One year later… the rant and the report…and a few reflections and ruminations…
Be prepared… grab a cup of herb tea 'cause this is a pretty long post.
I get a lot of emails from all sorts of good folks. I like those a lot. Keep ‘em coming and I’ll write you personally… when I can. Keep reading to the bottom of the post to get the latest report on what’s happening….
Some emails I get are from those that that need to find another email address to send their musings. You obviously have too much time on your hands and need a hobby. I hear crocheting is good… haven’t tried it but I know it requires you to use both hands so that’ll prevent you from being able to type ignorant (read- uneducated) emails. Honestly, such poorly considered words and observations…..
And so… the first part…otherwise being directed to those readers who feel so strongly that they need to send me emails calling me names…(tree hugger, herbwitch, gypsy, pagan christian, etc…) or how crazy I am for using herbs or RV’ing. I humbly submit what may be perceived by other, more kind folk as somewhat of a rant….
It’s been exactly one year. 365 days since we closed the door on the sticks and bricks and followed the leading to go into the wilderness… among the wild things.
One year into our adventure and we are utterly convinced that this was the best thing we could have done. Individually… and as a family. Each of us could tell you how much this has changed us… though, I’d be quick to say we haven’t changed… but instead blossomed and flourished. It’s allowed our spirits to rise… almost like they seemed contained before… like the ceiling stopped our ability to dream… and now with the open canopy of the heavenlies surrounding us, the literal ‘sky is the limit’ is the norm on how we think and act. Our thoughts, dreams, and actions are much different than if we had remained chained to what some still call ‘the American dream.’ And as a family… we have grown closer… so much closer…
I don’t know why we are wired so different from our extended families… or even friends and contemporaries. A raw and emotional incident with a family member recently showed me just how different I really am. I don’t know why… but as my man Popeye would say…
“I am, what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
I just am…
For me personally, I garnered no fulfillment… no nourishment for the soul in the life we were leading… big house… big bills… big church, and big life. Husband working harder making less and less… working hard for our family and spending everything we make trying to live.
I don’t know why but now I feel like belting out a line from a CCR song:
… working for the man, every night and day…but I never got a minute of peace… worrying ‘bout the way things might have been…
But we also bought… lots… when we had money. Computers, books, clothes, bikes, toys… whatever it was that we wanted to consume. It’s an ugly and agile accomplishment. Consuming. It ravages, rapes, and ruins…
Using my super power- perfect hindsight, I see it is contrary of what a family… my family… and life… my life… should be.
Now lest you think I have rose colored glasses on and I’m trying to escape reality, let me assure you I’m not. I’m 41 years old, and certainly not green behind the ears. I have no delusions about sunshine, butterflies and lollipop lands. I just think folks are wired differently… each of us is individually knit together by the Creator… and therefore, each of us is different. We need to have the courage to live accordingly… and be true to the calling and path that He has set our feet upon… even if those around us don’t ‘get it’. To live a life of authenticity and truth…
Remember Polonius’ words in Shakepeare’s Hamlet:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Learn it. Live it. Love it.
I’m really not interested in convincing folks of anything they are not open to considering, be it herb medicine, homebirthing, homeschooling, or RV living. I can't convince you of your need for Christ unless the Holy Spirit convinces you first, so let's not even debate that. I used to be the opposite in my 20’s. I felt like I had to convince everyone of my point… and it fostered much negativity. This life... be it nomadic or too radical... to some rebellious (our desire to not be churched but to instead meet as the early church in small groups) or even too simple (what I have is what I have).. is not for everyone… but in counting the costs…. financially, emotionally, spiritually, ecologically… we decided it was perfect for OUR family.
So perhaps instead of sending lengthy emails micromanaging my life, you might want to call a family meeting and figure out what works best for YOUR family.
