Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toucan do it - for Chenoa

Image from here.

Beautiful bird - it's the national bird of Belize, formerly known as British Honduras.

Belize sounds so much like believe - keep me posted!!


Samhain issue of Goddess Magazine

The Samhain issue of Goddess magazine is online. Thanks for the heads up on this, Mrs. B!

Morning mum


Chrysanthemums are the easiest of perennials
to grow,
Plant them in early spring when you bid farewell
to winter’s snow!

They like the bright sun and resent ‘wet feet’, -
So grow them in dry soil, in a hole dug deep!

It is originally a native of the Eurasian region, -
Today there are hundreds of species flowering
in all seasons!

Cultivated in China as a flowering herb initially, -
There the city of Ju-Xian means ‘Chrysanthemum

Around 400 AD the ‘mum’ traveled with the
Buddhist monks to Japan, -
And the Emperor became the flower’s greatest

The Japanese called it ‘kikus’, and at the
Emperor’s behest, -
It got adopted on his Imperial Crest!

The Emperor sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne!
And the ‘Order of the Chrysanthemum’ in Japan, –
is the highest order known!!

The ‘mums’ with deeply lobed leaves and large
flowering heads, -
Are now found in colors of white, yellow, pink
and red!

In a few European countries* the white species -
symbolizes sorrow and death;
But in USA this flower always brings good cheer

~Raj Nandy~
29 Mar 09

(* In France, Poland & Croatia the white flower
symbolizes death! 'Mums'= short form for
the flower)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Morning garden stroll - part 2

When I first photographed this pumpkin, I didn't realize it was a pumpkin! Now, I just have to wait for it to turn orange! Hope it's ready for Hallowe'en! Do you see the witches flying on the pumpkin? I do.

Not sure what kind of squash this is - it's in Brian's garden.

Light through the corn in Brian's garden.

Kylie - notice her fashionable bandana of Moon and Stars in seasonal colors!

Poison ivy. It turns such a gorgeous shade of red in the fall. I've been lucky - I've never had a reaction to it.
Click on any image to enlarge it.

Morning garden stroll - part 1

I was surprised to find these raspberries this morning. I tasted one and it was very sweet - nice treat!

Variegated sage - I used some in a pork and apple dish over the weekend. It was delicious. I see a woman dancing within the leaf - do you?

These little chrysanthemums survived the winter in their pot - another surprise in the garden!
Click on any image to enlarge it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Red Grain Moon

Red Grain Moon

Red sap runs in me,
says clock time’s a farce,
only the roll past of seasons,

hunt for water, sun, food
turns the blood,
turns the blood true.

Walk out,
see me as I see you
in a restless, run-ahead way,

sight like a dog let loose
gone lickety split down the road
who won’t easily be called home.

Hearing waits, lags behind seeing,
a lazy cat curled in a corner,
stores up birdsong to savor later.

Grains are wind merchants,
ripples bent on commerce,
transacting new destinations,

hope to be lifted off stalk and stem.
Seed scatters like prodigals,
they already plan their next lives.

The soul wants transplant like that
sudden, stunningly flung out
but the body is wary, quakes and clings.

Where I root, it is loose,
temporary, an easy tug,
almost an aerobe, nomad of thought and ethers.

Pine sees me as gadfly
foolish, moving too often,
not honoring place.

Stones’ wisdom,
if on a giant’s path, pray his step
be light, soon pass you over.

Rabbit warns
when storms begin
seek shelter, eat often.

