Promoting a Self Sustainable Lifestyle
[ Member listing ]
Taraxacum officinalis. Compositae.
Found on open land, in meadows and along waysides. Leaves long, toothed; flowers daisy form, bright yellow, heavily honey scented, later forming white, fluffy “clocks.” The leaves and stem exude a white juice when pressed. This is one of the most esteemed plants of the herbalist, a favorite of the great Arabian herbalist Avicenna.
For all disorders of the liver and bile ( especially jaundice ). A diet of the greens improves the enamel of the teeth. Helps in diabetes, obesity, over-sleepiness. It is blood cleansing, blood tonic, lymph cleansing.
The white juice for application to warts, old sores, blisters, and hard pimples. American Indians use the split stem, for applying by rubbing, to bee stings.
A half-dozen or so leaves eaten daily. Being rather bitter, they should be mixed with some milder salad herb such as lettuce.
Posted by Petra
@ 06:36 AM CDT
The year is 1100. The date is August 1. The monks in the abbey at Gloucester are celebrating the holy-day of St. Peter in Chains. One of the monks wakes from a strange dream in which God promises to strike down the wicked King who has abused the Holy Church. His superior, Abbot Serlo, on hearing of the dreams sends a warning to the King, William the Red, who has oppressed all of England with taxes and disgusted many with his licentiousness and blasphemy. Red, as he is called, receives the message the following day while preparing to indulge in one of his favorite sports, hunting, in the New Forest. Although there are no longer any people dwelling in the New Forest — they were all cleared out by Red's father, William the Conqueror — there are rumors that it's a hotbed of pagan activity.
And August 2 is an important pagan holy-day. The Saxons call it Lammas, the Loaf-Mass. William the Red laughs at the warning from the monks and goes out hunting. A short time later, he is dead, struck in the chest by a stray arrow, and his brother, Henry, who was in the hunting party is riding hot-foot for Winchester and the crown.
Now some people say that William the Red was a Lammas sacrifice, that having made a wasteland of his kingdom, he was killed by the people (or the Gods) as a sacrifice to bring new life to the land. And some people say his brother Henry has him assassinated. And some people say that both versions are true.
This story comes to my mind when I think of Lammas because I spent ten years researching a medieval novel set in the time of William the Red and Henry. But this tale of sacrifice and hunting, a dying King and a wasted land, embodies many of the dominant themes of Lammas, one of the four seasonal quarter-days, and perhaps the least well-known.
The Celts celebrate this festival from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2 and call it Lughnasad after the God Lugh. It is the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to dwindle after the summer solstice. The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life. If all this sounds vaguely Christian, it is. In the sacrament of Communion, bread is blessed, becomes the body of God and is eaten to nourish the faithful. This Christian Mystery echoes the pagan Mystery of the Grain God.
Grain has always been associated with Gods who are killed and dismembered and then resurrected from the Underworld by the Goddess-Gods like Tammuz, Osiris and Adonis. The story of Demeter and Persephone is a story about the cycle of death and rebirth associated with grain. Demeter, the fertility Goddess, will not allow anything to grow until she finds her daughter who has been carried off to the Underworld.
The Eleusinian Mysteries, celebrated around the Autumn Equinox, culminated in the revelation of a single ear of corn, a symbol to the initiate of the cyclical nature of life, for the corn is both seed and fruit, promise and fulfillment.
You can adapt the themes of Lughnasad and Lammas to create your own ceremony for honoring the passing of the light and the reaping of the grain.
Honoring the Grain God or Goddess
Bake a loaf of bread on Lammas. If you've never made bread before, this is a good time to start.
Honor the source of the flour as you work with it: remember it was once a plant growing on the mother Earth. If you have a garden, add something you've harvested--herbs or onion or corn--to your bread. If you don't feel up to making wheat bread, make corn bread. Or gingerbread people. Or popcorn.
What's most important is intention.
All that is necessary to enter sacred time is an awareness of the meaning of your actions.
Food for Thought
Lammas is a festival of regrets and farewells, of harvest and preserves. Reflect on these topics alone in the privacy of your journal or share them with others around a fire.
Lughnasad is one of the great Celtic fire-festivals, so if at all possible, have your feast around a bonfire. While you're sitting around the fire, you might want to tell stories. Look up the myths of any of the grain Gods and Goddesses mentioned above and try re-telling them in your own words.
Regrets: Think of the things you meant to do this summer or this year that are not coming to fruition. You can project your regrets onto natural objects like pine cones and throw them into the fire, releasing them. Or you can write them on dried corn husks (as suggested by Nancy Brady Cunningham in Feeding the Spirit) or on a piece of paper and burn them.
Farewells: What is passing from your life? What is over? Say good-bye to it. As with regrets, you can find visual symbols and throw them into the fire, the lake or the ocean. You can also bury them in the ground, perhaps in the form of bulbs which will manifest in a new form in spring.
