True story, in keeping with Samhain eve.

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My cousin, Michael

I woke up briefly around three a.m. to take a drink of water from the glass on my bedside table. My husband woke up also and left the room to get a glass of water. While I was waiting for him to come back to bed a male voice I didn’t recognize spoke with sympathy, near my ear, “Aww, did your cousin Michael die?” I said only, “No, I think I would have heard.” The question was the first thing spoken, and it felt like he was trying to sympathize. I wasn’t fearful or upset at all, just sleepy.

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Michaels Death Dog restored hearse

My husband entered the room just then and said, “Who were you talking to?” I told him, “Oh, a spirit male asked me if my cousin Michael died. I’m sure he didn’t, but I wonder why he said that?” My husband said, “Uh-oh, Mike senior or junior?” “No clue”, I mumbled, as I was drifting back to sleep.

Then it suddenly hit me that my second cousin, Mike junior, has an old, restored black hearse that he turned into a sausage and hot dog vending business called Death Dog in Salem, Oregon.  He has a giant, neon hot dog in a bun on top of the hood of the hearse. Bingo! The male spirit knew about that hearse for some reason. Either he picked it out of my sleeping brain, or, he had seen me looking at photos of my cousin’s hearse a few months ago on social media. Either way, he used that information to try to find common ground.

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During my meditation the next morning, I spoke to that spirit, telling him he may not contact me when I am sleeping or come into my bedroom at all as it was strictly off-limits, but he was welcome to contact me during my morning meditation if he wanted to talk. I thought he left, as I didn’t hear from him for an entire week.

A few days later there was a gentle and respectful knocking on the wall outside my bedroom. It woke me up, then repeated the knocks twice more. I didn’t respond because I had already told him when I might be available, and it didn’t happen again. He may still drop by, though…

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I don’t get names of spirits consistently yet. I usually just get a first initial, so far. But I didn’t even get that and was kicking myself that I had been so surprised I forgot to even ask! I had been sleeping deeply just before he arrived so I was groggy. When spirit speaks to a good clairaudient medium, whole names are possible. I am learning, but I need more practice.

Late note:

I did find out the male spirit’s name a couple months after this post, while doing practice readings with another medium! She told me a male spirit named Farmer had been a frequent visitor to my home and that Farmer thought mediumship was about the best thing ever. I couldn’t take his name at the time, but the medium said just don’t forget about the name Farmer as you will be hearing from him, probably a lot. I completely forgot, but luckily had jotted a note in my journal.

One day I was researching county records on our home, as it had just turned 100 years old. It was so amazing to read that orchardist John “Farmer” (and his wife) owned and lived in our home for twenty years, from 1940 to 1960 😃. At first I couldn’t figure out why their last name seemed so familiar. Then it hit me. I even found a photo of them online and a mention that they lived on this property. And that, my friends, is why I have so much respect for mediumship.


Winter Remedies and Potions

The herbal harvest is done for the year, and my herb cabinet is positively stuffed with every herb I will need to keep my family healthy this coming winter.

My kitchen turned into a stillroom today while I blended teas, made syrup and a tonic or two. It felt so good to be making herbal preparations for winter. The full Blood Moon is shining its radiant energy straight into my kitchen and herb cabinet as I am finishing up the last tea blend. I am so happy it is fall!

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I grew or foraged and dried a lot of the herbs in the bowl myself, and those I couldn’t I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs, my favorite herb supplier. I know they are healthy, natural and wholesome, which a remedy ought to be, don’t you think?

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As I combine herbs for a remedy, I hold intentions of healing energy and my memories of the day I gathered the herbs surface. It’s funny how I do usually emotionally remember the exact blue skies and sunshine, the heat or storm clouds, the Dragonfly that buzzed by me, my contentment, the fullness of summer or the relief of rain while harvesting herbs I grew.

In some ways I feel bonded to my plants and sense when they are thirsty or suffering from encroachment. I believe that all the above affects the herbs and their ability to carry out their purpose, to heal. I’ve come to believe that the plant and the herbalist or grower share a fundamental alchemy that all plays into the efficacy of the eventual remedy. Thoughts?

