Title- Chasing Ravens
Series- Book # 1
By- Jessica E. Paige
Genre- YA Fairy Tale/Folklore
Orphaned at a young age, 15-year old Anouk’s punishment for being too outspoken is an arranged marriage worse than any she could imagine. Fleeing on horseback, yet without a sense of where to turn, she stumbles upon an idyllic village where she finds safe haven. Could this be home?
Ultimately, it will lead her to confront the very face of death, yet amidst the danger and darkness, she meets a handsome woodsman and finds a glowing blue flower with power beyond her wildest dreams.
Inspired by Russian fairy tales and steeped in ancient folklore, Paige’s novel is ripe with fantasy, love, and courage.
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I wanted something different, special even for a guest post and Jessica was all too happy to provide one of the most interesting guest posts I have ever had the pleasure to post. Without further ado:
What kinds of herbs do you grow & what purposes do they serve for you. :)
I grow a lot of herbs in my garden these days, and I add more each year, even though I’m starting to run out of room! Whenever I read through a catalog from a farm that sells herbs or visit a plant nursery, I just can’t seem resist adding another herb!
Calendula is one of my favorite herbs in the world and I cut the flowers as they grow through the summer and into the fall. I dry them inside and use their gorgeous yellow and orange petals to infuse oil that I later use for lotions, salves and lip balm. Calendula is well-known for its ability to help nourish skin. If I’m making a salve for cuts and scrapes, I’ll also infuse the oil with herbs like plantain and comfrey.
I collect and use a lot of different herbs for tea. Nettles, raspberry, lemon balm, peppermint, hawthorn, chamomile, hyssop, just to name a few. I make tinctures from other herbs (a tincture is essentially when you use alcohol to extract the medicinal properties of a plant). Some of my favorites for tincturing are dandelion, motherwort, echinacea, horehound, oregon grape and lavender.
One of my other favorite herbs, is blue elderberry and I love to make elderberry syrup and jelly. Since I usually don’t have enough berries in my own garden, my husband and I go to eastern Washington and gather the berries along the trails, then bring them home to make syrup, jelly and elixir.
Although I’m not terribly good about cooking (my husband is a much better cook than I am), we do use a lot of herbs for culinary purposes. All of the obvious herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, as the song goes.
Herbs also help me mark the change in seasons. For example, this time of year I start to cut back the dead branches from my thyme, sage and other herbs and then put them somewhere to dry. Then on the spring equinox or summer solstice, my husband and I will put the dried branches in our big cast iron fire pit bowl on the patio and have a little bonfire.
I would say that, in general, the biggest reason that I grow so many herbs in my garden, is that they make me feel comforted. It’s almost like they have a healing quality, just from their presence. There are herbs that I may never personally use in a tea, tincture, or for culinary purposes, but I just like having them around. There are so many plants we can buy that are simply beautiful, and I do have some of those in my garden, too. But for the most part, I really like plants that have some substance, another purpose, besides their beauty. I suppose it’s like people. I’d much rather be surrounded by people that have some sense of purpose and substance :)
I simply feel there is so much more that you could tell us, and I for one would love to know more. We as a whole simply do not use the things that we can grow or find in nature nearly enough. What fun we could have making our own syrups. Coming from Maine; maple syrup is huge here and I have boiled sap down to make my own. Yummmmm!! Thank you Jessica for taking the time to indulge me and my blog.
About the Author-
Jessica Paige hails from the Seattle area where she lives with her husband and two dogs. Though she was raised in the Pacific Northwest, Jessica has long been intrigued by the ancient folklore of her Slavic and Lithuanian roots. Her love of horses and the outdoors led her to a career in environmental outreach, and her studies in herbalism. When she’s not working or writing, you’ll find her digging in the garden, creating herbal remedies, or walking in the woods with her dogs. You can visit her at www. jessicaepaige.com.