Tuesday, August 28, 2007

At What Cost? Frugal Living Is Its Own Reward

A few days ago there was a discussion on Wise Bread about whether frugal living was a goal or a tactic. The conclusion was, it is both. I primarily see frugality as a facet and fundamental part of a simple, freer lifestyle. As a result, consumerism is no longer the ideal. Frugal living is its own reward. Frugality is very freeing and fulfilling. I feel I have gained everything worthwhile and lost nothing of true value. It helps to create balance, it allows one to learn what is of true value and it lowers ones environmental impact among other things. These are all results which for me contribute to a more authentic, satisfying and spiritual life experience.

However, I still have friends who cannot quite grasp my choosing to live this simple and frugal lifestyle. The other day a friend suggested I could probably get a job as a cook at a nearby restaurant, without a clue to how incongruous her suggestion was. So, like an idiot I smiled and said, “Yes, I probably could” for lack of a better or thought out response.

Yes, I probably could get that job…or another, but at what cost? Let’s say I worked thirty hours a week. After the cost of taxes and gas alone I might bring home $90 a week, likely less because I’m estimating low. Then deduct the physical toll, the imbalance it would create, the loss of time in which I now garden, can and cook from scratch. I would be right back where I started from; too wiped out to care or have the time and energy to do what I do now. Our cost of living would certainly increase due to the above reasons. Been there, done that so I know what my limits are and what my current efforts are worth. I require balance and the ability to accomplish at my own pace. I have yet to work a job that allowed me that and I’ve worked long enough to know.

My friend doesn’t understand that going back into the workforce would destroy the life I have attained. Sure, a few extra dollars would be more than welcome in my pocket, but like I said, at what cost? No thanks, at least not right now. I value the life I have, the peace I have, the creativity of living life as I do. My life is pretty darn perfect for me. I can step outside and sit under the shade tree and feel so very blessed by my surroundings; the garden of good things we’ve worked hard to produce, the ducks waddling by as they search for bugs in the grass, the flowers we’ve planted in their vast array of color and truly, truly know this is the life I desire. I look around and I look within and feel my life is exactly how I wish it to be and know without a doubt I am not willing to sacrifice the peace and contentment I live in.

Being frugal is challenging at times but it allows such creativity. I thoroughly enjoy making something out of nothing…always have. Whether it be gardening, decorating our home, cooking or crafting, creativity is essential to my well being as is balance and freedom. Being frugal is a necessary choice and facet to our lifestyle that allows me to live a life free from the daily grind of employee obligation that depletes me. Yes, frugal living is its own reward.

Gunpoint Medicine

Remember the old song, 'Rubber Tree Plant'? Well, keep that tune in mind and sing along with me..."oops there goes another freedom to choose, oops there goes another personal right, oops there goes another brick in the wall" ....oops that's Pink Floyd.

It appears medical tyranny is afoot here in the good old USA and once again Mike Adams brings it to the publics attention. Read on...


Health officials in Lawrenceville, Georgia have arrested and jailed Francisco Santos, a teenager who tried to walk out of a hospital and go home after being diagnosed with TB (tuberculosis). Instead of allowing him to leave the hospital, health authorities arrested and jailed the teen, throwing him in into a 15 x 20 foot isolation chamber and not allowing him to leave until he submitted to chemical treatments pushed by doctors at the hospital. Francisco is being described as "...a threat to public safety" due to his tuberculosis.



Francisco's plight is the latest episode in a growing number of "gunpoint medicine" episodes where individuals are being arrested at gunpoint and thrown into jails or detainment centers until they submit to treatment with pharmaceuticals, chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. NewsTarget has covered other cases of gunpoint medicine, including:



Katie Wernecke, a teenage cancer patient who was kidnapped by Texas authorities and forced to submit to chemotherapy. Her parents were arrested and subjected to actions by Child Protective Services, who took Katie away. This all happened because Katie's parents refused to subject their daughter to chemotherapy and wanted to pursue safer, more natural holistic medical therapies.



Abraham Cherrix, a 16-year old cancer patient who also refused a second round of chemotherapy after the first round nearly killed him. His doctor was outraged that Abraham would refuse chemotherapy and called Child Protective Services who had Abraham's parents arrested at gunpoint. CPS then took over joint custody of the child and attempted to force the teen to submit to barbaric cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.



In this latest example of Gunpoint Medicine, 17-year old Francisco Santos is now being held against his will and will apparently be incarcerated for as long as doctors believe he is a threat to the safety of others. He's also being told he cannot leave until he takes medication.




Patients, or Prisoners?

As these cases of Gunpoint Medicine clearly demonstrate, you now surrender your rights when you walk into a hospital. You are not a patient; you are a prisoner. And if the medical authorities, in their own opinion, perceive you as resisting their authority, they can have you arrested on the spot, without a court order, without a trial, and even when you pose no threat to others (such as having cancer). These medical arrests are taking place in clear violation of both the Fourth Amendment (protection from unreasonable search and seizure) and Fifth Amendment (due process) of the U.S. Bill of Rights.




