Q: Ack! Chiggers! A: This is an area where I feel I can speak with great authority. Unfortunately, as a leader of plant walks in Texas, I got lots of opportunity to get feedback from people about what herbs worked for them for chiggers. I made a chart and collected data and got it down […]


I’m back from an herb trip to France. It was a beautiful experience in a fairytale land, with a circle of wise healers. We met a high-altitude wild lavender harvester, went to a museum of antique stills and distilled our own rosemary hydrosol. Something that was totally new to me was gemmotherapy. It’s the medicinal […]

my new books

This week I made it to Dussmann, an enormous book and music store here in Berlin. They have an entire English bookstore inside the larger store. I got both English and German versions of Maria Treben’s “Health from God’s Apothecary”. My first German-language book! It’ll be a long project to work my way through it. […]

sitting at the feet of Dr. Lad

Today a student in my German class asked if I knew a little about Ayurveda. I said I did and found myself telling her about when I went to Albuquerque to take a workshop taught by Dr. Vasant Lad. On my walk home afterwards I reflected on the conversation, intrigued by how the experience has […]

red pepper

I’ve been getting to be closer friends with red pepper in the previous month. It’s like one of those people you see around all the time, maybe chat with now and again, but don’t take the time to really sit down with and get to know. It’s been on my list ever since I went […]


Hazel is the plant that has most enthusiastically welcomed me to Europe. In my first days in Berlin, I took this photo and posted it on Facebook, asking if anyone knew what it was. I quickly figured out for myself that it is Turkish Hazel: Corylus colurna. It’s a fairly common street tree here in […]


I’m trying to write a blog post and everything I try to write about just seems to keep leading from one thing to another and expanding ever-larger. What is short and simple? Garlic. A lesson I’ve gotten from garlic is that no matter how complicated and tangled things get, you can often then collapse it […]


I’m still trying to digest Ireland and figure out exactly what to say about that trip, and I realize that there’s no hurry. The lessons that come from travel keep deepening as time goes on. Some details may fade, but that only leaves the important abstractions in sharper relief. Of all the trips I’ve taken […]


It’s such a gentle, kind, reassuring plant. I so enjoy sitting with it and letting it calm me. One night I drunkenly stumbled into the yard and it waved in the breeze, inviting me to sit. It told me it has been with me always before and will be with me for the always to […]

oat harvest

This post is a continuation from Sowing My Wild Oats The harvest of my wild oats was one of my greatest gardening pleasures. In the spring, when they reached about a foot tall, I would start cutting them for tea. Most years, they can handle two harvests easily and still produce seed. I experimented with […]