Belize sounds so much like believe - keep me posted!!
I recently found myself taking pictures and emailing them to friends and family. Rather than clogging up their email in boxes, I created this blog. The blog is also for my inner 7 year old witch to express herself however she wants now that she fired that inner censor.
The chicken mushroom grows on trees, logs, or stumps, deciduous or coniferous, across North America. Most common in autumn, it also appears in spring and summer.
The chicken mushroom tastes very much like chicken, especially with customary chicken seasonings. Properly prepared, it’s wonderful.
To adapt it to traditional chicken recipes, include a source of protein (i.e., grains or beans) to make the dish filling, plus some olive oil or vegetable oil, because unlike chicken, this mushroom contains no fat.
Unless the mushroom is so young and tender it almost drips with juice, it’s better to cook it in moist heat (i.e. in soups, stews, or in grains) than to cook it in oil.
Wind,full of mist
As it blows on my face
Twinkling, through the air
Ever so light as it falls on the ground
Reaching for it I
Feel the wet little drops
Always falling down
Looking at the foam floating
Listening to the water flow
Jewelweed is commonly found growing near stinging nettle (it does sting) in the park. Native Americans used the watery plant juices to relieve itching and irritation associated with poison ivy, stinging nettle and insect bites. They have also been known to use jewelweed as an aid for dealing with dermatological, gastrointestinal, gynecological, pediatric, orthopedic, pulmonary, kidney, liver and urinary conditions. They also used jewelweed as an eye medicine, a diuretic, a burn dressing, and as a yellow/orange dye.
Orange spotted flowers nodding from thin, threadlike stems easily identify jewelweed. The attractive flowers are said to resemble jewels. The showy flower consists of several petal-like sepals in the shape of a tube or trumpet with a spur at the end.
Jewelweed has two kinds of flowers, the 1-inch flower just described and tiny petalless flowers that never open. These tiny flowers produce most of the seeds, which are in a capsule or pod that explodes or flies apart when touched. The seeds are thrown several feet, giving the plant its other names, "touch-me-not" and "snapweed." When the seeds germinate the next spring, the ground may be covered with tiny seedlings whose pennyshaped leaves don't look much like the bushy, 5-foot-tall mature plants.
Leaves are pale green and have a silvery sheen when wet. The flowers were used to make a yellow dye. American Indians used the juice to reduce irritation from poison ivy, and the juice can be helpful to lessen stinging caused by contact with nettles. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to the showy flowers. June-October. There is another species that has pale yellow and sometimes white flowers. All these species grow along streams and in moist, shady places.
I know I cannot paint a flower. I cannot paint the sun on the desert on a bright summer morning, but maybe in terms of paint color I can convey to you my experience of the flower or the experience that makes the flower of significance to me at that particular time.
A giant farm dog and a tiny piglet cuddle up as if they were family after the baby runt was dismissed by its own mother.
Surrogate mum Katjinga, an eight-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, took on motherly duties for grunter Paulinchen - a tiny pot-bellied pig - and seems to be taking the adoption in her stride.
Lonely Paulinchen was luckily discovered moments from death and placed in the care of the dog who gladly accepted it as one of her own. Thankfully for the two-week old mini porker, Katjinga fell in love with her at first sight and saved her bacon.
The chrysanthemum has its own holiday, Chrysanthemum Day, on the ninth day of the ninth month in the lunar calendar (which is sometimes called Chrysanthemum Month). This holiday is celebrated on September 9 in the solar calendar. The double-nine holiday was once a day of paying tribute to one's superiors
According to one legend, Fei Ch'ang-fang of the Han dynasty advised his follower to take his whole family to the hills on the 9th day of the 9th month. He advised him to make red bags for each member of the family and put a spray of dogwood inside which they would wear while they climbed, and they were to drink chrysanthemum wine at the top of the hill. They followed his instructions and when they returned home in the evening, they found all their domestic animals dead. Since then climbing the hills, wearing dogwood and drinking chrysanthemum wine became traditional activities on this day, as a way to avoid evil spirits and misfortune.
Other activities that are popular include sipping chrysanthemum wine and tea made from chrysanthemum petals, admiring the flowers in gardens and floral exhibitions, and honoring the flowers by painting them and writing poems in their honor.
Hiking up the hill also implies that one will ascend in one’s career. The word nine is homophonous with the word for “long time,” which is one reason that elders are honored on this holiday.
