I'm working my way... ever so slowly...through emails and letters....
Which oil is best… organic, expeller-pressed or cold pressed? - J.M. in OK
Actually, cold pressed oils are simply oils that have been expeller pressed at a much lower temperature (I believe it is 120 degrees) that preserves the flavor of the nut/seed, and does not change the chemical makeup of the oil.
Most conventional oils are obtained by methods that use chemicals to remove the oil from the nut/seed, and at very high temperatures, which changes the oil’s molecular status.
If you can not find organic cold pressed, go with the organic expeller pressed. Avoid conventional oils that are obtained using the harsh chemicals in the process of extraction.
I noticed in your laundry detergent recipes, you do you not suggest Fels Naptha for making homemade laundry detergent. Do you have another brand to suggest? Ivory or something along those lines?
My goal is to make my products as natural as possible. And if making it as natural as possible is the goal, Fels Naptha is not all that natural.
Fels Naptha of old was used at a time when everyone's soaps were just tallow and lye based soaps. Fels Naptha came on the scene and provided superior stain removal capabilities. However, now owned by the DIAL corporation, Fels Naptha listsas its ingredients cleaners, stain and soil removers, chelating agents, perfumes, and petrochemicals. These are chemicals we are trying to avoid!!!
I use shredded soaps from my Shade Tree Cottage soaps, as these are completely natural. I'll be offering shredded soap packages in the store soon.
As an aside, Fels Naptha is a folk remedy for poison ivy. Breaks through the oils of the plant on the skin to prevent outbreak/rash. But DO NOT USE for bathing....
You've mentioned peak oil and our addiction to petroleum products before. Do you have any good sites or resources to suggest for me to teach my children about it? I think now, with the price of oil and all the talk about us running out, is a good time for us to teach something about it in our homeschool. Any help would be appreciated... Tanya in WI
I would suggest you read this informative website for a primer, and then perhaps do a google search for petrolism (the term used to describe our dependence on petroleum and the use of profits from the sale of petrol to fund terrorist/unfriendly governments policies and plans). It is a very interesting subject, and can be easily explored in your world government or modern history portions of your homeschool.
My son is interested in an environmentally friendly job where he can put his conservation and faith into action. He is the one who showed me your blog, and I'm interested to find out what you think of this? He wants very much to work in field versus legislative or bureaucratic. His science grades are phenomenal, and I have no doubt he will use his talents for the glory of God. Do you have any suggestions for curriculum or good books for his last two years of high school (I homeschool my seven children), and any job suggestions too?
You must be very proud of your son for showing such maturity, and may I give a pat on the back for allowing your child the room to bloom! My obvious suggestions would be load up on the sciences- any and all including biology, chemistry, physics, and even astronomy. Perhaps even add environmental engineering to the list. Also, find out if you can enroll in your local community college during his last two years. Many colleges allow you to take courses (cheaper than universities) and they count for both high school credit and college credits. I would also have him read about ecology and biographies of naturalists. Some of the best books I would suggest would be those by Wendell Berry, John Muir, J. J Audubon, John Burroughs, Thoreau, and even Rachel Carson.
Related work and employment is almost too numerous to mention. One of the best resources I've found is the Environmental Job Listings website or you can look up horticultural jobs or research WWOOF jobs. I am researching both for future workamping and garden work.
Hope this helps, and God bless!!!
I want to increase my family’s intake of dark, leafy green veggies, but it is really hard to make them eat them. They complain they are bitter and chewy. I am going to be getting huge amounts of unusual greens from our own garden, and now belong to our local CSA. Can you help me come up with a way to get them to eat them, and if not too hard, make it taste good?
You didn’t mention whether you are steaming, stir-frying, baking, or eating them raw. All of those ways are great ways to incorporate those dark and leafy green vegetables.
Try stealthing them into your pizza or spaghetti sauces, chopped if necessary. I make this awesome spanikopita with green leafy vegetables that is out of this world. Or perhaps chopped, you can add them to your frittatas. You can also put them in baked lasagna, or try adding them to your juicing protocols. Apples and bananas hide the bitterness of the ‘green leafys’ very well in juices.
Here’s my favorite way to enjoy greens with any meal, takes about fifteen minutes to make, and it is absolutely delicious. I also sometimes serve this as a meal with a plate of cheeses, or some fresh baked focaccia with organic extra virgin olive oil for dipping.
Carla’s Greens, Garlic, and Oil
2-4 Tbsp. of organic extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves of fresh garlic (either bruised for light garlic taste, sliced for perfect garlic taste, or minced for the ultimate!)
1 red onion, sliced thin
Fresh greens- collards, kale, broccoli rabe, spinach and broccoli etc…
Fresh ground pepper
Red pepper flakes
Grated zest of a lemon
Freshly shaven Parmesan, or crumbled Feta
Put oil, garlic, and onion into deep saucepan/skillet. Heat to medium until onions begin to sizzle. Add the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Saute for about 4 minutes until the onions are limp. Add the sliced or chopped veggies to the skillet (only slice/chop right before putting in skillet to avoid mineral loss and oxidation). Stir the greens into the garlic and onions, and add the lemon zest. Season to taste with the sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until vegetables are deep green and slightly limp.
