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Spring’s Promise: First Signs of Spring

Seasonal

No changes are more welcomed than the first signs of spring. As the white blanket starts to melt away and I hear the familiar greetings from the migratory geese returning to the still ice-covered ponds, I feel a sense of hope and a promise for a fresh start. With the first croaks of the frogs coming up from the mud, I will search for pussy willows that bloom through the patches of snow. And when the persevering prairie crocus pops up on the south facing hills in the pasture, I thank this favourite friend of mine for returning once again with a message of winter’s end. 

My family goes out every April to purposefully search for the crocus’s clump of fuzzy, mauve petals. Generations of my family have done this, and I continue this spring rite with my children. Now, as a budding herbalist and entrepreneur who makes my business from the gifts of nature, I have other reasons to revel in the first signs of spring. I find inspiration in nature for my Prairie Soap Shack wildcrafted bath and body products. With the help of my husband and children, the herbal preparations that go into my products are grown and foraged from the land around us.  

a person pouring dried berries into a mason jar.

Before The First Signs of Spring

Before the first signs of spring, while the cold months are dragging on, I begin to anticipate what the new season will bring. Planning my garden, ordering seeds, and bringing out the saved seeds from last season makes me eager for new things. I think about what kind of fresh vegetables my family will be eating in the summer and the medicinal plants I want to infuse in my skincare products – such as calendula, chamomile and lavender. It is important to grow or forage the plants myself so I can ensure my herbal preparations will be of the highest quality, but also so I can connect more with the plant’s qualities and traits.

The winter months give me time to organize my plans for spring’s growing and foraging. I keep track on a calendar of when certain wild plants are expected to start blooming so I can be prepared for their arrival, knowing that weather patterns may alter this. I can expect that on a warm spring day, yarrow will be blooming near the wild roses in places where I used to ride horses with my grandpa. Both of these flowers have powerful skincare properties and I have found ways to make a powder with their petals for a face mask. Also early in the spring, the golden buffalo beans peeking out reminds me of my father picking a bouquet of these for my mother. I garnish my wildflower soap with these petals, feeling gratitude to these flowers for their constant presence over generations and for inspiring me to create. As I formulate each recipe, I am hopeful that the love and tradition that is the essence of each product will help create a bond between the user and nature.

a woman holding a stack of homemade soaps

Connecting with native plants also gives me an opportunity and a desire to connect others with nature. As I learn more about wild plants, I’ve started to teach others about the joys of foraging and the power of nature’s remedies. There has been no time more suitable for this than in the throes of a pandemic. People are realizing the value of self-sufficiency by growing what they need and the time spent outdoors in nature is like a balm for your mind, body, and spirit. This isn’t a new lesson, but sometimes we need reminding. Our ancestors experienced extreme strife from illness and disease and I think they knew the importance of nature in helping them heal.

a woman holding a bottle of pink clay mask and fresh pink roses.

My children are a little older this spring, and new discoveries will be made and new lessons passed on. Our boys will help us get the garden and fields seeded and they’ll learn about the homesteader peas and the foraged tender, young nettle that goes into their soup. We’ll marvel together at the pretty spring blossoms and delight when they transform into plump berries by summer. I’ll remind my boys that the plants are teaching us to keep faith, embrace change, and to look forward to the next season.

Photography Credit: Branded By Barnes
Article From: Spring 2021 Issue #2

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