Cedar Ring Mama

Taking My Cues From Mother Earth


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Waldorf Moms Have LOTS To Look Forward To!

Why?

Great things are coming!

If you haven’t heard, here’s a little heads up.

1. Donna Ashton’s annual Waldorf Connection Global Homeschooling Expo is scheduled for June 13-15th, and it’s free!  She has put together a wonderful assortment of speakers, and you can listen from the comfort of your own home. It takes a lot of talent to contain the pure Waldorf power of both Eugene Schwarz and Marsha Johnson in one venue, but if anyone can, Donna can! And she’ll do it with finesse, because she’s like the Terry Gross of the Waldorf world.  I can’t wait to listen to Anne-Marie Fryer Wilboltt’s talk about using grains in a gluten-free world (one sort of feels like a rebel baking bread these days in the crunchy crowds, know what I mean?), and Ingun Schneider discuss the Extra Lesson and sensory issues.  But most of all, I am waiting with baited breath to hear Rick Tan explain how to tell my kids about the birds and the bees, Waldorf style.  No, not the actual birds and bees- *those* birds-and-bees. Wonder with me if you will… what kind of container story can we make up for this one?  Is there a fairytale that may magically bypass the awkward moments and impress upon our child’s psyche all he or she needs to know about the matter?  Do we plan a farm field trip and hope the animals are feeling frisky (I’ll admit, that has sort of been my plan until now but I am not sure if my son’s wives will appreciate it. PLEASE HELP ME, RICK!)? If I can’t tune in for anything else, *this* I need to know.

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2. From Handwork Homeschool, Elizabeth’s “The Knit Lessons“.  It is like a magical adventure through knitting, both to shore up your own newbie or intermediate skills AND your present-this-to-your-child skills, even if you yourself are an expert! After this course, your youngster will be knitting like a sailor.  Which is pretty much better than anything else they can do that a sailor would.  Drinking and cursing come to mind. LOL. You will also be guided through creating an entire fairytale scene in yarn, and it gets better…. Elizabeth and I have teamed up.  She will be offering the course, and I will be offering complete materials packages.  From sanding your dowel, to adding a cute little wooden cap to the end of it and polishing it smooth, to finger-spinning your own yarn from raw wool straight off the sheep, to a beautiful knitted playscpae- this course will be unlike any other available. Stay tuned for a course and materials scholarship opportunity!

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3. Affordable rocker boards! Yes, these things have taken the natural toy world by storm.  They began appearing in Waldorf early childhood classrooms years ago.  Who knew a bent piece of wood could be so versatile… so entertaining… so …expensive? After many requests from Cedar Ring Circle members, I teamed up with an Amish woodworker to create boards that would be a little easier on the budget.  My first batch sold out before I could even list them online, and I already have a growing list of buyers for the next batch, so I highly recommend pre-ordering one so little Johnny does not have to wait til he’s graduating from college to get one of these. Although it would make a fabulous graduation gift. 🙂 Best of all, I am offering you, my fabulous blog readers, $10 off when you pre-order this week. Use the code ROCKNROLL.  That will make your board just $89 plus shipping (and will help me order the needed materials)!

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 Hope to “see you” at either the Expo or the Knit Lessons. And please share this post and help spread the news about all these wonderful things!

 

 

 


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In The Morning

My desk sits facing a large picture window where our backyard, acres and acres, stretches out over a gradual incline, topping off at the crest of a hill.  Mist has descended down from the hill, almost to our house. The ash tree just beyond the window is finally pushing forth new leaves; ash tend to be very late to awaken from their winter slumber.  I watch as the branches tremble when small winged guests make their landings, then groom themselves for a moment, and flit away.  The starling on an uppermost branch has quite the morning care ritual; so much tail feather shaking, under-wing preening, and looking about to see who may be watching.  Down below in the grass,  the dandelions have gone to seed and seem, in wispy globes, to be ghostlike orbs hovering- countless- everywhere.  Paired with the dense fog, the morning has an other-worldly quality. A bit eery, but very beautiful, and I am so thankful for the peace and stillness.  The children will wake soon, and I hope I can hold onto this feeling to come back to through the day when things get lively.

