Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Botanical Medicine Certificate Program - Part II

Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Many people this time of the year have New Year's resolutions that focus on improving their health and well-being in the upcoming year. Perhaps the upcoming herbal medicine course taught by our friend Dr. Les Moore will help you to meet your resolutions!

Please contact Classical Formulas for more information or to register!


Botanical Medicine Certificate Program
Medical Herbalism Part II
January 12 – February 9th, 2012  

This Course is the second in a series of three herbal study programs to be offered at Clifton Springs Hospital through the Integrative Medicine department, The Botanical Medicine Institute, and Classical Formulas. While each series has a similar format, they will contain different information. These classes are appropriate for health care providers, people employed in health related businesses or anyone interested in Herbalism.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)

Dr. Moore and herbalists from Classical Formulas Herbal Medicinary will instruct these classes.  Dr. Moore has a life-long interest and extensive education in the field of Herbalism, both Western and Eastern.

You may register for the whole series or at the beginning of each class.  Students may begin ANY series at ANY time with no prerequisites of the previous series. Each series is a stand-alone module.  Students completing all three of the series (Parts I, II & III) will receive a certificate upon course completion.  To be certain you have a place in class please register early, as class size is limited.
Holy Basil (Tulsi or Ocimum sanctum)

Tuition is $120 or $25 per class. Contact Classical Formulas for Registration at 315-462-0190 by January 11th.

PLEASE NOTE: All classes are held on Thursdays at Clifton Springs Hospital from 6:30-8:30 pm with the exception of the herb walk on Saturday January 28th, 2012 held at Lamberton Conservatory at 10:00am.

Course Descriptions

Rose - "Alba" (Rosa rugosa)
Class 1 – Botanical Medicine/Single Herbs–January 12th, 2012
Learn about herbs and homeopathy used for stress, immune stimulation and for combating specifically colds and influenza. Will also cover single herbs from traditional Indian medicine, (Ayurvedic Medicine).

Class 2 – Herbal Medicine Making – January 19th, 2012
Learn how herbs are used to create various herbal therapeutics.  Participate in some hands on preparation of herbal formulas.

Class 3 – Herb Pairs/Drug Interaction – January 26th, 2012
This class will focus on paired herbs that are therapeutic for specific conditions.  Information on interactions that can occur between medicines and herbs will also be discussed as well as herbal dosages for children. Will also cover Tibetan herbal medicine.
Osage Orange Maclura pomifera

Class 4 – Plant Identification/Herb Walk – January 28th, 2012
This class will be a 3+ hour walk to identify plants in the Lamberton Conservatory located in Highland Park.  This is essentially a green house so the temperature will be comfortable without a heavy jacket.  There will also be an additional $3 fee per person for admission to the conservatory, $2 for anyone under 18.

Class 5 – Herbal Formulas/Modifications – February 2nd, 2012
This class will focus on herbal formulas and how the herbs in each formulas work on the body and how they can be modified to fit a specific condition or person.  Discussion of how the pulse and tongue can be used to diagnose a condition.  Will also cover Ayurvedic herbal formulas.

Class 6 – Homeopathy and First Aid – February 9th, 2012
Learn how homeopathic remedies are used for first aid, and many other conditions.  Will also cover first aid from Ayurvedic medicine.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Welcome the Return of the Sun

Late Fall Sunrise
The Winter Solstice will visit us in the Northern Hemisphere on December 22 at 12:30 am (EST). The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night in our planet's yearly trip about the Sun. After the 22nd, our days will again lengthen and stretch. Like so many other people, I welcome and celebrate the return of the light!

On most Solstices, I like to share an article here on the solar cycle and how you might mark the specialness of the day in your own way. While the Equinoxes are just as important of a milestone in the solar cycle, they don't pull me in the same way as the Summer and Winter Solstices do. I suspect it is because the Summer and Winter Solstices are so opposite from each other. Light and dark. Warm and cold. Verdant, alive and brown, barren. 

