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Why Nettle Soup?

being greenHave you heard of a very successful series of books on life improvement, called “Chicken Soup for the Soul” by Jack Canfield?

Well, here is “Nettle Soup for the Mind” – a positive, stimulating and tonic mixture of green ingredients inspired by of one of nature’s most useful plants, the humble and wholly underrated stinging nettle. Continue reading

Fragrant Valerian – Valeriana officinalis

Fragrant Valerian flower

Fragrant Valerian flower

In the language of love the gift of Valerian means: ‘merit in disguise’ – “Conscious of my lowliness, I aspire nonetheless to wed you”. Valerian once had a reputation for its mystic power of disturbing the sexual desires and maidens would carry a small piece about their person in the hope that the smell might attract a lover. Continue reading

Apple

apples

American Mother in my orchard

I have never handled as many apples as I have this year. There seemed to be a bumper crop in the small orchard in our garden. As I sit here writing this I can hear the homely ‘glop’ noises from behind the woodburner as most of the juice from them is brewing into gallons of what seems a very tasty (and strong) cider. Continue reading

Tansy (Chrysanthemum vulgare)

Tansy (Chrysanthemum vulgare)

Tansy (Chrysanthemum vulgare)

It started with making and eating the Tansy cakes. I had to ask myself ‘Why would anyone eat anything that tastes so weird’? What developed from this strand was a strong argument for preventative self-medication. This has traditionally been part of our Western culture until removed by the separation of ‘physic and spirit’ and deference to the authority of doctors. Continue reading

Swords into Ploughshares – How the Internet Increases Resilience

swords into ploughshares

swords into ploughshares

It excites me to see how the internet, a tool created to serve the purposes of war, has become one which is increasingly useful in servicing aspects of community. It is a fine example of ‘beating swords into plowshares’ a concept in which military weapons or technologies are converted for peaceful civilian applications. The phrase originates from the Book of Isaiah, who prophesies of a future age where there will be peace amongst all humankind:

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3 Continue reading

Resilience, Transition, Sustainability and Field Dependency

butterflyResilience is a key concept in the process of Transition, but like many abstract concepts, it is open to variable interpretation. Its meaning in green or ecological terms develops ideas of self-sufficency at a community level, again both these terms are open to levels of interpretation. Even the abstract concept of ‘transition’ itself has its own field variables – within one field it defines the process of gender shifting – as I found out when er, ‘researching on the internet’. Continue reading

Salt washing in watercolour

In this issue of Nettle Soup I have decided to demonstrate a technique which combines science, art and nature, themes of these pages. This is the effect of salt on a watercolour wash. This effect creates a stunning texture which can be used in a number of ways including that of a generalised ‘nature’ texture / background. Continue reading