December 22, 2010

Joy - Merry Christmas - translation: peace and happiness for all!

it is
what is is

what is is

it is

I don't think Jesus would be too impressed that we go into debt or run ourselves ragged trying to impress our friends and family in his name.

I celebrate Christmas because the spirit of Jesus Christ reawakened me to my connection with the divine. With honor and love, I celebrate his birth on earth like a Buddhist would celebrate Buddha's. We share a great meal and have a fun and happy day.

Generosity, peace and love should be for everyday and, of course, birthdays should be to celebrate how wonderful life is. Merry Christmas everyone!


December 19, 2010

Freedom - Real LIfe Calling

My heart goes out to you - your real life it calling - shouting even
i pulled my kid from school - i have to drive 45 minutes to get groceries - i haven't been to a job for 15 years now - i don't eat out - i don't have many friends here - my house is not fancy - my housework is never done - my clothes are never immaculate - i don't travel - money never flows easily


my kid thrives on homeschooling at a level of education that exceptionally high,
he is so happy and productive and feels in charge of his destiny - he teaches me - nature teaches us

my husband and i are a team without pretense - we both do what we do to the best of our abilities - we have time for each other - we plan our dreams everyday - holding hands loving each other fighting to be free each day we are

i am me - no pretense, i love my dirt, my plants, my critters, each day i go from chore to chore with total appreciation that i survive on the earth by my own labor, my own hands and not by the hands of another

don't give up, some things take time to come together, knowing what you want and expressing it - even having a tantrum - gets you closer

you have to give up - you have to give up keeping up with the jones, the dream vacations, the new lipstick, pleasing other people

do these things first, then when the time comes, and it will, you will be completely ready for the transformation

you are building your cocoon now, practice your skills and dream

dreams do come true


December 17, 2010

Salvation - Comfort - Pictures of the Front Garden

These are last pictures of my front garden after the snow.

They are posted here for John who thinks my posts have been too solemn of late.

An attempt at a panoramic view!

Not sad and disheartened by the changing tides
prepared and secure and ready to face any challenge


Extreme Weather - Global Food Shortage - This is no longer a warning!

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.

Extreme weather sparks global commodities rally

Wed, Dec 15 2010

By Jim Regan

SYDNEY/LONDON (Reuters) - Around the globe, the weather has turned extreme, driving up prices for commodities running the gamut from sugar and wheat to heating oil and orange juice.

Australia, for instance, is suffering from both extremes -- with drought in the west and deluges in the east. Heavy snow in Europe and sub-freezing temperatures in the United States are likewise fuelling the weather rally in commodities.

Nicknamed the Land Down Under, Australia typically ranks as second in the league of global sugar exporters after Brazil, but rains have forced its top sugar exporter Queensland Sugar Ltd (QSL) to consider buying raw sugar from its South American rival and from Thailand to keep up with its export commitments to sugar buyers.

Brazil too has felt the effects of harsh weather on its sugar. Dryness has hurt yields and cut the volume of cane its crushers expect to process.

ICE sugar futures eased Wednesday after India said it would allow some 500,000 tonnes of unrestricted exports, but were still hovering near a 30-year high.

Farmers across eastern Australia are assessing the effect of the wettest spring on record. The quality of the waterlogged wheat crop is suffering, and much of what is expected to be a record harvest has been downgraded from high-quality wheat used to make noodles in Asia and flat bread in the Middle East to grain fit for animal feed.

And in the western part of the continent, drought has cut the annual wheat yield by two-thirds.

"Some sellers believe the global supply picture will remain tight in the near future and that the impact of the weather damage to the Australian crop will again become a central issue soon," said a grains trader in Germany.

In China, dry late fall weather may have affected pre-winter development of wheat in some areas.

"This crop will depend on favourable early spring rains to meet current yield prospects," commercial weather forecaster Meteorlogix said.

In Europe, snowfall has helped young wheat plants withstand a spell of freezing weather in the European Union's top two producers, France and Germany, but is contributing to sowing delays that threaten Italy's next crop.

Forecasters are expecting farmers to sow more wheat in the EU for 2011, encouraged by a rally in world prices this year after a severe drought curbed supply from the Black Sea region.

