Living Space Makeover- Part 2 (after photos!)

When we moved into this house two years ago (my goodness, time flies!), the walls were a dingy, rental white with chipped grey trim.  I have never been a fan of white.  I rarely utilize white.  I adore color!

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After

I have kept a notebook of magazine clippings of loved décor for the past fifteen years or so.  As I flipped through the worn pages I discovered something; every single room had white/cream walls.  All of them.

“I’m surprised you are painting the walls white,” Shyanne responded on text after I sent her the first wall completed.

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I am still working on organizing this corner, but it will be a sweet little space for writing and dreaming.  I moved the desk so that I could put up a folding table to hold more plants under the window.

As soon as we moved in two years ago, I painted the walls warm yellow with a library brown trim and they were lovely.  This house is nearly one hundred years old, adobe, build in a proper style where the windows and eves are set just right so that in the summer the sun is above the house and in the winter, the sun floods through the windows.  I can touch the ceilings.  This house wasn’t built by tall people, y’all.  The result is that it feels almost cave-like sometimes and remarkably cozy.  With all my bright colors and plants though, it felt cluttered.

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Before

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So, what the heck, right?  I went and chose a crisp with a touch of cream, white paint and set to work New Year’s Eve.  It is amazing how dirty walls get over the years and the white paint was like a cleansing.  All of the colors of my southwestern things just pop against the new gallery walls and the space feels bright and wintery.  Cool and enlivening.  New and fresh.

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Finances and a very large puppy mean that we aren’t getting new furniture very soon but these pieces, dingy and a bit torn as they may be, become transformed with a few bright blankets.

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“What do I want to devote space to?”  A very good question for the new year.  For me, it is my work.  With all my beautiful items at the ready, I don’t have to be digging through closets and bags to find what I need for ceremony!

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Next to it I placed a table with my curiosities.  My bird nests and feathers.

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Before (found my husband!)
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After

With the house nice and bright and filled with southwestern color and all my bright paintings displayed, I feel light and calm, happy and inspired.  So white was the right color for me all along!

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With a bit of paint, some blankets to use as throws, and a rearrangement of furniture, you can have a whole new living space designed for what you want to make space for.

 

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Living Space Makeover in Poem- Part 1

Oh my, there’s clutter and  everything galore

There are Christmas boxes all over the floor

I have books aplenty and furniture too

I love all my beautiful things, this is true

Vibrant plants fill the places fighting for sun

An inspiration ignited has begun

Trying to find my husband in all this stuff

But getting started here can be kind of tough

So out with the old, the new year rings tonight

And I want my house to be a pretty sight

So we’ll start with a paint can of creamy white

And begin to fill this living space with light

As the promise of bright tomorrow dawns clear

I’ll tone down the clutter, put things away I hold dear, decorate, because that’s what I do

And start the year 2019 anew.

Check back January 2nd for the “After” pictures and post!  Happy New Year!

5 Reasons to Adopt a Plant Based Diet

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1- There is not a disease out there that can not be benefited, if not reversed entirely, by adopting a plant based diet.  Plants are medicine.  They contain every healing property needed to heal from cancer, diabetes, bone loss, dementia, heart problems, or colds.  That is what they were made for!  So in my work as a Clinical Herbalist when people are asking which medicine herbs to take, I always mention that they need to incorporate more plants into their diets too.  Kale and Broccoli can reverse bone loss.  Tomatoes and garlic heal the heart and wine relaxes the blood vessels.  Walnuts heal the brain and fresh greens remove built up mucous that inhibits memory.  There are thousands of food combinations and every single nutrient one needs is located in fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and vegetables.

The more meat or processed foods one puts on their plate, the less room there is for the plants.  By adopting a plant based diet one gets all of the nutrients, none of the disease.

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2- Saves Money and Time!  We actually cut our grocery bill in half by eating a plant based diet.  In half!  This week I shopped at King Soopers and bought a week’s worth of groceries-all organic- for a hundred bucks.  (Kuddos to King Soopers for hearing the need and desires for more organic!)  Instead of an hour in the kitchen, I spend thirty minutes preparing a meal.

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3- More Eco-friendly– We are all a little freaked out by our own lusts for oil and gas and the impacts we as a cumulative society are making on this beautiful planet of ours that sustains us and nurtures us.  We purchase more fuel efficient cars and try to remember to turn the lights off but the one huge impact that one person could make is to adopt a plant based diet.  After all this time after the reports came out many years ago, our mainstream meat production is still the number one cause of greenhouse gases and pollution, the loss of species and rainforests, and the reason that so many pollutants get into our water ways.

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4- Animals and Karma– Let’s face it, when it comes to creating suffering, none of us really want to make an animal suffer.  (There really is no difference between a horse, cat, cow, dog, pig…) Yet we tell ourselves that it’s the circle of life, the cavemen did it, or it’s healthier, and we continue to eat ten times more meat than our ancestors ever did, create so much suffering by being a consumer, and then wonder why our bodies begin to rebel and fall apart.

