Prepping series w/ intro

Intro:
Theories are rife concerning some kind of cataclysmic upheaval in our country, on our Earth. I give any theory a 50/50 chance to boot….hey, it could either happen or not! Some theories go up, way up, on that percentage due to obvious behaviors and trends. I have no particular theory that I feel most strongly about, I know I certainly DON’T believe in the Mayan calender theory:) but like people who are awake and aware, I look at weather and climate changes,resource depletion, worldwide violence, turbulence, and social upheaval, and a growing trend towards fascism in our own country, and I have concern as to the reality, longevity and health of the “American way of life”.
In the 90’s we had a great concern for the gross superinflation of the stock market. It seemed like like huge, improbable bubble that would inevitably burst. In all honesty I think the “can has been kicked” down the road this far by means of extending credit and printing money. Since the 90’s, we have seen an explosion of extended credit, a huge real estate market bubble inflate and then burst, leaving a trail of devastation. Government bailouts for big corporations, government spending creating another huge bubble, more borrowing and then spending much more than we could ever have. How can anyone believe this could go on forever?
In the stock market there are things called “corrections”. Although I have no pet theory, I THINK what I have been really expecting is a correction of sorts in the economic realm.
In the 90’s, we took a series of classes with a huge motley crew of other concerned persons and what is now called “preppers”. Back in the day, although prepping was referred to as “Emergency Preparedness”, the movement was moreso termed such as “Self-suffiency”, sustainabilty, and if you were really hardcore–survivalist. It was great—a mixxed bag of preppers, Amish, Liberarians, 2nd Amendment folks, organic farmers, homeschoolers, and conspiracy theorists! Kind of like the reader/writers in Countryside magazine! 🙂
In the classes we were exposed to the writings of a Don MacAlvany. He wrote a world report, I believe–monthly–but he also wrote up a 38 point page titled “Principles of Self-Sufficiency”. It is on this note that I would like to pen my thoughts concerning prepping. It is an EXCELLENT list, I will take a theme, draw upon a few points, and then put my personal elaboration. IF anyone would like the complete list (and not have to patch together my points!) pleas email me at sage_light2000@yahoo.com and I’ll send you out one.

Prepping 1: What do you have? What do you need?
Point 24: Bring orderliness into your life. (If you live in disorder it will pull you down, it will break your focus. Think focus versus distraction. Eliminate the distractions from your life.)
Point 32: Beware of being spread too thin in your life. Decide on the few things that you must do and do them well. (Think focus versus distraction.) Make sure that unimportant, non-essential distractions don’t keep you from achieving your important objectives.
Point 37: Sell of give away things you do not use or need. Consider giving away or selling 50% of your “stuff”. (i.e. the non-essentials) Simplify and streamline your life, lifestyle and possessions.

The very word “prepping” implies the OBTAINING of needed materials for whatever project one has in mind. Likewise, in the self-sufficiency movement, in embracing “prepping”, a frequent initial question is “what do I need?” But before one runs out and obtains more stuff…they really need to take inventory of what they already HAVE. It’s rather timley that I am writing this in the Spring, as this is a great opportunity to do that Spring cleaning and inventory. Clutter is little more than a distraction…and clutter brings imbalance in all areas–physical, mental and emotional.
De-cluttering will always be an on-going project, but my challenge today is this: As I clean each room, each closet, each drawer, I will give away, throw away, or sell each thing that our family has no immediate use for. The hippies of old used to have a saying, “Give your stuff away!” Well–not a bad idea.
We are only given so much energy each day to fulfill each day’s tasks and callings. Challenge: take an honest inventory of your home, your life; see where your energy is going, and bravely part yourself from the distractions. I am not suggesting being a totally goal-oriented person, the roses are there for us to stop and smell 🙂 but by bringing orderliness into your life, you also find peace, balance, and strength.

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Market Buzz and the beginning of Very Busy Times!

Went to Market last night and did above average—PLUS–it was so great too see all of my market buddies and regular customers again! Big Smiles! I LOVE being a vendor at our local Farmers Markets. I wish I didn’t have to work at my “real” job and that I could just piddle around in my gardens, wildcraft, and offer all of my products full time! It gives me so much joy

Heheheh–I am the ruling and reigning soap goddess around here. I go to 2 markets primarily–Hanover and Marysville–and sell my soaps, balms, and herbal tea blends. Sometimes I take my guitar and goof off for folks. It’s so much fun…I love the other vendors, my kind of people…others that love to work with the Earth; laid back and friendly folks. Oh—and if you are a little white haired Grandma selling baked goods you are just about guaranteed to sell out everytime!

I HATE craft fairs, ugh. The hours are too long and tedious, and most fairs are open to vendors selling corporate products such as Scentsy and Tupperware.

My busy season will soon be upon me and today, my day off, I’m going to be crafting and getting ready. Plan on making 5 large batches of soap, infusing herbs for balms, and working in the gardens a bit. I’ll be thinning out the comfrey so if anyone needs some I have it listed on Ebay.  http://www.ebay.com/itm/330706202987?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649#ht_500wt_949

Blog readers will get a ~~~special mystery surprise~~~ha!

Ah….what else. We have had rain the past three days and hoping it will clear out today. Every day I believe my plants have grown at LEAST an inch! Everything is so green and beautiful!

Her’s a little Springtime poem….

Springtime blows

Cross the tundra of my soul

Bringing Life

Bringing warmth

Making

Everything

New!

~BSO

May the blessings of the Green, and all that is green and bright and beautiful, be yours!



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Fascism

I have read about the recent signing of an Executive Order titled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” and it makes me think, wow, wasn’t this what we Americans fought WW2 for–one country bent on fascism, complete control over all resources? I have read how some are saying that this EO is simply an update to an older order that existed before Homeland Security and whatnot. It can be really scary when you consider the direction our country is heading in, and I truly believe that when approached with total fear, what you focus upon can E X P A N D and dominate your whole way of thinking. I don’t want to live in fear. I want to be aware of what is truly happening, don’t want to be an ostrich, and I don’t want to sound like a pie-in-the-sky person, but I really have a deep sense of peace and what is Psalm 27 is shining in my heart, giving me joy and strength.

“The Lord is my strength and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life,of whom shall I be afraid”? I think if there were ever a time to understand what Christians call spiritual warfare it is now. We don’t need simply the words, any literate person can read these, we need the truth, the reality, the power that prompted the psalmist to write this. We need to know, beyond all doubt, that what-is-God is our strength and our joy, and to be guided and led by such.

So I am determined not to be soul-sick with fear, not to be an ostrich either, but hopefully be strong in spirit and faith and an encouragement to those around me!

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Herbal Pharmacopoeia 2012–March

Image

Is a picture necessary?! Spring has come way early this year. We barely had any winter and are now having days in the 70’s and nights in the 50’s. All this, of course, is bound to the moodiness of Kansas–but I think it’s safe to say we won’t be having any more icy blasts from the North! In my gardens we herald the triumphant return of yarrow, painted daisies, hollyhocks, calendula, comfrey, oregano, chives, sage, lavender, chickory, parsley; many others, and I’m excited to see last Autumns planting of garlic coming up! In the yard the grass is greening and there are copious amounts of henbit and Persian speedwell. The speedwell is a low grower with very small, bright blue flowers. I used to call them fairie flowers when I was a child. (OK…I still do!) I do not use these for any reason, but the first of wildcrafting and gathering beneficial plants in the wild begins this year with Dandelion Leaf. This early spring green contains beta-carotene, vit. B1 and 2, choline, folic acid, vit. C, calcium, iron, maganese, phosphorus, potassium. Many people enjoy eating the greens but I will be drying a large stash to use in my tea formulas–particularly those that will benefit the liver, kidney and bladder. 

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Soapin’, hummingbirds and my Dad

Making Summertime, Sweet Pea, Cedarwood Patchouli and Lavender Mint. What a delicious day, what a bright cool morning filled with chirping crickets and bird song. I never knew hummingbirds chirped until yesterday; a rather friendly female rubythroat was sampling my zinnias and just hovered–for about 10 seconds–about three feet eye level in front of me. Maybe she thought that I was a huge flower!

I’m kind of amazed right now thinking that my Dad has become one of the Ancestors. I can’t believe that he is gone. It’s so hard to say Good-bye to one of your parents. I feel a gamut of emotions–sadness, gratefulness for his quick and painless death (We should all be so lucky. He had what the ancient Celts would call “a good death”.) guilt for not being a better daughter. I really wish that I had let him in….in my head, moreso in my heart. I wish that I would have showed that I cared more. I always felt that I had to live up to some ideal and often felt that I constantly fell short of that ideal. I always felt like I was on “company manners”. I wish that I had really let him know me–the good, the bad, the ugly. It’s all part of being human. Rarely do we let people know us this well for great fear of rejection. But your parents….you know, they will always love you and you always seem to get through the muddy stuff. Always.

What-is-God; help me to learn, once again, how to open my heart to those whom I really should, and to fearlessly love.

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Creative Writing Exercise–The Duck Race

Mollie  played quietly in the corner with her books and colors. Mama laid on the couch, half asleep, half watching the television. The house was quiet, although it was late Spring the windows were closed, the room was always dark.

Mollie looked at Mama. She had become so skinny. Her robe, once a constant struggle to wrap around her body, now hung forlorn and large upon her frame. She gave Mollie a wan smile. Soon Aunt Kathy would be by, to break the silence and to bring them something to eat.

An air of sadness filled the room. Mollie wished that Mama was well again. At first when Mollie would come home from school Mama would be taking a nap after work on the couch. Mollie would wake her upon coming home and they would have coffee and cookies together, do chores, make dinner, do homework, and laugh. When Mama got sick, it took longer and longer to wake her from her naps. That’s when she started to get really skinny.

Mama’s hair used to be so long and shiny. Now it hung in a sad and thin ponytail. Her face and body got really bony, and she was so tired that she laid down most of the time. She no longer could work, and was not making dinner anymore.

The only thing about Mama that was the same was her voice. Mama would let Mollie climb in bed with her, and as they went to sleep they would talk. Mama would tell Mollie stories about when she was a girl Mollie’s age. Mollie held her Mama close and fell asleep to the sound of her voice and her prayers.

One day Mollie ran home from school because it was raining. It was a warm day, the sun was shining in the west, but it was raining like crazy! Big clouds filled the sky above her and poured rain like buckets. As Mollie ran up to her home she saw that MAMA WAS ON THE PORCH. Laughing, Mama pointed to the two story building across the street. A fountain of rain poured like a waterfall from the drain spout on the second floor. “It’s like a waterfall”! Mollie screamed with joy. “I wish I could go in it”! “Go for it”! Mama laughed. Mollie ran across the street and danced under the waterfall. Mama sat on the porch and clapped and cheered.

It was raining so hard that the street gutters had become a fast and wide river. Mama got up and sat on the edge of the curb. Her robe clung to her frail body, her hair clung to her frail head, and water eddied around her feet that she had put in the flow of this river. Mollie ran over and sat next to her. She put her feet next to Mama’s. “Hey, I have an idea”, Mama said. “You know those little duckies that you collect? Go get them”!

Mollie ran into the house and returned with an armload of small rubber ducks. Pirate ducks, tattooed ducks, princess ducks, devil ducks—she was loaded!

They each picked a duck and positioned it for race in the river. The water then carried them swiftly downstream and deposited them in the road at the end of their block.

The raindrops were fat and bright. The sun was still shining in the west, and the world smelled wonderfully of warm, wet pavement.

Mama looked at Mollie and smiled. “Do you remember this”, she said quietly, “Mudra”? Mama held her hands out, palms up, and touched her first fingers to her thumbs. “This is a mudra to seal a moment. To keep it within your heart forever, so that you can always come back and remember this, this moment can be with you always, and you can always come back here anytime that you want”.