~Dale Harris~

Prayer flags

Persephones' Prayer Flag

she of the serpents stays among the trees curled in the moss
unwilling to leave
watched anxiously from afar
by her wayward donkey
and careful eyes of her human companions (human? if a horned woman is thus so)
who know so little of her (although the horned woman knows more but says little)
their beloved buried in sifted bone too deep to reach
only faith to push them forward

she has changed
her garments shredded as a snake would shed its skin
the neat blouse in tatters the skirt & petticoat flutters in petals
no boots but some where she has acquired thin slippers of skin
(do not look too closely)

she will rise and return to the place of her dance
followed by her donkey unwillingly but pulled by an invisible cord
she sifts through dust to find
a snake skin of red in the fading sun
which she lifts in two hands for it is long so long to be a garment of her own

and on it inscribed in ancient language the flick of a tongue a serpent’s grace


she hangs it in the place of the prayer flags
for it is a prayer flag of her body
the wind takes it the sun for a moment
blazes through it blood red and the writing writhes in silver for an instant

if one is watching close


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Honoring the Sacred Honeybee

I took this picture on my walk the other day - the Bee was quite cooperative as she sipped from this Snake Root plant. I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about it, so I meandered over to Kathleen's place and found a link to a wonderful blog all about Bees.

In the blog, she posted a You Tube of a ceremony honoring the Sacred Honeybee. I am putting it here, with thanks to Urania. I hope you like it! I loved the Eastern European sound and look of it - it is my heritage and something I would love to learn more about.

Chicken of the Woods

Unlike that Chicken of the Sea commercial, there really is a chicken of the woods! It's a mushroom and when I was out walking the other day, I found a log with a whole bunch of them on it. This is a picture of one of them. Apparently, they are edible and are reported to taste like chicken, hence one of their names.

Wiki has an entry about this fungi here.

Wild man Steve Brill has this to say about the mushroom. He even has a video of him with the mushrooms posted on his website. One of these days, I'll get up the nerve to harvest and pick one - there are numerous recipes online them. Right now, I feel a bit nervous about using them, though!

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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bloodgood Falls

This is the little waterfalls at the end of the path Kylie and I walk before having to go streetside. It really is named Bloodgood Falls. Above the falls is a pond where the swans live, the osprey dives for fish, a gigantic snapping turtles roils the waters and waves "hi" with its prehistoric claw, the cormorants stoically sit with wings outstretched, where egrets stalk their prey and where we used to ice skate as kids. I haven't seen anyone skating there since I've been back - I wonder if the County prohibits it now.

I found this little poem online to go with the waterfalls - it took me a few seconds to understand the title!


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

~Eliza Barlow~


Click on image to enlarge it

I went out yesterday afternoon for a walk with Kylie and took my camera just in case I saw anything interesting. I came back with 76 photos on my camera!

Here are a couple of them - jewelweed. It's part of the impatien family and is also called Touch Me Not. The seed pod apparently explodes when touched - I didn't try it yesterday, but will on our next walk! I found a few references to using jewelweed as a remedy for poison ivy and other related itchy skin ailments.

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.

Jewelweed, Touch-me-not
Impatiens capensis

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.

Click on image to enlarge it

Friday, September 25, 2009

Berry interesting!

I haven't a clue what these are - the colors caught the corner of my eye a few days ago. They look like candy or tiny little Earths or purple fruit. I'll have to research and see what I can find out about them. First, though, I have to identify them!

Update: thanks to Jacki for identifying them as porcelain berries! Here's a blurb I found online:

Porcelain-berry was originally cultivated around the 1870s as a bedding and landscape plant. In spite of its aggressiveness in some areas, it is still used in the horticultural trade (for example, the ornamental A. brevipedunculata 'Elegans' is often recommended as a landscape plant with a cautionary note that "care must be taken to keep it from overtaking and shading out small plants"). The same characteristics that make porcelain-berry a desirable plant for the garden -- its colorful berries, good ground coverage, trellis-climbing vines, pest-resistance, and tolerance of adverse conditions -- are responsible for its presence in the United States as an undesirable invader.


Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,

Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum

In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!

And all ripe together, not some of them green

And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!

~Robert Frost~

Imagine is from here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Color Wheel

My friend, Nancy, is another gifted artist. She recently sent me the information about a class she is taking on color and posted her color wheel on her blog. It reminded me of doing my first color wheel - in my early 40s! I may just have to get some paints and do some more just for fun.

When I did the first wheel, the instructor came over and remarked how unusual my colors were. I said that they were most likely the same as everyone else's - until I looked around at other wheels. I was startled to see how pale some people saw color and how vibrantly I did. I kind of felt sorry for some of the students - color is so intense for me. It's like intense fragrance, intensely flavored food, intense feelings.

