Monday, April 30, 2012

Woohoo! My First Publication!

Woohoo! My First Publication!

I took one of the chapters from the book I'm writing and turned it into a mini-book so I could see how the whole process works. It is sooo cool to hold your own work in your hands!


Now to finish the big one - which is in the editing stage. The Dictionary alone is 600+ pages, and the Correspondences will be about that as well. I'm working to get it finished and published by mid-May.

Totems, Familiars, Mundane & Magickal Creatures Correspondences  67 pgs.  $9.95

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yellowdock

Yellowdock

Yellowdock (not my picture)

Latin: Rumex crispus

Other Names: Amla vetasa (Sanskrit name), Chin-ch'iao-mai, Curled dock, Curly dock, Garden patience, Narrow Dock, Parell, Rumex, Sour dock

Magickal Attributes: Business, Fertility to conceive, Healing, Luck, Money, Prosperity

Medicinal & Other Uses: Anemia, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-tumor, Astringent, Blood purifier, Boils, Detoxifier, Diuretic, Hepatitis, Immune stimulant, Increases platelets, Itching, Jaundice, Liver, Lymphatic system enhancer, Spleen re-builder, Ulcers

Deities: N/A

Gender: M
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air

************
Harvest Time:
Autumn after the seeds turn brown

Garden Uses:
N/A

Plant Feed Recipe:
N/A

Culinary Uses:
Cook the leaves as a pot herb side dish. Seeds can be ground to make a flour, boiled to make coffee, or infused to make tea.

Other Uses:
Salves

************
Parts & Their Uses
Astringent
Blood purifier
Detoxifier
Diuretic

Flowers:
N/A

Drying Flowers:
N/A

Leaves:
Apply crushed leaves to boils, itches & rashes.

Combine with Burdock & Dandelion to make a healing tea.

Roots:
Macerate root into a pulp and apply to cuts, wounds & swellings.

Whole Plant:
Dried, crushed and made into a tea, especially in combination with Burdock & Dandelion.

Tinctures:
Fill a jar with Yellowdock root and cover with grain alcohol. Keep stored in the dark for several weeks before using.

Oils:
To make a very strong preparation is to take a quantity of root to fill a crock pot and cover it with olive oil. Put this on the low heat and leave for 12 hours and then strain. Then put more root in the same oil again until you have used three batches of root. This causes the oil to be a very strong representative of yellow dock. It can be used in any type of itch. You can also add other astringents and soothing agents such as oak bark or comfrey root to this for various purposes, but yellow dock can be used alone. I usually add poke leaves with the root in order to help with eczema, etc. Enough beeswax is added to make the oil a salve consistency.

Infusions:
To make a Yellowdock syrup:
Take a pint of distilled water and boil down half pound of yellow dock root to about a cupful. Strain the liquid in a sieve and throw away the boiled root. Add half a cup dark honey, half a cup blackstrap molasses (thick, dark, heavy sweet syrup) and one teaspoon of pure maple syrup to the strained liquid. You may also add a pinch of vanilla. Blend everything by hand to a smooth, thick, sweet, sticky liquid or syrup. This syrup may be taken one teaspoon at a time to help bronchitis, asthma as well as stop a tickling or scratching in the throat or lungs.

Infusion Recipe:
Decoction: use 1 tsp. root in 1 cup boiling water, cover with a saucer, and let stand for 1/2 hour, strain and reheat. Sweeten with honey, if desired. Take hot, 1 to 2 cups a day.

Powder: for skin problems the dose is 12 grains.

Syrup: boil 1/2 lb. of crushed root in 1 pint of syrup; taken in tsp. doses 3-4 times a day.

Lost & Found

Lost & Found
This poor little guy wandered on our property and began baying so forlornly when he smelled our dogs. So I went out and called to him and he came to me immediately. I picked him up and carried him to the house - couldn't bring him in as our dogs would never allow him in. 