As far as using herbs and making plant medicine, I’m way too busy planting it and making it right now to get into any lengthy discourse with you. And like I said, I have no plans on making it my priority to convince you of something you are not open to considering…
Now onto the Report, otherwise directed at those kind folks who read this blog and who send nice emails and comments… I can feel the love…
It’s been awhile since I was able to sit down to get a post started here. But it’s a good thing. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. And those of you… lots of you… who call me daily and write me often and who have let me know you are lifting us constantly in prayer… I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Big RV in the Big Woods
We’ve decided to stay at a charming campground in Upper Black Eddy called Colonial Woods Family Resort until October of this year. We camped here last year and loved it! Lots of wooded sites and trails for exploring, ponds for fishing, and enough activities to keep us busy this season! Weekend community dinners, miniature golf, and ping pong too (anyone up for a game???)! Archery, big pool and splash pool and fountain for kids….hayrides, tennis, and ice cream socials. They just recently added wifi (woo hoo) so I’m totally in love. If you’re in the area, want to plan a great camping trip, or want to stop by… well… now you know where I am. What we do after here… well… everything is an option… workkamping… planting trees in North Carolina… managing the Cape Hatteras lighthouse… managing a fish hatchery… even working with a well known circus!!! All I know is we have lots of room and would love to have you visit for a BBQ or swim… get in touch with me at email@example.com or call me 267-816-0848 and I’ll give you directions….
Lightening the Load… one year later…
All of the goods that were left in storage for the past year have been weaned down over the last week to less than half of the unit. That’s another ‘lightening of the load’… and everyone is happy about it- and we aren’t finished yet! When we moved into the RV’s, the children, ok… even I had trouble getting rid of some of our things. Kept thinking it is valuable, or that I would need it someday. Well 365 ‘somedays’ came and went and it wasn’t needed. So off to Goodwill and thrift shops it went. I can’t describe how good it felt. For those about to embark on a similar journey, or just simplifying, I highly recommend trying something like what we did. Put it in storage, or a basement or garage. See if you need it. Chances are you’ll find you don’t. Our goal is to completely empty the unit by summer’s end. I’ll keep you informed…
On the subject of lightening the load… I have a huge- 7 feet tall, wood shelf in brand new condition. We had it in our living room filled with books. Here it is at R&F
I’ve been holding onto it…. don’t know why. Want it? Make a reasonable donation ($100 ?) to my solar fund and it’s yours. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call me at 267-816-0848.
One thing I’ve purposed to get rid of over the next month is the rest of the books from our homeschool library. I managed to sell quite a few… but I know times are tough and the last thing folks have money for is books. So… if you are a homeschooler in Pennsylvania, or near where we are staying this summer, get in touch with me and I’ll give you a whole bunch of books… I mean really good books… for a song. Ok… well a donation. If you are struggling financially and don’t have the money for lots of books… I hope this will be a blessing and your kids will enjoy reading these classics like mine have. If you want to pay for shipping, I’ll ship them to you instead. Those who donate money for the books would be helping me save for the inverter and solar package we are building for the RV. Just get in touch with me at email@example.com and we’ll talk books (ooh… aahhh… one of my favorite things to discuss…)
Some have asked if they can donate money… and while my first inclination is always to say ‘no’, I realize some folks have benefited from my talks- phone or email, walks, and writings and would like to give something back. So I’ve set up my solar fund for you to contribute to, and I’m sneaking money from my Shade Tree Cottage sales in there too! Any donation is appreciated and a blessing… and can be sent through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
What are we going to do with the solar fund? Here are our three goals for the summer or by autumn:
1) Build two solar dehydrators- contained and able to be transported as we travel. The boys have already drafted two models, and are making the material list this week. I took my money from the fund and will be purchasing the convection plate and plate glass for the top. Pretty exciting!!!
2) You may remember me talking about our frig. breaking last summer, and our living out of a cooler, and eating locally all year. We are doing that again, however, we do now have an electric refrigerator in the trailer in anticipation of the solar hookup we are constructing for it. Some monies will go to this project… marine batteries, cable, hookups, inverter and the all encompassing solar panel. We are currently researching building our own solar cell to battle the costs of a pre-constructed one… stay tuned….
3) We are going to be replacing the hot water heater and instead of installing a customary electric or propane model, we are constructing a solar/propane model. Still working on it… stay tuned….
Hair today… gone tomorrow…
Couldn’t resist….To those who asked if I cut my hair, the answer is yes. I had it done before my birthday in February. All those long locks are gone, and this shorter ‘do is here to stay. I like it a lot better… and so does my crew. Mike says it makes me look spritely and lively… ya think? My kids say it’s fresh, it’s funky… it’s tang-zest-icy!!!!
