One of the great things about having a dog is that you develop nightly rituals of “outside time”. I’m outside every evening at midnight with Junebug, our wonder-dog. Since the passing of the Winter Solstice, I’ve reveled in the late hours tromping through the snow with Junebug. We look at the moon, smell the air, touch the trees, and meander the path behind our building.
Some nights, the peacefulness and calm is ripe and in the air – so clean and pure. Other nights smell polluted, and the energy and air are “thick”. The overall energetics of winter since the Solstice have felt, to me, like a calm and balance settling upon the Earth. There’s a loving energy emerging that I’m sensing. Deer are crossing in the back yard lately too. I always see tracks, and some nights we see them standing on the slope near the street.
In the months of Autumn before we locked up “the farm” in Northern Minnesota for Winter, I started to have the sense that the land was “loving us” more than it had before. The last few times leaving were very emotional, with tears welling up for me each time. It’s no wonder however. This was the year I got to know the life on the land more personally. From the fiddle-head ferns and Pine Pollen locations in Spring, to the wildcrafting of herbs and plants through the summer and fall, I listened and let the land be my teacher.
Even in Winter, I have dreams of White Stags and I’m often transported to the little cabin on the land where I always dream vividly.
2013 is bringing a wind of change. I feel the forest more with me, even while huddled up in the suburbs. I’d love to visit the cabin up north once a month this winter, if only to add a block of suet to the bird feeder. To say hello. To share a brief moment in its season of sleep.
Hello all! I thought I’d give an update after a pause from blogging. While I needed the break, I was very busy this summer and fall accomplishing many firsts, adding to my skills, and enjoying tons of time in Nature.
Here’s a summary of the things I did! (Feels like a “What I did on my Summer Vacation post”)
In Summer 2012 I:
Brewed lots of Kombucha – even made my own culture!
Collected Spring Water ALL SUMMER
Collected and cooked dandelions
Collected Dandelion Root
Identified places to collect Pine Pollen next Spring
Made Yarrow, Goldenrod, and Red Clover Tinctures
Learned how to make Refrigerator Pickles!
Grew Herbs on my balcony – Mint, Oregano, Cilantro, Basil
Went to “the farm” almost every week!
Joined the IAC (International Association of Coaches)!
Took a firearms safety course, a MN concealed carry course, and got my MN carry permit! (Yay 2nd amendment and survival skills!)
Traveled to Grand Marais to view the splendor of Lake Superior
Was interviewed on Faith, Fern, and Compass for their podcast!
Learned about Green Burials and Gerson Therapy
Read countless books by Julia Cameron in her Artist’s Way series.
It was also a summer of more reflection and claiming and embracing the changes I’ve gone through. I’m so very happy for my own solitary Druid Path. Getting out from under a Druid organization that didn’t resonate with me was a great decision. I also took my own path with regard to more coaching training. All together, I think I embraced my own unique individuality a lot more than in previous years.
Now that we see the Winter Solstice drawing near, I hope that all of us embrace our own unique and individual “inner harvest” of who we are! It’s ok to rest and take breaks, and I’ll be back soon with more blog posts, podcasts, etc when my rest is complete!
1) Large non-metalic measuring cup 2) Cheesecloth or similar fabric for straining 3) Many 1 oz amber dropper bottles 4) Mailing Labels (I used Avery 8160 labels) 5) Small non-metalic funnel
First, I created my labels with Avery 8160 peel-off inkjet labels. I designed them online at Avery.com and saved a PDF version to print onto the labels. Very easy to do. Then I simply strained the liquid out of my tincture jars by using the cloth barrier atop my measuring cup. You’ll want to scoop out the herbs as well to squeeze all the liquid out through the cloth too! After that, simply fill up your amber bottles (I bought them at a nearby herbal supply store), seal them, and label them!
You will learn that a little goes a long way. With just a pint jar of herbs and 80 proof vodka, each jar gave me twelve 1 oz. bottles worth of tinctured herbs! More to keep on hand and more to share!
You can all probably tell that Kombucha is becoming a huge passion of mine! I’m brewing two gallons per week now, and I’m thinking of brewing three gallons so I can share some with others who are interested! All of this kombucha brewing led me to a question:
Can I drink TOO MUCH kombucha??
Well, Hannah Crum has the answer! Hannah is the “Kombucha Mama” at KombuchaKamp.com, and if you’ve not been to her site, you should visit! (Disclosure: Hannah invited me to become an affiliate with KombuchaKamp.com, and naturally I said yes!)
Here’s Hanna’s video! (And I’m so relieved at her answer!) Be sure to check out KombuchaKamp.com!
Updated: Please stay tuned for an upcoming self-study series blending “Living Druidry” with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way! I’m very excited to be putting together this CD based self-study curriculum for creative folks who walk an “Earth Path”.