I put him in an empty chicken pen and gave him food & water. He ate & drank well and is now waiting for someone to pick him up. I took pictures and placed him on Craig's List. 

People that can't SAFELY contain their animals don't deserve to have them! The last time we had a dog show up and we placed it for free on Craig's List it was gone in a matter of hours. Hopefully the same will happen with this guy. I'm calling him Samson. Why I don't know - he's very small! LOL

So, everybody, meet Samson! I'll post an update when anything happens. :)




Ok, update: His owners, our neighbors at the bottom of the hill, came and picked him up. They'd gone out to feed all their dogs (hunting dogs) and this one had gotten out. They drove around trying to find him and came up the hill and there he was in the pen. He was very happy to see his dog - oh, by the way, his name is "Chopper". Cute name! :)

I had considered going down the hill to see if he was theirs, but their dogs never get out and are always penned up, so I just didn't think he belonged to them. Besides he came from the other direction when I found him. Anyway, at least he's home!

How to Read Bar Codes

This was posted on Facebook and I thought I'd share it here - it's something EVERYONE should know and look for when shopping!

***
HOW TO READ BAR CODES...(everyone must know)





ALWAYS READ THE LABELS ON THE FOODS YOU BUY--NO MATTER WHAT THE FRONT OF THE BOX OR PACKAGE SAYS, TURN IT OVER AND READ THE BACK---CAREFULLY!

With all the food and pet products now coming from China, it is best to make sure you read label at the supermarket and especially when buying food products. Many products no longer show where they were made, only give where the distributor is located. The whole world is concerned about China-made "black-hearted goods".
Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China ? The world is also concerned about GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods; steroid fed animals (ex: 45 days old broiler chicken).

It is important to read the bar code to track its origin. How to read Bar Codes .... interesting!

If the first 3 digits of the bar code are 690, 691 or 692, the product is MADE IN CHINA. 471 is Made in Taiwan .

If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 00-09 then it's made or sourced in USA
This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves. Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products "MADE IN CHINA", so they don't show from which country it is made.

However, you may now refer to the barcode - remember if the first 3 digits are:

690, 691, 692 ... then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 - 09 ... USA and CANADA
30 - 37 ... FRANCE
40 - 44 ... GERMANY
471 ........ Taiwan
49 .......... JAPAN
50 .......... UK

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Change of Project in Mid-Stride

Change of Project in Mid-Stride
Have you ever started a project and in the middle of it you get sidetracked into something else? Well, that just happened to me.

My poor rose beds need weeding big time and I've been putting it off. So today I decided to start. Well, 3 rose bushes in (there are 10) I hit a Yellowdock plant and when I tried to pull it out I found that the root was about an inch thick! Damn!

So I started digging trying to get to the bottom of it, thinking it would be a short sidetrack from the main project. Yeah, right. The more I dug the more determined I got to literally, "get to the bottom of it". Forty-five minutes later I have this:


This thing, root only, is 14" long! Not sure what I'll do with it. I really don't want to cut it up. So I'll let it dry and figure it out later. The root splits at the bottom, so it may make an interesting Root Dollbaby....hmmm, I guess we'll see. Might be interesting to combine this Yellowdock root with the Datura root I dried a last year:



These two look like they'd make a great pair! Lord Rumex & Lady Datura!



Digging this fucker up wore my ass out - I'm done for the day! Besides, lucky for me, it's started raining! LOL

***
Common Name: Yellowdock
Latin Name: Rumex crispus
Other Names: Curled Dock, Curly Dock, Dock, Garden Patience, Rumex, Sour Dock
Magickal Attributes: Business, Fertility to conceive, Healing, Luck, Money, Prosperity
Other Uses: Anemia, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-tumor, Astringent, Blood purifier, Boils, Detoxifier, Diuretic, Hepatitis, Immune stimulant, Increases platelets, Itching, Jaundice, Liver, Lymphatic system enhancer, Spleen re-builder, Ulcers
Gender: M
Planet: Jupiter
Element: Air
Deities: N/A

