Category: Summer Wonders


Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

Cukes Overboard! Escaping!

You don’t have to go far from the garden to learn lessons about life, plants and people. For instance, Cukes have a mind of their own…being such a watery vegetable, their emotions are quite sensitive. If the environment of their daily life becomes too small and contained, or they have to partner up sharing space with others who have a different temperament (like Italian Frying Peppers), they can only put up with so much.

Cukes have the propensity to wander…and wander far, as well as have a rather secret life. That is, in search of emotional freedom and adventure, they travel by their vines right out of the box and across and around the green, yet sending out their fine tendrils to hold on to something steady and reliable…you know… that means anything in its path, to assure a modicum of security as they wander far…just in case.

Cukes on the move.... vines heading out!

Cukes on the move…. vines heading out!

Their “secret life” manifests in tossing themselves..the cuke itself…right out of the back of the box where they remain hidden from your eyes even though you thought you had spotted and collected every delicious one.

But NOOOoooooo…. out back over the fence behind the box or border, hiding in a mass of tangle of their leaves and vines are the BIG guys. Having “jumped ship” before you could shout…”Ahoy…Cuke overboard!” they live out that secret life of competing for the biggest and best of the group before in a slant of light, quite by accident…you..the Master Gardner…catch a glimpse of them and fight your way through the vines getting all prickled and itchy to round them up to accompany you for dinner.

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

Fighting your way through the viney jungle

…Which of course, they are happy to do. Vegetables know they are here to serve as food, and are happy to fulfill their mission being at table with us.

I often think how necessary it is for creative people to break “out of the box” of traditional culture and our home base as we mature when the familiar and static patterns become too routine, and too small or tight for exploration and self-expression. Sometime to grow into our bigger soul-selves we just do have to jump ship, go over the side into the wilds of life to find out who we are. It serves us well to send out kind tendrils of friendship and connection as we move about, even if we have to hide out back at times to do our creative work inspired by imagination and dreams.

Sometimes we just have to go rogue and become “cuke”.

But after a while, we must remember to come back to the table and share our goodness! Our crispness, moisture and stories…

ps. As writers, how do we know if you liked this if you don’t tell us! Please click *like* if you did, share away, or leave a comment and say hi!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Garden June Sacred Lots of inspiration on my other blogs! Come and visit!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Plantspeak

Anyone who has attended an Herbal Internship knows this exercise of being sent out into the garden or fields to sit with a plant that “calls you” and just listen….. listen for a message about it or from it as an answer to a question. You most likely will NOT experience this kind of communication task at your  local gardening club monthly meeting, or the University course in landscaping and horticulture who are about things other than talking and listening to plants.

You have to hang out with the herbal people who tend to be more than a bit a-cultural or with fans of Findhorn!

Plantspeak 5

We have done this kind of communication with nature often here in my own garden whether it be with other plant people or with our Dreams/Peer Mentoring Circle and no one….NO ONE…ever comes back to the group without a special message or insight. But then again, these are the kind of whimsical, open and yes, magical, people I tend to hang with.

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I mention herbs first because they have such a long tradition of both medicine and magic which both push our boundaries to entertain unusual or unexpected sources of wisdom and guidance. They DO have a propensity for words sent directly to the human heart. But you can listen to flowers and vegetables too…perhaps the devas that represent them are the ones who speak, but if you LISTEN the way children…young ones under the age of six..would listen, you will be amazed.

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It is good to take a notebook and write down the thoughts and inspirations as they come, for like a dream, they may fade as you come back into the mundane and ordinary mindset.

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It is always exciting and amusing to compare notes afterwards as it is quite fun and inspirational to share the magic, validating that there ARE worlds around us and within us besides the one we usually think of as the “real”. Share away and enjoy…but maybe not right away at “the office”.  🙂

Plant speak 7

I find that entering the “magical mind” is a wonderful way to balance those many other complicated issues we deal with in living our lives. Escaping into a good novel, or attending a wonderful play (Think “The Lion King”) or viewing an imaginative movie (Think “Avatar” or “Lord of the Rings”) we really enter various dreamworlds that are rich resources for creative thinking. Listening to the plants is a wonderful exercise of loving connection to that green world that indeed is our ground of being.

