who is a very experienced herbalist and healer. She became my teacher and I still work with her to this day, she's always got something new and wonderful to teach me!

 LaWanna has been a practicing herbalist and aromatherapist for decades and graciously taught me by example. I spent many hours with her helping her to prepare teas, salves and tinctures and walking through her woods while we gathered the plants that we would use.

Her herbal practice is a very complete example of a whole body system for healing. She is is totally vegan and she practices her yoga and meditation everyday. She uses herbs from her property and water from her spring to create her healing teas. She is an aromatherapist and uses essential oils and hydrosols in the wonderful treatments that she gives. Her powerful medical intuition as well as her vast knowledge of the body's systems are her most profound diagnostic tool.

Poke Root

She is to this day, one of the only herbalists that I've ever met who I would trust with the dosage of the more powerful herbs like poke root, because she knows how to use them with the safety and precision that we wish that our Doctors practiced with their candy box of  pharmaceuticals.  I was very lucky to find her and she taught me that the practice of herbalism is everyones birthright, something to be shared and not hoarded. 

 LaWanna encouraged everyone in her circle to learn as much as possible so that  you could live well wherever you found yourself and not be at the mercy of a medical system that she felt had betrayed our humanity. She also was very firm about her belief that eating with the seasons , harvesting and growing your own foods as well as wildcrafting your own herbs  provided the most potent medicine for body, mind and spirit.   She taught me to use fasting, whole foods and mini cleanses as tools to promote a healthy digestive system thereby creating a strong immune system.  She's also 89 years old, still teaching and wildcrafting in her woods. She's really quite a remarkable woman!

Now that so many natural herbal preparations can be found in our local Whole Foods store and even in grocery stores that are not traditionally "Health Food " stores, it's more important than ever to learn as much as you can about this old and wise tradition of healing. Herbs are indeed natural, but they are powerful medicines. There are many wonderful books available by herbal legends such as Susan Weed or the late Juliette De Baricli Levy as well as home study courses that you can purchase and enjoy at your own pace. I still use holistic remedies on all of my animals  and the vet ONLY when I find something that I cannot treat myself. By the way in case anyone is wondering, I always vaccinate my animals. 
 Herbal remedies  in most of their forms are very gentle yet powerful and effective. They should not be taken carelessly because they can be as toxic as  the  drugs we are trying to avoid.  Take the time to do the research and always remember to consult your pharmacist if you are taking any other prescription drugs.  Herbs  can mix poorly with many pharmaceuticals,  so it pays to proceed with with caution. No herbalist in this country can legally prescribe herbs , so be very careful if you run across one that tells you to take something and prescribes a dosage for a certain illness as it's a pretty sure sign of either immaturity or arrogance on the part of the practitioner. Always consult your Dr. before you change your medicines or embark on an unknown course of supplementation.

What I strive to do instead is what my friend LaWanna taught me to do, I suggest and educate and try as much as possible to empower people to create their own template for their healing journey. Use your own good judgment and learn as much as you can. You'll have a lot of fun doing it..I promise!

In this age of global uncertainty and instability , I truly believe as LaWanna does that it is so very important to be able care for yourself and your family with as much self sufficiency as possible. We are fortunate to live in a world where so much is readily available to us including excellent Doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists.  However,  the tradition of herbal medicine for healing has been passed down from generation to generation and it  belongs to everyone, not just a chosen few. Thankfully, it is a traditional, yet sophisticated and effective folk medicine that can be readily utilized by anyone who cares enough to truly take the time to learn about , respect and understand fully the properties of the many herbs that are so readily available to us all.





Pictures of comfrey, yellow dock and poke root are not taken by me. I do not know who to attribute them to.

My Outlander Love Affair ~ Tending Brigid's Flame

“Jamie’s face, rather tired and worn, broke into a grin.
“A son? The blessing of Bride and Michael be on him! A braw lad?”
“Very,” I assured him. “I think he must weigh almost nine pounds.”
“Poor lass,” he said, with a sympathetic grimace. “And her first, too. Wee Rachel’s all right, though?”
“Rather tired and sore, but quite all right,” I assured him. “Shall I bring you some beer, while you take care of the horse?”
“A good wife is prized above rubies,” he said, smiling. “Come to me, mo nighean donn.” He reached out a long arm and drew me in, holding me close against him. I put my arms around him and felt the quiver of his muscles, exhausted, and the sheer hard strength still in him, that would hold him up, no matter how tired he might be. We stood quite still for some time, my cheek against his chest and his face against my hair, drawing strength from each other for whatever might come. Being married."

Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Written in My Own Heart's Blood.”  

St. Brides Feast 
"I should like a great lake of finest ale for the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of Faith, And the food be forgiving love.
I should welcome the poor to my feast, For they are God's children. I should welcome the sick to my feast, For they are God's joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place, And the sick dance with the angels. God bless the poor, God bless the sick, And bless our human race. God bless our food, God bless our drink, All homes, O God, embrace."
An ancient song to St. Brigid from Celtic Fire ~ Robert Van de Weyer

animated candle photo: CANDLE candle.gif

I love Jamie Fraser's devotion to St. Bride as he calls her and it's quite touching and personal for me as I have been called to the work in the service of Brigid for many years now.