Common Name: Datura
Latin Name: Datura spp.
Other Names: Angel's Trumpet, Angel Tulip, Apple-of-Peru, Devil Weed, Devil's Apple, Devil’s Cucumber, Devil's Trumpet, Estramonio, Ghost Flower, Green Dragon, Gypsyweed, Hell’s Bells, Herb of the Devil, Inferno, Jamestown Weed, Loco Seeds, Locoweed, Mad Apple, Moonflower, Moon Weed, Pricklyburr, Sorcerer’s Herb, Stechapfel, Stinkweed, Stramoine, Thornapple, Thornapple Leaf, Tolguacha, Trumpet Lily, Witch’s Thimble, Yerba del Diablo, Zombie's Cucumber  
Magickal Attributes: Divination, Dreamwork, Flying ointment, Hexing, Hex-breaking, Protection, Sleep
Other Uses: POISON: Do NOT ingest, Ritual use ONLY! Hallucinogenic, Narcotic: Anodyne, Antispasmodic, Asthma, Earache, Heart disorders, Pupil dilation
Gender: F
Planet:Saturn
Element: Water
Deities: Venus

Source: A Witch's Book of Correspondences 2007 by Viktorija Briggs

How to Choose the Right Herb for Your Work

How to Choose the Right Herb for Your Work
Categorizing the Element, Gender, & Planet
I’d like to share the information I've learned over the years regarding the “Gender, Planet & Element” of the herbs and how these aspects affect what herbs should be used for each specific work. Some of them will vary from that found elsewhere (such as books and online). The reason being that, during my own personal research and experimentation I found the information to be incorrect, contradictory, different from one source to another, or just not there at all.

After a lot of research I found that the herbs are divided in these categories for specific reasons, such as the part of the plant used, the magickal intents it’s used for, or its medicinal uses. Each category has a set of standards that, when an herb is not in the right “category” in one of the placements of “Gender, Planet, & Element”, then it makes the information contradictory, if not incorrect. And as I never found any explanation for the incorrect usage, but plenty for how to apply correct categorization, I subsequently altered the incorrect information.

Each herb is categorized according to the combined attributes of: the Element (Earth, Air, Fire, or Water), its gender (Masculine or Feminine), the part of the herb used (Seed, Root, Leaf, or Flower), and the Planet (the Zodiac and the planets of the days of the week). Here are the four groupings from which a plant is categorized:


Element:
Gender:
Planets:
Part:
Air
Masculine
Aquarius, Gemini, Jupiter, Mercury
Flower
Fire
Masculine
Aries, Jupiter, Leo, Mars, Sun, Sagittarius
Seed
Earth
Feminine
Capricorn, Earth, Saturn, Taurus, Virgo
Root
Water
Feminine
Cancer, Moon, Pisces, Saturn, Scorpio, Venus
Leaf

***
Herb Usage in Magick Works
When we begin our Pagan’s/Witch’s Path we begin with simple actions such as lighting a candle and incense. Those are so easy. They’re so harmless. Everybody does it, so it doesn’t look like you’re doing something “weird”. Nobody has to know you’re actually doing a spell.

But then you begin to feel like you need “more”. Something’s missing but you’re not totally sure what. You think of the what your books and online articles say: herbs, oils, and stones. Ok, oils are easy, they can be bought in little bottles already labeled as to what they’re for. You have no idea what’s in them, but who cares at this point, its just all too confusing. But then you get to the herbs. Oh, shit. WTF! Now what?

I mean, there are literally millions of plants, herbs, and trees that each have their own attributes that can be applied in your magickal works. So, now you have to research all those herbs. Some websites list a few, some sites list hundreds. Books are great for learning even more about these herbs & plants. My own personal library has more than a dozen various books on herbs, their uses, growing & harvesting them, etc.

But, what about those spells that call for all these “odd” herbs you don’t have? You’ll have to either buy them or grow them, provided you live in the right climate. There has to be an easier way to acquire an herb pantry with enough variation in herbs that have a good cross-over of attributes that you won’t have to buy or grow too many.

Aside from deciding which herbs have enough cross-over attributes you will have to also take into consideration who or what they’re being used for, meaning the gender of the person or energy of the intent.

For example: a woman who needs personal power to overcome a co-dependency situation would need very powerful herbs of strength & protection. You might consider herbs that are feminine in gender because she’s a woman, but to overcome a very masculine problem you would need masculine energies to fight them with. A simple amulet to carry around for this situation would be an acorn, which is a favorite of the old Scottish Witches for strength & protection. There are many herbs that are excellent for burning in ritual, dressing a candle, adding to a ritual meal. But you must make sure that the herbs chosen have all of the attributes that fit the situation, not just “strength & protection”. In our example we will look for “power, protection, strength”.

The attributes known for each herb must be taken not individually, but almost as a whole. For the above mentioned example here are a few comparisons:

Agrimony: Banishing, Binding, Counter-magick, Exorcising, Healing, Hex breaking, Protection, Reverse spells, Sleep

Alder: Adventurism, Banishing & controlling Elementals, Bravery, Charisma, Charm, Face that which you’ve been avoiding, Creation magick, Divination, Elemental magick, Faery magick,  Guidance, Fertility, Journeys, Leadership, Love, Prophecy, Protection, Resurrection, Sacred to Druids, Self-confidence, Spiritual growth, Supervision skills, Visions, Weather magick, Wind magick

Camphor: Chastity, Control, Divination, Dreams, Health, House blessing, Personal influence, Past-life memories, Persuasiveness, Psychic awareness, Purification, Sexual desire repression

Carnation: Emotional healing, Healing, Luck, Masculine energy, Power, Protection, Strength, Vitality

Cayenne: Cleansing, Divorce spells, Fire magick, Healing, Hexing, Love, Passion, Protection, Purification, Repels negative energy, Separation spells, Strength, Un-hexing

Chrysanthemum: Protection, Strength

Cinnamon: Abundance,  Aphrodisiac, Attraction, Creativity, Courage, Energy, Fertility, Financial matters, Fortune, Healing, Love, Luck, Lust, Passion, Power, Protection, Prosperity, Psychic powers, Speed, Spirituality, Strength, Success

Dragon’s Blood: Aggression, Banishing, Courage, Defensive magick, Dragon magick, Empowerment, Energy, Exorcism, Fertility, Fire Elemental invocation, Empowerment, Fire magick, Hex breaking, Love, Lust, Physical strength, Political magick, Potency, Power, Power amplifier, Protection, Purification, Rapid results, Sex magick, Strength , Warding evil

Fennel: Clear vision, Flattery, Healing, Power, Protection, Purification, Sex magick, Strength, Vitality

Hawthorn: Anti-lightning, Attract Faeries, Banish negative spirits, Celibacy, Charm making, Chastity, Cleansing, Clear away old habits, Concealing magick, Creativity, Faery magick, Fertility, Fishing magick, Ghost repelling, Happiness, Health, Inner journeys, Insight, Intuition, Love, Masculine sexuality, Marriage, Patience, Prosperity, Protection, Psychic protection, Purification, Purity, Self-confidence, Sexuality, Wands, Weather magick, Wishes

There are many, many more, but these will do for this demonstration. Now, look at each of those herbs mentioned. What “feel” do you “see” in this grouping of herbs? Never mind their attributes, I‘m referring to the herbs themselves. They’re all “spicy”! They have a “bite” to them. They emote a strong essence.