Highlighted in these pictures: Echinacea, lamb’s ears, milkweed, arugula, blackberry brambles, sweet pea and much more hidden in the green.

**YOOHOO! How do we writers know if you liked this unless you tell us! Please leave a *like* if you did, share it or leave a comment of your own experience. Would love to hear from you!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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You know, it’s all kind of magical! Check these out too!

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Evolution 1

As I go through old photos, deciding what to keep and what to toss  preparing for an eventual  move from my present sanctuary of over twenty years, I am surprised over and over again at the way I have gardened for many a season.

I found this series of photos of the small vegetable/herb and flower garden I created quite a while back at the side of my house. That was “then”.  Now, many years later, this space is totally hidden by a hedge of brambles and wild rose… a “Secret Garden” perhaps to be re-discovered someday by the next owner.

These photos are memories of the evolution and organized planning of a beautiful “life” and garden within neat and safe boundaries. I am pleased that I have had the opportunity of creating such a planned and organized sanctuary for the sake of art, beauty, healing and refreshment. However, this is a different time of life for me at present…at least for now… and my garden and my life are more un-planned, un-contained, alternative, sometimes un-kempt in areas and certainly wilder in soul/spirit…

So here it its. Memories of the evolution of an orderly garden:

#1. The Beginning Idea

Evolution 1

#2. Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

Boundaries Three

#3. Deciding where to put the rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Deciding where to put a rosebush

Evolution 4

Evolution 3

#4. Rosebush planted! Now on to the flowers/veggies and herbs

evolution planted copy

#5.  Chives and herbs along the sides

Evolution Success

The borders and familiar sanctuary of my life are breaking down at present and so the my garden/my soul of “today” looks quite different than it did up there when life was a little more stable and predictable.

Now my garden is in moveable grow boxes and the back and side yards are left to nature’s plans…un-mowed and seemingly un-kempt…  my Soul and future a personal field and meadow defying predictability, certainty and stability for a while.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

Yarden mow (2)     Yarden mow   back

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wherever it is that I go you can be sure that it will have to be somewhere that, when I step out of an open door, I am in green space ready for the next garden. My Life, My Soul, My Gardens…we evolve together….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Boots on the Ground

 

 

 

 

Please visit my other blogs that have evolved over the years with me..life is never boring.

 

 

 

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Bean Baby
When I was a youngster, I received many a microscope kit for Christmas (by request) as well as girly things like dolls, and teeny bopper things like a transistor radio in pale blue.

I asked for microscope kits because from an early age, I was drawn to the wonders of nature and seeing the mysterious patterns and shapes in the tiniest unfoldings of plants, stones, and insects. I wanted to see them up close and personal, so my “natural science” tools were microscopes and slides, and magnifying glasses of various strengths.

Oh what amazing wonders I have seen up close and personal! Intimacy and deep-seeing have always enchanted and nourished me.

I, in this time of my life, sometimes still have a magnifying glass in the garden, but it is the camera that is my “microscope” today along with the photo editing programs that allow me to zero close into some captivating thing in the middle of a bigger territory, by cropping.

In the past week and up until yesterday, the bean plants in my garden were decorated with little white flowers. And then  *POP!*…. just this morning, there they all-of- a-sudden were…..silently (to my ears) bursting and pushing the flowers outwards…little beanie babies being born from somewhere in the center of that fading bloom.