Just as worrisome, law enforcement authorities are supporting these tyrannical actions of doctors, effectively providing firepower to what can only be called the "tyranny branch" of modern medicine. Any system of medicine that requires firearms to motivate patients is, in my opinion, more a system of control than a system of healing. Whatever happened to, "First, do no harm?"




Remember this the next time you enter a hospital or clinic: By subjecting yourself to the false authority of a doctor, you are in effect surrendering your freedoms and shall only be allowed to leave the hospital or clinic by the grace of the physician! If they decide that, for whatever reason, you should not be allowed to leave the hospital, you may be arrested at gunpoint and thrown into jail for an indefinite period of time until you agree to undergo their toxic -- even deadly -- treatments.



But isn't Santos contagious?

Skeptics of this assessment will point out that Santos has a contagious form of TB and is a genuine threat to society. Therefore, the thinking goes, medical authorities are justified in locking him up against his will, without a trial or court order.




That's a fascinating bit of delusional thinking. If you believe that, then you must also believe that health authorities should round up all AIDS patients and throw them into detention camps "for the safety of the public." After all, if you believe that TB is a disease that's dangerous enough to lock people away for having, then why not AIDS? Why not HPV, Hepatitis, or any upper respiratory illness that might pose a health hazard to some senior citizen? Once you cross the line of arresting people against their will for showing symptoms of one particular contagious disease, then you have to follow through and arrest everyone with similarly dangerous diseases.




Of course, if that happened, half the country would be behind bars, because the truth is that there are people everywhere who carry infectious germs. Simply walking through any airport exposes you to countless strains of bacteria, fungi and viruses that might pose a risk to your health.




And how about all the dangerous elderly drivers doped up on medication? I've seen some crazy Alzheimer's patients operating vehicles who should never be allowed to drive and are a clear threat to the safety of other drivers. Why aren't these people being locked up for the safety of the public? (I'm not saying they should be, but if you're going to be consistent here, locking up TB patients means locking up all kinds of other people...)




The gunpoint approach that has been invoked to imprison Santos is a demonstration of modern medical madness. The mainstream media has stirred the people into a frenzy over freewheeling lawyer Andrew Speaker and his TB infection, and now health authorities are so paranoid about being blamed for allowing a TB patient to walk free that they would rather trample on Santos' rights than expose themselves to professional risk. Apparently, the only requirement for locking someone up who shows symptoms of an infectious disease is that the particular disease has received a lot of mention in the press and the public is now scared silly over it.




Can you imagine the outcry if medical authorities started locking up AIDS patients? Don't dismiss this idea: It could be next. Any tyrannical health system that can stick a gun in the face of a teenage boy with TB and throw him in prison is perfectly capable of sticking a gun in the face of an AIDS patient and locking them away, too. Today it's TB, tomorrow it could be HIV. (Just wait for the "AIDS camps" to become official U.S. policy...)




Enjoy your freedom? Don't visit doctors




All this explains why I continue to encourage people to avoid doctors altogether. It's much better to take care of your health through exercise, strong nutritional habits, superfoods consumption and outright avoidance of toxic chemicals. Stay healthy and you won't need to see a doctor... ever! (I've known many people who have never seen a doctor in their entire lives, and yet are extremely healthy and long-lived.) I don't visit doctors, and I foresee no need to ever visit one unless I suffer some sort of accident or acute injury.




If you value your freedom, stay as far away from conventional doctors as possible. As you've seen here, they can have you locked up at their discretion, even without a shred of evidence that you're really dangerous to others.



Tuberculosis myths

This "highly infectious form of TB," for example, is largely a medical myth. Allow me to explain: The virus certainly does exist, and it can be passed through the air, but the most important point that still escapes the understanding of conventional medical authorities is that vitamin D prevents TB infections. The only people susceptible to TB infectious are those who are chronically deficient in vitamin D! That includes people who don't get enough sunlight (or who have been brainwashed into using sunscreen all the time) and who eat atrocious diets lacking in vitamin D sources like fish oils. The problem with TB is not simply the person walking around with the virus, it's the people who are in such poor nutritional health that they're practically begging to be infected by something.




This is why TB is now an epidemic in the UK, by the way: There's very little sunlight at that latitude, and more than 80 percent of UK citizens are vitamin D deficient. (It also explains the ongoing problems with dental health and bone fractures in the UK, but that's a different story...)



An incredible double standard

What's all this about doctors pretending to "protect the public" anyway? They claim to be locking up Santos in order to protect the health of the public, and yet they'll send patients home by the thousands with prescriptions for toxic pharmaceuticals that harm everyone! FDA-approved prescription drugs are now the 4th leading cause of death in the United States (tuberculosis isn't even close). I suppose if we were to really take steps to protect the general public, we should actually be locking up the drug-pushing doctors! They are right now killing far more patients than any infectious disease.