Plate this wonderful side dish on a warm platter, sprinkle with cheese if desired, a dash of fresh olive oil, and serve to your family… who are waiting at the table, drooling from the smell filling the house. Enjoy!
I was thrilled to meet you in Doylestown a few weeks back. You are exactly what I thought you'd be like. Bright, energetic, and fun! I meant to ask you before the group parted where you got your necklace from. It's beautiful and I loved the descriptive words on it. If it's not too much trouble, would you send me a link or address from the company? - E. J. from Perkasie
Long story short... visit Lisa Leonard's website for the most gorgeous, fresh and funky, handmade jewelry.
Lisa is an awesome Christian...mom to two boys, and a creative genius when designing jewelry. I was introduced to Lisa because we both have the same hair. Truly... a friend sent me the link saying she found someone with hair as 'unique' as mine. I love that word... unique.
I fell in love with her, her designs, and the piece pictured above is the one I have. It states my goals... my path... my journey... right now:
EXPLORE ~ DARE ~ DISCOVER ~ GROW ~ BECOME
Is the possibility of being a Jew something that affected your study of the Lord's feasts? Is this what changed your celebrations like Easter? - Kate in MA
How did you begin your study of Torah?
I remember tuning in to a show on Sky Angel during the early 90's. The gentleman was explaining the signifigance of Yeshua's word and life and ministry and how it was ripe with Jewish customs and fulfilled Jewish laws and prophecy.
And then he began telling me a Christian love story. And how the Jewish bridegroom would come to take me away; to a home he had prepared for me.
That gentleman was Zola Levitt, now with YHVH, transformed into eternity. I miss him...
As I studied materials from Zola's ministry, as well as others, it revealed so much truth to my heart that sometimes it felt like I was going to burst! When you see for the first time, you dance with the brilliant rays of color that suddenly fill your eyes...
What I mean was I had been reading the Hebrew text, written by Hebrews, directed at the Hebrews, with Hellenistic (Greek) glasses on. Everything I read was interpreted through those glasses. Things were grey and muddled and misunderstood. Ideas and commands and true understanding were out of reach, at least in my teensy brain, until I studied Hebrew culture. It was like standing in the grove of the tallest trees, and realizing I was actually in the biggest forest. Awakening...
You might find a good jump start for the thinking process by reading and studying along with this college course.
I don't want to overwhelm anyone, so feel free to ask me for more information or links...
I cannot wait until summer to make sun teas. Can you give me some recipes for good ones?
Please be sure to consume the tea within one day, no matter if herbs, teas, or a tisane. The bacteria that breeds in it, especially during warmer months, can make you deathly ill if you don't take care.
A good quick read can be found here...
I'm working on a class and ebook with tea recipes. Stay tuned for the recipes....
More questions next time....
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I'm working my way... ever so slowly...through emails and letters....
Sunday, April 27, 2008
OK... don't tiptoe, but walk, run, hike, and frolic... and do it barefooted!!!
Most folks think the thicker and more supportive their shoes are, the more comfortable they will be. But the opposite is true. By using your super supportive shoes with inserts, pads, and specially designed soles, you are using them as a crutch, and your feet (and back, knees, neck, and joints) are going to pay for their dependence on that crutch later in life. If you are a lady who wears those Byzantine-like torture devices we call shoes that contort your feet into unnatural shapes and pay scant attention to human anatomy, you are asking for problems down the road.
I always recommend that folks go barefoot. Alot. Through the house, into the yard, and if you can, go walking or hiking barefoot. Make sure you are looking where you walk, and allow your feet to mold to your environment. Rocks, sticks, leaves, and trails take on a new feel, literally, when you use your feet as part of your sensory system.
You won't ruin your feet, or develop rock hard skin and callouses, in fact, your feet will be nicely shaped and smooth, and will feel energized and alive. Instead of referring to those 'tired old dogs' you'll be following your dancing feet everywhere.
Walking with shoes on takes away from the natural sense of balance that is built into your feet. You recompense for this misalignment by walking 'abnormally', which puts stress on your bones, ligaments, spine, neck, hips, knees, and feet. Walking barefoot allows the 20,000 some sensors on your feet to send signals to your body to allow you to walk correctly, no matter the terrain.
If it hurts when you walk barefoot, you are walking wrong, and probably conditioned to do so by the shoes you are wearing. We were not supposed to walk with the heel first, but instead with and on the balls of our feet. Cushioning our heels (ala today's shoes) causes us to slam our feet down much harder (on the heel first) in order to get sufficient stimulation for balance. Your feet get more abuse from hard surfaces in shoes than barefoot.
Padding your feet is in a sense, gagging them from telling you are walking wrong ... and causing your body to adjust to walk incorrectly. This can manifest itself through spinal sublixations, stiff shoulders, headaches, backaches, knee and joint disintegration, and a malady of foot problems.
