Winter Wandering…in my Mind

This post is going to be several short bits to bring you up to date and hopefully get me back on track with blogging.

Life Gets in the Way of Living…No More

Sometimes life gets in the way of living….like the job I love becoming so stressful that I was going to work, coming home, just making it through dinner and then going to bed feeling exhausted night after night.

Or it might be that the weekend’s chores…you know running errands, running kids here or there; planning, shopping and prepping for the week’s meals; laundry, cleaning, etc…can seriously get in the way of gardening, working on my online Herbal Immersion Course, playing the piano, knitting, walking in the woods, making soaps-lotions-and potions. Or just cozying up with a good book or a jigsaw puzzle.

Some one may have become so obsessed with the election, post-election trauma and news that sheforgot to take time to read the good news sites, to write a note to a friend, to take a walk with her husband and/or the dog.

Trying so hard to ensure everyone else is happy, healthy and having a good time can sometimes just make it impossible to have a good time oneself.

But NO MORE!

I’ve begun the process of making some changes so that Living takes precedence. Future posts will surely include possible career changes, my 2017 motto of Simplify, my progress in the Herbal Immersion Course, etc. Photos of accomplished projects and beautiful things seen on my walks and of having fun living will be heavily featured.

Holiday’s are Holy Days

As my favorite season, which runs from Thanksgiving Break-AKA Deer  Season through Jan 6th Epiphany/Twelfth Night, is drawing to a close, I can say that it has been a Holly Jolly, Holy and Blessed Time for me and I believe for those I love.

As always it’s my family that make these days so wonder-full!

The Hunter was home for the entire Thanksgiving week and the Dancer and the Weaver were also off from school as was I. All were here for much of the Christmas Holiday with a short 4 days in CT to spend time with their Dad and his family.

When they are here an added bonus is that other really delightful young folks including our grandson come to hang out. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I had 8 additional young adults for dinner. All the leaves were in the table and it was loaded with good food and we laughed until our sides hurt at their stories and wisecracks.

Highlights included Hunting with the Hunter on a couple different occasions during Deer Season. Emphasis was on hunting not finding on the days we went out, yet it was so beautiful to be in the woods…remembering that just a year ago I was only a few days post mastectomy and didn’t get out at all. He had some much better days with his younger, more agile buddies and now our freezer is well stocked with heart healthy and delicious vennison.

Having a few days with just my husband and I here while kids were away was a real chance for us to reconnect and talk about the section above and how we can keep Life from getting in the way of Living. We also got to decorate our tree with just dried apples, dried oranges, cranberry & popcorn wreathes and some pretty red ribbon. Of course we put our traditional Santa on top for the finishing touch. (That’s a story for another post as well.)

We enjoyed lots of relaxed time with our immediate and extended family and friends. Using all the leaves in the table again on New Year’s Eve. It was a blast ringing in 2017 –literally ringing as we have this huge bell that is mounted on our house roof…it came with the house so we must ring it on special occiaions.

A New Year with New Priorities

I spent a good bit of time over the holidays reviewing my values, goals, hopes, dreams, fears and decided my 2017 motto is “Simplify.” Already, I have cleaned and purged several areas around the house to make life easier. We have established some new rituals and routines to ensure that every person living at Green Grove gets some “me time” -time alone for hobbies, passions and rest and rejuvination, some “we time”-1 to 1 with others as needed to keep relationships strong, and some “us time” -all of us together for most suppers, weekly strategy sessions to figure out how to continue simplifying and working together to see that no one is overwhelmed with the Life that can interfere with Living issues. We are working to help each other think twice before turning to TV as an escape. So far, it’s been a very peaceful week and everyone seems much more relaxed and the sky hasn’t fallen because I asked for help at times.

Another priority is to savor the rituals and routines of daily life and the ever-turning wheel of the seasons. One evening with the Dancer literally dancing around the table as she set it, the Hunter carrying things from kitchen to table as they were ready, the Weaver making sure the animals had their supper, and Warren and I Finishing up the cooking, I realized that we do this nearly every evening. It’s our ritual and it is special and so now as I light the candles on the table just before we sit down I take a breath, say a silent prayer of gratitude for this time together, for the food, the light, the love of those gathering, whatever is in my mind and heart. I’ve begun finding these sacred moments, appreciating them, and looking for ways to create them in our days.

