Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

dove

Birds of North America online

Burning down the house

(To fellow WP bloggers, this is the weirdest thing. Apparently this post did not publish, or it published in a draft format that was not at all what my final result looked like to me, and that’s why I’ve reposted it. Strange limbo zone!!)
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Do you smell the smoke?

It’s a rainy SoCal day and I was in a state of cleaning bliss, dusting and polishing and organizing.

I lit dried sage from the garden to smudge in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on my bedside table to bring a little pungent sagey/outdoorsy fragrance.

It seemed safe, right? Metal bowl placed not directly on wood, but on a mirror to protect it.

Apparently NOT safe.

I continued cleaning the other rooms, enjoying the sagey perfume. After a while, I thought that it seemed to be smoking for much much longer than the amount of leaves in the bowl and as I walked toward my bedroom, I was engulfed in smoke!

A MAJOR smudge haha.

I ran over to the window which was closed ‘cos of the rain, and slid it completely open, then to my beside table where I could see the mirror had cracked and the metal bowl had fused to the wood and was too hot to touch.

img_6904

The table was literally seconds away from going up in flames!

The smoke was no longer from the sage; the antique and very dry wood was burning.

Oh, and somehow the carpet had a few burn holes too.

Now there’s a nasty burn mark on my mom’s antique bedside table,img_6903

It took about an hour for the smoke to dissipate. There’s not a smoke alarm in my bedroom and it hadn’t yet reached the dining room area where there are TWO smoke alarms, so that’s why I was oblivious.

Well, one reason why I was oblivious.

The other reason is that cleaning puts me into a Zen-like trance and I was lost in my own little world.

Moral of the story? DO NOT put sage in a metal bowl on top of a mirror on top of a wooden surface. EVER.

I repainted this room recently, and noticed that it no longer reeks of fresh paint, so there’s a sort of silver lining???

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7 Ways to Use Lovely Lemony Lemon Balm

The epic rains that soaked SoCal this year gave birth to a springtime of lush floral beauty and emerald lawns, something I don’t think I’ve experienced in the thirty-two years I’ve lived at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Before that, I lived in the area and there were definitely some heavy rains, but I didn’t notice nor did I appreciate the luxuriant plant life like I do now.

Flowers that previously lay dormant for seasons now burst forth in riotous color and perfume, like the lovely freesias, stock, Jupiter’s Beard, and borage.

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Most exciting for me is the herb garden.

lemonbalm2

Just look at the abundance of this patch of lemon balm. Planted directly under a bedroom window, the lemony fragrance wafts up and in with even the slightest breeze.

Ahhhh.

Heavenly!

Lemon balm was traditionally used to uplift the spirits and to enhance memory. Some of its healing properties were spiritual in nature. This herb was used in spells to heal broken hearts and also to attract romantic love. It was believed that a lemon balm bag put under the pillow could help promote sleep and put in the bath would promote relaxation. (https://www.mountainroseherbs.com)

Easy to grow Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), a member of the mint family, is considered a calming herb. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic).  help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores.
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lemon-balm

Lemon Balm is useful for nursing mothers that want to reduce overproduction of breast milk or when in the process of weaning and drying up milk supply. DIL added it to her sage tea when she weaned Angel Boy 2.0 and it worked!

lemonbalm1

Add it to any dish that might benefit from a little lemony flavor, including cookies. I’m going to experiment on a vegan Lemon Balm & Lavender cookie, and will let you know how it turns out.

Seven Ways to Use Lemon Balm

1. Chop a couple tablespoons of lemon balm and add to your favorite salsa.
2. Chop together with cilantro in guacamole.
3. Lemon balm salad dressing is yummy and so easy! Combine your favorite oil with white balsamic or champagne vinegar, 2 TBS chopped lemon balm, pepper, Pink Himalayan sea salt, and whisk!
4. Pour hot water over lemon balm leaves. Let steep and enjoy!
5. I add a few sprigs to a pitcher of water with ice cubes and sliced lemon.
6. Lemon Balm Pesto:
2  cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds or pine nuts (or both)
2  cups fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh lemon balm
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (don’t add if vegan)
2  TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In food processor, add all ingredients except oil and pulse. Pour oil in steady but thin stream while pulsing until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with dried red peppers if you like it spicy.

