My Herbs Survived Winter

Spring is in the air, even though is snowed last week in Ohio.

This is when I go into high-gear fantasizing over my garden. It used to be 100% herbs – and I always planted one very unusual species. Now it’s far more flowery but I still get my herb fix with containers that I smartly took to work so they over-wintered.

So I am starting the season with a lovely bushy rosemary, thyme and some oregano. Mostly I am proud they lived all winter, but I herald a success with the “office as winter garden space” and I will do that again.

If you have great southern windows and your house isn’t too dry, you can do this too. Mine doesn’t have the requisite six hours of light for this to work. However, I have a bank of southern windows at work, and took advantage.

One thing to be aware of, is infestations of whitefly. Those are the tiny gnat things that burst from the plants when you over-water. This is the fastest way to get co-workers to hate you: bring in plants that have bugs.

AFter the first sighting, I hightailed it over to the nursery, so here’s the skinny on keeping whitefly out and plants in.

  1. Let your plants dry completely before watering, then water from the base.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon on the dirt all around and through the plant.
  3. Use “gnatnix!” this is a top dressing that you put over the cinnamon. It looks like tiny white stones. Guess what? it’s ground glass but you won’t cut yourself. I tried it – no cuts. it’s completely organic and since my three plants were culinary, I did not want pesticides.
  4. Use Sticky Whitefly Traps. These are yellow sticky cardboards that I put in the plants so anything that made it’s way our of the soil, was drawn to the paper and stuck there.

Here’s how this work. The larvae will hatch and make their way to the surface. They will be shredded by the ground glass. The cinnamon is a repellent too. Any that surface are drawn to the yelllow cardboard, ditto the ones that are flying around before you did all this.

My three plants are home now, waiting to be repotted. My armory of anti-whitefly equipment is stored for the summer. I am excited to plant some colorful flowers, and try some new stuff with containers. I have to cull through my medicinal plant information and see if there’s a new plant I can grow and tincture, so stay tuned for that.

Green blessings on us all.

 

Compassion

I work for a Jewish Federation. Needless to say, the last several months have been harrowing. My building has not yet been threatened, but our people feel fear. For many, it reopens the horror of the Shoah – the Holocaust. For all of us, it shows us that hate and anti-Semitism has blossomed into overt acts.

I remember the first time I saw a camp tattoo on an old woman’s wrinkled arm. Nothing speaks louder than that silent moment of horror.

Nonetheless, there are still acts of kindness.

This morning we found a brown paper bag at the door and assumed the worst. There was writing on it.

“My wife and I found this at a flea market. It was in a box marked ‘Jew stuff.’ We didn’t think that was right. We felt it should be given to a place where it would be respected.”

Inside was a tefillin.

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The black boxes and wraps are tefillin.

These are sacred prayer items.

From the Chabad website: Tefillin consists of two small leather boxes attached to leather straps. The two boxes each contain four sections of the Torah inscribed on parchment.

My boss called the number on the package to thank the gentleman. He drove almost two hours to bring this to our building. He said he was offended to see a box labeled “Jew stuff” and like most Americans, he was angry at the hate speech and what it has spawned.

And he took action.

Elie Wiesel said :

We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.

 

Today my world felt a little less oppressive. I hope you have a moment of grace like this too.

 

Ancestors Again

 

 

ancestorsI journeyed to my ancestors for help, again, since I am looking to break some family karma or patterns. This is how I did this, in case you want to try it at home.

Just like a mediation, I go to my ancestor altar and quiet my mind. I deepen my breath. In my mind, I ask my guide anubis for this journey to take me to the Hall of Ancestors. We walk to a large open space. My guide tells me to state my full name and intention. “I am asking the ancestors who have lived well and gone on successfully, and who have information that will help me bridge the resent I hold on my sister and mother, to please come forward and assist me.” I stated the surnames of my four grandparents, and felt four “lines” generate from my words. I was drawn to the far-left line and felt pulled along it, backward in time.

At some point, the movement stopped and I met an ancestor of that line.

Here is the hard part if you’re new to this (it’s hard for me too). I witnessed a scene that I didn’t understand at first. The important part of doing this, is to keep with the scene as long as you can, but to ask the guide who is with you, to please clarify what you are seeing and why you are seeing it.

