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Swarm!!!

Swarm!!!

I no sooner get my bee journal updated and my husband comes in the house and tells me he thinks one of the hives is swarming. So I went out to the apiary and before I even got there I could see a swarm had begun clumping in a tree just above the new hives. I was pretty sure which hive was swarming and I was right. That hive seemed rowdier than the other one when we initially installed the two new nucs as well as during the first hive check. Plus they had built a huge line of comb under one of the frames but it didn’t look like any swarm cells were developing there. Besides, we’d only had them a couple of weeks when we did that hive check. Odd that they’d swarm like this but I suppose it happens.

The coolest part was scooping up a bunch of nurse bees from the ground with my hands. They can’t really fly well when they’re young, and I put a board up for them to climb up to the hive. They’re so sweet and adorable and it’s an honor to help them up to the hive.

We started with existing comb so they could begin right away increasing the colony and then had to add new empty frames within a couple of weeks, so it’s not surprising that the hive got a little crazy. But this is a sign of a really healthy hive, so the new one should be excellent. When we dumped them in the nuc, we had frames with existing comb along with a frame of honey from last year. We’ll keep them away from the apiary for a while and then transfer them to our original horizontal hive. But we may move that one farther away from where it is now, possibly into the backyard. We have a nice place right next to the pond and it would be perfect for them. I posted some video on my YouTube channel, but I’m posting them here as well.

We have swarm boxes up, in fact, the nuc box we put the swarm in is actually a swarm box and it’s cool when you get some free bees. That’s not what happened here technically because the swarm is from one of our own hives, but at least they didn’t go flying away to someone else’s property.

I posted some video on my YouTube channel, but I’m posting them here as well. Swarms are so cool!

 

 

 

 

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Deception From Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Struggle ~ Tarot for 6 June 2017

Deception From Energy Vampires: An Empath's Struggle ~ Tarot for 6 June 2017

I’ve been experiencing some panic attacks lately due to the antics of a handful of manipulative people. It’s one of the downsides of being an empath and has nothing to do with any fear on my part. It’s just an empathic awareness that becomes so overwhelming that panic results. When people seek to deceive, I experience their thought process, their intention, their choices, and the energy associated with all of it in one fell swoop. It’s not that I’m afraid of any of them because they’re far too silly for that, but that their deception is so great that it has taken on a momentum all of its own and feeling all of it as I do, a panic attack results.

Deception is emotion-based. Someone wants something so much that they’ll do anything to achieve it including deceiving others. Empaths are like lightning rods for such machinations, typically becoming hyper-alert when deceptive energy comes close. My physical response is usually commensurate with the level of deception, so when it’s a panic attack, it tells me that someone is either really intent on getting what he wants or that he has assistance. In this case, it feels like both. At the end of the day, nothing will ever come of the deception or the game that’s played, but it makes things uncomfortable nonetheless.

Normally I look at daily influences instead of at specific questions when I look at the cards, but with what I’ve been experiencing, I decided to ask for clarity and for help in remaining calm and I found it prescient when I drew both Swords and Cups for the tarot reading. The 7 of Swords, Daughter of Cups, and the 2 of Cups are the cards I drew with an overall numerology of 9 or completion and alignment. Somehow I knew that would be the case.

Beginning with the 7 of Swords, six black swords are suspended in the air above a fox curled up over the seventh suggesting separate agendas are in play. He sleeps with one eye open, aware that all is not as it seems. It’s time to tread carefully until a clearer picture is possible, staying in observation mode only. Envy and jealousy are at the root of the deception that’s occurring and the best thing I can do at this point is to not create any thought channels toward that emotional vibration. Otherwise, it’s easy to absorb that emotion with my panic attacks the end result.

I must confess to finding Court Card annoying so I appreciate Kim Krans’s animal depictions instead of people. She uses snakes in the suit of Wands, swans with Cups, Owls with Swords, and deer with Pentacles. The Daughter of Cups (the Princess or Page in other decks) depicts a baby swan or cygnet peacefully floating on the water. Rainbow colors spill before her, reflecting emotions in balance. She remains in her bliss, unaffected by the world around her as she floats peacefully about. Her youth suggests undeveloped potential, imagination, and intuition as well as positive messages and new experiences.

The 2 of Cups is beautiful in any deck, but the simplicity of this card is striking. And I have to say that I love the directionality of the backgrounds in Krans’s cards. This one feels like a night sky with stars in motion. Beneath the starfield stands two cups with two red roses standing overtop in a crossed fashion. A unity of polarity is felt with this card, perhaps the unity or balance between intellect and emotions. Additionally, the card suggests harmony and partnership, the crossed roses depicting a strong connection. Normally, I would interpret the 2 of Cups in terms of a relationship between two people, but with respect to my empathic-driven panic attacks, this is about alignment within. Empaths pay too much attention to the goings-on around us creating all sorts of headaches for ourselves in the process when we can’t stay in observation mode. In other words, we have a tough time minding our own business because everything is so interesting.