It’s a little longer than the picture over on the sidebar, and as my little one says… curry, curry, curry! I could never wear my hair short because the curls have a mind of their own… but this haircut helps tame the mane. I still get those looks where you know the people are thinking… did she make her hair do that, or is it supposed to look like that….or did she just wake up? HA! I just tell folks it has a mind of its own and watch out or you might get lost in there…
Shade Tree Cottage and Shade Tree Herbals
I spent almost two weeks making soaps and some other goods for Shade Tree Cottage. The soaps are almost done curing and ready for packaging. I’ve added a whole new section called Shade Tree Herbals which deals strictly with the herbs, tinctures, salves, teas, classes and consultations, etc… and…. I’m going to be carrying a bunch of new products including recycled material broom skirts, recycled leather journals, and more!!! Be looking for some big announcements about the reopening in the next weeks and keep an eye on the site for my speaking engagements and classes/workshops. You can access my webpage by now typing in http://www.shadetreecottage.com/ or http://www.shadetreeherbals.com/
I just finished submitting three articles to some great magazines in time for their publication dates. It kept me busy, but it is very rewarding to this writer to be commissioned and asked to pen pieces for different periodicals.
Keep an eye on The Herb Companion, Organic Gardening, and Beautiful Girlhood for my articles soon. I’ll let you know when they go to print…
Consultations and Personal Education
I’ve opened some time for consultations or personal education while I’m stationary here in PA. I’m not charging by the hour any longer, instead leaving it up to the person to decide what they should donate for my time and help. Some are able to give more and allow me the ability to help those who have less. It is my belief you should give because it feels good… feels right, not until it hurts or is forced out of your hand.
My hope is to make herbal medicine and education affordable- I know how much classes, consultations, books, etc… can cost. I would also like to help those folks who are overlooked or shunned by allopathic principalities. It is my hope to encourage those educating themselves or those who want to learn about herbal medicine to help stay healthy and to assist the healing processes of their bodies when necessary. Get in touch with me for more information at email@example.com or 267-816-0848.
Blooming Glen Farm
For the past few weeks, I’ve been collaborating with farmers Tom Murtha and Tricia Borneman from Blooming Glen Farm, a vibrant and growing local CSA farm here in Pennsylvania. I’m honored to be helping them expand their existing children’s garden, with its awesome sunflowers, teepee rabbit trails for the children to crawl around… safe and shaded from the summer heat, and lavender and anise hyssop, to include more medicinal herbs including Angelica archangelica, Borago officinalis, Tanacetum parthenium, Althaea officinalis, and Leonurus cardiaca just to name a few. We’ve sown the seeds and they are peeking up… sprouting in the greenhouse. You’ll find me talking about this farm and garden lots! I’ll be working around there this summer; sowing, growing and harvesting what I pray is a bountiful harvest of beautiful plants and teaching others to do the same. You can read more about the farm, classes, and my awesome new friends at http://www.bloomingglenfarm.com/ .
Classes, Intensives, and Herb Walks
I’m giving some herb and herbal medicine talks and walks in the eastern Pennsylvania region (well, some in a few other states, too!)
First, I’ll be giving classes at Blooming Glen CSA Farm (check out the latest newsletter ) and I’ll be adding more there soon. Some folks who wanted to know where I’m speaking can get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my Shade Tree Cottage website. Be sure to check back often as I’m sure impromptu classes will be scheduled and I’ll put them on the website for your convenience. For the Blooming Glen Farm classes, they have a great online calendar to get details.
If you are one of the many who have written or called, and said they vacation around here… or one of my many new full timer friends… let me know when you’ll be in the area and we’ll get together. I can organize a campout or block of sites for us… lots of sites in this gorgeous park, and perhaps a class or two at the pavilion or ponds. Even if you can’t stay the night, give me a call or email and we’ll get together… you can buy day passes and we’ll walk and talk… and swim! I’d love to have you come and enjoy some good food, friendship, and if you are an herb nerd like me, well… we’ll have a good time, won’t we???
I’ve got two walks over at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve for May… it’s absolutely gorgeous and so very serene. I’ll be adding more classes at Blooming Glen CSA Farm online sometime towards the end of May. Possibly (?)… maybe…thinking of doing some week night classes. I might do some solar dehydrating, herbal cordials, kids summer health….maybe a herbal intensive towards summer or fall…some others rolling around in my head…and maybe an herb walk or two… stay tuned and check out the Shade Tree Herbals site for more details.
Herb Festivals, Open Houses, and Happenings (or where you’ll find me this summer!)