Intense - very descriptive of this 7 year old witch!

Here's something that Georgia O'Keefe said, which I like:

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.

~Georgia O'Keefe~

Reason #777 why I love dogs

From the article - full story here.

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.

Thanks for posting this on FB, Mrs. B!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mabon gift from a 10 year old

My neighbor, Temperance - also known as the Squirrel Mom - has 2 children. Her daughter, Dawn Dazzle Drop, is 10 and yesterday, she gifted me with this beautiful handmade necklace for Mabon. I was so touched! My picture doesn't do it justice - sometimes the macro mode works really well and other times, well, I have no idea!

Dawn Dazzle Drop designed the piece, wove the necklace, wired the pendant herself, forming the spirals herself and attached the crystals. And then came over to present it to me as I was unloading groceries from the car. A very sweet moment for me.

Temperance doesn't want her childrens' pictures on the web - can't say that I blame her. When I look Dawn Dazzle Drop, I see this:

Image from here.

I actually gave her a jigsaw puzzle of this picture for her birthday last year. Hmmm - I wonder if they've finished it??

Crow Medicine - for Dan

Image is from here

I finished reading Waverly's newsletter and she had an interesting "book report" on crows. The book is called Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness, by Lyanda Haupt. I love animals and love observing them - this book sounds fascinating.

I found a few interesting tidbits about Crows that I want to share, including Waverly's review of the book.

In this delightful and charming book, Seattle author, Lyanda Haupt, an ardent bird-watcher, who has previously written a book of lovely essays about rare encounters with ordinary birds and a book about the education of Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle, focuses on that quintessentially city bird, the crow. I’m only a few chapters into her book but already well-rewarded by learning about the long history of nature writing ( (I was embarrassed to realize there were so many fine writers in this field I have never read) and by reading her observations on why it’s important to attend to nature in the city.

I love crows (it was a crow that started me on the quest to time that became my Slow Time book) and so I love her stories about these smart, entertaining and sociable birds. The one that affected me the most: Lyanda stopped when she saw a group of crows gathered on the side of the road and discovered they were grouped around an ailing bird with a broken wing. After examining the bird she realized it was going to die soon, and that the other crows had gathered to be with it during its final hours, just as we gather around the death bed of those we love.

Another poem by Michael Garofalo:

The raspy-voiced crow

perched on a pine pole
preached the Winged Dharma;
wayward birds trembled, fearing
rebirth as human beings.

From Lin's Domain, Crow as Keeper of the Sacred Law:

Crows are the keepers of the Sacred Law
and to have a Crow totem is very powerful.

Personal Integrity are your watchwords and your guide in Life.
If you have a Crow totem, your prime path
is to be mindful of your opinions and actions.
You must be willing to walk your talk,
to speak your truth and to know your life's mission.

Crow is a omen of Change.
Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time,
therefore, it sees past, present and future simultaneously.
Crow merges both light and dark, both inner and outer.
It is the totem of the Great Spirit and must be respected as such.

They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength.
Look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life.
Crows are messengers calling to us
about the creation and magic that is alive in the world today
and available to us.

Sayahda also has some interpretations of Crow as totem animal. Click here and scroll down.

And finally, artwork by a friend who lived across the street from me when growing up. He's become quite a gifted artist. Here is his picture of Crow. Beautiful, isn't it?

Purple haze...

Purple Forest

I walk into a purple forest
The place is magical and free
The grass is violet, the sky is white
Purple defines every tree

I walk into a purple forest
There are purple buzzing bees
And a swamp of violet waters
creep up to my knees

I walk into a purple forest
A streak of purple runs across the sky
I hear a gentle whisper say
It was a fairy passing by

I walk into a purple forest
On violet sod I lie my head
But later, of course
I awake in my bed

~Summer Song~

'Scuse me while I kiss the sky....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Queen of Autumn

Chrysanthemum potted in front yard - click on image to enlarge it.