Think about it: Oncologists openly push dangerous chemotherapy drugs that cause permanent damage to the brain, heart, liver and kidneys, even while insisting that patients take no vitamins, superfoods or nutritional supplements to protect their healthy cells during the chemo treatments. General Practitioners send patients home with prescriptions for dangerous COX-2 inhibitor drugs, diabetes drugs, statin drugs and psychotropic drugs that kill, at minimum, tens of thousands of Americans every year through heart attacks, strokes, liver failure and suicides. Where is the call to protect the public from these dangerous chemicals that are causing casualty numbers resembling a world war?




Where is the effort to protect the public from all the dangerous cancer-causing food additives like sodium nitrite? Hydrogenated oils? Chemical preservatives and sweeteners? With the American population more diseased than ever before in the history of human civilization, and drug companies inundating the people with deadly chemicals, I find it astounding that health authorities would see one teenager with TB as such a huge threat that they have to arrest him at gunpoint. Doesn't this seem a bit strange to you?




If guns are to be drawn at all, they should be drawn during the arrest of corrupt FDA officials, evil Big Pharma operatives and unethical food company CEOs who are knowingly killing hundreds of thousands of Americans each year with their highly-profitable chemicals, additives and medicines. Francisco Santos is not a threat to your health, but modern medicine certainly is! And the FDA is without question a threat to your health and safety. In previous stories on this site, I've documented how the FDA is far more dangerous to Americans than any terrorist threat.



Take your meds or go to jail!

Our nation's health authorities have gone mad. They're all focused on the wrong things, and they've managed to get the public frenzied up about all the wrong things, too. They've got people scared silly about antioxidants, believing that vitamins will kill them (but that pharmaceuticals will save them!).




They've also managed to get people to believe that infectious diseases are caused SOLELY by the presence of the virus -- an idea that's utter nonsense. A virus is only a threat when the body is suppressed enough to be susceptible to infection. The real cause of an infection is just as much a weakened immune system as it is the presence of the virus, yet conventional medicine focuses solely on the presence of the virus and dismisses the role of the immune system in preventing infection.




I say we should Free Santos! He is no more of a threat to public health than your typical doctor, and no patient should be imprisoned by hospital authorities simply for having an infection of a disease that doesn't even pose a threat to healthy individuals.




The alternative is to turn the U.S. into a medical police state, where anybody with a cough is arrested at gunpoint, and AIDS patients are thrown into detainment camps, and anybody who refuses "treatment" with synthetic chemicals gets thrown into jail. Imagine being arrested for not taking your statin drugs, antidepressants or blood thinners. Big Pharma is trying to create a society where "treatment" with drugs is mandatory, and anyone who refuses to take their chemicals will be considered a criminal. Parents are already being arrested for not subjecting their children to chemotherapy or giving in to ADHD drugs. If this trend continues, it won't be long before anyone who rejects vaccinations, drugs and psychiatric medications will be considered a criminal (or terrorist). Parents, be warned: The State is out to medicate your child, and if you resist, you may have your children taken away!




In a nation where so many people claim we're sending soldiers off to war in order to "fight for our freedoms," I find it astounding that patients in hospitals are being treated like Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Personally, I think Santos should sue the hospital and local law enforcement authorities for violating his civil liberties. What, exactly, is his crime anyway? If being sick is a crime, then practically this entire nation should be locked up, because we're the most diseased population in the modern world.



Update:

The mainstream media is reporting today that Santos has finally agreed to start taking synthetic chemical medications while sitting in jail. Gee, what a choice, huh? "Here, take these medications or rot in your jail cell." That's the choice Santos has been given. What an incredible system of medicine we live under today, huh? It treats healers like criminals and patients like terrorists…




###

About the author: Mike Adams is a holistic nutritionist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He has authored more than 1,500 articles and dozens of reports, guides and interviews on natural health topics, impacting the lives of millions of readers around the world who are experiencing phenomenal health benefits from reading his articles. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2007, Adams launched EcoLEDs, a maker of super bright LED light bulbs that are 1000% more energy efficient than incandescent lights. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also the founder of a well known HTML email software company whose 'Email Marketing Director' software currently runs the NewsTarget subscription database. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and enjoys outdoor activities, nature photography, Pilates and adult gymnastics.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm just a canning fool! :)

The past week has been an extremely busy one as August comes to an end. I actually find myself looking forward to fall and the coming colder seasons as usual, knowing they’ll bring a quieting and slowing of the pace.

