Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The summer is upon us, and we had to sit down and think about what we wanted to do for the summer.
Do we just keep going, or do we have a vacation? We have decided to do both!
Since we moved in March, our homeschooling/unschooling was not very active. We still have a lot of catch up to do, and well we have been rather slow about it.
With having a daughter severely dyslexic, and another one that feels she should not have to do more work than her older sister, it has been a challenge for us. Evan is on his own thing, he really is closer to a traditional unschooler, as he goes with what he want to learn at that moment. Of course I have to throw in things, but still he is doing really good, and is bring up historical people, that I have never even heard of!
I am worried about the girls, they are not up to the reading levels that they should be, and this is really scary. I want so much for them, and I am afraid that they may not be getting all that they deserve at home!
I know that they want to remain at home, that has become very clear, when I had to promise them that I would not send them to that "horrible" place!
Lamar County (TX) School's really damage my kids! I am still amazed at how fast a school district can ruin education for a child, for our it was less than 1 year! I know it is not fair to blame the who school distric, but the kids ended up with some really horrible teachers, and only a couple of really good ones.
I know that we will get a handle on this, but it still scares me that they will not have the love of books that Aidan and I do. Evan does, but the girls not so much. I am hoping that this will change soon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lasagna Garden, grren house and chickens! OH MY!

Today was a day of working on getting the garden ready. Late I know, but here in the Pacific NW the spring has been very late this year.
I am making a "Lasagna garden" I have seen in mutiple place over the past few years the first was on "B. Orginal" with Michele Beschen, I loved the idea then. Then in MaryJane's Farm there was an article about it...I had to do!

This was what was done today. We layed cardboard boxes on the group(from our move! Reuse!) Then there was a huge pile of compost that was left here, so we then spread that over the boxes. This will wet down between layers, and on Friday we will place our Tagro dirt! I will let add another layer of cardboard, compost and then dirt.
I also cleared out the green house, now I need to get some PVC clear plastic to fix the broken glass.
I just ordered our chicks from Ideal Poultry. I ordered:
Rhode Island Red 3
Ameraucana 3
Barred Plymouth Rock 3
Silver Spangled Hamburg 2
Silver Laced Wyandotte 3
Standard Sultan 2
That is a real good start!

I have more to do tomorrow...I am also thinking about other things that I can do to make our lives more substainable.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Upcoming Self-Reliance Food and Broom Classes May 2011 in Seattle, WA


Self-Reliance Food and Broom Classes May 2011 in Seattle, WA
with Linda Conroy and John Holzwart of Moonwise Herbs (Wisconsin)

Linda Conroy is an herbalist and whole food enthusiast. John Holzwart is a wild forager and broom maker. To Learn more, visit: www.moonwiseherbs.com/seattlehappenings.htm or check out Moonwise Herbs on Facebook! or email mailto:rosemarygoddess%40moonwiseherbs.com with questions!


May 21, 2011
Home Cheese Making Beyond the Basics: From Curd to Press with Linda Feta, Cheddar, and Gouda (10am-4pm) with Linda Conroy
Discover the art of making these classic aged favorites at home. Review cheese making basics and explore approaches in pressing and curing cheese. Leave with recipes and confidence to begin the journey of cheese making at home. Lunch will include a salad served with several types of home-made cheese for inspiration.

North Seattle Community College for registration, visit www.learnatnorth.org or call 206-527-3705

May 25, 2011
Introduction to Cheese Making (6-9pm)
Making cheese in your own kitchen is fun and easy. Discover how to create soft, spreadable cream cheese, mozzarella and paneer. Learn about fermented milk products like yogurt, kefir and piima and how to transform them into delicious fresh cheeses. Go home with simple instructions, recipes, a culture to get you started and delicious cheese samples.with simple instructions, recipes, a culture to get you started and delicious cheese samples.

North Seattle Community College for registration, visit www.learnatnorth.org or call 206-527-3705

May 21, 2011
Broom Making: A Functional Art (6-9pm) with Little John
Discover the art of making handmade brooms! You will be guided through this beautiful and functional art. Students will learn to make one round or one flat hearth broom (your choice), weaving and sowing the broom corn into place by hand.

