Monday, December 15, 2008

2008 Southeast Women's Herbal Conference

As for my previous lack of conference photos and details, there is yet another story which has something to do with why I bummed out on posting. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my dear eldest daughter took it upon herself to remove the memory card from the digital camera before I left and I was only able to take six, yes SIX, photos of our weekend. Not sure why she did this, but needless to say I was upset. I'll post the six photos (maybe five ... I think one of them is a silly pic of Mel she possibly will object to me posting), but they really aren't much to get excited about. I haven't even loaded them onto my computer yet and it might take a day or two to find where said memory card-ejecting daughter has stashed the camera.

Luckily, the lovely ladies at Red Moon Herbs have posted their Conference pics HERE. Enjoy!

Mel and I had a marvelous time. We camped beside the beautiful Camp Rockmont Lake, ate like organic queens, and learned an incredible amount of valuable, herbal information. I met Corinna Wood as soon as I arrived and she was even more down to earth, warm, and friendly than I expected. I attended the Southern Appalachian Medicinal Plants Herb Walk with Patricia Kyritsi Howell, Astrology for Health workshop with Phyllis D. Light, Herbs and the Immune System and Women's Apothecary with Bevin Clare, Herbal Toolkit for Moms with Jessica Godino, and spent the last evening in the company of 300+ women being led in song, dance and celebration under the guidance of ALisa Starkweather. Rising Appalachia performed a fire dance that took my breath away.

I wish I could describe the food at the conference, but I'll just say it was nourishing to the body and soul, and truly divine. I've never eaten so well in my life. The meals were fit for royalty and included local organic meats and vegetables, artisan breads and cheeses, fresh, juicy fruits, organic nuts and seeds, mouth watering salad greens with herbal vinaigrettes, herbal teas, local raw milk, and lacto-fermented dishes that were so good they made me want to cry! The Sweet Monkey, a delightful bakery and catering operation out of Asheville, NC, were set up in the vendor area and furnished us with warm apple cider, hot chocolate, one huge and delicious breakfast burrito that Mel and I split between us, and organic pumpkin muffins that made me want to smack my grandma.

The camping was fun. Okay, it was colder than a well diggers butt at night up on that beautiful mountain, and having to get up in the dead of night, wrestle a belligerent (and loud) tent zipper, and stumble around 15 feet from a deep dark lake to pee on the ground was maybe not so fun. That's what camping pregnant women and gals with small bladders (neither preferring to walk less than a quarter of a mile to the loo) do, you see. I dare say if you've never lain awake in a cold dark tent for almost an hour vehemently denying the selfish needs of your bladder before painfully relenting, you have not lived. Mel and I are much closer now that we have heard each other pee outside in the wee hours before dawn. Yes, we acted like six year olds in the tent, and it was great, despite the grandaddy long legs invasion.

The weekend wasn't just about herbs. No one cared who you were, how you dressed or what you looked like there (I wore a sweatshirt with pajama pants and hiking boots almost the entire weekend). Women were free to really be themselves with no expectations on them other than to relax, breathe, be aware, learn, and have fun. I was very grateful to be able to spend the time with Mel because she lives about 150 miles away and I rarely get to see her. Truly it was an enjoyable, enlightening, educational, moving experience. I'll never forget it!

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4 comments:

CatHerder said...

Looks like it was so much fun....my new years resolution is to start taking care of my body better...hard for me, my hero is Paula Deen. I LOVE to cook...and love to eat...now i have to start converting the recipes to be healthier.

Leanne said...

My post really doesn't do it justice. It was aewsome! And I understand what you mean ... I love Paula, too ;) It's really hard for me here in the south where grease is a food group. I love to cook and eat, too! Too much, I'm afraid. The secret is learning to incorporate the healthy stuff into the foods you love (and like you said, convert the recipes!). I think I would die from the sorrow if I had to give up fried potatoes.

sk said...

Neat! I just found your blog, and I've been thinking about attending this year's SE Women's Herbal Conference, so it's great to read about your experience, thanks!

Leanne said...

You're very welcome! I hope you get to go. It's worth every penny and minute of your time. I'm pretending that I will myself, though it's unlikely because I'm not sure I'm brave enough to take my nursing infant who will be six months old at the time. Who knows? Maybe I'll have an attack of courage. Susun Weed is going to be there this year and I would be sick to miss her! :)