Coop remains busy helping get the neighboring house ready for its part year residents and keeping up with the yard work. We’ve been so busy that our poor garden has become somewhat neglected other than when we do the necessary picking. The immense amount of rain and horn worms have done a nasty job on the tomatoes and it looks like there will be little continued production from them. I still have a separate row of the Italian plum tomatoes on the other end of the garden that are coming on and seem to be strong so we hope to save them, allowing me to preserve what I can for the winter months ahead. Thankfully I have a good amount canned already aside from what’s been turned into salsa and sauces.

Like my sister told me the other day, I am a canning fool. Friday ended with seventeen pints of homemade salsa having been canned. The basket full of Jalapenos picked yesterday morning have just been pickled and canned (12 pints!) and at least a half bushel of tomatoes are simmering into spaghetti sauce on the stove, soon to be canned. Since the tomatoes are about finished producing I will try to salvage as many of the green ones as possible. Perhaps some pickles or relish will result, but we certainly will eat a few fresh fried green tomatoes, too.

I picked my first several Butternut squash yesterday morning, also. They are beautiful! It looks like we’ll have plenty to store over the winter, plus I’ll freeze some cooked squash, give some away and of course we’ll enjoy some fresh. Coop pulled the plants while picking the last of the green beans, which I thought were finished awhile ago. But these Blue Lake beans continue to produce all summer. We’ll definitely plant these again next year! As I write I still have about 6 pounds of beans to contend with as well as about a peck and a half of tomatoes leftover to do something with. Maybe tomato relish?

Shadow is quickly becoming a good watchdog, letting me know when someone is approaching the house. He is gradually adapting to affection, getting spoiled rotten with treats in the process. Positive reinforcement, ya know? He’s such a good old boy and I am thankful for the way things worked out. Now on occasion he will allow us to rub his neck and back and let me take his face in my hands and get face to face and wooler him around the neck. But that’s only when he is in the mood. He has also taken to wanting to lie in the center of my zinnia bed…not so cute. He likes most everyone but is my boy in particular. If I go outside to sit at the picnic table or on the patio he always comes to sit with me.

Well, it’s back to my spaghetti sauce, which by the way is smelling oh so good. Once I have that canned it’s off to the car shop to drop off my little van for repairs. I have a brake line leaking and that’s not good!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Slowing Down

I have a friend who shakes her head at my way of doing things. When I mentioned hulling enough elderberries for three pies she told me the best way to do that was to use a fork to strip the berries from the stem. In this way the work goes quicker and your fingers don’t get stained. Personally I prefer the hands on method, no fork involved. It’s a job I enjoy doing, taking each cluster of berries and starting from the top, separating the stems and plucking and rolling the tiny fruit off with my finger. I guess it’s somewhat of a sensory experience for me.

I feel the same way about hulling elderberries as I do about snapping green beans or peeling and slicing potatoes. I have a vegetable peeler and a food processor. But there is something about taking your time and holding a potato and carefully peeling it with your favorite paring knife, then slicing it by hand into a skillet or pan. I often prefer to do things the slow way much of the time. Whether it be preparing food by hand rather than machine, washing dishes rather than loading a dishwasher (which I don’t even own) or hanging the clothed outdoors on the line as opposed to tossing them in the drier. In this way “work” becomes pleasure, often a meditation, giving one pause to consider the many facets of the act or the item itself or perhaps to let the mind drift where it will.

One can find much satisfaction, even pleasure in slowing down. When one proceeds in this way, the simple act of preparing a meal or doing the laundry becomes somewhat reverent. My friend questions my desire to can my garden produce rather than packing it up and freezing it all. My reasons are practical and I suppose one could say philosophical, also. A person does a thing in a way that matters to them. I preserve food because it is practical; it keeps longer than frozen food and will not spoil due to a power outage. But, I also preserve because it’s a tradition I choose to carry on, one that gives me a great sense of accomplishment. There is true pleasure in seeing the finished product, the rows of sparkling glass jars filled with relishes, tomatoes, pickles and more. They are beautiful and filled with promise of sustenance and enjoyments in the months ahead when the cold winter sets in. Perhaps they will fill gift baskets during the holiday season or be a special gift for a friend. You just can’t see all those facets in a frozen zip lock bag.

Maybe it takes a little longer or even a lot longer to dice the peppers by hand or make the spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes or can the vegetables rather than freeze them, but in each preparation there is the energy of hands and heart. These efforts are spiritual acts, creations imbued with the energy of pleasure and love, resulting in something I believe to be of far more value in far more ways than a can of commercially produced food.

So maybe it takes me longer purposefully to do certain things, but in the end I think the value of time is a result of how satisfied we are with what we do with it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

considering the high cost & demand of coal

After all the coal mine fatalities in the U.S. and China in the past several weeks, it gives me pause. Last year there were twice as many miner deaths (47) in the U.S. than in the year prior, bringing the death toll of U.S. miners to a ten year high. In China the death rate for miners is staggering. Last year nearly 5,000 coal miners died in work related accidents. I guess we shouldn’t be terribly surprised at these tragedies considering the high demand for electric power. It’s likely and probable that safety measures take a backseat to production.

