Posted in Crafts and Skills

Purpose and Weaving

Above all, serving our heart’s deepest desires is the only true mission of our soul. And if we stay the course, we will realize our true purpose.

Julia Piatt

I was born highly intuitive and highly sensitive. A burdensome duo for a child in school but has created an ever changing and heightening purpose as an adult. My grandmother used her clairvoyance to read palms and was a medical intuitive. She also used it to bet on the horses. My husband laments that I won’t use it to gamble (I’m just certain that I will jinx it!). I have used it to know when the phone is about to ring, when someone is about to die. I have used it as an herbalist- knowing just what to give people- and as a reader- knowing just what is wrong and the path needed to take. I have had spirits talk to me, animals talk to me, and all sorts of unusual happenings that are hard to believe, and even harder to live with sometimes! But, in the end these gifts work their way through my life as the purpose itself.

I learned to weave this year and it is a lovely art form and wonderful for me to be able to sit still (not easy) and meditate as I beat in the rows, warping the loom with gorgeous colors, and creating shawls and scarves and such. A normal past time for me! But alas, that same intuitive gift has woven its way into my new work. I hear just what colors to use for the recipient. Stories are told to me as I weave. Nature comes through in the pattern. Whispers of what the new owner of this shawl needs for their spirit. I am inadvertently weaving prayer shawls. Ceremonial shawls. Healing shawls.

Oh, they are quite nice and warm to wrap around one’s face as they go about farm chores. And they look ever fine over a gown for a night on the town. Keep the chill off the shoulders on a midsummer eve. Or perhaps doll up a jean jacket for a day of shopping.

But their real purpose is that when the wearer wears their new shawl, what they need is given to them. Like medicine. The reds with stitches of green that spoke of healing to help a dear woman undergoing chemo. Starlight and solar system blues and greys speak of wonder. Gorgeous autumnal colors take me on a journey through the woods and gift the wearer with joy. The new one I am working on is a lovely stormy day. The kind suitable for cups of tea and writing books and tells me the recipient needs rest. Oh, it’s great fun listening as the loom tightens and weaves stories and healing to those that have asked me for a shawl.

The spirits do get ahead of themselves and I already know the color scheme of the next shawl I was asked to make! But slowly, slowly, I beat in each row with wishes for what the wearer needs at present.

Enchantment runs through everything I do; I grow medicinal and health giving plants, I take care of animals that shall forever remain friends, I see illnesses and make people medicine, I write, I make magical shawls. I gave up long ago the notion of my ever having a regular occupation. Over the years of wondering, What is my purpose?, I realize it is not what I do, but what comes through when I follow my interests and passions. Healing and inspiration is what I have to offer the world.

(If you are interested in having a shawl or scarf made for you, please email me at Katie@PumpkinHollowFarm.net)

Posted in Beauty/Health

Farmgirl’s Guide to Great Skin

Twenty Years Old

I was a very pretty child who came from a very pretty family. I had a rough go there during my tweens (yikes) but pulled out of it by my teens and landed my first modeling contract when I was eighteen. I had great skin, three years of braces, and my height and natural weight were just what agents were looking for.

Twenty-two Years Old

I modeled full time for six years before, at the ripe old age of twenty-four, I was “washed up.” When your entire occupation is based on your looks, it is hard to get older. (Yes, I thought 24 was old.) As a model, one’s entire identity and worth is wrapped up in beauty and age.

Twenty-Four Years Old

So I put on more and more makeup. Got a little older. Got a lot more stress in my life. And somewhere along my late twenties, I started getting the worst skin! Acne began to plague me. And I straight out panicked! I started reading about how to get great skin. How to be more beautiful and ran across a book on herbs. Well, y’all know how that turned out. It completely changed my life and I’ve been a clinical herbalist ever since.

Twenty-One Years Old (and 3 months pregnant with Shyanne!)

Along the way, my skin cleared up, my eyes got brighter, my skin refreshed. Oh, I still got wrinkles! I earned those suckers. I am happy every year I am here on this planet, and I will take the signs of aging with grace. But, I rarely wear makeup (if I do, it is just a touch of mascara and some tinted lip gloss), and the number one thing I get asked from people, is how do I have such great skin?

Forty-two Years Old

Your skin is a mirror of your insides. It speaks of toxicity, cancer cells, stress, poor diet, dehydration, and disease. It also speaks of health, joy, vibrancy, and energetic foods. Your skin can change day to day depending on how you feel or even what you ate yesterday!

Almost Forty-Three Years Old

I have learned a great deal about the skin from being an herbalist. Cancer cells that become prevalent or that are being detoxed through the skin from the sun (a good guy) can become cancer cells in a toxic environment. I have seen many cases of Psoriatic Arthritis, where sometimes there is a hole in the skin all the way to the bone. Severe eczema, psoriasis, acne, rashes, hives; all ailments of the skin show what is going on inside the body. Even sluggish, tired skin can tell of insomnia or a sluggish digestive system. So how do we fix it?

