Hibiscus-Clove Cooler

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In the summer months, the new life that emerged in spring is in full swing. The sun is high in the sky casting warmth–or in Florida’s case–excruciating heat upon the land.

During the summer we are active and engaged in the world. Food is plentiful. We can eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible to help keep us cool.

Following is a recipe to help keep you cool this summer.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to one whole lime, or to taste
  • 4 – 6 hibiscus ice cubes
  • Cold water
  • Tiniest pinch of clove
  • Dash of sweetener or 1-2 fruit ice cubes (optional)

Directions

  • Add lime slices or squeeze desired amount of juice into a tall glass
  • Add sweetener/fruit cubes if desired
  • Pour cold water over contents
  • Stir in tiny pinch of clove

What ways do you keep cool during the hot months?

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Appreciating Home

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Home Sweet Home. Finally feeling more settled and comfortable. We moved from a little under 3 acres to 10 acres. The solitude is bliss. Today’s post is just going to be me sharing our new home with our readers. It’s breathtaking.

 

Photographed by Amanda Harman

 

We have two ponds on our property (hubby calls them lakes). One pond is entirely ours, and the other we share with a very select few. I love to sit and watch the water when it rains. Watching the lightning behind the line of pine trees is mesmerizing. I’ve never really been drawn to bodies of water and I particularly dislike the ocean. I do find quite a bit of solace wandering the perimeter of our bodies of water though in our backyard.

 

Photographed by Amanda Harman

 

The lily pads in the ponds are in bloom. They’re still beauty demands attention when you walk past.

 

Photographed by Amanda Harman

 

Happy caterpillars enjoy their do nothing but eat stage of life.

 

 

Our animals are enjoying the extra space as well.

 

 

New life was celebrated on the new homestead. We moved the animals on May 5. Lyris gave birth to two healthy polled bucklings the same day. It is her first time being a mama. She didn’t know what to do so I had to stay home an extra day to teach her how to nurse patience since she didn’t want to sit still while the kids greedily ate. She finally accepted that she had to take care of these babies, not run away from them nonstop.

 

 

There was not a barn on the land, so we had to add that before the animals moved. It has come such a long way.

 

 

The house itself is gorgeous. Very little actually needs to be done do it on the inside. We’re told it’s a French style home. Whatever it is, I am in love with the brick and the trees on the driveway.

 

 

The treasures we find in the yard are priceless. The magnolias are intoxicating and the wild mushrooms are mystical.

 

I cannot get enough of how much the animals love it here. Our family is adjusting nicely to the isolation. It’s really not the bad though. We’re about 20 minutes from town, which is great. It’s so quiet and I’m really learning to appreciate that quiet.

 

We’re slowly, but surely, creating a paradise at home.

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We’re Back!

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It’s been forever. So much has happened in the past three months that has prevented me from writing. First, it’s the end of the school year. I teach special needs and this time of year is pretty paperwork heavy for me. This year is particularly busy because over half of my caseload is graduating. Which means more paperwork and more meetings than normal.

On top of that, we moved the WHOLE farm. ALL OF IT. I cannot believe we did it. We knew that our long term goal was to one day own more land, but that goal became a reality much sooner than we had originally anticipated. Everything happened so quickly and it demanded all of our attention.

My husband got a zillow notification of a property that was on sale a few months back. It was a nice looking house on about 10 acres. We knew we wanted to build but decided to look at this house on a whim. It’s not often than we instantly fall in love with a home, but we did upon looking at this house.

The stars were definitely lined up for us because we hit the ground running as soon as we made the offer. Before we knew it we were packing up the entire house we were living in and getting it ready to be shown to be sold.

Moving a whole farm is far from easy. I enjoyed 0% of the whole moving process. Our animals shared the same feelings with me. On the day we had to move the animals, I rode a donkey.

 

 

It wasn’t an experience I would brag about. It provided much comedic relief and thankfully didn’t end in harm to anyone. We had both donkeys in the trailer. The younger one decided she didn’t want to be on the railer anymore and was able to leave before we could shut the trailer. I was thinking, since she’s my buddy and all, that if I stood in her path and redirected her she would comply. I also knew that plan might not work. It didn’t work.