For a moment, I have a guilty feeling that I should be reading my Bible in these few moments of alone-ness as day breaks. Growing up, I was indoctrinated that the success of my spiritual path required this.  But, that never seems to start the day off right for me; it just leaves me confused, mind swirling as I try to make sense of what I read.   It very may well not even be the text that creates these feelings- but the fear that was layered through those pages by people who seemed to doubt any intrinsic attraction I might have to goodness, and instead, appealed to my sense of self preservation to convince me to embrace God. But I am not motivated by promises, by rewards, by threats, by punishments- they are all the same thing, an insult to my higher nature, a cat call to base impulse.  I am motivated by love, beauty, peace…  I find it just beyond my doorstep.

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Even the grass seems insanely beautiful with its coat of miniscule dew drops.

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This last one, the raindrop falling from the forsythia branch- it feels as though the branch is weeping and just brings tears to my own eyes.  It has been a long, hard year and only just this past month, has the hardness begun to yield to something in which I find comfort and a deep sense of peace again- I recognize them as long lost friends. I know there is both bitter and sweet; I am willing to taste both in the feast of life. Feist’s “So Sorry” plays through my head; I feel that I am singing it to the cosmos, acknowledging all the tantrums I threw in the face of difficulties and frustrations.  There is no guilt, more a fondness for and humor in the humanity of my response, and a knowing that I am so loved and accepted despite any inadequacies- and perhaps, because of them.

 


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Beeswax Flower Candle Tutorial and Giveaway

Ahhh… new colors in beeswax sheets!  I just ordered more for my shop, and could not resist playing with them myself.  Many people think of rolled candles when they think of beeswax sheets; but their flexibility and the natural stickiness of the wax lend them to so many creative possibilities beyond a simple taper! So, roll up your sleeves and get ready for a little candle art.

To make stunning beeswax flower candles, gather up a few supplies…

  • Candleholders (I used the brass holders that fit in birthday rings and advent spirals)
  • Cutting Board
  • Knife and/or Scissors
  • Wooden Skewer
  • Wick
  • Flower Cookie Cutters (check out the baking/cake making section of the craft store)
  • Beeswax Sheets (greens for stems and leaves; bright flower colors for petals)
  • A Cute Helper

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Start cutting out your beeswax flower shapes.  You may want to help your child choose the most judicious spacing of where to cut, so you have the least amount of scraps.  Scraps can be saved and melted down for future candle making- I like to use little molds like this and make floating candles for special occasions in a rainbow of colors.

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After pressing down firmly on the first side, carefully flip your sheet over and press the wax downward over the cutter to ensure a clean cut.

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Now carefully pop your shape out.

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We were able to get six petals per sheet, which was perfect for one flower.

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For the butterflies, I used two beeswax sheets (ten cut-outs).

To make the flower stems, cut sheets of green in different lengths.  We used a variety of sizes ranging from 3.5 to 7 inches, so they could be close together without bumping against each other like they would if they were all the same height.  I also used a variety of greens on the stems- dark, medium, and light. If you make the stems too tall, they are likely to crack when you press down on them to attach the flowers (unless perhaps you decide to make the stems thicker than we did).

When rolling candles, you want the wax to be nice and warm, so it is flexible and does not crack.  I kept a pot of water simmering on the stove and held my stem wax over it for a few seconds til it felt a little floppy. Once properly flexible, you can press your wick down at one edge and roll tightly.

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Keep your candle holder of choice nearby, so you can check the diameter of the candle to ensure a snug fit.  Leave a long tail on your wick, as you will need to thread your petals with it.