I know... it seems counterintuitive to leave your tender pads, heels, and toes open to the harsh, rough terrain that we encounter each day, and one might remark that it would hurt to walk down the street or pavement, or even across your yard, without the comfort of shoes. But it doesn't, and you'll quickly find your body... realigning itself to walk correctly.
While I recommend you go shoeless, don't start out running the marathon barefoot. Start slow and ramp it up over the coming weeks and months. Spring and summer times are perfect for conditioning your feet to get used to going barefoot, and foot soaks and conditioner, as in the form of balms, lotions, and oils to keep feet from becoming dry and cracked, are also requirements to having them stay strong, yet soft and attractive.
I try to make my children go barefoot as much as possible. Yes, their feet get dirty... we found baths work great to remove dirt and mud from the feet. And in situations such as public restrooms and bathhouses, creek beds and lakes, I purchased those swimming/hiking shoes from Teva that are uber comfy and easy to slip on quickly. Some places require you to wear shoes, such as stores, work, or church. For those situations when you cannot go barefoot, take a look at some of these shoe styles to help:
Good ol' Converse. Yeah, bo bo's. Flat sole with minimal padding. If you play sports, you know how strong your feet feel when you play in bo bo's. I just got rid of a pair I wore in high school!!!
Cheapy flip flops. Flat. No sole. ($5 - $15) Perfect for keeping feet from injury or for shopping, church, etc...
Vibrams- don't you dare laugh until you try a pair on. I don't have them, but my capitalist cravings say BUY!!!
Birkenstocks- classic and comfortable. Costs much but worth it. Still have two pairs over 15 years old each!
Nike- Free if you run, hike, or exercise and want to have a good training shoe, Nike- Free is the shoe to have. The shoe is designed to simulate barefoot action, and is used extensively in sports training to build stronger feet muscles and coordination.
For those of you who are hiking barefoot, check out how to sneak up on wildlife by walking like a fox. It really works and can mean the difference on your being able to get close to an animal to sketch or photograph, or just enjoy it.
How to Fox Walk
A site with a bunch of information on the environmental benefits to walking barefoot in the woods is the Barefoot Hikers site. If you are wildcrafter like me, you should be walking light... no compacted soil, no imprint to offend or impede vibrant ecosystems, and more...
The Parents for Barefooted Children website is an awesome place to visit if you need more information. Podiatry reviews, where to's and where not's, and more.
UPDATE: I have found my new workboots from heaven. The Lord knows I've been praying for a pair... mine are currently fourteen years old and still kicking, albeit they look like they are holding together with a thread...
Having two pair of Doc Martens during my punk heyday, I can remember how durable and comfortable they were. I traded both pair to a friend when I was 19 for a used guitar she had acquired. I think I got the short stick in the deal...
But alas... check out the boot that is on top of my list. These are rugged, durable, with a touch of flowers. How awesome is this????
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
One year later… the rant and the report…and a few reflections and ruminations…
Be prepared… grab a cup of herb tea 'cause this is a pretty long post.
I get a lot of emails from all sorts of good folks. I like those a lot. Keep ‘em coming and I’ll write you personally… when I can. Keep reading to the bottom of the post to get the latest report on what’s happening….
Some emails I get are from those that that need to find another email address to send their musings. You obviously have too much time on your hands and need a hobby. I hear crocheting is good… haven’t tried it but I know it requires you to use both hands so that’ll prevent you from being able to type ignorant (read- uneducated) emails. Honestly, such poorly considered words and observations…..
And so… the first part…otherwise being directed to those readers who feel so strongly that they need to send me emails calling me names…(tree hugger, herbwitch, gypsy, pagan christian, etc…) or how crazy I am for using herbs or RV’ing. I humbly submit what may be perceived by other, more kind folk as somewhat of a rant….
It’s been exactly one year. 365 days since we closed the door on the sticks and bricks and followed the leading to go into the wilderness… among the wild things.
One year into our adventure and we are utterly convinced that this was the best thing we could have done. Individually… and as a family. Each of us could tell you how much this has changed us… though, I’d be quick to say we haven’t changed… but instead blossomed and flourished. It’s allowed our spirits to rise… almost like they seemed contained before… like the ceiling stopped our ability to dream… and now with the open canopy of the heavenlies surrounding us, the literal ‘sky is the limit’ is the norm on how we think and act. Our thoughts, dreams, and actions are much different than if we had remained chained to what some still call ‘the American dream.’ And as a family… we have grown closer… so much closer…
I don’t know why we are wired so different from our extended families… or even friends and contemporaries. A raw and emotional incident with a family member recently showed me just how different I really am. I don’t know why… but as my man Popeye would say…
“I am, what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
I just am…
For me personally, I garnered no fulfillment… no nourishment for the soul in the life we were leading… big house… big bills… big church, and big life. Husband working harder making less and less… working hard for our family and spending everything we make trying to live.
I don’t know why but now I feel like belting out a line from a CCR song:
… working for the man, every night and day…but I never got a minute of peace… worrying ‘bout the way things might have been…
But we also bought… lots… when we had money. Computers, books, clothes, bikes, toys… whatever it was that we wanted to consume. It’s an ugly and agile accomplishment. Consuming. It ravages, rapes, and ruins…
Using my super power- perfect hindsight, I see it is contrary of what a family… my family… and life… my life… should be.
