It’s Halloween!

costume

I walked to the mailbox and found inside a letter.  It was from my dear friend, Pat, who sent us a Halloween greeting.  I love her poems and wanted to share it with you!

It’s Halloween

It’s Halloween!  It’s Halloween!

The moon is full and bright

and we shall see what can’t be seen

on any other night.

 

Skeletons and ghosts and ghouls

Grinning goblins fighting duels

Werewolves rising from their tombs

Witches on their magic brooms.

 

In masks and gowns

We haunt the streets

and knock on doors

for trick or treats.

 

Tonight we are

the King and Queen

for oh tonight

It’s Halloween!

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The Milk Maid

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Third Eye Blind

Tonight we will light a fire in the wood stove and add a few chairs for wandering souls.  Make a warm meal and pour a pumpkin beer.  We will fill a bowl with chocolates for the neighborhood ghouls.  And enjoy Halloween in our new home.

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Shimmer the Genie

Wishing you all a fun filled Halloween, a sweet Samhain, and a happy New Year.

How to Clear, Protect, Increase Positive Energy, and Set a Shield with Incense

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Whenever you have people over.  Whenever something amazing happens.  Whenever a fight occurs.  All these things leave impressions on the energy of your home.  Have you ever walked into a home, particularly when you are house hunting, and you can feel the energy, good or bad, in the place?  Some shops feel great to be in.  Some homes feel comfortable to be at.  That is the energy.

I think we can all agree that the world we live in is not black and white.  It’s not spiritual realm verses physical realm, but rather a more interspersed and parallel existence we share.  I have people at my house often and I work as a medical intuitive and a medium.  Things can get funny around here.  I had set up a good perimeter around our yard and for a long time it worked, people walking by me could not see me wave, never came in the gate without being invited, they would just walk on by.  Recently I keep getting strange folks coming to the door.  Electronics have been acting weird.  A raven…a raven y’all (not normal)…was cawing so loudly in front of my house it drew me to the porch to see what he wanted.  Then I felt something touch my back.  Time to smudge!

Now traditional smudging is how I was taught but it is not that easy to keep it lit and balance a feather, a lighter, and a shell.  My husband and I have used incense with great success and it is far easier to wield and has a lovely glowing tip which just feels like magic as you swirl the smoke.  Never use just sage to smudge with.  Such a common myth.  You have to combine herbs.  Sage itself opens portals and you will end up with a house full!  We used incense sticks of sage and lavender.

We started in the basement.  He went with the sun (clockwise) and I went with the earth (counter clockwise) around each space muttering to ourselves.  Ask for protection.  Ask that only those that walk in the light remain.  Ask for blessings.  Express gratitude.  Raise the energy so that only love and positivity remains.  We then did the upstairs.  Then we went outside under the ink dark sky and dancing stars with the bright moon leading.  Around the perimeter of the yard we watched the bold red tips of the incense sticks and smoke swirl and permeate the air.  Create a barrier.  Create a force field, if you will.  It is up to you to keep the energy strong and protection in place.  The powers that be will help you when called on but you can’t just say a quick prayer and expect it to be done.  YOU are responsible and truly able to wield the power and wisdom necessary to have a safe haven and a positive energetic space.  The whole universe conspires to help you when you go through the process of raising energy for a purpose.

Some spritzes of witch hazel infused with essential oils like sage, cedar, sandalwood, lavender, rose, and frankincense around doorways and in the air will help set the blessing.

This should be done as often as needed.  You will certainly feel the difference.  It is empowering knowing that there is a way to protect your home and loved ones while cleansing the air and creating a beautiful, comfortable space to dwell.

Redecorating for the Season (easy tricks for a beautiful home)

20171027_071224In the winter I was experimenting with how to set up our new house.  An art and writing area, a music and reading area, and a sitting area took up separate sections of the old living room.  Then my classes started and I needed to be able to seat ten people comfortably and have a bigger conversation area.  The living room was rearranged again.  Now I am looking at having my family over for Thanksgiving dinner and entertaining for the holidays.  I will need a place for the Christmas tree (I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween…) and I wanted the seating area to surround the wood stove for cozy nights with a delicious book and a cup of hot chocolate.  Add to that I wanted to display my medicines for when customers come by, and have a place for all of my plants so I tapped into my inner Martha Stewart and spent the day redecorating!