A special chrysanthemum cake called Chung-Yang cake is eaten on this holiday. Because the Chinese words for cake and high sound the same, so one can eat a cake instead of going for a hike. It is a steamed cake made from flour and sugar, stuffed with chestnuts, pine nuts and other types of nut, and crowned with colorful paper flag. I couldn’t find a recipe for it online, except for a very fancy wedding cake from Martha Stewart, but there are lots of ads for chrysanthemum shaped bundt pans. Speaking of Martha, I love her chrysanthemum cupcakes:
Food and Drink
Chrysanthemum petals are edible. The Chinese make tea out of them which is said to be good for flu. Wikipedia has an article on chrysanthemum tea:
Chrysanthemum petals can also be added to cream soups and salads. Martin suggests blanching the petals before using them, but not too long or they will become bitter. Here’s a recipe for sweet potatoes with chrysanthemum petals:
The leaves of several species, including Coronation Chrysanthemums, are used as a leaf vegetable, often stir-fried with garlic and red chile peppers, according to the Wikipedia article on chrysanthemums:
You can find a recipe for chrysanthemum leaf salad (soogat moochim), here:
The Chinese also make a fish dish that looks like a chrysanthemum by cutting firm white fish into long half-inch wide strips, then dusting them with cornstarch and dipping them into hot oil, holding them by one end so the end in the oil begins to curl and then drop in the rest of the strip. These are arranged on a platter to look like a chrysanthemum and a sauce of vegetables cooked in seasoning and rice wine vinegar is poured over it.
Chrysanthemum wine is made on the Double Nine day but must be allowed to ferment for one year before it may be drunk on the following Double Ninth Day. It is said that drinking this fragrant spirit will cure a hundred sicknesses, bring longevity, and ward off evil spirits.
Jack Keller provides a recipe for chrysanthemum wine on his wonderful wine-making web site. He notes that although the flower petals are edible, some people may have allergies to them (particularly asthma sufferers who sometimes have reactions to flowers in the compositae family) and that the sap sometimes causes dermatitis.
For an easier version, simply drop chrysanthemum petals into the bottom of a glass of your favorite wine.
The chrysanthemum was used in Chinese herbal medicine for detoxifying. It was believed to protect people from getting a chill during the transition time of autumn.
In Korea, the roots are boiled and used as a headache remedy. I eat the leaves of one chrysanthemum family member, feverfew, to ward off migraine headache (it's been very effective).
To the Chinese, the chrysanthemum represents rest and ease. To the Japanese, it is a sign of long life and happiness. In the Victorian language of flowers, it means cheerfulness and optimism. Jeanne Rose assigns meanings by colors with red meaning I love, white meaning truth and other colors meaning slighted love, basing it on an American floral list, Flora’s Dictionary by Elizabeth Washington Gamble Wirt. In China, the white flowers symbolize lament. In some European countries (Belgium, Austria and Italy), the chrysanthemum is the flower of death (as the marigold is in Mexico) and is only used in funerals. In the Japanese floral calendar, the chrysanthemum is the flower of September. In the English floral calendar it is the flower of November.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW… Aquarius Astrological Newsletter
Hello my Friend,
The fields around my house have been roaring with the sound of heavy machinery, making it impossible to forget that it’s harvest time. It gives me cause to consider the quiet simplicity of a human hand-picked food versus the work of a mechanical monster that devours four entire rows of plants in one “bite,” swallowing them into its steel belly and spitting out the “chewed up” leaves all over the field again. These crops are organically grown (for whatever that word has come to mean exactly…) so I’m happy to eat them versus plants sprayed with chemicals and pumped up on artificial fertilizers; but the plants, naked and flattened row on row are a freakish sight — strange thanks for the gift of food!
But for better and for worse, it is harvest time and Virgo, grain sheaves in arm, still presides over this season of the year when the fields reach perfection. I find myself with more green beans than I can process in a reasonable amount of time, as well as pears that I just managed to salvage before they were fit for fruit flies only. Ah, the responsibilities of the harvest! And Virgo’s metaphor of accepting duties and responsibilities, of developing skills and taking on the hard work that’s required to bring our own natures to perfection.
