: Rhythm / Devotion : is a series of interviews intended to illuminate the connection to ritual & rhythm in our daily lives. This series explores the intimacy of routine, the magic of the ordinary, & how these small acts of devotion set the stage for larger workings in the world ~
What is your name & where are you in the world?
My name is Robin Santos. I live in Dahlonega, Georgia with my Partner Gaby, our daughter Laurel, two dogs (Timber & Fin), and our feline familiar, Sailor.
How do you define your self & your work?
I wear a lot of hats but my favorites are: Mama, partner, folk herbalist and medicinal herb farmer.
Will you walk us through what a day in your life looks like? Begin with how you greet the morning & guide us until you close off the day in the eve ~
I am usually woken by the sun or by our dog Fin, whoever is up first. If by the sun, I linger in bed for a bit longer to indulge in some bird watching outside of the window near our bed and survey who is up to what in the woods. Today I was greeted with a Mourning Dove and Dogwood blooms.
Soon after I rise, we hear Laurel stirring in her room. After a morning cuddle, we let the dogs out, turn on the kettle for coffee and decide what will be for breakfast. Since Laurel has started enjoying more solid foods, we have been alternating avocado toast & eggs, potato hash, or cereal. We tend to take it easy in the mornings. Staying in our Pjs and going with the flow until around 10am. I feel like it really helps set the tone for the day and allows me to prioritize family time before the day gets too busy.
Around 10:30am I usually head outside to water plants in the greenhouse and take inventory in the garden, making a to-do list for the day. My Virgo Moon LOVES to-do lists. I find them to be extremely helpful for keeping me organized because I juggle a lot at once as the day gets going. I’m also a Capricorn Sun & Rising - if that helps paint a better picture for your readers. It took a long time for me to get to a place where I want to wake up and relax vs. jumping into my work for the day. I’ll never go back! My lists keep me on track when I need it but when the time comes to stop work I can tuck it away until the next day and let go of any anxieties about maybe forgetting something that was important.
My partner works away from home, so for most of the afternoon and evenings, it’s just Laurel and me. I try to go with the flow with my to-do list while caretaking. I have long pauses in productivity for snacks, meal, and naptime. Before lunch, I try to slow down to enjoy a cup of tea or herbal infusion. Lately it has been warm cup of Chai or Stinging Nettle & Dandelion Root.
During naptime for Laurel, I get what I can done regarding "work". Depending on the day- this looks like hands in the greenhouse or garden, harvesting, crafting up remedies, or at my computer checking in with apothecary orders and emails. I do some freelance work as well, so this is the time of the day I tend to those client's needs.
For the last half of the day, I tend to set with the sun. I do a last tour of the gardens and greenhouse, check the weather and tuck in whatever plants need it. I give the garden a last look to see if anything needs to be harvested and head inside to make dinner. I try to have fun in the kitchen. We play music, dance, laugh, eat and lately have been virtually connecting with loved ones near and far. After dinner, I give Laurel a bath and then we have story time. Once she is asleep, I take a brief tour around our tiny cabin to pick up any toys that we might trip on in the middle of the night.
The last part of the evening before bed, I reserve for me time. Gaby often works late so I have a few hours to myself. Some days this is a quick shower and straight to bed, or a small dose of bad reality tv, and others it's a glass of wine under the stars. Last night, I am glad I chose the latter because I heard the first Whipporwill call of the season.
You are an herbalist & farmer ~ how do you prepare yourself &/or your space to enter into this practice? I try to enter my practice each day in deep gratitude for the earth, the seeds, for my body, for water, and for the mycelium and earthworms! Gratitude grounds me in the present moment and that is where I want to be when I enter into my practice - in the apothecary or out in the gardens.
What do you do/not do if you are feeling stuck around your work?
I stop working and take a break. I spent many years working through feeling stuck and the end result was always a diminished version of what it could have been and lots of burnout. So now I stop - to stretch, for a hike, to play fetch with our dogs, or to read and return when I feel ready to troubleshoot. If I am feeling emotionally blocked from a project or task I turn to plant pals like peach leaf, rose, or hawthorn. But sometimes, I have to say "done is better than perfect" and let go of any rigid expectations that are holding me back from finishing a task.
Do you have a movement practice?
I love to hike! We live in the woods with lots of trails and try to squeeze in a few hikes a week. Hiking allows me to brush up on my plant identification skills. So it's a movement practice for my body and mind.
What does structure mean to you, or what is your philosophy around ritual/routine?
Structure can be a beautiful thing. It allows me to create a framework for accomplishing goals related to my work and personal life. I find it to be an important tool for calling in pause, rest, and having a good time. Creating ritual out of my routines turns the mundane into magical acts of self love and care for myself and family.
What are you listening to, reading, or watching these days?
I've been listening to Mountain Man, Valerie June, Lizzo, CoCo Rosie. Reading lots of seed catalogs and permaculture books. I recently ordered Plant Magic: Herbalism in Real Life by Christine Buckley... super excited to receive it! Sesame Street and Charles Dowding's Youtube channel on no-dig gardening have been on heavy rotation.
Any last words of wisdom?
Try to remember to slow down, drink lots of water, & eat your vegetables :)
How can we find your work?
IG - @tendingthistles
Email. - Fancydreamfarmette@gmail.com
Thank you so much, Robin, for your beautiful work in this world & for sharing your rhythm devotion with us ~
I connect the fruit essence of Sungold tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) as a beautiful companion to Robin Santos & her work in the world.
I made my Sungold tomato fruit essence on a warm July night, on my friend Celie's wide front porch in Charleston, South Carolina. The night was langorous, & we were sharing some iced wine together, getting to know one another, & letting the conversation roll out under the heavy summer sky.
Sungold tomato essence connects us to our kith & kin, our friends & relatives ~ our community. Sungold is abundantly connective & so it can be helpful for building connections with & within the communities around us. While connective, Sungold also helps us hold onto our individuality & can even heighten that amongst a group ~ it reminds us of our own gifts, talents, skillsets, & presence so that we feel separate but connected.
Sungold gives us the rolling, slow space to share our stories & to let conversation be a key to intimacy with others. Conversation is an art, it is an act of sharing, it is generous & delicious & filling ~ like a good meal, which is perhaps why the two compliment one another so well. Thus, Sungold nourishes our communicative bodies, giving us inspiration & permission to speak or express within new friendships as well as our intimate relationships. It reminds us that with intimacy there is no rush ~ in solid relationships, slow & steady builds a good foundation.
Sungold teaches us timing, generosity, & shared experience; about being “ready.” Ready to open or burst: it is a vulnerable thing to be a fruit exposed on a vine, but you are not alone ~ other fruits like lanterns are dangling from the various limbs & branches, all connected by the same root. So, this essence reminds us while we may be distinct, we are not alone. Sungold allows us to bear our fruits —our stories— who we are & where we have come from. It gives us the space to share without allowing shame or fear to pierce our skins easily.
Sungold tells us of abundance & gratiude. It shines a light on all the work & growth we have accomplished in our lives, how every choice & decision brought us to where we are, here & now. It allows us to take stock of this, while encouraging us to enjoy in the delicious & abundant fruits of our labors, sharing what we can, discarding what we must, finding nourishment in what we have created, bringing slow connection to our lives as a form of deep nourishment.
Find a bottle of Sungold tomato fruit essence for yourself or a loved one here ~