Sunday, June 30, 2013

Elderberry fritters

Every year we make Elderberry flower fritters.  I pull out my Blanche Derby book My Wild Friends where she has recipes and stories about local plants.  She lives in Northampton and teaches wild edibles classes.

The girls didn't want to come with me to pick the flowers so I took my time and took a walk through the woods and then stepped over the stream to the lush Elderberry shrub.

Elderberry is a sacred plant, said to be where the Fairy Queen resides and one must ask before you pick the flowers or berries from the shrub. 
The flowers are so pretty; they are made up of many tiny perfect flowers, said to be the Fairy Queen's wedding bouquet. 

We mixed flour and milk and the dipped in the flowers and fried them in butter and served them with maple syrup.  I made some gluten free ones with coconut and almond flower.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cookie and her job

I had her carry the water because the cattle dog part of her wants a job.
But she got wrapped around a tree and acted like a bucking fool when I tried to extract her, the water sloshing and making her nervous.
Maybe I'll carry my own water....

Friday, June 28, 2013

Georgia picking up some speed

She loves to ride her bike and now has figured out how to use the brakes so she can get going a little quicker and then actually stop.  This is good news.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Peas at Picadilly

Lily on the barn swing on our quick pick up at the farm.

Always so grounding and lovely to get out in the fields and pick.  The peas are sweet and delicious.  The farm is so lush yet so organized; it is a very pleasing combination.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ducklings at the farm

HOLY CUTENESS!!  So soft and fluffy with shiny black bills.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beach Day!

Wingaersheek Beach

We played hookey and went to the beach today.
It was hot!
Too hot to stay home and sweat.
Rob chose wingaersheek in Gloucester because it is shallow and we got there at high tide when the water was warm, so we could swim.  Fun.  But it was crowded.  Really crowded.

Georgia is finishing her melted mango slushy.
Lily is drawing the ocean with her b-day art kit.

See all the people?
So many teens.

We spent the day and then got an early bird dinner at the Gloucester House with a view of the harbor and a gluten free menu.  I even got a gluten free cupcake.  Nice.

Then, to miss traffic, we went to Stage Fort Park in Gloucester and looked at the crabs and the ocean some more.

Lily let me take her annual portrait for the wall in our stairway.  She's wearing her favorite shirt (That grandma bought for her after Lily emailed her the deets. I didn't even know about it.)

Georgia doing what she loves best.

Beautiful stones.  I want to bring them all home, but instead I'll take a pic.
The girls on the way home.  Snuggling in the car is very rare so I documented it.
We made it home at 9pm, ready for a quick shower and bed.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blooming summer!

“One regret dear world, that I am determined not to have when I am lying on my deathbed is that I did not kiss you enough.” 




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grandma's B-day party

The vine of the passion flower looks like a hairy snake. 
My sister's garden is in full glorious bloom.
Cookie rests while the evening winds down and the sparklers burn.

Mom! Grandma!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Making flower essences

I've been making flower essences for years.  But I still have to pull out my Roots Of Healing by Deb Soule, a wonderful herbalist from Maine. 
She details the steps, which are quite particular.

The bowl must be clean and clear glass with no patterns filled with spring water.  You cannot touch the flowers with your fingers, instead use a sterilized pair of scissors.

Spring water from a glass container is used and the perfect, freshest flowers are chosen to rest on the water for whatever amount of time feels right.

Today I am making a rose combination and an Angelica flower essence to put in my aromatherapy blends and any oral drops I make for the rest of the year.

supermoon solstice

The moon was orange as it slowly rose over the farm at the end of this longest day of the year.

Happy supermoon Solstice!

Flickering fire with hot dogs and marshmallows and then a walk around the farm in the darkness.  The fireflies were abundant.
 Happy summer. 