Since my rural electric is powered by coal I cannot help but think about these tragedies and consider the high cost involved when I turn on a light or a fan or any electrical item. Someone is out there, working, perhaps miles underground, risking their safety to do a job I certainly wouldn’t want to do just so I can keep cool, listen to music, watch tv, cook dinner, enjoy a hot shower…All in all this makes me realize just how much I have taken these things and the people whose work provides these services, for granted.

So, even though I already practice ways to decrease my need for and my cost of electric power, I now consider the other costs involved and find it easier to turn those unnecessary lights out or unplug those appliances not in use. Perhaps my awareness doesn’t make a difference or an impact in the long run, but I can feel a little more peaceful by lessening my demand while hoping to one day go solar.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August Abundance

Here at my house August means there’s seldom a spare moment. With veggies at their peak ripeness, if I’m not in the garden I’m in the kitchen. I have managed to put up 19 pints of pepper relish, 7 pints of sweet zucchini relish, 16 pints of hot sauce and 17 quarts of tomatoes in the past two weeks. We are eating well out of the garden so the grocery bill should be down this month! Talk about eating local! And what we don’t have in our garden we get from our nearby Amish friends Fanny and Sam.

I’ve had more energy lately and can’t help but think it’s because I’m eating so many highly nutritional fresh vegetables. Below is a photo of the basket of tomatoes I picked the other morning as well as the sweet relish I canned.

Speaking of Fanny, as we were heading to town the other day, she was pulling onto our road in her buggy on her way to our house. We told her to go on to the house and we turned around. In the back of the buggy was a box full of elderberries. Bless her heart for remembering that last year I had mentioned I would love to find some elderberries! I asked what she wanted for them and she said, “I was thinking $2.00”. What a bargain! After hulling them I had enough for two large pies and a full quart to freeze. What a treat! I thanked her profusely. It has been years since I had elderberry pie. Below, the box of berries, the pie filling steaming on the stove and the final product. (In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m really enjoying taking photos of food, lol!)

August is speeding along and on some nights one can feel fall in the air. Shadow has adjusted well to being here. In fact, he is so happy to be free from being confined to a chain that he trots beside me, at times wagging his tale and even getting a little frisky. He’s such a gentle soul. I tell him often how much I love him and what a good fellow he is. He’s even taken to becoming a little bit of a watch dog, especially when I am home alone. He is just the perfect dog for us, accompanying us around the property, waiting at the gardens edge while I pick veggies and by my side when I take a walk down the road. He is more inclined toward trusting women but fairly sociable with all, greeting everyone who comes by. I hope he lives a long and happy life with us as I know already I will miss his presence when he is gone.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Omega-3"supplements"rapidly"eliminate"ADD,"ADHD"and"bipolar"disorder"in"chi

Mike Adams continues to enlighten us by keeping us informed of the amazing results of simple nutritional supplementation and healthy eating.

read more | digg story

The Dangers of GMO's - on my soapbox

People who know me best know that I buy and eat organic and non GM (genetically modified) food as much as one possibly can on a limited budget and with limited sources. That being the main reason for growing our own produce the past couple of years. One I began educating myself I felt we had no alternative if we wanted access to healthier, safer food.


On light of my rant against GM food, I am urging my readers to review Genetically Modified Foods: Toxins and Reproductive Failures, a highly informative article from the Institute for Responsible Technology. I can't emphasize enough just how much I feel we need to make ourselves aware of what we may be blindly consuming.

Also from the Institute for Responsible Technology, below is a list of GM foods.

Genetically Modified Foods at a Glance

Here is a summary of what crops, foods and food ingredients have been genetically modified:

Currently Commercialized GM Crops in the U.S.
(Number in parentheses represents the estimated percent that is genetically modified.)
Soy (89%)
Cotton (83%)
Canola (65%)
Corn (61%)
Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%)
Alfalfa, zucchini and yellow squash (small amount)
Tobacco (Quest® brand)

Other Sources of GMOs
Dairy products from cows injected with rbGH.
Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed
Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen

Some of the Ingredients That May Be Genetically Modified
Vegetable oil (soy, corn, cottonseed, or canola), margarines, soy flour, soy protein, soy lecithin, textured vegetable protein, cornmeal, corn syrup, dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose, citric acid, and lactic acid.

