Simply Crafting a Spring Wreath

20180226_141926We tiptoe towards March.  We are almost there!  Spring, I see you!  Tiny dandelion leaves and grasses push through winter’s brush.  The finches breasts are turning rouge and father sun greets us earlier.

Yesterday I noted the large plastic poinsettia wreath still gracing my door and the pine swags sweeping around the porch.  Time to welcome spring, I thought, as I gathered the remaining yuletide greetings and put them away.

I have been planning on creating a spring wreath to share with you all.  I had plans to go to the craft store and pick up a glue gun and plastic daffodils, maybe bells, and this and that to display.  Even though a lovely jumble of faux flowers would look sweet and welcoming I didn’t want to purchase more stuff.

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I have a grapevine wreath.  Its natural woven texture preferred over more plastic.  Then I scoured the house.  I uncovered a purple ribbon that will just highlight my door.  A feather from the hen house that parades as a hawk feather (Araucanas have the loveliest feathers).  And finally baby’s breath from the bouquet of two dozen roses my husband gave me for our anniversary.

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It is much more simple than I would have imagined.  Yet graceful and organically welcomes spring.  Nothing is glued on so I can change it in a few months if I wish.  A wreath on the front door symbolizes welcome.  The circle being the universal sign for family, community, and strength.  Adorning a simple wreath with seasonal finds is satisfying and welcomes our dear friend spring back to the land.

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.

Farmgirl School; Homesteading 101 (now available on Amazon!)

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I never guessed back in 2012 what this would become.  I set out to chronicle our adventures in homesteading.  To create a template and how-to that we wish we had.  We weren’t able to find information on how to farm high altitude, or how to bottle feed a goat, or how to do any of the hundreds of things we did by trial and error on Pumpkin Hollow Farm.

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Those years on the homestead were some of the best times of our lives.  Re-reading the manuscript was like reading about an old friend.  I laughed and recollected.  I finished the book with a smile.  As if I had read it for the first time.

Our Lady of the Goats

This book is priceless, I tell you, it has everything a new homesteader could possibly need to get started on their journey.  Organic gardening, high altitude farming, canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, freezing produce, back yard chickens, bottle feeding goats, taking care of ducks, candle making, soap making, herbal remedies, recipes, homemade gifts….goodness, the list goes on.  The textbook we needed, but in a humorous storytelling method.

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I am so excited to see this book in print!  It is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/152077494X?ref_=pe_870760_150889320

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Wishing you many blessings on your homesteading journey.  See you ’round the farm!

The Music Filled Homestead

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The guitar was sitting next to the fireplace untouched.  My children can play various instruments and sing and we always had lots of music in our home.  We gave away the piano so we didn’t have to move it.  Oh, how I miss it.  We sold the violin and the mandolin.  Andy took the banjo and his guitar.  Doug gave me a guitar for my birthday a few years ago.  I wish I could say that I have Andy’s natural talent but I will forget what I learned musically pretty quickly.  Twenty years of piano and I would still need to reteach myself.  I can sing, but not as consistently as the contestants of the Voice.  But I do love music.

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This year we worked like crazy folks to rebuild.  I tend to hurry, hurry.  No time, no time!  But what harm does it do if I am ten minutes behind because I am singing loudly and strumming with chords and following a beginning guitar book?  All that does is add joy to my life!  And I’ll write about it more in the coming weeks, but my goals for 2017 are to live.  Really live.

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I will be on the search for a piano for our new house as well. The piano cares not if I am a maestro or not.  A home filled with music is a home filled with love and joy.

If you could learn any instrument, what would it be?

The Simply Perfect Gift

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When I was very young, perhaps five or six,  I received a gift.  It was a homemade box that my Great Uncle Lee had made me.  It was rectangular, small, but big enough to hide candies, or photos, or pens, or whatever treasures I should encounter.  It had a picture of me on the front with a little frame.  My small fingers could easily unclasp the latch to peer inside.   Such a simple gift but such a meaningful one.  In the world of mass marketing and advertising, in a world of throw away and break easy gifts, what a magnificent gift that box was.

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I thought of this as I painted a plain box.  I needed a box to hold sacred feathers in.  I picked up one at Michael’s that was plain and unfinished.  I suppose one could easily build one, but I have never been one to build anything easily.  I painted it a lovely turquoise.  I thought a white silhouette of a feather painted on top would be striking but it turned out looking spindly and unfinished.  Emily took the box from me and properly painted on a feather.  Perfect.  I could add a clasp or a ribbon to hold it shut but it closes so that is enough for me.

A box given as a gift, carefully embellished or painted.  Decoupaged photographs on front or vintage newspaper, painted flowers or magical glitter, all depending on whom the box is meant for, is a personalized gift.  A mother might have hers filled with photos or letters or notes of appreciation.  A graduate may have a journal and a bit of cash added.  A child may have a tokens of treasure or an empty box for the imagination.  Goodness, a box has infinite possibility.  A decorated box is a perfect gift.

A Whir of Creativity

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The old clock ticks from the mantle. The tea is ready. The sun is going down in the west through the snow clouds. The light is luminescent and warm despite the chill. I am oddly, most strangely content here. I would never believe it so. A Farmgirl in an apartment?

It is as if I have not breathed in years. I awake without any trace of anxiety, without any fear. Just joy. Peace. A funny feeling of mirth and prosperity though fifteen dollars is to my name. I walk around this place and feel nothing but happiness. The cream colored walls, tints of sunshine, and creamy carpets, plush beneath my feet, all bring me joy. The stone fireplace, the view, the kitchen, the walk in closet, the huge tub, a vacation designed to bring me back to my true self and respite much needed after years of toiling. I am in my element.