On December 22, the Sun will rise at Ganondagan at 7:40 am (EST). It is an easy time to be up - many are up for work and school already. Look to the east, greet the rising Sun. Give your thanks for the blessing of life that the Sun's rays and warmth bring to you and all life on Earth. (The sunrise time may vary depending upon your location so check local listings.)

May the Sun's rays fill and warm your heart always. 

-kim a gift for you to help you celebrate the return of the Sun, I have created an article on our website. It is about winter sowing seeds - seed starting in the cold of winter. The Winter Solstice is a perfect time to start winter sowing!

Many of our most beautiful and rare native plants respond well to this seed-starting technique. May you try it and dream about the wonderful warm days of summer filled with dancing butterflies and flowers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Native History Month

In honor of Native History Month, our public television station WXXI-TV is airing an extraordinary range of programming throughout November, featuring the men and women who shaped the Native American experience. We’d like to share these opportunities with you.  For complete details, please visit:

If you are not in the Greater Rochester, NY television viewing area, please see the listings of your local PBS station for possible air dates of these programs.

  • History Detectives. Friday, November 18 at 6 pm on WXXI World (cable 524/DT21.2) In California, a History Detectives viewer owns an American Indian pipe that family legend suggests was given to her ancestor by the famous warrior Chief Red Cloud.
  • We Shall Remain: American Experience: After the Mayflower. Friday, November 18 at 7 pm on WXXI World. This groundbreaking mini-series establishes Native history as an essential part of American history. Four 90-minute documentaries spanning 300 years tell the story of pivotal moments in U.S. history from the Native-American perspective. This first episode explores the polar strategies — peaceful diplomacy and warfare — the Wampanoag people employed in their struggle to maintain their identity.
  • We Shall Remain: American Experience: Tucumseh’s Vision. Friday, November 18 at 8:30 pm on WXXI World, part two of four features Shawnee warrior Tecumseh, who rose to become one of the greatest American leaders of all time.
  • INDEPENDENT LENS: We Are Still Here – Âs Nutayuneân. Sunday, November 20 at 11 pm on WXXI-TV/HD. This tells the remarkable story of the recent cultural and linguistic revival of the Wampanoag tribe of Southeastern Massachusetts. Their ancestors ensured the survival of the Pilgrims — and lived to regret it. Now they are bringing their language home again.
  • Before There Were Parks: Yellowstone & Glacier Through Native Eyes. Sunday, November 20 at 11:30 pm on WXXI World. This film explores modern indigenous perspectives on the great wilderness areas now called Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks that go far beyond their recent status as National Parks.
  • Columbus Day Legacy. Sunday night, November 20 at 12:30 am on WXXI-TV. Navajo filmmaker Bennie Klain explores the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day parade controversy in Denver, Colorado. 
  • History Detectives. Tuesday, November 22 at 9:00 pm on WXXI World. A mysterious bible laced with Cherokee writing provides insight to the "Trail of Tears" march.
  • We Shall Remain: American Experience: Trail of Tears. Friday, November 25 at 7 pm on WXXI World, part three of four. Despite decades of struggle to keep their land, in 1838 thousands of Cherokee were forced from their homes in the southeastern United States and driven to Oklahoma. More than 4,000 died of disease and starvation along the way.
  • We Shall Remain: American Experience: Geronimo. Friday, November 25 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI World, part four of four. An indomitable Chiricahua Apache warrior and medicine man, Geronimo remains one of the most complex historical figures of the American West.
  • Smokin' Fish. Saturday, November 26 at 1 pm on WXXI World. Cory Mann, A young Tlingit man makes a pilgrimage to his ancestral home and is forced to confront the dichotomy between his history and the world he lives in.
  • Aleut Story. Saturday, November 26 at 10 pm on WXXI World. The incredible, untold story of Aleut Americans' decades-long struggle for human and civil rights, this story was developed, researched, filmed and edited for national television over five years.
  • Unconquered Seminoles. Saturday, November 26 at 11:30 pm on WXXI World. This film traces the history and identity of Florida's resilient Seminole tribe, one deeply rooted in a pattern of obstacle and challenge, survival and success.
  • Independent Lens: Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian. Sunday, November 27 at 11:30 pm on WXXI-TV/HD. Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the ways that the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding—and misunderstanding—of Natives.
  • The Long Walk: Tears of the Navajo. Tuesday, November 29 at 7 pm on WXXI World.  In a lost chapter of our nation’s history, 8,000 Navajo men, women and children were marched at gunpoint through the scorched desert of the American Southwest to a barren reservation along the Texas border in a 300-mile forced relocation during which hundreds died.
  • Choctaw Code Talkers. Tuesday, November 29 at 8 pm on WXXI World. Called by some the "original Code Talkers," this is the story of the important role Choctaw soldiers played in WWI in using their Native language as a powerful tool against the German Forces.
  • Contrary Warrior: The Life and Times of Adam Fortunate Eagle. Wednesday, November 30 at 7 pm on WXXI World. The story of Adam Fortunate Eagle, a contemporary activist, artist, author, ceremonial leader.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Pumpkin Sacrifice

