News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 9/6/2012 9:34am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

I'm off the farm now, back home in Massachusetts and heading up to school in Maine this weekend. I've got to finish my degree in Human Ecology. Some time during the last week in New York I was talking about entering back into reality and Matt says "you've gotta leave the nest." Well, that's sure what it feels like leaving the farm because there couldn't have been a better place to spend my summer learning how Matt and Andrea created this beautiful life for themselves. Now its my turn to try and create my own. One thing is for sure-- these ten weeks have taught me that I do, in fact, want to work with the plants in the future, growing and making medicine and LISTENING. I hadn't been sure when I first arrived at Healing Spirits. I'm usually not sure about much of anything. So in short, Healing Spirits has left it's mark, inspired me in the best way possible. I could never give enough thanks to Matt and Andrea for so generously sharing all that they know with me this summer.

In the last half of my internship, I went to two herbal conferences and one herbal hoedown. The Reisens were hosting The International Herb Conference in Corning which went swimmingly in my opinion. Rosemary Gladstar was the keynote speaker and there were a number of other creative plant people sharing their experience in the business. The Women's Herbal Conference kicked off the end of my summer and the beginning of my own journey forward. I spoke with a number of women with whom I'd like to work with in the future, in a number of different places around the world and I made a few new friends who are on a path similar to mine. If I had had the time, I could have written this much every night about each individual day on the farm, but if you've ever worked on a farm, you know that that kind of time generally doesn't exist. Instead I've written a little poem to sum up my experience...

 (August 17th 2012)

On this soil I've stretched my legs

Paced myself with the pulse of the present

Lent my thought to the earth

Listening for her whisper back

Hearing only my own voice

And realizing there is no difference.

She speaks through me.

Breathes through me.

Posted 7/4/2012 5:31pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

It's been a little over two weeks since I began my apprenticeship at Healing Spirits. I no longer feel out of place, have conquered the kitchen, and have been assigned the noble duty of making icecream most days. Although I'm glad I've picked up the skill of icecream making, I came here to learn about herbalism. I just finished my third year at College of the Atlantic and wanted to try out the profession. I hope to learn what it really means to be an herbalist and not just what he or she would do during a workday, but what the lifestyle is like at its core. I wanted to know what kind of people have it in them to farm, process herbs, prepare products, and give copious amounts of advice. I figured that after spending ten weeks with an herbalist(or two,) I would have a better idea of whether or not I am capable of that kind of lifestyle. After emailing quite a few potential teachers, the Reisens responded. I was extremely pleased to hear that they would humor my request and curiosity.

While my own abilities are still up for debate, the Reisens make herbalism look easy... and fun. Somehow, on top of all of their responsibilities they manage to maintain social lives. In the first two days I was delighted with the amount of laughter in the house and even more delighted with the amount of visitors. So far I've had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mary, an osteopathic doctor who is also certified in zero-balancing. Last weekend there was the metaphysicist, Ken Harsh, who specializes in the healing power of stones. The previous week I met Michael Ford, a natural products chemist and herbalist. With each guests comes new and enlightening conversation and I look forward to more of that in a few weeks when Matt and Andrea host the International Herb Conference!

My role is to help out on the farm wherever I can and to learn as much as possible from the plants. So far we've harvested linden, elderflowers, lavender, roses, comfrey, plantain, calendula, dandelion, St. John's wort, horsetail, coltsfoot, mullen, Chinese mint, lemon balm, wild lettuce, and probably a few others that I can't remember at the moment. I've been planting as well-- skullcap, sacred basil, tomatoes, anise hyssop, and more calendula. Prior to my stay here I had not been acquainted with the majority of these plants but introductions have been going smoothly!  Andrea has even shown me how to make flower essences.

Every day here I wake up grateful. The word "beautiful" hardly encompasses the abundance of life on the farm; birds flit in and out of the fields, singing and teasing the dogs. Rabbits hide in the rhye by the creek wich grows quieter as the heat takes its toll. Then of course, there are the plants and people in constant exchange of care, healing, and gratitude... a relationship I am only beginning to fully understand. I am lucky to be learning from the Reisens who have been generous enough to share their lives and knowledge with me. Both Andrea and Matt are incredible teachers and although I had almost no idea what this apprenticeship would be like, it only took a short while to realize how fortunate I was to have found Healing Spirits. 

Posted 5/15/2012 8:49pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

      International Herb Association

     2013  Herb of The Year -Elderberry
 Join us at this years annual conference to be held July 13-14-15-16, 2012 at the Radisson Hotel in Corning, New York. If you haven't attended an IHA conference made this your first and if you have been at previous ones you know what a great opportunity to meet new and interesting people and learn something new and exciting about the herbal plant world. This years keynote speaker will beRosemary Gladstar, well known herbalist and author, founder of United Plant Savers, organizer of the International Herb Symposium and the Women;s Herbal Conference. Rosemary will also be receiving the Otto Richter Award. 

     There are a whole host of other well known herbalist from across the United States that will be offering their input regarding what is currently happening in the plant world. Presenting will be Conrad Richter of Richter's Herbs of Canada, Susan Belsinger and Pat Crocker both authors and well known culinary experts. Daniel Gagnon medicinal herbalist and CEO of New Mexico's HerbsEtc plus many other presenters providing a diverse view of how herbs interface with our daily lives.For more information you can go to www.

