Giving Thanks...

... and realizing there is more to do than give thanks. We all need to acknowledge the grandness of the gifts we are given, the true gifts, and respond with right action to truly show our thanks - not just blindly consuming and only caring about ourselves and "pleasantries" and convenience.  Our actions need to be ones of true appreciation based on understanding of the ALL.

A message for today and everyday.

What can YOU do?

This means not using Round-Up because it's convenient, disregarding destroying the water and soil...

This means supporting Organic farmers who respect the soil...

This means living in harmony with all of life: humans, animals, plants, the air, water, soil...

This means not supporting large corporations, who do not care about the people, like Wal-mart and McDonald's...

This means recycling and re-using, conserving resources...

This means acting for the good of all and not just for personal greed...

This means not wasting food, building materials, clothing, etc...

This means not buying meat that came from a factory...

WE are the ones...



Making Herbal Pills

For these Herbal Pills, I used a modified Rehmannia 8 formula.  I took out the Rehmannia (ha, so I guess it needs a new name).  I took this out because I knew I could not powder it.  
Otherwise the formula includes:
Dioscorea - Shan Yao
Cinnamon - Gui Zhi
Eucommia Bark - Du Zhong
Poria - Fu Ling
Moutan Peony Root - Mu Dan Pi
Alisma Rhizome - Ze Xie
Dogwood Fruit - Shan Zhu Yu

To this I added:
Eleuthro - Ci Wu Jia
Tangerine Peel - Chen Pi
Kelp - Kom Bu

I found the latex part of the Eucommia did not grind up, so I would not use it again for making Herbal Pills.  I might substitute Epimedium (Yin Yang Huo), Cordyceps (Dong Chong Xia Cao), or Dipsacus (Xu Duan).  I used about a heaping Tablespoon of each herb powdered.  You can powder the herbs with a Vita-mix or a coffee grinder.  I used a coffee grinder as I have yet to purchase a Vita-mix, but will someday!  They are highly recommended as the coffee grinders burn out.  After powdering, I ran the herbs through a sieve to get all the chunks out and then ran the chunks through the grinder again.

So, all in all I used about 3/4c. total of powdered herbs.  To this I added just enough vegetable glycerin to make it all stick together.  You do not want to use too much or the pills will not form and keep their shape, so add a little at a time.  You want to end up with a thick batter, kind of like grainy clay.  I ended up using about 4 oz. of vegetable glycerin.  Once you start rolling the pills out by hand, if they seem to want to crack add a bit more glycerin until they stay in a solid ball. 

I say about because I tend to use the folk method a lot when working with herbs as I don't believe anything IS exact and though I appreciate science and measurements, I think it can become a bit of a religion and I don't like that rigidness.  There are too many variables and everything is constantly changing, so nothing is absolute anyway.  There is no true measurement.  Healing is not an exact science.  Health is balance within constant fluctuation.  So with many things I make, I relax a bit the ego's need for a semblance of control and just allow the process to occur.

Be sure to make the balls small enough to swallow.  You can roll these out while listening to something or chatting with a friend, or simply meditating.  The repetitive rolling into a ball is very Zen and they smell wonderful with the mix of Cinnamon, one of my favorite flavors, and Moutan, which I think smells like root beer.  Once you have rolled them all out and placed them - I used a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet - you want to dry them.  You can do this in the sun or in a warm, dry location.  I heat with a wood stove, so I put them near the stove to dry.  As soon as they are thoroughly dried, put them in a jar.  Just be sure they are totally dry so they do not mold once stored.  I will take 4 of these 3x a day, so this recipe will make a good month's worth at least. 


Struck: Learning to Live with Disease

Without lost there is no found. 

So I tested positive for Lyme's disease at the beginning of last month after being sicker than I have ever been in my life.  From the researching I have done; it doesn't seem that it ever totally goes away.  There is no definitive "cure."  It's basically an organism that you live your life with.  I did a month of antibiotics and am taking a huge amount of herbs and supplements.  I am not better.  The symptoms change, they come and go, but they are not anything that is normal for me, and there are lots of them:  (following list from this site)

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The Tick Bite (fewer than 50% recall a tick bite or get/see the rash)
Rash at site of bite
Rashes on other parts of your body
Rash basically circular, oval and spreading out (more generalized)
Raised rash, disappearing and recurring