My brother-in-law lives and teaches in Thailand and I asked him when he was here visiting, “What is it like there?  What wild animals do you have there?”

He replied, “There are no wild animals.  The people ate them all a long time ago.”

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5- It’s Fun!– I think I heard some of y’all choke out there. It is fun!  I love cooking and creating and it is fun to cook through a new cookbook.  It is fun to see what flavor combinations can be had.  We cook together and as we chop and laugh and sauté and pour a drink, we talk about our day, alter seasonings, and eat really, really healthy food.

We were vegetarian/vegan for a long time.  When we stopped we both started seeing just what eating meat does.  Gout, weight gain, back problems, hormone disruptions, circulatory issues….It is nice feeding my husband foods that will nurture and heal him, give him energy and well being.  It is nice feeding myself those foods as well.  I know I am doing my part to help the animal kingdom whom I adore, and am lowering my footprint on this little homestead.  I am saving money and making amazing, delicious foods.  There are so many beautiful books out there.  My new favorite is “The Homemade Vegan Pantry” by the magnificent Miyoko Schinner.  We have been cooking our way through it this week.  I highly recommend it.  I don’t want processed food in my plant based journey, so this helps me in seconds whip up delicious substitutes.

After years of experimenting here is my favorite plant based milk recipe:

Cashew Milk– Place 1 cup of cashews with 4 cups of filtered water in blender and blend until completely smooth and frothy.  No need to strain!  It should be completely blended and smooth enough to go through the cappuccino machine or into your cereal.

It’s a bright new year, here’s to your health and your karma!

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.

 

 

Autumn Houseplants

 

20170920_143750The night air dipped and rose the past few weeks and autumn is certainly in the air.  The houseplants have all been lazily sunbathing all summer (with me) on the front porch.  They love the fresh flow of water from the hose each day and the sun shining on them.  I snap off any leggy parts and remove dead leaves.  Any bugs and diseases that jumped on from being cooped up last winter are gone.  Yet, the thermometer lowers steadily in the night.  At 50 degrees I start covering the plants with a large sheet before I go to bed.  The days are still gloriously warm and they just need a little extra cover under the stars.

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But when that fateful forecast shows 45 degrees at night, everyone has to come inside. Party over.  By the end of summer a lot of the plants have grown.  Trim them into proper shapes and transplant them into bigger pots.  I put a little soil on the bottom, place the whole plant and dirt in the new pot, then top with fresh potting soil.  Water thoroughly and let sit in the sun a bit longer.  There should be holes in the bottom of your pots.  Soggy feet are the death of many a houseplant.  They should be able to drain completely.

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Meanwhile, inside prepare a spot with a nice west, south, or east view-preferably south- and place drip trays or old plates where you want your plants.  Carefully bring in each beautiful specimen.

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The plants will go from daily to every other day waterings to once a week now.  Water until it leaks into tray.

I don’t have typical houseplants, myself.  I have two poinsettias, two Ephedra plants, two jasmine plants, a bamboo, an orchid, a few little succulents, a unique aloe, a behemoth aloe, a coffee plant, and four large geraniums.  The ginormous plants have followed me from place to place for years and some are new.  Last year I overwintered a tomato plant someone gave me in the south window.  It grew a little and when I put it out into the soil this last spring it sprung to life in heaves of mass foliage and huge ripe tomatoes.

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You can have anything as a houseplant.  They just need light, the right amount of water, they enjoy a cup of room temperature coffee per month (no kidding), and talking to them doesn’t hurt either.

(The plants are getting to know the kitten…not thrilled I’m afraid!)

 

How to Make this Season’s Strongest Antibiotic

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I often tell my students that the most frustrating, the most difficult part of being an herbalist is not being asked for help.  I see on Facebook cousins who are always sick, cousins going in for surgery, people in pain, friends under some constant barrage of bacterial infection.  With bottles of incredibly effective medicines at the ready, I wait.  And wait.  People just don’t know how amazing real plant medicine made by real herbalists can be.  I may not be able to help everyone but I can teach you how to help yourself.  What if I told you that this winter you would be blissfully cold and flu free?  Bacterial infections cannot stand up against this antibiotic either so it is a really great medicine to keep in your cupboard!

There are lots of places you can purchase the herbs.  I highly recommend that you plant what you can.  We would be wise to be more sustainable as herbalists.  Until then you can purchase dried, ready to go herbs from reputable companies such as Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, Penn Herb Company, Frontier Herbs and many others online.

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In a canning jar combine 3 Tablespoons of Oregon Grape Root, 2 Tablespoons of Echinacea, 1 clove of garlic (just one, trust me), 2 Tablespoons of Mint, 1 Tablespoon of Juniper Berries, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of turmeric.  Everything but the garlic is dried in this recipe.  Fill 3/4 full with vodka.  Add a few dried apples or plums for flavor and more cold fighting antioxidants then fill rest of jar with honey.  Place in sunny spot for a month.  Shake the jar when you notice it.  Do not strain.

