I’ve Gotta Backblog

There is the possibility that I’m the worst blogger in the world. Luckily, this blog is pretty much for me. *sigh*

So I this summer we planted our garden and toiled for hours to make sure everything was right. Then the weather returned to chilly and wet, and well, that was how it stayed for what seemed like weeks on end. The only plants that heartily popped up were my hopi sunflowers, the wild calendula, and the solis calendula. Late in the fall my artemisia absinthium took hold and I moved her before the weather became too chilly, as this spring we’ll be redoing the garden again. Hopefully with greener thumbs.

Surely nymphs live hereOn the upside, even though our garden did not prosper our forays into the wild were bountiful. Nearly every weekend and many weekdays we found ourselves high up in the mountains where the air cooled your bones, or traipsing through the forest looking for medicinal plants and berries. We have jars of elderberry elixir, fireweed jelly, goldenrod infused honey, mullein flower oils, black & red huckleberries in the freezer, goldenrod leaves for tea and so many others.

In September my travels took me down to beautiful Arizona to attend the Medicine of the People Gathering at Mormon Lake. At the same time I was able to travel around with one of besties and my parents. Let me tell you, there is a huge temperature change between Mormon Lake and Phoenix. IMG_7268It was sheer luxury to come home at the end of the day and soak in my parents’ pool after a couple drinks and fine food. Although this gathering of Herbalists was entirely different than last year when I went to the International Herb Conference, the feeling of being among like minds was still the same. That moment when you realize the very air you breath in is infused with over a hundred other energies all focused on the same thing for three days is phenomenal. It asserts, for me anyways, that I’m where I’m supposed to be. That this path among plants and healers speaks to my heart and my very soul. It is humbling and enlightening to be surrounded by so many brilliant minds.

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The Secret Garden

Every since I watched The Secret Garden years ago I have wanted one.  Dreamed of one.  I never thought I’d have one.  Since May though the Man and I have been working on our garden area and transforming it.  We’ve taken out the four raised beds that wasted alot of room.  The Man built a picket fence for me to keep the chickens, children, and dog from getting into our special garden.  We dug, moved, moved again, and then turned over again loads and loads of soil.  We amended it with compost of various sorts.

Now the garden has little paths through it.  Admittedly, it is smallish for the amount of soil in it so paths aren’t that varied.  More like snaking.  And I love it.  This year, to give the garden a break from vegetables I have planted alot of medicinal plants and well…different plants.  A few include:

  • Gypsywort
  • Wild Calendula
  • Yellow Calendula
  • Orange Calendula
  • Solis Calendula
  • Giant Turkish Plantain
  • Belladonna
  • Datura Inoxia
  • Datura Stramonium
  • Henbane
  • White Sage
  • Tobacco
  • Xhosa Dream Root
  • Our Lady’s Bedstraw
  • Alehoof
  • Woad
  • Greek Mullein
  • Hopi Sunflowers
  • Wormwood
  • Rue
  • Lavender
  • Comfrey
  • German Chamomile
  • Motherwort
  • Arnica Montana
  • Meadowsweet
  • Hops
  • Gravel Root
  • Fireweed
  • Mugwort
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lovage
  • Sage
  • Viper’s Bugloss
  • Various Bergamots

Everyday I go out to talk to them and look forward to late this summer when places in my garden are hidden from view.  I have an arbour for the hops to encompass and they are doing a good job so far of spreading out.  I’ll make an altar to Airmid and Miach here.

This year the secret garden my look a little bare but each year I’ll add, move and build up in areas that didn’t do so well.  I can’t wait!  At the moment we have one beehive in the garden, next to a small strawberry patch which was there from last year.  Along the back fence there are already raspberries that produce all year.  I planted the greek mullein where the mullein naturally grows every year in my garden.  The hopi sunflowers and calendulas are definitly the eager growers and were sprouting up within a week of being planted.  Considering this June has only had 68 hours of bright sunshine I’m happy anything has sprouted or ripened at all!

Now to add bits and bobs and magickal things to my garden.  I foresee many projects with the children this summer…

Look for photos of my garden bliss in the next couple of months!!

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Good-bye Roosters…

I must admit – I was a little dubious that spring was ever going to actually make an arrival.  We’d have a day of +12.  Then snow the next day.  It was entirely frustrating.  But YES! It HAS arrived!  *happy dance*  Even though it is spring and it should be burgeoning with life, today the Man and I both took life and helped life begin.