Now lest you think I have rose colored glasses on and I’m trying to escape reality, let me assure you I’m not. I’m 41 years old, and certainly not green behind the ears. I have no delusions about sunshine, butterflies and lollipop lands. I just think folks are wired differently… each of us is individually knit together by the Creator… and therefore, each of us is different. We need to have the courage to live accordingly… and be true to the calling and path that He has set our feet upon… even if those around us don’t ‘get it’. To live a life of authenticity and truth…
Remember Polonius’ words in Shakepeare’s Hamlet:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Learn it. Live it. Love it.
I’m really not interested in convincing folks of anything they are not open to considering, be it herb medicine, homebirthing, homeschooling, or RV living. I can't convince you of your need for Christ unless the Holy Spirit convinces you first, so let's not even debate that. I used to be the opposite in my 20’s. I felt like I had to convince everyone of my point… and it fostered much negativity. This life... be it nomadic or too radical... to some rebellious (our desire to not be churched but to instead meet as the early church in small groups) or even too simple (what I have is what I have).. is not for everyone… but in counting the costs…. financially, emotionally, spiritually, ecologically… we decided it was perfect for OUR family.
So perhaps instead of sending lengthy emails micromanaging my life, you might want to call a family meeting and figure out what works best for YOUR family.
As far as using herbs and making plant medicine, I’m way too busy planting it and making it right now to get into any lengthy discourse with you. And like I said, I have no plans on making it my priority to convince you of something you are not open to considering…
Now onto the Report, otherwise directed at those kind folks who read this blog and who send nice emails and comments… I can feel the love…
It’s been awhile since I was able to sit down to get a post started here. But it’s a good thing. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. And those of you… lots of you… who call me daily and write me often and who have let me know you are lifting us constantly in prayer… I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Big RV in the Big Woods
We’ve decided to stay at a charming campground in Upper Black Eddy called Colonial Woods Family Resort until October of this year. We camped here last year and loved it! Lots of wooded sites and trails for exploring, ponds for fishing, and enough activities to keep us busy this season! Weekend community dinners, miniature golf, and ping pong too (anyone up for a game???)! Archery, big pool and splash pool and fountain for kids….hayrides, tennis, and ice cream socials. They just recently added wifi (woo hoo) so I’m totally in love. If you’re in the area, want to plan a great camping trip, or want to stop by… well… now you know where I am. What we do after here… well… everything is an option… workkamping… planting trees in North Carolina… managing the Cape Hatteras lighthouse… managing a fish hatchery… even working with a well known circus!!! All I know is we have lots of room and would love to have you visit for a BBQ or swim… get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 267-816-0848 and I’ll give you directions….
Lightening the Load… one year later…
All of the goods that were left in storage for the past year have been weaned down over the last week to less than half of the unit. That’s another ‘lightening of the load’… and everyone is happy about it- and we aren’t finished yet! When we moved into the RV’s, the children, ok… even I had trouble getting rid of some of our things. Kept thinking it is valuable, or that I would need it someday. Well 365 ‘somedays’ came and went and it wasn’t needed. So off to Goodwill and thrift shops it went. I can’t describe how good it felt. For those about to embark on a similar journey, or just simplifying, I highly recommend trying something like what we did. Put it in storage, or a basement or garage. See if you need it. Chances are you’ll find you don’t. Our goal is to completely empty the unit by summer’s end. I’ll keep you informed…
On the subject of lightening the load… I have a huge- 7 feet tall, wood shelf in brand new condition. We had it in our living room filled with books. Here it is at R&F
I’ve been holding onto it…. don’t know why. Want it? Make a reasonable donation ($100 ?) to my solar fund and it’s yours. Get in touch with me at email@example.com , or call me at 267-816-0848.
One thing I’ve purposed to get rid of over the next month is the rest of the books from our homeschool library. I managed to sell quite a few… but I know times are tough and the last thing folks have money for is books. So… if you are a homeschooler in Pennsylvania, or near where we are staying this summer, get in touch with me and I’ll give you a whole bunch of books… I mean really good books… for a song. Ok… well a donation. If you are struggling financially and don’t have the money for lots of books… I hope this will be a blessing and your kids will enjoy reading these classics like mine have. If you want to pay for shipping, I’ll ship them to you instead. Those who donate money for the books would be helping me save for the inverter and solar package we are building for the RV. Just get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk books (ooh… aahhh… one of my favorite things to discuss…)
Some have asked if they can donate money… and while my first inclination is always to say ‘no’, I realize some folks have benefited from my talks- phone or email, walks, and writings and would like to give something back. So I’ve set up my solar fund for you to contribute to, and I’m sneaking money from my Shade Tree Cottage sales in there too! Any donation is appreciated and a blessing… and can be sent through paypal to email@example.com
What are we going to do with the solar fund? Here are our three goals for the summer or by autumn:
1) Build two solar dehydrators- contained and able to be transported as we travel. The boys have already drafted two models, and are making the material list this week. I took my money from the fund and will be purchasing the convection plate and plate glass for the top. Pretty exciting!!!
