Thursday, August 29, 2013

Decanting Balsam Oil

I've been making massage oil from Balsam for many years.  It is amazing for relaxing muscles, relieving pain and stressed nerves. It is helpful when rubbed on chests for colds and coughs.  It has a very warm soothing smell of pine needles that reminds many of people of Christmas trees.  I'm making an extra batch this summer because I have a very satisfied customer, a 90 year old father of a coworker. 

He wrote a very sweet testimonial that I wanted to share.
"For some time I've been having trouble with my shoulder. I almost bought out all the drug stores of their "Icy Hot" which turned out to do nothing for my arthritic shoulder.  The more I used the sorer it got.  Finally one evening my daughter brought home a bottle of Crow Lady Healing Balsam Oil for me to try.  it was the best thing she could have done.  After rubbing 2 applications on my shoulder, all aches and pains have disappeared.  it is a beautiful product and works wonders.  You should put it on all shelves in every store.  It is wonderful and  I recommend it to anyone with sore shoulders to use it.  believe me it is a wonderful product.  Just look for Crow Lady Healing, it is produced by a Registered Nurse who is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist.  Take my word folks, once you use it, you'll come back for more."

So, I'm sterilizing some bottles and putting up some oil to keep him happy!  It needs to spend a few days on my Reiki grid to get charged up with healing Reiki energy once it's bottled up and then it will be ready for use!

Let me know if you'd like a bottle!  It's $6 for a 2 ounce bottle and $12 for 4 ounces.  You can email me at or leave me a comment!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First day of school!

First day of school! Lily to 6th grade and Georgia to 2nd.  Crazy!  Georgia took the bus and while she waited she played with Rob in the driveway. Lily rode her bike.

Lily is in her last year of elementary school.  I feel stunned by that. We enter a whole new world next year. I'll try to enjoy this last year of having them in the same school.

Off goes Georgia!

Lily finally got her back-to-school haircut at the end of the day and Kristie did a gorgeous braid.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Puppy Bath

Well, we were lucky.  The puppies needed a bath and we were there!

The girls rinsed and dried each puppy in the warm water.
Holy crap! They are so cute, stumbling and shaking once they emerge and then quickly becoming fluffy again!

Back in his nice cozy pen, Simpson wants his mother!

Bumble Bees buzzing in the Hydrangea blossoms

The buzzing was LOUD.  Our final full week of summer we stuck around home, did some back to school shopping and swam in our friend's pool when we got hot, sticky and bored.

Our friend has the most beautiful Hydrangea shrubs lining her yard and I sat under the wall of blooms while the girls swam and loved the sounds of the bees humming around me.

Cookie liked it, too, but every once in a while she would try to snap at one of the droning, slow moving bees and disrupt my reveries.
Here Georgia stole my chair and is checking out the Bumble Bees. 

How lush and alive late summer is!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


My parents, sister and I went to MASS MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) and stayed at the adjacent inn, The Porches.  It was great fun.  My mother is an artist and has been wanting us to go see the exhibit of huge Phoenixes they have on display right now.  But it is a long drive for them to do in a day trip so we decided to make it a family trip and spend the night.

We hung out the first day at The porches, what a lovely place! It is directly behind the huge museum and is a row of houses that have been fixed up into hotel rooms.  The girls swam int he heated pool and went in the hot tub and sauna.  Lily has been wanting a head full of many tiny braids so I thought it would be perfect for my mother, sister and I to all braid her hair at the same time in an example of an ancient practice done by women and girls for millennia. Instead, Georgia felt sick and I tended to her, while my mother got all the food together.  My sister ended up on hair-braiding duty alone, but she did a great job.

Georgia's mild cold suddenly was making her feel terrible and all she wanted to do what sit with her blanket.  Uh oh.
Here's the common room in the house that has the reception desk and eating area. Isn't is great?  There's even a genuine cat! My mother came once in the winter and a fire was burning in the fireplace. I love the colors; makes me want some red chairs!

We were getting ready to go get Mexican food and celebrate my sister's birthday, maybe to come back and watch the full moon rise while we sat in the hot tub or around the firepit.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis in mosqitos has caused a ban on dusk activities at home, but not in North Adams!  I was ready to hang out all night under the moon (The heated pool and hot tub are open 24hrs!)

But, alas, Georgia felt even sick and she and I had to stay back at the room while everyone else went out.  The people at the front desk came and tucked her in with a fresh duvet, gave us several kid DVDs, and some handmade chocolate mints!  Lovely.  She and I watched Night at the Museum.  By the time everyone else came back with the food, it was late and everyone was tired and scared of getting whatever Georgia had, so everyone went to bed.  No moonlight hot tub.

Here's Georgia in her nest, feeling bad.

I did get to sneak out at 10pm while my Mom sat with Georgia for a few minutes.  I got to look at the phoenixes and their glowing lights through the windows of the museum with the full moon rising.

Sunny day after a night a precious little sleep as Georgia got feverish and vomited every couple hours.  Arrg! No bucket and I didn't want to sully their weird carboardish trash baskets.  But, in a miracle of the resilience of children, her fever was gone and she was fine and eating by 10am.  Huh? How do they do that?

We had my sister's b-day party while the children swam.