In a sense, what I’m experiencing is vampiric energy and since witches don’t suffer fools well, I’m not sitting still for it. I’m honest and that bothers people. It’s both a witch and empath thing, but truth-telling comes with the territory, and there’s nothing I care to do about it even if I could. I have the Left-Angled Cross of the Clarion in my Human Design chart, which should explain all of it as well as the Christ Consciousness Field for my godhead. So they might as well just stop now because I’ll always be one step ahead of them.

But in the meantime, the answer lies with that adorable baby swan, floating about in her own bliss, focused on the present moment. This is alignment in its purest form, expressing the full truth of as above, so below. Because if we think about it, the expression isn’t as below, so above. We express ourselves as the Creator into the form that each of us takes. The trick of it is to not forget who we actually are as the Creator personified. And yet we do just that, absorbing the negative vibrations that seem to hold the physical world together. But that’s an illusion as well because we choose at every moment the experience we wish to have. Focus on something negative, and we create a thought channel or pathway to that negative situation, oftentimes unable to find our release. So, we visit it again and again and soon it dominates our awareness. We take up residence in the past instead of continuing to create the experience we wish to have, placing our emotional balance at certain risk.

I found relief from the situation by pulling weeds in the garden, my bliss evidently found there. Their screwy vibration still taps me on the shoulder but at least I’m no longer having panic attacks. So either their own focus is waning, or I’ve been successful in shutting down their vampiric asses.

But if not, it’s not as if I’m without options.

Blessed Be

 

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In Love With Bees

In Love With Bees

I installed a new package of bees in the Warré hive today. The queen was moving around in her small cage when I pried out the cork in the end replacing it with a small marshmallow, only then placing her in her new home. We shook the bees from the container into the hive and put a feeder along with a small pollen patty on the top of the frames to give them some food while they become accustomed to their surroundings.

We lost all four hives last winter. It happens more than beekeepers wish but sometimes there’s nothing we can do when the snow’s so deep we can’t reach them. The colonies just got too cold. They went into winter healthy and never came out again. I was devastated.

So today, when the bees were climbing all over us I was thrilled. I missed them so much and I finally got to experience their trust and unified resonance once more. Growing up, my mother taught me to be afraid of bees. I stepped on a bee in our chicken coop thirty some years ago and received my first bee sting. Six weeks later it happened again. Although my husband has always wanted bees, I couldn’t quite get there until a couple of years ago.

Now beginning our third season as beekeepers, with each year my comfort level grows. The first year I hung back primarily assisting Jerry but by the second year I had purchased the Warré and a horizontal hive and any fear I had was gone. And when I got the call yesterday that the package was in my tears flowed.

You can’t know what it’s like to pull weeds in the garden with bees only inches away, all of us doing our own thing, in synchronicity with the garden itself. The next best gardening companion is a chicken. I used to have one that would come running the minute I began weeding. She loved to help.

But as the fruit trees began blooming this Spring, only local pollinators were visiting, with only a few bumblebees around. The sound of honeybees simply wasn’t there and although I knew that the package and nucs we ordered would eventually be here, I had no idea if they would be here in time to place their essence on the trees. Because it’s a give and take between bees and the plant life that sustains them, there’s nothing like a colony of honeybees to make everything bloom!

The garden flourishes now, prolific and abundant, made so by the bees who visit. And I await the moment when I sit out in the gazebo where a curious honeybee hovers in greeting a couple of inches from my face. It first happened only a day or so after our first colony arrived. She hovered a few inches from my eyes, looking at me. I sat there while she and I sized each other up, and then she was gone. But in that moment, I fell in love and my devotion to the colony has grown exponentially.

Although I regularly perform Reiki on the colonies, today I took a 432hz tuning fork out to the colony after they had settled in for a bit to align with their resonance, essentially tuning the biofield of the hive. As I struck the fork on the puck and moved it around the hive their resonance changed a bit and they seemed to settle down even more. The bulk of the colony was inside the hive surrounding their queen. They may have already eaten through the marshmallow I placed in the opening to her small cage and when she’s released and ready, she’ll take her maiden flight to breed with drones. She takes this flight only once creating millions of bees over the remainder of her life.

An empath, I feel the resonance of the colony, their hum and their unified presence. Performing Reiki with or without the tuning forks is an experience like no other. So it’s as much for me as it is for them. There’s so much stress in the life of a colony with pesticides and parasites and other problems our world forces them to contend with. All they want is to sustain life. They’re an integral part of our lives and yet are at such risk so I do what I can.

