Thursday, July 9, 2020

Garden Goodness

This year during our time at home, my daughter and son-in love planted a big garden, and I've enjoyed the benefits! They have a large lot, and a lot of familiar crops. 

Last summer, I got a damaged wading pool from our local Toy Store, planning to use it for a raised bed garden ... I found a sunny spot between my garage and apple tree, planted some simple containers in it in June. I also moved in a couple of tomatoes and a Taro. 

I'm enjoying watching seedlings emerge Orach, okra, spicy greens and salad mix, carrots, purslane ...

I recently harvested seed from my perennial spinach and quinoa relative, Good King Henry - Blitum Bonus-henricus, and simmered some with quinoa for a tasty and naturally gluten free porridge. I've had my past colony over a decade, and appreciate it's carefree nature! It is in a corner that rarely gets extras water, is one of the first spring greens, and I'm still harvesting leaves to eat like spinach. I found the idea for porridge on a British blog

Pollen from GKH has been found in sites back to the bronze age in Britain and Western Europe. The author Alison also enjoys perennial herbs - which with their developed root systems, are often more nutrient dense than their annual counterparts. 

She offered a recipe for Khoubiza, a Moroccan warm "salad" - or pesto - made with common mallow and purslane! I loved the idea, and those plants both volunteer freely in my daughter's garden! My younger grandson loves purslane, so I had him keep me gather the leaves. I used coconut oil, and gathered fresh Thai basil and parsley to add to a colander of the wild greens - yum!! 

 I sometimes forget how much flavor pesto adds to a dish - the small dark seeds in the quinoa are Good King Henry, and I added coconut milk yogurt and Khoubiza for a delightful lunch! What's growing in your garden?

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Tea Season

It's tea season, and a couple of days ago I harvested a batch of Sochi Camellia sinensis, and processed a batch of tea. It is such a satisfying process, and I'm always struck by the fragrance of the leaves as they dry. As this Camellia association article notes, few people realize that whenever they sit down with a cup of green, black or white tea, the brew comes from Camellia leaves! 

Last year, my friend Nikki invited me over for a tea party, both teaching me the process, and sharing cups of her beautiful tea. She sent me home with a basket of fresh leaves we harvested from her bushes, which I augmented with leaves from my own for a second batch. 
Camellia sinensis Sochi
Nikki and I both grow the variety from Sochi Russia, which is on the Black Sea, and the "most Northern tea," very aromatic and frost Hardy. While the flowers are small (about the size of a strawberry flower) It's leaves are about the size of my ornamental Camellia. The flowers can also be used for a light and fragrant tea.

High in antioxidants, especially catechins, green tea is preventative for cancers, lowers the risk of stroke, and helps control blood sugar. In Okinawa Japan, one of the "Blue Zones" for longevity, drinking several cups of green tea daily was common. They often added jasmine flowers and a bit of turmeric for shan-pien, "tea with a bit of scent."
Harvest - 24 hour rest
It's been rainy, so I needed to await a break in the weather to pick the tip 2-3 leaves into a basket. These leaves are still soft, and rest in the basket for 24 hours, with an occasional toss.
In the wok
The next step is done in the wok, I used round salad fork and spoon to gently stir and keep the leaves from browning in a "stir-fry green" process.

Turned out onto a well washed cotton kitchen cloth, the leaves are tossed till kool, then bundled into a ball and kneaded to lightly crush and oxygenate. Meantime, the oven is heating to 400°
Ready to knead

After kneading
When the oven reaches 400°, the leaves are spread on a baking sheet or pan, and baked for 3 minutes, removed from the oven and spread on the cloth. This is repeated for 2 minutes, then 1 minute, and the leaves gently tossed between each round in the oven. 
After first round in the oven
Third round
With each round of the process, the leaves get drier and change color, retaining a green tint. The fragrance is a lovely light floral, rather like Jasmine. 
Drying on the rack
Now the leaves are drying on a rack, and I toss them occasionally. When they reach the crispy dry state, I'll store them in a wide mouthed jar, with parchment paper under the lid, in a dark cupboard. This time, I separated some of the stem pieces, and baked a bit longer for kukicha or twig tea

#greentea #permaculture #longevity

Friday, May 3, 2019

T'is May!

As they often do this time of year, my thoughts and hands turn to gardening. It's been sunny the last week, and I've been digging ... 