Harvest: What have you harvested this year? What seeds have your planted that are sprouting? Find a visual way to represent these, perhaps creating a decoration in your house or altar which represents the harvest to you. Or you could make a corn dolly or learn to weave wheat. Look for classes in your area which can teach you how to weave wheat into wall pieces, which were made by early grain farmers as a resting place for the harvest spirits.
Preserves: This is also a good time for making preserves, either literally or symbolically. As you turn the summer's fruit into jams, jellies and chutneys for winter, think about the fruits that you have gathered this year and how you can hold onto them. How can you keep them sweet in the store of your memory?
Posted by Petra
@ 08:02 AM CDT
Animals need to be free from hunger and thirst, animals need a fresh and regular
supply of water and food, if they do not the animals will become stressed making
their immune system weaker and susceptible to disease, but they would also
become incredibly bored. Animals should also be fed in a way they would in the
wild. For example foraging animals such as guinea pigs should have their food
scattered and different fresh fruit and vegetables should be hidden in hay to
make them work for it. Large cats such as Lions and Tigers should be made to
chase their food as they would in the wild for example from the back of a moving
vehicle and encouraged to drag it off and eat it. This stimulates their mind and
body, prevents boredom and reduces stress. If they don;t have the chance to do
this they may exhibit abnormal, stereotypical behaviours such as bar
Animals should be free from discomfort, pain, injury and disease.
If animals are in an unsuitable environments where its too hot, too cold, wet
etc. then they will become stressed and will become ill. If they're in pain or
are suffering from a disease that isn't treated then they will exhibit abnormal
behaviours such as avoiding food, apathy and aggression. All of these factors
contribute to the psychological welfare of animals.
Animals, for their
physical and psychological well being need to be able to exhibit their natural
behaviours that they would perform in the wild. For example chickens need to be
able to have dust baths and make nests for their eggs, if they don't then they
will cause harm to themselves. Battery farmed egg laying chickens will rub
themselves against the dirty cage bars causing injuries to their eyes, beaks and
feathers. Battery farmed pigs in crates will bite the bars causing injuries to
their mouths if they're not allowed to forage. Being able to perform natural
behaviours makes them happy. With performing natural behaviours animals need to
be kept with their own kind, for example a sheep kept solitary will become bored
and stressed as they feel safe in a large group, they become agitated, apathetic
and perform stereotypical behaviours if they're in this situation. Being able to
breed is also a form of natural behaviours, the vast majority of marine fish
will not be breed in an aquarium as they're stressed in an aquarium
Animals need to be free from fear and distress, for example a
guinea pig that is housed near a barking dog will make them stressed and cause
abnormal behaviours such as not eating or sleeping. Animals need to be able to
hide to make them feel secure and this will make them more secure and
Posted by Petra
@ 04:11 AM CDT
If you’re a dog lover,
you’re probably aware that many people feel mixed breeds are healthier than
purebreds. One of the reasons for this notion is that when two or more breeds
are blended together, there’s less risk a dog will inherit breed-specific diseases.
The idea that mutts
are healthier makes a certain amount of sense when you consider the poor
breeding practices of puppy mill operators and many AKC associated breeders as well. There’s excessive focus on breeding animals for
certain physical characteristics, and entirely too little attention paid to
selecting dogs for health and longevity.
The belief that
breed-blending creates healthier dogs is part of the reason “designer dogs”
like Goldendoodles, Morkies and Puggles have become so popular. It’s also why
breeders are able to ask inflated prices for dogs that aren’t purebred.
But are mixed and
designer breeds really healthier? Not according to what many veterinarians see
in their practices... and not according to a recently published five-year study
of veterinary cases at the University of California, Davis. This research
indicates that mixed breeds don't automatically have an advantage when it comes
to genetic disorders.
13 of 24 Genetic Disorders Occurred at Same Rate in Mixed Breeds
The UC Davis
researchers looked at the records of over 90,000 purebred and mixed breed dogs
that had been patients at the university’s veterinary medical teaching hospital
between 1995 and 2010. Designer dogs were included in the study, since
crossbreeding is presumed to reduce or eliminate genetic disorders like
hypothyroidism epilepsy, hip dysplasia and cancer.
Of the 90,000 records
reviewed, 27,254 involved dogs with at least one of 24 genetic disorders,
including various types of cancers, heart disease, endocrine system
dysfunction, orthopedic conditions, allergies, bloat, cataracts, eye lens
problems, epilepsy and liver disease.
According to the
study, which was published in the June 1, 2013 edition of the Journal of the
American Veterinary Medical Association1,
the prevalence of 13 of the 24 genetic disorders was about the same for
purebreds as mixed breeds. Some of those disorders were hip dysplasia, hyper-
cancers, lens luxation and patellar luxation.
