Winds of Change

We awoke this morning to a lovely rain.  The kind that keeps you in bed just a little longer.  The rain moved out and a lovely wind blew in.  I love the wind!  I love to hear it in the trees and feel it come through the windows, bringing fresh life into the house.  When the wind surrounds my body sometimes it feels like it is brushing away my complacency or my worries.  Often it feels as though it is bringing in change, fresh ideas, lifting my spirits.   Think of the times you have been on the shore, in the mountains, or just in your own yard and you’ve closed your eyes, lifted your arms and let the wind carress every bit of skin.  You instinctively take in a breath, moving the wind down into your body, to your cells, cleansing your spirit.  Ahhh, what an amazing peaceful feeling!  I love the wind!

My Cousin ‘ralph’!

I am working on a class about women’s health and menstruation, and it got me thinking about how I was introduced the ‘my period’.  Around my house when I was a kid, we would always say “cousin Ralph has come for a visit” when we were having our periods.  Now I call it my Moon time.  I like that better and think it has a positive ring to it.  From my students, I have heard all kinds of things from “on the rag”, to “aunt Flo”, to “the red flood”, to “goddess time”.  So, I’m taking a survey… What do you say when you are bleeding?  Be totally honest now… I want to hear all the positives and negatives.

What kind of pagan are you?

a href=’http://quizfarm.com/test.php?q_id=11726’>What kind of Pagan are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

You scored as Shamanic Pagan. A shamanic pagan’s roots are generally found in Native American faith. A true love and respect for the earth and all that it yields is central to their faith. Wisdom is most often found in spirit guides or totems, who can be animals, ancestors, or spirits. Pagans who follow this path tend to be far more aware of the delicate web that interweaves the lives of every person and thus move within that web accordingly. They’re usually deeply insightful, friendly, loving people and excellent friends and parents. Mysterious and strong, as well, they are often the protectors of their friends and family as well as the moral compass for their friends and loved ones.

Ecclectic Pagan

55%

Shamanic Pagan

55%

Roman Pantheonic Pagan

40%

Eastern Pagan

35%

Zoroastrian Pagan

30%

Kabbalistic Pagan

30%

Celtic Pantheonic Pagan

25%

Egyptian Pantheonic Pagan

25%

Greek Pantheonic Pagan

25%

Catholic (Pagan?)

20%

Sumerian, Babylonian, and Mesopotamian Pagans

0%

Norse Pantheonic Pagan (Asatru)

0%

Beekeeping, garden making and land searching

OK, there are going to be lots of pictures in this one!

First, the bees. They are doing well. Though one hive still has a moderately high mite count, both hives are growing rapidly!! The queens are laying really well and the population is just exploding, which is great! They are bringing in lots of nectar and pollen, too. So, you would think that they would stop drinking the sugar syrup and just fill up on the food they are bringing in. But, they are scarfing it down, which makes me think they need it (or maybe what’s in the syrup). To help decrease the mite population we are adding HoneyBHealthy to their sugar syrup, as well as 15 drops of Bergamot Essential Oil/quart of syrup (some friends of ours totally got rid of their mites using bergamot!) We are still doing weekly mite counts to make sure the level doesn’t go up. So, here are a bunch of great pictures (well, some aren’t so great, but I had to post them!)

This one show a great capped brood pattern in the middle with lots of white capped honey on the edge.

Here’s a great one of pollen and capped brood.

Here is a queen. It’s fuzzy, but she is the long bee in the middle.

This is a pic. of brood (baby bees) being capped over.

And this one I was so upset that it didn’t turn out!! We were witness to a bee birth :-) This baby bee is just about to come out of the comb. Here is his little fuzzy head!

And one of our girls hard at work.

Now, on to K’s garden! We put in our new/used sink this weekend and put the old one in the garden for K. This morning, K and I filled it with pineapple sage, chocolate peppermint, purple basil, hyssop, chamomile, zinnea, lambs ear, calendula, and a tomato. I tried to put things in there that she could smell, taste, and feel. But, it’s a little crowded. So, I may move the hyssop to my herb garden :-) She really likes it! And everything is very well watered!

Here’s one of the garden.

And my little helper.

And my little helper practicing her best sad face.