Last Saturday. Forty-Five Years Old.

Moisturize Inside and Out:

  1. Drink 1 teaspoon of good olive oil 4 times a day.
  2. Keep a glass by the sink and drink a cup of water every time you go in the kitchen.
  3. Get a water bottle you like and take it with you everywhere.
  4. It doesn’t have to be just water! Kombucha, tea, and fresh juices all count!
  5. Coconut oil protects against sun burn and keeps skin feeling soft.
  6. Try my lotion recipe for really soft skin! It also protects against sunburn but allows beneficial sun rays to reach us.
  7. Need even more moisture? Make my skin oil for super nourished skin.

Be Kind to Your Skin:

  1. Get at least 30 minutes of sun exposure daily.
  2. Sunscreen causes skin cancer. Research it.
  3. You do not need five layers of foundation. It settles in our wrinkles and makes us look ridiculous, then clogs pores, causes acne, and makes us look even more ridiculous! Ditch the makeup.
  4. Embrace flaws. Liver spots? Guess what? They aren’t from the sun. Or the liver. We white girls get freckles, then spots. Get over it. You look great.
  5. Most skin care lines are toxic. Try my recipes for body products. I use face wash (but not every day!) and lotion. That is it. Secret’s out!
  6. Life is too short for stress. Your skin will thank you.

Check Your Diet:

  1. Green smoothies and loads of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, and whole grains have antioxidants which improve skin and slow aging. Meat and dairy contain zero antioxidants. Any nutrition you get from animal products is from the plants they ate. Skip the middle man and skip the toxins that you end up with. Dairy is especially bad for the skin.
  2. Eat lots of great spices and herbal teas.
  3. Incorporate fermented foods like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha into your diet for gut health.
  4. Wild greens are blood purifying. Your skin will tell you when you need your blood purified. They will also heal kidney problems and help rebuild bone. Dandelions, goosefoot, burdock, mallow, and even kale, chard, and spinach will make your skin look fabulous.
My oldest granddaughter, Maryjane Rose.

Now, as we get older we may care less and less about our looks (do these galoshes match my apron?), but we should always associate skin health with organ health and do our best to have vibrant, youthful skin. It is easy to do! And it is kind of fun when folks are shocked that you are a grandma.

Posted in inspiration

He Who Gets the Most Prayers Does Not Always Win (and how to actually pray)

We all seem to have gotten the misconception and the comforting idea that that he with the most prayers wins.

“I’ve got my whole church praying for him,” people would whisper as my brother-in-law fought his last year of cancer. Our whole church at the time was praying for him. I have been reliving this the past few days over Facebook while a friend’s great love battles in intensive care (and from a realistic acquaintance’s view, probably not going to make it). “My whole church is praying for him,” someone says. Others nod through their keyboards and agree. Everyone is praying. The more prayers he gets, the faster he heals? It doesn’t work that way, folks. People die. People get sicker. My brother-in-law died. This young man may as well. We aren’t praying for the outcome we want. There are reasons beyond our limited knowledge. It is not a popularity contest.

Now, I have, myself, experienced three mighty big miraculous healings. My husband as well. I know that miracles exist in the day to day and are not uncommon. But, what if the fellow in intensive care gets one thousand prayers and he dies today; did Creator ignore everyone’s prayers? We are praying for the wrong things.

Creator already knew the outcome of Ken’s illness. The spirit world knew when he would die. He was never going to get better, no matter how many people, across how many religious walls, were praying.

When you pray for someone, particularly this time of year, pray for comfort. For strength. For peace with the outcome. For guidance. Pray for love.

Then after you are done praying, BE THERE. If you are close to someone (or even if you are not), see what you can do. You can’t just say a quick prayer then be on your way. Creator can’t do it all alone, the spirit world works through you! Don’t ask, just do. A meal for the freezer. A letter. See if they need errands run. Animals need checked on. Offer a hug. Send love. Love is prayer. Put them in your mind and send them great love. Everything is energy, send love and they will feel it. Light a candle.

By continuing to believe that the most prayers wins, we leave out those that don’t have large families or large churches, or maybe anyone. Do they lose out? This is not a competition, folks, pray for everyone, pray daily (doesn’t matter who you pray to…it all goes to the same place, Creator is everywhere), and pray for love. The universe has the rest taken care of. Instead of getting your whole church to pray for something, listen. You will hear in your heart when someone needs an uplifting word, when you can do something, when you can be the prayer. And if you cannot, pray for peace.

Posted in Herbal Remedies

The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism (my newly released book!)