I enjoyed meeting all of the folks who showed up for the Earth Day/Open House at Blooming Glen Farm. The signs that the children constructed are delightful, and seeing all the toddlers romp through the teepees gave me inspiration for more and more additions to the garden! Good burgers from Rosenberger’s own pastured beef stock were delicious and whoever brewed the mint tea needs a big pat on the back! It was quite refreshing on such a hot day!!! Farmers Tom and Tricia gave excellent and informative tours… and I’m so watching over the field of dreams… a full 1/3 acre of stiffnecked garlic! I’ve had it before and am looking forward to drying some like my friend, Herrick Kimball does. Yum… yum… yum!!! I’m looking forward to working side by side with you all this coming season… seeding, weeding, picking, working, … and teaching among the botanicals in the gardens!
Mercer Museum Folk Festival- May 10-11, 2008
Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve Native Plant Sale- May 10-11, 2008
It’s going to be a busy weekend on Mother’s Day! I’ll be enjoying myself here at the Folk Festival with the kids… colonial demonstrations, spinning (I’ll be thinking of my Grandma!), juried craftsman, beer making and more! But before I head over there, I’m going to be at the native plant sale at Bowman’s Wildflower Preserve, hopefully getting some goodies for the children’s and medicinal herb gardens at Blooming Glen CSA farm. I’ve got my eyes on the Opuntia humifusa (Prickly pear cactus), Asclepias tuberose (Butterfly weed), Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake master) and more! Get in touch with me if you are going to the sale or festival and we’ll meet up!
Baltimore Herb Festival – May 24, 2008
This is the 21st year for the festival (and it’s on Memorial Day weekend), and I wouldn’t want to miss it. For those who are searching for new reliable source contacts for herbs and plants (face to face agriculture), these festivals and faires are superb! You always leave the festivals learning something new and with a handful of new friends. Come gaze at all the herbs, plants, herbal goods, and be sure to take Jim’s class on Medicinal Herbs of the Bible. Afterwards, I’m having tea at the Orianda house. It’s a thrill being around others who are as herb nerdy as me! Get in touch with me at 267-816-0848 and we’ll organize a carpool, campout, or meet for lunch or tea.
Medicines from the Earth Symposium- May 31- June 2, 2008
I’m not able to attend this symposium in NC as I have a class, but if any of you are in the area… get there! David Winston, Cascade Anderson Gellar, Paul Bergner, Mary Bove, and more greats. I’m chomping at the bit… ok, bark, to attend the walks with David Winston and others, and learn more about the seaweeds too.
Pennsylvania Lavendar Festival- June 13-15, 2008
I have found there are few things as divine as standing in the middle of a lavender field in the summer. I’ll be here at the festival… probably smiling wide eyed among the purple blossoms, and gathering bunches for homemade lavender wands. I’m also going to look at some different varieties to grow and use in some of my Shade Tree Cottage products. Come by and visit!!!
Kutztown German Folk Festival- June 28- July 6, 2008
If you have never been to this festival, you are in for a real surprise. I enjoy it immensely, and always learn something new. German and Dutch culture, food, crafts, quilts, and more. I learned a lot here about early German/Dutch/Amish medicine, as well as some folk remedies that I keep in my formulary. I’ll probably be walking around... not speaking anywhere here… except to say ‘goot foot’!
Pocono Garlic Festival- Aug. 30, 31, 2008
The bestest (and stinkiest… in a good way!) garlic festival in the world. Love it or leave it… you all know how I love garlic, so what’s better than thousands of garlic eaters on a hot summer day? Can’t think of much right now. Come visit me at the festival and we’ll sample some great garlic goods together. How about some garlic ice cream, or pickled garlic… perhaps some candied garlic too!! Can you smell the love????
Rosemary House- Mechanicsburg, PA- Sept. 27, 2008
Join me and other herbalists as we gather to hear David Winston speak and teach on Adaptogens, Nervines, and Nootropics, and Herbs For Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Register now and get in touch for carpool or camping information.
West Virginia Herb Association Fall Conference- October 31- November 2
We should be heading south about that time, so I might head to this awesome conference in WV. More details coming…
A Need for Weed... JEWELWEED, that is...
