Walking Directions for WV Herb Association Fall Festival Labyrinth

Labyrinth Walking directions 3

So far, Kathy Flewelling, Anne Romance, Sherri Snyder, Kristin Douglas and I will be designing the labyrinth at the Jackson’s Mill in Jane Lew (Lewis County) WV Herb Association Fall Festival.  We will begin designing it at 10 a.m. on Friday the 26th, it can be walked by that afternoon (if all goes well) and the Festival will end on Saturday afternoon with a Guided Labyrinth Walk.  All are welcome.  Bring your spirit!

Join Me In Singing to the Frackers


I want to sing this song – record it with whoever will join me – and sing it when the frackers come up Crooked Run to explore for marcellus shale drilling here.

If you will join me, please email me at lapaix@frontier.com.

Here are the lyrics:  I suddenly woke up last night hearing this song in my head – heard long ago in church and couldn’t remember all the lyrics – now that I have found them, they are unerringly appropriate.

I intend to be there when the fracker explorers come up this road if someone calls me to tell me they are here.  I intend to play a cassette of this song as they dig up Mother Earth.

Will you join me?

  1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.

Holy, holy, holy!  Merciful and mighty,

God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


  1. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,

casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,

which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.


  1. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,

though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,

only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,

perfect in power, in love and purity.


  1. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy!  Merciful and mighty,

God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

Fracking La Paix?

Just got some bad news here at La Paix Herb Farm on Crooked Run Rd. in Alum Bridge, WV (Lewis County).  Neighbors tell me some men have been up here to test the presence of marcellus shale by using a seisomograph – a wire is placed on the property and a truck with a big steel hammer hammers on the wire – and the result shows whether there is gas there.  Crooked Run is a one lane rock based road – La Paix is the home of the Lavender Fair and an example of organic farming, herbs and essential oil distillation – an environmentally friendly business.  I don’t think it can exist if one has to travel over a fracking pad to get here.

fracking image 3

Big Fragrant Garden landscape for shopping cart

Photos:  Fracking Pad in West Virginia and La Paix’s Big Fragrant Garden

I was told by the EPA advocate several weeks ago that what is happening in Lewis County now is “Just the tip of the iceberg.  Within 10 years there will be 200 fracking pads in Lewis County and it will no longer be a rural county but an industrial site.

 Fracking images 2.

Painting La Paix Woods in Winter

Photos:  Fracking Pad on top of Mountain south west of Clarksburg, WV and Painting by Steward of La Paix – La Paix Woods in winter.

I have read that banks will not finance mortgages for properties within 2.5 miles of a fracking pad – I have friends who have fracking pads on or near their properties and they cannot sell them and they have no way to leave.


What can we do?

 Fracking images 1

La Paix cabin backPainting Labyrinth at La Paix

Photos:  Flaring gas from Marcellus Shale Drilling Fracking Pad and Log Cabin Back of La Paix, an historic homestead threatened by fracking and Painting by Steward of La Paix, The Silver Labyrinth

I have been looking into moving to Garrett and Allegheny Counties because they are no further from my granddaughter than we are are here – for possible relocation.  However, the jury is still out in Maryland (20 person commission studying fracking) and will not make a decision I understand until the end of December (and Gov. Mahoney will be replaced by then with either a Democrat or a Republican either of whom could decide fracking was good for Maryland.


I feel like I’m in that old Woody Allen movie, where the woman says “What to do?  What to do?”

If 1% of the people in the U.S. own 40% of the money, what to do what to do?


I will do an intention that when the wire is on the ground on Crooked Run and the truck strikes it, they will encounter a solid steel thick barrier and will hear nothing.  What to do?  What to do?

La Paix Herb Farm has been my life, my mission, my love for thirty-four years.  It has grown from an abandoned farm to a National Registered Historic Homestead, from fallow fields to rich organic soil in five different gardens, to home of the Lavender Fair, where research has been done and grants awarded by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture program, where apprentices have come from WV, other states, India and Japan to live and learn.

What to do?  What to do?

La Paix means Peace.