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I rolled until the candle was slightly thicker than the holder.  Then, using two fingers, press the wax together to condense it enough to squeeze it into the holder.  A tight fit is better than a loose fit… no need to set the neighborhood on fire, right?

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Next, grab your wooden skewer and poke a hole through the center of your petal cut outs.  I do them one at a time, then match the first to the second to line them up and so on, to ensure the holes are all uniform and the petals will be centered well when threaded onto the wick.

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Start threading your petals onto the wick, one at a time.  If the wick end gets frayed, just rub your fingers on some beeswax sheet scraps and then smooth the wick with your waxy fingers; it should help the wick thread easier.

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Once you’ve threaded all the petals on, carefully yet firmly press the center of petals down.  You want them to stick firmly, without pressing so hard that the stem bends or cracks.  When the petals are attached, you can begin to gently curve the top layers upward and the bottom layers downward to give them their layered petal look.

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If you like, shape a leaf with your knife or scissors and press onto the stem. 🙂

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For the butterfly, place your cutouts in to equal stacks.  Cut two small pieces of wick just long enough for the candle and antennae.

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Press the second stack onto the first firmly, squishing the middle a bit.  Then, carefully separate the layers a little, so the wings look as if they are fluttering in flight.

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These make wonderfully festive candles for a birthday ring!

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Couldn’t resist breaking out a birthday spiral too.  Since today is my birthday. 😉

Which means… we need to celebrate!

So… I’m doing a giveaway! It includes…

  • One of these lovely, locally made spirals.  Handcrafted by an Amish neighbor, they utilize a variety of woods to give them a unique, dual-tone effect 
  • 12 brass candleholders and twelve Grimm’s decorations of your choice!
  • A gold 35″ silk from Sarah’s Silks
  • A Create-Your-Own-Assortment Beeswax Sheet Kit with 12 beeswax sheets in your choice of colors, so you can try your hand at some flower candles (or whatever your heart desires!). 

Entry is open to US residents… please leave ONE comment to enter, and if you share on social media, don’t forget to tell me in your comment and you get 3 extra entry points for each share!

Giveaway

Giveaway closes on Sunday night, May 18th at midnight. 

And the winner is Gabi- “Happy birthday to you! Lovely giveaway…can’t wait!”

Congratulations, Gabi 🙂


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Potato Planting- In The Garden With Children

I know, I know. I know what you all are thinking… I deserve “most inconsistent blogger of the year award”.

Yep! I won’t even go in to the layers of craziness that have been my life lately! But thankfully, circumstances are stabilizing. *Deep sigh*. 

I want to share pictures of the wonderful time we had this weekend, doing one of our favorite things together… playing in the garden!

According to the Biodynamic Planting Calendar, yesterday and today are perfect times for planting root vegetables- and the weather was also incredibly nice.  So we cut some already sprouting potatoes from the root cellar into pieces (I like to make sure there are at least two “eyes” per piece).

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And scooped some rich earth into each hole (wheel-barrowed over from behind the chicken coop, where the coop bedding from last year has been composting for months)- to ensure the potatoes have all the nutrients they need…

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Poured the dirt into each hole…

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  And into the ground goes each potato! We hope to get at least a pound per plant in yield. We buried them, and when they come up we will mound the dirt in little hills around each plant.  Potatoes like to be cozy! If we should get frosty nights between now and the true start of frost free season, I’ll cover the bed with a sheet.  Potatoes like it chilly, anyways.  I find if the plants have a good start before hot weather, they resist the potato beetles better.

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Meanwhile, the boys were clearing beds.  My eldest’s pick-axe like tool inspired him to sing the dwarves song from Snow White, slightly modified:

“We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig, we dig the whole day through;

We dig dig dig dig dig dig dig dig it’s what we like to do.

It ain’t no trick to grow food quick

If you dig dig dig with a shovel or a pick

In the garden, in the garden where a million earthworms crawl”….

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 Taking advantage of perfect root planting time, I planted tons of French breakfast radishes and, too excited to wait for opportune leaf planting weather, could not resist also sowing some Marveilles De Quatre Saison lettuce!