There is no cable television. No internet. No plugs buzzing with chargers or surge protectors filled to capacity with this cord or that. There is only the sound of…Peace. Nothing to distract from my own thoughts.

My, this place has charged me. I finished a book I have been working on for seven months last night. I flipped over an uneventful grilled cheese and poured a glass of wine to celebrate. Doug closes most nights and I am alone more so than I ever have been. My creativity is positively overflowing.   Two books finished and three more being revised and re-released. Class ideas. Ideas for everything come flowing from my fingertips and the house is a whirl of creative smoke and untidiness until it passes.

 

How to Make Your Own Witchhazel

 

IMG_2302I held the bottle of witchhazel in my hands at the store and wondered why it was clear.  Plant extracts are never clear!  There are pigments in plants.  I decided to make my own.  That was years ago and my face wash in my shop was one of my best sellers.  It is astringent without being drying.  It clears skin.  It heals up wounds.  It works as deodorant.  It has many uses.  So, are you ready to see how easy it is to make?  Here is my recipe.

You will need 4 Tablespoons of either witch hazel bark or leaf.  If using to heal varicose veins (yes, topically it does this) then get the bark.  If you are not lucky enough to have it growing by you (it does not grow in Colorado) then you will need to order some.  mountainroseherbs.com or starwest_botanicals.com are both good sources.

Place the 4 Tablespoons in a pint canning jar.  At this point I like to add other herbs.  Calendula, lavender, and roses are all lovely on the skin.  Goldenseal and arnica could be added for wounds.  Nettle for bug bites.  Yarrow could be added for veins.  A fresh leaf of aloe.  Maybe 2 Tablespoons total of extra herbs.  It doesn’t really matter, you can’t mess it up!

Now pour vodka over the herbs leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Yes, all extracts whether in shampoo or witch hazel are indeed alcohol based.  Alcohol is what pulls the plant medicines from the plant.  Screw on lid and label what you put in it and the date.  You will likely forget, trust me!

Place in window for two weeks, shaking when you see it.  Now the base is complete.

It is important to cut this extract as it would be too strong for the skin.  1 part base to 3 parts water will make a lovely extract.  Add some essential oils and make your own face wash/deodorant.  This is a great gift.  Add aloe or a tea of chamomile and comfrey for a wound healer.  Use in a spray bottle with essential oils to make a room spray.  Or a facial spray.

Witchhazel is a wonderful thing to keep on hand.  Now that you see how easy it is to make I hope you will whip up a batch!

 

 

Smudging 101, Deer Visitors, and the 10%

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There is a Talking Circle at my shop the first Sunday of each month.  Not really church, just a place to be with others and pray traditionally with Native influences and customs.  This last Sunday we talked about focusing our energies on the 10%.  90% of what we worry about is what the media tells us about, world issues, family issues, and many, many things that we have absolutely no control over.  As we focus more and more on the 90% we lose track of the 10% of things we can control and our gifts that we carry that can assist in this world.  Focusing on the 90% leads to anxiety and depression and helplessness.

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Last night I felt an overwhelming sense of desperation and helplessness.  How can we possibly afford anything in the state that has the newly highest cost of living?  How can we survive?  How can we stay near our babies if we had to move?  and on and on with scenarios that may or may not exist.  I went to sleep early as slumber will renew me and oft give me answers.  I woke up renewed.

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Within the realms of the 10% I can choose my back up plan in case we cannot get the large farm.  I could very well be an urban homesteader while making a difference in a career.  The career that I would be best in (in my opinion) is teaching young adults.  So, I relooked at my curriculum choices for school with a renewed sense of purpose.  I will let things unfold naturally, while saving money, since I cannot see the future.  No matter how hard I try.  Meanwhile I call on strength from the Great Spirit and the Directions.  This is how to smudge (prayers and blessing).

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Traditionally Cherokee prayer herbs would consist of Sweet grass to renew positive energy, Sage to rid negative energy, Tobacco as an offering to the Great Spirit, and Cedar as an offering to the spirits; animal, plant, and the deceased.  In a pottery bowl (heat proof) place the herbs desired and light.  Using a feather to spread the smoke around a room, over thyself, or in the Four Directions.  Any feather will do.

We call on the spirit of the East direction for strength and hope and faith.  We give thanks to the Creator for all the things in our lives and our own life.  We thank Grandfather Sun for rising each morning and providing warmth and light. 

We call on the spirit of the South for childlike wonder and awe, for lessons, and we thank our four legged brethren for providing us with companionship, food, and clothing, and to the plants for giving of themselves for food and medicine.

We call on the spirit of the West for strength, health, and endurance.  We give thanks to our ancestors for guiding us and praying for us.

We call on the spirit of the North for calm and wisdom.  We thank the north for rain and snow, for lessons learned, and for peace and breath.

We call on the spirit of the sky (galun’lati), to the star people and Grandmother moon for protection and inspiration.

We call on the spirit of the Mother Earth (alohi)for caring for us, for her life, therefore our life as we pledge to be more careful with her.

We are thankful for the ceremonial fire as our prayers are taken upward on the smoke and carried on the winged ones’ feathers and for our connection with all around us. 

We draw the smoke over ourselves that we will have a clear heart, a love for all, and will do things in the right way. 

And as my breath and peace came forth, the beautiful deer (ahwi) came to see me.

Wishing you peace and less worries….ehmenah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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