The Trail Back

 

bike

Thrilling.  I gave away my bike six years after moving to the country.  Busy highway thoroughfares and dirt roads and small towns with steep hills don’t make for good leisure driving.  This time last year we were checking on pregnant does and watching our chickens taking dust baths on such a  beautiful day as this.  I find myself whirring down the old bike trail I use to traverse.  Ghosts of my children and their friends playing by the creek greet me and a familiarity welcomes me.

We lived in Parker a long time before moving to the country.  We rode our bikes with our young children down the Cherry Creek Trail more times than I can remember and it all comes rushing back as the wind blows through my hair.  I greet the mullein stalks, dormant, and the prairie dogs that chirp in the warm air.  The blackbirds have returned and even though winter still holds court, the river flows free and clear and the vast blue sky sings of spring.

It feels good to be pedaling this contraption.  I feel youth and vibrancy.  A break before our dinner party.  I roll past tall reeds and rushing water and breathe.  My new ride.  This is just too fun.

Purgatory Cellars (a delightful field trip)

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“Come with me,” the winemaker said to his newfound friend and now business partner, Gary, “Let me show you something.”  The gentleman over the bar pouring my wine flight recalled his first meeting with Marko in Croatia. The beginnings of Purgatory Cellars.

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“So, I followed him out to the middle of nowhere and there is this shed that looks like it is falling down and inside is all of this!”  Gary’s hand sweeps behind him showcasing the large steel vats holding wine.  Marko declared that he was a hobbyist.  Gary mentioned that hobbyists don’t have that kind of, and that much, equipment!

I swirled my glass of Sangiovese and tried to identity components.  I tasted my favorite varietal and noted that distinct flavor.  New Mexico.  The name of their winery is Purgatory because that was a town they were looking at for grapes or to set up shop but much of their source for grapes came from a winery in southern New Mexico before it went to auction.  The flavors of desert and soil with its plum and raisin essences so pleased me.  I went back to detect the wood it slept in.  It didn’t smell of French.  “Slovenian?”  I asked.  “Croatian.”  Didn’t learn about that kind of barrel in any sommelier class.  Fabulous.

The flights are very reasonable.  Five healthy pours of red or white or their ever amazing reserves range from $7-$10.  Glasses of wine and bottles are reasonable as well.  They are starting a wine club I look forward to.  And besides that, the atmosphere is lovely with all homemade wooden furniture, comfortable couches, and a gas fireplace and twinkly lights illuminating bottles and bottles of wine and wine making equipment.  And I love that they use all New Mexican and Colorado grapes.

My friend and I sat for nearly three hours chatting incessantly and tasting wines.  We were neither rushed or pressured.  It is a relaxing, delicious experience to partake in.  Tell them Farmgirl sent you.  Or, maybe I’ll see you there!

Purgatory Cellars, 18921 Plaza Drive, #100, Parker, Co 80134

purgatorycellarscolorado.com

Citygirl School

 

parker

My long, layered skirts, aprons, and prairie style do not even invoke a second glance in Elizabeth.  The country knows me, as well as its occupants.  In the city, here in Parker, Lord, I am provoking full on gawks and stares!  I feel a bit like a fish out of water.

Yet, I sit near the large window looking out across rooftops and mountain ranges, a cup of coffee and a cat on the sill, and write.  I am also in my element here.  How odd how many versions of ourselves coexist.  Maybe not reinventing, but finding a way for all of the various selves to combine.

I am tired of my prairie dresses.  I am not on the prairie.  Nancy and I are no longer farmgirls.  There is no farm.  I sit in a coffee shop using the wifi and sipping tea.  The sun creeps from behind the building and splays across the pavement.  It will be a beautiful day.

I am not homesteading.  I am living the city life.  We booked our trip to see friends in San Diego for my birthday.  We have no charges to find a farm sitter for.  We walk here and there and listen to song birds and stop in for sushi.

Does anyone read this blog anymore?  The term Farmgirl School seems a bit deceiving.  Oh, there are plenty of years of articles to aid the newbie farmer here.  Indeed.  Yet, I seek myself among cars and shops.  Near community gardens and coffee shops.  Across windowsills and in more normal attire.  A clairvoyant healer walks into the city in flowing dresses and a desire for sheep and ends up in a jean jacket sipping tea in a crowded coffee shop.  Unidentifiable?

No, I am still noticeable and I have a great many adventures ahead of me.  A writer still must have an outlet even if the readers stop reading.  Or perhaps new ones will join.  Or perhaps many are still here.  Sit down and have a cup of tea with me.  It is almost spring.

 

 

Mims at Nineteen

I believe that many folks follow this blog, not just for the farming how-to, but because it has become a saga, a non-fiction novel of sorts!  Our family memoirs.  Y’all watched as the kids went through teen years and became adults.  You were there when our granddaughter was born.  When we were at the top of our game and when we were box and under bridge shopping.  You have been there through it all.  So, I have to share my daughter’s birthday too.  Emily (the marvelous miss mims) is nineteen.  How did my youngest child, with the strawberry blonde ponytail and green eyes and mischievous, delightful personality become nineteen?  She is an amazing mother, a devoted daughter, and anyone that knows this young woman is lucky indeed.  So, happy birthday to my beautiful baby girl.  May this year bring you every happiness and enchantment.