My first herbal remedy book was released over five years ago when I closed my first apothecary to become a full time farmer (three months later we opened a new apothecary!). Homesteader’s Pharmacy has been my best seller ever since. I am grateful that I have been able to share my knowledge and the many recipes I have developed over the years as a Master Herbalist. I am grateful because I have been able to write and homestead and there are folks out there that support my work by reading my books. Wado, Tapadh leat, Thank you.

The funny thing about being a writer is, one cannot just sit down and write a book. It just comes. As if I am not writing the book at all. My cousin calls it the Writing Witch. Once it hits, the dishes don’t get done, the house goes to the wayside, and the writer is consumed with words, writing as fast as they can before the precious prose vanishes. Well, around here, the dishes weren’t getting done.

My new book has just been released and I am so excited to share it. It follows up Homesteader’s Pharmacy with over fifty new recipes and new ways to create and brew medicines with detailed instructions. This book goes a step further and teaches many things that I have learned from studying with medicine people, and my experiences as a medicine woman.

The Medicine Person’s Guide to Herbalism; Healing with Plant Medicines, Stones, Animal Spirits, and Ceremony draws from my own work. It is important to have a knowledge base of plant medicine. It is essential on a homestead, in my opinion. Most folks also understand, however, that there are many ailments that manifest as physical, but are often emotional, stemmed from trauma, or are purely spiritual in nature. This book covers different ways to blend modalities in order to achieve true healing. I am honored to share it with you now!

To celebrate the release of my new book, my other books have been newly edited and have lower prices. I hope you enjoy my books and thank you for allowing me to teach, write, and follow my calling!

Click HERE to order your copy of my new book today!

You can see all of my books at AuthorKatieSanders.com

Posted in inspiration

A Daily Meditation

 

img_5801A daily meditation is a lovely way to begin or end a day.  A time to reflect, think, dream, pray, be.  An idea floated upon me yesterday.  An idea to listen and record a daily message from nature.  We all know that we go too fast in this society.  We have isolated ourselves from the things that enchant and feed our life force.  We desperately try to connect but get a busy signal.

I am among the most guilty of this.  I despise sitting for a long period of time though I do dream of great books and cups of tea and long walks.  But from sun up to sun down I busy myself to the point of frenzy.  My body yells for rest now.  It used to whisper, now it demands.  Fatigue hits me with a powerful force mid-afternoon.  I get the subtle and not-so-subtle messages my body and weary spirit are telling me.  Slow down.  Breathe.  Listen.  There is much to learn still.

So each day I will be out in nature, even if that means walking along the pavement, and will listen and record what I am being told.  Plenty of photographs and symbolism will intertwine with the daily meditations I write.  These will all be recorded on my other blog, Medicine Wolf.  I will still be writing this blog daily with all of the fun, recipes, homesteading, farming, herbal remedies, and stories you have grown to love.  But, then maybe hop over to Medicine Wolf and sign up for a daily email with insights and wisdom from nature.  Let’s all become students of nature and Spirit.  (Click on the name Medicine Wolf to be taken over to the other page.)

Posted in Beauty/Health, inspiration

Unmanifesting; Cleaning Up Our Garden of Life

plant

I write plenty about manifesting.  It completely astounds me every time how efficiently, and rather quickly, one can manifest an idea or dream.  In fact this time last year when I wrote in my resolutions that we would manifest a farm, I scarcely believed it.  Looking at the exorbitant jump in house prices in my state and our humble income, it just didn’t seem possible.  Yet, when one wishes for it, everything truly is possible.  And in less than three weeks we will move onto our very own homestead.  But what about unmanifesting?

There are some things we must unmanifest in order to move forward.  If simple words uttered to the universe can create whirlwinds of activity to create the outcome, one can imagine that words that create harm can also manifest.  It’s time we dug up poisonous seeds.

plant-3

In a bar some twenty years ago a young man holding a beer jokingly looked at my hand and “read my palm”, never mind that he was wrong about me having four children or that my first marriage would last forever, he said that I would have cancer in my early forties.  It was just a moment in a bar.  But, those words stuck with me.  My lymph nodes have been swollen for a good part of the year and I am tired.  I know with every fiber of my being that this is stress.  A year of tremendous loss followed by a year of working non-stop.  But, that seed…ugh, it’s gotta go.

It is time to dig up that seed and throw it in a river somewhere.  Same with all the times growing up I was told how big my nose was.  How my voice was irritating.  How my laugh was obnoxious.  The times as an adult that I was told Doug would never stay with me.  The times I felt worthless.  Any seed that was planted that has not born good fruit we must dig up, and do not even put them into the compost pile, but rather dispose of them once and for all.

plant-2

This season, I would encourage you to think of what seeds were planted in your garden of life that are harmful or deceitful and dig them up.  This year we only manifest good and prosperous and beautiful.  Because that is what you are.