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Even the baby dug in the sandbox.  I keep a small sandbox in the garden so the younger children can play nearby as I work.  I’ll be tucking the sandbox under the bean teepee and covering it with sheets before it grows up, to shade him from the hot sun.

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We couldn’t get the old rototiller to start, so Cedar Ring Papa got a work out tilling with a pitch fork!

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Suddenly a rare Kingston plant sprang up in one of the beds.

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He was carefully tended to; shaded and bugs picked off. 🙂

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My daughter, who is 4.5 years old now, is such a good helper! She happily planted all the onions, dancing carefully between the rows.

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As usual, I went a little overboard on seeds this year! Hard to resist when Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has soooo many amazing varieties.  I’ll be putting in the last seed order of the season next weekend, so if you’d like to order seeds with me, browse all the lovely seeds at http://www.rareseeds.com, then head over to the Cedar Ring Circle Special Orders department and order your favorites (listed at 20% off, with free shipping!).

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 It’s amazing the difference a year can make.  Just last year, it was a challenge to garden with three young children and a baby.  But finally, their age and expectation of the tradition it has become has paid off, and we were able to all enjoy a productive, fun time together.  It was certainly the best Mother’s Day gift I could have imagined!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Waldorf Plans for St. Patrick’s Day

I am finally feeling like life is settling down- our family is still facing a lot of challenges, but that has actually started to seem status quo… haha… and I am ready to delve back into a more spirited undertaking of the festivals.  We need some celebration in our life at the end of a very long, cold winter!

St. Patrick was captured by raiders and enslaved for six years, and then he escaped.  He then chose a life of service to the country where he had been enslaved.  This reminds me of the Hebrew tradition, outlined in the Old Testament.  Anyone taken up as a slave in a Hebrew household was required to be set free on the seventh year.  Because slaves were often afforded protection and livelihood, and sometimes even felt as if they were to some extent a part of the family, they could choose to stay if they had a good master, and were then called “bondservants”.  They  “bound” themselves to their master and promised to serve him the rest of their lives.  It became an act of service born of freedom. So during this week of St. Patrick’s Day I am considering the ideas of slavery and freedom.

Wonder with me, will you, what things in your life you have felt a slave to?  I have been considering habits, thought patterns, and more which hold me down.  I have also been considering those good things which, out of meniality, necessity, and daily-ness have come to feel like slavery- those things I must do to keep my home and family thriving, that I seem to be internally grumbling about.  How can I make the switch from slavery to freedom?  By affirming my own personal responsibility and dwelling on my capability to make my own choices.  Indeed, we make the choices for everything in our lives.  We are not trapped, obligated, forced, manipulated… unless we allow it- or choose- to be!  This often does not “feel” true- but it is.  We step into a brand new realm of freedom and possibility when we take responsibility for our choices and actions, and stop taking responsibility for the choices and actions of others.  I am reading a wonderful book along those lines, called Boundaries in Marriage– highly recommend it!

St. Patrick’s Day is also a time to celebrate Ireland and all things Irish.  We borrowed some beautiful picture books of Ireland from the library, a Riverdance DVD, an Irish cookbooks, and plenty of leprechaun tales. We are actively studying the little creatures.  I’ve been painting up these wee pot o’ golds– wooden pots painted black to look like cast iron, and filled with small chunks of fool’s gold. They are so cute!

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I plan to hide them around the house for each child to find, under rainbows (perhaps Grimm’s rainbow stackers, a needle felted wool fairy with rainbow skirt, or rainbows created by these prisms).

I am painting some wooden rounds with gold craft paint to drop gold coins along the treasure hunt path to lead the way as “hints” and keepsakes, and sewing up little shamrock-shaped felt pockets (two sheets of green wool felt cut out in shamrock shapes and sewn together with a slot at the top to insert coins), probably to be attached to a finger knit string and worn as necklaces.  I am also painting 12 wooden shamrock shapes and designating a number on each little cloverlet- 1-48- to practice counting by fours. I am working on a needle-felted clover bunting, too! I’ll post again when it is finished.

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I also bought a bunch of these “floating clover” candle molds.  Ok, so I’ve never seen a five-leaved clover, and I am not sure why they are calling them that… but we’ll go with it.  Great and easy way to use up leftover wax bits after making beeswax cookie cutter candles. Of course there is no need to have scraps laying around to make them… I had a couple sheets I just crumpled up and tossed in my double boiler because I was so happy with how they turned out. And when Mama Erin and I tested them out, they truly did float!

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We will paint with green on Watercolor Day, make homemade green mint essential oil playdo for the littler ones and make beeswax modeling wax leprechauns with my older one on Modeling Day, make Irish soda bread on Baking Day, and work on painting our wood rounds and clovers for Craft Day.  There will also be an attempt to catch a leprechaun, inspired by my friend Mari.  She says in her house last year, they glued sequins to the walls of a cardboard box, filled it with treasures and made a little ladder leading to it in hopes the leprechauns would leap in and become trapped.  They were smart little creatures tho- in the morning her children found the latter flipped to the inside of the box where the leprechauns could escape, after stealing sequins, leaving the box contents in disarray, and even overturning kitchen chairs and sprinkling flour about the kitchen!

If I have time, I’ll be needle-felting a leprechaun as well.  I made one already, and learned a lot- but he did not pass my personal aesthetic standards, lol, so I am trying again to make him just as I envision him.  I’ll admit it… it was his face.  I tried giving him a face and his features sort of creeped me out.  As in I could not be in the same room with him at night, lol! My boys, however, were thrilled I took up their suggestion to display his mischievous leprechaun ways by having him moon everyone.

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If anyone has a good recipe for natural corned beef, please share.  We are trying to avoid nitrates and also have a freezer full of our neighbor’s beef, so I don’t want to buy supermarket corned beef… but we will try colcannon for sure!

Visit my shop soon if you want to add a little Waldorf style Irish flavor to your home- orders that come in by tonight will ship priority mail tomorrow to arrive on St. Paddy’s Day or earlier. It tends to be a week long celebration for us, since one day is never enough to pack in all the fun!

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Seeds Worth Saving

I truly hope no one held their breath to find out who won the big giveaway I did a few weeks ago. Because if you did, I am sure you are currently unconscious. 🙂 The winner is comment #6, Janel! I really did plan to come back and announce (and post more!) sooner, but I consider blogging one of my “guilty pleasures” and when I have co-op packages to be sent out, website development to do, and household tasks looming… blogging always gets shoved to the bottom of my to-do list! But, a recent issue has shoved blogging back to the top of my to-do list! I was just very saddened to read a negative review of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds because they source from  seeds produced in China (in addition to about 150 small time growers worldwide and their own magnificent farms). I fell in love with Baker Creek several years ago. Prior to learning about Baker Creek, I looked for organic, or better yet, biodynamic, seeds. To me, this seemed crucial in getting “the best of the best”. However, when I began to read Michael Pollan’s books and learn about biodiversity in our crops, my perspective of what is truly important changed a lot.

I stand strongly against GMO’s (and so does Baker Creek- they are leaders against genetically modified organisms and do everything they can to avoid them, testing to ensure they provide non GMO varieties on seeds prone to be tainted with gmo, like corn). But they are not the only threat to our food supply; lack of seed variety is a huge problem. What happens when farmers and gardeners begin to depend on a very few varieties of food crops- a tiny percentage compared to what we use to grow in our backyards and farmlands? These varieties have less of chance of standing up to inhospitable weather conditions, pestilence, and disease. We know the story of the Irish potato famine; this is a case of a nation depending overwhelmingly on a small variety of one crop. With all the weather and climate uncertainties earth currently faces, our food supply stands the best chance of providing for us if we are using many varieties, all with different strengths and different reactions to adversity. We have a greater chance of harvesting a tomato that is rarely affected by wilt, a corn crop that is happy in drought, or a cabbage that withstands worms when we have plant diversity available to farmers and gardeners, evening out odds and supplementing our mostly mono-cropped, industrialized food supply. Read more about the importance of food crop diversity here.