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Faux fur rugs and gold toned throw pillows cozy up the velvet futon which reclines to become a double bed for guests.

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On the other side of the wood stove the love seat sits. A colorful sofa cover and earth toned throw pillows set a comfy space to play the guitar or have a drink. Guess what is behind the cow painting? The television! Wish I would have thought of it years ago. I am always trying to hide that thing!

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I knew our life transitioned into a new stage when I agreed to buy matching recliners. To me, recliners are the ugliest things ever and I swore I’d never have them in the house. (They are awfully comfortable though…)

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There wasn’t room for the coffee table in front of the recliners so I made it into a stand for my farmer’s market kit of medicines. Games, movies, and music are stored on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.

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Books are always at the ready and Maryjane’s books are easy to reach for when she comes to visit. A set of old doors creates drama, and my lovely grandfather clock adds charm. My collection of Native art and my feathers adorn the shelves.

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The table is closer to the front door than the kitchen now but I have more space to expand the table here. I can roll the giant aloe plant to the corner and add another table in here to accommodate more guests.

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My desk is an old sewing machine table and it can be rolled into the bedroom when it’s time to add a Christmas tree after Thanksgiving.

I didn’t spend a penny on this redecorating day and it only took a few hours.  The house feels cozy and the pumpkins and colors add an autumnal spirit.  Twinkly lights are always in order for a charming home.  Wishing you a beautiful season filled with warmth and family and home.

 

 

Actually Moving and the Garden that Keeps Giving

20171025_14592720171025_150124In many ways I haven’t actually “moved” to Pueblo.  Perhaps because out of all the places I have lived Elbert county was the first place that ever felt like home to us.  Slowly, slowly I am moving to Pueblo.  We have been here nine months now.  I changed my bank last week.  I do my shopping here now.  I go to Elizabeth to work my shop just once a week.  I work from home and am rewarded with many new customers that seek me out here.  I still greatly love my old town and I pine for the country but I am gradually moving here.  The garden is helping me do so.

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Garlic planted for fall. The bok choi keeps coming back!

I am not sure that I could go back to gardening at 6500 feet.  Yesterday two more overflowing baskets of produce came into the kitchen.  It is late October and the gardens in Elbert county have been sleeping for awhile now.  In my gardens there is more…more vegetables to be harvested, another month’s worth at least.  I am astounded and thrilled at the farming conditions in this valley.  The soil that has not even been amended has produced the most flavorful and prolific crops I have ever grown.  I am smitten.  The weather here is heavenly.20171025_150112

20171025_15010420171025_150011I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished on this little homestead in just nine months time.  It will be beautiful seeing what it all looks like as months turn to years and years turn to decades.

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This is also the first time in two decades that we have a mailbox in front of our house.  If you would like to exchange letters you can write me at Mrs. Katie Sanders, 1901 Brown Ave, Pueblo, 81004.

A Simple Samhain Ceremony with Children

samhain 2Long before the church said it was evil and before Hollywood and candy companies made a fortune, a simple holiday took place on October 31st.  The third and final harvest festival and the eve of the new year called Samhain (pronounced Sow-en).

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The hard work of farming, hunting, and filling the larder was through as the winds changed, the sun went to bed earlier and earlier, and dark settled upon the land.  It was an inevitable time for introspection, remembering those that had passed on throughout the year, and reminiscing around the table with mead and friends.  A million miles from the Celtic homes, the Day of the Dead was being celebrated in Mexico.

There was a time when everyone was attuned to the spiritual energies around us.  It was nothing weird or scary, it just was.  October 31st is when the veil between the worlds is thinnest.  Our deceased loved ones can always hear us but at this time of year, sometimes, they can reach us and they can certainly hear us better.