2) You may remember me talking about our frig. breaking last summer, and our living out of a cooler, and eating locally all year. We are doing that again, however, we do now have an electric refrigerator in the trailer in anticipation of the solar hookup we are constructing for it. Some monies will go to this project… marine batteries, cable, hookups, inverter and the all encompassing solar panel. We are currently researching building our own solar cell to battle the costs of a pre-constructed one… stay tuned….
3) We are going to be replacing the hot water heater and instead of installing a customary electric or propane model, we are constructing a solar/propane model. Still working on it… stay tuned….
Hair today… gone tomorrow…
Couldn’t resist….To those who asked if I cut my hair, the answer is yes. I had it done before my birthday in February. All those long locks are gone, and this shorter ‘do is here to stay. I like it a lot better… and so does my crew. Mike says it makes me look spritely and lively… ya think? My kids say it’s fresh, it’s funky… it’s tang-zest-icy!!!!
It’s a little longer than the picture over on the sidebar, and as my little one says… curry, curry, curry! I could never wear my hair short because the curls have a mind of their own… but this haircut helps tame the mane. I still get those looks where you know the people are thinking… did she make her hair do that, or is it supposed to look like that….or did she just wake up? HA! I just tell folks it has a mind of its own and watch out or you might get lost in there…
Shade Tree Cottage and Shade Tree Herbals
I spent almost two weeks making soaps and some other goods for Shade Tree Cottage. The soaps are almost done curing and ready for packaging. I’ve added a whole new section called Shade Tree Herbals which deals strictly with the herbs, tinctures, salves, teas, classes and consultations, etc… and…. I’m going to be carrying a bunch of new products including recycled material broom skirts, recycled leather journals, and more!!! Be looking for some big announcements about the reopening in the next weeks and keep an eye on the site for my speaking engagements and classes/workshops. You can access my webpage by now typing in http://www.shadetreecottage.com/ or http://www.shadetreeherbals.com/
I just finished submitting three articles to some great magazines in time for their publication dates. It kept me busy, but it is very rewarding to this writer to be commissioned and asked to pen pieces for different periodicals.
Keep an eye on The Herb Companion, Organic Gardening, and Beautiful Girlhood for my articles soon. I’ll let you know when they go to print…
Consultations and Personal Education
I’ve opened some time for consultations or personal education while I’m stationary here in PA. I’m not charging by the hour any longer, instead leaving it up to the person to decide what they should donate for my time and help. Some are able to give more and allow me the ability to help those who have less. It is my belief you should give because it feels good… feels right, not until it hurts or is forced out of your hand.
My hope is to make herbal medicine and education affordable- I know how much classes, consultations, books, etc… can cost. I would also like to help those folks who are overlooked or shunned by allopathic principalities. It is my hope to encourage those educating themselves or those who want to learn about herbal medicine to help stay healthy and to assist the healing processes of their bodies when necessary. Get in touch with me for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-816-0848.
Blooming Glen Farm
For the past few weeks, I’ve been collaborating with farmers Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman from Blooming Glen Farm, a vibrant and growing local CSA farm here in Pennsylvania. I’m honored to be helping them expand their existing children’s garden, with its awesome sunflowers, teepee rabbit trails for the children to crawl around… safe and shaded from the summer heat, and lavender and anise hyssop, to include more medicinal herbs including Angelica archangelica, Borago officinalis, Tanacetum parthenium, Althaea officinalis, and Leonurus cardiaca just to name a few. We’ve sown the seeds and they are peeking up… sprouting in the greenhouse. You’ll find me talking about this farm and garden lots! I’ll be working around there this summer; sowing, growing and harvesting what I pray is a bountiful harvest of beautiful plants and teaching others to do the same. You can read more about the farm, classes, and my awesome new friends at http://www.bloomingglenfarm.com/ .
Classes, Intensives, and Herb Walks
I’m giving some herb and herbal medicine talks and walks in the eastern Pennsylvania region (well, some in a few other states, too!)
First, I’ll be giving classes at Blooming Glen CSA Farm (check out the latest newsletter ) and I’ll be adding more there soon. Some folks who wanted to know where I’m speaking can get in touch with me at email@example.com or visit my Shade Tree Cottage website. Be sure to check back often as I’m sure impromptu classes will be scheduled and I’ll put them on the website for your convenience. For the Blooming Glen Farm classes, they have a great online calendar to get details.
If you are one of the many who have written or called, and said they vacation around here… or one of my many new full timer friends… let me know when you’ll be in the area and we’ll get together. I can organize a campout or block of sites for us… lots of sites in this gorgeous park, and perhaps a class or two at the pavilion or ponds. Even if you can’t stay the night, give me a call or email and we’ll get together… you can buy day passes and we’ll walk and talk… and swim! I’d love to have you come and enjoy some good food, friendship, and if you are an herb nerd like me, well… we’ll have a good time, won’t we???