Press Release: Mimi Hernandez, RH to be Keynote Speaker at WV Herb Association Fall Festival

To:  All Media

From:  Myra Bonhage-Hale, WV Herb Association (304) 269-7681 lapaix@frontier.com

Re:  Mimi Hernandez, RH to be Keynote Speaker at WV Herb Association Fall Festival

Date:  August 28, 2014

The West Virginia Herb Association is celebrating its 22nd Anniversary by having Mimi Hernandez, MS, RH, American Herbalist Guild Executive Director, as their keynote speaker.

Mimi Hernandez photo

Mimi Hernandez is a clinical herbalist and herbal educator whose courses balance traditional reverence with scientific understanding and intuitive awareness.  She has served as the Director of the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies at Frostburg State University in Maryland where she taught undergraduate Ethnobotany.  With roots in Asheville, NC, Mimi is a founder of the One World Healing Arts Institute and continues to mentor community herbalists through the One World Healing Community.  She holds a Master of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine and some of her favorite mentors have included James Duke,Simon Mills and Rocio Alarcon.  As an herbalist, Mimi draws upon her rich ethnic background and the Granny healers and Shamans in her life.  She believes that the handing down of plant wisdom is essential.

Mimi currently serves as the Executive Director of the American Herbalists Guild.  In her Appalachian region Mimi is probably best known for providing cultural heritage outreach to local mountain residents through the Maryland Mountain Herbalist Series and through the West Virginia Mountain Roots Series which put her in contact with thousands of landowners, herbalists, growers, and entrepreneurs in the area.  Mimi was also the coordinator of the Frostburg Grows project, an EPA funded local greenhouse complex serving to produce food for local use and nature trees for mine land restoration.  In her spare time, Mimi enjoys rapping for fun (as some of you may have heard), amateur astrology and nature time, especially around waterfalls, creeks and oceans.  Mimi’s a Mom of two cool and unique kids, Anais and Evan.

The West Virginia Herb Association Fall Festival will be held at Jackson’s Mill, Lewis County, West Virginia on Friday Sept. 26th and Saturday, Sept. 27th, 2014.  For Registration Find us On Facebook:  Friends and Members of WV Herb Association.  The schedule will be posted there.  Melissa Dennison, President of the WV Herb Association says, “I am excited and enthusiastic about having Mimi come to the WV Herb Association Fall Festival – it is a privilege and an honor to hear her.  I hope those who are interested and want to learn more about herbs and their uses come and join us.”

mimiground Hernandez

Photos are of Mimi Hernandez, MS, RH, American Herbalist Guild Executive  Director


Here We Come A Basiling


Would you believe I had 5 containers like this full of mostly Blue Spice Basil, some Genovese and some Red Freddy?  They were in every garden – the Feng Shui, the Big Fragrant Garden, the Research Garden, Bill’s Vegetable Garden and even the Kitchen Garden!  I had seeded and planted so many as I furnished the pesto for the Lavender Fair Chicken Wraps – but in August they were really really abundant.


And then, my good friend Catherine, brought me pounds of fresh shitake mushrooms too.  So what did I do?


What I am am best at doing – making even more work for myself when I already have too much.  I asked Bill, after he harvested all the basil, to go up on the hill and pick a few Golden Chanterelles!


So, in the last two days I have done nothing but prep gallons of basil, cut up many types of cheeses (Italian Parmesan Ragiano, Modem (Irish Cheddar), Italian Romano, French Goat Cheese, Italian Pecano, some organic parsley, some organic chives from the garden, many cloves of Garlic from the garden last year and wielded a gallon can of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, some salt and papper.

I made regular pesto, cheesy pesto, and cheesy pesto with sauteed shitake mushrooms (after getting my son, Bill, to taste the sample and say it was OK.)  They all really turned out well and I have used all my freezer bowls and many  plastic containers and have run out of almost everything, especially my energy…..  The freezers are stocked – if we don’t eat anything else this winter, we sure will have plenty of pesto).  I even gave some basil away to Catherine and also to Geoff and Dwayne at Thyme Bistro.  And I still haven’t done anything with the chanterelles.

