The Encouragers

We all want to help those in need this time of year, but who are those folks?  And how can we, as a community, Elbert county, Colorado, and worldwide, help our fellow people?

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The group that I had inquired about getting a basket of food from recommended that I go to the welfare office.  We are getting back on our feet, we have never had a desire to take government money and are working diligently to get caught up.  There are many out there in the same situation.  I needed a coat but where do all the coats go in these coat drives?  My beautiful neighbors from Kiowa brought me a wool coat.  But, what if I didn’t have the network that I do?  If one isn’t a meth addict in Acacia park or on welfare, how does one get the encouragement and help one needs?  And not just financially, there are those who have suffered tremendous loss, who are grieving, who need things that there aren’t agencies for.  It is hard to say what one needs.  A gentleman I just adored that we did farmer’s markets and craft shows with killed himself in September.  We must not let folks in our own community feel alone.

Because of this blog, my farm on my old street, the business we have have in town, and because of my outgoing husband, we are more known than the average person.  When I felt like our world had ended this year and that jumping off a cliff wouldn’t even send a ripple through the world (very brief, fleeting thought) dozens and dozens of people came forth.  Friends, and friends, and friends of friends, and blog readers, and pen pals, and old customers, and the list still goes on and I am truly blessed and STRONGER because of it.  I needed encouragement and I received it.

But what about those folks we see at the grocery store and say hello to or the couple that walks into my store.  People that lost a child this year, people that cannot afford vegetables, or people that need a hug.  Can we reach out to these people?  We are one with all people.

I am starting something out of my shop.  It is called “The Encouragers.”

It’s easy.  Become an Encourager.  It doesn’t have to cost anything.  Offer to do it one time or once a month.

Choose a situation you want to help with.  You can make an afghan and write a note encouraging someone who lost someone or something this year.  You can pack up home canned goods with a note that encourages someone who needs fresh farm food.  You can write a note encouraging someone who is financially down right now and include a gas and food gift card or a gift card to Target.  The ideas are endless.

The important part of this is the note.  Please write a note encouraging someone.  Speak from the heart.  Send love and hope.  (Spiritual words are okay but since everyone is different religions please leave out specific religious doctrine.)  Maybe include your phone number or an offer for tea.  Wherever your heart leads.

Include your note with your gift and drop off at my shop, White Wolf Medicine, 796 East Kiowa Ave, H-3, by the post office, in Elizabeth.  Or send it to P.O. Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107.  Or, start an Encouragers group in your community.

IF YOU NEED ENCOURAGING: I know it is not something we are raised to talk about and no one wants pity or unwanted words of advice, but if you need encouragement, a hug, a gift card, a note, a cup of tea, or whatever, please contact me.  Let’s get you some encouragement.

Katie- 303-617-3370

wildflower@sacredowlschool.com or message me on facebook at

http://facebook.com/whitewolfmedicine or http://facebook.com/pumpkinhollowfarm (Farmgirl School)

May encouragement be the best gift we give and receive this season and into the coming year.

 

 

 

 

Winter Delights

Outside the sliding glass doors, under the clothes line he stood.  Regal and great.  Large antlers he held with grace and the snow on his thick fur glittered in morning light.  A young doe lay near.  Under the pine tree she held her gentle face to the sun.  I watched them from the window in calming awe.

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We readied for work and walked out of the house and turned to walk down the long snow packed driveway.  There we startled four fluffy young deer.  They stood still for a moment then hopped away in their comical rabbit-like impersonation.  Their bouncing feet stirring the light snow as they quickly adjourned down the pasture.

Last night under the full moon we drove slowly up the driveway basking in the moonlight and there they were again.  Four youth and the doe.  They greeted us and huddled closer.  So enchanting.

Is it possible that one doe could have four infants?  They are the very same size and seeming age.  I was always under the impression that deer generally only birthed one infant.  Do you think she is mother of quadruplets or did she adopt these young babies?

Either way I feel blessed to see them.  To be near them.  To share this beautiful earth with them.

May this beautiful season bring with it great blessings, tidings from friends, and memories of joy and laughter for all of you. 

Thankfulness and Determination

 

familyThanksgiving.  I am thankful.  I am thankful for the soft, plush fur of my purring kitten that greets me each morning at dawn.  The pink glow of day through the trees as I awake.  The hot coffee, its earthy aroma and taste, filling me with life.  I am thankful and say “wado” do the Creator each day.

“It’s just material stuff.  You can’t take it with you!” folks say, then go to their warm homes and kitchens.  Easy for them to say.

I know friends and family that have lost children, spouses, their health.  They would rather have our lot.  I know.  We have so much to be thankful for.

My beautiful baby granddaughter is with me four days a week filling my spirit with light.  My children are healthy.  Beautiful.  Pursuing their dreams.  What more could I ask for?

I asked an organization in my county how one can be gifted with a basket of fresh vegetables.  They said they were distributing them to the people in the county in need.  Where do all these things get distributed?  They erased my request from the page.  I shiver without a coat.  Wear the same four outfits mismatched so they look like a new outfit.  We have lived on the kindness and loans from friends for five months.  What Doug makes from his new job goes to support the shop and gas to get to work.  He brings home expired pastries for our breakfast.