Bean borning (3)

It’s not that I have nothing else to do in my life except to watch a baby bean be born. I teach piano, cook, prepare a variety of interesting courses on dreams or positive manifestation or inner peace at the University, lead groups, visit with friends and go dancing…naming just a few things. But…over and over again, I am called back out to the garden throughout the day and in my comings and goings, to stop and pay attention to some incredibly important,  awesome and powerful event….like a bean being born, a miniature eggplant crowning out of the green womb, or a calendula bud silently exploding open and orange into the sunlight. It’s very mysterious and very organic, this sprouting something new almost every minute. Ongoing change and transformation out there… something amazing is happening all day and all night long!

I think about my life and some significant challenges I am facing at the moment. Challenges of having to let go of my home and the garden of this series, challenges to maintaining the stability of familiar work and service, yet  transformational opportunities for teaching in new ways, and living inter-dependently rather than independently. Like a beanie baby, pushing out from the flower of familiarity and comfort and becoming something new-ish in the world and my way of moving through it.

The pfesity and prophetic priest, Matthew Fox once wrote somewhere in his book “Original Blessing” (and paraphrased here) that if all “holy books” were put on a shelf for a number of years and we went out to read nature instead, we would learn everything we need to know about living a wise and good life. A “Whole-y” life, I call it.

Beanie Babies Borning is my message and lesson for today. Got it!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie  Some of the other things I spend my time on when not watching baby beans grow.  Please visit!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Kale with water droplet-look!

Kale with water droplet-look!

Yesterday morning when I went out to the garden very early, the whole front yard and plants were awash in brilliant blinding light. Everything shimmered with moisture and dew that was rapidly evaporating in the heat.

The morning light was behind the plants as the sun was coming up and everything was back-lit with halos and transparencies, not the best conditions for taking a picture.

Blinding Light

However, close up to each plant, there was light behind them and a radiance around their edges that revealed things not readily seen in other more mundane situations. Once again, I was grateful for this time in my life that allows a mindful presence before my day starts, grounding me in mystery with the opportunity for deep-seeing and new in-sights.

We live in a culture of speed touted as a virtue, and distraction, a tool for programmed consumerism…both of which are Soul-thiefs. We miss so much that is grounding and heavenly combined as we run (or are chased) through our lives pursuing a dream of what is supposedly important.. imposed by popular culture, not revealed by Presence to the miracles and messages all around us and within us.

Stepping out into the world, early morning, shocked into stillness by radiance..(it is said that to look upon the face of God or Angels is a blinding experience). Even squinting, Illumination can come out of awe and prayer. All of which can change our lives.

This was it. Were there Angels in my garden?

And…. can you find the water droplet in the kale leaf (?) not noticed until magnification and deep seeing.

There is ALWAYS more than initially meets the eye…….

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Light  My other blogs are full of illumination for body and spirit too!

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http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

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The first baby eggplant!

The first baby eggplant!

Those of us who are gardeners…especially of vegetables…get REAL excited at the rapid day-by-day emergence of something we will eventually eat! I am a grandmother, and I am astounded at the SPEED of the life cycle of my vegetable plants…. they grow up faster than my grandchildren, who are inches taller every time I visit! And so are my green garden beings who I tend each morning and evening…

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

I have so many pictures of my children and THEIR children (my grandchildren) from over the years, cherishing each phase of their lives from teeny newborn to …well… stem, leaf, flowers and fruits of their unfolding or yet-to -unfold lives. As they all live farther away from where I do, I think I have transferred my need for intimate familial relating and caretaking to my greening garden plant-children, delighting in and photographing every new stage of their becoming too.

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C'mon you can DO it!

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C’mon you can DO it!

Cheering my little grandsons on the soccer field and my granddaughter for her amazing artistic skill, and clapping at the discovery of the first cucumber hidden under their leafy vines seem to come from the same place of love and delight.

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Oh you are such an adorable little cuke!

Some things grow faster and more directly from seed than others for instant gratification.. abundant, lush and up-front it is what it is even from an early age without the metamorphosis of one stage into another. Thank you, for the immediate and direct gift of nourishment while we wait for the unfolding of others. Sometimes we just need that nourishment without the “wait…”

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let's eat!  (Kale chips?  Sauteed Kale with olive oil,  garlic and onions?