Merida, our younger donkey, trotted up to me. I tried to kind of nudge her back, but she somehow got her head under my armpit and lifted. That’s when a trot turned into a gallop. Next thing I know, I’m further up on this donkey. I had to lift my leg to get off of her. I was riding her backwards and didn’t realize she was about to turn. As she turned, we both kind of–fell. I fell on my back and as she started to lean down towards me I was able to push her back up to her feet with my hands to make sure she didn’t actually fall on me.

We looked at each other after I stood up. I swear the look on her face said And we will never speak of this. To anyone. Ever. But it was too late. My husband was dying from laughter. And you know what she did later? Simply walked on the trailer by herself.

 

 

We got all the animals moved on Cinco de Mayo. Hours after the move, Lyris had her first kidding. She brought two baby boys into the world and she couldn’t have been more terrified. She just didn’t know what to do with them. Three days in a pen with her babies and me encouraging her to nurse and now she’s an attentive mother. Her boys are gorgeous and I’m hoping to sell them for breeding as they’re just simply stunning.

 

 

The property itself is breath-taking. I will be posting more about the property next week. Now that we’ve moved and mostly settled I’m hoping to be writing a bit more routinely again. I don’t have my camera unpacked yet, so you’ll have to settle for my pictures off my phone.

Looking forward to writing about our crazy adventures on the farm again. Thank you everyone who waited so patiently for us to return. Have a great week!

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Mercury Retrograde in Pisces

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This month. Is going. To. Be. Hell. Mercury retrograde begins March 5, 2019 and ends March 28, 2019.

When Mercury goes retrograde mistakes, misunderstandings, and problems in communication and transportation are likely. Now might not be the greatest of times to sign contracts, make large purchases, or begin new projects. Instead, it is a better time to plan, research, and prepare for something that will happen later.

Mercury conjunct Chiron suggests communications can be a source of pain. Hurtful words may be exchanged.

half moon
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You might find it difficult to obtain decisions from others.

Despite all the potential negativity this month, Mercury conjunct Neptune enhances imagination, creativity, and empathy. It will focus your focus onto matters of the spirit and/or the occult. Valuable insights can be gained through meditation and dream work, but matters of the day-to-day will seem less important. If you’ve been thinking of taking up astrology or Tarot, or any other spiritual endeavor, now is the time to do it.

For me personally, I normally love the days where I can get lost in my craft and spend some time refusing to be completely grounded. However, right now, I’m incredibly busy at work. I won’t lie. I already feel the woods at home calling. My fingers tingle at the thought of my Tarot deck. The idea of paying music and recording creates bliss–without even actually playing. But, I need to study for a test I’m about to take. I need to prep my classroom for state testing. I need to grade. I need to write IEPs. I need to go to the dentist. Life just isn’t fair.

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Spring Tonic

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Spring symbolizes growth and renewal. Spring is fast approaching and it’s time to share this basic Spring Tonic. During the winter months animals hibernate and plants go dormant. Everyone begins to wake up. Humans are included in this.

The first plants to emerge are called spring tonics. Some of these herbs are dandelion, chickweed, young poke shoots, and nettles. These spring tonics can help with digestion and stimulate liver function.

Wake up from winter with a Spring Tonic.

Ingredients

Directions

  • Place the nettles, dandelion leaf, and red clover blossoms into a heat safe container.
  • Decoct roots in a quart of water. Simmer for twenty minutes.
  • Pour hot water decoction over the leafy greens
  • Steep for twenty minutes then strain.

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Signs From Those Beyond the Veil

The Herbarium by the Herbal Academy

I’ve been neglectful. Since the viewing we attended in Pennsylvania, I’ve caught a bad case of bronchitis and our eldest dog, Taz, developed megaesophagus. So, I have not been writing much. In today’s post, I’m going to get a little personal. I’m going to explain what brought an abrupt end to the life of a very happy and healthy dog. Then I am going to explain how we communicate with those we lost and how we stay open to receiving messages from them after they’re gone.

Megaesophagus. If the cause of the enlarged esophagus is obstruction, sometimes removal of the obstruction can help the condition. If the cause isn’t obstruction, then the cause is of little importance; the prognosis is the same. X-rays indicated no obstruction.