I feel very valient!  (but I still have to clean the kitchen up)Basil label 2014

Oh, I also distilled basil hydrosol twice from the flowers, leaves and stems of the basil and have two more loads to distill yet.  I love the fragrance of the basil – so energizing (except when I’m making pesto).

Lewis County Board of Education Hears Request for School Being Vacated

Appalachian Wellness Community

For Veterans

A Brief History

Presented by Myra Bonhage-Hale, MSW, to the Lewis County Board of Education Monday, August 25th, 2014 7 p.m.

James McCormick, Director of WV Warriors and Veterans in Agriculture (part of the WV Dept. of Agriculture) approached Myra a few months ago with the idea of creating alternative therapies for Veterans with PTSD.  Up to now, the Veterans Administration has primarily prescribed prescription drugs for this diagnosis.  He felt that other alternatives might be more therapeutic for this disability.  His journey had brought him to being a student of the American College of Herbal Studies and led him to talk with Myra about organizing a group of professionals who would promote alternative therapies for Veterans with PTSD.  One of the therapies James felt was most useful was that of aromatherapy – and bringing a commercial essential oil distillery to W.V. for Veterans with PTSD to grow for and to work in.

Myra had been working with a small essential oil distillery she had as a result of a USDA Sustainable Farm Grant http://www.lapaixherbfarmproducts.com/France%20Lavender%20&%20Essential%20Oil.html  in the year 1999 on her farm La Paix Herb Farm  – while training apprentices from WV, other parts of the U.S.,  India and Japan.  Myra had always dreamed of having a commercial essential oil distillery in W.V. and had envisioned it at the soon to be emptied Alum Bridge Elementary School in Alum Bridge, Lewis County, West Virginia.

With James help, a group was organized and met at La Paix in July.  Those coming included a MSW using Farm animals for therapy, two horse therapists (one from the USDA NCRS in Lewis and surrounding counties), a massage therapist, an electrical engineer who is a Veteran, two herbalists and organic growers dedicated to sustainable living, another Veteran farming in W.V., a counselor at Home Base, a group home for boys in Weston with a B.A. in Behavioral Science.  Added since, two more MSW’s who have been counselling Veterans with PTSD, a chef owner of a restaurant in Weston who buys local food and more.

Tonight, we are here to ask for your support, resources and skills to help us create a viable alternative therapy program for Veterans with PTSD in the Alum Bridge School when it is no longer needed as a grade school.  An active, sustainable, community oriented, positive and educational endeavor will result in many benefits for the local community, Lewis County and West Virginia.  The grounds of the school can feature organic farming, an essential oil distillery, horse therapy, perhaps a labyrinth and will be seen from Route 33, making it a possible Tourist Attraction.  The location on Rt. 33 makes it feasible for Veterans to access it with produce from all over the state.  Veterans growing organic produce can also help furnish the thriving owner run restaurants in Lewis County and beyond.  Many other types of therapies (see research links) and activities can be made available in the facility.  The program can benefit the economy by providing jobs in the facility and helping Veterans all over the state learn to earn in agriculture and in a business.  We propose to act in accord with the Alum Bridge community and create a program that benefits all.

The distillery at La Paix Herb Farm in Alum Bridge, W.V.  Helen Caldwell, former apprentice, poses.

 AWC photo Distillery and Helen

The major goals are to obtain the school when it is vacated for a newer school, to have the funds to train Veterans in raising herbs and products for an essential oil distillery, a shop selling the products, offering a variety of alternative therapies to Veterans with PTSD in the school, to obtain a commercial essential oil distillery and to run the facility as a therapeutic center for Veterans in WV with PTSD.  Our next meeting is at Eve’s home at 103 Court Ave. in Weston.  It is on Friday, Sept. 5th, 2014 at 2 p.m.  You are invited.

AWC Committee photo July 2014

Pictured here, front row, Myra Bonhage-Hale M.S.W., Community Organizer, former Psychiatric Rehabilitation Director Weston Hospital, Rebecca Flannigan, USDA, Horse Therapist, James McCormick, Director WV Veterans in Agriculture, WV Dept. of Agriculture, Eve Von Deck, herbalist, organic farmer, and environmentalist, 2nd row:  Barb Tims-Wright, Veterinarian Assistant, Beth Ann Earl, Veteran and Farmer, Wayne McHenry, Electrical Contractor, Veteran and Volunteer at Clarksburg VA, Silvia Bresso, ex-apprentice at La Paix, certified massage therapist and certified horse trainer, Mollie McCartney, MSW, Counselor, Animal therapist.  William Nicoll Hale III, B.A., Home Base Counselor, Weston WV took the photo.  (and Torma dog).

Research Help
























Press Release WV Herb Association Fall Festival


Melissa Dennison, President, WV Herb Association at her workshop, Making Lavender Wands at the Lavender Fair.

On Friday, August 22, 2014 9:26 AM, Myra Bonhage Hale <lapaix@frontier.com> wrote:
To:  All Media  
From:  Myra Bonhage-Hale, Public Relations (304) 269-7681, lapaix@frontier.com and Melissa Dennison, President gardentreasures@hotmail.com.
Re:  WVHA Fall Festival Sept. 25th and 26th
Date:  Friday, August 22, 2014
Melissa Dennison, President of the West Virginia Herb Association is pleased to announce that the WV Herb Association’s Fall Festival will be held at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County on Friday, Sept. 26th and Saturday, Sept. 27th, 2014.   Melissa says, “This is the 22nd Anniversary of the WVHA and we are happy to announce that we continue to include presenters who make the many aspects of herbs and herb growing, research and many uses fascinating and helpful to those attending.  We strive to encourage those who are curious about the herb world to attend and learn here and teach us something too!”
Among the subjects being presented at the Herb Festival this year are:  WV Weeds:  What Are They Good For?, a Wild Edible Walk, a Labyrinth on the Grounds, Culinary Herbs, Medicinal Herbs and more.  
To register for the Herb Festival at Jackson’s Mill, send a check or money order to  Melissa Dennison. President, at 602 Blessing Rd., Clem, W.V. 26623.  If you are a member of the Association, pay for both your yearly dues and both days of  the festival of herbs for just: $30. If you are only coming for one day, please state which one and send $15. for membership and the festival of herbs.  If you are not a member of the Association, please pay $20 for both days and $15. for one day.  Please stipulate which day you are going to attend. Please mail your check or money order to Melissa at 602 Blessing Rd., Clem, W.V. 26623.
Please check out the Friends and Supporters of the WVHA on Facebook for ongoing information.  

Register for the WV Herb Association Fall Festival

OK, I’ve got it!.  Here’s how to register for the West Virginia Herb Association Fall Festival:  Mail check or Money Order to Melissa Dennison. President, at 602 Blessing Rd., Clem, W.V. 26623.

 If you are a member of the Association, pay for both your yearly dues and both days of  the festival of herbs for just: $30. If you are only coming for one day, please state which one and send $15. for membership and

the festival of herbs.

If you are not a member of the Association, please pay $20 for both days and $15. for one day.  Please stipulate which day you are going to attend.

Please mail your check or money order to Melissa at 602 Blessing Rd., Clem, W.V. 26623.

Members of the WV Herb Association Welcome You to the Fall Festival!

Members of the WV Herb Association Welcome You to the Fall Festival!

Poster created by Myra Bonhage-Hale for the 20th Anniversary of the Herb Association in 2012.  Welcome to the 22nd WVHA Festival!

 Email Melissa at gardentreasures@hotmail.com. for questions about rooms and vending.

Details regarding the keynote speaker, Mimi Hernendez will be published this week.  Keep posted!

Labyrinth at WV Herb Association Fall Festival Sept. 26th and 27th. 2014

Painting Labyrinth at La Paix

Kathy Flewelling and I will be constructing a labyrinth for participants to walk at the West Virginia Herb Association Fall Festival on Sept. 26th and 27th at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County West Virginia.  Those who walk the labyrinth usually choose an issue to walk about – and often find an answer.  It is at these times that I am at my most psychic.  It can be a truly magical experience.  So come and see for yoursel