Over the weekend we made our "sacrifice" to the pumpkin gods and carved up our pumpkins for Halloween. What would Halloween be with out the carved jack-o-lantern? Not the same to be sure, but the pumpkin is a New World addition to the Halloween traditions that originated in Europe. Before the pumpkin, turnips or rutabagas were carved into the vegetable lanterns.

The pumpkin is a New World vegetable that has been cultivated by the Native peoples of the Americas since ancient times. While the exact origins of the pumpkin are not known, pumpkin-like seeds have been found in Mexico dating back to 7000 and 5500 BCE. With what the pumpkin has to offer why wouldn't it be grown for thousands of years? It is a very easy to grow plant that provides copious amounts of nutritious, long-keeping food (both the flesh of the pumpkin and its seeds.) And as with many food plants, there are medicinal uses and healthful qualities beyond the simple nutrition it provides.

Back to our carving of the pumpkins, not all of our parings went into the compost bin. We saved the seeds for toasting and the pieces carved out for roasting. Some like the pumpkin flesh roasted with salt and olive oil. In my opinion that would work well with a pie pumpkin but not so with the bland flesh of pumpkin grown for carving. (What's the difference?) A little salt, black pepper, butter, and brown sugar is the way to go - you have to give it some flavor and my favorite way to cook a variety of winter squashes fits the bill.

And if you have never toasted the seeds, what are you waiting for? These are truly divine! Here's a recipe for toasting your Halloween pumpkin's seeds:

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • 2 c. Raw, whole pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Salt to taste
Wash the pumpkin seeds and drain well. Toss seeds with butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 300 degrees. Be sure to stir occasionally and toast until golden brown.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the pumpkin and perhaps you may now consider it to be more than just something for decoration and pies. I wish you a happy Halloween and a wonderful Samhain!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Faceless Cork Husk Dolls

Corn husk dolls made by Ronnie Reitter
For a Ganondagan Brand Development workshop at the Rochester Ad Council recently, we were asked to "bring a physical object [we] feel represents Ganondagan and be prepared to tell the group why". I reflected quite a bit on my assignment and kept coming back to my faceless corn husk doll. It captures so much for me about Ganondagan. The story is often told at Ganondagan events. I first heard Ronnie Reitter tell it- about the girl who was so vain she repeatedly got distracted from the Creator's message to watch over the children because she was gazing at her own reflected image. She ignored the Creator's repeated warnings. Finally, the Creator took her face away so she wouldn't be self-absorbed and distracted from her community role anymore. That is why corn husk dolls are made faceless to this day, as a reminder of our community responsibility to care for others and that "we are all equal".

Good toys teach, and this one teaches a powerful lesson of our responsibility to the community and to the next generation. Corn is one of the Three Sisters' food staples; and every part of what is taken from the natural world is put to good use-including corn husks. Dolls are just one thing that can be made from corn husks. This children's toy is made without money from materials readily available in the natural world. It is a sustainable toy and easily returns to Mother Earth. It reminds me, too, of Ganondagan's efforts to bring back good, healthy traditional corn through the White Corn project.  And the dolls can be made at Ganondagan and sold in our Gift Shop to help support Ganondagan while educating others.