My daughter and son-in law often have a lovely large garden, and we have two wonderful Farmers Markets, one year round, so I've not done much the last couple of years. There are always tomatoes, and I usually forget to harvest some of the garlic, so I divide and repent clumps in the spring! 

I've got a rather wild front yard (and am always surprised when someone stops to tell me how much they enjoy it! My camas blooms for a little while under a moss Rose and birch tree, a Rowan/Hawthorne cross is full of May Flowers (and produces delicious berries) Wallflower, primrose, flowering quince and calendula are blooming. 

Our local BiMart (NW chain, employee owned) has raised bed kits, and I decided to get one that's 3 x3' for the front, and some soil to fill it. .... There are front yard gardens sprinkled throughout my neighborhood, so I'm in good company! 

I looked up some YouTube videos, both on making and suggestions on filling the bed. 

  • Dig out area under bed, remove roots etc
  • Set the bed in place
  • Cover the soil with Cardboard (barrier to roots, and worms love it)
  • 2-3" native soil
  • Next in layers: 2-3" potting soil, 1" compost/worm castings and 2" coconut noir (I've had this in bricks that you moisten and break down) and 2 C rock dust ... Mix a bit, add another layer till your bed is full enough. Add other amendments you like - kelp, bone meal, ...
  • Water with 1/2 cup fish fertilizer in 5 gallon bucket of water, and let sit a bit
Camas and tulips
By adding nutrients, I re-use potting soil from containers, and will see what's ready to use from my compost bin. I've picked up several herbs, and may include some of those. I've already planted tarragon and thyme in one of the back beds.

What's in your garden? 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Archangels and Chakras

This weekend I've been doing some much needed dethugging as I work toward moving my Atelier into my living room, and my harps into my dining nook! And painting! A wall, a table top, ... And moving some furniture, filling some boxes and bags to go to a thrift shop or the tip.

Today whilst chatting with a friend, I pulled an archangel Card from one of my decks for her ... And a bit later, a fascinating YouTube video from British healer Amanda Ellis came up on my feed, and I watched a couple. Wow. It's well worth watching!

On February 16, she recorded a piece about having been sick with a double whammy virus,
Archangel Metatron 
that returned just as she thought she was over it!

She works with the Archangels, especially Metatron, and shared a teaching about receiving an energetic reset, rather like a vaccine for our physical bodies to match the evolution of our spiritual bodies, as many shift from 3-D to 5-D. 

Now this concept of illness as a reset is something a one of my daughter's co-workers told her a number of years ago. Her friend sees being ill as a chance for the body to do a tune-up, basically going through all the systems, tuning them to better efficiency, and often forgoing more serious illness. And it's a time to just take it easy, if we possibly can! 

Amanda works with colour, so mentioned several that came up as she was in recovery, resting and staying hydrated: green for Raphael, angel of healing, and a reminder to see illness as something "passing through,"rather than identifying with it ("I am...."), peach and Christ's energy, a feeling of being held and nurtured. Pink and Mary Magdalene, 'who is a great healer,' and a sense of good medicine, a tonic.
And the Rose Gold of the Stellar Gateway Chakra, above our heads. 

Now my ears perked up at the mention of Rose Gold! 
Years ago, a friend who received communications from animals visited shortly after I held a Reiki class . I mentioned I was surprised my cat wasn't spooked by the dog that came with his person for the weekend, and she said, "oh! Jade is showing me that that wasn't an ordinary dog, he was a Master teacher (!) And oh! He's showing me that Emmett filled the room, well, the whole house really, with this beautiful Rose Gold light! Like a sun, that might kept expanding, till it filled the whole house! Oh, it's so beautiful!, and feels so warm!" 
I have used that image for space clearing ever since! 

Amanda said that Rose Gold can be used to purge old stuck energy, so new clear energy can come in. That's exactly the feeling I've gotten using the rose gold sun in a house, and I often suggest it. 

Megatron asked Amanda, "Do you see yourself in gold? Do you value your heart and stomach as Golden, divine and pure vessels? Would you put 'junk'in a vessel of gold? Junk food, alcohol, sugar, ..." ...she quickly said she that while she does try to treat her body to wholesome food, (etc), like everyone else, she doesn't always stay on track! ... But this image of her heart, stomach and inner systems as Golden is a powerful incentive! I think of the flower essence California Poppy, "your true gold is in your own heart!"