When eating, your esophagus contracts and enlarges. Taz’s was stuck in enlarged mode. So, a lot of food and water was entering his lungs. He would regurgitate food and water immediately upon eating or drinking. He predictably developed pneumonia. The lack of eating created nausea. We fed Taz a diet the vet recommended. We made him eat standing straight up, as that could aid in food actually getting to his stomach and the vet gave him antibiotics to fight the pneumonia.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We were told this is what will kill him. I took the news knowing my job was to keep this old boy as comfortable and full as possible. We were told that if he gets over the pneumonia and can keep some food down, he could live a few more months or longer. Looking at Taz’s pained face and tired eyes, I was wondering how much fight he truly had left in him.

Right after we were married,my husband and I had planned on trying to conceive with the hopes of a summer baby (my first year teaching). The very first pregnancy test I took was positive. We were very excited. The excitement only lasted a moment it seemed. I went to see the doctor because of a possible miscarriage. Seeing my empty uterus on the screen was the most devastating feeling of loss and hopelessness I had ever felt at that time in my life.

I’m the type of person who goes to work or keeps moving no matter what. Today, I’m up at 4 AM to start my day and the earliest I’m normally to bed is almost 11 at night. After confirming the miscarriage, I really didn’t want to do anything except sleep. My husband would often tell me he didn’t care what I felt like doing, but to just do it and not stay on the couch. It was difficult to really want to do anything.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We found ourselves taking a trip to Georgia. My in-laws had property there and it was nice to get away from home as it had become a sad place for me. We went to an animal shelter and played with some weimaraner cross puppies. We left and I decided I really actually wanted a puppy. So we went back and learned that all the puppies were spoken for. We did find a weimaraner breeder later that day though. They had two males left. One was a chubby little thing who had little interest in me. The other was the runt of the entire litter that no one wanted. He was so tiny. All he wanted to do was be held by me. He would get very excited and chase his own tail like a nut. So, I named him Taz and brought him home.

I experienced another miscarriage, but the third pregnancy took. Taz was attached for both miscarriage and pregnancy. Zach was working night shifts at the hospital at the time. I’d often fall asleep on the couch with Taz. Zach would come home and Taz wouldn’t be able to see him. Taz would cause a lot of havoc barking and growling. As soon as Zach would speak, Taz would calm down recognizing his voice. Taz was very protective of me and up my ass to the point of really being annoying at times.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

He had the worst separation anxiety. Novi, our husky, joined us a couple of months later and that solved all issues with us leaving for work. After Fiona was born we moved out into the country onto our homestead. Taz took the change of scenery with grace. He brought me home baby softshell turtles two separate seasons. He accompanied me to the water to save them from the high husky prey drive.

Last summer, he brought me a baby mockingbird he stole from a nest. He never hurt the bird though. I love all living things and he did, too.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

Taz never got over the pneumonia. Even with the changed eating technique, he still couldn’t get food in his stomach. When the vet came to our farm to put him down, he had quit entirely on his own. He isolated himself from all of the dogs. He hid under the hydroponic deck and would only let Zach or myself handle him. I held him as he died. We were given his pawprint. Zach made him a coffin and we buried him on property.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

It’s never easy to lose an animal and I miss him very dearly. He was special to me and very responsive to the feelings of those around him. He never hurt anything in his entire life. And I still cannot believe that he’s gone.

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January and February have been months of great loss for my family and me. Right after we buried Taz, I made a small shrine with a candle. I lit the candle and whispered to the flame. I spoke to my Taz. I told him “Stay as long as you like and move on when you’re ready. I miss you so and wish I could see you again.” That night, I had a dream. I am in the school I work at. I am sad and need to have my mind preoccupied (I know when I’m dreaming). So I create a tall building on campus. I create this building a lot when I need to “get away.” I automatically transported to the top floor. It is everything I expected it to be. A normal sized ledge around nothing but a pool. But as always, it’s when I dive in that it becomes breathtaking.

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In the water I’m greeted by a whale. I grab his fin and he takes me on a tour. I’m greeted by rays and dolphins and other animals I can’t name. I resurface and just swim. I love swimming. None of this is unusual. I’ve crafted this world basically to be left alone. I miss those I lost. I eventually call it a day and leave the “pool.” I go back into the school.