When I approach the question of which seeds to buy, I am enamored with the unusual, exotic, and ultra functional. I want the corn that stays “evergreen” if hung by its roots to partially dry. I want the tomato that will keep til the end of December. I want the funky gourd that can be turned into a basket. And I want to support a company that is constantly seeking out heirloom varieties that protect earth’s biodiversity and food supply. My criteria has switched from organic, biodynamic, local seeds (what I originally thought was most important)- to heirloom, open-pollinated, unique seeds.

What is heirloom? There are several opinions. Some people hold a true heirloom seed needs to be handed down from family to family. Others simply require them to be pre-1951, the year when many hybrid varieties were marketed widely. Basically, heirloom seeds are open-pollinated, non hybrid, and have been loved and appreciated, many times by isolated, small growers- since World War II or before. The fact that they are open-pollinated helps preserve our biodiversity; when pollination lies in the hands of nature and is not controlled, the plants have the possibility to run a larger gamut of traits. Offspring grown right next to each other can grow up to be uniquely different from each other and showcase a wide variety of features. What hand does Baker Creek play in this? Well, while there are three major seed banks and the Seedsavers Exchange, Baker Creek has many more varieties- and plans to continue to increase their varieties at their adventurous pace- than any other publicly accessible seed catalog around. While I do hope to join Seed Savers at some point, membership is pricey and having to write to and send payment for seeds to farmers and gardeners all over the country, different sources for every variety, becomes time consuming and expensive. A catalog that boasts over 1500 varieties, all in one place, without requiring membership fees to be able to order from it, is a labor of love and passionate work worth supporting!

Incidentally, all of China is not an industrial complex.  While we certainly need to be very vigilant in buying items made in China- and this post really opened my eyes to the degree with which we must be vigilant- there is a big difference in sourcing seeds from China, and sourcing plastics and metals made in pollution belching factories from the industrial sectors. There are over 300 million farmers in China and many of them are small time farmers cultivating on only approximately 1.6 acres.  This is very different from the typical US farm. If you’ve read some of my previous posts on gardening, you know that I feel very strongly about cultivating a relationship with my plants.  I love the human interaction and attention that small farms allow for.

I am so excited to honor diversity and teach about different cultures through food in our gardening this year.  I am planning 4 “mini gardens” within our larger garden, each with an ethnic theme.  My potager garden (“kitchen garden”) will pay homage to France and boast The French Breakfast Radish, French Dandelion, a french thyme variety, chervil, Tete Noir Cabbage, Bleu de Solaise leek, Merveille de Quatre Saisons lettuce (Marvel of Four Seasons), Corne de Belier peas, Rouge Vif D’Etamps pumpkin, Peche tomato, and Calima beans.  A homeschooling project will be to talk about France, build a mini Eiffel tower garden decoration for the plot, and cook authentic French meals from our bounty.  Our Asian themed garden will have a fairy pagoda and feature Chinese Chives, Chinese motherwort, Tatsoi Green, Baker Creek’s amazing Siamese Dragon Stir Fry salad mix, Chinese Red Noodle Bean, Extra Dwarf Pac Choy, Red Kuri Squash, and Chinese lanterns. Our “three sisters” garden will have a teepee structure over it and honor native Americans with corn, squash, and beans; and my Russian Dacha will feature some hardy and quickly growing tomato varieties like Raspberry Lyanna, Golden King of Siberia, Emerald Apple tomato, Pilcer Vesy tomato, Paul Robeson tomato, and Emmer wheat.