I need it! I’m out and what I froze I recently used in a consultation. I don’t like to wait until summer to get it, as like to have some in use by then. It’s starting to peek around the woods here, and in the creekbed plateau right next to my campsite, but me thinks I’m going to need some soon. Does anyone have a reliable source for jewelweed… like your yard or creekbed that you can pick some to send? Or some frozen or stored you’d like to barter? Get in touch with me at email@example.com or call me at 267-816-0848.
Can any of you fine folk email or leave a comment and tell me if turkey eggs can be used the same as chicken eggs? The are bigger… speckled, and I can get a bunch of them for free. I’m not sure if I can use them in baking and such… can anyone help?
Reflections and Ruminations
A few Reflections and Ruminations (and some things I’ve learned)….
I’m sure I’m going to be adding to this… but some things are just sticking in my head of late and I need to pour them out here…
I Dwell in Possibility- a poem from Emily Dickinson and my motto for the year. Memorize this poem and mull it over the next time you take a walk around the lake, in the woods, or across the meadows. Beautiful…
I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky--
Of Visitors--the fairest--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise--
Have you ever had that feeling like you weren’t home… like a rapid awakening from your slumber that left you with the feeling of being in unfamiliar surroundings. Some folks experience it on a basic level…travelers and such. They awaken and can’t figure out where they are… home, office, plane… motel room. Some folks experience it on a much deeper level…
It’s called Xenoiakian (pronounced ‘zee no kee an), and I am meeting more and more travelers searching for home.
Since spending more time, walking and talking in the gardens and woods with my Father, I have the most overwhelming sense that I am closer to home than ever before, and it comforts me, immeasurably. A quote from my readings of C. S. Lewis (this one was ‘Weight of Glory’) over the past year have left me this little nugget to chew on…
Our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honor beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.
I’m an alien in this foreign land. A sojourner… a guest. And I long to go home…
But He is faithful and true and so good to send others... weary travelers like me, wandering and meandering the winding paths of life… to remind me that the road seems long and hard, but there is a city whose builder and architect is God (YHWH), and that I’m on the right road.
The little things ARE the big things. When in the scope of a flashback on my life’s accomplishments… it will be the littlest, tiniest, most hidden moments that are the pinnacle and purpose of my walk this side of eternity. If you don’t have that thought in your head… get it in there.
Don’t assume- EVER!!! Like when someone puts the Christmas lights up early, don’t assume that they are commercialized, pagan, and missing the whole point of celebrating Christ’s birth. It could be that someone in their family is dying and won’t make it until the holiday, or perhaps their loved one is back on leave from serving in our armed forces, and they are trying to celebrate the holiday before they have to return. You just never know, and when you find out, you might feel like crawling under a rock and having it crush you into tiny pieces. I know I did…
Take the time to look at people directly in their eyes, shake their hand with vigor, and say thank you. Look for that light in people's eyes....Folks just don’t take the time anymore to do this, but when you do, the smile you receive is the best reward. And possibly a new friend…
Someone recently asked me what was the best thing about living in an RV. I couldn’t ask them until today. Now this may seem crass, but it struck me as funny. See, it was my turn to use the bathroom... last… and it looked like six folks under 18 had been through there. Toothpaste cap off, empty toilet paper roll, a barrette and rubber band here, scrunchie there… handprints on the mirror, and faucets. You mommas know exactly what I mean. So there I was going pee on the potty… and I was able to clean it all while I did that. Seriously, I started laughing… hysterically. Only in an RV can you clean the bathroom at the same time you are using it. Pure bliss for this mom of a half a dozen active kids…
Having recently finished a debate with a fellow who felt it necessary to levy names my way when it was clear that the conversation was not going to go his way, I pondered his label of me for weeks….
He called me close-minded. Gasp.
Now I’m sure I was thinking more highly of myself than I ought. I always thought of myself as one who would consider all points, being firmly convinced of my own personal beliefs and thoughts, and not afraid to and aptly willing to give audience to any and all. I mean, in theory, the whole point of debate and discussion was to try to convince someone of your reasoning, thoughts, or point of view. It’s where I get to use all those logic lessons I studied with the kids… in a nice way of course.
But close minded?
And the a recent blog find, Brant, explained it all…
Freethinking means ruling out the supernatural without evidence, while being Closed-Minded means allowing that it's possible.
Makes perfect sense to me. Make mine close mindedness, please….
I'm sure this post is way too long, but I had months and months worth of great stuff to share. I'll put the rest in another post soon...
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
One year later… the rant and the report…and a few reflections and ruminations…