Easing Into Fall

Fall greetings!

Our herbs are just about done for the year. This has been a great year for Garlic, Basil and Tomatoes, here. Bell peppers? Not so much. Last year we grew huge ones, but this year they are like little dwarf peppers.

Four plants of Sweet Basil have turned into 3 pints of Basil Pesto for the freezer, so far, several rounds of Caprese salad, and a few nicely seasoned batches of marinara sauce. It appears I may have one more good harvest of Basil. I did find a few new Calendula flowers yesterday, and you can never have too many of those. Oh, and a few stragglers of Echinacea. But mostly my focus has moved on to Hops and Jalapeños at this point.

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Hop vines have to share my attention with the last of the tomatoes on the vines and the super hot jalapeños that have turned from green to black, then red.

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I like pickled green jalapeños, but once they turn color on the vines they are much hotter. My husband loves all peppers, the hotter the better. The red ones are just way too hot for me. I usually end up canning two batches so we can both enjoy them.

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Hop flowers take about a week to dry, if you turn and stir them once a day so they dry evenly. Once they are dry, just rubbing the petals will separate them. They are a great addition to my sleepy tea blends and sleep pillows. See the little papery, round flower petals in the photo below? That is my Peace-Out tea blend in the works.

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Our three year old American Elder tree had about 18 clusters of berries this year, but I was only able to harvest two clusters, enough for one batch of fresh syrup. The birds greedily took the rest of them, though they haven’t bothered them in years past. I am wondering if that is a sign of a hard winter ahead.

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Elderberry gummy candies caught my interest this year. There are many recipes online, many of them huge batches, including some with fruit juice or other additions. I wanted to make them as simply and basic as possible, and I didn’t want to waste any of my precious one bottle of syrup on errors. I poured 1/2 cup of syrup in a measuring cup, and sprinkled 1 1/2 Tablespoon of powdered gelatin evenly over the surface. I whisked it in gently and allowed it to dissolve, swell and bloom. It seemed a bit too thick, so I whisked in about 2 Tablespoons of water, and microwaved it for 10 seconds.

The Gummy molds I ordered came with a neat little eyedropper to fill the molds with. I soon realized it would be impossible to fill those little cavities without it!

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That one half cup of syrup was enough to fill almost two molds. I recommend you start with a small amount, too, if you decide to make some yourself. I had to stop and nuke the mixture again after about 10 minutes, because it thickened as it cooled.

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I am pretty happy with the way they turned out. I let them dry a full day on a cutting board after removing them from the molds. So far, they are holding nicely in a jar in my herb cupboard. They are a wee bit sticky, but separate easy enough. It is recommended that they be stored in the refrigerator, but since there was already vodka in the syrup to render it shelf-stable, I decided to push it to see how long they would keep.

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I would make them again, and they are delicious. If you have children, gummy bears would be much easier for little ones to handle than a messy syrup.

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Mediumship, a Perspective

A blogging buddy inquired about my recent post where I mentioned I was pursuing certification in mediumship. The Course in Mediumship is offered by a British medium who is an approved tutor at Arthur Findley College in the UK, and the founder of the UK Academy of Mediumship. The course is centered around the theory, the practice of mediumship, spirituality, psychology, psychic aptitudes and techniques to be the best medium you can be. It has answered many questions for me, and I have learned a great deal.

Since certification is a course option, I am working on qualifying for it. It requires extensive notes, including my personal narrative and interpretation of advanced course video lectures to be evaluated by the UK Academy of Mediumship. It won’t certify me as a medium, per se. Only spirit and other mediums can confirm that, and they have already done so.

Certification will offer a credential of effort, stating that I have studied and understood advanced intricacies of mediumship, including professional ethics, spiritual goals, and techniques of the same. I don’t have a wow-wall, but a certificate that caps a lifetime of navigating random experiences with spirits will feel meaningful to me. Because mediumship is not a licensed profession, whatever one can do to separate from a veritable glut of so-so mediums seems valuable.

The more I have learned about mediumship, the less I feel I actually know. Evidential Mental Mediumship is a telepathically based endeavor, requiring good psychic skills, people skills, logic, the visual skills of an artist, a flexible mind, curiosity, good communication skills, a sense of humor and the heart to be a helper. Empathy is crucial, as is a commitment to personal spiritual development, the ability to mentally multi-task and strong boundaries. There is a great deal more to it than most people realize. It has zero to do with tarot cards or crystal balls. It takes place entirely within the mind.

Mediumship skills are greatly boosted when paired with a working knowledge of our physical world, including geography, sociological and cultural education, medical terminology, anatomy, symbols, history, historical fashion trends, people’s names and psychology. One doesn’t have to be a scholar or have all those attributes, but any and all are helpful because spirits themselves communicate with extraordinary intelligence. A lack of knowledge may cause the medium to misinterpret the intent or details of the communication.

If you have never experienced a sitting with a really excellent medium, you may associate mediumship with velvet tapestries, parlor tricks, or shadowy seances from haunted house movies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Good mediums lead normal everyday lives except that they have the ability to communicate with spirits. They don’t require, and generally don’t use, props of any kind. They are, by definition, well-rounded human beings. They are also professional, in every sense of the word.