In the United States, ice on key grain shipping waterways has slowed the flow of corn and soybean barges from elevators in the U.S. Midwest to export terminals at the Gulf Coast. The thickening ice may close northern sections of the Illinois River later this week.

U.S. orange juice futures rallied to a 3-1/2 year peak early this week amid fears that frigid weather would damage the orange crop in the top producing state Florida.

And earlier today citrus growers in Florida said their groves got mauled by sub-freezing weather overnight.


U.S. heating oil futures hovered near 26-month highs as bitter cold descended on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast, the world's biggest consumer of the wintertime fuel.

Energy demand peaks annually during the northern hemisphere winter and early winter cold snaps helped push U.S. crude futures to a 26-month high earlier this month.

New snowfalls and frost are expected across Europe from Thursday. French power usage hit an all-time high of 94,200 MW Tuesday as temperatures dipped below zero, forcing households to turn up their heating.

European spot power prices doubled over the past days with Germany's spot day-ahead prices reaching a year-high, exceeding last January which was one of the coldest months on record.

In France, a new power usage peak was expected Wednesday although spare import capacity and a restart of a number of nuclear reactors would help meet demand.

In Britain, where the majority of heaters are fuelled by gas, prices were still not far off the peaks observed during the supply crisis this summer.

The cold spell has also boosted demand for heating fuels on both sides of the Atlantic but plentiful stocks and fuel substitution could prevent price spikes in the European oil products market this winter, analysts said.

"The Germans don't care about the cold -- they bought back in September and don't need to buy again until February or March," said one London-based distillates trader.

In China, some parts of the country could run short of coal, oil, power or gas at times during the next few winter months, China's top economic planning body said in a statement Wednesday.

Australia and Indonesia's coal miners have lost production due to flooded mines, and rain has also hampered transportation.

The La Nina weather anomaly, which is raising concerns over Argentina's corn and soy crops, could hit the South American country again next season and cause even worse damage to yields, a climate specialist said.

(Additional reporting by Inae Riveras in SAO PAULO, Robert Gibbons in NEW YORK, Karl Plume in CHICAGO, Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz in PARIS, Nicolas Misculin in BUENOS AIRES, Rebekah Kebede in PERTH and Manolo Serapio in SINGAPORE; editing by John Picinich)

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December 15, 2010

Solar Eruptions

Global Eruption Rocks the Sun

Dec. 13, 2010: On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big.

It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity.

"The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. "We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before."

For the past three months, Schrijver has been working with fellow Lockheed-Martin solar physicist Alan Title to understand what happened during the "Great Eruption." They had plenty of data: The event was recorded in unprecedented detail by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and twin STEREO spacecraft. With several colleagues present to offer commentary, they outlined their findings at a press conference today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events, they announced. Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections--they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-complex concert of mayhem.

"To predict eruptions we can no longer focus on the magnetic fields of isolated active regions," says Title, "we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun."

This revelation increases the work load for space weather forecasters, but it also increases the potential accuracy of their forecasts.

"The whole-sun approach could lead to breakthroughs in predicting solar activity," commented Rodney Viereck of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO. "This in turn would provide improved forecasts to our customers such as electric power grid operators and commercial airlines, who could take action to protect their systems and ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

In a paper they prepared for the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), Schrijver and Title broke down the Great Eruption into more than a dozen significant shock waves, flares, filament eruptions, and CMEs spanning 180 degrees of solar longitude and 28 hours of time. At first it seemed to be a cacophony of disorder until they plotted the events on a map of the sun's magnetic field.

Title describes the Eureka! moment: "We saw that all the events of substantial coronal activity were connected by a wide-ranging system of separatrices, separators, and quasi-separatrix layers." A "separatrix" is a magnetic fault zone where small changes in surrounding plasma currents can set off big electromagnetic storms.

Researchers have long suspected this kind of magnetic connection was possible. "The notion of 'sympathetic' flares goes back at least three quarters of a century," they wrote in their JGR paper. Sometimes observers would see flares going off one after another--like popcorn--but it was impossible to prove a link between them. Arguments in favor of cause and effect were statistical and often full of doubt.