I love the Autumn flowers - their colors are so rich and warm. I checked Waverly's site and found this information about chrysanthemums. Fascinating! I didn't know that chrysanthemums had their own holiday, did you?


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.

Equinox - Mabon Greetings!

Everyone participates in turning the Wheel - everyone! Click on image to enlarge it.

Kathleen Jenks has her Autumn page up and it's worth the look. Click here for her Mything*Links site.

Waverly Fitzgerald of Living in Season has a great newsletter that just came out - I'm not sure it's on her website, but you can always find something interesting there.

Another turn of the Wheel - may this harvest season be one of plenty for each of you!

Update: Beth just put up a great post on the Equinox/Mabon holiday. Go read it - it's good! Cate also has a great post up - recommended reading.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Astrological update - a short newsletter

From my friend, Lark....

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,, 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.

Warm regards,


(604) 940-8940

Leftovers are good!

I rarely throw food out - why, when you can make up something really good with the leftovers?

I love Mexican food and miss the great Mexican restaurants in the West. The downside - and the upside - to having few good restaurants in the area is that I get to cook it myself. Some of the easiest things to make are tacos - not those hard shell things from Taco Bell - but home made ones.

I only use the corn tortillas - I've never liked the flour ones and now that I'm on a gluten free diet, I can't eat them. But I love corn tortillas; I steam mine, but they also can be lightly fried. And they can be stuffed with all sorts of things. Like leftovers!

This afternoon for lunch, I had one of those "leftover" tacos. I had the following leftovers on hand in the refrigerator - corn, onion and red pepper saute; center cut boneless pork chop; homemade guacamole. I heated up the corn saute with the pork, which I cut into small pieces. To that, I added some jalapeno, finely diced and 2 cloves of garlic, chopped. I let that cook and then added some prepared Tex-Mex spice mixture.

When the flavors all melded together, I put the mixture onto 2 steamed corn tortillas and topped that with some of the guacamole, fresh cilantro, a few shakes of Louisiana hot sauce and some nonfat plain Chobani Greek yogurt (which tastes like sour cream!), folded the tortillas over and enjoyed my lunch.

Yum. Leftover can be delicious and used creatively!

When a Butterfly looks at you

Just like it was posing for me to take its was interesting being observed as I observed! Click on image to enlarge picture.


They sensible
prepare now
save for the future
work hard while young
enjoy when old
no pain no gain

They believe...compromise
follow the crowd
stay within the lines
keep your head clear
keep your eyes straight
feet on the ground

What about now! what about roses? what about stars?
what about chasing rainbows, floating clouds, butterflies...
what about silver linings, serendipity, spontaneity...
what about moonbeams, sun-rays, raindrops?

I believe....
I believe I can cut my own pathway
I believe I can step off the edge and not fall
I believe I can close my eyes and follow my heart and soul
I believe I can walk in the rain and not get wet
I believe in today and have hope for tomorrow
I believe in dreams, I believe in me....

I believe I can fly!


PS - Actually, I believe this is a moth and if anyone knows what kind it is, please leave it in the comments. It looks so furry in the closeup. I don't think it's a hummingbird moth, unless it's a baby one!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good night, all - sleep well...

This is a lemongrass candle - soy based, natural fragrance. It's a wonderful scent that fills the house.

And, because I've been up since 6 am - okay, really about 7 am - I am ready for bed as soon as I let Kylie out for her last constitutional.

See you in the morning!!

Lady Aster dances

Aster - click on image to enlarge it

I saw a dancer in the center of this aster - can you see her, too? It brought to mind some dancers and what they have said about their art. Here are a few:

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.

~Martha Graham~

To dance is to be yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
This is power on earth and it is yours for the taking.

~Agnes DeMille~

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.

~Isadora Duncan~

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.

~Vivian Fine~

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 ...

~Author Unknown~



The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.

The gentian's bluest fringes
Are curling in the sun;
In dusty pods the milkweed
Its hidden silk has spun.