So, as far as land search… well, we have been a bit disheartened. To be able to have the sustainable homestead that we would like, we are really hoping for more land than we will be able to afford in our current area. Land prices around here (and back in Asheville) are so inflated that we can barely afford an acre! We did, however, just find out about the possibility of buying some land from a family member. This would be great! My biggest worry though, is that we would be surrounded by many people who have very different beliefs than us. Plus, one of my herby friends and I have just started to talk about opening up an herb school here. If we moved, I couldn’t do that. (Well, it’s not that I couldn’t, but I don’t think there would be the desire for an herb school where the family land is.) I wish there were some overwhelming factor to push us somewhere. It would make this decision so much easier… do we spend more and have a higher mortgage, or by less, have a smaller mortgage and less land to work, do we spend more and buy less land to be near a town we love, or spend less and buy more land, but be near a town that doesn’t have such a supportive community for alternative living? I don’t know! Anyone out there got an answer??

Happy

Just a little tidbit that I thought you might like to know… According to the May 2 Newsweek, if stay-at-home moms were compensated for all the hours they work, their net would be $131,471/year!! It’s nice to know I’m worth 6 figures… now where are my benefits??

What did I get for mother’s day?? Breakfast in bed, time to garden, laundry done, litterbox emptied…!!! And, a sting on my head from one of our bees. To be fair, it was really my fault! I was watching the bees fly around the hives and had just gotten out of the shower, so my hair was loosley bunched up on my head. One of them landed on my head and got caught in my hair. Of course, the more she tried to get out the deeper stuck she got. So, she finally stung me on the head. Well, at least I know I’m not allergic to honey bees. After Toby sifted through my hair to get the stinger out, I headed to the back yard for some plantain. The Herb Of The Week! :-) I chewed some up to get it good and macerated and then put it on the sting. Soon, the pain was gone and there is no swelling at all! So, aside from imagining this stinger burrowing deeper and deeper into my head and poisoning my brain with stinger juice, it really wasn’t a bad experience!

My own soap opera

So, I was talking to a friend of mine today and she mentioned that she has started reading my blog regularly. She said “I love reading about other people’s private lives”. When I originally started my blog it wasn’t intended to be so personal. But, when I sit down to type, that’s what comes out, and it has been very cathartic. So, I guess I have my own personal soap opera of my life. So, then I got to thinking about the names of soap operas: All My Children (aka AMC) or General Hospital (aka GH). So, what would my aka be? Dirt Under My Nails (aka DUMN! Oh yeah! That’s just great!!)

An egg to you all!!

One thing I really enjoy about any holiday is exploring it’s history. In order to create traditions for my family, I want to understand where all of our current traditions/holidays come from. I really like the way the history of Easter is described here. I never understood what a rabbit and an egg have to do with the resurection of Christ. But, it seems that the rabbit and the egg were both ancient symbols of resurection, fertility, and life. So, with the return of Spring we have the return of life, fertility… and Peter Cotton tail handing out eggs. So, in honor of ancient customs, I give you all an egg and wish you a fertile, prosperous year!

Happy Winter Solstice

Happy first day of winter everyone!! I have really gotten into this holiday over the past few years. It just makes sense to me (especially as a gardener)… to celebrate the shortest day of the year and have traditions that revolve around welcoming back the sun and the light as the days grow longer again. I like it! So, we lit a candle through the night and woke up this morning to open gifts and have a very leisurely breakfast (we were just getting done around 11:15!! Good thing Toby took the day off of work!)

So today, I would like to wish you all a very happy first day of winter! I hope you are all keeping snuggly warm and enjoying the holidays! My blog family has been a wonderful addition to my life this year and I am very thankful for you all!

Dazed and Confused

Well, Toby and I have been talking at length (my mouth is dry!!) about our goals and priorities for our family and life. On our way to Raleigh today we wrote down our priorities. Here is my list, in no particular order:

    Have time to spend with my family and my friends(what’s the point in having a family if you never get time to spend with them)
    Raise my family (meaning I don’t want to have to put K in daycare or have someone else be the mother figure to her so that I can spend more time at work)
    Creating a healthy family (I want the time to make cook healthy meals for the family and make herbal medicines for them, etc.)
    Work toward self-sufficiency and a sustainable home (homesteading) this one is a biggie!