But without them, there is no us. The sound of bees is the sound of love and joy. We have an emotional connection to this unified presence if we would only stop and listen to their message. They survive together, never working at cross purposes but only in the preservation of the colony. A beekeeper sits next to her hive, listening to, learning from, and loving these incredible creatures. Their reverence for one another as well as for their queen is astonishing to observe.

Saving them, in turn, saves us. So how about we do that.

 

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A Greenhouse Gone Wrong

A Greenhouse Gone Wrong

I wanted a greenhouse with the plastic inserts for walls. Or whatever that stuff is made from. I ordered an 8×8 greenhouse online from a local home improvement store, it arrived, and the project began.

My sixty-three-year-old husband cleared and leveled an area over by the apiary for the new greenhouse which initially involved moving heavy oak crates and a firewood pile. We purchased pressure treated posts to attach the greenhouse to because of the high winds we have here. We also purchased large pavers to place between the soil and the posts for an additional layer of protection.

We got as far as squaring the bottom pieces on the pressure treated posts and the initial four corner pieces and found that we were missing one of the side structure pieces. So I contacted the manufacturer only to be told that we wouldn’t receive the piece for a week. I called the home improvement place to see if they could verify it would be here today and when the customer service representative did so, she was told they had no idea who I was and no order was placed for any replacement part. On top of that, the rep was told that the piece was out of stock.

I hate liars.

The piece that’s missing is for the left side of the greenhouse. It looks like the example in the picture below. Without it, we’re dead in the water. The plastic panels fit into channels on the frame pieces and without it, we can’t finish the installation.

My husband is livid.

The customer service representative suggested that I return the product and reorder it with a discount. Odd suggestion. Not happening. So she arranged for a trucking company to pick the greenhouse up on Monday with a refund coming within three to five days. I’ll be watching.

I really wanted this greenhouse. But online ordering of anything substantial is so risky. I remember ordering the coolest looking gazebo from another online source and received only one piece of it. Just one. It took forever to send it back because the online site makes contacting them fairly onerous.

But this is just awful. We have money, time, and labor invested and for what exactly? I don’t have the greenhouse I wanted and I have to wait for my refund. My husband re-injured his knee while moving the oak pallets and he’s not happy about any of this.

I don’t blame him.

I realize not everything is perfect in this world and that sometimes things like this happen. It just seems as if it’s the norm anymore, to lie with no real consequences felt by anyone but the customer. I appreciate what the customer service rep tried to do to fix this situation, but clearly, no one was listening to her.

So I’m done. Good thing he cleared a spot for me to start seeds indoors. I had such hope for a lovely little greenhouse in which to putter about. My other one is falling apart and it would have been so nice to have this.

This is such a disappointment.

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An Imbolc Runecasting ~ 4 Feb 2017

Today’s runecasting has an Imbolc feel to it. I’ve been drawing the same tarot cards the last day or so and switching decks doesn’t seem to be helping reset things so when I began drawing male Court cards today, I knew I had enough. Court cards are odd to interpret sometimes. The interaction between Court cards is important as is determining whether or not they’re people or the qualities thereof. With all the extreme personalities the world is currently dealing with that seem to influence tarot readings of late, I need a break. And now that the snow is indeed melting (YAY!) I decided to set up an Imbolc altar and cast the runes there.

Imbolc fell on February 1st this year and signifies the beginnings of Spring. With the snow beginning its break up today Hagalaz, Ehwaz, Berkano, and Inguz are significant runes to draw. Although Phil has spoken and we’re in for six more weeks of winter, maybe the runes have a different perspective on the matter.

I can begin the reading with Hagalaz or Berkano, but I think I’ll start with the witch rune. Appropriate as its also known as the cosmic ice egg, Hagalaz, the 9th rune of the Elder Futhark and a rune of Elemental Water brings positive change. Like the witch, Hagalaz disrupts the existing framework and casts a protective influence. It’s chaos crystallizing into form.

From there, Berkano, the 18th rune, signifies fertility and healing. New beginnings and growth are influenced by this rune of Elemental Earth. It reflects Goddess as Earth Mother, invoking Gaia energies of rebirth and healing. Like Hagalaz, its numerology reduces to 9 or completion.

Ehwaz binds Goddess energies in partnership to bring change that is significant if not abrupt in nature. The 19th rune of the Elder Futhark, its numerology is 10 reducing from there to 1, or new beginnings. It suggests overcoming obstacles and safe travel and represents the merkaba or vehicle of our etheric presence. As such it’s useful in trancework as well as hedge riding or astral travel.

garden bindrune
garden bindrune – front/back sides

The 22nd rune of the Elder Futhark, Inguz corresponds to the master builder number and as the seed, it signifies the sudden release of energy. Interesting in that another way of drawing the rune is to draw two X’s, one above the other resembling DNA. Life emerges from the seed. Inguz completes the energy of Berkano, as it focuses the energy of fertility into form. It governs sexuality and conception and the promise of a successful outcome. This makes it a wonderful rune to use in the garden, alone or as a bindrune to hang around the garden or greenhouse to promote growth and a successful harvest. The bindrune to the right shows front and back sides, the front side depicting a witch rune for a successful harvest.

