Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How the Herb Festival Went and Einstein's New Gals


The Halcyon Herb Festival held at halcyon farm at Campbell, NY on the 18th was wonderful. I was delighted to be invited to speak, and gave a presentation on Backyard Chicken Basics to a nice sized group. The weather was great for the event also, which always helps! My Mom and Dad went along for the day as well, which is a rare treat for all of us to be together for something fun!

Yvonne's Halcyon Bed and Breakfast is just lovely, situated in green fields with gardens and an old harness house that houses her herb shop and antiques. There is something for everyone. Many of the fruit trees were in full bloom and those are the blossoms at the top of the page here.

The day started with Eat What's Under Your Feet. Plant walk with Matthias and Andrea Reisen of Healing Spirits Herb Farm, and was very informative on everyday plants and their uses. You can visit and learn more about them here-

Then I was up with  Backyard Chicken Basics with Helga Loncosky. A starter guide to raising your own poultry for eggs and meat. So, here is Buffy and Red, Einstein's two new friends! He is now a completed rooster! If anyone wants what the course covered, let me know, I'll share.

Next was Yoga for Gardners with Sue Pirozollo, and she's in the third photo down. She gave some nice instruction and you can visit her at http://www.vlyoga.com/

The treat of the day for me however was next, the Dance Troupe from Ithaca Community School for the Arts. They performed for an hour with an interactive program with belly dance to traditional and contemporary themes. It was WONDERFUL. I will add that the 4 who came range in age from early 60's to a kid, and they were all amazing. I even got video of the Samhain Dance which is totally worth watching. I'll share the still first. 

                                                       You can view the dance at 


Here are some stills from the day with them, and I also want to share about Zajal, who was the instructor. Her bio alone is amazing and I have already looked up her works. Treat yourself and read her work. She is on the right. You can also watch her dance at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njyUNyRS_No

Katharyn Howd Machan 
Katharyn Howd Machan, born in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1952, is the author of 30 published collections, eight of which were selected in national competition, most recently Belly Words: Poems of Dance (Split Oak Press, 2009), When She's Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009), The Professor Poems (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2008), Flags (Pudding House Publications, 2007), Redwing: Voices from 1888 (FootHills Publishing, 2005), Greatest Hits (Pudding House Publications, 2004), and Sleeping with the Dead (Finishing Line Press, 2003).
She has lived in Ithaca, New York, since 1975 and since that time has actively coordinated the Ithaca Community Poets’ reading and workshop series while teaching at Tompkins Cortland Community College and then Ithaca College, where she is now a professor in the Department of Writing. In 2002 she was named Tompkins County's first Poet Laureate.
More than 1,300 of her poems have appeared in magazines (Yankee, The Writer, Nimrod, Runes, English Journal, The Hollins Critic, etc.) anthologies (Early Ripening: American Women's Poetry Now, The Poets' Grimm, Tribute to Orpheus: Poems about Music and Musicians, etc.) and textbooks (The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Perrine's Sound and Sense, Literature: The Human Experience, Gender Violence: Inter-disciplinary Perspectives, etc.)
In 2000 Dana Gioia selected her poem "Tess Clarion: Redwing, 1888" to receive the Ann Stanford Poetry Prize from the University of Southern California, in 2001 she received the ByLine Literary Award for her poem "Les Salles du Gardon," and in 2006 her poem "Gingerbread" was awarded the Luna Negra Poetry Prize from Kent State University.
She holds a B.A. in English from the College of Saint Rose, an M.A. in English literature from the University of Iowa, and a Ph.D. in interpretation (performance studies) from Northwestern University. Every March she offers “Writing in the Garden” as artist-in-residence for the Mana Project, Inc. in Key West, FL. As poet and belly dancer (Zajal) she serves year-round on the faculty of the Community School of Music and Arts and, in summers when possible, for the Greek-island holistic Skyros Centre based in Great Britain.

Here is another shot with the youngest member of the group, she was amazing as well. 

We then moseyed to do some wine tasting which set a nice tone to the afternoon with Gene Losey of GCP Liquors will provide the perfect wines. Artisan Herb Cheeses were paired with the Perfect Wine. Yvonne demonstrated recipes that showcased Spring flavors with the addition of artisanal cheeses.

From there, we watched Honey and Honey Bees with Kathy Halm of Leo's Honey House. She had wonderful raw honey and honey products and gave a crash intro to bee keeping course. You can visit her site here--


I only got to see a little bit of the next part, but looked awesome.

Meet Jen Maffett of Lucky Dog Farm. Jen will be one of our speakers at the Seventh Annual Halcyon Herb Festival on May 18. Jen's session, "Finding Real, Fresh Food through CSAs and Other Options" will begin at 1:30. 

Life at Lucky Dog Farm:
We are two corporate refugees from the DC area who decided to escape that life to live more sustainably. Having always grown things on a small scale, our original intent was to grow food only for ourselves. But we discovered an anemic local food shed here and decided that we had both the energy and the obligation to grow food for other people too. So we jumped into it. We have sold our produce at farmers markets, through CSAs and also at restaurants. Our specialties are gourmet salad greens and herbs but we grow lots of other things too.

I am a certified health coach (and I'll confess, a bit of a foodie) and the process of growing into a farmer while studying what helps people maintain their health has opened my eyes wide open to the extreme benefits of putting real, fresh, local food on our plates. So as a Real Food Advocate I help people discover the amazing taste opportunities of fresh and locally grown food and work to provide better access to fresh food for everyone."

I also visited a couple vendors, and I don't make recommendations lightly. But the following vendor had some amazing stuff, including probably the BEST body butter I have ever tried, and completely natural and herbal. And reasonable. Give her a try! http://www.balancearomatherapy.biz/   Balance Aromatherapy.

Lest you think i came away from this empty handed, you'd be wrong. I brought home from 
Helena's Organic Garden-Nature's Apothecary the finest hand blended olive oil infused with meyrs lemon you have ever tasted. OMG, heavenly. She has a full line as well and you can visit her site at             


Here are a few pics of Yvonne's herbs and herb shop and the antiques. I totally wanted that dry sink to come home with me.

                               And last, but not least, a shot of my folks enjoying the day out.

                  So, put the Halcyon Herb Festival on your to do list for next year, you won't regret it.

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