We have four roosters.  Two are lavender orpingtons and they’ve been incredibly agressive both with the children and with the hens.  They’re so bad one will mount a hen and the other one will stand next to her and scuff the dirt, fluff up his neck and peck her.  So today amidst the starting of seeds and planting of flowers we decided it was time for the roosters to depart.  I said a prayer to thank little Brother for his gift of sustenance to our family, and bid him return to the Mother.  x2.  The Man actually did the deed.  We had a pot of water boiling on the fire to help loosen the feathers.  All in all, it wasn’t a fun process.  It certainly is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices in the circle of life and how us humans enjoy so many benefits.  The roosters were born with the short end of the stick as their lot.  On the upside, I would like to think their last few hours were a riot, what with all the mounds of dirt and grass they were digging through…

In the future, we’ll probably end up doing this again.  Not because I enjoy it, but because a backyard chicken owner can only have so many roosters.  After eating one of the sirs for supper this is what we concluded: The bones of our own were much more solid than what we get out of a store.  The soup that I made out of the leftovers was THE best, bar none, chicken soup I have ever made.

I love the ladies and the gents we raise.  I agonize over the fact that if I can’t sell them we have to eat them.  I do keep in mind though that living here with us is so much better than what kind of life and death the poor creatures you buy out of the store had.  That thought alone makes everything seem better…

 

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Catching up…

**I had this post privated.  Originally it was posted October 10, 2011.  It was there to serve as a reminder of all the blogging I had to catch up on.  But I never did.  Winter has come and gone.  Instead of worrying about it I’m just going to carry on from here and hope I’ll be a little more regular with the posts.

It’s been an eventful summer which has left me with little time for writing.  It was VERY exciting and I have loads to go over.  Some things include the addition of chicks, a snake, a trip to Salem, MA and The Inernational Herb Symposium, summer wildcrafting…and…I’m sure I’m missing something!

Life has been full of surprises the last couple of months.  I’ve found myself re-evaluating friendships.  Some I’ve let go, others have sprung to life where I didn’t think it was possible.  I will say this: there are people in my life right now, a circle of women.  Not one of them know the other and all of them are of different faiths and ages.  Each of them is SO much alike though.  It makes me smile inside that friendships with these women all blossomed at the same time.  Right around the same time my garden was coming into full bloom.  Funny that.  I’m blessed.  So blessed.  I think of it sometimes and it boggles my mind.  Between friends, family, and daily life I have so much to be grateful for every. single. day.

It’s so late and it’s been a hectic weekend so I’ll bid the blog adieu and over the next week it’ll be update time 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving and many Harvest Blessings!

And a big THANKYOU UNIVERSE!

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Damn You Craigslist!!!….and..uh..CHICKENS!

Lexi checks the new Ladies out...are they wards, or dinner?

It was a quiet morning around here.  Daddy and Aurora were having a nap and Quinn wanted to watch a movie.  So what’s a mommy to do?  Why check out Craigslist of course!  Now in truth I was checking out what kind of chickens were on Craigslist the day the chicken house was completed. What?  I couldn’t help it!  I had made a call to a lady in Hope a couple of days ago but had not heard back from her.  She had 16 available, so I was only going to take a few to get started.  You know, the practice chickens… Please note that I have NOT gone to the symposium yet.  It’s like we built the chicken shack and now chickens can’t wait!!!  But I digress… ‘lo and behold, the phone rang.  Now I just KNOW you can guess who it was.  You’re right!!! The lady from Hope!  So I jotted down her address on the first scrap piece of paper floating by I could see and was actually going to sneak out of the house with Sir Quinnigan.  Was.  Then I had the fleeting thought of “What if Lee is angry that I bought the chickens without him or he thinks I paid too much for them?”  It was a rather silly notion since Lee never really gets angry with me.  So I crept in the room and told him about the chickens.  Next thing I know we’ve got all the kids and the dog kennel packed into the van and we’re off to get some Ladies! YEAH Baby!!!  So what if I’m leaving for a conference tomorrow at the crack of dawn!

The Ladies check out their new home...