Posted 3/5/2012 2:26pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Spring is in the air, so of course another greenhouse.  The two just seem to go together around here.  This one is half connected to the barn, is 12 x 48, kind of small for the way Matthias seems to like his greenhouses.  This is going to be our one for playing with different ideas and lots of flowers.


Seems one of our grandaughters really likes flowers, wants all different colors and kinds and says she is going to sell them this summer to poeple that loves flowers like she does.

  Amazing you can think and plan and wonder about putting up a greenhouse, and you might or might not do it, then a little one says, gee Gramps I would like this.  And it is done!!!   Always good to listen to the little people, they know what is important and don't try and second guess themselves. 

This one got just a little more complicated than planned at first, it was going to be metal, but needed to be tied into the roof rafters, so it is now wood, and the side of the barn it is up against, wasn't in as good as shape as it first looked.  So a new wall is also going in, its looking beautiful.  Tomorrow or Wednesday the plastic is going on, depends on the wind, or lack there of in this case.

Posted 2/13/2012 12:33pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Solar has come to the farm!!!  We have a 10K sytem, hope to be all hooked up and fully functional in less than 10 days.  We have been planning this for what seems like forever.  But the last 2 years in earnest, working on the logistics to make this a realitly.  We are planning on this sytem to meet all of our electric needs, now we will see how much we really use and where we can conserve.  Needless to say our excitment is running high. :-)

Matthias is also putting up another smaller greenhouse connecting to the barn, this will be for us to play with.  Growing flowers that are good for the soul to look at, and our one granddaughter Olivia, (8) loves flowers, and wants to sell some this year. Granny and Gramps are going to be playing with her in this smaller house.  Can't think of a nicer way to spend the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Posted 2/9/2012 10:35am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.


                                      By Matthias    Reisen         


  Is there an ode

       To this old soul

  None that is around

        None that I have found

  So let us begin, lets make a sound

       So lets begin, right from the ground

  No seed is needed 

       Just plant a crown

  And it will be around, around

       It will grow

  Regardless of the snow

       It will grow 

  Regardless of your frown

      What will it do to heal your soul

  That is up to you, that is yet to all be told

       It is say it will clear your head

  Others say it will make you see red

       If you want to stay trimmer and slimmer

  Just put it on your back

       And you will soon react

  Don’t take a whiff

       Just a sniff

  It will make your eyes water

       An open them as big as a quarter

  Open your nose

       Oh yea, as big as a hose

  Curl your toes

       And Lord only knows

  What this plant holds

       But as we ponder

  Let us put it in a place of honor

       For it has stories to tell 

  If only we could dwell

       Within its secret well.


                                   Written at the International Herb Associations 

                                    Annual meeting at Collinsville, Il. July 2010

Posted 11/4/2011 10:12am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Posted 10/27/2011 8:41pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Posted 10/19/2011 8:59am by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Roses, wonderful beautiful roses, I am in love with them. Andrea falls in love with anything that needs a home and wants to be grown.  Today we planted 24, 6 are climbing Rhode Island Red roses, I have never had climbing roses before and the other 18 are Rosy Red  Robin Hood roses, they are also called Mediterranean Musk Rose, now I am not sure if Robin Hood stole they from the Sheriff of Nottingham or how the roses got there name, but if your interested in the next edition of the journal I am sure I could come up with a story.   This is going to be interesting I think what the story or growing roses?  Two of the climbing roses  we decided to plant along the chicken fence, to see what the chickens think of roses and also maybe the chickens will eat the Japanese beetles.

      We (Andrea ) also last summer  took cuttings of roses,  about 24, put them in a raised bed in the greenhouse, which was unheated during the winter, put a quart jar over them and forgot about them.  This spring as we started the greenhouse we looked under the jars, five had rooted very nicely and one even has a bud on it ready to bloom, April 25th  just in time for Andreas birthday. This year if given a little TLC we might even get more!!! If any members have suggestions on different ways of propagating roses please drop us a line or do an article about it. There are so many different types of roses and what we are trying to grow are some of the more fragrant varieties no matter what type they may happen to be, climbing, hybrid tea, floribunda, or rugosa. The only one we do not want to plant is the multi-flora rose, what a menace to our hillsides and so invasive.

     The past month has busy with harvesting roots, Japanese knotweed, dandelion, yellow dock, burdock, teasel and doing some barking, no not at the moon, crampbark, wild cherry and prickly ash ( no it not good for prickly as- ). With all this harvesting our drying house is also  bustling with activity. We (Andrea ) has been busy seeding in the greenhouse getting our transplant ready for spring planting. We are also getting ready for a wedding here on the farm this summer, our second oldest is getting married. Besides all this we have just found out that our application for a high tunnel greenhouse has been approved through NRCS ( Natural Resource and Conservation Service ). This will put another project to our already over flowing list of projects, good thing there is more daylight in a day now so that we can work longer. Aren’t the plants amazing though, almost as amazing as the people who like to play with them. Green Blessings Andrea and Matthias

Posted 10/13/2011 1:41pm by Andrea or Matthias Reisen.

Herbal Greetings from Healing Spirits Herb Farm And Education Center
We have an invitation to the NEHA conference that we would like to pass along to you.
Hope to see you there.
NEHA Retreat Invitation