If you Google it, there are loads of DIY recipes on the internet and Pinterest using lemon balm, but I chose this one to share with you ‘cos it’s cool and seems fairly easy:

7. Lemon Balm Extract
Combine your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond oil or sunflower or grapeseed with chopped lemon balm leaves in a small jar. Make sure the leaves are submerged in the oil.Cover and place in a sunny spot for two weeks, turning/shaking every so often while still making sure the leaves are submerged. Strain out the leaves and the oil is now ready to use.

**While it’s generally considered safe for most people, lemon balm might inhibit thyroid function. If you’re on thyroid medication, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using internally. As always, if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have any other questions, talk with your doctor.“Melissa Officinalis produced a significant inhibition of TSH binding to its receptor and of antibody binding to TSH”http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14759065

 

Please Help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary on #givingtuesday

Other living creatures are just like us.

To survive, they need the basics: food and shelter and medical care.

We can relate, right?

And that’s why Mel needs help for his rescued (abused) wolves and wolf hybrids.

From an enlightened reader who made me realize I had not included very important information about these animals: “…They were rescued from fools who keep animals like tigers, monkeys and wolves as pets. And then decide they’re not cute anymore, or they’re too much work, or whatever…”

And it’s really, really, REALLY true…even just a few dollars helps.

*A week of Starbucks. 

*Spare change.

That kind of thing.

It shouldn’t hurt to give, ya know?

If all of my 3,000 followers and friends were able to #give just a little bit, it would help SO much and you’d be doing SO MUCH GOOD.

Thank you for helping!!

*****(Donation info at the end of this post)*****


I’ve always loved wolves; I first became active in the 70s, doing what I could to support their originally being listed as an Endangered Species, and more recently, I spoke at the Fish and Wildlife Services hearing in Sacramento.

I wrote about that experience here: Saving Wolves

The wolf is an amazing animal that deserves to be protected and defended.

And saved.

However,

…Not everybody is as well-funded as Capt. Watson and his Sea Shepherd defenders and protectors of ocean creatures.

…Not everybody has the fundraising savvy of PETA or Defenders of Wildlife.

…Not every organization has a Washington, DC lobbyist.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help others who dedicate their lives and sacrifice everything to save animals in danger.

There are angels all over this country who are committed to 24/7 care of abused and neglected wolves.

There are those heroes among us who DO the work, even though they might not be PR or social media savvy and have a staff to handle all the admin duties.

I admire the men and women who are in the trenches, the boots-on-the-ground caregivers  who feed and love and care for these beautiful and much maligned animals.

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary can REALLY use our help. 

His mission is simple but very powerful:

” We rescue wolves and wolf-hybrids that are unwanted, abused, etc. We give them a loving home with three acres to run and play, and all the food they can eat.”

I donated a couple months ago, and I’m going to donate again.

Will you help, too? 

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dearborn.wolfsanctuary

Please contact him to offer any hands on help, too.

How to donate:

Check or money order to:

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary
31 Cox Creek Ln.
Cascade, Montana 59421

or

PAYPAL:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=BRUfIKsNIM2LEE4cF1ysnfQFr2iE8uPkBbYvYAV-4YoQWmLJCkTbo8OuwPm&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8da8649a435e198e44a05ba053bc68d12e

THANK YOU for donating and PLEASE share/reblog with your friends and readers…sometimes it takes a village to pitch in and help.

***Would anyone like to work with me on a fundraising campaign to help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary?

#givingtuesday #cause #fundraising #socialgood #giveback

 

 

Strawberries, Sage, and Stevia

Sorry to most of the rest of the country but here in SoCal, our growing season is pretty much never over.