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Felted Knitting

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Have any of you who knit tried felting your creations on purpose? Most of us have done it by accident, when we didn’t notice those nice wool socks Aunt Maggie made for us last Christmas went into the washing machine, instead of being washed by hand. Oops! I’ll never tell.

Felted wool, sometimes known as boiled wool, makes one of the warmest, densest knit fabrics I’ve known. It starts as a double strand of worsted wool yarn, knitted on large needles, and a pattern specifically designed for felting. The finished slippers, before felting, will be huge and floppy! Don’t panic. They will fit perfectly once they are properly felted.

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Stout is a wonderful, substantial, natural yarn to make felted projects with, especially for guy gifts.

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My felted hat seems absolutely impervious to rain. My sister-in-law made it for me, years ago, and I still love it. It is at least eight years old, and in perfect condition, despite wearing it every day, for many winters. It doesn’t wrinkle and is easily hand washed. The best part is, if the sun comes out, I can wad it up in my purse or backpack and it doesn’t wrinkle or lose its shape at all. It is also a great place to sport wonderful, old antique pins found at the antique store.

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The slippers are warm and cozy, though I find the wool bottoms are a little too slippery by themselves. Adding leather soles and/or liquid rubber goop, or both, helps them to last longer and to be non-slip. You won’t want to take them off!

We always choose to live in old farmhouses, and because they have cold floors in the winter, cozy slippers are a must. Hafflingers are boiled wool slippers you can purchase at good shoe stores. I’ve had a couple pairs and have loved them. But after making felted slippers myself I can assure you that the homemade ones are much warmer and cozier.

The liquid rubber goes on like rubber cement, and is just as stinky, so that part of the project should be done in a garage, not the house. I learned to roll it over the sole with a mini paint roller for a more even coating. Allow it to dry, then repeat at least 3 times. The soles are non-slip and durable and have held up nicely through two years of wear and counting, but I have not worn them outside. If you add a leather sole and the liquid rubber, I imagine you could.

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Finished, completely, and ready to gift wrap!
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These are still a little lumpy in the sole area, so I will wash them one more time. That should take care of it.

Leather soles are available online, pre-punched with holes around the edges to sew them with yarn or leather laces on to the soles of the slippers. We are lucky to have a real Shoe Shop in my town, that makes leather items themselves. They will make leather soles to order with advanced notice.

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How they look after they are finished, but before they are felted.
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I love working with this yarn!

Felted knitting patterns are available online as downloads at Fiber Trends and other knitting sites.  Here is the link: http://www.fibertrends.com


Candied Pecans

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A friend made some of these nuts last winter and gave us a bag of them. Wow! They are crunchy, spicy, slightly sweet and mildly salty. I was making a batch yesterday to send our son, when it occurred to me some of you might enjoy this recipe, too.

They are so easy and quick to make. If you don’t like the mild heat of Cayenne, simply omit it. If pecans aren’t your thing, Cashews would be a good substitute.

If using Cashews, you could substitute coconut milk for the water, and add a tablespoon of dried, shredded coconut. Or, omit the coconut and add curry powder. I have started experimenting with many candied nut recipes, and the only conclusion I have reached so far is that all of them are good!

Candied Pecans

Cut the recipe in half if you wish, but know these will disappear fast! Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

If you have a convection oven, adjust the temperature lower accordingly. If your oven runs hot, use a lower temperature so the nuts do not scorch.

Whisk together in a bowl:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Ground Cayenne Pepper
4 tsp. water

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Add nuts and stir with a spatula so nuts are thoroughly coated with the mixture.

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Divide the nuts between two cookie sheets, making a pile in center of each. Drizzle any remaining marinade in bowl over the nuts before spreading the nuts out on the parchment with a fork.

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Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Slide parchment onto counter so nuts are immediately removed from heat of cookie sheet. Once cooled, the nuts are easy to remove from the parchment with a turner.

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