Head, Face, Neck

Unexplained hair loss
Headache, mild or severe, Seizures
Pressure in head, white matter lesions in brain (MRI)
Twitching of facial or other muscles
Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy, Horner’s syndrome)
Tingling of nose, (tip of) tongue, cheek or facial flushing
Stiff or painful neck
Jaw pain or stiffness
Dental problems (unexplained)
Sore throat, clearing throat a lot, phlegm ( flem ), hoarseness, runny nose


Double or blurry vision
Increased floating spots
Pain in eyes, or swelling around eyes
Oversensitivity to light
Flashing lights/Peripheral waves/phantom images in corner of eyes


Decreased hearing in one or both ears, plugged ears
Buzzing in ears
Pain in ears, oversensitivity to sounds
Ringing in one or both ears

Digestive and Excretory Systems

Irritable bladder (trouble starting, stopping) or Interstitial cystitis
Upset stomach (nausea or pain) or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

Musculoskeletal System

Bone pain, joint pain or swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome
Stiffness of joints, back, neck, tennis elbow
Muscle pain or cramps, (Fibromyalgia)

Respiratory and Circulatory Systems

Shortness of breath, can’t get full/satisfying breath, cough
Chest pain or rib soreness
Night sweats or unexplained chills
Heart palpitations or extra beats
Endocarditis, Heart blockage

Neurologic System

Tremors or unexplained shaking
Burning or stabbing sensations in the body
Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Weakness, peripheral neuropathy or partial paralysis
Pressure in the head
Numbness in body, tingling, pinpricks
Poor balance, dizziness, difficulty walking
Increased motion sickness
Lightheadedness, wooziness

Psychological well-being

Mood swings, irritability, bi-polar disorder
Unusual depression
Disorientation (getting or feeling lost)
Feeling as if you are losing your mind
Over-emotional reactions, crying easily
Too much sleep, or insomnia
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Narcolepsy, sleep apnea
Panic attacks, anxiety

Mental Capability

Memory loss (short or long term)
Confusion, difficulty in thinking
Difficulty with concentration or reading
Going to the wrong place
Speech difficulty (slurred or slow)
Stammering speech
Forgetting how to perform simple tasks

Reproduction and Sexuality

Loss of sex drive
Sexual dysfunction
Unexplained menstral pain, irregularity
Unexplained breast pain, discharge
Testicular or pelvic pain

General Well-being

Phantom smells
Unexplained weight gain, loss
Extreme fatigue
Swollen glands/lymph nodes
Unexplained fevers (high or low grade)
Continual infections (sinus, kidney, eye, etc.)
Symptoms seem to change, come and go
Pain migrates (moves) to different body parts
Early on, experienced a “flu-like” illness, after which you have not since felt well.
Low body temperature

Allergies/Chemical sensitivities

Increased effect from alcohol and possible worse hangover

I've had or have most of these.  I'm the kind of person who didn't even have an OTC painkiller in my house.  I don't get headaches.  Now a headache is almost constant, usually mild, sometimes severe.  Mostly it just feels like my head is stuffed with cotton.  My joints feel like they are made of steel wool.  Sometimes they ache so much they wake me up.  Sometimes shooting pains go through my bones.  My muscles feel burnt.  They're weak.  My brain isn't working like it used to.  I struggle to focus...

I do what I can and then I try to ignore it.  Sometimes I can, others...  well, it's persistent.  So I find myself in the deep pit of darkness at times dealing with it.

Anger led to contemplation, frustration to gumption.

If crisis means opportunity...

I've been working all this out with movement.  Bellydancing to Fever Ray.


Divine Dandelion

Often what we need is right under our nose. 

Plants that grow in the area where we live are particularly suited to us.  
They are growing in the same environment we are growing in. 

I often think about how Dandelions grow all over in the U.S. and it is just what we, as a people, need.
It offers itself to us, growing in abundance with tenacity.
Yet, do we revere it?  
Most of us do not, either wishing it wasn't there or attempting to eradicate it
by spraying "weed" killer in an attempt to have a "golf-course lawn."

Why do we do this?  Where did we get the idea that Dandelions are unwanted?
The chemical herbicide companies taught us this.
It's time we thought for ourselves.

A weed, by definition, is an unwanted plant.  
Dandelions offer us so much; they should be on the top of our want list.

Look at this fantastic Beauty:

I love how the stamens split and end with a double curlicue.

Besides being happy, smiling sunshines dotting our yards and roadsides that later turn to playful orbs,
~ Dandelions benefit our health ~
and are one of the first plants to bloom in the Spring that provide nectar for the valuable honeybee.