May it be abundant and happy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Gorgeous Belle Isis blooms again

This is a glorious rose, fragrant and covered in lush flowers.  It was bred and named in 1849 and has been in gardens for its fragrance and heartiness.  It smells wondrous and I have been putting blossoms in my water again this year to drink in the fragrance before they're gone!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Beaver wetlands

I've been taking Cookie on a walk in the morning down to the wetland area near where I live.  We call it the beaver walk because when we first moved here 8 years ago there was a family of beaver who lived there.  I haven't seen them in a while, but the name stuck.

It is so beautiful this time of year, before bugs and weeds are plentiful.

The birds love it there and in a quick walk I saw a kingfisher, a heron, red winged blackbirds.  I heard a song sparrow and a common yellowthroat.

I never got down here last year, with my back in such bad shape, so it is really wonderful to be able to walk down here without dreading the climb back up to the car.

Today, I sat down on some dry pine needles by the water's edge and Cookie watched the squirrels run between the trees.  There was a noise and I looked up to see two gorgeous large female does.  One spotted us nervously and lept away, but the other seemed perplexed by us, she moved her head from side to side (which deer do because they lack a UV filter in their eyes which gives them less detailed vision) (at least that's what this guy said and she stepped closer.  It was a sweet and magnificent feeling to sit there and look at her while she looked at us; stepping closer on her delicate hooves.  Several minutes went by and I was amazed Cookie didn't have a fit, but she seemed confused and curious, too.  I breathed and let myself take in her large eyes and tall frame, her large wet nose. Then a squirrel jumped and she turned and fled, flashing her white tail.

It changes the woods to know that they're in there, walking quietly through the brush and sleeping in grass nests at night.
The Jack-in-the-Pulpits are everywhere this year.
This is a particularly nice specimen.
They apparently smell of fungus and attract fungus gnats who are duped into pollinating the flower with no reward for themselves.

They are Georgia's favorite wildflower this spring and I love the brown stripes inside the flower.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Painted Turtle

Rob found in the garage.  He heard something clumping about in the corner and went to investigate.  This has been a spring filled with turtles!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Lena braided Nooni and my hair at work.
It is one of Lena's many gifts.
It has been busy, so it was fun to have a moment to play.
I felt like a schoolgirl.
I slept on it that night and the girl's were very puzzled in the morning.
"Who did that?"

My dear friend and co-worker Nooni is the one that instigated the activity, because her hair was finally long enough to braid.

Angelica archangelica

My beautiful Angelica plant is towering over me this year.  I planted it at the threshold to the house and it is thriving.

This plant is special in many ways, one of them is that it creates two totally different essential oils with different properties; one from the seeds and one from the root.  The essential oils are too difficult for me to extract, but I am going to make a flower essence from the big blooming flower.

The flower essence of Angelica helps to open and connect to the spiritual world, especially the angels;

I like having it at the entrance to my house, surrounded by its own little halo of gnats and buzzy bugs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Clarinet concert

Lily after her band concert.  She plays the clarinet; she did great and had fun.
See the flowers.
Remember what I said about precedent.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Sweet Place

If our violin lesson goes well, we head to The Sweet Place in Brattleboro.
The people who run it are really nice and the girls have the protocol down by now. (Use a glove and put the lid on the nearby jar while you dig around looking for the perfect gummy.)

As you can see, they are very excited and goofy when they get there.

(Last week they were closed, which was a tragedy to Georgia.)
It can be serious business, choosing the perfect candy.

Georgia as a bear in a leapord hat

She had her final performance for the year.
She was a caged bear in a quirky rendition of Hansel and Gretel.
She was nervous, but she did well. (No lines this time, so the pressure was less intense than last time, when she practiced her lines for weeks.)
We got her flowers, which we will regret because now we have set a precedent...

Multifora Rose

is blooming everywhere!
I love the scent of roses in the woods.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Luna Moth

Last night I was feeling very morose.
I did the bills and was overwhelmed with the need for money for car repair and camp payments. 
I went to bed with a prayer, for a sign to tell me everything would be OK. That the bills would work themselves out and that I could trust that things would be alright.