For children, sugar rushes and the perfect costume steal the holiday.  I wanted Maryjane to know what the real holiday was all about.  I simplified the ceremony so that my four year old granddaughter could understand.  Of course children innately know these things. I had her draw pictures of the people or animals she wanted to talk to.  She wrote adorable letters instead.  One to Anakan the snake, one to Grandma Kat, and one to Grant, her mom’s boyfriend’s brother who died a few years ago in a car accident.

20171023_111031We decorated the alter (the wood stove) with a beautiful nest we had found, a feather, and a butterfly that has passed away on my porch.  Her letters and a bell were really all we needed.

20171023_111026She chose a candle and so did I.  I chose pink for love and she did the same.  We thought of our people that we loved and missed (for me; Nancy, Kat, Great-Grandma, my Uncles…) and lit the candles.  We looked at pictures.  She sat in her little chair and read the letters to them and listened.

20171023_111014By incorporating the original spiritual belief systems and the nature based holidays, children learn connection to all things and great empathy.  Children naturally understand.  Giving them a basis to work with as they get older to celebrate and remember will help them create their own traditions.  It helps children learn to deal with grief and I know Kat, Anikan, and Grant enjoyed hearing that little voice.

Update on Merlin and How Cats Protect Us

20171009_130249The tiny palm-sized kitten that we brought home not even a day after being born is doing wonderful.  He is three months old now, feisty as can be, and ridiculously cuddly.  We dropper fed him every two hours and he was a little slower to figure out how to eat, drink out of a saucer, or to use litter, but the other cats have different roles in his care and he’s figuring it all out.  The two younger have become his playmates, and the older two are there to cuddle him and smack him if he starts getting out of hand.  Merlin is very social after traipsing around everywhere in my shirt for six weeks.  These days he is just home with the other cats keeping it safe and happy.

20170925_114402It’s almost Halloween.  At the shelter that I worked at many moons ago we did not adopt out black cats during the month of October for their own safety.  In both shelters I worked at, black cats were adopted much less than other colors.  Many people are still wary of black cats.

20171012_215258All cats throughout history have been known to be powerful protection.  I have a lot of students and clients come to my house and shop.  I always watch my three cats at the shop and my five cats at home to see if I can trust someone.

The cats tell me if someone is outside as they stare in unison intently out the window.  If there is a storm coming, cats will tell you.  When someone broke into our car, my large black cat kept pawing me awake.  When I wouldn’t budge he went in to the kitchen and disturbed dishes to make a racket then returned to my side in bed meowing and nudging me.  In the middle ages cats almost became extinct.  The mass killings of cats created an epidemic of infected mice and rats and the Plague ravaged the country.  Cats could have saved them a lot sooner.

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Merlin helping a student with his homework.

People can get ridiculous when they are fearful.  In the 1500’s if cats were congregating in an area it was thought that they were having a meeting whilst plotting more killings of humans through their magic.  Meanwhile women who were healers- herbalists and midwives and wise women- were being killed as witches.  The cats that they kept for companionship (being a healer is lonely work) and to keep mice out of the dried herbs and ingredients were used to prove the woman was a witch.  The color black is used for protection.  So black cats and black clothing are/were common among magical folks.

20171012_193847But cats don’t just protect us against rats and strangers, they sense energies, spirits, and changes that we may not be attuned to.  They protect against negative energies/entities.  That is why they make such a fine Familiar for modern witches.  Witches are probably not what you think, they are men and women who spend their lives trying to raise positivity and light in this world by lighting candles to pray for good, by setting intentions and manifesting, by helping guide others through uncertainties, and by using the traditional healing arts to make real changes.  A cat will stand by while one lights candles and raises positive energy.  A cat will dispel negative energy and will always be a loyal companion.

SnugglesDuring this time of Samhain, when the veil is thinnest, you may think you hear laughter or talking from someone who has passed over.  Odd happenings are common right now, and deceased grandmas and old friends are just popping by to say hello.  Your cat will make sure everyone is on the up and up.

I have had a cat my entire life.  From my first beloved cat of my own, Serina, who slept above the heads of my children in their cribs, her arms around their heads to keep them safe, to the wild kitten stalking my feet right now, my life is all the richer from having cats.

