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A prairie education

  Summer is already waning here on the prairie.  For me, like many others, it has been a fast-paced blur of activity, even though I tell myself that it’s a time to relax and be still.  My inner compass also tells me that summer is a time of education, although, even at my age, it rarely follows the path that I’ve planned.  Perhaps it’s like that for you, too; so let me share a little about my summer.   I just returned a few days ago from a weeklong bicycle ride across the state of Iowa.  I sometimes have difficulty explaining to the uninitiated why I would choose to spend my vacation riding 60-70 miles a day for 7 days. ...

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Prairie Star's Guidepost #2 - Access

The word “access” seems like a common, everyday, utilitarian kind of word.   Look it up in the dictionary, and you’ll find the following definitions: To obtain, examine, retrieve. A way or means of entering or approaching Opportunity or ability to use The right to obtain We prefer this very simple definition, Being able to get what you need As a student of herbalism, I often found myself searching – for information, for fresh herbs, for formulas, for recipes, for photographs, for descriptions of plants, for tools, for books.   Often the answer seemed just beyond my reach.   For me, the journey has often taken me beyond my comfort zone – to a place where I become as a child, learning to...

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Celebrate winter with us!

Winter begins on December 21, with the celebration of the Winter Solstice.  We bid adieu to the season of fall.  Here on the prairie, it has been mild and dry.  And windy – very windy.   The door of our shop opens, summoning our attention.  We look up again, and again, as the wind is a bit of a trickster.  It announces itself - “I’m here.  Slow down.  Pay attention to me.  Winter is coming.”   At Prairie Star, as herbalists, we move and dance with the seasons.  Winter signifies a time of rest and preparation.  For us, our compass points north.  It is a magical and reflective time, where we follow the direction of the prairie and its native plants...

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A prairie summer moon

A full moon on a hot Saturday night – most beautiful and bright – perfect for a little moon-bathing. The moon is magical, especially a summer moon. I gaze at it, sensing an opening to a rapid current of knowledge and wisdom, if only I could dip my toe into it, I could touch the essence of the universe. I am buoyant… and then, I’m back in my body, on this planet, sitting in my back yard.   Summer is my absolute favorite season. Here in the Midwest US, the sun starts to rise before 5 AM and sets after 9 PM. The staggering amount of daylight provides time to get large projects accomplished. Painting, gardening, harvesting wild herbs, writing...

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The waning of autumn

Here in the Midwest, fall has been mild, dry and warm.  I’ve loved the opportunity to be outside in the sunshine, breathing in the smells – the pungency of falling leaves, the earthiness of fields after harvest, the sweetness of crushed overripe apples, and grilled goodness at the football tailgate gathering.  I’ve dug roots, hung seed heads, spread leaves to dry for tea.  Sometimes, I step outside just to breathe in the richness of the breezes that come before the start of winter. As I watch the gradual fall of leaves, search for the last of the tomatoes on the vines, and say goodbye to my potted annuals, I am touched by sadness. I spend my days immersed in the...

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