Supporting Your Local Nursery (a field trip to Holly Acres)

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In winter,  you might find a child riding a zebra or a toddler on a horse.  Perhaps you’d like to sit with Santa or drink hot chocolate.  We choose our perfect Christmas tree and haul it home happily in the season.

In spring this same place is a gardener’s best friend.  Heirloom seeds abound, many plant starts, and a greenhouse of intoxicating brilliant blooms to take home.  I get my seed potatoes, garlic, onion sets, seeds, and most of my plants from my local nursery, Holly Acres.

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It is so important to shop local.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Our communities rely on the mom and pop shops thriving.  Holly Acres is owned by a family in our community, whose children grew up with ours, who shop local themselves, and who have an amazing oasis of nature and beauty just down the road.

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Last year when we needed a bird bath for our instant rose garden, I got it there.  Same with the roses.  And when I taught you how to plant trees, I got the trees there.  They have the best fruit trees as well as many, many other varieties of trees.  They have everything one could want at a really great price.  They are very competitive with big box faceless stores.

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If you need seeds, garden décor, compost, or healthy affordable trees, head to our local nursery, Holly Acres and say Farmgirl sent you!  (And if you don’t live here, seek out a local nursery by you!)

5403 Highway 86, Elizabeth, CO, 80107.  303-646-8868.  http://Hollyacresnursery.com

 

Travels, Friends, Dark, and Light, and the Breathing Ocean

We walked the beach on that last day.  We alternately dreamed of our future farm in California and the kisses we would receive from Maryjane when we got home.  The air was heady with fresh soil and sea and the birds actively flew overhead.  My skin feels so good in the humidity.  I can breathe better too.  My breath caught though as I recognized a form in the sand behind a rock.  An infant seal clubbed, his spirit and his head missing, decomposing into the soft layers of sand that cradled its small body.  Mankind’s darkness found everywhere.  Glimpses of ugliness scattered vaguely in all the light.  But thank goodness for the light.

We had an amazing time with our beloved friends.  We miss them terribly as the years lapse between visits.  We traversed the back roads and highways, from beach to farm to mountain to sunsets, tasting, drinking wine or waters with lemon from Marigold the Lemon tree who resides sweetly on their fourth floor balcony.  Nourishment in every moment.

We came home to one of our cats, Zuzu’s Petals, missing.  Like losing a penny down the drain.  She is most immersely lost in this wilderness of apartment hell.

And as I sat on that beach in the sand looking out into the widest expanse of water that just graced the sky, and listened to the birds dancing on the rocks, and watched my husband recline and read, I noted the waves as they tumbled forth near my feet and then pulled back into the vastness.  Up and stretched in turquoise waves, then exhaled.  Came forth, pulled back.  I watched the ocean breathe for hours.  She gave, she pulled back, she grew in ferocity, she rested, she was beautiful in all her simplicity of ebb and flow.  She wrote out a poem, a script of life, a beautiful tale.

 

Intertwined with Whales

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A woman on the boat showed us a picture of a dolphin head just coming out of the water.  She had missed the jump.  She had a long telescopic lens and a very expensive camera.  Doug pulled his IPOD out of his pocket but then placed it back in.  I was proud of him.  Doug has an amazing eye for photos and I cannot imagine the work he could do with a real camera.

The water was amazing.  A calm day six and a half miles from shore gently rocking on the ocean.  We were gifted an amazing memory.  Fin whales blew their breath and water straight up in the air around us.  A mother and baby among them.  They were about a quarter mile from the boat and as they went for a deeper dive their backs arced over the water in graceful movement.  They were large and gentle.  The cow and calf came closer to the boat and as their water shot from their blow hole their faces could be seen.  Their arched backs and dives sent the boat rocking.  Like the little boats we had in the bathtub years and years ago with the thick bases that rocked and stayed up in the waves of the tub.  We were a toy in the whole depths and miles of the magnificent waters watching these creatures swim and forage under the filtered sun.

