The Time of Imbolc is Here!

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For most of us reading this, we are generations removed from a truly meaningful connection with the land. Gone are the days where stocking a larder meant the difference between life and death. We no longer spend long hours huddled around the hearth, connected to the flame for vital warmth throughout long winter days.

We are no longer wondering if there is enough food and fire to ensure the elders, infants, and breastfeeding mothers can make it through the final months of cold, dark, winter.

For these reasons (and more), we have lost touch with the spirit of this season. We no longer remember why this day (February 1st or 2nd depending on the year) is a time for pause, a time to celebrate, and a time to rejoice.

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The Best Way to Create Harmony in Your Home & Life – Dawn Gettig’s #1 Tip

Artwork by Dawn Gettig

Today we have a guest post by the talented and inspirational Dawn Gettig.  She will share her #1 tip for creating harmony and balance in your home and life. 

I have been assisting clients with Medicine Wheel, Yoga and creating Sacred Space for years now, and I want to share with you my favorite tip on how to create harmony and balance in one’s environment and life.  This tip is the reason Feng Shui (creating Sacred Space) and Medicine Wheel were created as an art, science and philosophy thousands of years ago.  Therefore, my favorite tip is to bring a lot of nature into your home and life.   Nature is the purest model for creating harmony and balance. Nature inspires great music, design, art, food and so much more.

Artwork by Dawn Gettig

Artwork by Dawn Gettig

Here are a few quick and easy ways to bring nature into your spaces and senses:

The scent of nature

  • Regularly use lavender and other fragrant herbs or essential oils in your home for a naturally fragrant smelling home.
  • Weekly create simple flower arrangements and place them in key areas of your home to uplift the energy.
  • Be sure to have houseplants in your rooms year round to keep the air fresh and reduce indoor toxins.
  • Open your windows and bring in fresh air.   People often don’t open their windows — in the winter it is too cold, in the summer too hot! I have neighbors who never ever open their windows, creating very stagnant energy in the home.

The sounds of nature

  • Listen to a CD of soothing nature sounds and absorb the lovely music made by animals, birds and the ocean. Remember sound has power and can create an atmosphere of sanctuary!
  • Again, open the windows and you will hear so many wonderful sounds. At my home at night we often hear an owl in the backyard and it brings us much joy and connection to nature.

The colors of nature

  • When choosing colors in your home, be sure to choose the natural colors of nature.   Scientific studies show color can evoke feelings. For example; lovely natural blue tones will bring more flow and peace, yellows and orange more joy and sociability, and add green for harmony and healing.

The feel and texture of nature

  • Purchase bamboo or cotton (preferably organic) sheets and you will either consciously or subconsciously feel greater relaxation when sleeping on natural fabric.
  • Use natural rugs and flooring materials instead of synthetic items. Synthetics release toxins in your living areas which can cause health issues in children and adults (and pets).

The taste of nature

  • Bring the natural flavors of nature into your spaces and you will enjoy greater health. Unnatural flavorings and other processed ingredients are in many food products on the market today and these can create health issues.

The unseen quality of nature

  • In your home and body there is vital life force energy (also called Chi) that moves in and all around us. If you keep your home free of clutter and do most suggestions above then you will have good Chi flowing in your home, in turn you will breathe freer and enjoy greater health and peace of mind.

Bringing nature into your home and senses will make you feel better mentally, emotionally and physically.

Dawn's photoDawn Gettig lives in her nature-filled home in Kirtland, Ohio with her husband and two daughters. She is an advanced certified Medicine Wheel, Feng Shui and Space Clearing practitioner. She also teaches yoga and is a mixed media artist. Follow Dawn on Facebook , Pinterest or visit her website at dawngettig.com.

Scenes from (Early) Spring

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It’s starting to feel more and more like Spring on the farm!

…And it’s starting to feel more and more like we actually live on a farm!

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Maple production has continued.  We finished our 3rd batch this past weekend and it was the best one yet.  This week we’re in the midst of the fastest rushing sap we’ve seen so there will be at least a 4th (and probably a 5th) installment of our syrup!

We’ve tried boiling the sap down a number of ways – a grill, a rocket stove, and this last time we used a portable electric cooktop that we placed outside.

I think the rocket stove was the most fun, but we had a hard time keeping the sap boiling and it took a lot longer than it should have (like, 10 hours!).  We finished the last bit of sap on the kitchen stove and ended up with a decent amount of syrup.