I planted tomatoes, kale, red leaf lettuce, beets, beans, and broccoli — I packed a LOT in a 4×8 space.raisedbed

There wasn’t any room for the eggplants or these spicy jlapenos.

jalapenospotI dug a fresh, new herb garden directly under our bedroom window. I’m hoping the lovely aromas will waft up and in.Herb garden

There’s a couple different kinds of sage; basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, lemon verbena, cilantro, and STEVIA.

SteviaDid you know you could grow stevia?

Neither did I, but when I saw a pot of organic stevia at Armstrong’s Nursery, I had to try it. The leaves are super sweet. I’ve seen stevia extract on the grocery shelf as a sugar substitute but I’ve never tried it.

From Mother Earth News, a few facts about stevia:

If growing your own calorie-free, natural sweetener sounds too good to be true, it’s time to get to know stevia.

Native to Paraguay and other tropical areas of the Americas, the stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) produces leaves packed with super-sweet compounds that remain stable even after the leaves have been dried.

Stevia leaves have been used to sweeten teas and beverages throughout South America for centuries.

More recently, diabetics and dieters alike have turned to stevia to reduce their sugar intake because, unlike honey, maple syrup, agave or molasses, this natural sweetener has zero calories and is not metabolized by the body.

Stevia is especially well-suited to sweetening drinks, fruits, salad dressings, yogurt and most creamy desserts. Stevia can substitute for some, but not all, of the sugar used when baking, because it does not provide all of the multiple functions that sugar does.

Many commercial drink mixes and packaged sugar substitutes are sweetened with a derivative of stevia.

This sweetening compound is called Rebaudioside A and is listed on labels as either Reb A or Rebiana.

These are highly processed products developed by large food corporations. Most of the raw stevia used to produce these products is grown in China. These “natural sweeteners” have been stripped of many of the plant’s healthful properties.

On the other hand, growing your own stevia to produce teas, extracts, and tinctures made from high-quality, whole-leaf stevia contains up to seven sweet compounds (glycosides) and an array of antioxidants. Growing stevia is easy in well-drained beds or large containers, and the leaves can be dried for winter use like any other herb. Stevia grows best in warm conditions similar to those preferred by basil.

Here’s a link to making your own stevia powder and liquid:
https://wholelifestylenutrition.com/videos/how-to-make-your-own-pure-stevia-liquid-stevia-part-2/

Last weekend I hosted a community garage sale for a local nonprofit (post to come) and someone brought a box of strawberry slips. I took a few, quickly dug a bed, and put them in the ground. Since we hardly ever throw stuff away, I found a length of white wire fencing tucked away behind the greenhouse. There’s nothing better than organic strawberries! Yum, can’t wait!strawberrybed

The weather is so crazy here, my apple and plum trees are blossoming again.

During the last few days SoCal broke tons of heat records along with a few drops of rain —and then nothing.

But it was a beautiful sunrise over the lagoon, right?sunrise looking toward lagoon

Enchanting DIY Seashell Planter

Having two blogs is like having two toddlers running around the house; trying to spend quality time with one of them and feeling like I’m neglecting the other one produces a lot of stress!

It’s exhausting!

Hmmm, maybe that’s why I only had one human child—because I didn’t have to worry about dividing my time or attention, he didn’t have to share me.

I was getting my nasty gray roots touched up at the salon and saw the cutest little planter at everyone’s station — I couldn’t wait to get home and recreate it.

seashellplant2

It’s so easy and didn’t cost a penny, which is the best kind of DIY, am I right?

What you need:

  • Seashell
  • Potting soil
  • Succulent (taken from a larger plant in the garden)

Seriously, it took about five minutes start to finish.

Fill the shell with damp soil, insert the plant, water again gently, and that’s IT.  I know you’re supposed to let a succulent sit around for a few days to callous before you plant it, but I didn’t because I’m too impatient.

It’s so easy and SO adorable. I used a very small seashell, only about three inches long.

seashellplant3

Not only is it great for someone (like me) with a lot of allergies, but how about as…

  • Housewarming gift
  • Hostess gift (along with a bottle of wine, of course)
  • Place settings
  • Wedding favors
  • Easy-to-do craft with children of all ages

seashellplant

(Photos were taken with three different types of lighting.)

