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Medieval Life: Mixing, Brewing, and Writing

The farm is dark and quiet this afternoon with thick clouds overhead like a muffling blanket. It’s a day to stay warm inside with hot mugs of tea, cups of smoky ham soup, and writing projects to keep me busy.

I’m home again from Abbey Medieval Festival where we spent 8 amazing days living in our medieval tents, cooking over the fire, and visiting with dear friends by lamplight. These events are always a lot of work, but those moments with loved ones are precious indeed, and make every late night and early morning well worth it.

One of my favorite parts was having the time to make medieval medicines and medieval nomad food over our camp fire, feeling like a proper witch as I stirred big pots of healing concoctions with long handled wooden spoons.

I simmered elderberries with cinnamon, clove, and star anise to make an immune-boosting cordial, and boiled hawthorne berries into a strong syrup sweetened with raw honey from our own hives. I made Bedouin wheat stew with slow-cooked meat and wild onions, smoked cheeses, and brewed yarrow tea to soothe aching heads. I foraged plantain leaves from the Abbeystowe grounds and mashed them with a mortar and pestle for a poultice and steeped jasmine flowers to calm rattled nerves.

I sipped and sniffed and tasted, adding a bit more honey here, an extra spoonful of dried herbs there, until everything was just right. Then I decanted and bottled and poured into bowls, getting it all on display for my demonstrations on medieval folk medicine and medieval Bedouin food and cheese-making.

It was so much fun and I loved every bit of it.

My newly printed books arrived in time to sell, and I loved sharing them with so many people eager to learn about the past and experiment at home making things to feed and nourish their families.

Desert Fire by Krista Bjorn

It was especially great meeting people from all over the world – Iran, Romania, Egypt, Germany – and hearing their stories of the foods and remedies their ancestors passed down through generations. One lady even brought me a bottle of one of her healing drams – ginger, calendula, and other herbs steeped in port wine. So delicious and soothing to my throat that was downright weary from two days of talking.

Now I’m home and ready to share my books with you luvs, too. You can order online directly from me through my Etsy shoppe here (worldwide shipping available). If you would like a signed copy, let me know in the note who you would like me to address the signing to, and I’ll be sure to personalize before I ship it.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend with your loves. xo


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Tandy | Lavender and Lime - I love everything about your medieval experiences, except the sleeping in tents bit. I am all for natural remedies and it is great that you are making so many of your own.

Jackie Smith - As always your time at the camp transports me into such an unknown, and delightful, world. I can’t imagine the research or the actual work it takes to pull this off, but it is absolutely amazing to read about!!

Cathy - Krista, it sounds like you had an absolutely amazing time. All your remedies sound fantastic. All the best with selling your books. They look fantastic.

Cheryl - The smoky ham soup is making my stomach growl! And I just fought off a cold and got rid of it in two days with an intensive elderberry/zinc concoction. The stuff really works. So glad you had a wonderful time.

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