Steampunk Family

Mad science

Madame’s Herbal: Sweet Woodruff

Galium odoratum L., also Asperula odorata L. I grew up calling it Sweet Woodruff, and  my dear von Hedwig calls it Waldmeister, or master of the woods. Other common names are Sweet-Scented Bedstraw and Our Lady’s Lace. This woodland ground cover bears clusters of small, white star-shaped blooms in April and May. The delicate foliage takes the form of whorls of lance-shaped, dark green leaves. It has historically been used as an insect repellent, as are most plants whose common name is bedstraw. It was used to stuff mattresses, scattered in sick rooms and root cellars to keep the air smelling sweet, and dried bundles were packed with winter wools to keep the moths away. The sweet scent comes from coumarin, which not only smells nice but fixes other odors, and is thus useful in the making of perfume and potpourri. Woodruff is related to madder, in the family Rubiaceae. The leaves will produce a light brown dye, and the roots a light red when used with alum as a mordant. My favorite use for Woodruff is to flavor Mai Wein, which we always drink on the first of May. Madame von Hedwig’s Mai Wein recipe: Pick 2 or 3 handfuls …Read the Rest

Family Science & Steampunk Day

Family Science & Steampunk Day

Morehead Planetarium & Science Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina invites children and adults to explore the common ground of …Read the Rest

A Hectic Weekend and a Clockwork Rabbit

A Hectic Weekend and a Clockwork Rabbit

My sincerest apologies for failing to continue the story of our Voyage to Antafrica last Friday. Things were a bit …Read the Rest