North Seattle Community College for registration, visit www.learnatnorth.org or call 206-527-3705

May 23, 2011
Beer, Wine and Soda Making! (6-9pm) with Little John
Learn how easy it is to make beer, wine, mead, and soda in your own kitchen. Learning the basics participants will leave feeling confident in making their own beverages at home. Discussions about influencing your beverages with herbs for promoting health will be included. Each person will leave with a bottle that we cork together as well as a soda culture to get you started.

North Seattle Community College for registration, visit www.learnatnorth.org or call 206-527-3705

May 24, 2011
Mini-Quidditch Broom Making (AGES 7-11) (5:30-7:30pm) with Little John
Calling all Harry Potter fans! Create your very own 24 inch mini-quidditch broom. Tie, wind and cut to create your broom made of broomcorn, string and wood. All materials provided. Wear long sleeves as the broomcorn can be itchy!

Anderson Center, Edmonds, WA for registration, visit www.reczone.org or call 425-771-0230

May 24, 2011
Herbal-Milk Based Soap Making (6-9pm) with Linda Conroy
This class is for the experienced as well as the beginning soap maker. We will explore the art of creating luxurious soap that incorporates fresh goat milk (cow as well as whey will also be discussed). Milk based soap makes the creamiest soap around. It is considered a delicacy in the soap market. This class will offer essential tips to creating your own. We will also learn about a variety of whole herbs that can be included to create unique batches of soap. Participants will take home recipes as well as some of the soap we create in class. Bring rubber gloves, 4 small yogurt containers with a lid and an old towel. All other supplies provided. Material fee $7

North Seattle Community College for registration, visit www.learnatnorth.org or call 206-527-3705

May 26, 2011
Pine Needle Basketry Class (6-9pm) with Linda Conroy
Make your own gifts! Learn to coil and stitch to craft a miniature pine needle basket. Discover basket styles, decorative options and how these techniques can be applied to other mediums. $10 materials fee includes supplies to make a second basket at home. Bring thimble, small scissors and reading glasses if needed.

Anderson Center, Edmonds, WA for registration, visit www.reczone.org or call 425-771-0230

June 1-5, 2011
9th Annual Herbal and Seaweed Harvesting with Linda Conroy
Travel to Lopez Island and learn to wild harvest herbs and seaweed.
For more information and registration, visit www.moonwiseherbs.com


Olympia Dukakis' Spiritual Journey

Olympia Dukakis' Spiritual Journey

The Oscar-winning actress talks about her exploration of women's spirituality and meeting her Indian guru.

BY: Margaret Wolff

Excerpted with permission from "In Sweet Company"

We know her best as Rose Castorini, the intrepid wife from "Moonstruck," the devoted friend Clarey from "Steel Magnolias," and the clear-sighted Mrs. Madrigal from "Tales of the City." Olympia Dukakis has endeared herself to audiences around the world for her dynamic portrayals of the grand transformations and subtle accommodations that are the bread and butter of women's lives.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, Olympia grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts in a neighborhood where ethnic discrimination, particularly against Greeks, was routine. Early in her career, she was advised to change her name to something "less ethnic." She refused, despite the fact that it would have paved the way to a greater variety of roles.

Olympia supported herself as a physical therapist during the height of the polio epidemic. She saved her money, returned to school and earned a Masters in Fine Arts at Boston University's School of the Performing Arts. Degree in hand, she moved to New York City to pursue a stage career. Shortly thereafter, she appeared in a production of "Medea" where she met and fell in love with actor Louis Zorich. Their forty-year marriage produced three children and a lifelong repository of unconditional support.

In 1988, after thirty years of performing and teaching, Olympia won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her portrayal of the Italian matriarch in "Moonstruck." Later that year, she stood on the podium alongside first-cousin Michael Dukakis, then Governor of Massachusetts, as he accepted the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. It was, for her, a profound moment, a proud declaration of her ethnicity that she claimed for her entire family.

One of her most personally memorable roles was in the play "The Trojan Women." It opened her heart to what has become a profound relationship with the Great Mother, the feminine aspect of God long venerated in the ancient cultures of the Indus River Valley. In 1985, she met Srimata Gayatri Devi, an Indian spiritual teacher in the Vedanta tradition, and studied with her until her passing.