Growing up in Alaska, the snow melting was known as the break up, an experience that seemed to take forever. Days grew longer and signs of life would begin appearing everywhere. The high desert of Central Oregon feels a little like my childhood with the snow still here after two months. Typically we get a break between storms. This is the first time in the 35 years we’ve lived here that snow has stayed this long and at this depth. Of course, it’s only melting because our snow blower arrived the other day. But with melting, there’s hope of actually doing a walk. So I’ll take what I can get.

The process begins with the witch as Goddess who brings life back to the earth. She casts her intention, bringing new life into being, her desire within invoking inner energies of expansion. Everywhere, life springs into being. The final numerology is 5 or change but if I leave out the 22 as the Master Builder number, the numerology becomes 10, reducing further to 1 or new beginnings.

Ultimately this Imbolc runecasting describes the cyclical nature of life, intelligent and self-sustaining. Winter gives way to Spring, with all its beauty and benevolence, the Sun’s rays fostering growth through Summer into Fall’s bountiful harvest, returning once again to its Winter slumber.

But what it also tells us is that we will continue irrespective of the challenges we experience for we can never assume they are insurmountable. Life always finds a way and with Goddess blessings so shall we.

Blessed be.

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Transformation and Renewal~ Tarot for 1 Feb 2017

Transformation and Renewal

On this snowy Imbolc I chose the DruidCraft tarot deck for today’s reading on transformation and renewal. I like to observe most of the Sabbats but mainly I’m more of an Esbat observing witch. What can I say? I love the Moon. Imbolc is considered a major Sabbat in that it’s Goddess oriented. Beltane, Lammas (or Lughnasadh), and Samhain are the other three. Four others are related to the Sun and its position in the sky. They include Ostara, Litha, Mabon, and Yule.

snowy flowerImbolc is the time when the Crone gives way to the Maiden as Spring approaches. On the High Desert, however, we’ve been inundated with snow since early in December. And after 36 years we finally bought a snow blower for our 800 foot driveway, relegating the snow shovel for lesser tasks. It arrived today and needless to say, my husband is thrilled.

The DruidCraft tarot blends Druid practice and philosophy with traditional witchcraft or Wicca. My leaning is toward Druid practice and rune magick and I’m not one of those witches who is Wiccan having always been solitary in my own practice. And I’ve always viewed being a witch as something I am, not something I do. But all that aside, I dearly love this tarot deck. It’s larger than my other decks and sometimes I have trouble shuffling it when my hands hurt, but today they were fine so I thought using it would be perfect for an Imbolc reading. Two cards are from the Major Arcana and one is from the suit of Cups.

Beginning with The Fferyllt, we see a young witch pouring red liquid into a container radiating the golden light of alchemical transformation. Smoke rises from her large ornate cauldron, an alchemist blending fire with water and air to renew and transform. Herbs hang from the rafters along with what appears to be hides stretched using hag stones. Sigils appear on one of the hides, a pentagram and ogham runes visible. Her besom stands against a post where a snake is carved symbolizing fertility and renewal as it reaches with its mouth toward an egg inscribed with a hexagram or merkaba. The fourteenth card of the Major Arcana, this card denote alchemical change. As a rainbow appears over the water in the distance, the witch as alchemist combines together elemental energies in transformation and renewal.

The Hanged Man is another card from the Major Arcana which appears in today’s reading. Any time a Major card presents it indicates archetypal influences or messages, and for two to appear is significant in that today is Imbolc. The 12th card of the Major Arcana, The Hanged Man‘s numerology is 3 or mastery of mind/body/Spirit reinforced by the mistletoe growing on the tree. A sickle appears over by a field of grain as if the man has taken a break to surrender to the moment, align in Source Presence, and achieve enlightenment. His left leg crosses behind his right reinforces the symbolism of triple aspects and mastery. The card seems to depict the Green Man, but I prefer to see this card as Odin, receiving enlightenment as he hangs from the World Tree of Ygdrassil. The presence of the underworld is felt with this card as the man lets go of any preconceived notions and surrenders to Source Presence within.

In the final position, the Queen of Cups stands serenely at water’s edge, the toes from one foot in the water, her other foot on dry land, a beetle on the ground next to her robe. She holds a golden chalice in both hands in supplication to the Full Moon above. She is a natural witch, intuitive and healing. She is the Goddess as Mother guiding her family with loving wisdom and grace. An empath, the Queen’s emotional resonance is felt with this card as she aligns within and knows.

bird in snowClearly we’re experiencing change in our world which doesn’t seem likely to end any time soon. But with Spring around the corner, transformation and renewal are coming. It’s time to clear out the clutter from the winter and make plans for the future. Before long many of us will be outside cleaning up winter’s effect, planning new projects and new experiences. And with garden season approaching that’s going to take precedent over any nonsense from the new guy in this witch’s world. Priorities, after all.

