Illness is the teacher

I can attest to the truth of these words. A few years back an elder Ojibwe friend told me this. Margaret was a wise woman who spoke volumes in short bursts of wisdom, which I absorbed.

I  have COPD and my lungs and bronchial tubes are at a risk when I catch cold or flu. Since January 1, I have had two bouts of chronic bronchitis. Both times I needed antibiotics for five days. I am on a five day regiment now.

I believe in complimentary medicine. I know that some seeds, herbs and plants are good for treating respiratory ailment.

Come spring, I will transplant more woodland medicinal plants in the woods that my family owns in Fitchburg, MA.

Today, I am making a tea with fresh anise seed (breaks up bronchial mucus.)  I added dried peppermint( energizer), Throat Coat tea by Traditional Medicinals.

I learned about the benefits of slippery elm bark, cinnamon bark, wild cherry bark and fennel seeds and they are some of the ingredients that make up Throat Coat tea.

After I let the tea come to a boiling point, I turn stove off and let the concoction sit for a least five minutes.

I strain the tea and pour the ingredients into a tall drinking container. Before I add the tea, I squeeze a lemon slice and honey into the drinking container first. I remember my grandmother making hot fresh squeezed lemon and honey as a drink. It helped me sweat out a cold.

I guess I can call this experiment a COPD herbal tea that I am documenting. Let’s see how it goes…………..


Senior Events with Happy Tonics

IV Annual Earth Day Event

Shell Lake: April 23 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Monarch Butterfly Habitat, pergola at 1 p.m.  Monarch poetry reading,  Jeff Lewis. Dakota Robinson, short talk on the butterfly plight. Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox will lead us in a Native American Ceremony to Honor Native Habitat. Photo of thunderbolt drum appropriate in 2010. It rained and we gave thanks. Northwest Wisconsin had been in a seven year drought.

Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox
Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox preparing the drum to begin the event in prayer.

 2 p.m. Reception, Community Center on the lake: Speaker: Ken Parejko author of Monarch of the Butterflies. Parejko is Professor Emeritus of Biology at University of Wisconsin, Stout.  Music: New Editions Band. Lunch will be local and mostly organic. Environmental and community displays will introduce visitors to the array of sustainable living practices.  Happy Tonics will have a vendor’s table and two raffles: An award-winning Butterfly Quilt made by the Stitch and Chat Quilters of Friendship Commons and an outstanding wood crafted handmade dollhouse by anonymous donor. Signup sheet will encourage participants to Volunteer at Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Visitors Center/Store.  Admission: $1.00, donation for lunch.

hand crafted wood dollhouse
hand crafted wood dollhouse
Stitch and Chat Quilters working on handmade butterfly quilt
Stitch and Chat Quilters working on handmade butterfly quilt


Old tea sign
Old tea sign

Welcome to Spring Tea – Friendship Commons, Shell Lake, 118 4th Avenue, Shell Lake, May 16 at 2 p.m. The tea will be hosted by Diane Dryden. Julie Symond, My Favorite Things, 23 Fifth Avenue, is donating a darling tea pot as a door prize. Diane will surprise us with a splash of delectable treats and teas and introduce guests to tea origins and history. She is well versed in etiquette of tea. Over the years, she has delighted many people with her creative cuisine and teas. We invite seniors to dress up; wear hats and gloves if they choose. This could be a fun opportunity to put on old-fashioned attire that you have been saving for a special event. Dress code not required. Just come and enjoy a time to reminisce at the Welcome to Spring Tea. Cost: $5.00 ($4 towards expense and $1.00 for Senior Center).  Please call (715) 468-4750 to register.

Sponsored by Happy Tonics and Shell Lake Friendship Commons.

McNulty boys enjoy the store's stuffed animals
McNulty boys enjoy the store's stuffed animals

 April is National Volunteer month. Happy Tonics would like to invite seniors to sign up to volunteer a day a week or once a month at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake. Perhaps you are interested in assisting at the youth garden and Environmental Education Film Series this summer at Shell Lake’s Friendship Commons. We plan to expand the youth container garden this summer in Shell Lake with grants from Leopold Education under the umbrella of Pheasants Forever and Washburn County AODA Commission. Call Mary Ellen at (715) 468-2097 or email: