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Archive for July, 2012

Home-made yoghurt

We’ve started making our own yoghurt again.  I’d forgotten how EASY it is to make, although previously it used to share the airing cupboard with the cats until they worked out how to get the cover off the pot.  This time around we are avoiding such problems.  Lakeland on George Street in Edinburgh have furnished us with a basic yoghurt heating machine, and all you do is scoop a couple of dessert spoons of good natural live yoghurt into the container, boil up full fat milk and let it cool to just under 50C, then add that to the yoghurt mixing very gently (do not whisk or beat!) and switch on the machine for 8 hours or so.  Really very good.  Use the last of that batch to make the new batch.

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Herbal courses

I’ve been seduced by the wonderful herbology courses run by the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh – since January I have spent Thursday evenings studying ‘Medicine from Trees’ or ‘Herbs of the Highlands’, and making remarkably potent (and sometimes bizarre) remedies, lotions and potions after picking the herbs themselves from the Botanic Gardens here in Edinburgh.

This September I have signed up for ‘Herbs for Healing’, in which we make MORE herbal remedies and – this is very, very exciting – ‘compile an individual herbarium of medicinal plant specimens’.  Oh my word.  Who would have thought that this could provide so much fun!  Then I’ve shifted my clinic times – must be serious! – to allow me to attend an afternoon course at the RGBE ‘The Art of Herbs’, exploring connections between art forms and medicinal herbs, physic gardens and herbaria.  We shall be making our own artefacts and getting to know plants and herbs in yet another non-academic way.  Even though I love deepening my knowledge about herbs, I’m looking forward to something entirely non-academic.

I have set myself up for all this by becoming entranced by Stephen Harrod Buhner’s erudite yet practical books on our relationship with the plant world, and David Abram’s philosophical works on healing our disconnection from the natural world.  Both seek to shift our perception of the world from that of regarding nature – or anything non-human – as there to be exploited, to seeing ourselves as part of a symbiotic whole with the rest of the natural world.  Ecology for individuals.  Stephen Harrod Buhner is also an excellent herbalist and writes on such subjects as making healing herbal beers and herbal antibiotics to take the place of  Western medical antibiotics where they  so obviously fail – for example in cases of MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.

Some of my favourite Stephen Harrod Buhner books:

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in Direct Perception of Nature

The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth

Herbal Antibiotics

David Abram’s two spellbinding works:

The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage)

Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology (Vintage)

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