The numerology of the reading is 14 and 12, reducing from there to a final numerology of 8 or structure, protection, and discipline. It’s easy to become caught up in the drama that’s happening. But the running theme with each card is to continue on with who we are and what we know to be true. Spending time in meditation is helpful as is doing something. At some point, we have to be disciplined enough to get on with our lives and let the new guy implode, because rest assured, he will do just that. Continuing to work for a better future is something each one of us can do, even if it amounts only to random acts of kindness. Those small, seemingly insignificant kindnesses can change another’s life. A little nudge in a positive direction can have such a profound effect.

Remaining focused on the antics and chaos brought by the new guy and his minions will only keep us from moving forward and that’s the last thing any of us needs. The surrender depicted by the Hanged Man doesn’t suggest that we surrender to oppression; rather, it suggests that we surrender to our inner truth of love and compassion. See past the division and hate brought by others, viewing each person as the Creator personified, perfect in all ways.

We began in oneness and to that truth we shall awaken.

Blessed Be

Imbolc ritual

 

 

 

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Flowing in Awen ~ Runecasting for 31 Dec 2016

Flowing in Awen

2016 began well enough. I published my first book and my herbal coursework was proceeding nicely. I completed the herb course early in the year and went on to publish three more books, the last one, Empath, just the other day. As I write this, I’m awaiting proofs for the paperback copy.

We put in a dome greenhouse and expanded the raspberry bed. We hugeled as much as possible, a new approach to raised bed gardening that we tried this year with wonderful results. The vegetables in the dome did so well in this type of raised bed. The idea is to dig down if possible and then line the hole with logs, sticks, and and other plant debris such as compost which will absorb and retain moisture. This reduces water requirements over the course of the season which is great for areas that experience drought. Living on the High Desert of Central Oregon, everything is volcanic and with our temperature swings it makes growing anything a challenge which is why we thought we’d try this method. We’ll be hugeling all raised beds from now on.

The bees did well on the one hand and then we appeared to lose two new hives at the end of the season. The split probably went back into the original hive we took it from, but what happened to the Warre’ bees is a mystery. One day they were there and the next they were gone. All that beautiful comb they had built sat empty and silent. I was devastated. We learned the hard way not to listen to the more experienced in our area, with some bad advice possibly at the heart of what happened. So we’ll continue on next year, unfortunately having to buy more bees to help the process along. The new long hive was doing well as was the original at the end of the season so with any luck, they’ll survive the winter. Jerry will be building some hives patterned after the long hive this winter since we really like that setup for use next year. And we’re going treatment free. After two seasons of vacillating back and forth about whether or not to treat, we’ve decided on the natural approach. It’s how we do everything else so it makes sense to continue with that method. The bees know what to do. They don’t need us at all.

We found out that our youngest son and his wife are expecting their first child in July. As this is our first grandchild, Jerry and I are over the moon! We spent the Christmas holiday together, both boys and their wives in our oldest son’s new home. It was wonderful! Even the animals got along after Puff Cat drew first blood. Boundaries..synonymous with cats. Essential at any holiday.

An election happened that has upended our country and quite possibly the world. We didn’t exactly throw the baby out with the bathwater, but instead we’re about to install him as president. Because it’s less of an inauguration and more of an installation by the Russian government I think. Greed, misogyny, racism, sexism, along with tiny, grabby hands gave the Kremlin exactly what it wanted, any thought of which, in times past, would be called treason. But now it’s just another day.

The schism that we’re experiencing will go on and no doubt increase in the days to come. Each side will blame the other and may not notice as the man-child and his minions send us off into the abyss until there’s nothing left. Instead of doing what other president-elects do, he still feels the need to have rallies, to hear the roar of the crowd, instead of listening to daily briefings. He’s nothing short of a game show host-in-chief and his narcissism is sickening to watch. And to think the more qualified person won by almost 3 million more votes and won’t be taking that office. Instead, we’re stuck with this guy.

Of course, I drew some runes before I started this post for both divination and to create a bindrune for the coming year. Perthro, Kenaz, and Uruz were the three runes I drew and placed them on a larger altar piece I created that depicts Awen. Flow, alignment, and inspiration are felt in the three rays of Awen. Clearly we’re going to need to experience all three to get through dark times ahead.

Perthro reflects fate. It’s both the well of Wyrd and the cup from which runes are cast. It’s the womb that births experience; the unknown mystery of fate that blends both cause and effect of physical form with the synchronicity of Higher Self awareness. A rune of Elemental Water, Perthro suggests flowing change and evolution with an awareness of the past as influence for the future.