The many traditions or rituals of Yuletide from advent wreath and calendars, through putting out milk and cookies for Santa, through taking our natural tree decorations out for the birds and other wildlife after epiphany made me think about celebrating seasons rather than days. Be watching this blogfor how this will be carried out here at Green Grove as Imboc/Candlemas approaches.

Enough of my wandering thoughts, as I look out on the new fallen snow I wish you each well this winter and may your 2017 be Simply Wonder-full!

Football, Family, and Fall Gardening

Finally, the heat and humidity have broken and just in time for a three day weekend. It’s been a great weekend so far.

Friday night we went to our first home football game of the season. I love that it’s a community event. From tiny babies wrapped up in blankets to octogenarians shaking green and gold milk jugs filled with gravel. The children and tweens are safe to go wandering and visiting. A group of younger kids play their own game of touch football on the grassy hill around the scoreboard. The band performs. Some folks actually watch the game, others swap fishing stories or recipes. Burgers, dogs, and chili-cheese-fries serve as dinner. And, a good time is had by all….we won 47-25.

Then yesterday my BFF(aka husband), the Dancer and our grandson the Soccer Player took a beautiful drive to see the Hunter at his University. He greeted us all with the best hugs….I do miss those hugs! He had his room all tidied and was so pleased with all the items in his care package. I think our house coffee, dark Italian roast from a small roasting company that uses ethically grown, fair trade beans, was his favorite item- along with the large mossy oak camo mug to drink it from. He is truly my son.

He gave us a great tour of campus, even showing us his class rooms and describing his professors teaching styles. Now I can truly imagine him going about his days. The Soccer Player’s jaw nearly bounced off the floor when he saw the campus center with its swimming pool, two gymnasiums, floating track, and the biggest collection of exercise machines in one place he’d ever seen. I think he’s quite motivated to get good marks so he too can go where this sort of facility is available every day.

The Dancer noticed the art work everywhere and enjoyed getting some big brother time. She sighed as we left saying how much she misses their late night heart to heart talks….and how it’s too bad there’s not a dance major offered there.

We visited the Hunter’s favorite coffee spot downtown. “Joe and Throw” where the coffee is excellent and it doubles as a pottery shop/studio. Since I really like pottery and coffee, this was a really great combo. It’s the kind of place you can rearrange the furniture and visit for as long as you want without feeling like you’re being moved along. He has matured so in just the few weeks he’s been there. It’s just obviously his place and his time to grow into full adulthood.

After treating him to dinner out, we drove home with 360 degrees of gorgeous sunset skies for most of the trip.

Today is going to be a gardening day. The weeds are out of control and there are herbs and peppers to harvest. Tomorrow may be more gardening and/or we may help one of the new teachers from school move into her new home.  It’s amazing how much a three day weekend allows for so much more than the usual two day version.

Sitting on the deck listening to the birds, noticing the many signs that fall is nearly here, sipping my coffee and just so filled with gratitude to be living and growing here at Green Grove.

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Summer is Nearly Here

It has been quite a few weeks since I posted. I had a bit of a setback when I developed lymphedema in my arm….a very challenging condition that is often the result of the brutal treatments for breast cancer. Learn more here- What is lymphedema?

In addition to this new challenge, we’ve celebrated some birthdays, my husband’s, mine and our lovely daughter’s. We celebrated the Hunter’s high school graduation, and the Dancer performed beautifully in another pair of dance concerts. We’ve gotten the gardens nearly planted, added a new raised bed built by our Grandson- with a little help from his Grandpa. I finished my 30th  school year as a teacher. We added some supports for the wisteria. Also, my BFF (aka husband) added two small cupboards to my workspace and put doors on the tall shelves to make proper storage for the herbs, flower essences and tinctures I’m accumulating as I take a two year course in herbalism.  Check it out here.

