Sunday, November 4, 2012

"I try to take one day at a time...

 but sometimes several days attack me at once. ~Jennifer Yane
 Although we personally escaped with extremely minor issues from Sandy, the coastal areas from here north were reclaimed by the seas in many areas.  I want to thank all the folks who emailed and messaged me as well as owners of the small companies that I deal with who knew we were in harm's way. 

Ironically, in a unique timing event before this storm hit the fan so to speak, I happened to order some bulk herbs for the shop from a Pennsylvania company called Stress Tamer!  And, in true spirit of the Post Office delivering despite weather, my mailman brought 2 big packages to my door only 2 days after the chaos.   I have lavender, rosebuds, balsam, cedar, calendula, and chamomile.
Calendula and chamomile are soothing herbs, but lavender is the best known, and it was even used in hospitals during World War I.  A cup in boiling water will provide a relaxing aroma...too bad we could not infuse the Hudson River with it since it looks like a war zone up north!
The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq).  Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard is mentioned in the "Song of Solomon":
                                   ...nard and saffron,
                                   calamus and cinnamon,
                                   with every kind of incense tree,
                                   with myrrh and aloes,
                                   and all the finest spices.
During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm laborer. Its late Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lavāre (to wash).  The Greeks discovered early on that lavender, if crushed and treated correctly, would release a relaxing fume when burned.
The Romans in the 16th century hardly ever took baths, and soap was too expensive. However, it was far easier to grow lavender so the Romans used lavender as a perfume instead of using soap.  So, the lavender jug is filled up once again...and we have lavender salt for cooking and lavender sugar for on the tops of cakes and cookies.
 
So, for our friends who have been stressed beyond, we leave with these words from the 17th century:
 
"we shall find a cleanly room
lavender in the windows
and twenty ballads stuck about the wall."
                                  ~Izaak Walton The Compleat Angler (1653-55)

1 comment:

Guernsey Girl said...

Wonderful post, beautiful photos - wishing you all the best from the UK after Sandy...