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That’s when I lose control of the dream. Sometimes I’m teleported without my doing. I can tell when is happening because my world starts to fade. I fight it because I don’t feel like losing control tonight. I begin to feel dizzy as the walls of my school fade in and out. I claw at the wall, feeling like they won’t disappear if I’m touching them. My hands feel a nail in the wall. I think “that’s never been there before”and then whatever was trying to pull from this place stopped. I looked at the nail and pulled off a necklace that was hanging on it. It was cheap. String with long silver beads. The necklace had two charms. One was a cross. I’m not religious. But I love Granny and she was religious. Accepting of others though. We had just lost her before losing Taz. I knew this was a playful sign from her. But then there was an arrow pendant. This one confuses me but there is a huge pull.

There’s a woman I work with who suddenly appears. I greatly admire and appreciate this woman. But it isn’t really her. Her face keeps changing quickly changing back to who she was trying to look like (my colleague). She puts the necklace on me and touches the arrow. She tells me “The hunter never loses her hounds.” And I wake up.

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Dreams are a very common way to easily communicate with those who have passed. It’s also very common to receive signs or messages from the dead in dreams. Sometimes the dreams need interpreting. I’m very certain, for example, that the cross in my dream signifies Granny. I’m certain–though also baffled–that the arrow in my dream signifies Taz.

When you lose someone be aware of your waking surroundings as well. On the second night of Taz’s passing, I lit the candle and spoke to it again. Following my message,the television turned on by itself. When you notice these clues or messages don’t ignore them. I cried a little and said hello once the television turned on. It was a small acknowledgement, but an acknowledgement nonetheless. He gave me his all for almost ten years. The least I can do is acknowledge his presence when he chooses to let it be known.

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Notice nature–always. Our youngest pup and future livestock guardian, Apollo, quickly became very close to Taz upon his arrival home. The day after Taz died, Apollo was resting on his gravesite. The dogs didn’t watch us put Taz down and they didn’t know where we buried him. Apollo greeted my departure from the house in the same manner as Taz. He sped walk to my side and sat, waiting for my lead. I couldn’t help but cry. Apollo had never done that. Only Taz. Apollo walked the perimeter of the land with me (a little under three acres). He rolled in all of Taz’s favorite spots. He barked at any movement or sound out of the ordinary–and ceased at my signal. At the end of the morning routine, I sat down and he put his paw on my shoulder. This was Apollo. Not Taz. And I was a little less taken aback. Until he threw his upper body on my lap, rolled onto his back, and waited for me to scratch his belly. This was a Taz trait.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

That same day, my husband said Apollo had picked up a lot of Taz’s mannerisms. I noted that it’s almost like Taz told Apollo he was his replacement and told him what to do and where all the best rolling spots were outside.

It’s been a few weeks now. My television doesn’t turn on randomly anymore. I’ve not had any more dreams until last night, the night before posting this. I was outside at night in my dream, by the hydroponic deck. He emerged from under the deck, the moonlight reflecting off his silver coat. He was bony and light enough to carry in the house. I brought him to the lit fireplace in my house, by his shrine. He licked me. I smelled his rank breath and held him in my lap the whole night. Other than that, no other dreams. Apollo is very intelligent, but does have his own personality. However, he has never backed down from his new duties of being my new partner in crime. He still does his job in the same exact manner as Taz.

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Basic Digestive Bitters Recipe

The Craft of Herbal Fermentation Course by Herbal Academy

This recipe is adapted from Rosemary Gladstar. It’s used when you’re experiencing constipation and you’re obviously looking for relief.

If you want to order herbs, I always recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. If that’s not possible, I also recommend using the links below.

silver round accessory with storage
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Ingredients

Directions

cup mug water tea
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  • Mix all of the ingredients together to create a herb blend.
  • Decoct 1 tablespoon of blend per cup of hot water for 30 minutes.
  • Strain and drink 3 cups per day as needed.

Out of everything in this recipe, yellow dock is probably the most potent. If you find the actions of this recipe working too well, consider using less yellow dock.

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Following the herbalist path? Click here to see where I go to continue my education.

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