I’ve got two walks over at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve for May… it’s absolutely gorgeous and so very serene. I’ll be adding more classes at Blooming Glen CSA Farm online sometime towards the end of May. Possibly (?)… maybe…thinking of doing some week night classes. I might do some solar dehydrating, herbal cordials, kids summer health….maybe a herbal intensive towards summer or fall…some others rolling around in my head…and maybe an herb walk or two… stay tuned and check out the Shade Tree Herbals site for more details.
Herb Festivals, Open Houses, and Happenings (or where you’ll find me this summer!)
I enjoyed meeting all of the folks who showed up for the Earth Day/Open House at Blooming Glen Farm. The signs that the children constructed are delightful, and seeing all the toddlers romp through the teepees gave me inspiration for more and more additions to the garden! Good burgers from Rosenberger’s own pastured beef stock were delicious and whoever brewed the mint tea needs a big pat on the back! It was quite refreshing on such a hot day!!! Farmers Tom and Tricia gave excellent and informative tours… and I’m so watching over the field of dreams… a full 1/3 acre of stiffnecked garlic! I’ve had it before and am looking forward to drying some like my friend, Herrick Kimball does. Yum… yum… yum!!! I’m looking forward to working side by side with you all this coming season… seeding, weeding, picking, working, … and teaching among the botanicals in the gardens!
Mercer Museum Folk Festival- May 10-11, 2008
Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve Native Plant Sale- May 10-11, 2008
It’s going to be a busy weekend on Mother’s Day! I’ll be enjoying myself here at the Folk Festival with the kids… colonial demonstrations, spinning (I’ll be thinking of my Grandma!), juried craftsman, beer making and more! But before I head over there, I’m going to be at the native plant sale at Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve, hopefully getting some goodies for the children’s and medicinal herb gardens at Blooming Glen CSA farm. I’ve got my eyes on the Opuntia humifusa (Prickly pear cactus), Asclepias tuberose (Butterfly weed), Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake master) and more! Get in touch with me if you are going to the sale or festival and we’ll meet up!
Baltimore Herb Festival – May 24, 2008
This is the 21st year for the festival (and it’s on Memorial Day weekend), and I wouldn’t want to miss it. For those who are searching for new reliable source contacts for herbs and plants (face to face agriculture), these festivals and faires are superb! You always leave the festivals learning something new and with a handful of new friends. Come gaze at all the herbs, plants, herbal goods, and be sure to take Jim’s class on Medicinal Herbs of the Bible. Afterwards, I’m having tea at the Orianda house. It’s a thrill being around others who are as herb nerdy as me! Get in touch with me at 267-816-0848 and we’ll organize a carpool, campout, or meet for lunch or tea.
Medicines from the Earth Symposium- May 31- June 2, 2008
I’m not able to attend this symposium in NC as I have a class, but if any of you are in the area… get there! David Winston, Cascade Anderson Gellar, Paul Bergner, Mary Bove, and more greats. I’m chomping at the bit… ok, bark, to attend the walks with David Winston and others, and learn more about the seaweeds too.
Pennsylvania Lavendar Festival- June 13-15, 2008
I have found there are few things as divine as standing in the middle of a lavender field in the summer. I’ll be here at the festival… probably smiling wide eyed among the purple blossoms, and gathering bunches for homemade lavender wands. I’m also going to look at some different varieties to grow and use in some of my Shade Tree Cottage products. Come by and visit!!!
Kutztown German Folk Festival- June 28- July 6, 2008
If you have never been to this festival, you are in for a real surprise. I enjoy it immensely, and always learn something new. German and Dutch culture, food, crafts, quilts, and more. I learned a lot here about early German/Dutch/Amish medicine, as well as some folk remedies that I keep in my formulary. I’ll probably be walking around... not speaking anywhere here… except to say ‘goot foot’!
Pocono Garlic Festival- Aug. 30, 31, 2008
The bestest (and stinkiest… in a good way!) garlic festival in the world. Love it or leave it… you all know how I love garlic, so what’s better than thousands of garlic eaters on a hot summer day? Can’t think of much right now. Come visit me at the festival and we’ll sample some great garlic goods together. How about some garlic ice cream, or pickled garlic… perhaps some candied garlic too!! Can you smell the love????
Rosemary House- Mechanicsburg, PA- Sept. 27, 2008
Join me and other herbalists as we gather to hear David Winston speak and teach on Adaptogens, Nervines, and Nootropics, and Herbs For Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Register now and get in touch for carpool or camping information.
West Virginia Herb Association Fall Conference- October 31- November 2
We should be heading south about that time, so I might head to this awesome conference in WV. More details coming…
A Need for Weed... JEWELWEED, that is...
I need it! I’m out and what I froze I recently used in a consultation. I don’t like to wait until summer to get it, as like to have some in use by then. It’s starting to peek around the woods here, and in the creekbed plateau right next to my campsite, but me thinks I’m going to need some soon. Does anyone have a reliable source for jewelweed… like your yard or creekbed that you can pick some to send? Or some frozen or stored you’d like to barter? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 267-816-0848.
Can any of you fine folk email or leave a comment and tell me if turkey eggs can be used the same as chicken eggs? The are bigger… speckled, and I can get a bunch of them for free. I’m not sure if I can use them in baking and such… can anyone help?