“I didn’t realize you were still struggling so much,” a friend says.  How do you talk about that kind of thing?  You don’t.

I am thankful that we have shelter.  When I used to say that it meant I was thankful for my house.  Now I am thankful not to be out of doors.  I am thankful for food.  I am thankful for friends.  And hugs and gifts and smiles and visitors and that I could hang on to my cats.  I am thankful for my husband.  I would not trade our marriage for anything in the world.

“We are definitely not living our life,” he says as I tell him about a video I saw of a woman who has lived off-grid for thirty years.

I started to doubt my own words that I write and speak about.  The manifesting your own destiny and dreams seem a little full of it now.  My roommate agrees.  There is great danger in making people feel like they can achieve anything.

I am thankful.  I am blessed.  I have everything I need.  This I know.  I need to get out there and help and inspire as many people as I can.  And mark my words, readers, this time next year I will be writing you from my farm on how to create a homemade Thanksgiving.

 

 

The Beauty of Letter Writing

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I am a huge proponent of letter writing.  To see script fine and scribbled across sheets of paper at an angle with words of hope, wisdom, fear, joy, loss, success, and friendship enclosed within its realm from far away is a delight to behold, to retrieve from the mailbox, to read with a cup of tea, to savor and respond.

We were able to get our old post office box back.  It was oddly comforting.  To know we have returned to our place in the world, our community, our town, and are starting over with our old address is strangely affirming.

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I first wrote about pen pals a few years back and still have a strong pen pal from that post (click here to read).  I wrote again last year about customizing Christmas cards (here) and how a few personal words can transform the card into a real gift of the season.  I invited folks to send me a card and I would reciprocate.  Again, I have received beautiful letters and correspondence from around the world and some of my favorite friends I have not met in person but behind script.

So, I again write you looking for pen pals and Christmas cards and I will be ever so happy to write back.  Here is my new/old address.

Mrs. Katie Sanders

P.O. Box 2012

Elizabeth, CO 80107

 

The Frantic Mom’s Guide to Dinner

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Too bad supper doesn’t roll around when we have excess energy instead of at the end of the day!  “Should we just go out?” one ponders.  But if $40 is to go towards gas and not a so-so restaurant than mama has to get in the kitchen and figure it out.  Pour a glass of wine, Mama, I will walk you through an easy dinner using just what you have in the kitchen.

Choose a protein- hamburgers, veggie burgers, veggie chicken, chicken breasts, salmon, bean patties, whatever you can find.  I found a package of Ahi tuna in the freezer.

Make a sauce for the protein- Find jelly in the fridge or pantry.  Apricot, chokecherry, jalapeno, apple, blueberry, peach….Now combine it with bbq sauce or soy sauce.  The jelly should be the highest ratio.  Add a dried spice like chipotle, red chile, garlic, dill, basil…be creative.  Add a little broth or white wine to thin to desired consistency or use a jar of jelly that didn’t set!  Done.  Top cooked protein.

Meanwhile choose a frozen or fresh vegetable- artichokes, green beans, carrots, cabbage, anything tastes great with this method.  In the boiling water add a few cloves of garlic, a sprinkling of chipotle, 2 tablespoons of lemon extract (lemons soaked in vodka for two months) or fresh lemons, and sea salt.  The water infuses the vegetables lightly.  A bit of butter and salt is all it takes to transform the vegetables.

IMG_2146Make a pilaf.  I used buckwheat which cooks in 20 minutes.  Rice works too.  Cook in rich broth with raisins and salt until ready, add walnuts and walnut oil or any nut or fruit.

In twenty minutes or so you have a gourmet, delicious, nutritious meal on the table while saving money because it uses what is already there.  Now you have time to start Christmas cards after supper!

The Greatest Quotes

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When you think back on your life of quotes, those given to you, those read, which ones stand out to you?  Which ones offer direction for how you live?  Or simply whisper wisdom?  When I think on this question two quotes come to mind as the ones that ring loudest and most often.

I was caring for an elderly lady some years ago and told her that I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I later changed my mind and started an herbal line of medicines for animals instead but her advice is still relevant today.  I said something about being thirty-eight years old by the time I finished.

“You will be that age before you know it so you may as well be doing what you want.” she advised.

I started school but did not finish due to family responsibilities, costs, and life went on.  But now I would like to finish my teaching degree.  I would love to work with “spirited” kids.  Older teens to early twenties.  College maybe, high school likely.  Maybe a director of somewhere that encourages youth.  Or history.  Or culture.  By the time I get my master’s degree I will be forty-six years old at the very least.  Then Marsha’s words ring in my mind and I may as well see.  Why not?  I’ll be there soon enough.

Fast forward and I am sitting in the living room of a respected Native elder who has entrusted me with the words he wishes to share with his children.  I listen.  I want to be a bigger part of the Native community.  I want folks to know I make powerful medicine.  I want to have a sense of belonging.  What if I am not accepted?  I didn’t know if I needed invitations to places.  I didn’t know how to get involved.