Take 1 teaspoon if you feel like you are getting sick.  Take 1-2 teaspoons 4x a day for a full blown infection or illness.  Halve the dosage for children.  Omit the juniper berries if you are in the early part of your pregnancy. This concoction’s shelf life is forever.

Now that we know we won’t be wasting any time getting sick this season, we can start planning things we want to do, like weaving and cheese making and candle making, and soap making, and…

(If you don’t make your own you can always order some of our incredibly effective White Wolf Medicine Antibiotic at http://whitewolfherbs.com.  Thanks for supporting your working herbalists!)

 

Gardening the Driveway

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I can see from the Google map of the house five years ago that people were parking their cars in this part of the yard.  There is a concern that oil and other chemicals have gotten into the soil.  Antifreeze lettuce doesn’t sound like a good deal.  The house has been empty for six months and I do not know how long it has been since folks parked in the garden, but…  I am looking at hugelkultur gardens, raised beds, and purifying plants.  We’ll want sustainable, inexpensive, and easy ideas and come up with a garden plan.  Tune in each day this week!  It might be a little early, but spring planting is right around the corner!

As the Owls Looked On (and teas to help heal the spirit)

 

Spirit Journal CoverThe five owls perched overhead near me each morning as I wrote, prayed, cried, and did yoga.  The temporary farm we were on last summer was a beautiful place.  I knew we were about to lose everything and the dread of what was going to happen next and the scrambling for some semblance of sanity and organized planning to move forward tangled with each other in that open field as I sat cross legged in the early morning sun peering across the acres of unscathed plains, my eyes taking in the sight of watercolor mountain tops still touched by snow across the horizon.  The owls looked on.  Directly at me.  Their messages clear and soothing.  Change was coming, but it would be for the best.

During that time I jotted down each little message that came to me.  Different plants came to mind to be made into teas.  I knew the spiritual use for some of them like roses-love, hawthorn-heals a broken heart, but some of the herbs that came to mind I did not know the meaning of and looked them up to find that they had a perfect place in each tea blend.  After I wrote, meditated, and listened, I went into the old farm kitchen and made a large mug of tea using those herbs for the day.  I would feel my strength return.  I did this for twelve days.

Eight months later the pieces fell together in one seamless layout.  In one day the book was completed.  A twelve day journal that discusses spirit animals and chakras, highlights a word to meditate on, a quote, a writing prompt, a gratitude section, a place to jot down other healthful habits, places to write and dream, and a spiritual tea blend.  I carefully hand blended each tea in each tea bag and placed them all in a pretty cellophane bag, one for each book that was printed.  It took days but I knew that this journal and the healing teas with them would help others just as it had me.

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The cover of the book is a photograph of one of the owls that stayed near me during my time on that farm while this book was creating itself.  This was one of the infant horned owls that looked on.  My daughter, Emily, stayed up in a tree for some time waiting to capture this shot.  It serves as a reminder that we are not alone and that everything in the universe works together to help us on our journey.

“White Wolf’s Spirit Journal; Twelve Days of Balancing, Healing, and Energizing the Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Self” is only $25 plus shipping.  Call to order-(303)617-3370 or send a check to White Wolf Medicine, P.O.Box 2012, Elizabeth, CO 80107 for $35 to order.  Better yet, come into my shop, have a cup of tea, and pick one up!

 

 

 

 

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….

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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

 

 

 

 

Learning the Greenhouse (an adult playhouse)

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My friends’ greenhouse stands erect and proud in their yard.  I am impressed that it hasn’t blown away, been destroyed by hail, or any other natural greenhouse killers on the Plains.  It is set to the east of a steep hill which much keep it somewhat protected.  It is quite well made and cost them a few thousand dollars three years ago.

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Right now the upper section of the Dutch door stays open and a few windows are cranked out.  I have never had a greenhouse before that was is in working order to do its job well.  This greenhouse is small but effective.  It would probably extend the season a month or two either calendar direction.  It would be great for starting seeds and would keep plants growing into late autumn.

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The tomatoes are in heaven, growing and stretching as if they were in the tropics.  In the greenhouse they want to grow, too much nitrogen will make them humongous but won’t allow any fruit.  Using an organic fruiting fertilizer with similar ratios of potash to nitrogen will help bring on baskets of tomatoes.

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A shelf across the south side offers more space.  I brought over my five gallon buckets of kale, chard, spinach, and lettuce, and a few herbs.  They absolutely love the greenhouse.  There are a few pesky grasshoppers but not as many as there would be in an open garden.

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I have been noting the differences in the areas of the greenhouse.  The lettuce does best below the shelf on the south side.  It gets plenty of light but doesn’t burn up.  This would be a good place for cold crops like greens, broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage when extending the season.  I only have to water those plants every four to five days.  The plants on the top shelf, herbs, especially huge basil plants and comfrey, sun bathe and grow lavishly.  I water them along with the tomatoes every other day.

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When we get our own place we will have to get a greenhouse like this one.  It’s been fun taking care of and using my friends’ greenhouse and learning the nuances of it.  I suppose you can probably guess that the homesteading bug bit me again, or perhaps it never left!  My fingernails have become far too clean.