Anyone can learn to make this toy, including me- who has no talent for crafts. Ronnie Reitter taught me to make mine as part of Ganondagan staff's commitment to sharing their knowledge of traditional values and crafts. The relationship with Ronnie as teacher makes mine special for me. But mine is unfinished- she is not yet "dressed", marking the time when trade came, and scrapes of trade goods started being used to put traditional "outfits" on the dolls. For me, this awareness is connected to my wish to learn more. There is so much I don't know or understand. I am hoping for a workshop on corn husk doll dressing and its meanings.    

Mattie Schmitt
Ganondagan Board Member

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Medical Herbalism Part I

Our good friend, Dr. Les Moore, is offering another portion of his Botanical Medicine Certificate Program courses. They are excellent if you wish to learn more about medicinal applications of plants. Special treat - the fall herb walk is at Ganondagan on some of my very favorite trails to walk! Please contact Classical Formulas for details and registration.

Be sure to check these classes out!


Botanical Medicine Certificate Program

Medical Herbalism Part I
September 22nd – October 20th  2011

This Course is the first in a series of three herbal study programs to be offered at Clifton Springs Hospital through the Integrative Medicine department, The Botanical Medicine Institute, and Classical Formulas. While each series has a similar format, they will contain different information.  These classes are appropriate for health care providers, people employed in health related businesses or anyone interested in Herbalism.

Dr. Moore along with herbalists from the Classical Formulas Herbal Medicinary will instruct these classes.  Dr. Moore has a life-long interest and extensive education in the field of Herbalism, both Western and Eastern.

Register for the whole course or for class sessions separately, if you wish.  Each class meeting can be taken independently, with no prerequisite.  Students completing all three of the series (Parts I, II & III) will receive a certificate of course completion.  To be certain you have a place in class, please register early.

Location:   See individual class descriptions
Tuition:     $120 or $20/class

Contact Classical Formulas for Registration:  315-462-0190

Class 1 – Basic Herbal Therapeutics and Materia Medica
Learn about the historical uses of plant and their extensive studies reflected in “Materia Medica”, a standard reference.  Topics of discussion will include origins, methods of preparation, the chemical construction and constituents, general physical characteristics, preparations, dosage and general influence on the body.
Thursday, September 22nd 2011 at 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clifton Springs Hospital

Class 2 – Plant Identification and Herb Walk
Take a 3+ hour walk in the woods to identify plants in your surroundings.  Learn about their habitat, history and uses.  Meet Ganondagan in Victor.  Bring water and snack, dress for the weather and wear appropriate walking footwear.
Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 9 a.m., Ganondagan, Victor, NY

Class 3 – Herb Pairs and Drug-Herb Interaction
This class will focus on paired herbs that are therapeutic for specific conditions.  Information on interactions that can occur between medicines and herbs will also be discussed.
Thursday, September 29th 2011 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clifton Springs Hospital

Class 4 – Herbal Medicine Making
Hands on instruction will include herbal  infusion, decoctions and fomentations.  
Thursday, October 6th 2011 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clifton Springs Hospital

Class 5 – Herbal Formulas and Modifications
Herbs used in herbal formulas can act synergistically and can be tailored for each unique individual, even as a person or environment changes.  This class will consider how formulas can be used and altered to address specific changes.
Thursday, October 13th 2010 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clifton Springs Hospital

Class 6 – Herbal Therapeutics and First aid
Learn how herbs are used for first aid care, immune system building and gastrointestinal disorders.
Thursday, October 20th  2011 6:30-8:30 p.m., Clifton Springs Hospital

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Fun Ideas

Trilobite Tail

I recently had the opportunity to go to take my kids on some day-trips in Western NY State.