Oh you are so gorgeous! Let’s eat! (Kale chips? Sauteed Kale with olive oil, garlic and onions?

All you at-home gardening kin out there…you are smiling with me, aren’t you? (listen to yourself the next time you go out to check your plants. I bet you talk out-loud to them…..  )

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

The Garden Guys (Grandsons planting stuff)

If you liked this, please visit my other blogs for happiness and inspiration!

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TeaselHead 2015

It’s not just one garden ie the one I planned. There is another kind of garden around me…the one that comes of its own accord, the Wilds Garden, perhaps seeded by the Faeries who take delight in surprising us or bringing us and the land things we didn’t know we needed.

My Wilds Garden has plants that are not usually found in polite garden centers for “landscaping” and  perfectly weedless lawns. They ARE weeds, but weeds who bring special healing for body and for spirit. Weeds like poke, St. Johnswort, milkweed, blackberry brambles, mugwort, plantain and today’s subject…TEASEL.

This year, quite out of nowhere and suddenly, the Teasel Twins appeared on my lawn near the side un-mowed meadow.

Teasel Twins

Tall and stringy, they have been growing into maturity day by day, but not softening one bit in their sharp and spiny personalities, looking like some fierce ancient dragon plant. And in truth, their prickly “dragon” power may be wondrous medicine for some really challenging medical conditions. For me, I believe they appeared as Guardian Spirit Plants since I had been very concerned about ticks hindering my peace of mind in the garden having had Lyme Disease twice over the years. I had been fretting about that as I decided to once again grow and tend vegetables, herbs and flowers after three years of not being able to do so.

In colonial pre-technological days, teasel earned its common name as the prickly flower heads that were used to “tease” the nap up in cotton fabric. This commercial use was, in its time, useful although labor intensive. But teasel has a more healing mission most recently as an emergent protocol for several “modern” diseases afflicting thousands: Lyme Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue. arthritis, and lupus. Two renowned herbalists whom I have had the opportunity to learn from at the Inernational Herbal Symposiums, Matthew Wood and Stephen Harrod Buhner, work experimentally and successfully with feisty Teasel in the management and healing of these often debilitating diseases.

For more helpful and inspiring information on this green ally that is making inroads in treatment for these contemporary illnesses, check out Matthew Woods’ excellent  book “The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine”  which has a long in-depth section on Teasel and Lyme Disease.

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For a wonderful all-round herbal guide check out also a delightful book that I found at the bargain table at Barnes and Noble but is a true gem: “Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies” by  accomplished herbalists.Julie and Mathew Seal. It also has some very important information and instruction on the growing and preparation of Teasel and all manner of herbs for healing purposes.

SAM_0039

The pictures here show Teasel in its “green” and growing phase. But there is a BIG surprise coming as the prickly heads enlarge and mature…and for that…another post on Teasel will soon follow.

Truly, I am mesmerized by and LOVE this plant, this weed. It is the prickly part of my Soul that needs to soothe, heal  or cast out the “demons” that can cause me pain in self-doubt and fear, or the ache-iness of longing and memories that need to be released in order to move on to new beginnings.

Thank you, Faeries, who sneaked in overnight and brought the Teasel Twins to my Garden, my Soul this year.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Garen Lush July 5, 2015   Also!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

The power of words, sensuous cooking and eating, and music/the arts in the blogs above contribute to a Greening Spirit life!

 

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*** Photo: Lemon Balm Tea, steeping, fresh from the garden

As every herbalist knows, once we start growing herbs, harvesting or drying them and making tinctures, teas, vinegars and all manner of preparations, we start collecting glass containers to keep them in and especially so we can SEE them.

What that leads to are closets compulsively filled will bottles of different shapes and sizes, saving interesting jars that originally  contained pickles, jams, mustards, condiments, or liquids like wine and spirits.  We cannot…CANNOT…. resist a pretty bottle or jar…!