In 1992, she and several friends co-created "Voices of Earth," a non-profit theater company designed to help women, including herself, explore their spiritual heritage and birth their own spiritual transformation. Olympia describes the performances that have emerged as "emotional, physical, spiritual and joyful" pieces that explore through metaphor issues unique to women's lives.

The following are excerpts from the interview.

Olympia is apprehensive, she tells me, "talking about women's spirituality in a world that has suppressed its existence for thousands of years."

Is it because it's hard to put something so subtle into words?

"No. I think it's because most of us talk one way and live another. There are a few people who truly, truly walk the talk - who are, as Merlin Stone wrote, `women who have gone over the mountain.' The rest of us just talk the talk. The rest of us are still trying to find ways to live in the world with spiritual values. Myself included. We've learned certain skills, we've learned to prevail somewhat, but we've not made it over the mountain. I sometimes truly despair at ever being meaningfully altered and affected by the things I claim are so important to me. .

"Most of us are not real eager to grow, myself included. We try to be happy by staying in the status quo. But if we're not willing to be honest with ourselves about what we feel, we don't evolve."

I tell her that I think this struggle to bring our inner and outer worlds together is an ongoing part of the spiritual life, that when we face these contradictions, we can then choose how we will `walk our talk.'

"I understand this now," she confides. "In 1985, I became very involved with Gayatri Devi, a spiritual teacher, who helped me see this."

How did you meet her?

"It was at Omega Institute. My husband, daughter and I were in therapy because of issues that came up after he had a terrible automobile accident. The therapist said everyone was OK except me, that I was behaving as if we were still in crisis. He said I had to do something to focus on myself, by myself, or he wouldn't see me anymore. I rooted around for something to do and a friend suggested I go to Omega. I had my doubts - it seemed to me like a camp for precocious adults! - but I went anyway.

"The only weekend I was free was during what they call their `Spiritual Weekend,' so I signed up for that. Friday night, the presenters sat on a stage and talked about their upcoming workshops. There were rabbis and Cambodian monks and Indian swamis and Protestants and Catholics and Native Americans. It was a whole smorgasbord! And there was this little lady in saffron robes. I was very moved by what she said, but of course, I didn't permit that to influence me! I decided to go with a shaman because I'd been reading a lot about shamans at the time.

"The workshop I went to was like a bad acting class! Everyone was trying to get in touch with their feelings - beating drums and howling - but I stayed with it. The next day, the leader asked us each to share why we'd come to Omega. Everyone gave such esoteric and spiritual reasons - and there I was because my therapist told me that if I didn't do something about myself, he wouldn't see me anymore! But when my time came to talk, I got very choked up and said, `I'm here to open my heart.' I don't know where that came from, but that's what I said.

"The workshop continued with much sage-burning and carrying on, but I just couldn't do it anymore. I walked outside toward a little house where I heard the chanting of women's voices.


"I looked in the window and saw the woman I'd been so moved by the night before sitting in lotus position on a slightly raised platform. I walked in and sat down. Gayatri Devi was a bhakti, as they say in India; hers was the path of devotion to God. She was talking in an animated way about the Great Mother, about Her role in the Vedanta tradition. The more she talked, the more I cried. I didn't know why I was crying. It wasn't that I was sad; I was just crying...

"After the break, I went over and asked Sudha - Ma's assistant at that time, and the one to whom the mantle was passed after Ma's death - if I could speak with Ma, with Gayatri Devi. She told me it would be impossible to see her, that Ma was totally booked. I wasn't too upset because I already knew something about what Ma had been talking about. The truth was, I had secretly gotten involved with the Great Mother on my own, thinking I was the only person on the planet to do so. I had no idea other people were interested in Her.

"I started to walk outside when Sudha came over to me and said Ma wanted to see me. I froze and said, `It's OK,' but Sudha said, `No, Ma wants to see you.' So I started up the hill to where Ma was sitting - to a table and two chairs facing each other under some trees - and as I walked, my awareness of all external sound left me. It was as if I were walking in a vacuum. I sat down and told her my name and what brought me to Omega. Finally, I told her about the two times I heard the Voice


"She became very alert, then asked me some questions about the Voice. Then she said, `What are you afraid of?'"