Mollie made the mudra. Mama smiled.  Her eyes were as bright and wet as the rain.

And there they sat in the sunshiny rain, sealing the moment, and watching the ducks race to the corner.

 

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A letter to African American sisters

A letter to all of my African American sisters:

I have a new friend who recently blogged on the struggles she has in finding spiritual ideologies, resources, and sources of inspiration that appeal specifically to African American women. I am writing this to hopefully suggest a couple of ways in which African American women can find a profound and more deep appreciation of their own unique connection with what is Divine.

Extensive scientific and anthropological research has shown that the human species H. sapiens originated in Africa. As migratory patterns began over 100,00 years ago, fossil remains of H. sapiens were found throughout Africa, Europe and South West Asia. As (some of) our ancestors travelled forth out of Africa, they began to adapt to their new environments.

Every person (with the exception albinos) has a measure of melanin in their skin. Exposure to sunlight increases melanin production in the skin. Persons with dark skin have more melanin producing cells, thus equipping their skin—the body’s largest organ—to live in tropical regions without an especially high risk of developing skin cancers. Our ancestors who travelled north found environments that did not yield so much sun—so their bodies adapted with a loss of melanin producing cells.

It is understood that light skin is a recent development in the biological evolution of humankind. Dark skin is ancient, is primal, and is the Common stock of all of humanity.

With that said, in the book of Genesis we read of Eve, the “Mother of All”. I do not believe in Biblical literalism, I believe that early teachers often used metaphor to teach a moral, a lesson, a deeper truth.  So in marrying science and religion, we have to agree that yes, there likely was a Common Mother(s) of all living. There truly was an Eve—most likely not one sole woman—but the human species does have some point of origin. Where did our Ancient Mother(s) come from? What did Eve “look” like?

I believe She looked like the Earth. Dark skin glistening in the Sun; skin as dark and rich as Earth, Bountiful Mother, offers the beauty of Herself again and again to proliferate this growing, travelling, adapting band of the genus Homo. Through migration and mating patterns, we have literally become a rainbow of humanity across the Earth. There are even Blue People in Kentucky! 🙂

So if I were an African American woman today, I don’t know how much connection I would feel with divine female imagery that so often speaks to those of European descent. I would look deeper, I would go straight to the Source of ALL Goddesses, ALL women—the Earth.

The Earth is our Mother. We are made of Her substance and She sustains us. I’m afraid that I have no high theology in these regards; it’s as simple as this for me: The Earth is our Mother.

As humans we have a Common Mother as well: I see Her in our primordial beginnings; she is earthy and dark, full of sun and Life. Thank You Mother for giving us Life and Breath. She is our great clan-mother, and she lives within us all.

 

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Poem to the Ancestors

Poem to the Ancestors

 

Fisher woman

Coastal dweller

Hearty and hale

Arms strong from

Work, belly large from

Many children, breasts ample

They have fed and

Nourished, you

Have fed and

Nourished

Seed

That was strong, like

Your arms as

You carry large

Fish…..swimming

Through time, through

The countless back-

wards gazing at

a long line of

fisherwomen swimming

in you to them in

me forever

swimming forward gazing

back through time, in

time, in

countless generations your

legacy lives in

me, my blood, my

children, my

children’s children.

~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Through the Looking Glass

I sit here and ponder upon the thought of self-image being a product of one’s environment. This is what some sociologists would call the “looking glass self”, where one’s self image is based upon what one thinks others see in us. This theory would say that our self-image is but a reflection of the responses we receive from others–our “looking glass”. For example, if one is consistently berated and criticized; they will often have a poor self-image–no matter how facts may speak to the contrary.