I’ve been adding many herbs and flowers to food. Birthday cakes with lemon balm, lemon verbena, calendula petals and decorated with Violets and Pansies. Herbed goat cheese spread, adding more wild greens to salads. It’s such fun to make things healthier and more beautiful. Food for the soul as well as the body. I’m really developing an affinity for calendula which is awesome since this sunny, happy making, flower-food is a lymphagogue, which means it’s helping my lymphedema.

imageWe’ve had a lot, I mean LOT of rain, so I haven’t gotten new photos to share. When the sun does shine, I’m too busy planting, weeding, harvesting, drying, and making essences to even think of taking photos. I will do better for future posts.

Peace and love from Green Grove, a beautiful place to grow.

 

Another Good Week

Hello everyone. It was a good week. We had no school Monday and Tuesday and a 2 hour delay Wednesday due to snow and ice. Thursday, after learning that my colleagues had made me our school’s nominee for county teacher of the year(a vey humbling experience), and having my surgeon give me the all clear to resume normal activities(including splitting wood and shifting hay bales), my amazing husband(aka BFF) took me to dinner. After that, we purchased my dream stove. It’s a gas range with an extra large convection oven. It has a 5th burner that can be used for the griddle or the large canner. I’m feeling terrible spoiled and photos will be posted after it arrives on March 2nd.

 

imageYesterday I helped with our middle school regional cheer competition. It’s fun as the folks who come to judge etc.,  are a really nice group of women and I only see them once a year. The dancer serves as runner, bringing judges sheets to scorers, so it’s a nice mother daughter thing.  Afterwards, my BFF and I took a walk as it was a very warm springlike afternoon. Then, we had the best dinner, local pork chops(meat from happy pigs sure is better then factory farmed!), and a warm beet and kale salad with balsamic dressing. Mmmmmm. It was so pretty with the red and green that I may add it to our Christmas/Yule menu next winter.

 

Today, I’m making a vegetarian black bean chili for Sunday Dinner. One of the new imagetraditions with our extended family is that we alternate hosting Sunday Dinner each week. Sometimes we go all out with a roast and sometimes we keep it simple with soup, or chili. Since my BFF is working as a supply priest at a little church nearly 2 hrs away, I opted for simple. It’s so nice to all sit down together and catch up on the weeks happenings, work out any plans for the coming week and just be family. I’m really glad we do this!

Looking Forward

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It’s a beautiful, sunny day- high will be near 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The 30 ish inches of snow we got during last weeks winter storm is melting. The birds are singing and new seed catalogues are arriving daily. Imbolc is upon us with over 10 hrs of daylight now. I am in full planning mode for the spring and summer. Many of these were on last year’ list but were tabled when other priorities arose.

We have ordered some trees and shrubs…elderberry, redbud, dogwood, lilacs. We have made plans for a beautiful support for the wisteria growing by the lower deck. We will finally be adding a proper woodshed next to the carport….no more digging through the snow to find the edge of the tarp when we refill the wood racks. My husband also has plans to make me a cold frame, so I can push the gardening season a bit.

I’m planning to grow a lot more beans, onions, and cucumbers, and this is the year I will get serious about under planting our fruit trees to start making more permaculture-like guilds to reduce the mowing.  We will move the berries to a better spot as they aren’t thriving in their current home.

I have been busy in my workshop this winter, making wreaths from artemisia and boxwood, renewing our supply of laundry powder, lotions, etc. I’ve been making some essential oil blends and below is the Imbol/Candlemas oil I made for dressing my alter candles. It also smells amazing in my oil burner and in our diffuser.

Molly’s Magickal Imbolc Oil 

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Step 1: Gather your materials, I use a small jelly jar for mixing, essential oils of Frankincense, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Clove, and Lemongrass and a carrier oil of your choice. This time I used Sweet Almond because all my others had solidified in my cold work shop, and I didn’t want to wait for them to thaw. Some droppers or pIvette’s, alcohol for cleaning them, 4-5 1/4 oz bottles or containers of your choice,  and measuring spoons.

Step 2:  Prepare your work space in whatever way you normally do. I breathe golden light into the area, light a candle, and for this one I call on Brigid to aid me.

Step 3: Place 6 drops Frankincense, 5 drops each of Cinnamon, Clove, and Lemongrass, 3 drops Rosemary essential oils in small mixing container, swirl or blend and adjust quantities. My goal for this one is to not have any one scent stand out. Then add 1 Tablesppon carrier oil and swirl to mix well.