When I read over my list I realized that no where in there did I mention anything about being a librarian or getting my MLS degree. And any jobs that I think I would enjoy doing after graduating probably wouldn’t even require an MLS degree. So, I am really trying to hash out why I am in this program and if it is beneficial to my goals or just a side step. I am really enjoying it. The intellectual stimulation and the people are wonderful. But that’s no reason to pay thousands of dollars. If what Toby and I want is to live more simply, more sustainably, to work the land and to get the word out to other people about living more gently on the earth, then what will an MLS get me? Contacts, yes, knowledge, yes, but I could also be taking classes at the CCCC that are directly related to sustainability while still developing contacts and gaining knowledge. I just don’t know. I know I will ultimately be happier if I get out of this rat race, but I grew up in this society and it’s hard to get rid of that little voice that keeps saying “make more money”. “buy more things”, “you need recognition from your job”. Being a mother and living simple and healthy lives gets no recognition in the society. Plus, I know that there are many things that I could learn from this program and I feel like a failure when I think about quitting, but, like I said, I feel like I am taking side steps instead of walking a straight line. Usually there is some over riding factor that makes it easier to make a hard decision like this, but there is nothing here. I just don’t know which decision would be more beneficial for everyone involved. I’d love to hear your thoughts… (if it’s too much to put in the comment section, please email me directly

I had some time yesterday, while I waited for the bus, to do a little random sampling statistical analysis (sound fun??). I had noticed this lingering fad among the younger college generation of wearing flip-flops; plain-ol’, beach-bum, flimsy flip-flops
I know flip flops have always been around, but I never remember seeing them so frequently. So, I decided to see what the ratio was of floppers to non-floppers. I took a look at the shoes of the next 50 people to walk by and discovered that 33 were non-floppers…that mean that 17 were floppers! That’s 34% of the total!! I find that totally wierd!! What’s the deal with flip flops?? Is it just that this generation is so laid-back that they wear their summer beach attire year round? Plus, how useful is it to wear such flimsy shoes on a college campus, where you walk or ride your bike (yes, there were some flopping bikers) everywhere, AND where the the pathways are made of brick, uneven brick! I mean, gesh, I trip with my hiking boots on!! Maybe I’m just too shoe practical. I should get myself a pair and see what it’s all about. I’ll get back to you with this :-)

Waldorf

Sorry it’s been a while since I blogged. Toby went to Asheville for a few days for work and K and I have been hanging out by ourselves. It’s amazing how creative you have to be to keep a one year old entertained. (I’m not complaining, though! She’s easy going…most stupid things I do will get her giggling!)

This morning we went to the local Waldorf school. They are starting a Morning Garden Time for parents and children (under three) that looks interesting. I have heard such good things about Waldorf style education, I thought a class like this might be a good way to see if this school would be right for K when she is old enough. We really want to raise K to be respectful of the earth and to learn from it. We want her education to be participatory; not just learning from books but also from everything around her…especially when she is young. Waldof education seems to incorporate a lot of dance, music, art, festivals and traditions into their curriculum and I think that is so important. We are way too out of touch with our bodies, with the cycles of the earth and the seasons. We have lost all connection to the natural world around us. I would love for K to grow up in a school that wasn’t just about sitting up straight at your desk and looking at a chalkboard for 8 hours a day!

I have heard some other parents say that Waldorf Schools are more like cults and that the children and parents get sucked into it. And, though I do agree that this type of education is not for everyone, it’s easy to see why parents can get so involed in thier children’s education! Most of us have grown up in an a society that is out of touch and ungrounded. Our traditions have lost their meanings (Christmas-$$$BUY$$$) and all our festivals revolve around beer! So, when these parents see thier kids getting back intouch with their world, of course they want to participate.

Sweet Sleeper
My sweet sleeper!

Pretty Bird

I was driving home today from getting the dog groomed when a bright red robin flew out in front of me. I didn’t hit it, but it made me think about how male birds are so vibrant and colorful (and easier to see from a car) and the female birds are not. There are two reasons for this. One is so the female doesn’t attract preditors as easily and blends in with her surroundings…since she is the momma and needs to tend to the eggs. The second reason male birds are more “attractive” is so that they can attract a mate. (Females always get to do the chosing.) They even have special mating calls to lure in the lady birds. In fact, there are many living creatures that have a more “attractive” male. But not humans. Why is it that females of the human species are the ones who feel they have to paint their faces, shave their legs, dye their hair and always look their best? A man can go out in his ripped, old, smelly tank top and stained shorts and it’s ok…he’s just been mowing the lawn. But women are made to feel like they have to shower, do their make-up and hair, put on nice clothes and freshen up before running that errand to the dump. I vote we all stop shaving and wearing make-up. Let’s let our hair down and just be what nature intended us to be. If we blend in like the lady birds, I’m ok with that. I like the way nature looks. Men, it’s your turn to do the attracting and work on those mating calls. I will gladly give my make-up kit to the first man who asks and I will even teach you how to use it! Anyone want a gift certificate to get your legs waxed. It really doesn’t hurt that much! Oh, and “Hey, Sexy Chica” is not the mating call I’m talking about!