"Metatron uses sacred geometry shapes to clear and align chakra cetera. Ask Metatron to align your chakras, and the shape moves through your crown and down through each chakra, clearing psychic toxins from your body and chakras." Archangel Oracle Cards. 

Here's the Rose Gold, Cosmic Gateway process she shared (it's about 35-40 minutes in on the video)
  • Get comfortable, perhaps light a candle
  • Breathe in gold, breath gold out...
  • Breathe in gold, breath gold out...
  • Breathe in gold, breath gold out...
  • Breathe gold into your organs, your bones, your liver, skin, hair, finger and toenails
  • When you are filled with Gold, begin pushing it out, to fill the cocoon around you, and to the edges of your Aura (about an arm's length, like an egg around your body)
  • Imagine the membrane around the Golden cocoon - it protects you so lower energies can't enter your field. In front, behind, above, bellow and on both sides, only pure, uplifting energy can enter.
  • "Gunk" can accumulate on the outside of this Gold bubble, so occasionally "hose it down" with Gold or silver, or take a shower of golden light, imagining a showerhead 10" or so above your head. (This is a good weekly practice, more often as needed)
  • I sometimes follow an "energy shower of gold" with a brief shower of violet (1-2 minutes), as violet transmutes energy, so it harmonizes
  • Sense things around you via the Gold Ray (Rose Gold glasses?!) Thinks you touch, people you encounter, and the whole world changes!
These articles from a decade ago include energy shower and several other energy practices I incorporate at times. This one has a quick house and land tuning, incorporating the rose gold sun.

I've been taking immune support, monolaurin and elderberry syrup, and haven't been hit with this bug (yet, anyway, knock on wood!) ...
Amanda listed what she's been doing in her recovery:
  • Drink more water/stay hydrated
  • Meditate, and write down what she's received
  • Rest
  • Colour energies and sprays (which she sells)
  • Working with the angels and guides
  • Sage/ smudge (Paolo Santa would also be a good choice) 
I'd add:
  • Autoimmune herbs /teas
  • Elderberry syrup and monolaurin (the antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial fraction of coconut)
  • My regular supplements
  • flower essences
As I'm in process with my home, as many are right now (the Konmari Netflix series has sparked lots of clearing!!) I am thinking of that inquiry about seeing myself/my home in Gold, and valuing what is here, and what I bring in!! 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Nutritional Diva

Several years ago, a favorite blogger referred to me as a "Nutritional Diva" in his response to one of my posts - and it's true that I've been interested in nutrition since my 20s! 
From the writings of Adele Davis, to our simple La Leche League suggestion to eat "a wide variety of food in close to its natural state," (I strive for mostly organic and locally grown!), my Virgo heart has loved exploring research and concepts for optimal nutrition. I strive for a balance of eatng the best I can and using high quality supplements. 

Here is a peek at some of my favorite Minerals:  

As a massage therapist, Magnesium, with its role in muscle relaxation, was on my list of "must have" nutrients early on. While "Maggie" is crucial for between 400 and 800 processes in our bodies, (including hormone balance, muscles, the nervous system and energy production), between 80 and 90% of the population is low in this essential mineral. 
5 mg per pound of "ideal weight" is the suggested daily amount. Dark leafy greens, organically grown,are one of ought richest sources.

Dr Jonathan Wright and cardiologist William Davis frequently remind us of its importance, and of the widespread deficiency of this vital mineral. Modern farming methods and increasing consumption of grains reduce the availability of magnesium for many people. As a cardiologist, Dr Davis found that when his patients stopped eating wheat, which binds minerals including magnesium, their heart health improved dramatically. He has switched his focus from surgery to preventative medicine.

I've made Magnesium Bicarbonate water, using a few Tablespoons Milk of Magnesia in carbonated water for over a year. It's easy to make, palatable and well absorbed. This is the form Dr Davis (author of Wheat Belly and Undoctored) recommends, especially for those prone to migraines. I also take magnesium glycinate, and a dropper of liquid multi mineral supplement.