Some of the Foods That May Contain GM Ingredients
Infant formula
Salad dressing
Bread
Cereal
Hamburgers and hotdogs
Margarine
Mayonnaise
Crackers
Cookies
Chocolate
Candy
Fried food
Chips
Veggie burgers
Meat substitutes
Ice cream
Frozen yogurt
Tofu
Tamari
Soy sauce
Soy cheese
Tomato sauce
Protein powder
Baking powder
Alcohol
Vanilla
Powdered sugar
Peanut butter
Enriched flour
Pasta

Non-Food Items That May Contain GM Ingredients
Cosmetics
Soaps
Detergents
Shampoo
Bubble bath

Sign up for our newsletter, Spilling the Beans, to keep informed of any new genetically modified foods.

Download this document in MS Word format.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Inner Freedom

I've spent the morning blanching and skinning tomatoes and chopping fresh herbs. As a result I have a pot of homemade spaghetti sauce now simmering on the back burner. Next up is making up a new batch of natural insect repellent to get us through the remainder of the summer. We used up the last yesterday evening at the outdoor concert in Ashland.


Coop, I and our granddaughter Destiny went into the park to see a fabulous performance by Pavlo, considered to be the "Greek god of guitar", at the Meyer's Memorial bandshell in Ashland, Oh. last night. I have to agree, if ever a Greek god of guitar there is, Pavlo must be it! It was music to make your feet happy and at the end Destiny and I could not resist getting up and dancing around just a wee bit to the saucy and unique Mediterranean style music. It was a wonderful performance that had me dancing in my seat throughout the evening. These free concerts were one of the things I had missed the most while living out of the area, so I'm happy to be attending them again.

This past weekend was a good one. Saturday evening we had a few of my most favorite people out to sit around the fire and stargaze. That was a perfect way to spend the evening in celebration of my (and my twin's) 52nd birthday. My son and his family weren't able to make it, but with three tired little boys, their absence was totally understandable.

The nights have been clear, so I was able to watch the Perseids three nights in a row, with last night being the best of the show. I stayed out on the patio after Coop went to bed and watched quite a few meteors streak across the night sky, with thanks for each one.


***

As I was browsing through documents, looking for my recipe for the repellent, I came across some Guy Findley quotes and a his list, "40 Ways to Determine Your Level of Inner Freedom". I decided to share that because I think it's good and thought you might, too. Just so readers know, it is in no way an attempt to make others feel unenlightened. (Really, I don't hold that power) That's never my intention, I just share what resonates. :)

quotes:

Chasing after a pleasure to ease a pain is like running after a breeze to cool you down.


The only thing you lose when you Let Go of something you are afraid to live without is the fear itself.


40 Ways To Determine Your Level of Inner Freedom
From “Freedom From the Ties That Bind” by Guy Finley © 1999

Want to know how free you really are? Good! You're about to be presented with a unique opportunity to learn all about your individual level of inner liberty.

As you review each of the inner liberties on the list, just note mentally whether or not that particular freedom belongs to you.


Our intention is simply to learn what's true about ourselves, not to prove anything about ourselves. Allow these forty freedoms to awaken and stir that secret part of you that knows living in any kind of bondage is a lie. Then follow your own natural sensing all the way to the free life.

You're Well Along Freedom's Path When:


· You have no desire to change places in life with anyone else.

· You step over setbacks without stopping or looking back.

· You accept and appreciate praise, but never take it to heart.

· You don't overeat or feel driven to diet.

· You don't think about your sex life.

· You meet and do what's true without fear of the consequences.

· You really don't want anything from anyone.

· You stop thinking about how much money you may or may not have.

· You don't carry any upset from the last moment into the present one.

· You have no interest in old resentments.

· You start spending more time alone and enjoying it more.

· You stop dreaming of the perfect vacation.

· You're neither frightened nor shocked by the evening news.

· You stop making deals with yourself.

· You dress for comfort, not for compliments.

· You lose all interest in trying to win mental arguments.

· You don't blame anyone else for the way you feel.

· You forget what it was you didn't like about someone.

· You are awake to and you are spontaneously considerate of the needs of others.

· You see beauty in life where you never could see it before.

· Your life gets progressively simpler.

· You see where you're wrong sooner than later and stop defending yourself faster.

· You do what you don't want to do, and you do it with a lighter spirit.

· You're not afraid of having nothing to say or do, if that's your true condition.

· You can take criticism without cringing away from the truth it may hold.

· You have no concern for what others may think of you.

· You stop trying to make others see life in your way.

· You enjoy the sound of silence as much or more than the sound of your own voice.

· You see the same unpleasant traits within yourself that have made you shun others.

· You say what you want and not what you think others may want to hear you say.

· You actually enjoy hearing about the good fortune of someone else.

· You see more and more just how unfree you and others really are.

· Your moods are fewer, lighter, and move on much quicker.

· You see society is destroying itself and the only solution is self change.

· You can listen to others without the need to tell them what you know.

· You don't find a thrill in any kind of fear.

· You know that forgiveness of others is the kindest thing you can do for yourself.

· You realize that the world is the way it is because you are the way you are.

· You'd rather not think about yourself.

· You can't come up with one good reason why you should ever be anxious or frightened.