Its common in this country to have our Livers taxed from an improper diet:  
too much alcohol, caffeine, fried foods, hydrogenated oils, refined foods, soft drinks, and sugar. 
Sounds like the usual American diet, eh?. 
Also, the Liver is burdened with other chemicals:  food additives, drugs (including prescription), 
and pollutants in the environment.  This leads to various health issues like 
anger, depression, headaches, stomach aches, menstrual disorders, pains, tension, and more. 

Now, what does the Dandelion do? 
It supports the Liver! - amongst other virtues.  Hmmm.... sounds like just what we need!

So, next time you see a Dandelion, reconsider it.

Roasted Dandelion Root makes a great coffee substitute or a special tea in its own right.   
Here's a recipe to make your own, or you can purchase it from Mountain Rose.

You can harvest the leaves for salads, to steam as a green, add to a stirfy or an omelette...get creative.  
It's a little bitter, but you can add just a little until you grow to like it.  
I have found you can add a little to most meals.

You can make fritters from the flowers.

It's a delight to go into your yard and harvest free food that is good for you!
Just be sure there are no pesticides or other toxins on anything you wild harvest.




And lastly, a picture of me as a child enjoying Dandelions.  I have such fond memories of playing with them.
I loved to run through the yard and scatter the seeds about
or make a wish as I was blowing them into the air.

You can see the landscaper in the making.




In the Wilderness of my Solitude

    I knew everything I needed to know        without knowing anything
                                            this knowing pervades my moment:

    spiderwebs of time beat upon my shores with their embryonic embrace
    sinews of edification breed                                 hope and despair dance

    I bow to the Earth and her straightaway brimstone, tacit as a Dandelion

    behooved to catapult
        this numinous inkling
            of meta-oblation fractalling
                                                      touch the truth

Standing in the sun,     willing to burn away,         while others bask in frivolity
Wit clamors to take precedent,
    all the while words struggle to make it back from their pilgrimage
                                     heavy with the weight of the unspeakable firmament

The mountains are walking, but most two-leggeds are apathetic about their ignorance,
                                                                                           driven by the machine…

                                                      the truth touches you

                            do you see?


"There's no sauce in the world like hunger." - Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra



Photo Study: Monongahela Bark

These pictures were all taken during a visit in August 2010 to the Monongahela 
deep in the mountains of West Virginia...

“Get to know a tree...talk to a tree.  
Your neighbors will think your weird, but its ok...you’re an artist.“
- Bob Ross

"Trees outstrip most people in the extent and depth of their work for the public good." 
- Sara Ebenreck

"I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. " - James Russell Lowell

  "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit." 
- Nelson Henderson

"Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, 
then names the streets after them." - Bill Vaughn

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now. "
- Chinese Proverb

"There are rich counsels in the trees." - Herbert P. Horne


"Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness."
  - Kahlil Gibran

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money." - Cree Indian Proverb

“What is an oak tree except an acorn that stood it's ground.” - J. Duplantis


 "I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines."  - Henry David Thoreau

“[God] loved birds and invented trees. Man loved birds and invented cages.” - Jacques Devall      ~ 


Kitchen Alchemy: Health-Nut Snack Mix

This is a healthier version of the common snack mix. Here it is pre-baked:

Take a box of organic, multi-grain squares cereal (Cascadian Farms makes a great one) and mix it with 2/3 to 3/4 c. each of these organic nuts:  walnuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, and pecans.  I used raw nuts as I figure we will be roasting them, so raw ones are going to start with more nutrition (versus roasting them twice).

In a separate container, melt 6 Tbspn. of organic ghee (better for you than butter), then blend with 2 Tbspn. of organic Worcestershire sauce (Annie's Naturals makes a good one), 1 1/2 tspn. sea salt, 3/4 tspn. garlic powder, and 1/2 tspn. onion powder.

Next, stir this into the cereal and nut mix until thoroughly coated. Spread onto large baking sheet and bake for 1 hr., stirring every 15 mins.

This makes about 10 delicious cups of the snack mix - plenty to munch and share!

Option: You can use any nuts or seeds or dried fruit you wish, using about 2 c. total. For instance: pumpkin seeds, hazel nuts, raisins, soynuts, dried cranberries, etc. I went with the classic nut blend in an effort to copy the usual mix - but make it a healthier version.  I can imagine lots of possibilities for different tasting blends.  A sweet and salty mix would be great, or even a coconut and chocolate mix...  You could even try different cereals...

As you've noticed, I recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible as they are better for you and the greater environment.  Enjoy!