Reflections and Ruminations
A few Reflections and Ruminations (and some things I’ve learned)….
I’m sure I’m going to be adding to this… but some things are just sticking in my head of late and I need to pour them out here…
I Dwell in Possibility- a poem from Emily Dickinson and my motto for the year. Memorize this poem and mull it over the next time you take a walk around the lake, in the woods, or across the meadows. Beautiful…
I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--
Of Visitors--the fairest--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--
Have you ever had that feeling like you weren’t home… like a rapid awakening from your slumber that left you with the feeling of being in unfamiliar surroundings. Some folks experience it on a basic level…travelers and such. They awaken and can’t figure out where they are… home, office, plane… motel room. Some folks experience it on a much deeper level…
It’s called Xenoiakian (pronounced ‘zee no kee an), and I am meeting more and more travelers searching for home.
Since spending more time, walking and talking in the gardens and woods with my Father, I have the most overwhelming sense that I am closer to home than ever before, and it comforts me, immeasurably. A quote from my readings of C. S. Lewis (this one was ‘Weight of Glory’) over the past year have left me this little nugget to chew on…
Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.
I’m an alien in this foreign land. A sojourner… a guest. And I long to go home…
But He is faithful and true and so good to send others... weary travelers like me, wandering and meandering the winding paths of life… to remind me that the road seems long and hard, but there is a city whose builder and architect is God (YHWH), and that I’m on the right road.
The little things ARE the big things. When in the scope of a flashback on my life’s accomplishments… it will be the littlest, tiniest, most hidden moments that are the pinnacle and purpose of my walk this side of eternity. If you don’t have that thought in your head… get it in there.
Don’t assume- EVER!!! Like when someone puts the Christmas lights up early, don’t assume that they are commercialized, pagan, and missing the whole point of celebrating Christ’s birth. It could be that someone in their family is dying and won’t make it until the holiday, or perhaps their loved one is back on leave from serving in our armed forces, and they are trying to celebrate the holiday before they have to return. You just never know, and when you find out, you might feel like crawling under a rock and having it crush you into tiny pieces. I know I did…
Take the time to look at people directly in their eyes, shake their hand with vigor, and say thank you. Look for that light in people's eyes....Folks just don’t take the time anymore to do this, but when you do, the smile you receive is the best reward. And possibly a new friend…
Someone recently asked me what was the best thing about living in an RV. I couldn’t ask them until today. Now this may seem crass, but it struck me as funny. See, it was my turn to use the bathroom... last… and it looked like six folks under 18 had been through there. Toothpaste cap off, empty toilet paper roll, a barrette and rubber band here, scrunchie there… handprints on the mirror, and faucets. You mommas know exactly what I mean. So there I was going pee on the potty… and I was able to clean it all while I did that. Seriously, I started laughing… hysterically. Only in an RV can you clean the bathroom at the same time you are using it. Pure bliss for this mom of a half a dozen active kids…
Having recently finished a debate with a fellow who felt it necessary to levy names my way when it was clear that the conversation was not going to go his way, I pondered his label of me for weeks….
He called me close-minded. Gasp.
Now I’m sure I was thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I always thought of myself as one who would consider all points, being firmly convinced of my own personal beliefs and thoughts, and not afraid to and aptly willing to give audience to any and all. I mean, in theory, the whole point of debate and discussion was to try to convince someone of your reasoning, thoughts, or point of view. It’s where I get to use all those logic lessons I studied with the kids… in a nice way of course.
But close minded?
And the a recent blog find, Brant, explained it all…
Freethinking means ruling out the supernatural without evidence, while being Closed-Minded means allowing that it's possible.
Makes perfect sense to me. Make mine close mindedness, please….
I'm sure this post is way too long, but I had months and months worth of great stuff to share. I'll put the rest in another post soon...
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
If you've been keeping a moon journal like the one I described before, you are in for a real treat tomorrow night.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Where you live might determine your favored deadly sin. At least according to this troubling article in Forbes magazine.
More disconcerting to me is the 'fun' attitude with which they give grizzly statistics showing our decline into the abyss. The first line of the article is just so panache; ...the city that has fallen farthest from grace. If only it were so comical dude...
But what is fueling this post is that although not found in any cohesive form in the Bible, the seven deadly sins were a common concept among the early church, being firmly planted in the heads of believers by many great Renaissance writers and painters and the established Roman Catholic Church. Most notably is Dante's references in his classic Divine Comedy.
I like the painting above. It is from Hieronymus Bosch (pronounced like 'boss') an obscure Dutch/Netherland painter who lived during the late 1400's and early 1500's. His work, at the time, was very new and original, imaginative, and very symbolic. He often used half human images and demons to convey man's fallen state.
The snippet above is actually part of a larger painting. It depicts one portion or 'plate' of the seven deadly sins... a very good symbolic gesture... don't you think? We, as humans, crushed from perfection and bonded to our fallen state, are unable to see the rot before us. Satan serves up the plate and it looks divine. It is set out before us every day and we are faced with our desire to consume. We are apt to dine from this bountiful platter with side dishes of greed, or envy, or lust. Our flesh cries out to be satisfied; to be fed, and it only through grace we overcome our daily portion. For this... today, I thank thee, Lord...