There's one more important point to bring to our attention: never be discouraged over your present location!

Discouragement is a negative emotion with more than one trick up its dark sleeve. It tricks you into mentally or emotionally dwelling in the very place you want to leave. Drop all such sorrow permanently by daring to see through this deception of the unconscious mind. Who you really are, your True Nature, is no more tied to the kind of person you've been than the wind is tied to the skies through which it moves. Your past is just that, the past, a place within your psyche with no more reality to it than the picture of a castle on a postcard is made from stone. You have a destination far beyond where you find yourself standing today. It may not seem so at first, but your new findings are a great start.

Now keep going. Use this list and your new discoveries to help you ignite your wish to be free. Then step back and welcome the spiritual firestorm. Watch as it burns away the ties that bind. This is what it means to let the Light fight for you.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Zucchini Fritters

I have a plethora of zucchini in case I hadn't mentioned that. :) I found a tasty recipe for Zucchini Fritters and tried it today. Pretty darn good I must say. I served them up with a side of sour cream and freshly made salsa. What a treat!

I decided to turn the basket of assorted tomatoes that were setting on my table into salsa this morning. It tastes soooo good being fresh from the garden, especially with the freshly cut cilantro. Nothing beats salsa made fresh!
I promise to share the recipe in a near future post.

I was glad I made it to the garden early this morning because we got hit with another thunderstorm and downpour later. Last night we had torrential rain and wind, not to mention the lightening that was striking from all four directions. Wicked to say the least. My garden has had quite enough rain so I hope it settles down soon. It would be nice if it would cool down, too. But I refuse to complain about the weather. It is after all August and we are at least not getting the floods and 100 degree temps here in NE Ohio. That's not to say it hasn't been extremely hot and sticky here however. According to the forcast there's little relief in sight. But the good news is...

Saturday evening is supposed to be clear. Why is that good news? Because I plan on spending the night out under the stars watching the Perseid meteor showers. I always make this effort because, as I like to say (with a grin), it is so nice for the universe to put on such a display for my birthday every year. :) Better yet, this year we should have complete darkness with the new moon
and...we had a switch installed on our security light so we can turn it off!!! That was my birthday gift to me. I was afraid it might not get installed in time so when I sent payment I wrote a little note explaining why I hoped the co-op could get to it, but understanding if they couldn't and saying thanks for the great service just the same. On Tuesday a big ol' Fireland's electric truck pulled up. As I greeted the fellow I explained how delighted I was to see him and why. He said he read my note and that he understood completely and that was "why I'm here today." That made my day! So, now I can star gaze any time I like without the glare from the security light. That makes me very happy.


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

"Stuff" & Other Stuff

I like to think I’ve done a good job of simplifying my life. And, in many, many ways I have. However it’s really been bugging me that I still have too much stuff and that somehow I continue to accumulate more.

Now I admit I come from the land of Frugal which means I save all manner of thing from bread bags to used gift wrap. But aside from those measures to recycle and reuse, I seem to have way more stuff than I need. This wouldn’t be a problem except for the main factor that my home becomes cluttered and I don’t like clutter. Clutter makes me feel, er, well, uhm,…cluttered. I do like streamlined and efficient, (and just a bit cozy) but I seem to have a hard time keeping that look and feel to my home.

I think the key is this, when one gets a new thing, say a purse, one should let go of another. Really, do I need a half a dozen purses when I can only carry one at a time? I find that I have the same problem with shoes. I must have 10 or 12 pair in my closet. The reason? I see a good deal on a pair I like at the thrift shop and since they’re cheap I bring them home thinking I’ll wear them….someday.

Truth is, when I find shoes that are comfortable I wear them religiously until they are worn out. I’ve learned for me, the smartest (and thriftiest) thing to do when I find shoes that suit me perfectly in comfort and style, purchase another pair. I did that last spring when I found the perfect sandals. I still have both pair. One is pretty worn so they are my summer garden/yard shoes, the other I wear when I go out. I found I regretted not purchasing two pair of great winter shoes a few years back. To this day I haven’t found a good, comfortable pair of winter shoes to suit me. Luckily I have my boots!

In thinking about stuff, I am forcing myself to take a good, hard look at myself. It is time to realize that I still have way too much of it despite my efforts to reduce it. So, eBay and Freecycle here I come! I’m renewing my mission to rid my home and free up more space, to get the chi flowing more smoothly.

Paul Graham has written a good article on “stuff” that I entirely resonate with and which helped inspire me to renew my mission. To paraphrase Mr. Graham, the value of something is not in price or savings, it is in the worth one derives from it.

It’s a worthwhile read and one you may want to check out.

Other Stuff-me & my Shadow

Coop and I have teetered back and forth about the decision to acquire a dog. Now, that decision has been made for us in a sense, by a dog himself.