The electric cooktop definitely won the contest for the most efficient way to boil down the amount of sap we collected. Continue reading

Spring is on the Way {So is the New Herbal Wellness Basket!}

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You know we’re getting closer to Spring in Ohio when it’s 45 degrees outside and I’m pulling out the lawn chair to soak up the sun.

Yes, there may still be snow on the ground, but these spring rays are just begging for someone to soak them up.  I will. IMG_0811

In the past week, the bird song has increased steadily each morning.  In addition to the usual chorus of black capped chickadees and cardinals, I’ve even begun hearing the red-winged blackbirds outside.  This is surely a sign that Winter’s fingers are unfurling their grasp around Northeast Ohio.

With the warming days we’ve been out playing in the yard, and joyfully been exploring the process of tapping our maple trees.  We do, after all, live in the heart of Ohio’s maple syrup kingdom.

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The Solstice Within & Without

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“The winter solstice happens in nature around us.  But it also happens inside of us, in our souls. […]   In the dark place of our soul, we carry secret wishes, pains, frustrations, loneliness, fears, regrets, worries.  Darkness is not something to be afraid of.  Sometimes we go to the dark place of our soul, where we can find safety and comfort.  In the the dark place in our soul we can find rest and rejuvenation.  In the dark place of our soul we can find balance.  And when we have rested, and been comforted, and restored, we can return from the dark place in our soul to the world of light and new possibilities.”  – John Halstead
FullSizeRender-25I finished my holiday gift gathering last week.

This week, I rested.  Continue reading

Prevent Colds & Flu with DIY Elderberry Syrup

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There are so many great ways to support your winter health with herbs.  Starting with simple dietary additions (like garlic!) and ending with soothing choices to make your cold or flu more tolerable and shorter, herbs are my go-to for prevention and treatment.

One of the tastiest herbal allies, however, is the elderberry.

This shrubby perennial plant has been used as medicine for centuries to support health and well-being.  I often see it growing naturally in moist soils, but it has also historically been planted at the edge of gardens as the protector of the garden.  Even its name, Elder, speaks to its wise and respected role in our collective medicine chest.

Elder’s lacy, delicate flowers, and bright purplish-black berries can both be used for their medicinal properties.  The flowers are diaphoretic meaning that they help to lower fevers by inducing sweating.  It is a common ingredient in many cold-care tea formulas.

The berries are rich in vitamins C & A, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, beta-carotene, iron, potassium, and phytosterols.  They are often used in prevention and treatment of colds because of their ability to boost the immune system.  As an antiviral, they are helpful in treating upper respiratory viruses including colds and flu, but have also been used in treatments for other viruses such as herpes and shingles.  Elderberry’s effectiveness is not just an “herban” legend, but its ability to reduce the duration of the flu and to fight viruses has been published in a number of scientific articles (links to abstracts in the resources below).

As a food, elderberry can be consumed as a jam, wine, or in pies, but it’s easiest to use as preventative medicine or for treating cold and flu when made into a tasty syrup.  Luckily, it’s really pretty easy to do, too!  I even made a handy graphic . . .

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Gratitude Sunday {9/21/14}

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I haven’t done a Gratitude Sunday for some time, but I think taking time to feel grateful is such an important practice.  As I was taking some photos this morning, I was inspired to share my recent gratitude list.

{Joining with Wooly Moss Roots}

Today I am grateful for…

~ Leaning in to the changing seasons and beginning to decorate in celebration of the Fall Equinox (Mabon)

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Homestead Update – The Beginning

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We’re still in the process of getting our house move-in ready, but it’s always a treat to go visit the land we’ll soon be living with.

Without any input at all there are many strawberry blossoms!

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The Flooded Forest and Unkempt Garden

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Yesterday was a wonderful spring day to enjoy nature.  We took a walk along Big Creek and you can tell from all the leaves, trees, and random children’s playground equipment scattered throughout the forest that last week’s rains caused the creek to swell quite a few feet above the banks.      IMG_0067 Continue reading

Our New Homestead!

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After at least 10 years of dreaming, 2 years looking at properties, and 7 months working on closing on this particular piece of land, we finally have our permaculture homestead.  These 23 acres are the land that will sustain us into the future, where we hope our dreams will blossom into fruition, and where we will grow together as a family and into our community.

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