The sky and the ocean fall together in an embrace making it difficult to see where one ends and the other begins.  The whales and playful dolphins the same color as the currents.  The birds swooped down, rested, bobbed, flew, caught our boat, rode the breeze easily on.  Our spirits were deeply connected with every living thing around.  So intertwined with the shy seal who came by, the sea lions, the birds, the sea life, the water, the sky, the sun, the sand, the people around us in similar awe.  We are all one.

“Stop planning.  Prepare for opportunities.”

I heard this as clear as if my friend had said it out loud next to me.  I heard it in the sky.  I heard it in my heart.  Most of the chaos I create within revolves around planning.  We limit ourselves.  Buy a house.  Get a job.  Take a vacation.  Work.  Stay where you know.  Do what you do.  But, what if my future isn’t on a farm?  What if I am to rent an apartment on the beach and write a novel?  What if we take that trip we planned across the country documenting life on small farms?  What if we nestle into our community and have a small garden and chickens and run our shop forever?  What if we don’t?

I know better than to plan.  This time last year we played bocce with our kids on the lawn, the gardens turned and ready to be planted.  A few days after the bees would die.  Then a few weeks later our dog would pass. Then we would receive a letter demanding our demise from farming and the life we knew.  We would laugh, cry, grow, and strengthen and a shop would seemingly appear.  All would be well.  Doors open, doors close, without my planning.

“Be still.”  This I hear a lot as well.  No more planning.  We are ready to take the ride and just see where it leads us.  Leading us out on the ocean to commune with singing whales and playful dolphins was a gift not planned.

 

Yea Sustainability! (I am teaching free classes)

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We will be at the Sustainability and Outdoor Living Expo again this year!  We won’t have baby lambs on a leash (maybe next year!) but we will have all of our fabulous medicines, beauty products, and books.  I will be teaching every day right at my booth so come sit in on a free seminar and come visit us!

White Wolf Herb classes and seminars for Sustainability Fair.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11:00- Herbal Tea Party and Creating a Medicinal Tea Garden.

Learn easy herbs to grow, different designs to create, and the medicinal properties of the herbs. Learn how to properly infuse and taste test different teas!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00- Herbalism 101; Using Your Kitchen as a Pharmacy!

Learn how to turn common herbs and spices in the pantry into powerful medicine.

 Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 4:00- How to Make a Healing Liniment for Pain, Sprains, and Sore Muscles.

Learn common plants and how to extract them to make an amazing healing liniment you can make at home!

Print off this coupon so they know we sent you!  Yea Sustainability!

 

A Trip to the Denver Downtown Aquarium

On the way home from our anniversary trip a few weeks ago we stopped at the Denver Downtown Aquarium.  We hadn’t been there before, always opting for zoos or museums, but it seemed like a great way to spend the chilly day.

The Aquarium was filled with the most exotic, beautiful creatures and proved to be enchanting indeed.

There were adorable otters playing, and a fuzzy tiger who looked on nonchalantly at hoards of screaming daycare children.  There were stingrays to entertain and delight.  We swam with the stingrays on our honeymoon so it was a sweet reminder on our anniversary.

Eels and warty fish and the oddest sea creatures I have ever seen along with fabulous large turtles and a kissy octopus.

If you haven’t been to the Denver Downtown Aquarium yet, I highly recommend you go let yourself enter another world.

700 Water St, Denver, CO 80211

http://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumdenver/visitorInfo.asp

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

Native Cultural Arts and Finding One’s Art

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Over the weekend we were a part of the Native American Art and Culture celebration downtown.  We diligently promoted it but it was a smaller turnout then we’d have all liked.  However, the folks that were there were great, great people and we all had a lot of fun. The art was beautiful and I was proud to have a few pieces alongside nationally known artists.

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The Aztec dancers took my breath away.  Their astounding headdresses and clothing were mesmerizing.  When they blew into sea shells creating a sound that stirred my soul, I moved to the edge of my seat.  The drumming was intense and quick and my heart beat fell in line with these ancient dances.  Danny, one of the dancers, expressed his appreciation for arts.  For arts allow us to keep traditions alive.  I have always been a huge proponent of the arts for they teach, they bring hope, they bring people together, they let us express our innermost knowledge, joys, feelings, angst, and creation.

