My interest in plants started young. While most of my friends were playing with Barbie or dreaming of horses, I was out in the fields of our farm creating imaginary villages and caching collected seeds, roots and herbs against winter need. When I discovered the library and field guides, I realized that I had found my passion- the interaction between plants and people. While my caching habits have switched to saving more useful plants, some things don't change. I still bore my friends and family with my mealtime dissertations on the history and uses of whatever we're eating for dinner. They got so tired of it that they encouraged me to go out and teach other people, so for the last thirty years I have taught about wild edibles, led weed walks, and interpreted early agricultural practices at various nature centers and living history museums both for pay and as a volunteer. I have learned as much as I've taught and like my alter-ego in the Society for Creative Anachronism, Aelfrida, I am a student of the herbs. I am currently studying under Rosemary Gladstar to obtain my certification as an herbalist.
I've started this business in hopes of finding other people who share my passion. In hopes of finding new friends who might enthusiastically enter the conversation with some tidbit of information that I may not have heard before. In hopes that my family may be able to enjoy a meal of some vegetable without a lesson on its identity to accompany it. Help me save my relationship. Come talk to me. I'm looking forward to meeting you!
About My Alter-Ego
A leech is a person skilled in the art of leechcraft or, as it's known today, healing. It comes from the Old English "læce". In its original cultural context, a leech was a person who knew all of the healing plants and magics. That's the simple answer. For the purposes of this business, it's a bit more complicated.
I am a member of The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an international non-profit educational group for people that study and re-create Arts and Sciences of the Medieval Era as a hobby. (Look us up- we're great fun!)
My persona, or alter-ego, in the Society is Aelfrida Harrier, an Anglo-Saxon woman in the mid 800's sent out by Alfred the Great during his campaign to bring education to his people in order to raise their standard of living and further the good name of his Kingdom. Her life's mission is to learn of, understand, and bring home with her the knowledge of and (with luck) starts and seeds of previously unknown plants, their customs of usage, and how they might be used to make life a little better for her fellow countrymen. She travels through other countries, meeting with their medical experts, their plantsmen and wisewomen, their storytellers and engineers in order to learn what she desires to know.
Please note that her mission entails more than simple leechcraft and she is not enjoined to be a physician. She thinks of herself instead as the perennial apprentice (now why didn't I think of that one when choosing a name for this business?) who is awestruck by these amazing plants and all the ways they have infiltrated our lives and who is obsessed with the idea that they keep far more secrets than they have shared.
Like my persona, I am in awe of plants and in search of knowledge. Unlike Aelfrida, I am not tied to the medieval world. I have the advantage of other times and a wider database. MY passion spans known history and geography, including today.
Please note also that herbal medicine is not the subject of this business or this blog- it's all about plants and how they have influenced lives and cultures.
For the record- I am NOT a doctor or nurse in any fashion. I have NO medical training. I AM obsessed with plants and history. Putting those two subjects together means that you cannot avoid a certain amount of familiarity with the Art of the Physician. Please ignore any definitive statements I may make on the subject of medicinal use of the plants mentioned on this site.