Who we are, is reflected in the way that we do these things and they in turn become a way to work on ourselves. There’s always a moment of divine relief that sweeps through you as you finally get down to some difficult task that you’ve been putting off for a long time. It feels good to work on your self no matter how hard it might be… and there’s Virgo’s blind spot. That good feeling can become addictive, driving her to endlessly over-refine. Then guilt becomes the Blood hound at her heels driving her endlessly forward when standing still to simply relax and enjoy, or meditate on the perfection of life itself would be the better course.
Three planetary events are worth taking note of at the moment. I’ll try to give you a brief perspective on each.
1. Transiting Mercury is retrograde from September 6-29, from 6 degrees Libra back to 22 Virgo. During the times when this “Messenger of the gods” appears to go backward in the sky, we seem to get mixed signals from the universe as to what’s going on. Mercury is associated with communication of all kinds — learning, teaching, reporting etc. It’s about how our minds work and how we see the world. It’s associated as well with devices we use for work, particularly those used for communication or transportation. With Mercury retrograde, it’s a good time to edit and review or gather information rather than coming to direct conclusions, doing your best to stay in an unbiased frame of mind if things look quirky. Unexpected bits of information tend to pop up that can really change the way you see something. It’s good to double, double-check dates and times. Mercury Retro gets blamed for delays, which do seem to happen but I’ve seen the opposite happen as well. Things arrived or happened sooner than expected. Whenever Mercury’s involved, it’s always good to keep a hawk’s eye on any tendency toward bias—but especially now!
2. Saturn and Uranus are standing opposite each other right now, facing off in the great cosmic “debate” as to power structure and integrity (or corruption), duties and responsibilities versus what you might call spiritual freedom (or spiritual deception). The aspect was exact on the 15th but we’ll continue to feel the influence of these two heavy weights up through 2010 as they form two more oppositions. The first partile, or exact opposition, was at 19 Virgo-Pisces on November 4th last year. (That was a pretty interesting day in US politics!) The second was on February 5th this year at 20 Virgo-Pisces. The third was exact on the 15th at 25 Virgo-Pisces, the fourth will be February 24, 2010 at 29 Virgo Pisces and the fifth will be on July 26, 2010 at 1 Libra-Capricorn. (For an in depth discussion of the Saturn-Uranus opposition, check out the archives on my website, www.aquariusastrological.com, the Spring ’09 newsletter. (Note: curently, the link will take you to the current newsletter, but it may migrate to archives shortly.)
3. Pluto came to a station or an “apparent” stand still at 2 Capricorn on September 11th. We’ve been feeling the effects of this since August 5th and we’ll continue to feel it up to October 17 because Pluto is a very slow-moving planet. When a planet is stationary, its effect as especially heightened. If it’s touching a sensitive point in your chart you’ll really feel it! Pluto, being the “god of the Underworld” represents the shadow side of our natures. It symbolizes evil and catastrophe, our deepest subconscious wounds as well as our ability to heal and transform. When we’ve done the necessary work on ourselves we find that we can offer altruistic service and follow our high destiny.
Soon the days and nights in the northern and southern hemispheres will be equal in length. When the Sun steps into Libra at the fall equinox (or the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere) on September 22, Virgos’ busy spell will give way to Libra’s more relaxed and sociable events.
I am absorbed in the magic of movement and light. Movement never lies. It is the magic of what I call the outer space of the imagination. There is a great deal of outer space, distant from our daily lives, where I feel our imagination wanders sometimes. It will find a planet or it will not find a planet, and that is what a dancer does.
My dancing is just dancing. It is not an attempt to interpret life in a literary sense. It is the affirmation of life through movement. Its only aim is to impart the sensation of living, to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, of the mystery, the humor, the variety and the wonder of life; to send the spectator away with a fuller sense of his own potentialities and the power of realizing them, whatever the medium of his activity.
To dance is to be yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
This is power on earth and it is yours for the taking.
Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an individual.
You were once wild here. Don't let them tame you.
Let us first teach little children to breathe, to vibrate, to feel, and to become one with the general harmony and movement of nature. Let us first produce a beautiful human being, a dancing child.
Each art tells of this mystery with its own signs. Music speaks through symbols we hear; dance speaks to the eye. So the two sisters— one having no voice— can both speak at once, each telling us of their mysterious mother.
Stop talking, start dancing. Soon you will know what you need to know.