In a society where the marketing media portrays the young and super thin as the ultimate ideal in feminine beauty, this reinforces feelings of inadequecy in the many of us whofail this ideal. On a personal level, I have always felt fat and unattractive–a big Slavic frump. Hmmm, perhaps it comes from being the only blonde in an adoptive family, all dark in color. Having brothers tease me and call me “Bertha Butt”, developing early,and later in life having a partner always “tease” me about being fat (even though I was a size 8). Perhaps it was all of this that instilled within my mind the one-dimensional self-image that I was, indeed, a large and unappealing glump. And who cares? you may ask, and seriously–there are bombs and wars, AIDS, starving people, natural disasters, despotic leaders worldwide and crimes at every level. Who gives a flying rats ass if I didn’t feel “Pretty?”

In truth it’s a little embarrassing to be so insecure and perhaps a bit shallow; I actually feel that the cultivation of soul-beauty is a more honorable feat; I think there are a lot of “beautiful” people but not very many people who display true beauty. I believe that true beauty flows from the fount on a beautiful soul, and is most literally the “salt of the Earth”. But on the other hand, I know what its like to always fall back into shadows and darkness because you feel you don’t matter much, anyway. I know how bad it hurts to have a phone that never rings. I know the shame that burns on your cheeks like a scarlett flood every time, every time that you are the last person chosen.

One of my favorite songs by Elliott Smith(d) is titled, “Pretty (Ugly Before)”. In it, he says….”I feel so pretty….I was so ugly before”. What could have changed his self opinion on such a profound level? It is said that beauty is skin deep but ugly goes to the bone. Something had to have happened to have–even if briefly–helped to see himself in a new light.

It has been posited that only 5% of the Earth’s people are physically beautiful. One day, about three years ago, I met such a person–one of the gods own children, a person of natural grace, beauty and charm whose presence would light every room they entered..

And this beautiful, beautiful person….

Fell in love

With me.

Me, Bertha Butt.

Me, the Big Slavic Glump.

In that moment, in that Light, all of the pain, all of the conditioning, all of the years of feeling worthless slid off me like scales from the eyes of Paul.

This beautiful, incredible, unforgettable person

Thought that I

Was a beautiful, incredible, unforgettable person too.

And in that moment….

I was.

The old mirrors were gone–the ones that lied, distorted and saw only in one skewed dimension. A new mirror was held up, and it was held up in love, for….

Love

Begets

Love.

And love makes everything beautiful.

“I don’t remember frumpy, but I remember you”.–from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”

You thought that I could do better than you? Oh NobleLee; there is nothing better than you”. –Forney to NobleLee in “Where the Heart is”.

“You would weather well….in a climate of love” –Mark Heard, “Look Over Your Shoulder”.

 

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A Winter Charm

Winter Deep
Lulls all to sleep
And bids to rest
On snowy breast.
We gather close for strength and warmth,
With glowing fires on the family’s hearth.
Our warm circle defies the cold
And we share with our young ones the tales of old.
Sharing wisdom, passing traditions
From our hearts unto the next generation.
Teaching and keeping good herbal lore
Helps keep us from the doctor’s door.
We must keep our immune systems strong
To keep us in health all winter long.
Garlic, Echinacea, and vitamin C
Helps keep us hale and Blessed Be.
Scarves of scarlet and woolen hat
Keeps the body’s warmth intact.
Keep the feet and hands warm and dry
If in good health ye wish to abide!

On sunny days we go outdoors and romp
But on the doormat do not fail to stomp.
We like to tobaggon, sled and ice skate
And keep a cheery bonfire where the fellowship us great.
The air is cold, crisp and clean
And white hills dance with the evergreens.
Wintry animals have donned shaggy winter fur
To keep their bodies from going “Brrrrr!”
We must leave gifts of bread and various seed
To help our bird friends in their time of need.
We take joy in winter, for in it we feel
It is the time of rest, on the turn of the wheel.
The gray skies and frozen ground do not carry much gloom
For we know that beneath the snow, spring awaits to bloom.
So we rejoice in our Lady’s time of peace and rest,
For with wisdom, we know that in good health we’ll be blessed!
-Beth Sage -Owens

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