Glass Garden

We also cannot resist the magic of the herbs either and so hopefully we are engaged in the making of lovely herbal delights for healing, culinary temptations or gifts for bath and beauty. Thus…. A Garden in Glass!

Glass Garden 3

*** Picture: Dark Moon Tea/Dreamers Tea (recipe at the end of essay)

The garden is not producing veggies yet, but the greening herbal leaves are abundant and ready for preparations like flavored vinegars. One of my daughters just asked for a family favorite which I have not made in recent years… my Italian Lovage vinegar in a light red wine vinegar (like Pastene), also adding fresh parsley, basil, a few..just a few!..hot pepper flakes and a smashed garlic clove. LOVAGE is a strong herb…I describe it as a kind of cross between parsley and a medieval celery.  This first tiny batch will start us off and more will be steeping as summer progresses. These smaller glass jars originally held Major Grey’s Chutney.

Glass Garden 5

Summer goes by so fast, as does life, which we do begin to realize when our children go through major passages like graduating college, getting married, becoming parents themselves while we become grandparents. Capturing the essence of the greening seasons of the garden and  those in our lives seem to be a desire to hold on to the experience or the memories through tasting, savoring…sometimes in photographs, sometimes in food…and sometimes in glass bottles to remind us of the seasons of life and love. Our Gardens in Glass …a little bit of magic…!

 

***Recipe:  Dark Moon/Dreamers Tea

A blend of dried mugwort, rose petals and perhaps a little spearmint or lavender… To your liking.  A teaspoon per cup, steeped for about 10 minutes, strained with honey for a social tea with friends. Stronger…a longer steeping time (an hour), 2-3 teaspoons per cup to drink before bed to stimulate and remember dreams…. (make sure to write those dreams down in the morning!)

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Christine 3My other blogs:

Do you love music? http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Do you love delicious fresh food? http://sensuous soupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Do you hope for positive life experiences? http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

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(Drying Lemon Balm for Tea on the Piano Bench)

*** Gardening sounds like an outside thing and it is….but harvesting eventually ends up indoors, for cooking and eating, and also for drying if you have herbs. The bounty of the herbs goes beyond fresh tea (no you don’t have to dry the herbs first to make tea). There is enough in a season’s harvest to dry for use in the winter.

Rugosa 10

(Drying Rugosa Rose Petals for Tea)

*** My home is very small, and I work at home mainly in the open living room-kitchen space. My piano is here in full view and my kitchen table is often “my office”. Everything I do is on display at all times and my life, work and creative projects are sharing the space with the projects and people who come and go here.

IMG_9632

         (Drying Lemon Verbena for Tea/ Hydrangea Leave for Bookmarks)

*** Drying the herbs on the piano or coffee table, or pinned to the kitchen wall is what happens here along with paying bills, cooking, writing all manner of things, creating art, hosting peer mentoring circles and giving music lessons.

*** My house seems to amuse my guests and students, wandering on the front lawn in and around the grow boxes of vegetables and clay pots of plants before entering the house, and then coming inside to see leaves and flowers on display, drying, on pieces of furniture and all available flat surfaces.

IMG_9638

(Drying Parsley and Lovage for Vinegars)

*** One summer when  all manner of herbs were hanging from a beam in the living room, a new piano student…a well-known physician…came in for his first lesson. He looked up, standing under hanging bunches of drying herbs and said…”Hmmmmnnnnn…….”.  I was thinking,  he being a doctor, that he might judge that as old world stuff.  Suddenly in the middle our first piano lesson he asked…”Do you believe in magic?”,  thus initiating the first of many lively exchanges about alternative medicine, art and music in our time together… A fine doctor, he eventually became an acupuncturist as well, and supported my investigations into Teasel as a remedy used by indigenous peoples for Lyme disease. I am pleased that my piano “studio” was a safe place to discuss alternative medicine with a mainstream medical doctor!

hydrangea

Whether outside or inside, I love sharing space with the herbs, vegetable and flowers. After all, that is the mission of a Greening Spirit!  Veriditas!