Pre-Spring Delicious Drink

 

lemon 2Water.  I don’t actually care for it.  I don’t like to drink straight water.  But when I returned to my vegetarian lifestyle my body went through a mega detox again.  Instead of my usual standby to help flush out organs of nettle and dandelion tea, I was craving something altogether different.  Quarts of hot water with lemon, lime, and orange slices.  Sometimes chunks of spicy ginger, or sprigs of fresh mint, always honey.  Maybe a pinch of vanilla sea salt.  This little concoction also cleanses the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys and hydrates while being utterly delicious.  A pre-spring feel good drink.  Enjoy!

lemon

Home Sweet Home (decorating to create a home)

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An ordinary apartment.  But after being homeless for the first time in my life, the word HOME means a whole lot to me.  So this rug spoke to me.

We started with a blank space.  Cream colored walls and cream soft carpet makes the sunlight that pours in the many windows soften and glow and the aura is light and sunny.  Hand me down furniture works beautifully.  But how can you make it go from plain to wow and homey?  Just a few simple tricks can transform an ordinary place into a HOME.

Color- I didn’t realize that was the main thing missing!  Boy, the moment I hung up some paintings the whole room started to dance.  I painted these paintings (they are for sale) but any great painting or framed poster does the trick.  The special paintings came from my granddaughter, Maryjane Rose.  The first one was painted a year ago.  The new one she instructed me on how to hang it and what it is.  “It’s the Dark Side,” Emily noted.  Uh…I don’t really want a picture of the dark side and what is a two year old….  “Starwars,” Emily clarified, reading my mind.  Maryjane confirmed it was Starwars and told me which side was up.  Priceless.

Flowers- Doug snuck out at 11:00 at night after I went to sleep Valentine’s Day eve to pick me up beautiful raspberry colored tulips.  They look lively on the fireplace mantle.  Each piece infusing more life into the space.

Pillows- and creativity.  We received kind sized mattresses from a friend when she bought new ones.  Our bed that had been given to us before is a double.  I had the mattresses in the living room to dispose of.  But then Maryjane and Emily spent the night instead of driving an hour plus home one night.  They will likely do so each Friday since Emily closes and then opens Saturday morning.  So, I have a spare bed in the living room.  Not real magazine ready.  But, with Maryjane’s painting of her farm (after all, she was named after the magazine, Maryjane’s Farm) that she has claimed as her own and her Mother Earth News magazine, and piles of comfy pillows, it is now more of a respite and calling place to read or nap or lounge.  Books and my guitar nearby add to the vacation-like atmosphere and the fake moose head adds whimsy.  Board games await.  Sunlight streams in.

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Blankets- blankets add texture and color and invite warmth and comfort.  A few change the whole look of the living room.

Rugs- the front door rug, the rug as you enter, and the rug by the chairs by the front door hint to take your shoes off!  Whitish carpet needs slippers.

Beauty- using what pleases you, what makes your eyes open a bit more, catches your breath.  For me, this Laura Ashley-ish comforter called for me.  Paired with two side tables, one old crate, and one cat carrier with a floral curtain wrapped around it, makes a lovely place to read and end the day.

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Any way you decorate it, there is no place like HOME.

 

 

Trusting Plant Medicine

 

IMG_1987I have a rather unique profession.  A calling, if you will.  I have a knowledge that used to be well known.  There were and always will be the medicine people that know intimately the plants and make most of the medicine for the tribe and community.  However, everyone ought to have some basic knowledge.  The empowering feeling of knowing how to break a fever in minutes or to quickly help a sprained ankle is priceless.  Even more empowering to know how to kill strep in twenty-four hours or to help a cat with a urinary tract infection or a child with a severe burn or….

pharma

There is a lot of fear mongering out there regarding holistic health and herbs.  Don’t take this with that (most of it fallacy, the medical community has no idea what the herbs do; it’s not their fault, they aren’t taught herbalism), herbs that cause thyroid failure (are you kidding me?  Salad causes thyroid issues?!), and then of course there are the folks that come in to my shop to tell me about the ten alternative doctors that have been mysteriously killed off over the past year.  They were developing cancer cures.

With all due respect, there are thousands of cancer cures out there in the form of plants.  Any herbalist worth her tincture bottles knows this.  There is nothing that needs to be reformulated, nothing that needs to be created, it’s all done.  I hear things like (oh, I used to say this too), God created people to discover remedies for ailments.  May I respectfully call BS on this one too.  The Creator doesn’t need us to “fix” anything.  It is perfect as it is.  If you knew all the things I’ve seen healed by plants you would be forever a gardener of medicinal plants.

So, how come folks don’t turn to herbs?  Why don’t they think about herbal cures first?  I convinced a friend to come see me instead of heading to urgent care for a virus.  I could hear the shock from her friends through the facebook screen.  These viruses are easily handled with herbs.  But, I am a rarity.  There are not a lot of people that do what I do.  In fact many herbalists I know will simply send people to the doctor.  The fear mongering again.  The herbs at the store contain little to no medicine.  But there are good medicine people out there.  They know what you need.  They know what to take.  They know the current viruses, what’s going around, what interacts, what works for what.  They know.  There are not enough of them.  And some folks would just rather have someone else do it.  And that is alright too.