Kenaz, as the Torch, catalyzes our intuition and illuminates our path. The witch’s power to know is reflected in Kenaz as secrets are revealed. When Kenaz is drawn, transformation and awakening is at hand. Our creative presence is enhanced and a feeling of well-being surrounds us. We are purified in the light of both physical and spiritual enlightenment, aligned in our Source Presence.

Energy or thought shapes form. Uruz is considered an archetype in that it represents the pattern of creation and it’s from that energy that we derive our inspiration. Another rune of Elemental Water, Uruz is the rune of the aurochs depicting strength and endurance. It removes self-doubt and through sudden change overcomes obstacles and difficulties. Courage and increased personal power are delivered with this rune of manifested will.

Flowing in Awen bindruneThese runes combine their energies to create a bindrune that holds the intention of acceptance of our fate, of what is, to see the truth of the moment without being swayed. We stay in present moment awareness, alert to any truth that might appear giving us more clarity than previously felt. And as the unknown unfolds, we’re prepared to act in a way that overcomes any obstacles placed in our path. Aligned in our truth, we possess the strength required to meet any challenges which arise, manifesting our own will to transmute the effects of darkness into powerful loving light.

We’re being given a chance, although why we need this is beyond me, to see the life we don’t want, that the very structure of our world is threatened by this man, supported by the numerology of 4 contained in the runecasting. A lifetime of reaction has overshadowed a more reasoned approach, and many believed what amounted to nothing more than lies and hype. He’s not even formally our president yet and many are already having buyer’s remorse. I can already feel the groundswell of I told you so’s beginning.

Of course none of that will matter when our health care insurance costs skyrocket and cover nothing. Or if our new game show host-in-chief tweets something that causes a nuclear war. Did his supporters really believe he was telling any of them the truth? That he was their savior? That he would fix everything?

It’s going to take a whole lot of forgiveness in the end. As hard as that will be, maybe we should begin the new year forgiving everyone before anything else happens. Get ahead of the game as it were. Because if we wait to forgive after experiencing the mess those tiny hands can create, there may be nothing of us left.

Blessed Be our One Family..in the end..we’re all we have.

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As Garden Season Ends…

 

The dome we put in was a complete success. The hugel beds which we also put in exceeded our expectations as everything we planted both inside and around the outside of the dome went crazy. I’ve frozen more beans than I did last year and even though it’s October and we’ve had some frost, they’re still growing. The gourds are finishing out and I’m letting them hang, curing a bit before I cut them down.mini bottle gourd

tomatoesThe year has been odd though for tomatoes. I have a section over by my cannabis plants that came up as volunteers, mostly of the Roma variety. They’re loaded with tomatoes but they’re taking their sweet time to ripen. The same with the Big Mama Roma plants in the dome. But we have some warm weather over the next week or so and if I need to, I’ll hang them inside to finish out. I have no blossom end rot this year. I added epsom salts to the planting holes before dropping in the transplants. It really does make all the difference. But I’ve been able to make a bunch of tomato soup so far and last night I canned 5 quarts of pasta sauce.pasta sauce

apiary greenhouseThe apiary greenhouse had a hard time getting started, but then it took off. My clematis died out, however, but it was fairly root-bound when I bought it, so I didn’t have much emotional investment in it. The two over at the dome made it though as did the honeysuckle I planted. It’s all about the bees you know. I listened to someone in our local bee community and pulled my honey too soon on my new split and I lost the whole thing. I’m sure they went back to the original hive, but I’m done listening to anyone other than Michael Bush and a few others who are more into the natural side of beekeeping. He’s amazing and his videos are full of great information and Jerry and I have learned so much from them as well as his books.

celeryThe Thai pepper and celery continue to grow in the dome while temperatures remain above freezing. This is the first year I’ve grown celery. I had no idea it would grow here on the High Desert and it was so adorable coming up. Each one came up with tiny celery leaves and while the stalks didn’t get as big as those in grocery stores, at least mine don’t have a bunch of pesticides on them, and they taste great!