And then we went to the museum.

We visited the Sol LeWitt wall drawings again.  We've been here a few times before, but they are so fun to move through.  They'll be there until 2033 so you've got plenty of time to see the rooms and rooms of color and back and white drawings covering the walls.

Someone had mentioned, when Georgia was feeling ill, that she could maybe go to the museum for a short time in a borrowed wheelchair.  She was thrilled with this idea, so even though she was feeling better, she insisted on being pushed around the museum.

Luckly Lily was game to push her around the huge museum with all its stairs and long hallways.
Here we got a family pic and one of me and my sister (our husbands were working so they couldn't come)

A sketch of the make and female Phoenixes.  The Chinese artist Xu Bing wanted them to look like constellations at night, so he covered them with hundreds of tiny lights.  They are made from construction debris and weigh 12 tons each!

The huge birds and a detail of the lights lining a piece of curved metal.

My Dad explaining the original use of  the colorful belt covers that decorated the tails of the birds.

 The phoenix's head.

In another room was a huge "tiger pelt' made entirely out of cigarettes.  The room smelled of tobacco. 

That one would be hard to move from place to place!

From the huge room that held the Phoenixes you could see The Porches across the canal.  It was a great trip and I'd love to go back again.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Ooh I love bees.
August 18th is national Honey Bee Day so our beekeeping neighbor had an open house for "wannabees" to learn about keeping bees.
I have wanted to keep bees since I read Sue Hubbell's A Book of Bees 20 years ago and Rob has taken a class and been interested, too.  The Bee Priestess class I took makes me even more excited about keeping some honey making bees nearby.  But it does take time and money; neither of which we have much of to spare, so we'll see.
Rob is keeping an eye on Craigslist for some bee equipment.

Here's a frame filled with honeycomb from one of her hives that had just killed its queen.  Our neighbor has had trouble keeping her bees happy and alive, but she still loves all that she has learned from the last year of keeping bees.
The honeycomb filled with some black pollen, some yellow pollen, and some nectar.  It is very pleasing to me, seeing how the bees create honey and I love how each step in the process is so mysterious and complex. (Part of how the bees turn nectar into honey is by "fanning their wings in a coordinated effort" to evaporate the water from the honey!)

Georgia and I inspect the honeycomb.

Lily sprays herself with the smoker. Our neighbor fills it with pine needles and lights it to make a smoke that soothes the bees and keeps them from stinging when she messes with the hive (It blocks the alarm pheromones they send to each other!)
I'll keep you posted on bees.  We'd have to order them in the mail by late winter.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

River in Gill

Rob practiced riding his bike around a cyclocross course in Gill while the girls and I played in the river with Cookie. Georgia found a tiny snapping turtle in a little pool. You can see it through the refection in the middle of this picture.

It was a lovely day. I am so sad that summer is departing.  I don't feel ready for these cool nights and I am pining for the summer bird song.  Our sweet pair of wrens who had 3-4 broods in our yard this summer were quiet when we got back from Maine. The yard is so different with no constant bubbly song of our wrennie.  I love the hum of grasshoppers but it feels like back-to-school and I am not ready.  Neither are my children.  Rob is ready and excited for his bike racing season, so he's one cheerful family member.

Lily had a great time at her wilderness camp this year where they painted each other with mud and clay from a river in Vermont.

She tried her painting skills out on Georgia and me on a rock in the stream.  She drew a crescent moon on my forehead and swirls on my cheeks in crushed bricks.

Cookie loves a shallow river, She gets nervous about swimming so this spot was perfect

Georgia had a turn, too

Monday, August 12, 2013

G lost her first tooth!

She was beyond delighted!  Squealing with pride and joy!  Then she ran to rinse it off and I heard the most terrible tragic shriek.  She had dropped the tooth down the drain!  She was beside herself, screaming!  Lily came running to help with such a look of horror. (You can see Georgia's sad face in the pic)

We tried to pry the pipe off, but it was glued!
What to do!
Georgia was crying and Lily was yelling at her to pull it together, saying, "The tooth fairy will still come, Georgia! She'll still come!"  I was trying to be a plumber, but I am not a plumber.

The girls thought:
The neighbor!
Our wonderful neighbor!

Georgia and Lily ran out to him and told him or heartbreaking story.
Even though he had just got home from vacation,
over he came with a bucket full of tools and got to work.

There was a tense silence as he worked.
Rob got home from bike practice and wondered what on earth was happening.

Our neighbor used his saw and got the drain trap out and dumped its contents into a pan.
There, in the grey sludge, was the tiny sharp tooth.
Thank God!
We all jumped for joy.
Our neighbor said, "Of course. We had to get it. It's her first tooth!"

Here is the treasure we can leave out for the tooth fairy now.

Thank goodness for handy and kindly neighbors!

Sleepy Cookie

Silly needle-nose Cookie sleeping on the way home.  She had a good time at Grandma and G-pops, but was ready to come home.  She slept the whole way home with her head on the front seat table.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Puppy's eyes are open

We're back from vacation and Georgia was extremely eager to visit the puppies as soon as we got home.

So damn cute!

Their eyes are open now.

They are feisty and wide awake and then pass out in bundles.