 

Meet the New Farm Dog- Take 2

 

20171019_132845It seems strange that I could not bond with the little red heeler.  He would try to bite me if I snuggled him or picked him up, sometimes viciously.  He would go after dogs at Petsmart unprovoked.  As I nursed the bite on my finger and watched him chase the cats, I wondered what I had gotten into.  Maybe because I didn’t choose him, or maybe we just had personality differences.  He may have only been ten weeks old and cute as a button, but we just weren’t friends.  So, when my cousin, Julie came over to spend the day with me I could not have been more surprised at how he acted with her.  It was his long lost mom.  He playfully bounced at her feet, wanted to be picked up, and she loved him too.  He didn’t look back as she bundled him up with his toys and took him home!  He loves her older Golden Retriever and her cat.  Julie and her husband have three grown children at the house and they all love him.  He found his forever home.  I am so happy!20171019_132853

Now, my daughter, Shyanne and her boyfriend, Jacob think that I sabotaged the relationship because I only love BIG floofy dogs (not a typo, that is my word.)  Jacob’s husky is my logo for White Wolf and I still am not over the loss of my wolves from over twenty years ago.  I would be stupid to get a husky or a wolf in the city and with my lifestyle.  But, there was another big dog that would be perfect for me.  And my friends, Amy and Rob, had a litter of perfect, large, floofy Great Pyrenees puppies.

I used to board their goats and one of the goats met me when I got there and stayed by my side the whole time.  I was so happy to see Tank, the wethered Nubian that I bottle fed every few hours.

Amy and Rob’s farm is called Lavender Moon Farm and they raise turkeys and sell honey.  We were all going to co-farm at one point together and I am really proud of them for what they have built.  It was great being around sheep and goats again.  Amy and I visited while the puppies played and hid under my skirts (as all babies and livestock love to do!) as I carefully chose the right puppy for me and Doug.

20171019_13062420171019_133704The parents were so lovely and gentle and the father kept pawing me, which is endearing to me, and his little son did the same and I knew that was the one.  Gandalf will come home to meet Merlin and the other cats and chickens in a few weeks after he finishes nursing.

20171019_130937My goodness, at eight weeks old he is a handsome fellow.  I buried my face in his thick, polar bear fur and he didn’t mind a bit.  I found my farmdog.

 

Three Autumn Medicinal Herbs to Harvest Now

20170929_113435This year I was able to harvest over thirty different medicinal herbs from my gardens.  There are three of them right now that would serve you well for the winter if you can find them, and if not, plant some next year!

20170929_114035The first one is Burdock.  There are three kinds of docks; yellow dock that grows in the marshes and on the sides of roads.  Curly dock is the same, it loves willow trees.  I have some popping up in my yard unexpectedly.  Then there is burdock.  They will all work the same.  Burdock has those annoying round burrs.  I harvested mine before their growth.  I planted seeds in the spring and had a beautiful crop.  The roots won’t let you pull them completely which assures that you will have some more next year.  Perennials are a beautiful thing and this perennial could save your life.

Docks have pretty amazing blood cleansing abilities.  They are used to detoxify the body and to kill cancer.  Their long tap roots are eaten in many cultures.  Just chop them up like carrots or parsnips.  They are also available in the health food store at times in the produce section.

The leaves of the burdock are green which tells us that it is specific to organs as well.  They are very nutritious and will make a lovely tea to help cleanse the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys as well as the entire lymphatic system.  I dried mine in a large box because they were so huge.

You can add both leaves and roots to a canning jar with rum, vodka, brandy, etc. and let brew for four weeks but don’t strain it as you want it as strong as possible.  Put one teaspoon in a shot glass of orange juice to take in the mornings as an immunity booster and preventative.  Enjoy the tea with other green herbs like mint and lemon verbena.