I am a Reiki Master who works with the  energy and symbols of Brigids Flame and it is work that I love and feel so honored to be able to do in this world.  

I am also a Flamekeeper of Ord Brighideach International and it is my great blessing to tend to Brigid's Flame every 20 days.

Tonight I set my table for St. Bride or Brigid ~ Triple Goddess of The Hearth, Temple & Forge. As Flamekeepers we all have chosen to be a part of a cill (or church) that inspires us and there are many to choose from, all based upon the ancient Ogham tree Alphabet.  I and 18 others are part of the Cill of the Hawthorn, a beautiful tree that is sacred to the Goddess Brigid.

The Hawthorn is thought to inspire creativity, loyalty and fertility. It is a wonderful ally that strengthens the heart and is the tree sacred to love and happiness, whose flowers are often to used in Springtime handfastings and weddings.


I spend much time tending the beautiful Hawthorns that grow in the herb garden that I am fortunate enough to tend. They teach me to handle all beings with great care and patience as they are incredibly thorny and will not hesitate to bless you with a lesson if you need it. A prick from a hawthorn is incredibly painful and not easily forgotten, but it usually means that you're traveling through life too quickly and working too quickly.  Simply slow down and take your time...no matter what it is that you're doing. 

 All 19 of us are tending Brigids Flame from sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow ~ the span of time for the traditional Celtic day! The worship of Brigid pre-dates Christianity and goes way back into the Druidic mists of early Ireland and Scotland. Brigid's flame was burned continuously in pre~ Christian Ireland by her priestesses who would gather on the hills in Kildare and invoke the benevolent Goddess to protect their livestock and insure a plentiful harvest. Later, when St.Brigid built her monastery in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the flame alive.  

The number 19 was sacred to Brigid as she had 19 female disciples who kept her sacred flame burning continuously in Ireland. Brigid's flame is still tended continuously in Kildare, Ireland by the Brigadine sisters at Solas Bhride, the hermitage that bears her name. 

I keep her flame alive tonight in honor of World Peace, Hospitality & Charity for all.... 




For more of my Outlander Love Affair on Facebook please click here! 



The beautiful photograph of the hawthorn was not taken by me.

It is courtesy of  https://www.best4hedging.co.uk

The flame I have chosen is from Photobucket






Enchanting Objects....

Cast the most glamorous spell in the room! I think that this gorgeous duster would be absolutely perfect to wear from Samhain straight through Yule... The best news? It's on sale!

Bewitching and Beautiful!

Juliette Jacket - RAISIN - $279.95

Delicate gold foil vines and leaves subtly shimmer on this magical velvet jacket, an exclusive Label Noir find, highlighted by an ornate, Moroccan-influenced antique brass ornament closure aglow with lustrous cabochons. Front and back princess seams and waist shaping complement curves. Long bell sleeves, on-seam pockets, front curved hem, fully lined. An enchanting way to make an entrance at holiday celebrations. Polyester. Misses front 51" long/back 57".

Milady's Tinctures, Tonics & Teas ~ Making Refreshing Summer Teas from Fresh Herbs!


One of the loveliest things about growing your own herbs is that you always have a pesticide free source of flowers and leaves to create delicious fresh teas. I learned to make fresh teas many years ago and when I have the plant material at my disposal I actually prefer teas made this way. The vibration that you experience from drinking a tea of just picked herbs is indeed different then a tea steeped from the dried. 

What you see here is a tea brewing that is made of several different herbs and flowers.This is specifically combined to be a very relaxing tea that will also help me focus upon the writing work at hand.  I harvested these herbs literally 10 minutes ago, at twilight with fireflies dancing all around me. The base I've chosen is about 2 cups of Holy Basil ( tulsi), an herb widely renowned for its soothing, stress reducing and cooling properties ( I still get hot flashes !) and 2 cups lemon verbena, lemon balm (quite good for the gut and any frazzled nerves!) , rose (well known as an antidepressant and digestif!), pineapple mint( a beautiful light mint with a very fruity quality!) and some Pink Monarda  (One of my favorite herbs to use when my energy is waning).

You can make fresh herb teas through a electric tea infuser and it will work quite well, but in my experience the depth of flavor is not the same as what will develop if you use this easy process. I just put all of these herbs into a non-reactive stainless steel saucepan and I add about 3 quarts of filtered water. I prefer filtered water for the obvious reasons....it simply tastes better! Then I turn on the stove and I let the water heat up, to not quite a simmer. 

Keeping the burner on, I let the whole thing steep for about 45 minutes or however long it takes from the blooms and leaves to lose their color. Then I turn off the heat, let it all infuse for about 20 minutes, press the herbs one last time with the back of a spoon and remove them from the pot. Then I decant the tea into 1 quart mason jars, put on the lids and refrigerate. These teas are absolutely delicious warm, but they really come into their own when they've settled a bit a chilled down.

Just add your favorite sweetener, a still warm oatmeal raisin cookie , a hammock and call it a day!





This Beautiful Wedding Hammock is courtesy of The Victorian trading Company