Tears begin to run down Olympia's cheeks. "I said, `I'm afraid of this love, afraid I would be lost.' And Ma said, `Lost in the sea of Her love?' I said, `Yes. I'm afraid if I allow myself to feel it, I won't come back. I know what that is. I've psychologically let go before and struggled to come back.'

"Ma looked at me for a long time, almost as if she were x-raying me. Then she talked to me and her words made me feel I would be all right, that I could receive the Great Mother's love - which is still hard for me to do - and give Her love - which is easier. You know?"

Before I can answer her, Olympia digs into her jacket pocket and pulls out a small book of prayers written by Swami Paramananda, an Indian monk of the Ramakrishna Order. "I want to read something to you," she says. She reads me some prayers, not as an actress but as a bhakti, filled with the devotion that inspired words she has since made her own.

Great Mother Heart, how tender art Thou
Thy love, transcending all my iniquities,
pours upon my life its benign sweetness.
How oft my imperfect nature lies mortified
and ashamed in Thy protecting bosom,
overwhelmed by Thy unfathomed tenderness.
Who art Thou that givest this endless bounty to me, meritless and ignorant?
Divine mother heart. Proof of Thy unceasing care,
I find in every turn of life.
With many arms dost Thou shield me.
With many hearts dost Thou love me.
With many minds dost Thou guide me to the road of safety.
Forget I may at times when dark clouds gather;
but to have seen Thy face of love
and known what is not known,
save when Thou dost lift the veil,
Is joy forever and crowning glory of Life.

I ask her how she would define spirituality.

"Well, there's something open-hearted about it. I really understood how important this was when my mother was dying from Alzheimer's. Her defenses went away and she was no longer suspicious or critical. Her heart opened.

"So why does this seem part and parcel of spirituality? I guess because in order to be open-hearted, you have to trust, or be willing to trust - but trust with open eyes. You have to look at the reality of things. Sometimes there's darkness and pain. That's part of life, too."

Being open-hearted in the face of contradictions?

"Being open-hearted when the world pretty much looks like a place your heart should be defended and protected against."

Source: http://www.beliefnet.com/Holistic-Living/2003/08/Olympia-Dukakis-Spiritual-Journey.aspx?p=3#ixzz1MLyzSyna



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day, House warming party, and raw milk!

The past few weeks have been busy, thus why I have not been updating as I should.
We went roller skating, and I found out that the kids do not trust skates, nope not at all!
Then we went to the point defiance zoo which was fun, since we have not been there in a very long time.
I finally got the bathroom done, and I made the shower curtains and the window curtain. I will post pictures soon! I also hung a print by artist Nikki McClure, whom I love! I got the print "Invest" which I love so very much!
We had the house warming party, which was so much fun, we got to see so many people, many who we have not seen in a very long time. I also our friends that also moved from New Orleans.
Mother's Day was the next day, and that was great. The girls picked me flowers from the garden, they drew me wonderful pictures, and they helped make one of my most favorite dinners; Coconut chicken, aloo Gobi, and naan. It was wonderful!
The hard part was the fact that I could not be with my Mom, that is always hard for me.
I finally went out and found some Raw cows milk, and it is amazing! I found it at Marlene's Market, and it comes from Cozy Valley Farms and all I can say is that it is the most amazing thing I have ever drank! I know where my milk came from Tenino, WA, from a jersey cow named "Saucey" I even have her picture, and you know what that makes it even better! I have a direct link to where the milk comes from. This is so important to me.
I am amazed that Raw milk isn't sold everywhere, but maybe that is the secret...it is not done like the mass feed me mentalities of the mass producers of milk. I know that there is no growth hormones, and I know that the milk is healthy!
The funny thing is the fact that I really did not like milk before, now I love it! Go firgure!
The benefits of raw milk are amazing, I will not go on about that here, as there is so many more websites that can expain it much better than me, one I know of that I really liked is Raw Milk Facts. All I can say is that I now know why it is known as "White gold" it really just that!