The Gypsy Dancer appears to be free from the societal constraints. The Gypsy as the Wild Woman archetype has magical powers, powers which make her dangerous. She is out-of-control, or at least beyond the control of the patriarchy. She evokes fear, especially in the subconscious where the Wild Woman lurks within us all. We are afraid to let her out because we may lose control.
~Laurel Victoria Gray~
Beside the fire, as the wood burns black,
A laughing dancer in veils of light,
Whose dance transforms the darkness to gold.
~Abu Abd Allah ben Abi-l-Khisal
Excerpt from The Serpent of the Nile by Buonaventura~
If you stumble, make it part of the dance ...
Japanese honeysuckle is edible and medicinal. High in Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, the leaves can be parboiled and eaten as a vegetable. The edible buds and flowers, made into a syrup or puddings. The entire plant has been used as an alternative medicine for thousands of years in Asia.
The active constituents include calcium, elaidic-acid, hcn, inositol, linoleic-acid, lonicerin, luteolin, magnesium, myristic-acid, potassium, tannin, and zink. It is alterative, antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, and is also used to reduce blood pressure.
The stems are used internally in the treatment of acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps and hepatitis. The stems are harvested in the autumn and winter, and are dried for later herb use. The stems and flowers are used together a medicinal infusion in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia) and dysentery. An infusion of the flower buds is used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments including syphillitic skin diseases and tumors, bacterial dysentery, colds, and enteritis. Experimentally, the flower extracts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and are antibacterial, antiviral and tuberculostatic.
Externally, the flowers are applied as a medicinal wash to skin inflammations, infectious rashes and sores. The flowers are harvested in early morning before they open and are dried for later herb use. This plant has become a serious weed in many areas of N. America, it might have the potential to be utilized for proven medicinal purposes.
Other uses include; Ground cover, Insecticide, Basketry, vines used to make baskets. The white-flowers of cultivar 'Halliana' has a pronounced lemon-like perfume.
Research has shown that flavonol compounds in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain for 2 to 3 hours. Consume 1 ounce of chocolate or 1 teaspoon dark cocoa every day for constant improvement.
* Dark chocolate (as opposed to other kinds of chocolate) is considered healthy, and recommended for daily consumption in small amounts to maintain a healthy heart and lower cholesterol.I've been to many of the wineries and tasting rooms in Sonoma and Napa counties when I lived in California. I'm not surprised that a chocolate tasting room has blossomed in that part of the country!
* Dark chocolate is also an excellent energy source, because it releases slowly into the bloodstream and does not elevate insulin levels. (Indeed, dark chocolate has a GI rating of a mere 22.) As a result, the sustained energy it provides is ideal for endurance activities and even weight-training routines.
* If you don't like dark chocolate, start with a very mild dark chocolate such as 45-55% cacao. A good example of this is Bournville, an easily available brand (in the UK) with distinctive packaging. The packaging is a dark red. Mild dark chocolate will taste similar to milk chocolate and won't be too bitter. If you are more adventurous, you can get dark chocolates that go all the way up to 100% cacao (i.e., unsweetened).
* The formation of whitish spots, or bloom, on chocolate is due to a separation of some of the fat in the chocolate, caused when it is exposed to heat, and then it is cool again. While it affects the aesthetics of the chocolate somewhat, it isn't harmful to eat or use chocolate that has bloomed. Bloom is related to heat and humidity, so store chocolate in a cool, dry place free of odors.
* Remember that most of all, you should enjoy dark chocolate, and don't be too pretentious, because you'll turn people off instead of turning them on to dark chocolate.
* Here are some excellent brands to try: Omanhene, Michel Cluizel, Boehms, Perugina, Wedel, Domori, Amedei, Valrhona, Neuhaus, Marcolini, Lindt, Felchlin, Guittard, Scharffen Berger, Santander, Malagasy, Weiss, El Rey, Theo, Bonnat, Pralus, Cote D'or, Castelain, Slitti, Dagoba, Green and Black's, Bournville, Ghirardelli, Chocolate Traveler and Xocai.
* Indeed, dark chocolate has as many, likely more, layers and nuances of taste, than wine. During a recent visit to wine country in Sonoma, California, I found a venue that pays such homage: Wine Country Chocolates (photo above). The establishment sports a small chocolate "tasting bar" in the spirit of wine tasting, and the flavors were marvelous!