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Independence Day Challenge 7/19

Independence Days Challenge

So this is rather late on a Saturday, but it was a rough week with my health issues cropping up. I have CNS vasculitis (associated with lupus), and sometimes the arteries in my brain swell up can  and as you can imagine it’s not pleasant.  So I spent a couple of days literally icing down my head while Steve ran the show.

Plant or Harvest something:   Aside from doing a pretty good job of eating out the garden,  CA Poppy seed pods are ready for harvesting for next year’s seed bank .  We planted another run of zuchinni, an early acorn variety we have and early pie pumpkins.

Preserve something:  We froze some more greens and things like that that came in from the garden, but I wanted to focus on the things I didn’t grow as a reminder that you don’t have to have a garden to preserve food.  We bought 25 lbs of carrots with the bulk food order last week because they are super cheap right now. So we canned some and froze some shredded to use for carrot muffins and quick breads in the winter.  We also bought the clearance strawberries at Aldi and made ten jars of jam to put up for the winter.  I decided I am just going to take a picture of the cupboard where we keep the canned goods every so often. It’s pretty early in the season for what we can.  Most of our greens go in the freezer which is filling up nicely but doesn’t look as pretty. LOL

Waste not:  I dehydrated a bunch of egg shells and ground them up to add to our dog’s food for calcium and we fed some to the zuchinni.  I also made watermelon-strawberry sorbet for the freezer out of a watermelon that was a bit on the mushy side for my crew.  Sorbet’s are a nice way to use up excess fruit. It’s been our experience that if we pack them my special way, they will last 6-8 months in the freezer.

Want Not: As far as emergency supplies go, I got our own set of two way radios that will talk to the ones we bought for the medic group and I can keep charged with the solar lantern.  I’ve got the medic supplies kind of re-inventoried and know what we need to make to get them stocked back up.

Eating the food:  I ate something new this week.  We got a lot of kohlrabi from the local CSA and to be honest with you, it’s not something I’ve worked with lot.  So we roasted some just to see if you could do it, and it’s pretty good.  We are going to can the rest up and mix it in with mashed potatoes when we make shephard’s pie.

Caregiving and enhancing community support systems and mutual aid:   We did the usual mutual aid lunches (thanks to my partner in crime Steve who picks up my slack when my brain tries to explode.) The mutual aid group is also looking at ways that we can support the local secular homeschool group which is growing exponentially due to the fact that our governor is an asshat and won’t allow online schooling.

I was kind of thinking my days of being involved in the homeschool group were almost over,  but I have a granddaughter in the group now whom I watch a few days a week.  We hosted their first Zoom chat for the kids to get use to that format a little bit before we try to do more organized things in the fall.

Skill Up: I don’t really feel like I accomplished much in this area this week, but hey I was sick. Next week I am “job shadowing” a few people who have been building mutual aid collectives for longer than I have.

Winter is Coming:  That didn’t take long.  We found a dent-and-scratch AC/Heater thing that will keep our upstairs reasonable.  Now to figure out what to do about the electric bill that will result.

Herbal Resurgence

It’s been a week now since I’ve been away from my friends and I am sitting here missing them like mad, tonight.   The Herbal Resurgence Gathering has come and gone, for 2013.  The attendees  are all home to our various communities feeling recharged and inspired.  As always, there was something about the feeling of camaraderie  that occurs at this conference that makes you wish you could bottle it and just take little sips all year long.

Also appealing is the fact that MormoTWHC 095n Lake is a beautiful place. That  first night wandering around on the mountaintop campsite, illuminated by the light of the full moon, reminded me that this gathering was a timeless event. Since the very earliest days, people have been drawn to converge on places like this. Snuggling in my sleeping bag; listening to the elk bugle lulled me to sleep faster than any lullaby.

I have to admit, I am prone to choosing to attend the classes held outdoors. Learning underneath the towering pines is infinitely preferable to being stuck in a hotel conference room.   The trees hold us in their healing energy and open our heart and our minds to the messages we are hearing.  No class made that more clear than the class Julie Caldwell taught on Sentience of Place. I also think that I think teaching in that environment brings out the best presentations, as well.

TWHC 103There were so many amazing offerings this year, it was hard to choose between them all.  Teaching myself this year,  made that even more challenging.  I missed some classes I really wanted to attend, especially Sean and Jim’s class which I heard was amazing.  Still, I managed to get my fill of herbal wisdom  Larken Bunce’s presentation on her work with free clinics was inspiring and Sam Coffman’s class on GMP’s was almost enough to make me relax about that issue,  just  a little.    I was especially happy to watch  my friend Traci’s class on holistic body image because she brought up a lot of topics that need to be discussed and addressed about we as providers approach the idea of encouraging a positive self-image in our clients.

TWHC 044Even the vending hall is just fun.  Instead of a place where people are trying to sell you stuff, it takes on the its own unique character as a social  gathering place and a venue for learning.    The medicine makers who come to this conference freely share their wisdom and ideas.  Rebecca outdid herself this year with inspiring new products and familiar favorites.

I am always amazed by the fact that year after year Kiva and Wolf manage to send participants home fired and ready to take herbalism back to the people in their communities.   The people who come to this conference aren’t just business people or  there to network.  They are people who share a calling- each one of them is lured by the plants to spread a message of empowerment and independence.  And the plants connect us all in a

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way that the term colleague doesn’t quite cover.    It is an honor, and a blessing, to be a part of that community.

See more pictures in my Facebook album.