"For this kind of work, SDO and STEREO are game-changers," says Lika Guhathakurta, NASA's Living with a Star Program Scientist. "Together, the three spacecraft monitor 97% of the sun, allowing researchers to see connections that they could only guess at in the past."

To wit, barely two-thirds of the August event was visible from Earth, yet all of it could be seen by the SDO-STEREO fleet. Moreover, SDO's measurements of the sun's magnetic field revealed direct connections between the various components of the Great Eruption—no statistics required.

Much remains to be done. "We're still sorting out cause and effect," says Schrijver. "Was the event one big chain reaction, in which one eruption triggered another--bang, bang, bang--in sequence? Or did everything go off together as a consequence of some greater change in the sun's global magnetic field?"

Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger; for now, the team is still wrapping their minds around the global character of solar activity. One commentator recalled the old adage of three blind men describing an elephant--one by feeling the trunk, one by holding the tail, and another by sniffing a toenail. Studying the sun one sunspot at a time may be just as limiting.

"Not all eruptions are going to be global," notes Guhathakurta. "But the global character of solar activity can no longer be ignored."

As if the sun wasn't big enough already….

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

December 13, 2010


Hi there - thought I would answer here. Grapes are really a no brainer crop. They need full sun, and little to no fertilizer each season. They do not need to be pruned, although I do cut them back as they are picked. The trick with grapes is finding the right variety for the length of summer you have. There are 9 varieties here and 1 never ripens fully. I am in zone 6. They really do grow and live as easily as trees. My green seedless grapes are called Himrod. I did find this link, but will post more to my blog this winter for you. I take hardwood cuttings in the winter and end up with many, many starts, too bad I can't send them over the border. Peace

Coffee Benefits

Please forgive my forewardness here, but I won't mince words about this with you. The pesticides used on coffee and cocoa plants are deadly to everything. If you do not drink organic coffee you are drinking little more than poison.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate are very, very nutritious foods. The fact that your body desires them, and the caffeine, is a akin to eating protein because that is what your body needs at the time.

Aside, purchase "fairtrade" organic products, knowing your luxury is not produced from slave labor. I have included some links, and while not from medical papers (can't find the proper links now) they confirm what I say.

December 11, 2010

Free Food - Preserving Food - Save Money - Eat Local - Frugal - Medicinal Herbs

Our first year was so lean, with 2 extra mouths to feed, that it was necessary to learn about the wild food available. I would search for them then put them in paper lunch bags and staple it to the wall of our shack to dry. I was amazed over 50 different plants we identified and preserved to the winter. I truly believe that the medicinal properties of these plants and mushrooms help sustain us through the tough winter.

It is not natural to buy nutrition from countries far away.
I bought some cinnamon the other day, it was such a bargain. I threw it out as soon as I got home, compared to my other cinnamon, it was cut without a light coloured substance. I am not a paranoid person, but I wonder if a country can put white poison in baby formula, what is stopping them from slipping it into food destined for unknown privileged tables.

Herbs and seeds dried for spices, are the perfect example of how easy and free preserving food can be. Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, and mint should be grown and dried in every household. They grow like weeds and pound per pound more nutritious than vegetables. Their flavors enhance any recipe. More about this in my book, Life Through the Cracks: A Place to Start

It is my job to save money and I do it at all costs. This time of year money is particularly tight as winter stores of rice, coffee, sugar, flour and the like are purchased. We buy in bulk at wholesale saving 80% of store prices. We also buy a beef and pork from other farmers in the fall. At just over $2 a pound for both steak and hamburger, clean meat is a bargain. Mostly we grow the only vegetables and fruit consumed during the summer for the winter. All our meals our whole foods as fresh as possible, cooked at home.

After 10 years, the farm produces without needing money or bringing money in. Of course one could argue that it is part of my mortgage cost. Money was also used to pay for the infrastructure and upgrades here. Fencing, pens, raised beds, soil, energy efficiency upgrades costs eventually pay for themselves in returned savings.