This self-study CD-Rom will merge concepts from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, along with meditations and exercises for Earth Healing. Along with study guides merging Druidry with The Artist’s Way, you will receive twelve (12) MP3 meditation exercises in “counterpractice” to connect with Nature and the Earth.
Some of the counterpractice included will be:
Meeting your inner artist
Meeting spiritual guides and “Power Animals”
Energy Healing for the Earth Meditation
A Circle of Stones Meditation
A Participatory Virtual ‘Council of All Beings’
Stay tuned, as this self-study course is currently in development, and I’m so very very excited!
Update: While originally I had planned a live class and a 12-week self-study course, I wanted to reach a broader audience, reduce the price, and provide a “keepsake” of a CD-ROM.
I wanted to share a whole roundup of articles with you about the reported benefits of Kombucha!
If you’re just joining me know, you’ll hear me talk about Kombucha a lot I’m sure, as I’m back to brewing tw0 gallons (sometimes three) per week now! For me, Kombucha helps to alleviate acid reflux at night, and tends to relax me before bed, and I sleep so very soundly. My skin tends to clear up too, and I in general, I feel a sense of positive well being.
Plus I thoroughly enjoy the process of fermenting food and making it!
One of the greatest quotes from this “roundup” of articles on the benefits of Kombucha is this:
“As is typically the case in the U.S., no major medical studies are being done on Kombucha because no one in the drug industry stands to profit from researching a beverage that the average consumer can make for as little as 50 cents a gallon.”
Makes one think…
The following are articles I found to be informative and interesting. As always, do your own research, and know that what works for one person may or may not work for another.
Michael took this photo of me a couple of months ago in Iowa. We were taking a brief tour of Coe College (Cedar Rapids, IA), where I received my Bachelor of Music Degree in 1991. Yes, now 21 years ago.
At 43 now, I often feel like I’m the healthiest I’ve been since then, and I’ll admit that I like it when a picture makes me look younger. I’ve changed a lot since my four years at Coe College.
In 1996 I made a choice to go antibiotic-free for my frequent bouts of strep throat and tonsillitis, leading me to learn about the many natural and herbal choices I had for my own personal wellness.
In 1999 I graduated from a Massage Practitioner program in Minneapolis, and then practiced Massage Therapy for 10 years.
In 2005 I became a vegetarian. I dabbled in vegan food in 2008, but have settled happily now as a lacto-ovo-pesco vegetarian eater (a vegetarian who eats dairy products, eggs, and and only fish for meat).
In 2006 I fell in love with bicycling, leading me to visit cities like Madison, WI, Portland, OR, and Minneapolis not by car, but solely by bicycle!
I spent 3 years car-free from 2008 to 2011, relying solely on buses, bicycles, and my own two feet!
In 2011 I lost approximately 40 pounds, started going to the gym for the first time in my life, and fit into clothing I’d not fit into since 1994!
Life is a huge huge journey, and I believe that my key to looking younger and feeling younger is to always evolve, learn, and try new things! Whether it’s vegan and vegetarian food, making my own herbal remedies, meditation, yoga, weight lifting, or going on a 20-mile bike ride, I set out to be open to the experience and see where it leads me.
I’ve told many people in my life that I plan to live to be 100. I’ve had this notion and desire to live to 100 since I was a child. I can’t tell you exactly when, but I know that it’s always been with me. So really, middle age isn’t for 7 years until I’m 50! Even then, I’m hoping to feel youthful inside, no matter what the aging process decides to do to me physically. Age is just a number, but YOUTH is something internal, intrinsic, and spiritual even for me.
We’re all put on this planet to experience every year of our lives, every age of our existence, and every moment. You can feel like an old man at 23 and you can feel like a kid at 78. Youth is a state of mind, and a choice.
May your journey lead you to your own personal fountain of youth!
I count myself as very lucky to live in a community that has TWO natural springs in city parks. Our parks department tests the nitrate levels of our springs on a monthly basis even!
I’ve been collecting spring water on a weekly basis for about 2 months now, and I absolutely love it!
The maximum parts per million (PPM) of safe levels of nitrates in drinking water is 10 ppm. One of our springs averages about 3.5 PPM of nitrate levels, and the other that I frequent is just .2 PPM.
The greatest source of nitrates comes from fertilizers deposited into the soil. Municipal drinking water is also treated chemically and contains Fluoride. If you are like me and want to choose fluoride-free water, finding a spring near you is a great alternative.
A great resource to finding a spring near you is www.findaspring.com. Find out if your city or county tests this spring water as well. I like to think of spring water as “Living Water” that comes from the Earth.
Below is a great video by Shawn Stevens all about spring water and his perspective on the benefits he’s experienced. Enjoy!