Happy New Year 5776!

shana-tova

The Jewish New Year marks the beginning of ten days of repentance culminating with Yom Kippur.

That’s about all I remember from attending a few years of Sunday Hebrew school until we moved to sunshiny SoCal, where I could concentrate all of my brain cells on yummy tanned surfer boys.

Even though my grandfather was a rabbi, the whole religious thang didn’t have much of an impact on me, other than the Jewish princess aspect because I am a VERY devout Jewish princess-y type.

Although you wouldn’t think so if you had been around yesterday, when I was tugboat man’s helper as we blew sixty (SIXTY!) bags of eco-friendly insulation in our attic.

I would allow no photos of me in a respirator, safety goggles, and work gloves, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

It was NOT a pretty sight.

More like Cinderella than Princess.

But now we’re pretty much done with our whirlwind month of home improvements; new roof, insulation, termite spraying, and the removal of five trees so we can plant fruit and palms.

This leads us to my secret (had you forgotten?) that I promise to reveal next week.

Until then, Happy New Year and eat some apples and honey (although I’ve forgotten why it’s relevant.)

How To Recycle Old Coffee Mugs #DIY #Project

It’s SPRING!

What a great time to freshen up the yard with a totally 100% free project using items we already had. re_up cycleDon’t throw away those cracked cups with broken handles!

We all know I’m a collector of things, whether it’s empty boxes (‘cos you never know when you might need one) or bathrobes ( I have about fifty of them) or seashells (of course!) — and all the rest: shoes, jewelry, books…

I’m also a breaker of things — like coffee mugs and wine glasses.

At any given time, I have half dozen injured/wounded/disabled cups that’re in various stages of rehab on tugboat man’s repair table.

He’s the BEST fixer.

I might wield a mean glue gun, but he has the patience and fine motor skill to join together broken pieces of china, another of his great qualities, I might add.

Most of the repaired cups and mugs aren’t really usable for holding hot liquid, but I’ve held onto them because I love them and they’re special to me…Hello Kitty, Yale Mom, and the ones with seashell motifs — I mean, how can I just toss these guys in the trash?

One fine Sunday afternoon, I felt the itch to start another DIY project but nothing specific came to mind — just thought I’d wander around until something sparked interest — then I discovered an old boat ramp behind our greenhouse (not sure what boat it came from). I’d seen this ramp for YEARS and overlooked it a dozen times. This time, however, I had an epiphany.

It’d make an awesome shabby chic plant stand for the coffee cups!

Now I needed to find something to lean it up against, and chose a Brazilian Pepper Tree that we never really liked ‘cos it’s invasive, but it’s been here since the house was built, and the birds like it — because of that, so far it’s been spared. You can’t really grow anything under it (that’s only one of its problems) and the roots protrude and are gnarly.

Think Oklahoma dust bowl. Think Grapes of Wrath. That’s exactly what that neglected little area brings to mind. It was time to render a little aid and LOVE.

I filled the mugs with succulents that I already had growing in the garden.

View from the deck: A perfect location to turn into a bohemian hippie focal point.

coffeecuplanter3jupitersbeardI planted a square of Jupiter’s Beard from seedlings I propagated; it’s a drought tolerant plant with lush pink flowers — really easy to grow, and it’ll fill in an otherwise kind of ugly and barren spot.

I took a bird bath from the front yard and an assortment of other planters gathered from the garden and clustered them all together to create visual interest.  The worn and broken tiles add to the shabby chic feel.coffeecupplanters

Bonus upcycle DIY: Turn an old hat into a planter by cutting off the frayed brim and attaching twine. So simple to set inside a pot of colorful flowers; hang and enjoy!
coffeemugplanter1

You can never have too much aloha spirit!

Share your best up/recycle #DIY project.

Here’s Why We Should Help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary (Please)

I’m reposting this because there was something faulty with the Paypal link and I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to help.