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I am so excited to have added all of Baker Creek’s 1500+ varieties from the seed catalog they mailed me… I had so much fun learning about all the varieties offered this year. As I do every year, I am offering everyone the opportunity to order their seeds through our Cedar Ring Circle Baker Creek Heirloom Seed special order, and you can order through that link and save 20% with the code SAVESEEDS at checkout (and free shipping on orders of 10 packets or more in the US- otherwise I will contact you for $3 to help with shipping costs). You may want to refer to Baker Creek’s website for pictures and descriptions, at http://www.rareseeds.com, too.  Although if you don’t have their paper catalog, you definitely want to order it… it is full of anecdotes and recipes.  I will place one order tomorrow, so earlybirds will want to get their orders in by midnight tonight, and another on March 3rd.


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Sense of Warmth Part II

I am so excited that my dear friend Mona Sophia is guest posting for us today. She is a self described alchemist and intuitive life coach.  Her personal study of creativity, meditation, mindfulness, Anthroposophy, and relationships have led her down many different avenues including that of a Waldorf class teacher, homeschooler, artist, filmmaker, and wife and mother.

Mona Sophia begins our contemplation of the Sense of Warmth with a quote from Sherry Wildfeuer…

“An even more intimate connection occurs through the warmth ether.  It provides the impetus of enthusiasm to arouse our thinking to activity at the moment of our first seeking to understand what we behold.  It energizes us along the way, and it culminates with our becoming aware of the inner impulse, the seed nature of what we see.  Thus, the whole quest for knowledge is fired by the warmth ether.  It also allows us to transform ourselves or something in the world around us.”  (“Getting to Know the Living Forces In Nature”)

Winter is the time of year when harsh weather and cold forces us indoors.   Even more so, metaphorically, this “forcing us indoors” can serve to propel us towards developing our inner warmth and our quest for self-knowledge.  In Waldorf Philosophy and Education there is so much emphasis placed on cultivating the warmth of the child, but what about the cultivation of warmth in us as individual developing human beings?

While it’s obvious to see rapid development physically and mentally in children, with adults we too often forget or deny that development is still taking place.   However, if we look to our inner self we can see it is always continuously seeking new ways to manifest its growth and development, whether or not we choose to honor it.   In consciously choosing to honor our inner growth, it is essential we create and direct warmth towards listening to every call of our inner voice.

“Perhaps most importantly, warmth is the essential ingredient in transformative work. Without warmth we cannot change…”-Dr. Adam Blanning

Warmth is an essential element of life.   Think about what a seed needs to grow…water, nutrients, air and light.  That light is warmth.  When we as individuals choose to purposefully seek and develop the light in our own beings, we can nurture the warmth not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us.  But it is essential that we start with ourselves first and do so with kindness and compassion.

This time of year when the world grows dark and our consciousness is turned inward we can very often find we are becoming impatient, restless, or dissatisfied in our outer lives and inner thoughts.  The outer cold can cause us to take a fetal–like positioning towards the world, which helps us preserve not only our physical warmth but our spiritual warmth as well.  What we are left with, though, is to come face to face with our inner mental processes.   In order to penetrate these darker crevices of our thinking, we must consciously and actively create an attitude of warmth towards these thoughts and truly understand their “seed nature”.  But how can we do we do this?

First we must honor that these emotions and feelings are presenting to us for a reason.  They are speaking to our innermost needs.  Instead of denying the darker sides of our thoughts, and trying to change them for the positive, look to them with gratitude for their utter honesty.  These small, sometimes ugly inner voices are the way our inner self screams for our attention.   More often than not they are screaming because we have denied them too long.  But what do we do?  React to these emotional outcries or respond to them?  More often than not we just react.  I now challenge each of us to respond to them instead.

Meet each of these angry, bitter, resentful mutterings with the warmth that a saint would meet a sinner.  Ask them what they need and how you can help them.  More often than not, these inner voices just want to know you are listening to them and will in turn show you they aim to serve you instead.  When we listen to these voices without self-judgment, they begin to point the way towards cultivating a more passionate and fulfilled life.