Posted in Our Family

How a Farmgirl Got Her Groove Back

The sun peers over the edge of the horizon shedding light on a new day.  The rose colors dash through the maple tree and dance on the floor of our walkout basement apartment in the country.  It is as if we were eighteen again.  We have a studio apartment with a wood cook stove, microwave, and mini-fridge.  We have use of the shower and kitchen upstairs.  We help out around here in exchange for very low rent.  I cook meals.  I walk the grounds and hear the birds.  I try to figure out if the scat near my favorite trees to sit under is bear or raccoon.  I go to my shop where my granddaughter helps me make medicines.  Doug enjoys his job.  My heart is most recently repaired.

sunflower

Words of loved ones kept echoing in my mind and I knew I had to do something.  “Are you sure you are okay?”  “Are you losing weight?”  “I can’t believe anyone could take your voice.”  “Your heart is so wounded.  You need to repair that before you can move on with what your journey holds.”  “I know,” I whispered.

Time does heal.  A year ago we sat in our homestead on the prairie, tears in my eyes because of the cold.  My animals were freezing as were we.  There is blessed heat here.  Two wood stoves, an electric heater, central heating in the house, and a warm shop.  I heard goats yelling from across the street.  I wandered down the long driveway to catch sight of them.  Screaming, as they do, from an enclosed shed they waited impatiently for their morning meal.  I laughed and found myself happy I didn’t have farm chores to do that very cold morning.  I walked in the house for another cup of coffee.  Doug chops wood for the fire.  I am sure we will have animals in the future.  I transplanted five Jerusalem artichoke roots from Aunt Donna’s house here.  I’ll plant garlic.  We should be here to harvest them but if for some reason unforeseen I cannot, I enjoy planting them all the same.  A buck passes the window.  Big floppy ears.  I wish he allowed hugs.  The frost melts as the sun hits it.  The alpacas next door slowly making their way through the pasture.  It is magical here.

IMG_3971

I went to our favorite hiking place.  I went alone.  I chose rocks.  I put two on the east side of the small circle I was creating.  I put one in the south.  One in the west.  One in the north.  Three in the middle for Father Sky, Mother Earth, and the Ceremonial fire.  I offered tobacco to the Creator.  Sprinkled cedar for the spirits and my ancestors.  I offered sage.  I placed a larger rock symbolizing my heart in the south where childlike wonder and fun reigns.  I released the harsh words told to me that made me quit writing.  I released the loss of our things and our lifestyle and embraced the now and the lesson and journey we are on.  I released my broken heart.  An eagle flew over the valley as I sat there.  I breathed in the fresh air of life and smiled.

Posted in Herbal Remedies

Heal Thyself

Katie store

I excitedly read my way through “Growing 101 Herbs that Heal” by Tammi Hartung.  I could not believe that these simple plants and weeds had so much healing power.  Or that pharmaceutical medicines actually used derivatives of these same plants because you can’t patent a plant.  If you just use the plant and make the medicine properly, you can heal yourself of virtually anything!  This is amazing news.  For many, the largest worry and cost in our lives is healthcare and vet bills.  But, if you have the knowledge, you have the power to take care of everyone around you!

This is one of the keys to homesteading, power to heal.  If we are to go off and be more independent and cut our costs of living and have many animals now, it would be very wise for us to be able to put together an herbal remedy and not have to drive long distances to find a doctor, an emergency room,  or a veterinarian.  How empowering!  How necessary.

I first read about lavender and that it was a pain reliever.  I was so excited, I made my first extract of lavender and lemon verbena.  It couldn’t have taken away the pain of a stubbed toe, let alone a severe headache!  I had to learn the major players in the plant world and the supporting actors that make great extract blends.  I can now replace Morphine.  My anti-biotic works EVERY time we incur an infection.  And here’s where my worries always sat, “What if the kids break their arm?!”  Broken bones are healed in two weeks.  Every time.  Comfrey is awesome.

This knowledge is not just privy to me.  I teach a Certified Herbalist Program and Master’s Herbalist Program in my shop and by correspondence but there are libraries and internet stores brimming with books on herbal medicine.  There are no secrets as to which herbs do what.  What properties are concentrated the most and what area of the body they are specific too.  If you could break a fever in a small child in minutes, take care of a severe sprain quickly, and heal a burn fast, imagine the time not spent in the emergency room.  If you are taking medicines for prevention and can heal up a cat’s upper respiratory infection and a help a horse’s arthritis, you certainly would be ahead of the game homesteading.

Herbalism is powerful knowledge.  The original medicine- it still works!  It doesn’t make as much money as big pharma wants so it isn’t going to be as popular, but wait until you start learning and making medicines…you will not regret it.

tinctures