We took a day-trip to the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center. It located in Hamburg, NY and it is a place where the public can come and dig for fossils. Trilobites, corals, brachiopods, and more. I was looking for trilobites and I wasn't disappointed. While I didn't find a complete one, I did find plenty of trilobite heads and tails - they molted in segments so these are common finds. We found a plethora of various corals and other fossils. It's a fun place to take all those budding young scientists at heart. (See two of my finds, a trilobite tail and head to the right.)

Trilobite Head
We also took a day-trip to Ithaca. While in Ithaca we visited the Museum of the Earth, Cornell Plantations, and Robert H. Treman State Park. A wander through the Mueum of the Earth teaches you about the wondrously fantastical myriad lifeforms, such as the trilobite, that once were teeming in the ancient world before the dawn of man and how over the successive periods of the world it changed. In some cases, that life evolved and its descendants may even still live on Earth. But in so many others, they ceased to be anyplace except in our fossil records. Makes you more deeply appreciate the history of our Earth.

Amaranth in the Herb Garden
Cornell Plantations features acres of gardens, an arboretum, and multiple natural areas. The gardens and other areas are beautiful.  I feel much can be learned about plants by seeing them living and growing. If you are interested in learning more about plants, visit some place like the Plantations. Many plants are labeled as to what they are. With some gardens like the Robison York State Herb Garden also at the Plantations, you also get information about how the plants were used. Take yourself on an herb class for the minor price of parking at the Plantations. (See the picture of amaranth to the right. Did you know that amaranth was a native grain valued in Central & South America? You would if you visited this garden and read the signs!)

Finally, we ended up at Robert H. Treman State Park to play and to swim in a stream-fed pool beneath a waterfall. Very unique experiences - all of them.

Did I pay much for these days of memories, learning, and fun? No, not at all! Outside of gasoline, our Penn Dixie trip cost us less than $20. Our Ithaca trip, less than $30.  We packed our own lunches, snacks, and drinks to take with us - a huge savings if you are looking for lower cost trips. And even gasoline wasn't all that much to figure on since my car gets at least 35 mpg on trips like these.

All this got me to thinking....Our own area has many attractions that make for a very inexpensive and fun day trip. How about a wonderful day mixing and matching some of these family fun attractions within a few minutes of Ganondagan? Any costs of visiting noted. Some places have memberships that offer free admission or may have specific events that vary in cost. Check the sites by clicking on their name for more details.

Inside the Longhouse
  • Tour the longhouse, hike the trails, see the Visitors Center, see our medicinal and vegetable gardens, picnic, take pictures, and shop at the gift shop. 
  • Longhouse tours are $3 adults and $2 children. 
  • Access to the trails, Visitors Center, gift shop and grounds are free.

Ontario County Historical Society
  • Learn about the history of the area. Of note, a copy of the Pickering or Canandaigua Treaty is kept at the Ontario County Historical Society. 
  • Admission - Free.

In the Schoolhouse
 Granger Homestead
  • Tour the house, grounds, buildings, and carriage museum. 
  • Adults $6 and children $2. 
  • Carriage rides available for an extra fee.

Victor Historical Society (Valentown Museum)
  • Valentown Museum contains thousands of artifacts, objects & heirlooms that represent the local 19th century history of the Victor area. Located across from Eastview Mall. 
  • Adults $5, students $3.

Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park
  • Beautiful as well as historic gardens and mansion. Tour them all including the Japanese Garden with its very uncommon tea house. (See about the tea house restoration project here.) 
  • Adults $10, Students $5, and children 12 and under free.

Victor Hiking Trails
  • Oodles of well-maintained trails to hike. Some connect to the trails at Ganondagan. 
  • All free access.

Canandaigua City Pier
Kershaw Park
  • Stroll along the shore of Canandaigua Lake or take a dip in the lake to cool off. While here, walk over to the City Pier for fishing and to get a view of Squaw Island.  
  • Access to the swimming beach is Adults $3 and children $2. 
  • Access to the rest of the Park and City Pier is free.