The new herb garden was prolific even though my arnica, elecampane, and wood betony didn’t come up. They might come up next Spring though. So I’ll get more seeds, but wait to see what actually comes up before replanting. My white sage and skullcap came up at the end of the season, so you never know. I’m just thrilled it worked out because creating the space with eight foot game fence isn’t exactly easy. But everything I planted is perennial and I’ve already harvested all kinds of herbs to dry for tinctures, salves, and teas, and after one last weeding and mulching, the garden will ready itself for the coming year.

herb garden

We have spuds galore! I grew six different varieties in the dome and some of them are huge. A few had obvious water spots and we chucked those, but that was probably due to running irrigation water through the dome. We have another bed outside of the dome as well as two structures that typically yield tons of spuds, but as of yesterday, we’ve harvested over one hundred pounds. We’ll probably harvest the rest this weekend.

spuds

 

snakeI would be remiss if I didn’t include my helpers in the garden. A snake has been my constant companion in the dome and his watchful eye was always present, crawling all over the dome, hiding among the beans, melons, and gourds.

bee-on-borageOf course butterflies, bees, and lady bugs were ever present. It’s odd to harvest herbs next to a borage plant vibrating with hundreds of honeybees and bumblebees. But we all shared space and it wasn’t until I was watering over by some comfrey that I got stung. Multiple times. That never happens over at the hives. If I’m stung, it’s on the finger while moving frames or something.lady-bug-copy

 

butterfly 2Butterflies were all over the garden, seeming to follow me everywhere. But the best one was the praying mantis. I love those guys! They all stood ready to pollinate and protect. And our gardens simply cannot do without them.

praying-mantis

Fall is here with winter soon after. My garden gets better and better, with full credit going to the bees. Observe them and watch as they show us the way forward. They operate as one organism. It’s their reality, just as it is ours.

~Blessed Be

Oh..one last picture..of Agent Orange. Wonderful medicine!

agent orange

 

References:

  1. Michael Bush ~ The Practical Beekeeper.

 

 

 

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Another Batch of Cannabis Oil

It’s time again to make some cannabis oil. It’s that thick, sludgy resinous oil made from cannabis that saves lives. I know because it saved mine. I originally used a method described by Rick Simpson, but then I found an oil distiller that sits on my kitchen counter and I like that even better. With the oil distiller, I can capture my expensive grain alcohol rather than letting it evaporate into the air.

Although I’ve done some posts about making cannabis oil in the past and I included the method in Confessions of a Back Porch Herbalist, I thought I would go through the methodology again in case anyone needed a refresher. It takes a pound of dried cannabis bud and two gallons of grain alcohol to strip the cannabis bud of its lifesaving properties.

first rinsestirring the cannabisI like using the work bag from my hash payload bag set to run the alcohol through the cannabis. It’s strong and has the largest screen on it to allow the resin to pass through into the alcohol. The other payload bags have smaller screens and they’re used to make hash. So we added some cannabis bud to the work bag and then poured half of our grain alcohol over it after which we mixed it around.

squeezing out the alcohol

squeezing-out-the-alcohol-2After squeezing out the first rinse, we discovered my husband grabbed the wrong bag so we carefully transferred the cannabis along with the resin that accumulated into the work bag we should have used originally. The smaller micron is necessary for capturing the resin, but since we want that resin to stay in the alcohol, the larger micron bag needs to be used.

So after my husband put on his glasses, we rinsed the cannabis a second time with the other half of the grain alcohol. Most of what we need is stripped during the first rinse, but it’s best to rinse it again to get what is still left on the bud. And it’s particularly important when you’re old and can’t remember to wear your glasses.

squeezing-second-rinse

Now after squeezing out the second rinse from the proper bag, we poured the alcohol mixture into the oil distiller, plugged it in, watched as it eventually began dripping the extracted alcohol into the catch container. Grain alcohol is expensive, so it’s really nice to be able to reuse it. When the alcohol reached a little above half way, we turned off the unit, waited the suggested 20 minutes for it to cool, and then openedoil distiller it to add more alcohol mixture. We did this one more time before we were finished. Each time we added more alcohol mixture, we poured what had collected in the container into another bottle for future oil-distiller-readyuse.

 

When the distilling process is complete, I put the remaining oil in a cup and placed that on a coffee warmer to finish the extraction process. There’s always a little bit of alcohol at the end in the oil and letting it sit uncovered on a coffee warmer allows the remaining alcohol to evaporate. It appears as bubbles on the surface and when the bubble stop, it’s finished. The oil can then be put in a jar or drawn up into a syringe for easy dosing. I use a jar as well as a silicone container for mine. If the oil alcohol mix in distilleris going to be used slowly then I would keep it in the refrigerator.

 

A pound of bud only creates a quarter cup of oil, so it would be impossible for me to use aoil in the distillerny of it if I didn’t grow my own cannabis. I have no clue what a pound of medicinal quality bud costs these days but I know it’s out of my price range. Dosage reportedly begins at an amount the size of half a grain of rice and then with conditions as serious as cancer you work up to a dime’s size amount.