Bicarbonate and Boron are two co-factors involved in magnesium metabolism. I've written about the importance of boron before here and here.  Over the two years been making and using Boron Water, I've noticed I'm rarely sore after activity or exercise, and less "creaky." 
Arthritic joints are found to have less boron than "normal" joints, and Spas around the world known for Arthritis Cures have boron (and other trace minerals) in their waters. The US intake is 0-3 mg daily. It seems beneficial to get 3mg or more daily. 

Dr Rex Newham, a soil scientist who later trained as a homeopath and osteopath realized that the use of phosphate fertilizer without other amendments resulted in soil deficient in boron, and a subsequent increase in arthritis. He found 6 -8 mg daily generally sufficient, while those with active disease benefited from 9-10 mg. 
Dr Newman also observed native farmers in Fiji, who used traditional farming methods and ate abundant starchy vegetables and fruit had much less arthritis than farmers using phosphate fertilizer and eating more grains (rice). Our extension service recommends dissolving 1 Tablespoon borax in a gallon of water, and using 1 Cup of this solution per plant. They suggest soil testing after the first year. 

Dr Axe wrote this piece on boron, which includes suggested amounts. Boron plays an important role in oral health, and in reducing the risk of gum disease. Dr Flechas video of his talk at an oral health conference offers a great overview of the benefits, and here's another article highlighting some of the research. It's available in 3mg doses, and in trace mineral formulas. A friend who's a naturopath suggests hair analysis is a good way to determine your levels.

Lithium Orotate is a mineral in a supplemental form which I've been intrigued with, and taken off and on for over a decade. The sauna at Breitenbush contains trace amounts of both boron and lithium. and is well known for promoting calm and relaxation.  

I first read this article by Dr Wright, who also speaks about the values obtained by talking small doses of Lithium on his weekly radio show. I learned about the importance of iodine for hormonal function from Dr Wright's column in Prevention Mag in the mid 70s, and have have a fan of this nutritionally oriented MD ever since! Lithium is part of the same group of minerals that include sodium and potassium. 

As Dr Wright remarks that If the only effect of talking small doses of lithium did was to increase grey matter in our brains (something we didn't think was possible in maturity!) it would be awesome! ... 
It does so much more! Lithium reduces aggressive behavior (especially in men) promoting a reduction in homicide and domestic violence, and reduces depression in women.  A client in her 80s confirmed this, saying when her verbally abusive husband took his lithium, he was kinder to her, and if she was taking hers, she could handle it better if he was mean! 
Lithium is protective of the Brain, decreasing erosion, and shrinkage, increasing Neuro transmitters, and protecting against clots! Dr Wright takes 20mg daily, (and recommends 10-20 mg for optimal results) He has also found it very helpful for children whose parents are alcoholics, or have other addictions. 

Iodine is another nutrient we may be low in. Dr Wright mentions iodine on several of his radio broadcasts, and Dr Axe gives an overview here. I've had relief from hormonal woes using Iodine in the 70s, and true to Folk Medicine hero, Dr Jarvis' comments, it "calmed (my) race horse type child!" within two hours whenever he took it! I include kelp in my daily fare, and take iodine periodically. 
Selenium is important for iodine absorption, and both iodine and selenium are low in our Western Oregon soil.

Each of us needs to discover our own balance between choosing food sources and deciding whether to augment withsupplementats.

May you enjoy good health! 

Friday, June 1, 2018

Tea Time

My first tea Camellia
I began growing tea Camellias over a decade ago, with pink and white flowered plants which lasted several years. I later found the variety from Sochi, Russia, (near the Black Sea) which does better in our more Northern clime, and my shrub is 6-8 years old. 

My British friend Nikki has a "plantation" of 9 tea Camellias in her city garden, which is a lovely mix of ornamental and edibles. Last week she mentioned beginning this year's tea harvest, and I asked how she processes it, she responded by inviting me over for Tea and a lesson! Nikki is a Brit, with roots in Belgium, and loves her tea! 

Several years ago, Nikki attended a varietal tasting with a Tea Master, was entranced with the different flavors. When nearby Red Ridge Farms, where we purchased our tea plants, offered a workshop for processing green tea at home, she was in! The teacher had lived in China with his wife while she studied acupuncture, and learned from Chinese tea masters, and gave a step by step process suitable for small batches.

Our tea time yesterday began the afternoon before, when Nikki plucked sprigs of the top two or 
Harvesting of tea in China, Tao of Tea
three leaves from several tea shrubs, which she prunes in the fall to produce a tea harvesting "table." My own plant is "wild grown," not pruned, so pruning next fall is on my list!