Wizard of Clay
  • See master potters in their workshop create handmade pieces. Shop the retail store and visit the nature trails. 
  • Free except for your purchases.
Apples at the Apple Farm

The Apple Farm
  • Almost in sight of Ganondagan, this is a family run farm where you can pick apples, buy baked goods, drink cider, and when in season, enjoy tractor rides and more. 
  • Free except for your purchases.

Powder Mills Park & Fish Hatchery
  • Trails and fish hatchery access is free. 
  • Suggest a couple of bucks in quarters for lots of squeals and giggles as the hatchery fish gobble up the fish food you can get from quarter-fed vending machines. 

I hope you visit us and some of our other local attractions soon!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Can you help out?

From Dave Goldman, chair of Ganondagan's League of the 7th Generation Committee:

In our 2 year existence our committee has become known for our signature mission of reducing the amount of landfill destined waste generated during our annual NA Dance & Music Festival. This has been accomplished through the hard work & dedication of volunteers. 

As a matter of fact, in our effort to move our success to a higher level, we have replaced the previous out-of-the-area composting company, thus saving expensive transportation costs, with a local company to take food waste & cooking oil and turn it into biofuel. Also food in the volunteer/ performers food area will be served on compostable plates, bowls & cups  and compostable utensils.

This year, however, this mission may be in jeopardy due to the reduced response for volunteers.

I'm appealing to you to step forward and help us by participating in our continued success. Shifts are only 2 1/2 hours from 9:30am to 6:30pm each day. Please, if you can help for 1 or more shifts, please step forward.

Thank you,

Dave Goldman

[Last year's composting and recycling efforts cut waste going to the landfill by 86% over 2009's festival figures. Please help Dave's committee do that well or better this year! Contact the the Seventh Generation Committee at or the Volunteer Coordinator at if you can help. Nay:weh from us and from Mother Earth!]

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fun & Games

Hawk Feather at Barnes Creek Gully (Canandaigua, NY)
Did you know that we added a "Fun & Games" page to our website a few months ago?

We have puzzles, coloring pages, and computer wallpaper currently available. We are always adding new things to the page. Just today I added another set of computer wallpaper files for download. The set includes a variety of sizes so you can choose which wallpaper image best suits your computer screen.

This set of wallpapers are of a hawk feather I found on a hike. Hawks have always been a special animal for me and I'm sure for many of you too. I hope you enjoy!

After you check out the "Fun & Games" page, let us know what you think. Did you like it? Anything that you would like to see more of? Find the fun & games page at:


Monday, July 4, 2011

What are you picking today?

Maybe I would have found the joys of growing, harvesting, and preserving my own food myself. But perhaps not. Who's to say now? I was, however, introduced to it young by my parents. Both my parents grew up on farms so picking wild berries, having large vegetable gardens, and preserving food was just something you did. And after a death in the family, my family along with other relatives ran my grandparents' dairy farm for some number of years. My farm days started when I was in those gloriously fun neither-kid-nor-adult tween-years. I ended up spending my summers playing on the farm, helping to bring in hay, feeding ducks and geese, throwing green plums at siblings, and so many other experiences that have become very rare in our urbanized America.
Summer Berries

Summer was always a time for wild berries and luscious tomatoes still warm from the sun. Our favorite wild berries were the wild black raspberry (aka "black caps").  The black raspberries grew every where poison ivy grew and where the mosquitos were the most blood-sucking vicious - going berry-picking was always quite an experience! I knew I had to pick 2 quarts so my mom could make jam with them. Oh, and was that jam good!  If I picked more than 2 quarts (which was always the goal in my book), we could have the surplus washed, sprinkled with sugar, and drizzled over french vanilla ice cream - no finer dessert was ever devised by man!

Now I have kids of my own. I teach them to pick berries, some wild and some we grow. All the berries in the picture above we have been picking over the past week. If you don't recognize them all they are (starting at the left and going clockwise) mulberries, strawberries, black raspberries, and juneberries. They are so very tasty, all of them! The kids, my husband, and I have all been picking berries. Some just to munch, some for other purposes like the strawberry jam I made. I'll make some cherry preserves and raspberry jam soon. Mmmmm, they all taste like summer sun when the snow flies.

