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Archive for August, 2010

This journal was never created with the intention of discussing politics or anything that tends to tear people apart or make them grumpy – it’s a happy place! However, this month, we received extremely good political news about the overturning of Proposition 8 in California: an evil construct that denied the right for Gay and Lesbian people to marry each other. This affected my family in a very deeply personal way and we’ve been moping around for the last two years while the powers that be wrestled it out. We won, human rights won, open minds and hearts won. This is an important issue in my life and I’m dedicating this post to my son and daughter, daughter in law, the Aunties, and all of the beautiful Gay and Lesbian people that brighten my life and make the world a much better place to live in every day. I love you guys…and Congratulations!!!!

double rainbow - road trip with our kids

“The Rainbow Connection”

written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher
sung by Kermit the Frog

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it,
And look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

All of us under its spell,
We know that it’s probably magic…

Have you been half asleep? And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m s’posed to be…
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

double rainbow - road trip with Tom

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O happy Garden! whose seclusion deep
Hath been so friendly to industrious hours;
And to soft slumbers, that did gently steep
Our spirits, carrying with them dreams of flowers,
And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers;
Two burning months let summer overleap,
And, coming back with Her who will be ours,
Into thy bosom we again shall creep.

~William Wordsworth (from “A Farewell)

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, has become one of my most cherished herbs in the garden. In my mind, I categorize it as an “old plant”: one that has a long and rich history and seems unchanged by horticulture. I never consider a plant like an orchid an “old plant” because humans have altered the species in so many ways. Yarrow is simple, faithful, dependable and quietly noble. The reading and research done for this plant was pure enjoyment for me. My old books came out, every book had a reference – I was in book/herb heaven!

Yarrow


The names given to the plant were the best part of the research; Bad Man’s Plaything, Carpenter’s Weed, Death Flower, Devil’s Nettle, Eerie, Knight’s Milfoil, Military Herb, Soldier’s Woundwort, Nosebleed, Old Man’s Mustard, Sanguinary, Seven Year’s Love, Snake’s Grass, Thousand Seal, Sneezewort….there were a few more but I kept my favorites here.

Old Man's Pepper


Yarrow is said to have been used for healing on the battlefield by the Greek warrior, Achilles, by the Native Americans who call it a “life medicine”, and by the Chinese for divination. In fact, the “50 wooden sticks” mentioned in the I Ching are actually yarrow sticks. (I know nothing about Chinese divination so I’ll post the link and stop with that!)

Woundwort


There are many references to yarrow being used by the Druids and in several love spells. One spell said that if you hung it over your bed it would ensure 7 years of love. Scott Cunningham’s book “The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews” calls it “One of the true treasures of the Earth”.

Devil's Nettle


“Thou pretty herb of Venus’ tree
Thy true name it is yarrow
Now who my bosom friend must be?
Pray tell thou me tomorrow”
~an old spell found in “Mastering Herbalism” by Paul Hason

Sanguinary


Its historical uses are not much different from the current ones; fever, skin ailments, arthritis, blood clotting, bruises, menstruation, circulation, varicose veins, high blood pressure, etc. It contains chemicals that aid blood flow as far as I can tell. I’m no doctor so I’ll go easy on its medicinal business. I can say, however, that if I’m having a difficult time of it during my time of the month, all I have to do is waltz outside, cut off a flower head, steep it warm water for a nice cup of tea…and I feel better. It also makes you pee a lot, which I assume explains why it may ease high blood pressure. I usually mix it with another tea, like Jasmine, for flavor. It doesn’t taste bad by itself, kind of like hay or grass…herby!

Snake's Grass


In the garden, it survives well, needs lots of sun, not a lot of water, and blooms most of the year here in San Diego. It enjoys being cut so don’t let it get too leggy. Deadheading will keep you in tea and keep the plant healthy and bushy. Also, Peanut likes to take naps in it.

Devil's Plaything


All of my yarrow is yellow and from one original plant that I separated 6 months ago. It’s a perennial with a creeping rhizome. The leaves are soft, ferny, feathery. It works well as a dried herb in flower arrangements and seems to last forever in a vase with water.

Hundred Leaved Grass


My favorite thing about the plant though, is that no matter where it grows, it adds a sunny glow of happiness to its corner.

Seven Years Love

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