“Just show up.” he said soundly.  “Just show up.”

So Doug and I took Maryjane to a Cherokee Circle meeting in Denver even though it was over an hour drive.  My best friend from middle and high school came with her family.  Her granddaughter is the very same age as Maryjane.  We showed up and were welcomed.  If we don’t embrace our culture it will be gone.  We have missed too many generations of traditions and community.  If not us, the grandmothers, then who?  So we showed up.  And it was wonderful.

What quotes have stayed with you?

Jerusalem Artichokes

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Even though I do not know where we will be next year I transplanted four Jerusalem artichokes, also known as Sunchokes from Aunt Donna’s garden.  They are delicious and easy to grow.  They are easy to transplant and are perennial.  Perennials are the back bone of a garden.  Even if annuals get wiped out during storm or rabbit frenzy, perennials weather through then come back and feed the family.

These beautiful plants are members of the sunflower family (my favorite).  Their stories date back beyond the civil war.  They look like sunflowers but when you dig up their roots in the fall they show off potato-like orbs.  Just snap them off and store in the fridge.  They taste like a cross between potatoes and jicama.  They are as good mashed into potatoes as they are sliced thin in salads.  They are a great source of potassium and offer protein and inulin as well.

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I like them in soups, stirfrys, mashed, sliced, raw with most of the dirt wiped off on one’s apron, or along with vegetables being slow roasted with maple syrup.

Jerusalem artichokes are a lovely addition to any garden.

The Homeschooled Mama (and clever flash cards)

 

IMG_2136I believe homeschooled children have moms that have always homeschooled themselves.  A desire to learn.  A desire for knowledge.  Boredom sets in, we grab a book.  I think I loved homeschooling my children so much, and now giving my granddaughter, Maryjane, a head start because I, myself, love to learn so much.

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Losing my farm was devastating in as much as I was losing the ability to practice what I had learned and in learning new skills as it was waving good bye to my adorable sheep.  Homeschoolers get bored easily.  Homeschooling mamas are the worst.  I cannot simply relax with a novel and a cup of tea for more than five minutes.  I must continue to fill my mind with wondrous and new ideas.  And the obsession!  Homeschooling folk are obsessive in their thirst for more information.  We want to learn something?  We need to learn everything about it.

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I was the child that would ask folks at church and school if they could teach me.  I am indebted to the substitutes, church and community members, and teachers that would spend precious off hours to teach me.  I learned braille, sign language, a bit of Japanese when I was entertaining a modeling contract in Japan, a small amount of Spanish while living on the west side, and six years of French.  I do wish I had a better memory!  So, now I am learning Cherokee.  It is not a Latin base so therefore the hardest language I have ever laid eyes on.  And it fuels my need to learn something.

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For my learning friends out there, I found a way to use up those excess envelopes.  There are always extras from stationary and cards.  Turn them into flash cards.  Write what you want on the flap and the answer underneath the flap.  Then reuse by putting a word on the front and the answer on the back.  The Martha Stewart in me finds them prettier than boring old 3×5 notecards.  The environmentalist in me likes to see these envelopes being used.  And the homeschooler loves to see how they can be transformed into a new world.

Keep learning out there, Folks.

Blizzard

It’s warm inside (as opposed to last year in the heatless homestead!) and the smells of coffee welcome the morn.  Last night I ran through the snow and climbed the now completely covered staircase to the driveway to see the light.  The sky was pink with storm and the brightened sky was odd for late at night but the beauty and mystery of it all was exhilarating as sixty mile an hour winds whipped up snow tornados and filled the fresh air with magic.  The blizzard had arrived.

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We woke to high drifts and wind making the snow look as if it were falling upward.  Streams of sideways thick snow continues to fall on our patch of earth.

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I said a blessing over the trees last night.  Told them to spread their roots out and hold on, be strong.  As old as they all are they have seen more storms than I but these storms can be brutal to trees and I wanted a bit of protection over them.  They stand strong this morning facing the winds that are too riotous to tame.  It is a gloriously beautiful morning.

Once a Farmgirl, Always a Farmgirl

Limbo.  A basement studio apartment graciously rented to us by our friend.  A shop trying to pick up steam.  A man working so hard.  What do we do now?

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We have always had plans.  Dreams.  Goals.  I need a homestead.  I don’t mind if it’s in town or not.  A goat, some chickens, a gardened front yard.  Clothes flicking in the wind on a clothes line.  The windows steamy from canning tomatoes.  Doug’s goal is financial security.  Once and for all.  When we spoke our wedding vows, for richer for poorer, we thought we’d get both!  Done with the poorer, he says.  His dream, his goal, his manifesting is security and to pay a light bill without wondering how to pay for groceries.  Mine is to do the same but in a little homestead.  With lace curtains in the windows, cats by the fire, fresh rolls baking in the oven.  Home sweet home.

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Homestead, here we come.