Step4: Fill 1/4 oz. vials with a dropper. If using a larger container you could use a stainless steel funnel. I made several small containers because I’m giving some to friends.

Step 5: Add labels if you wish and bless the oil as you wish. I simply say “As above, so below, I seal this work in the name of ____(I use Brigid, but it could be the Lord and Lady, God/dess, Father, Son, And Holy Ghost…whatever woks for you), and only the good remains.”

Life Changed

The post below was written May 27, 2015 and I was waiting for photos to use with it.  On May 28, I went to the Dr because I’d found a lump in my left breast…by June 4 it had tripled in size and on June 10 I was officially diagnosed with  stage IIIb Breast Cancer. Now, after chemo from June – October, a modified radical mastectomy on Nov 18, and 25 radiation treatments that ended January 28, 2016,  I am Cancer Free and returning to the life I love. My gratitude is beyond measure: for my husband and children who did so much to keep our home running smoothly, kept me laughing and loved me unconditionally throughout treatment; for my many friends and colleagues who sent cards, gifts, food, called, and especially sent prayers, intentions, and healing energy, for my amazing medical care team who encouraged integrative care along with the brutal treatments needed to eradicate the cancer, and to those working in labs, pharmacies, etc., who I will never meet but impacted my care in ways I will never fully understand. I am feeling well and will not be writing a cancer blog. Now here is where we left off. Next week I’ll write about our plans for Green Grove, especially what is/will be growing here when the snow melts. 

Didn’t post last week because it was a week dedicated to dance. The Dancer performed in two recitals which meant a week of rehearsals. Since the studio where she studies is a good hour long drive it meant a lot of time for my husband and I in town. The joy she gets from dancing made it well worth it.

I tried every evening this week to get in some gardening but seemed every time I started a downpour rolled in. Saved me from having to do any watering and sure made everything grow like crazy.

I need to spend some time in my herbal workshop making practical things like deoderant, hand and shower soap, lotion, laundry soap, etc. it’s going to be quite hot and humid so I’ll spend the day doing that and hope for some gardening as it cools off this evening.

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A Busy Week…

It’s been a busy week here at Green Grove.

The Weaver  reinforced the deer fencing around our little orchard. We use fishing line- strung at about 10 inch intervals from a few inches above ground to about 4 feet- and it has worked well. All I can figure is that since it is nearly invisible when the deer brush against it, it startles them and they move away. A number of strands had been broken by some heavy storms so it was time to renew it all.

Invisible Deer Fence

Invisible Deer Fence

My husband, whose been suffering from spring allergies did some weeding and after work a couple of nights, I pitched in. Both veggie beds that are planted have been weeded and things are really growing.

Today, I’m hoping to finish weeding the herb bed and the perennial bed in front of the cabin. My favorite Rhododendron, Scintillation, is blooming as well as the ones that were here. Also the Lilly of the Valley planted last year, and the Columbine. I like the way the window boxes are already beginning to fill in and provide a splash of color against the cabin.

We spent yesterday getting a load of heirloom tomatoes and some cabbage, broccoli, peppers, and a few more perennials at a favorite local greenhouse. Since my husbands daughter and her family have moved to a lovely little 5 acre homestead a few miles away(more on that exciting news later) we are using her super sunny garden to share. We planted lots of what we bought there. Then just in time we got a lovely, soaking rain. Saved having to water everything.

In between, I did the concession stand for the Hunter’s last track meet of the season, had an evening in town with my husband while the Dancer had her last class/rehearsal at her dance studio before moving onto the stage at the university for recital week rehearsals and 2 shows next weekend. I took  a Praxis exam for work, had a visit with my mom and sister, and managed to keep everyone fed and loved through their own busy schedules, and discovered many wonderful things growing around the property.

 

Today I’m going to putter around the house and then help with a bike-a-thon at the shook where I work and then we’re having Sunday Dinner at our daughter’s homestead….and while there I’ll try to do a fly & tick treatment for my beautiful quarter horse Leah…how I came to get her is yet another story for a future blog.

Leah

Leah

Life is good, there’s beer in the fridg, and everything is green and lovely. So many blessings every day here at Green Grove.