There is something magical about the sound of an axe chopping while being out in the field of violets and other flowers and medicinal herbs. The sun shining down through the trees who dance in the wind offering a lovely setting to the violet picking I have been doing over the last week.
It’s Spring here in East Texas with warm and wet days to help jolt everything awake. We have all adapted fairly well to life out here in the country. The boys have been home schooled since last March by mostly Chris but I help some here and there when I’m not working or nursing Lumen.
We aren’t 100% unpacked yet even though we have almost been here for two months. We have unpacked what we considered “needed” and some of the things that bring us joy and a sense of “home” but until we are sure of where other things may go – the desire to keep unused items in boxes and not cluttering the rest of the house is very conscious for us.
The things that have taken our interest is mostly outdoors at the moment. For me – I have started my medicinal (and culinary) herb garden(s). I have started some items from seed such as bachelor buttons, bee balm, sunflowers, chamomile, cilantro, chives, passionvines, and more! I have also planted organic plants such as comfrey, plantain, valerian, elder, mullein, and St. John’s Wort! I have everything in pots currently as I mature them and prepare them for the ground.
We have deer, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, birds and more out this way so we really wanted to take a year to understand our land and fellow inhabitants more before we start throwing things in the ground and starting our full homestead gardens. We are getting ready to prepare for chickens and a green house – I have big dreams out here on Big Woods.
Chris has started a project of his own as well. While he and I can get lost in gardening for days and weeks together – he found a fun way to use his time with the boys collecting various sizes of fallen branches throughout our 10 acres. He is making us a wooden arbor. This is where the sound of the axe comes in as he cuts the wood to size. I’m very excited about this wood arbor and I love watching him make it.
It’s been calling to me to create sanctuary here on Big Woods. If we want to get real – the whole move here was to find a place to connect more to the land we rely on for survival and to become closer as a family. We wanted to provide the kiddos different perspectives on life and I feel Aiden may benefit the most from living in the suburbs for his first 10 years before moving off to the country and experiencing new ways of living.
Creating sanctuary for me is about finding a place to feel refreshed, peaceful and nourished in the body, spirit and the mind. It is about taking the journey to create relationships with the environment and serving it the best I can and learning while I do so. Some people love to decorate the inside of their homes to find joy and create spaces they love – I just do it outdoors more.
I have always been fascinated by the land that nourished my ancestors and deep down know that it still has everything I need to survive if I just take the time to learn about it and uncover it. Now, with that being said – I still very much love my ability to get groceries from the store and shop and tap into convenience but I find true JOY in providing much of my needs and wants for myself and my family.
I am in the envisioning stage of creating sanctuary while I start the plants I want to incorporate into it. I want to utilize sacred geometry, a medicine wheel design, and large rocks and stones into the foundation and set specific intentions around what I want to co-create with the land and space. I intend to embed the wooden arbor that Chris has been working on into this space – I envision it as the door and threshold to my not so secret garden.
I enjoy plants that have medicinal values but also for their beauty and nourishment to the wildlife around us. I have flowers of all types in mind to add into the charm – some of my favorites include giant zinnias, sunflowers, lilacs, poppy’s, cone flowers and more. I also like to explore and see what is growing throughout the land already and build around that too. We have found some really cool plants already since we have been here like may apples – I didn’t know about them until we moved out here.
Wild violets are something I ordered online to plant in our old backyard – the people who bought our last home may not find my love for “weeds” inspiring. I planted dandelions, violets, clover, and more of the traditionally despised plants in neighborhoods so that I could work with them in various ways. Here on Big Woods, I have found hundreds and hundreds of wild violets growing on their own – I have harvested around 4-5 cups of the lovely purple blooms over the last week and it isn’t even half of what is growing wild by the creeks in the yard.
Why have I harvested so many, you ask? Well – knowing what I know about violets after much research – I wanted to make tonics, syrups, and jelly with them. Wild violets are known for their anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and diuretic properties. Many have used them respiratory ailments like coughs and also for skin concerns. I have a few recipes underway now with the lovely little blooms and I will share those with you in a different post.
Once things are underway, growing, and thriving – I plan to use plants in various ways like medicinal tinctures and electuaries, make teas with them, I like to use them for vases and floral assortments, creating mandalas, and such.
Have you started creating sanctuary? If so, what does that look like for you? Do you have any special practices or special items you like to incorporate into your gardens and landscape? What are your favorite parts about starting your gardens and creating sanctuary?
I love hearing about your experiences so don’t hold back – Spring is such an exciting time to gain momentum with creative energies and I love learning about all the ways others are tapping into it.
Shining from the Shadows ~