Think about your most intimate and passionate moment.  All your senses were stimulated and your physical awareness was heightened.  A feeling of warmth most likely overtook your body.  Can you imagine living life like this on a daily basis?  It’s possible.   But only when we seek to listen to those inner yearnings which have tried so hard to get our attention.  Look to yourself with warm thoughts and know that you are valuable enough to deserve a fulfilled life.  There is no secret recipe for how to do this, though, as each of us will have different ingredients.  But what matters most is that we can look honestly at what stimulates, intrigues and disgusts our palettes.

Are you happy giving to others when you have not made time for yourself?  After spending the whole day caring for others and neglecting yourself do you have anything left to cultivate a passionate life for yourself or with a partner?   However, if you took just minutes a day to make love to yourself first, perhaps the amount you could give to others would exponentially grow.

So how do we make love to ourselves?  Do you have a spiritual practice you can devote yourself to?  Do you have a purpose and a drive for your direction in life?  Have you questioned what your deepest desires are for yourself, or a life with a partner or a family?  What can you do on a daily basis to bring these into fruition?   Have you looked at yourself with love and kindness for everything you aim to achieve during your day but just didn’t manage to?  Can you look in the mirror daily and say, “I am a beautiful, sexy, creative being!”?

If the answer to any of these questions is I don’t know or I don’t have time, then it’s no wonder your inner murmurs are screaming for your attention.  Our lives are a product of our creative imaginations and if you haven’t taken the time to imagine what you want or desire from your life you will get second-rate results.  We are called to be creative, inspired individuals because creativity is the vital force that fuels our existence.

So face these dark murmurings of your inner self with warmth and compassion and see them as guideposts on your journey.  Honor that they are serving to drive you towards a more creative and passionate life and that they are the seeds, which when nurtured with warmth and light can help you to undergo the transformative work necessary to find your highest self.

Warmth

 Mona Sophia has a passion for connecting with others and helping them to discover the passion in their own lives.  Her counseling services are offered online.  See her Facebook page for more details: Mona Sophia Talks

As her friend, I have to pipe up and tell you that the grace with which she navigates her life impresses everyone lucky enough to know her. She has walked with me through many difficult times in my life.  We have been through thick and thin together, and every time I have felt “stuck”, at the end of my rope, or needed someone to share my joy, she has been there for me.  She has the amazing ability to listen without judgement, to exude empathy, and to refuse to allow me to have a pity party or self-defeating mentality.  She can help me “find the gift”, notice the silver linings of any gray cloud, and most of all, she has infused me with inspiration and confidence to boldly take on the world, and take charge of my life instead of “letting life happen to me”.  I am incredibly lucky to call her my friend, and after endless hours of conversations with her, I now know exactly what question to ask myself when I am feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or upset.  I know she would tell me to take some rescue remedy, and cut right through the whirling chaos in my mind by asking me “What are you needing right now?” For truly, how can we work towards getting our needs met, if we aren’t even certain what they are?

In addition to knowing what our needs are, we need to develop a good game plan for getting those needs met.  In his book, Non-Violent Communication”, Marshall Rosenberg tells a story of a man who is searching for his keys beneath a streetlight one night.  A passerby offers to help him, and after much crawling about on hands and knees beneath the light, asks “where exactly were you standing when you dropped them?” The man replies that he dropped the keys in an alley nearby. “But,” he says, “the light is much better over here.” We are often more comfortable trying to get our needs met in ill-suited ways that have become ingrained over the years, in ways that are based on manipulating or degrading ourselves or those around us, or we may not even feeling worthy of trying to get them met.   Mona Sophia is willing to go on an adventure with you, to discover your passion, your needs, and how to get them met and live a rich life of fulfillment.  For a chance to win a 90 minute coaching session with her, leave a comment below!