Many times in the past, I did not do this because I felt I should understand what I was shown, because if they were showing me, I should be smart enough to get it, right?

Wrong. It’s not about smart, it’s about understanding that images and symbols are not easily understand at first glance.

What my ancestor showed me may or may not help me understand why I resent my sister’s attitude more than I resent my brother’s complete aversion to our mom. This may be an on-going conversation I have to have with whatever allies I can work with, to release this and move forward. My ancestor did ask me to light a candle for her,candles and I will take care of this. Just a note too, when you ask any ally for help also ask them if there’s anything you can do for them.  Both times I’ve received answers, the ancestor has asked for candles to be lit. I am so luck they didn’t ask for say, a bull to be sacrificed at the full moon.  Levity, there!

Summary 

  • Get quiet
  • Ask your guide to take you to Hall of Ancestors
  • State your name and intention
  • Ask appropriate ancestor to come forward
  • Converse
  • Thank and ask if you can do anything for them

 

 

 

On Winter and Re calibrating

I have been slacking from blogging.

The holidays tend to run roughshod over other activities – and it’s not that we really do a lot of partying. On the contrary, the entire winter season is basically a giant hibernation for us, with the holidays providing some additional food and drink.

So it’s pretty typical for me to cut back and go within. The last two winters were spent caring for dad and mom, plus last year I was cleaning out their house and getting it sold. I realized while I was doing “all that” that it was also an excuse to not “do” for me: I let my Type A, goal-driven self take over. On the plus side the house was sold by the end of March. On the negative side, I was so driven by the need to move mom, and sell the house, that I ultimately locked up my neck and mentally, my mind wouldn’t turn off.

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That’s one of those habits (mind running overtime) you’re supposed to use meditation, yoga and exercise to take care of. Which I had done. Before dad got sick.

This is how I meditated last year: *me sitting still. Breath in slowly Breath out..momhasdoctorappointment…Ihavemeetingsthreenights…breathedammit….goddamitwherearemysiblingsinthis…breathe…myneckiskillingme…breath…okdone*

To my credit, I logged 4 miles a day walking until the weather changed last fall, and lost about 10 lbs, which I’ve kept off over this winter. Change is incremental. I know all the good I did when I felt well enough, got me through the stress.

But stress is addictive – when you’re wound up in the Fight of Flight mode, it feels somehow wrong to not be keyed up.

Which brings me back the winter hibernation. I have downloaded a bunch of silly mysteries and spent a lot time just losing myself in them, trying to re calibrate my brain, because I think that’s part of the problem. (Plus no lie, the election caused an inordinate amount of anxiety and stress. I know I’m not alone here.) But – what is inside me: my mind and emotions, can be realigned with a better, more balanced outlook.

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Just like my worry about mom’s finances and her house, it helped to take action. And even if it seems un-productive to read little mysteries, it does retrain my brain to follow a different thought pattern. It’s a slow process and sometimes it still feels “normal” to worry and follow threads of “if this happens, I will do X”.  Still, recognizing what I am doing, is the first step to changing that habit.

 

 

 

Fire Cider

Last month I made Fire Cider. This is a really old herbal remedy, so there are a zillion variations on the recipe. The one I modified is from The Mountain Rose Blog, from Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also purchase a Fire Tonic from them. They ethically harvest their seeds and plants, so this is my “go – to” if I’m not growing it myself.

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You basically have a lot of hot ingredients that marinate in Apple Cider Vinegar for about a month. You decant it, compost the remains, and then store it. You can add some raw honey to sweeten it. I didn’t but based on my husband’s gagging, I should have.

In this batch I chopped onions, 10 garlic cloves, grated a ginger root, chopped some jalapeno peppers and shook in some Tumeric. It called for 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper which I misread as a 1/4 cup. Yeah. It’s THAT hot. Obviously, the capsaicin plus the apple cider is what you’re going for in this recipe.

So far, I am happy with this because at the first indication of sniffles or sneezing, I take about a half-shot. It really clears out the sinus. A friend suggested I take a teaspoon daily as a preventative. I may do that, as two people at work are out with pneumonia and bronchitis.

My second batch is marinating and will be ready in January.

Just a reminder in case you need it:

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