The sedges flaunt their harvest,
In every meadow nook;
And asters by the brook-side
Make asters in the brook,

From dewy lanes at morning
The grapes' sweet odors rise;
At noon the roads all flutter
With yellow butterflies.

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer's best of weather,
And autumn's best of cheer.

But none of all this beauty
Which floods the earth and air
Is unto me the secret
Which makes September fair.

'T is a thing which I remember;
To name it thrills me yet:
One day of one September
I never can forget.

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Avast there, maties...

It was almost Plank Day for me - that's where I would have found myself had I not tuned in to Globetrekker this afternoon! The episode was about the pirates of the Caribbean - the real ones, although I sure like the Johnny Depp character. Any of them!

And, THAT'S when I remembered!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!! Can I get an "arghhhhhh!"

And here is my favorite pirate from the Cardiff Rose crew. James is right where he likes to be - surrounded by wenches!

Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market

Over at Rue and Hyssop's place, there was a post about a farmer's market in Hawai'i. Of course, this brought to mind the farmer's market in San Francisco, located at Ferry Plaza. I had the pleasure of helping the Knife Sharpener, Bob Kattenburg, at the market in San Francisco and in Walnut Creek whenever his usual help was not available. I would take the orders in for Bob, make sure everyone got their knives back and make sure the money was tallied correctly with the orders. It was fun - Bob is really great to work with! I especially loved working at the Ferry Plaza market - talk about huge! There was so much to see, so much to taste and, of course, being located right on the Bay, the views were incredible! I can still recall them quite vividly.

Being in the Garden State now, I think we ought to have more of these! I recently subscribed to Edible New Jersey which does give information about the food being grown here - not agribusiness, but the local folks. I need more free time to get out and explore what's available here.

Here is a picture of Bob and his wife, Jill - both are friends and I'm missing them now! This picture is from this article which gives a little more information about Bob and his business. If you find yourself in San Francisco on a Saturday morning, stop at the market and say "Hi" to Bob - you'll get a friendly greeting back from him!

I think I'll send them the link to this post and say Hi!


On our walk this morning, we spied some honeysuckle still blooming. I was surprised because it usually blooms in June and into late summer. Well, I guess technically, we're still in late summer, but it was a pleasant surprise to find these flowers, and especially to smell them! It is a pleasure to deeply inhale their fragrance - they're one of my favorites.

As a kid, I used to open the flowers up and drink the liquid within. Little did I know that there are lots of medicinal uses for honeysuckle and that their flowers are edible! Take a look at some of the benefits of honeysuckle - it's not just a fragrant beauty!


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.

Saturday morning in the woods

Kylie and I went for our long walk this morning - it was cool and perfect walking weather. These pictures were taken at 7:45 am - the woods were still dark and the Sun was just beginning to peek through the trees. I love all of the shades of green at this time of day.

I had to change this picture to sepia in order to get the Sun's reflection in the water - it was blindingly beautiful! Of course, the real experience of seeing it was much better than my attempted capture of it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gift from the Autumn Faery

Autumn Fairy

Autumn fairy,
Autumn fairy,
Where are you now?
Maybe among the
Autumn trees,
Or dancing in
The autumn breeze.
With your hair not unlike
The sun’s golden rays
Shining against the
Autumn leaves.
And your skirt
A simple
Autumn leaf
From gold to red,
Orange in between,
A sunset leaf.
With a bud in your hair,
You fly around without a care.
Your wings so fair,
Like they aren’t even
Oh autumn fairy,
Autumn fairy,
Where art thou?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A non-chocoholic discovers chocolate

I've never been a chocoholic. I seldom eat it, except for those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at Hallowe'en. Frozen. They have to be frozen. I bought a bar of dark chocolate months ago when I made a mole sauce. It's been sitting in the refrigerator since.

Well, thanks to my local Shop Rite magazine, Live Right, that bar is about to be liberated. It seems that dark chocolate has lots of benefits, including improving one's memory. From the article:

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.

Of course, I had to employ The Google and found a Wiki entry on the benefits of dark chocolate. Here's an excerpt from that article:

* 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.

* 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!

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!