Cannabis oil can be used topically as well and many folks use it to treat skin cancer. I used it on an area on my back that didn’t look right and within two weeks it was gone. It seemed to draw out the mass and then it came off. I don’t know what it was but that’s what happened. I also use it in cannabis based salves to give them additional strength. Cannabis is versatile, whether ingested raw, smoked or vaped, or ingested as a prepared medicine and irrespective of the method used to medicate, healing is the result.oil in silicone

I always get about a half cup of oil initially when I put it on the coffee warmer and today was no different. That will reduce by half and I’ll end up with a quarter cup of oil which I’ll use to keep my RA in check. This oil was made from Cuveé, a strain from TGA Genetics. Cuveé grows prolifically and outside the buds get really big. The branches tend to get heavy and droop so it’s best to keep the lower branches pruned. When they drag on the ground it only invites bugs and other problems. I love Cuveé. It’s beautiful and it’s a wonderful, relaxing medicine.

So that’s it. We began the process around three in the afternoon, which is too late by the way, and finished around 1:30 am, but the oil distiller makes it far safer than letting the alcohol evaporate outside with a fan blowing on it. Plus I was able to capture almost all of the two gallons of grain alcohol we used.

There are lots of videos online to look at and it’s great to see the different equipment people use to make this incredible medicine. To think we can both grow and then make the medicine that saves our lives is amazing. And we can do it in our kitchens! Patients network with other patients or go online to find out what works and what doesn’t. And what seems to work the best and most consistently is the whole plant and not simply one of its components.

The Goddess must of been with me because yesterday I made tomato soup from garden tomatoes as well as another batch of potato soup, began infusing some cannabis into corn syrup for candy, and made oil. But then there’s nothing like a witch who multi-tasks.

Happy healing!

 

Note – this is the distiller I use: Megahome oil distiller

 

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A Little Honesty Would Have Been Nice

Apparently the federal government is not yet ready to remove cannabis from the Federal Drug Register. NORML is reporting that the Feds aren’t going to reschedule cannabis after all. Never mind that a profit motive put it there, because it was never about truth. I guess they’re going to allow universities to “study” it now. As if that’s never happened in kitchens across this country, or in Israel and other countries around the world. Evidently Americans aren’t capable of using cannabis responsibly, whatever that means. At least not without years and years of “acceptable” research.

You’d think cannabis would be illegal because it’s dangerous and addictive. But all the hysteria surrounding cannabis’s so-called addictive nature was founded on a lie. Cannabis isn’t addictive, nor is it dangerous. It is, however, the source of healing for all sorts of people, myself included.

Cannabis is an effective treatment for autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis in my case), epilepsy, diabetes, pain, PTSD, cancer, and any number of other conditions that arise when our endocannabinoid systems have nothing to interact with. Our receptors need the cannabinoids found in cannabis so that our bodies can handle the stresses of daily life that all too often result in chronic illness. When the cannabinoid receptors are firing properly our bodies are healthy, when they’re not, illness results. So it would seem the issue is a simple one:

The government has lost its mind and still cannot find it.

It’s embarrassing, really, to think that we have some of the most intelligent people in the world working for our government yet the truth is still not important in the final analysis. Instead people are still arrested for a plant that heals. But then there’s no money in health, only chronic illness, because truth is irrelevant when profits are at stake. I mean, if we actually stopped locking people up for cannabis, we’d certainly see a reduction in the prison population, a job-killer for sure, so we can’t have that. What on earth would all those private prisons do without potheads taking up space?

CNN did an excellent three-part documentary series called Weed with Sanjay Gupta, but I guess a brain surgeon’s investigation isn’t enough to sway the DEA. Various states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis, my state included, and others have legalized medical cannabis use. I think half the country or better has done one or both. Every poll I hear about says that the majority of Americans believe cannabis should be legal, so how is it that the DEA can override respected scientists and the majority of citizens who want legal cannabis? They look like fools.

If alcohol and cigarettes are legal in this country, then cannabis should be as well. This notion of legalization with extensive restrictions isn’t legalization. It’s still control. Alcohol isn’t restricted, nor are cigarettes, and cannabis should be no different. If it’s legal, it’s legal. And in the case of cannabis, it’s safe to use unlike alcohol and cigarettes.

Aren’t we tired of crap that makes no sense? I sure am. And I’m pretty certain that everyone sitting in a jail cell for cannabis is as well. All the lives ruined by unnecessary prosecution and prison sentences, and for what exactly? Increased profits for Big Pharma? Asset-forfeiture? All over a little weed?

Cannabis makes us feel better. It heals not just our bodies but our emotions and our minds. There’s nothing like it and to think our government would rather lie about this plant than treat the American people with respect and dignity by telling us the truth is shameful and appalling.

Enough is enough. Come clean. Do the right thing by all of us. The American people will begin to heal and we’ll do that on our terms, not defined by and built upon a lie. Chronic illness will give way to actual health. I know because I healed with cannabis and I’m healthier now at 58 than I’ve ever been in my life. And that can happen for others.

All we need is a little honesty, a little truth, and then for our government to step out of our way.

 

Links:

  1. DEA Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position With Regard To Marijuana Scheduling