My shop is a special place.  A mixture of cedar, sage, sweetgrass, and tobacco wafts lightly in the air.  The medicines glow and show off in the window.  Teas long to be brewed.  A sense of calm and peace will overwhelm you as you walk in.  Spiritual, emotional, and physical healing is at one’s fingertips as they enter.  The herbalist is not the healer.  The plants are.  You have every resource at your fingertips.

I ship medicines internationally and all over the country.  Just contact me and tell me what you need.  I don’t just make medicines.  A huge part of my mission is to train more herbalists.  I have three spots left in my master certified herbalist course starting this Sunday.  I have a hundred dollar correspondence course that is very comprehensive and filled with knowledge on how to help anything and anyone.  It’s already in you.

Plant medicine was here before we were.  In the Cherokee stories, the plants held a council and decided to help the humans.  And so they still do.  How lucky we are.

White Wolf Medicine

http://whitewolfherbs.com

796 East Kiowa Ave, Elizabeth, CO 80107 (P.O. Box 2012)

303-617-3370

Wildflower@sacredowlschool.com

 

 

 

 

The Forest Feast and the Underground Supper Club

the forest feast

I have found the most beautiful cookbook.  It is called “The Forest Feast” by Erin Gleeson.  You can taste the food and smell the forest and celebrate with friends as you flip the pages.  Cool cocktails and interesting takes on vegetables wooed me into the check out line with it.  I have spent hours lost in its pages.

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I bought it to challenge me.  Sometimes I make the same vegetables in many of the same ways as I always have.  Corn with butter and salt.  Broccoli with  uh…butter and salt.  How about broccoli roasted then tossed with blue cheese and pine nuts?  I served this dish with curried salmon and salad when friends came to dinner and the dish positively melts in your mouth and screams for great red wine.  Cauliflower steaks with cheddar and chives.  Cucumber and strawberry salad.  Paprika and cinnamon crispy carrot slices.  Sangria.

dinner party

It inspires me, as so many things out there do.  Shyanne and I have long dreamed of a supper club.  Wildflower and Fawn, after our respective Native names, would be its moniker.  Supper clubs are frowned upon when serving wines and food in a non-commercial kitchen and charging.  But, yet we dreamed.  Four courses, from scratch, organic, local ingredients, wine pairings, my creative take on main and side dishes, and Shyanne’s extraordinary flair for desserts.  A multi-star experience of fresh flowers, laughter, fine china, and delicious food and drinks.  A quarterly event.  A way to express our inner chef/sommelier/baker/entertainer without the restaurant.

The first one filled up in a matter of days.  The next is Memorial Weekend.  The ideas and inspiration keeps gathering force like stardust, and enchantment is all around.

 

How to Make Ear Drops

ear drops

Shyanne often had ear aches when she was little.  A lot of children do.  Ear infections, ear aches, swimmer’s ear, and in dogs and cats we have yeast infections and ear mites.  One single ear drop can take care of it all.

Take 1 clove of garlic (more is not better) sliced in half and combine with 1/2 cup of olive oil in a sauce pan.  If you have a willow tree, take some of the leaves or a 1/2 inch twig.  If you have mullein flowers, use those.  If you have a health food store you can pick up willow bark or you can purchase it online.  Use about 2 teaspoons.

Now over medium-low heat gently shake the pan every minute or so to keep the oil from burning.  Do this for 20 minutes until the smell of garlic is evident.  Cool and use a cotton ball, cotton swab, or dropper to administer a few drops in affected ear.

Or, work ahead of time.  Add all ingredients into a half pint jar and place in sunny window for two weeks.  Done.

This little concoction can save you in the middle of the night with a screaming baby or hundreds of dollars at the vet with a dog who won’t stop scratching his ears!

So simple.  So effective.

 

The Bronco Contract

broncos

It is a little known fact that when one enters the world via a hospital in the beautiful Mile High City or surrounds one does so promise to adore and aptly cheer for the Denver Broncos.  It is the escape from the mundane work week and a piece of our genetic makeup.  Its highs and lows are taken quite seriously here in Bronco country.

With tens of thousands of new folks flocking to our magnificent state, not by covered wagon, but by way of moving vans full, it is expected that more and more rival team goers will be in our midst.  They, of course, will be jovially sneered and expected to convert.

For one does not grow up with the likes of John Elway as the local quarterback and not feel a bit of privilege and smugness.  Manning, himself, a miraculous image in my mind, as at times I hobble up the stairs to my apartment with my bum knee, and the great Manning is only two years younger than I nimbly and fiercely playing ball.

And so it is my duty as a native and loyal Coloradoan to proclaim….GO BRONCOS!

(and even if the dust settles tomorrow and for some odd reason we lost the great battle, Bronco fans everywhere will hold their heads up high and proclaim once again….GO. Broncos.)