From Christine….

Christine 3

please visit my other blogs too!

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Brambles (2)

Well, in Part 3  (Order and Chaos) of this series, I revealed  to all the wild un-mowed backyard which has now been christened “The Meadow”.  All of my attention this year has been out front growing vegetables in boxes in full view of anyone passing by and the picture of that mower in the tall grass is it only on its way back to the shed after the front lawn has been spruced up.

Yarden mow (2)

The back has been untended for three years for several good reasons and for sure I have felt a bit guilty about it each year. But just a bit, because in fact, each time I go out there, I am captivated by the spirit of the wild, the untamed, the unplanned. There are TREASURES in that meadow…. varieties of ferns under which faeries hide, teasing waving grasses that keep the black kitty who wanders through the green in hunting mode early morning and at dusk, and for sure, herbs for healing that appear on their own without any assist from me.

Ferns

Treasures for sure!  My herbalist colleagues know these to be just that although  those who are into perfect presentations of turf and balanced landscsaping ie immaculate carpets of green untainted by…argghhh! A WEED! …. would be “tsk tsking” at my supposed irresponsibility.

Not so.

Burdock! – burrs and healing seeds in the making. The root, if I were to dig it up, which I am not planning to do, is powerful cleansing and nutritive medicine.

Burdock closeup

Mugwort- The herb of dreamers, visionaries, opening the third-eye of deep-see-ers and wise-women. A smudging herb and the herb used as moxa in acupuncture. It is also an herb for regulating the menstrual cycles of young women.

Mugwort

Lemon Balm- According to Hildegard of Bingen ( ) “it maketh one merry” and indeed its delicate lemon scent and flavor tempers sadness and stress in the moment,  especially sweetened with a little honey. A delightful happy herb, it is nonetheless considered one of the premier nervine herbs to calm distressed spirits. My large patch of meadow lemon balm grows amidst a stand of ferns whose interesting shapes amuse the eye.

Lemon Balm

The Brambles: where the blackberries grow all tangled up with milkweed, mugwort, and in some places, treasured nettles. Invasive but colorful bittersweet grows in there too, and thank goodness for some friends who are compulsively compelled to rip it out on sight while passing through the yard. At the moment, the berries are still red, but I watch them turn darker each day in the competetive game of one-upmanship with the birds who will try to get to them first before I do.

Brambles (2)

ELDER- Oh what a precious and magical shrub… every part of the plant having a use, especially the flower (used in gypsy cold care tea) and the berry (used in elderberry syrup as medicine for the flu).  The elder was the magical herb that played a prominent role in the movie, ” Sorceress”  about a medieval herbalist, her craft and the danger it put her in. 

Elder

When I was a little girl, I was enchanted by fairy tales and faeries and I always knew that the best place to find them would be in the meadow, hedgerows or fields. I am in love with the vegetables and flowers and the magic of their unfolding  in my orderly garden but where the wildness Nature has the upper hand is the best magic of all.

I will add a less poetic paragraph here that is a reality where I live, needing precautions for safe foraging and gathering in the meadow here and in the real wilds. Ticks and their four or five tick-borne diseases are endemic where I live in New England, so although lovely dream-like pictures of young women in white flowy gossamer dresses dancing through the fields are on-line,that is NOT what I look like when out there. Covered up with socks, boots, and layers of long-sleeved denim…all sprayed with permethrin has become an un-fun and certainly un-glamorous necessary costume for avoiding the ticks and the very serious diseases they carry. Clinging to tall grasses, or nesting under dried leaves and shrubbery, they love hitching a ride on YOU, to bury underneath your skin and transfer their nastiness.

Yarden mow   back

But still, go forth in the proper way, to discover the Treasures of the Meadow forgotten or unknown in today’s techno society. The real magic is out there.

(all pictures credit: Christine Phoenix-Green)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

My other blogs have magic as well!

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

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