20171017_171507Rose Hips contain the highest amount of Vitamin C of any fruit and are specific to Arthritis and as an anti-inflammatory.  They contain anthocyanins for heart health and the prevention of cancers.  We harvested a lot of roses off of nearly-hundred-year old bushes during the year.  I always leave some of the roses.  One, they look beautiful, and two, they will produce hips which contain their seeds and are a delicious fruit.  These can be dried in paper bags and used in extracts or teas.  Or for fun they make a lovely jelly or liqueur.  They take down swelling quickly and taste delicious.

The third medicinal plant is the humble onion.  The onion contains over 150 phytochemicals, quercetin (anti-inflammatory and pain reliever), and saponin (soap to help clean the organs and blood) and is anti-viral, anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-yeast, and kills the flu quick.  Forget chicken soup, if the household is coming down with colds or flu make French onion soup with lots of onions and garlic!

These three autumn plants will keep you healthy, strong, and feeling your best to take on the winter days ahead.

If you prefer to use plant medicines already made you can do so by ordering from my website http://whitewolfherbs.com.  My daughter and I handcraft powerful medicines that we know will work!  You can find the burdock in our Detox and rose hips in our Arthritis.  Thanks for supporting traditional herbalists!

Emergency Preparedness with Apple Juice Jugs (storing water)

Two dilemmas solved.

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This is the time of year for jugs of apple cider and apple juice.  I love apple juice and cider, but those glorious glass jugs in the recycling bin seem such a waste.  I will save a few for wine making next year but there will still be empty glass jugs.  Other glass containers make their way to the recycling bin too that could be reused for something.

There are a lot of natural disasters, big and small, when water is not available.  There could be issues with the water company; main breaks or other problems.  If you go and turn on the water and nothing comes out, well, you are going to panic.  That means no coffee, y’all, and that’s a real problem.  We want to be prepared for disasters.  We have lots of food put up, now we need water.

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Now, I tend to think big or nothing which keeps me from doing anything.  I don’t have large barrels of water nor a well with a hand pump, but I do have glass jars.  I have half gallon Ball jars, I have gallon apple juice jugs, and I have other glass containers that pass through the kitchen.  If I just fill those cleaned containers with water I will have emergency water started.

Sources say we ought to put up a gallon of water per day per person to last three to fourteen days.  Just in case.  Most of the sources I have read say to put bleach in the water.  Gross.  I have no desire to add bleach to my water.  There is already chlorine in the tap water so you can store that and it will keep bacteria out and you won’t have to think about it!  (Ignorance is bliss.)  Make sure you start with real clean jars.  Water your trees with the water and refill every six months or so.

Having some emergency water stored will give you a little more peace of mind.  That is the whole point of homesteading, even urban homesteading, peace of mind.

The FSA (Family Supported Agriculture)

veggie 2“Do you know what you want in your FSA this week?” I asked Emily.  Eggs, goat cheese, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, sage, and pumpkin piled into the cooler.

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I have always been on that in-between-sized farm.  I can grow a lot of produce, but I have run into a few problems with a small farm.  When I take produce to the farmer’s market, most folks will pass up my small display to go to the big farm tables.  You have to have a big, vibrant display to get folks to stop.  I tried to do a CSA (community supported agriculture) one year and some weeks my customers got a lot, and sometimes barely a shoe box.  We used to pick the best to go to the market and for the CSA’s and then ended up with the garden dredges ourselves, or worse, out to eat because we didn’t have enough!

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This year I took produce to the market early on and ran into the very same problems so I stopped.  Our kale is still four feet high out there and vibrant ruby beets line the row.  We have eaten more of our own produce then we ever have before.  We put up quite a bit as well.  I still have Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and cabbage to harvest but the garden is sleepily falling into slumber.

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I have found more joy in delivering large bundles of produce to my grown children then I ever did going to market.  Knowing that they are eating delicious, organically grown produce, cheese, and eggs makes this mama’s heart happy.  I always throw in some meat from my friends’ ranches.  It is my way of giving gifts to my kids.  I can’t always help them repair their cars or pay their bills, but I can feed them.  It’s what I do best.

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FSA stands for Family Supported Agriculture.  Payment comes in the form of a hug, and that is just right for me.