I have been mediumistic since I was a child. Many of the mediums I know, myself included, didn’t ask for their abilities. In fact, I and many others tried for a very long time to ignore and avoid them! When it became clear, early on, that my family did not believe in my experiences and were embarrassed or irritated by them, I learned to keep them to myself, including becoming adept at hiding them from my friends and colleagues. I didn’t realize my experiences had significant meaning for who I was ultimately becoming or what my random experiences meant. Though sometimes helpful to me, my encounters with spirit didn’t follow any exact pattern except the gift returned periodically, no matter how many ways I tried to stuff it. I was middle-aged by the time the books I had read on the topic filled several bookshelves. The internet opened other vistas and I finally realized my experiences fit the pattern and mold of a natural medium. Doh! As I accepted the idea privately, and started meditating every day, the experiences increased in volume and frequency.

I am not looking for a full-time career at this point in my life. Because I am happily retired I will offer my skills to benefit others as I am able to, while still enjoying the rest of my life. I am not looking for fame or fortune, only a way to use my skills to offer the healing of mediumship to others I know or meet.

Summer in Upside-Down America

Summer greetings, friends,

First, I want to mention how much I appreciate that two of my fellow blogging buddies noticed I hadn’t posted in a while and contacted me to ask if all was well. It had been over two months since my last post. Thank you so much, that means more than you know! When I finally got the all-clear on the surgery date everything happened so fast I just went for it. I didn’t even consider that anyone would even notice my absence.

Covid-19 caused my shoulder surgery to be rescheduled three times.  Luckily, I have tested negative for Covid as mostly I just stay home. The surgery was first scheduled in Seattle for late March, then again in early May, but then Swedish Orthopedic hospital itself closed for a month. Covid numbers continued to be high in Seattle, then dropped enough by late June that I grabbed a window of opportunity and had the surgery done. I’m sure glad I did, as after all the protests the numbers have spiked upward again. The food at Swedish Orthopedic alone was worth the overnight stay. Wowza! It was not like any hospital food I have ever encountered before. They had a true chef on duty.

I think my arm and shoulder are going to be good, now. The surgery entailed a full shoulder replacement and a plate with four screws attached to the upper humerus. The surgeon had to break my humerus in three places just to dig out the old plate and screws from the prior, botched surgery, as the plate had broken jaggedly in half. I have spent 3/4 of every day in a sling since the surgery, to make sure all the structures were well supported while healing was occurring. I am almost giddy to report I am finally comfortable with key-boarding and light tasks. It has seemed like a long two months.

Prior to the surgery, I made over 30 masks for all my local friends. Good thing, since we are still all wearing them! I had a huge stash of fat quarters of Batik fabric, which is tightly woven with such a high thread count that it is pretty ideal for mask making. Along the way, I took the time to straighten out and reorganize my entire fabric stash, a task sorely needed.

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It is difficult to wrap my mind around all the adult anti-maskers that have caused our Covid experience to be more volatile than it needed to be. I know that is certainly something you are familiar with where you live, too. And we all must deal with the rabid political climate as well. I am crossing my fingers we get a handle on both in the next few months.

The Course in Mediumship I bought pre-surgery continues to fascinate me, and I am loving it. I have learned so much! I decided I am going for full certification, though I have a lot of class notes to type up, so it probably won’t actualize until October or November. The next step is to join a practice circle to hone my accuracy rate and confidence. Then, guessing by the following fall I might know what I’m doing enough to begin doing individual sittings for others.

I haven’t had any other major accomplishments this summer. But I am very excited my arm will be able to keep up with the rest of me from now on. My husband and I are pretty introverted, so we haven’t felt like we were suffering much by staying home.

Tom has made some spectacular extras for us in his woodshop during the past few months. I inherited some wonderful antique English bone china from an aunt, and I have wanted a corner hutch in the dining room to house it ever since. Tom designed and built a wonderful hutch for me.

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Next, Tom built a very cool organic bench for our wrap around porch, using live edge maple he milled. That’s where we have our coffee on summer mornings. I feel so spoiled!

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In the end, this summer is the upside-down of all other summers I can recall, but, it has still been good.

Sheltering in Place


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Hello friends. we find ourselves in the midst of a very strange spring season this year. The sun is shining, birds and bees are flitting around, and our favorite green friends are returning. All the while, Covid-19 is a dark, lurking shadow that lies beneath any of the joy or abandon usually associated with spring.  The good news is, the violet seeds I scattered last fall have taken are are now in bloom!  

Tom and I are in the shelter in place mode, along with most of the rest of the world right now. I am a homebody, anyway, and except for morning walks, I haven’t left our property since Feb. 29th. Though I have missed seeing my favorite people, in other ways I have truly enjoyed having an empty schedule. Our cats are supremely satisfied to have door-knob service people at the ready 24/7.

In between letting cats in and out, I’ve been making Batik masks for friends and family that needed them. I am a bit of a fabric hoarder, especially fat quarters and 1/2 yard pieces, because I am a quilter. I’ve made 28 masks, so far, and it has barely put a dent in my fabric stash.

Topped off at 30 masks! Then I ran out of elastic.

I am having a heck of a time with block editor today. Hope I can change it back!