Ten conditions were
found more frequently among purebred dogs, including dilated cardiomyopathy, elbow dysplasia,
cataracts, and hypothyroidism.
One disorder was
actually more common in mixed-breeds – cranial cruciate ligament ruptures.
“Overall, the study showed that the prevalence of these genetic
disorders among purebred and mixed-breed dogs depends on the specific
condition," said animal
physiologist Anita Oberbauer, professor and chair of the Department of Animal
Science at UC Davis and lead author of the study.
Breeds with Similar Lineage Share Gene Mutations for Inherited
The UC Davis study
data also suggests breeds that share a similar lineage are more prone to
certain inherited disorders. According to Phys.org:
“… four of the top five breeds affected with elbow dysplasia
were the Bernese mountain dog, Newfoundland, mastiff and Rottweiler—all from
the mastiff-like lineage. This suggests that these breeds share gene mutations
for elbow dysplasia because they were descended from a common ancestor.”
The flip side of the
coin is disorders that occur in both mixed breeds and purebreds seem to
originate from well-established gene mutations that have spread throughout the
dog population. These disorders include hip dysplasia, tumor-causing cancers,
and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
18 Points to Discuss with a Breeder
If you’re thinking
about purchasing a purebred puppy, I’ve developed a method to help you
determine how healthy your new pet may be. Investigating the lifestyle of your
prospective puppy’s parents through questions posed to the breeder can give you
excellent insight into the health of your pup and his littermates.
These questions are
intended to determine how committed the breeder is to the well-being of his or
her dogs and their litters. If a breeder can’t or won’t answer these questions
about the parents of the puppy you’re considering, I recommend you find another
Posted by Petra
@ 09:45 AM CDT
Oh goodness, it is 4 am and I am up and needing coffee in the worst kind of way and wishing that this little mosquito, that keeps pestering me, will find something else to other then keep flying around my ear.
I guess it is a very early Saturday morning for me today since "Buddy" the Great Dane decided that it would be a great idea to go out after he woke up everyone in the house.
Yesterday I was pondering if I should add some additional herbal tea to my store and was hoping that I might be able to put a shout out to all of you if you all would be interested in that .
I already grow a great variety of herbs that would be awesome to prepare as a loose tea.
Maybe there is an herb or two I can add to the many that are already growing here. Either way I would be delighted to receive some input from all you great Local Harvest Supporters.
Wow surprising what some coffee can do I am already getting creative and it is a little after 4 am, weird
I wish everyone a grand & creative day
as always, yours truly
Posted by Petra
@ 04:26 AM CDT
Wow, time sure passes fast when you are having fun.
It must have rained last night a little more, everything is nice a moist and you can just feel how thankful Mother Earth is. All the birds are singing and ready for this wonderful new day.
"Lizzie" my little chihuahua mix 5 month old puppy already has the house upside down . All her toys are all over the house and she is busy trying to get "Schatzie the dachshund, to play with her. She is a trip, always happy , busy finding everything just amazing.
Sipping my morning coffee I am brainstorming what should be first on my "to-do" list.
"Herne" & "Pan" the 2 new angora bucks are surely enjoying it here and really show their appreciation by rubbing noses with me
Funny how little animals expect from us and how much they give in return. This is truly something to ponder.
Enjoying the therapeutic life right here on the farm.
Wishing all of you a grand day and hug a goat today ( if you have one)
Posted by Petra
@ 07:36 AM CDT
What a wonderful way to wake up this morning and be surprised by lightning moving in and a nice cool breeze. After I let the dogs out for their morning constitution it started raining
I opened all the doors to the house to let the clean air in. It has been quite a while since it rained so we are all welcoming this beautiful shower.
As I am writing this I can hear the rain with the wind chimes gently greeting this new day.
Wishing you all peace and happiness and may you be creative today and don't forget to dance
Posted by Petra
@ 07:55 AM CDT
It is time to sip my coffee and get started with my day.
I finished shearing the 2 Angora Bucks ( Pan & Herne) yesterday and I am sure that both of them appreciate that very much. They where both extremely matted and I can imagine with this Texas heat, walking around with a "carpet" attached to you , is quiet uncomfortable.
The camelid girls where not really impressed when they meet the Angora Boys, I think they where more like "what the heck is that" and Chrissy (one of our llamas) sounded the alarm call. All of them seemed to be rather interested in checking the goats out.
Today is "Hay Day" hoorah Getting hay delivered is so much more convenient and I am very grateful to not have to run to the feed store every week.
I wish everyone a beautiful Wednesday.
Posted by Petra
@ 06:01 AM CDT
It is a cloudy day here in the beautiful Texas Hill Country and I hope that the rain will find us today.