I urge you to grow and/or pick some food today. If you have young people in your life, share it with them. And if you don't have your own food plants like raspberries or strawberries or a vegetable garden, there are so many U-picks that you can visit for not only for the wonderful food but for the unforgettable memories.  I urge you to also try your hand at making some jam. It is the easiest of all canning to do. Occasionally you get a soft-set, but there are few other failures if you follow the instructions. It is so very easy and so very good.

If jams are not your thing, salsa is another simple thing to make with the summer bounty you can find in your own veggie garden or at the farmers' market. New to canning? If that is the case, I urge you to pick up a copy of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. It is the quintessential book of canning and preserving. Have your kids help you pick the tomatoes or even cut the tomatoes. I helped my mom peel and cut oodles of stuff for canning and I still remember it all these many years later. They are good, fond memories that are always warm and comforting to look back on.

I've included some book links below for wild food field guides and cookbooks plus the Ball Blue Book. Check them out. May your summer be fruitful and full of memories!



Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
Native Harvests: American Indian Wild Foods and Recipes
Stalking The Wild Asparagus
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places
Enduring Harvests: Native American Foods and Festivals for Every Season
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guide)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Are you a good host?

Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) Caterpillar
This tuesday, June 21st at 1:16pm EDT, is the Summer Solstice. Solstices and equinoxes are special times. Just as four cardinal direction points tell us where we are physically heading across the land, the solstices and equinoxes mark the season and help us to know the direction we are taking in our yearly trip around the sun.  (See last year's summer solstice article for more on that yearly trip.)

While the sun itself and the bounty of fresh produce always evokes the picture of summer time in my mind, there is another thing that speaks equally of summer to me. It is the butterfly. Oh to be sure if you read mythology and symbolism references, they will speak of the butterfly symbolizing the soul and rebirth. I live in a land where freezing temperatures (or near enough to!) are pretty common for half the year. The butterfly seen mostly in the warm and sunny days of summer is a symbol of summer in my book.

While in the vegetable garden last night, I happened to have the opportunity to take the picture above. It is of the Black Swallowtail caterpillar. He was happily munching through my parsley patch. Do I begrudge him some parsley? Not at all! The swallowtail butterflies (I get both the black and yellow ones at my house) are far too special to see. The price of some parsley to see the adults or even the painted caterpillars is more than worth it. Besides munching parsley, these caterpillars also love other members of the carrot family. I'm sure the bounty of wild carrot here also brings them in. This butterfly, like all the others you know, have specific host plants. Host plants are the plants that are used as a site for the butterfly to lay eggs and also as a food source for the emerging caterpillar. So key to having these beautiful summer visitors is having the right host plants at your place.

So be a good host and invite the right plants to share your space with you this summer season. Butterflies are sure to follow. You can learn more about the Black Swallowtail here or about North America's butterflies (including regional checklists and host plant information for each species) here.

Happy Solstice,


Monday, May 23, 2011

People come from far and wide to visit Ganondagan

A couple of yesterday's visitors came all the way from Montana!  So nice talking with you, Jim and Carol.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Come Join Us in the Gardens!

Invitation from our Gardening Committee chair, Tonia Loran-Galban:

Garden planting date has tentatively been set for Tuesday May 31st at 1:30pm meet at the garden with hoe in hand. Planting should take about 30-45 minutes, roughly. Come on over and introduce yourself. Note - Rain Date is June 1st.

If you cannot make the planting date but are interested in weeding (it is surprisingly low maintenance) please email me and I will email you a map of the garden. Or if I'm on site, I will show you where to weed.


Update on May 31:
Dear Garden Friends- With temperatures going up to 90 to day, we thought it would be better to do the planting tomorrow morning at 7:30am.  We know this is a late change, so let us know if you can make it tomorrow! ~Tonia and Ronnie

About Gardening at Ganondagan:
It's a terrific way to get out and enjoy the sunshine, fresh air, and the feel of the rich, dark earth in your fingers. It doesn't matter if you are an experienced gardener or not, everyone is welcome to join in! Come and learn traditional Haudenosaunee ways of gardening - perhaps you will learn something for your own gardens!