I’ve always loved wolves; I first became an active defender in the 70s, doing what I could to support their originally being listed as an Endangered Species, and more recently, I provided testimony at the Fish and Wildlife Services hearing in Sacramento.

I wrote about that experience here: Saving Wolves

It doesn’t seem right that in 2015, we are continually correcting misconceptions about wolves and fighting stereotypes — like that Superbowl ad.  We need to end — once and for all — the barbaric hunting contests of wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, and bobcats

The wolf is an amazing animal that deserves to be protected and defended.

And saved.

However,

…Not everybody is as well-funded as Capt. Watson and his Sea Shepherd defenders and protectors of ocean creatures.

…Not everybody has the fundraising savvy of PETA or Defenders of Wildlife.

…Not every organization has a Washington, DC lobbyist.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help others who dedicate their lives and sacrifice everything to save animals in danger.

There are angels all over this country who are committed to 24/7 care of abused and neglected wolves.

There are those heroes among us who DO the work, even though they might not be PR or social media savvy and have a staff to handle all the admin duties.

I admire the men and women who are in the trenches, the boots-on-the-ground caregivers  who feed and love and care for these beautiful and much maligned animals.

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary can REALLY use our help. 

His mission is simple but very powerful:

” We rescue wolves and wolf-hybrids that are unwanted, abused, etc. We give them a loving home with three acres to run and play, and all the food they can eat.”

I donated a couple months ago, and I’m going to donate again.

Will you help, too? 

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dearborn.wolfsanctuary

Please contact him to offer any hands on help, too.

How to donate:

Check or money order to:

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary
31 Cox Creek Ln.
Cascade, Montana 59421

or

PAYPAL:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=BRUfIKsNIM2LEE4cF1ysnfQFr2iE8uPkBbYvYAV-4YoQWmLJCkTbo8OuwPm&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8da8649a435e198e44a05ba053bc68d12e

THANK YOU for donating and PLEASE share/reblog with your friends and readers…sometimes it takes a village to pitch in and help.

***Would anyone like to work with me on an ongoing fundraising campaign to help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary? 

Why We Should Help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary (Please)

I’m reposting this because there was something faulty with the Paypal link and I want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to help. 

I’ve always loved wolves; I first became active in the 70s, doing what I could to support their originally being listed as an Endangered Species, and more recently, I spoke at the Fish and Wildlife Services hearing in Sacramento.

I wrote about that experience here: Saving Wolves

The wolf is an amazing animal that deserves to be protected and defended.

And saved.

However,

…Not everybody is as well-funded as Capt. Watson and his Sea Shepherd defenders and protectors of ocean creatures.

…Not everybody has the fundraising savvy of PETA or Defenders of Wildlife.

…Not every organization has a Washington, DC lobbyist.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help others who dedicate their lives and sacrifice everything to save animals in danger.

There are angels all over this country who are committed to 24/7 care of abused and neglected wolves.

There are those heroes among us who DO the work, even though they might not be PR or social media savvy and have a staff to handle all the admin duties.

I admire the men and women who are in the trenches, the boots-on-the-ground caregivers  who feed and love and care for these beautiful and much maligned animals.

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary can REALLY use our help. 

His mission is simple but very powerful:

” We rescue wolves and wolf-hybrids that are unwanted, abused, etc. We give them a loving home with three acres to run and play, and all the food they can eat.”

I donated a couple months ago, and I’m going to donate again.

Will you help, too? 

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dearborn.wolfsanctuary

Please contact him to offer any hands on help, too.

How to donate:

Check or money order to:

Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary
31 Cox Creek Ln.
Cascade, Montana 59421

or

PAYPAL:
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=BRUfIKsNIM2LEE4cF1ysnfQFr2iE8uPkBbYvYAV-4YoQWmLJCkTbo8OuwPm&dispatch=5885d80a13c0db1f8e263663d3faee8da8649a435e198e44a05ba053bc68d12e

THANK YOU for donating and PLEASE share/reblog with your friends and readers…sometimes it takes a village to pitch in and help.

***Would anyone like to work with me on a fundraising campaign to help Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary?