Iris Herbal Products

Winter 2017 Newsletter (+important dates)


Honoring the health and extra-ordinary opportunities life presents, the irreplaceable Cathy Hope is taking a three month sabbatical.  Before I detail the particulars relevant to you, please allow me to introduce myself and say a few words about Cathy and IRIS Herbal.  I, Barrie Andrews, am a massage therapist and sound healing practitioner in Questa, NM, where I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy as my client for several years.  I trust you can support Cathy's foray into some deeper healing and recovery from her life changing accident so that she can fully dance again.

A few years ago, I witnessed the truly uncommon range and depth of self-taught knowlege in aromatherapy, herbs, diet and nutrition which Cathy shared with a unique gathering of folks spanning every decade from twenties to seventies.  Our class breaks consisted of dancing our hearts out, led by Cathy who danced like a wild teen.  Her indomitable spirit, contagious enthusiasm, sharp intelligence and genuine care found a home in my heart: we became close friends.  In my training in the healing arts, I have not met someone with such practical and integrated intuitive skill in herbs and aromatherapy as Cathy possesses.

Sharing the words of one person whom I recently called to share the news on Cathy's behalf, she feels Cathy herself in the essences.  Cathy is humbly aware she is one of a long traditon of herbalists and apothecaries steeped in the knowledge of predecessors and colleagues.  She incorporates knowledge with thirty five years of practical experience, never accepting received wisdom without testing against her intelligence and observation--with astute accuracy, respect and humor.  This is truly an uncommong treasure.

Cathy is assiduously informing her clients that she is taking this break precisely because, as she says, it is polite and the right thing to do.  Integrity.  That's Cathy.  That's why she has kept her prices so low and business model small and personal, and it is why, with (unreasonable) restrictive government regulations she ceased selling her precious tinctures.  It is the reason she spends time on the phone with clients unbidden, unpaid.  It is also why, as I have been helping her with business records to share the information below, so many of her customers have ordered and referred IRIS HERBAL year after year since the early 90's.

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Important dates

So, what you need to know, if you are interested in ordering prior to her sabbatical, is that the LAST DAY TO ORDER by phone or online for the full range of products is DECEMBER 20, 2017.  Let me reassure you that Cathy is returning April 1st.  Please also note that if you are ordering Liniments, Salves & Three Day Deodorant during the three months of her absence, you can still do so on the web at, as she has her close long-time capable friend Vera, filling orders for these products in her absence.

In the meantime, take a moment of breathing space and healing time for yourself this winter, the fallow time.  This is the time for soils to incubate and recover--let's take the cue from mother earth.  I know Cathy has a great deal of support--physically, she is much, even miraculously, better--but she is wisely taking time to do some deeper healing, especially in regards to her mTBI.  Thank you for your support, and let's hope to see a video of her dancing April 1, 2018.



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Revolutionizing Cathy's already green thumb, is the technique of hugelkulture.  While this was developed in Germany, and means, "Hill Culture," here, we buried copious amounts of wood underground.  In this climate, burying wood, compost and yardwaste increases water retention remarkably, which reduces labor.  The results of the amazing rich soil are the tastiest veggies.

The first hugelkulture was started in the fall of 2013 and completed just last month. Backhoe, skidsteer, trucks, and the wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and hands of over 30 people have contributed to creating the gardens.  This is the community equivalent of a barn raising, at least the way Cathy does it.

The surprising results of the garden spurred the development of the second bed in 2016.  That project was post accident, and Cathy was out there directing traffic, with her oxygen tank on. We all learned a lot and it was an amazing, fun experience--helping her! 

The photo at the top is of Cathy holding strawberries picked this October.  We are at 8,000 feet elevation and Nobody grows strawberries outside in October here.

The second photo shows Cathy with deer fence to the gardens on  the left, snow covered rainwater collection tank and back of the second greenhouse.  

To the right, the third photo shows Cathy's huge rhubarb in the beds.  I think the, "hugel" stands for HUGE, myself.  


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