When I arrived, she brought out the basket of leaves which had wilted overnight, and were ready for the next step, placing the leaves in a wok on high heat, and tossing gently for a bit. Nikki asked me to bring old well washed cotton cloths, and we tipped the leaves onto a square, twisted the ends to form a ball, and rolled / kneeded the tea, while the oven heated to 400°

The next step was several rounds in the oven, in flat pans, then tipping back on the cloths to cool down in between rounds. (3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute) Each stage includes gently tossing and handling the tea. 
One of the magic bits is how fragrant this fresh tea is as it begins to dry, with a flowery, almost Jasmine odor! Who knew? After the last round, we left the tea on the cloths, while we headed out to the garden, and "plucked" a new batch of tea tips! It sprinkled earlier in the afternoon, we were grateful the sun was back out, and the tea wasn't too damp.

Freshly harvested tea leaves
She'd had me bring a basket without a handle for this step, and we plucked into the basket, tossing the tea leaves frequently. This tossing will continue today, (the leaves are already getting fragrant!) and I'll prepare a second batch this afternoon, on my own! 

After gathering some garden goodies for me, lettuce, artichokes, herbs, ... we came back inside, and had a lovely tea, sipping a brew from leaves she harvested and processed just this week, in glass tea cups from Belgium, which a cousin sent! 
Our tea included thyroid healthy snacks suggested by Medical Medium Anthony William: four banana slices topped with red dulse, several celery slices and a date, (and a bit of dark chocolate just for fun!) 

It was a lovely afternoon, and I'm looking forward to my own adventures in tea making! 
Tea on the drying racks

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Turmeric Lemonade Plus

Throughout the year, my friend Donna has been making a turmeric lemonade brew and shipping throughout the week. I've written before of its great properties for both inflammation, and effectiveness against depression, and though I don't make the lemonade as consistently, I do use turmeric frequently. We're lucky to have fresh turmeric available from a local organic farm, and I get well water from Donna, so I avoid our city's fluoridated brew.

Last summer, Donna began making up boron solution, and adding it to her turmeric lemonade, with even better results! In the fall, she and her husband spent much of two weekends filling the woodshed, and she said even after the second week, she felt just a little sore (rather than spending half the day in bed!!) 

After watching this talk to an oral health group by Dr Flechas' I increased my own boron intake to 10-20 mg daily (1 teaspoon of solution =3 mg boron) Since boron tends to be energizing, it's best to take in the morning. (3 mg boronTablets are also available)

This mourning I'm making a batch for my daughter, using my current recipe, inspired by the one on Lindsay Cotter's blog.

Turmeric Ginger Lemonade
4 cups spring water
1 Tablespoon fresh Turmeric, grated
1 tsp powdered turmeric
1 Tablespoon fresh Ginger, grated
A sprinkle of  black pepper (fresh ground if possible)
   ·  Bring water with ginger and turmeric to boil, summer 10 minutes
   ·  Add a handful of fresh lemon balm in season, steep (can refrigerate overnight)
   ·  Cool, Strain, then add
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of a blood orange (optional)
2-4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or honey 
2 Tablespoons boron solution (optional)
   · Refrigerate, and drink a cup in the morning, garnished with fresh mint

In most of the USA, the daily intake of boron is 3-4 mg, and arthritis plagues over 25% of the population. In areas higher in boron, the daily intake can be 20-50 mg, and arthritis rates drop to 1/2 of 1%. 
In Western Oregon, where I live, boron tends to be low, and this article by our JMHart of the Oregon extension service gives suggestions for supplementing the soil in home gardens: 

A note about boron
Many soils in western Oregon are deficient in boron (B). Several crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, caneberries, strawberries, beets, carrots, etc.) can benefit
from an application of boron.
If the soil test for boron is less than 1 ppm, apply household or agricultural grade borax (11 percent B) at the rate of 1 tablespoon per 100 square feet where boron-
requiring plants will be grown. Apply the borax evenly and mix thoroughly with the soil. 
It may be easier to dissolve 1 tablespoon of borax in 1 gallon of water and apply the solution evenly with a sprinkling can. Apply 1 fluid ounce of solution per plant. You can find borax in the cleaning supplies section of most grocery stores.