It turns out the nice lady only had nine hens remaining and a 13 week old rooster she’d give us for free if we took the rest of the hens.  Well twist my rubber arm!  So now as I’m writing this there are ten feathered creatures in the chicken run outside.  The kids LOVE them.  All of us do.  We pulled up the lawnchairs to watch the ladies explore the Shack and run, happily clucking away and picking on the rooster.  Honestly, it was more relaxing than watching a tank full of fish.  I think I’m going to be smashingly happy with having hens.  It also reminds me of when I was younger and my grandmas had chickens…

So far we’ve named the rooster Allister.  Allister Crowley, hehehe.  He isn’t quite filled out yet so he kind of blends in with the hens.  Luckily, he has bright yellow legs to tell him by, lol.  Seriously.  Really bright yellow!  There is also Daphne, Doreen, and Vivian.  The rest look too much alike to name at this point, lol.  I’m sure we’ll keep you updated on that.

Our FIRST egg!!!!

Now the lady that sold us the chickens warned us that it might be up to a week before we seen any eggs because apparently chickens get all nervous when they get moved and stop laying for a wee bit.  We were okay with this.  Quinn, not so much, lol.  As the sun was getting lower though I went out to see if all the ladies were safely tucked in and just LOOK what I found!!! Our first egg!!! And we’ve only had them a few hours!  Really.  BEYOND excited!!! OH SQUEEEEE!  I got to see the first egg before I left for a week.  Let me tell you, that was a “I’m-so-excited-I-could-just-explode” moment.  Yes.  It.  Was.  Here…take a gander *wink*  Pure.  Bliss.

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A Fine Day Out

Yesterday my Love and I stopped in at Nana’s with the kids for a visit.  The visit was a mixed blessing.  First, Nana had made some life decisions and was going through things that symbolized the end of a very dear part of her life.  This made me weepy as we looked at some of the things.  I thought of myself in her position.  I thought of the heartbreak involved in letting go of things and persons that were essential in making her who she was for that part of her life.  This will undoubtably bring about a metamorphosis into the next stage of life.  I think good things will come from this – but like all things meaningful in our life it will take time.  The blessing part, as always, was talking to Nana.  Nana has led one of the most interesting lives of anyone I have known.  She has seen things that I have on my bucket list to see.  (Like the Lascaux Caves ) She is so full of awesome stories about her travels.  Part of me wishes she would write a memoir of her tales for the kids.

We came home with a treasury of books on sustainable living, gardening, herbs, runes, astrology, and loads of National Geographic videos.  These things may not excite you, but they certainly excite us.  I hope we give them as good of a home as Nana did and perhaps one day we will pass them on to someone else who is interested in the same.  Personally…I’m hoping it’s one of the kids….

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The Chicken Shack

We're hoping the ladies will like the patio doors (left wall) that daddyman lovingly added in for them...

So, the Man and I have been contemplating getting chickens (aka, the Ladies) for some time now that we have room for them.  We’ve been walking around the yard measuring things out and sizing things up.

We finally went out and picked up the supplies.  The Man is pretty handy and had a cute little house whipped up in no time.  In a couple weeks I’ll be leaving for the International Herb Symposium, so it is our plan to start the search for the ladies when I get back.  This promises to be a VERY exciting summer!  We picked up some grade C cedar shakes for the roof to give it a more mountainside look.  I was out of primer so I decided to use up some leftover paint as a first coat and I’ll paint over it later.  I’m pretty sure the Ladies aren’t going to mind it being a very pale shade of pink in the meantime, but you never know with those crazy hens!!!

I REALLY can’t wait to get the chickens now.  Even the kids are all excited so it’s like Christmas in the middle of summer!  Hooray for fresh eggs!  SQUEEEEE!

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Incense, Snatum Kuar, and Baby Steps…

It’s chilly out today.  Rain isn’t really falling so much as it’s a very wet mist.  Inside though is mellow and comfy.  My three wicked pheylonian candle is burning.  Snatum Kuar is singing in the background and my incense is scenting the air.  Although Mr.Q and Miss Aurora started off the day rather whiney and rammy even they’ve calmed down and Lexi and Piddy the cat are no longer chasing each other around the living room.

For a nice surprise this morning I was walking with Aurora holding my hands.  Quinn had a balloon and when she let go of my hands she kept on walking towards him.  Not even a toddle.  Foot after foot, steady and strong.  At 13 months she’s pretty much got it.  I was so proud.  Later on we tried walking side by side with her just holding my right hand.  Quinn said “Look!  It looks just like you are walking down the street!” I was so excited I could have burst 😀

This is bliss.