I have been working less at my nursing job, getting my business up and running, but the bills have not been growing less.  Rob has been supportive, but a bit worried about me taking time and money to get certifications and really invest in my training.  So I went to bed with a heavy heart.  Am I doing the right thing?  Was this all some foolishness?

When I woke up in the morning, I went to the girl's room to wake them up for school and there was a toy? a magnet? a large sticker? No! It was a Luna Moth! A real live specimen!  Right there clinging to the window screen.
What a beauty he was!
We spent the morning checking him out. (I think he was a male because he has the bushier antennae.).
His body was thick and fuzzy and his little legs clung to the screen.  It was a windy day, so we worried he would get tugged away, but he held on tight all day into the evening.

I felt such joy in seeing him there.
It felt like an answer to my prayer.
It reminded me that everything is fine.  It will all be fine.

Luna moths have been the animal messenger from the other world before.
When I did my first group shamanic journey with Eliot Coleman (who wrote Plant Spirit Medicine) during a Healing with Flowers conference in 1999 it was a Luna Moth who guided me down the pathways to the other world,  When we came back from the journey I was surprised that a Luna Moth had been in my journey because I had never seen one and they weren't really on my radar, but I loved to see it's large green wings bright against the dark trunk of a large Mother tree.

Several days later I was walking down a busy Amherst street when the bars were letting out.  I was there with a friend and we were talking when suddenly there was a Luna Moth, tattered and huge on the side of a building, fluttering.  I was speechless.  My Luna Moth!  She was here!  In this world.  I stopped, but there were drunk men around and I didn't want to stop.  I couldn't share the magic with my friend right then, but when we got out of the chaos, I cried to her and tried to tell her, "That was the moth!  Why was it there?  I should go back and get it." She listened, but thought we should go home.  The moth would be fine.
I always felt cowardly for not going back, through the throng of drunk men and gently taking the moth to the woods, to a tree, back to the night sky.

I read up on Luna Moths, learned they only live for a week and do not have mouth parts.
They do not eat. 
They only mate.
They find each other in the  darkness because the female releases a chemical in the night and the male "smells" her with those bushy antennae.

I wrote about finding an intact Luna Moth, dead on the path in front of me in this post

More recently, last year, I was doing a form of meditation, which Martha Beck recommends, called Intentional Rest which I've mentioned on this blog before, .
here's the link to the guy who created it

It is amazing.
Very deeply relaxing and I did it alot when I was in back pain.

Part of the process is "resting" for things that you want, resting into them as a way of releasing, yet creating them.  So I rested into Luna Moths.  I wanted to see them again.  I completed my daily (somewhat) meditation with the intention of seeing a Luna Moth and then I waited and waited and just when I was getting a bit skeptical and annoyed, guess what happened?

On my way home from work in the middle of the night I saw a bird,
a big flapping bird in the lights of the Vehicle Inspection Center in downtown Greenfield. 
My mind said, "Bird? Midnight? Bird?
I pulled over to see an enormous fluttering green creature, almost like a fish in the air. 
The wings were that familiar droplet shape. 

It was a bright green flapping Luna Moth in the bright beam of light. 

It landed on the ground at my feet.  Huge!  Glorious bright green!
The antlers were lush and large!

Thinking it was a gift for me, I leaned down to pick it up.

Just then my co-worker pulled into the parking lot.  She's seen me pull in suddenly and get out of my car, so she was worried I needed car help.  "Are you OK Katherine?" she asked from her car.

I turned to her and the moth flew up and flew away, through the stream of bright light off into the night air.

My friend was apologetic for distracting me, but I had seen it's beautiful details. it's fuzzy antennae and bright false eyes on its wings.  I was glad I had a witness, too.

So, I loved the Luna Moth coming for a visit today.
He stayed all day and at night he was still there, so I turned of the girl's nightlight and hoped he would fly away.
I went up an hour later and he was gone.
Hopefully flying through the night, attracted to the smell of a female somewhere.

It gave me great hope, that there are ways to connect to those that you are meant to connect with.
That people will find me and I will help them.
And that everything will be OK.