Keep your eye on this blog for any changes to the planting date due to weather. Nya:weh! And see you in the gardens!


2011 Three Sisters Garden:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Botanical Medicine Certificate Program - Medical Herbalism III

Blue Vervain

Our good friend Dr. Les Moore is teaching the next series of Medical Herbalism classes starting
on May 5. These are wonderful classes if you are interested in learning more about using plants for their medicinal qualities. They are also terrific for people wanting to know more about the plants growing in their lawns, gardens, and wild places around them. I've successfully completed the entire series of classes and an apprenticeship with Dr. Moore and I can't say enough good things about the experience!

I've also included a couple of excellent field guide links at the end of this article. Dr. Moore often uses them on his plant walks. You don't have to own them for the walks. But if you are interested in learning more on your own, you may wish to own one or more of these excellent references.


Botanical Medicine Certificate Program
Medical Herbalism
May 5, 2011 through June 2, 2011

The Medical Herbalism classes are part of a series in the Botanical Medicine Certificate program offered by Dr. Moore, ND, LAc. These classes are offered at Clifton Springs Hospital through the Integrative Medicine department, The Botanical Medicine Institute, and Classical Formulas. Each series of classes have a similar format however, they will contain different and new information. These classes are appropriate for health care providers, herbalists, and anyone interested in herbal medicine.
Club Moss

Dr. Moore teaches and oversees material that is taught by Master Herbalists. Dr. Moore has an extensive background and education in the field of botany and herbalism, both eastern and western. Dr. Moore received a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and a Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

You may register for the whole series or at the beginning of each class. Students may begin ANY series at ANY time with no prerequisites of the previous series. Each series is a stand-alone module. Students completing all three of the series (Parts I, II & III) will receive a certificate upon attendance verification and program completion. Class size is limited.

Tuition is $120 for the series or $25 per class. Contact Classical Formulas for registration at 315-462-0190 by Friday, April 29, 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: All classes are held on Thursdays at Clifton Springs Hospital from 6:30-8:30 pm with the exception of the herb walk on Saturday May 14, 2011, which will be held at the Ontario Pathways Trail, Phelps, NY at 9:00am.

Medical Herbalism Part III
May 5th through June 2, 2011

Course Descriptions

Class 1 – Botanical Medicine/Single Herbs – May 5, 2011
Learn about herbs to soothe gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, digestion, allergies and detoxification.

Class 2 – Herb Pairs/Drug Interaction and Gemmo Therapy – May 12, 2011
This class will focus on paired herbs that are therapeutic for specific conditions. Information on interactions that can occur between medicines and herbs will also be discussed as well as herbal dosages for children.

Marsh Marigold
Class 3 – Plant Identification/Herb Walk – May 14, 2011
This class will be a 3+ hour walk to identify plants in the surroundings area. You will learn about their habitat, history and uses. This class will meet at the Ontario County Pathways trail, Route 96, Phelps, NY. Bring water and snack, dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear.

Class 4 – Herbal Medicine Making – May 19, 2011
Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food. Healthy eating, herbal teas as well as discussing wildcrafting and tips on drying and storing herbs.

Class 5 – Herbal Formulas & Modifications – May 26, 2011
Herbs used in herbal formulas can act synergistically and can be tailored for each unique individual, even as a person or environment changes. This class will consider how formulas can be used and altered to address specific changes.

Class 6 – Herbal Therapeutics – June 2, 2011
This class will focus on spring detoxification and Pancha Karma. Pancha Karma is detoxification and bio-purification from traditional Indian Medicine.

Field Guides & Other Resources

Click on any of the images to view & purchase the book. If the images are not visible, you can click any of the links below.

Cherokee Plants: Their Uses-- A 400 Year History   A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North America (Peterson Field Guide)   Newcomb's Wildflower Guide   Wildflowers of New York in Color   The Herb Book: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to More Than 500 Herbs