The snowy blanket of the season wraps us in quiet. Forced to slow down, I find myself quite introspective and thus, get the urge to feed my mind. I often put off reading until I have time to dedicate to it. My New Year’s resolution was to stop treating books as a task to be done or completed, and start just enjoying them again. At the Apothecary, I feel the joy of being inspired again. The many titles to choose from, the atmosphere of peace takes hold and I want to pick them up. Each time running a finger down the spine of colourful letters that catch my eye. The words form ideas in my mind. What will I discover? How many new secrets will I learn? Will this book yield the logic I so desire?
I started out with 3, one for each month of the season and in different categories so I could answer those questions. I didn’t ask for any recommendations, I just followed what I was drawn to, to feed that hunger of having knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Each time, it didn’t let me down. I’ll share what my thoughts are on these titles, in hopes you will pick them up too. Not just because they are here; but, because they are genuinely pleasant to pass the peaceful moments of winter with.
FINDING GRATITUDE by, Rebekah Lipp and Nicole Perry
I’m one of those people who struggle with the Winter Blues. I admit, it is not my favourite season, so I cope by doing imaginative activities. This helps my brain feel utilized while my body rests. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. FINDING GRATITUDE was a title I saw and struck a chord within me. One of my goals is: to one day, be able to treat every situation I come across with perfect compassion. I thought this book may be able to help me get to that point.
I picked it up on a day that was not my best. I was grumpy and stressed and thought “what better time to see if reading this will really help me?” I took the afternoon to slowly read and gave all of my attention to the words on the page. The simple idea of rephrasing and giving a reason to be grateful was mentioned again and again. The examples were beautiful and you could feel the meaning as you read the sentences. Punctuated by delightful pictures that helped lighten your heart when seeing them, this felt like a guided exercise to see how to appreciate the moments of time, that can one day, become a favourite memory.
THE HERBALIST’S KITCHEN by Pat Crocker
The snow flying is my cue to stay indoors. To prevent myself from going stir crazy. I go a different type of stir crazy: I whirlwind through my kitchen and whisk up whatever catches my fancy. THE HERBALIST’S KITCHEN was a book I had seen up in our Door County shop and I wondered how much were they fitting into a 400+ page book? I was a bit intimidated but also curious. I started it this Summer and then before Fall arrived, I had bookmarks up the wazoo! They were all sticking out in 3 different colours with things to try or make, gift ideas for custom presents, and ideas to plant in my garden.
Glorious pages upon pages of uses were laid out with recipes, ingredient history, and included other members of that plant in the same family. This was so very useful in understanding where the flavours came from and what or how to blend them with certain seasonings or spices. In addition, it gave a very well-defined explanation of each herb’s properties and how to get the most flavour AND benefits. The one recipe I got to try before the snow arrived was the Fine Herbs Pesto using fresh ingredients. Overall, it was the only 2019 dish worth digging out my food processor for out of everything I already make. 10/10, will be happy to wash these plates after cooking.
THE HERBAL HOME REMEDY BOOK by Joyce A. Wardwell
This little gem was picked up because of its size. It was small enough to put in my purse and read in between vet appointments or while waiting at the bank. Just reading through the table of contents I was impressed at the scope the author covers. Could I find a decent and condensed tome that covered the basics WELL? The skeptic in me said no; but the optimist in me said read it you fool and don’t judge until you see for yourself.
Not only are the plant guidelines sound and good advice to follow, the deciphering of GOOD quality base ingredients is something I’ve not seen in every book. She covers common starter equipment as well as 25 simple herbs and storing techniques. For me, the best part is the home medicine chest and HOW to stock it. It also has an easy reference guide in the back for common ailments that even my husband could use effectively without calling me if the need arose. That reference guide is what qualified it to be stored INSIDE the medicine chest in our new home. As valuable as the information is, this little beginner’s guide is handy enough and important enough to keep safe and sound.
In keeping with my “knowledge for the sake of knowledge” ethos, each book took a little under a week to read if I kept up with it after dinner or work. Reading a few pages here and there, a chapter a night with a cup of tea, I found them enjoyable. I liked the small sense of accomplishment it gave me finishing them each month. That extra bit of happiness right there was worth the time I invested in them. The wisdom learned, however, weighs far more precious to me.