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Being blissful even when life isn’t so blissful…

I had to wonder at the timing of it all – life was so….blissful.  The reason for all of this.  The small things that fill me full of wonder on a seemingly daily basis where we live.  I thought I should start a blog as a way to acknowledge my gratitude and make it known to the Universe that I DO see that my life is blessed.  But then I actually gave the blog a name and brought the idea to fruition and that very week hard times hit.
I had gone to Surrey to drop of my passport paperwork.  It was fast.  Easy even.  I was thrilled with how friendly the person I had to deal with was.  Usually they are somewhat – is droneish the right word?  Once done there I stopped off at a nearby Asian market to pick up some ingredients for recipes I had wanted to try.  I thought there must have been divine intervention indeed, when I came across a bottle of rose water for under $5.00.  Not even noon and my blessings were piling up.  It was sunny and fabulous and bright.  There must be balance though.  It is the rule of the Universe.  I talked to the Man.  He didn’t hint of anything having gone awry on such a beautiful day.  He loves me.  So off to home I started…
I came in and put my things down and did the usual hellos and hugs and kisses to kids and hubby.  Enter the sadness.  Earlier that day my hubby had taken the kids for a walk and my little yorkie, Buffy was dawdling along behind them.  We live in a hamlet.  It’s REALLY small and everyone knows everyone here.  I love it.  But on this day, one of the neighbors Chinese Fighting Dogs (meanest dogs in town and they had only recently inherited them from the business they had just taken over) jumped the fence and attacked my Buffy.  My old girl that had travelled from coast to Canadian coast with me, comforted me through my divorce, understood when I had to spend a little bit more time with the babies when they came…It was May long and the vet had long since closed for the day but the Man had cleaned her up the best he could.

Buffy, our little nishlet, liked slept best on anything that involved blankets, pillows, or mommy's clothes.

I made a herbal infusion and washed her with it again when I got home and gave her tempra for any pain.  In the morning we’d take her in.  Somewhere in my heart I knew it was the end.  She was so old but still feisty when the right breeze hit her.  Part of me was afraid that if I took her to the vet they’d put her down and I wasn’t ready.  After all these years together I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  That morning we took  her out and she did her business.  This made me happy.  I thought she’d be okay.  She lied down in the sunshine with the clouds still hanging out at the tops of the mountains.  Every bird on the mountain seemed to be singing that morning.  It was so beautiful I thought she’d rather wait out there while I went in to have a shower and get ready to go.  Buffy passed away shortly thereafter.  She couldn’t have picked a more blissful day to return to the Mother.
We buried Buffy in the flower garden in the back by the elder tree.  Each of us put a handful of dirt on her and said our bit, even the children. When she was covered Darrah sat on my lap and we cried together with my arms around her.  My heart was breaking.  I think when the loved ones in our life return to the Source, or Heaven, or Valhalla…whatever your name is for it, that they take a piece of our soul with them.  Afterwards, we piled in to the jeep and  went to garden centre.  I explained to the lady that my little dog had just passed and that I wanted something that was beautiful and liked the shade.  She suggested all kinds of beautiful plants but none of them were right.  And then I saw it – on a bench, away from the other plants – a lovely, lush Lady’s Mantle.  The plant of alchemists, transformation, and stardust.  Only one.  In the entire centre.  I hope Buffy likes it.
A few days later a man accidently backed into the corner of my rear bumper.  Things were…hard.  I sat down and thought about how I had only JUST decided to start a blog about the blissful things in our life and now everything seemed to be going wrong.  Then it came to me.  No one can really be blissful if they can’t find a piece of it in the hard times as well.  My very important lady in my life mentioned to me that it’s possible that Buffy’s purpose here was to be a rescue dog.  Those Chinese Fighting Dogs were always getting out.  They had been up on our very porch barking menacingly at the children and I on two different occassions.  When Buffy was attacked the neighbors called the police and the owners were advised to get rid of at least the more vicious dog, if not both of them.  It could just as easily have been one of my children that were attacked that day.  In a way, Buffy may have saved the life of one of the kids.  I am so thankful for that.
With the van..well.  My bumper got a little crinkled and lost some paint.  The van wasn’t written off.  It works just fine.  He could have hit one of the doors instead with the kids inside.
While I am left with sadness I still feel the sunshine on my face.  I still revel in the kids practicing their evil laughs.  Even my one year old has decided she’d take up the family past time and is practicing her evil laugh now.  I know with every fibre of my being that things are as they should be and that I am in the centre of joy, kindness, and LIFE.  Beautiful, bourgeoning, and fecund life.  All around me…
That’s bliss.
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