I could tell you we have 10 mature nut trees, 30 mature fruit trees, 12 mature grape vines, a large raised garden and all the food they provide and you could be all impressed. I wouldn't tell you of the hazelnut orchard with 100s of trees growing wild on the hill (no doubt the work of squirrels), or how easy it is to grow a new grape from a cutting, or how one of the biggest jobs in the orchard is to keep the self-seeded saplings cut down. Packed away is 5 pounds of seed saved for planting. We have vinegar and too much wine. Wild herb and mushrooms fill my apothecary cabinet. This time of year clean lake fish fill the smoker. The wood grows here that heats our home. The cats get the rodents and the dog the predators. There is enough weed seeds and worms to feed enough chickens to keep us in eggs and crispy fried all winter. I haven't bought a chick in 7 years. This year alone more than 30 chicks were born and raised without intervention from me. (No really, free ranged in the yard with the mom I didn't even need to feed or water them.) All this is available every year, with variance but without fail.

We used to raise our own pigs and goats too. It is impossible to do this for only one family. A family will eat a couple of pigs a year. A mother pig can have a dozen piglets 3 times a year! A good goat will present over 2 litres of milk twice a day. Even if one makes cheese it is far more milk than can be used in one kitchen. The goat only has milk after pregnant. To maintain these animals you must keep a male and female. They are herd animals and thrive best if you can keep a little herd. They must be fenced always and monitored to protect them from predators. They must have fresh feed available all year all year and their health maintained daily. You can see where the expense of time and money would make total sustainability prohibitive for a single family. I don't have the time or the money to feed, raise, process and market this many animals.

You can see this patch of nature we've nurtured for years can produce enough for 3 or 4 families. Nature certainly does her part and I do mine by reaping what was sown.
I am shocked to finally realize, without a doubt, what is missing to make this farm self-sufficient is people. If only I had the seed to grow a community, hmmm . . . . .

December 08, 2010

Who am I really?

I am fiercely moving my life through time to satisfy a covenant to create heaven on earth. Caught in the rapture of nature's powerful forces as they dictate what is to be done each day. Each day secret silent blessings, each day secret silent losses, lessons learned and taught, quietly filling me with joy.

I used to pray to have my way. Now I only pray to be shown the way. No thought of what others think, no attachment to how things look, no mandate for the future. Total submission to trust good will prevail and everything is always as it should be is the key.

It has been 20 years now.
With nothing but each other, we left the other world behind us. Not one day without what we needed, not one day without suffering a little, not one day life didn't have meaning.
Everyone could live like this. Nature takes care of us, it is the natural order of things.


Selling Jewellery in the Market - Jewelry too

This post was originally wordless. However, due to the large amount of traffic to this post I will tell me secrets to success in selling jewellery at the market.

Know your market!!

Rich people want to brag about how much they spent on something. They don't like to purchase reduced or "old" stock. If you are selling to these people, use only gold and silver high end merchandise and let them pay full price.

People with little money want to brag about the bargain they found. They like sales. This is my market. I would rather sell many inexpensive things to lots of people rather than a few to the rich.

I keep my prices under $20 with a selection under $10 for the younger people. At this time of year everyone wants to be able to find something nice for someone else that is lovely but not too expensive. My customers appreciate that I am not trying to gouge them, they have told me so.

Older people have lots of jewellery and usually only buy for gifts. Younger people are trying different styles and are excellent repeat customers.

Don't be afraid to have an inexpensive ring, or the like, to pass out as gifts for the younger ones. This little gesture has stimulated many larger sales for me. Blue and pink sell fastest.

Keep your costs as low as possible. I used to buy inventory, now I buy findings to make my own jewellery. It is easy and fun and profitable. Peace

December 07, 2010

Coffee Benefits

Please forgive my forewardness here, but I won't mince words about this with you. The pesticides used on coffee and cocoa plants are deadly to everything. If you do not drink organic coffee you are drinking little more than poison.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate are very, very nutritious foods. The fact that your body desires them, and the caffine, is a akin to eating protein because that is what your body needs at the time.

Aside, purchase "fairtrade" organic products, knowing your luxury is not produced from slave labor. I have included some links, and while not from medical papers (can't find the proper links now) they confirm what I say.