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The children dancing stole my heart.  Their small feet were like hummingbirds as they skipped and danced the dances their grandparents danced.  The Medicine Heart dancers are a troupe of young dancers.  This non-profit program teaches youth with any indigenous/Native ancestors the dances of their people so that they won’t be lost.  Miss Maryjane Rose will be joining these sweet dancers.

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My friend, Rodney, brought out his karaoke system and it was like no karaoke show we have done before!  Songs, drumming, children singing, poetry, and voices of expression filled the room.  An amazing flute player played his beautiful songs for us.  I am hoping Bear might come play at the shop!

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We had our glowing medicines out to show people what I do.  We connected with people and enjoyed our family and friends there.

I encourage you to paint, draw, write, dance, sing, and support arts by attending festivals, celebrations, and encouraging everyone to find their art, for there they will find their true self.

Herb Conference, Owl Wings, and Store Fronts

Things are getting exciting around here now, Friends.  And word of our adventures is buzzing around town already.  Doug was stopped several times yesterday to find out about where we are going to live and about the store.  One couple stopped him at the grocery store and told him it was a good thing we didn’t buy that little house last week.  They live next door to it and the roof is about to collapse and the house is filled with asbestos!  Wow, close call there!  I will tell you next week where we are going to live.

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In the meantime, I am taking you on a field trip.  We are heading to Cloudcroft, New Mexico for the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference tomorrow through Sunday.  I have applied to teach at this conference next year, but this year Margie and I are going to drive eight hours to the top of a mountain in my favorite state to learn all we can.  Some of the classes we are both interested in, such as Tree Medicine ,and Wound Management in the Field and at Home.  Some of them we differ on.  She’ll be taking Plant Saponins while I take an hour and a half herb walk through the desert.  There will be so many people to meet, and so much to listen to, and the scenery will likely breathe life back into me.  Doug starts his job today so he won’t be joining us.  I’ll miss him at the dance.  There is a Fairy Masquerade Ball and my friend made me wings for it!  Aren’t they amazing?

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This morning Margie and I are heading to a store front that I have had my eye on for five years but always thought it would be too expensive.  It is not.  It is in my price range, it is a great location in Elizabeth, and it is among friends.

So much going on but four days of mountain air and herbs will be just what I need to start moving full speed ahead when I get back.  Anyways, if you want to go to New Mexico with me, I’ll see you here Friday morning.  Margie and I leave at 3:30 am tomorrow!

Flying Off the Bucket List

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I have always been fascinated by little planes.  I haven’t ever necessarily wanted to learn to fly but I have wanted to ride in a small plane.  We would watch them fly over and land or take off at the Falcon airport as we drove by and would wave.  Turns out my friend, Pat, has an airplane at the Falcon airport and invited Doug and I to ride along.

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His son, Jeff, came along with his girlfriend, Paige.  She has always wanted to ride in a small plane as well and we were both giddy with excitement.

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Pat was in the Airforce and in the National Guard for many years.  He recently retired as a pilot for United Airlines.  But he still has that need for airspace and his plane is a beauty.  It is a Russian Yak.  The way it is painted I felt like I was in World War II standing outside one of the brave soldier’s planes.  Or like Snoopy.  It also looks like the plane Snoopy flew.

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Doug flew in a small plane with a friend of his some years ago so he was sweet enough to let me have the front seat (never mind my elbowing him out of the way).

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We waved farewell to Jeff and Paige (who were flying after us) and taxied to the runway.

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We flew peacefully over the plains, the mountains clear against the cloudless vast sky of autumn blue.  Little farms slept quaintly below and cows grazed obliviously.  We flew over our little town and waved frantically.

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Pat asked if we were ready to do a barrel roll.  We held our breath and morphed through a slight time warp of speed, just like in the movies, as we flipped over with the ground visible through the clear roof and swiftly flipped back right-side up.  Our heads a bit fuzzy but our smiles wide.

We had a smooth landing and a great memory to hold.

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We cheered on Jeff and Paige as they taxied by.

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You’ll find herbalists in the darndest places wild crafting, I tell you.

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