One thing I found fascinating about the seven deadly sins is about sloth. See, it's easy to describe lust and it's trappings, and avarice, or gluttony, but what of sloth? What does that mean, exactly? And what of its spiral staircase? Where does it lead?
Early church fathers defined sloth not as excessive laziness, or slowness, or obesity, which is what we generally associate with the word today. Instead, it was used to describe someone who was 'less than joyful'. Sadness, depression, apathy... joy less ness. Uneasy and disquieted with their present position and squandering of their God-given talents. It came to be known by the early middle ages as acedia, which was failure to (shema) love the Lord with all of your mind, body, and soul. To be sad at the world YHWH created, and the circumstances of life, and to keep oneself from enjoying it, and Him. How many folks today are like this... without joy? And wasting their talents. This is something that YHWH has been leading me in my own journey as of late...
Remember this today...that is one of the chief reasons... well, THE reason we were created. What is the chief and highest end of man? To glorify Him... AND...
To enjoy Him... forever.....
How can you enjoy the Lord today...even when the rest of the world is dining from the plates?
Eat of the bread of life....and be satisfied... go out and seek Him... dwell... and be delighted.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Recycled. Repurposed. Reconstructed.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The snow fell throughout the day and veiled the grey day and night with pristine light and hushed the hurried world around us. And all of the kiddos, and mom thrown in to boot, have a cold and some sort of intestinal bug going through the house. Fevered brows, heaving buckets, and cool drinks of water replaced any snow boots or snowball making. The children are excitedly tracking (using the weather links from my previous post) storm after storm setting itself up to hit the east coast with bigger storms. Their biggest
discomfort question is how can a child who is only yeah big (insert height of typical three year old) produce so much nose goo? Where does all that 'stuff' come from, Mom? I'll spare you the graphic pictures of delightful three year old, or the answers I gave while my pulling my copy of 'Blood and Guts' and 'What Makes You Get Boogers and Fart' type books from the shelf. The things a homeschool mom can take and turn into a teachable moment...
I'll instead leave you with a nice image. It's one of my goals this year. When things get hard... grey... to surround myself with beauty....
Isn't that just a beautiful image? I love the 'old English' look ... long and flowing gowns and hair. And flowers. Lots of flowers... and it talks about fearing not... I put that image in my computer for a screen saver.
And this one is in there now too:
It's probably hard to see the words... but it is talking about holding fast....
Sometimes that is tough to do... really tough.
Sometimes you feel like you are the only one. And standing up for what you believe... truth...is hard.
That's why I like to set myself reminders... pictures, bookmarks... book covers, screensavers..... of Him...
To remind me... a perpetual mezuzah all around me...to keep the words inscribed on my doorposts of my soul...
Trailmarkers along the way. Keep going. Stay the course... you are on the right road.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:14-16
Want some gorgeous free desktop and graphics like the ones featured here? Check out Source of Joy's website for more inspiration and magnificently designed works of art.
Monday, January 14, 2008
I love those little birdies. They gracefully frolic from bright blossom to another, sipping delicately the nectar of the feast. They are talebearers of the route of evanescence, our own vapored existance, as they appear suddenly to awaken us and then we blink and they are gone.
Most have flown south for the winter, and it is during these cold months, with its week long stretches of low clouds and steel grey skies, that I most crave their resplendent color and vigorous and dexterous motion; to partake of their exhuberant dance with fields of beauty. A testimony... to remind me...
See... the smallest of God's creatures reminds me of the hurried task of life: the eating, the working, the living. They also remind me of the exodus from these earthly bodies that will occur, and quickly; even surpassing the speed of their tiny wings in flight. And how profoundly poetic the dance between the two...
Thankfully, being online I can view some excellent photos of hummingbirds on this site, and think of warmer weather with my tiny friends. And perhaps we'll add Emily Dickinson's poem about hummingbirds to our poetry recitations:
Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Within my Garden, rides a Bird
Upon a single Wheel --
Whose spokes a dizzy Music make
As 'twere a travelling Mill --
He never stops, but slackens
Above the Ripest Rose --
Partakes without alighting
And praises as he goes,
Till every spice is tasted --
And then his Fairy Gig
Reels in remoter atmospheres --
And I rejoin my Dog,
And He and I, perplex us,
If positive, 'twere we --
Or bore the Garden in the Brain
This Curiosity --
But He, the best Logician,
Refers my clumsy eye --
To just vibrating Blossoms!
An Exquisite Reply!
Some other great hummingbird resources to peruse:
Hummingbird Society (join this great society and peruse this site to get great information and help save endangered hummingbirds...)
The Hummingbird Website
Journey North - (DON'T miss this site with maps for tracking the migration of these little beauties. Just look at how far their journey is! ) There is also a companion Teaching Resources Manual for some great ideas for library resources, writing exercises, and more!
Hummer Bird Study Group