As I walked out to secure the front gate so the camelid girls can stroll around the property, which they enjoy greatly, I looked around in wonder and though for myself, I never had imagined that one day I will be here living the farm life with all the challenges and joys.
I feel so blessed that I have an opportunity to make a difference and even if it is only on these 11 acres.
My herbs are growing so well and all the animals are happy and it certainly shows.
I can honestly say, there is nothing in life that I would rather do then be here on the farm and handle everything that comes my way.
What difference do you choose to make on this wonderful Tuesday.
Smile and Be Happy
Posted by Petra
@ 06:48 AM CDT
Good morning everyone.
Lots have been going on here on the Ranch.
I finally found a reasonably priced drum carder that, I have to say, is a god's sent. It makes my fiber processing so much more efficient and incredibly fun. That was truly a great investment indeed.
So the summer is finally creeping in all the camelids are sheared and four of the fiber boys went to great homes where they are appreciated for their great disposition and fiber quality.It is always great to meet new camelid owners they are all so eager to have these awesome animals in there lives.
Yesterday we picked up two angora goats (bucks) that are great. I am planning on adding angora fiber to my list of products and I am sure that it will be a great asset to our Ranch. They are both a little over a year old and grey in color. This morning I will start to shear them which will probably make the extremely happy.
It makes me so happy to learn new things everyday about this wonderful life here on the Ranch.
Someone said ones: Get in touch with nature and you will find god. I have to totally agree with that statement.
I am so grateful to be able to live the farmlife. It is truly rewarding.
Wishing you all a wonderful day
Posted by Petra
@ 04:38 AM CDT
A beautiful morning to really enjoy pasture clean up. I am amazed how well the camelid manure turns this dry and stoney land into great fertile soil.
The ranch is full of beautiful wild flowers and I am sure it is because of the great rain that we had the last few days as well as spreading the fertilizer all throughout the land.
Today I have to run into town to get some errands done after that getting some of the boys ready to get picked up tomorrow.
I wish everyone a great and productive day
Posted by Petra
@ 09:53 AM CDT
What a wonderful Wednesday it is. We where blessed with more rain yesterday and today the earth and all the inhabitants here are overjoyed with the beautiful warm sunshiny day today.
The peacock that found his way to our ranch a few days ago seems like he likes it here since he already found a place in one of our large trees that he spends the night in and he is very content with haveing the llamas and alpacas visit daily.
It is a great day to wash and soak more fiber. I also have quite a few orders that need to be filled and shipped. I will get jumping, I opended all the windows and doors so the beautiful energy from outside can flood the house.
Wishing all a super groovy, happy and peaceful day
Posted by Petra
@ 01:37 PM CDT
A Great Thursday to Everyone
Yes......it's raining finally. I am so happy. The air is so fresh and clean its incredible.
It has been raining off and on since yesterday nice and steady so it has time to soak into the ground and quench all the plant life.
I am glad I cleaned the pastures today and fertilized the fields, yes feeding Mother Earth
All the animals around here don't know what to think, the cooler weather is certainly appreciated by all.
I had a pleasant surprise yesterday evening when I did my evening feeding ritual of the animals.
Another peacock seems to move himself onto our place as it seems. He was standing next to the peacock enclosure and looked at me a little perplexed
Of course I fed him as well and he liked that very much. I think he is at least 3 years old so I guess we will see if he will stick around, It is such a beautiful sight to look at such incredible beauty.
Peace & Happiness Always
Posted by Petra
@ 12:59 PM CDT
Oh my.....the heat is already creeping in here in Central Texas and everyone is waiting for the rain that has been passing us by so far.
It is 87 degrees here today and very humid which makes it very uncomfortable to do anything outside.
I started cooling off the llamas & alpacas with the hose of cool water and they truly appreciate that.
All the herbs are growing very well I must say and I think I can already do some harvesting of quite a few
The processing of the freshly sheared Llama and Alpaca Fiber is going swiftly. Last night I finished 3 hats that are so awesome with multi colored yarn that I spun a few days ago. Stay tuned I will list thefiber items soon.
Today will be another fiber spinning day and I really feel like creating my cute shabby chic llama puppets.
I hope everyone is doing great on this wonderful Monday.
Enjoy yourself and the things you do
Posted by Petra
@ 01:54 PM CDT
Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader
I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely day.
It is pretty warm here in Central Texas and I have been a "busy bee ".
Already the pasture clean up and fertilizing of the fields is complete. Fiber carded and spun, Floor Boards removed and I have been very busy putting my new chainsaw to the test.
Clipping the treet in the llama girl pasture so they will have more places to lay at when the summer heat arrives here in our beautiful hill county.
Hoping for rain.
It has been a very busy and productive day that is for sure.
Wishing everyone a blessed day.
Peace and Happiness
Posted by Petra
@ 02:54 PM CDT