Shadow has come to live with us. He originally was a stray that Arnold, the previous tenant took in. When Arnold died, the neighbors took custody of Shadow. Now, the neighbors have moved. In the process, Shadow, when released from his chain, bolted. (I saw the size of chain they had him on and can’t say that I blame him.) He came here. Three days passed before his owners came back to finish up their work and check on Shadow. All I could think was, thank goodness we were here, especially in this heat. He would have been without food and water.

Yesterday our neighbor came by and we told her Shadow was staying here. She didn’t argue, in fact seemed pleased. It was really his decision, too, because he showed no sign of interest in her or following her when she left to walk back up the road. After all, he was back home.

Now, after four days the look of worry and sadness has left his eyes. He follows me around like, well, a shadow. He remains unchained. He will not be confined. I see no reason as he never leaves the yard, doesn’t bother the ducks or the cat and is considerate enough to do his business at the edge of the field or woods.

A watchdog he is not. He will simply greet visitors when they stop by. However, he does look somewhat intimidating. Even I was a little put off by his appearance when we met and skeptical about how he would interact with other animals and people. But he is fine. He will sidestep the cat to avoid a swat. The neighbor said he likes kids and will come to them before he comes to an adult. Playful he is not. He is a quiet fellow, preferring to be left alone unless accompanying one of us around the property. He will make a good companion dog for us.

Shadow is about 11 years old, apparently has some arthritis, and is a timid dog for the most and is somewhat hesitant to be petted. I believe he has never had the opportunity to grow accustomed to affection or kindness. I tell him every day what a good boy he is, and I’m showing him what affection is. In just a couple days he has decided that a head or ear rub isn’t so bad after all. He lays outside in the shade and watches for Coop or I to come out. When we do, he is generally right there to greet one of us and sniff our hand for a treat. We’ve promised him he can live out the remainder of his days here, wandering free and getting spoiled. Not a bad deal for him.

Last of all, here’s photo just to show off the first bloom on our sunflowers. And another photo of a butterfly on the zinnias. Ever so thankful for my Fuji digital camera!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

pepper relish

Our tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen. The San Marzano plum tomatoes have been hit with blossom end rot. Just as begin to ripen the bottom end becomes brown and eventually turns black and rotten. From what I’ve read the only treatment for that is calcium chloride. The problem results from a lack of calcium in the soil or the plants not being able to assimilate what is there. I will have to look into this further. I don’t want to lose my plum tomatoes!

The peppers are prolific as mentioned. Here’s a photo of our pepper patch…just the Hungarian peppers that is.

I was finally able to find a good price on onions by the 10 lb. bag and so I was able to make a large amount of hot pepper relish. In fact I ended up with 20 pints! Even though the only veggies in this relish are hot peppers and onions, it’s not really “hot”, but rather tangy and sweet with just a hint of heat. We love it on burgers or other grilled meats. I think it would work nicely if one were to use it as a replacement for sweet relish in potato salad, too.

The recipe is simple…

50 Hungarian hot banana peppers

about 6 lb. onions

Remove tops and cut peppers in half, remove seeds. Skin the onions and cut into wedges. Chop veggies up and place in large glass, stainless steel or enamel pan. Using a meat grinder or food processor makes the job easier and quicker. Cover fresh veggies with boiling water and let set for 5 minutes. You can repeat this process two more times to reduce hotness of peppers, but I’ve never had to. Drain veggies and place in a cook pan, again either stainless steel or enamel.

Add:

8 cups sugar

3 pints cider vinegar

6 T. salt

Bring to a boil and cook 20 minutes then pour into hot sterile pint jars. Wipe rims and seal tightly. Process in boiling water bath for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 10 pints.

If you try it, hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Well, we got to Chillicothe to see the outdoor drama Tecumseh! last Tuesday night. What a treat that was! The actors put a lot of heart and soul into bringing this historical drama to life and do a fantastic job. One horse however did try to steal the show making the crowd giggle in an otherwise serious performance. Nothing dramatic, just some whinnying and head nodding, but funny none the less. It was quite realistic with the live horses, an actual pond and real explosions from the guns and cannon. The scenes played out had, in reality taken place in and near the very area we were in. That realization gives one a moment’s pause. I have to admit that in the end, I was just a wee bit teary eyed over the death of Tecumseh and the loss of life suffered at the hands of the white man, especially after Tecumseh had spent ten years traveling from tribe to tribe to unite the tribes as one that they could maintain their right to live on and care for the land, remaining true to their heritage.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to have seen this show and despite it being three hours long, it was never in the least bit boring. I would highly recommend it. However, I wouldn’t advise taking small children/babies to this as the gunfire and cannon fire is very loud, plus three hours is a long time for little ones even with a twenty minute intermission. A 4-6 year old would probably be entertained, but any younger I’d recommend getting a sitter for. Just my two cents.

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