Lichen and Moss and Beautiful Things In Between


It’s in between time. The woods were calling me, but there wasn’t much to do.  (Except to be). I harvested medicinal barks and cottonwood buds earlier in the month and only the hardiest of the green plants are beginning to peek out from the mucky ground   It’s a strange feeling of openess compared to the running list that’s usually  in my head of all the things to be harvested, grown, picked, processed…to find myself just there.  I find myself just there in the late fall and in the winter, but that’s different. That is the end of something or the middle of a long rest. This time we are on cusp of a new season.  I feel like I’m quivering alongside all this building energy of possibility and growth and change that feels like the essence springtime.   The day I went out into the woods moss was having it’s moment.  Moss is a humble growing thing that is  dwarfed, literally, by the taller plants and figuratively dwarfed by the fancy frippery of the flowering plants and the majesty of the trees.  Yet, right now, before everything else really gets going, it’s there holding court, expressing  green like nothing else.

The fungi also seem amenable to this wet, cool weather.  I wish I knew more mushrooms.  I know only a handful, but what a kingdom they are, popping up out of the rot in such diverse shapes and sizes and colors.

And the lichen….they are all over the trunks and limbs of the trees, devoid of green leaves but covered with green and grey and glaucous blue lichen.  I wish I knew the lichen better as well.

For those of you that were hoping from my title that I would teach you to identify the moss and lichens and fungi, I am sorry to disappoint you.

Many of the few plants I did see are in what I think of as the neonatal purple phase:  Nettle and Dutchmen’s Breeches and some Red Elder beginning to leaf out.   You see it too in the next few weeks with unfurling Blue Cohosh and Hepatica and other plants. It’s the strange shade of purple shared by many plants in their infant state.


I am also in an in-between space.  My midwifery work is not a consistent thing. There are months where I serve 5 or 6 birthing women and months where I serve one or two.  The fall and early winter were remarkably full times for me.  I worked with many birthing women and had large projects like the Herbal Education Festival, Sogn Valley Craft Fair and my Holiday Sale that needed lots of time and attention.

This February, March and April is time in between. I am in between times of intense activity and service.  And I am savoring it. I am licking this season off the spoon like a huge dollop of hot fudge. It is dripping down my chin and I don’t even care. What a blessing it has been.  I love to putter and dream and I love novelty and these things are hard to have in your life when you to-do list is as long as your arm. I have not been idle.  I just need some empty time to let my next choice bubble up to the surface and to savor the feeling of *choosing* the next thing I want to fill up my time with instead of doing what a series of most imperative things.  I am cooking, walking, reading,  practicing yoga, studying new remedies,  working on new recipes, writing, planning, traveling!

3 Wonderful Things on the Horizon

I chose to offer three wonderful things this Spring to fill my open spaces.

On Sunday, April 17th  we are hosting a Spring geneabirth Community Blessingway at our office. These are heart-filling events. If you are pregnant, or know someone who is pregnant or you are a birthworker, join us.

On Saturday, April 23rd, I am having  a Spring Boutique Sale at Blue Vervain Botanicals. 10 am- 1pm. 851 Dayton Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 551041. Stop by to shop for Mother’s Day or get yourself a fragrant little treat.  I’ll have some coffee, tea, mimosas and some morning goodies to nibble on and complimentary samples while supplies last.

On Sunday, May 7th  I am teaming up with my friend, herbal student and professional photographer extrodinaire, Sharri Keller to teach a day long plant identification, medicine and photography workshop in Cannon Falls, Minnesota and we have just 3 spots left.

Things I Love This Season

My twelve year old son and I went to Mexico.  We went to visit my midwife-herbalist friend, Meg, who is living the expat life in Zihautanejo, which is also the home of her youngest son’s father and grandparents.  We frolicked on the beach and fed ourselves deeply on fresh, handmade, local Mexican food and we were also fed visually, intellectually and in our hearts by the beautiful landscape and the friendly, laid back culture.  At the Saturday eco-market I got this soap from a Mexican soapmaker.

mexican soap.jpg She makes all her soap with local ingredients. The soaps are made with 100% local almond oil and the pink one is colored with hibiscus and the middle one is contains Moringa, a local tree that I have heard about recently here in the U.S. as a galactogogue.

I also got this amazing infused honey.  I wish, dear readers, that I could send this flavor through the cables and fibers connecting your computer and mine.  It is infused with orange, eucalyptus, clove and rosemary  It is out of this world.

infused honey

If you are looking  for a place to stay in Mexico consider Zihua and Grace O’Malley’s Casita by the Sea

Here are a few other things I love this season.  Perhaps you will find something new to love as well.

I love this book! It is comprehensive and beautifully illustrated and has answered the questions I had. It has also given me a lot of inspiration to try some new flavors in my kombucha. For instance, I put vanilla bean in a recent batch along with tart cherry juice, cherry juice being a standby for me.  Vanilla bean+ kombucha = delicious.  I was so inspired by the pages and pages of ideas that I felt like, “Wow! I can put anything in this stuff!”  I also tried some fresh squeezed grapefruit juice with Mountain Rose Love Tea with roses and damiana and cacao.  mmmm…. Since I started using some of the instructions in this book, I have ridiculously carbonated kombucha, which makes me really pleased. I like it fizzy!

kombucha 2

The Boreal Herbal. This is another book I have been enjoying recently. It also has so many fine photos and it’s great to see an herbal with the focus on the northern plants. The plant section is organized by herb, berry and tree, which I like rather than taxonomic; it feels more useful and pragmatic to me. There is also an above average amount of attention placed on edibility and recipes, which I know I have many students who will appreciate that.   I hope to write a more comprehensive review of this book in the future.

boreal herbal

Rose Body Butter  by herbolution.  I buy a lot of handmade bath and body products that, frankly, disappoint, but this body butter is delightful. I’m almost out of it!  It both smells amazing and has a pleasing texture that manages to be rich and non-greasy at the same time.  New fave! The soap is nice too, especially the shampoo bar.

rose body butter


Do Yoga With Me.  I have a daily yoga practice.  I give these guys a little bit of money every month. A large part of the reason that I subscribe is that subscription is optional. They offer almost all of their content for free and there are some great classes on this website!   Who doesn’t want to support that? The production value is moderately high (better than many youtube classes)and a lot of the classes are shot out in nature on beaches,  in parks and natural areas of British Columbia.  Several of the teachers are topnotch.

For a deep, therapeutic stretch try the founder, David Procyshyn’s classes.  He is super earnest and knowledgeable and has a calming, grounding style and if there is a way to heal some part of your body with yoga, you will find it with him. I especially love Hatha Yoga Therapy for your Lower Back,  IT Band and Hip Flexor Heaven.

I also really love Rachel Scott’s classes.  Her sequences are so intriguingly well-designed that they really satisfy something in my brain. Additionally the pacing is great, perfect, in fact, for me.  I love Heavenly Hips and Yummy 20 (great for a morning wake-up practice) I really love all of her classes.

If you want a vigorous, athletic Vinyasa/Power flow try Fiji McAlpine. I can’t even go near her advanced classes but the intermediate ones are doable for me. I like Yummy 30 because it’s the easiest!  She has a lot of good ones various durations.

Finally, I also like Tracey Noseworthy’s classes. They are Vinyasa, nice steady pace, not too easy, not too hard.  Wake up Your Spine is a nice short practice and also when I don’t have a lot of time I like this short sun salutation practice.

I hope you are finding lots of inspiration during this season of bubbling up, sprouting up, unfurling and fresh beginings!




  1. Hello, Clicking on the title or read more takes me to the website where I see the title and everything except the body of the text. Thanks, Virginia

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