Now, compare those above with these in relation to the situation we are working on (personal empowerment to overcome co-dependency):

Cedar: Abundance, Baby blessing, Courage, Fertility, Fortune, Healing, Health, Money, Love, Luck, Power, Prosperity, Protection, Psychic power, Purification, Strength, Wealth, Wiccaning

Ginger: Abundance, Courage, Fertility, Fortune, Love, Luck, Money, Power, Prosperity, Sex magick, Sexuality, Strength, Success

Ginseng: Beauty, Healing, Health, Love, Lust, Protection, Purification, Wishes

Kelp: Healing, Protection, Strength, Travel, Water magick

Mandrake: Binding, Fertility, Health, Love, Magick, Money, Power, Protection, Psychic powers, Sexuality

Mistletoe: Abundance, Business, Creativity, Exorcism, Faery magick, Fertility, Fortune, Handfasting, Healing, Health, Hunting, Love, Luck, Peace, Prosperity, Protection, Purity, Repels negative energy, Sexuality, Strength, Success

That’s enough for here. Ok, what do you “see” & “feel” here? They’re “warm”, but not “spicy”. While the wanted “power, protection, strength” may be given attributes, there are many others that do not “fit” the situation we’re dealing with. These have an abundance of money, travel, and sexuality in them. These would be fine as a secondary ritual to acquire the money needed to travel away from a sexually explosive relationship……can you see what I’m doing? I’m reading the herbs like a descriptive sentence.

I know this sounds like a lot to do, but the way I started out studying which herbs to work together with in particular rituals, is to look them up, write them down (or copy & paste on the computer - much easier), and then compare them by reading them into my descriptive sentence. Sometimes I feel compelled to add one that I wasn’t planning on. If my intuition is telling me to add it, then I do. Later, when I double check it, I am always amazed at what its attributes are because they inevitably add a dimension to the herbal energies that I wasn’t even thinking about, but were the perfect “cherry on top”!

Herbs can be intimidating at first. Too many books & websites only list the herbs by their attributes, but don’t take into consideration their gender, planet, or element. This will make a difference, especially in certain situations.

Another method when considering which herbs for a situation is to make a list of the herbs you want that have the correct correspondences, then divide them according to Gender, Planet, and Element. Here’s an example for the purpose of “Blockages Removed”:

Herbs of Choice:
Cayenne       
Chamomile
Dragon’s Blood
Hyssop
Lemon
Pepper
Sage
Yarrow

Masculine Herbs:
Cayenne
Chamomile
Dragon’s Blood
Hyssop
Pepper
Sage

Feminine Herbs:
Lemon
Yarrow

Planet of Each Herb:
Sun: Chamomile
Moon: Lemon
Mars: Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper
Jupiter: Hyssop, Sage
Venus: Yarrow
Saturn: Yarrow

Element of Each Herb:
Earth: Yarrow
Air: Sage
Fire: Cayenne, Chamomile, Dragon’s Blood, Hyssop, Pepper
Water: Lemon, Yarrow

Now, look at each in each correspondence and see which ones have the same aspects of Gender, Planet, and Element.

Masculine/Mars/Fire:
Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper

Masculine/Jupiter (2)/Sun (1)/Fire (2)/Air (1):
Chamomile, Hyssop, Sage

Chamomile’s planet is the Sun, its addition here being obvious, as it is a great big ball of fire in the sky.

Sage’s Element is Air, but it is included with Chamomile & Hyssop because it has two of the same aspects plus Air which fuels Fire. Without Air Fire is non-existent.

Feminine/Moon/Saturn/Earth (1)/Water (2):
Lemon, Yarrow

These are both Feminine plants. While Yarrow has aspects of both Water & Earth, it is the aspects of Water that would be included when using these two together.

Analyze these 3 recipes. Which one would be the strongest and most powerful, and thus the best for a hard & fast blockage removal? Which one would work best for a long term, subtle blockage removal?

Hard & fast: 1st choice: Cayenne, Dragon’s Blood, Pepper; 2nd choice: Chamomile, Hyssop, Sage

Slow & subtle: Lemon, Yarrow

Each will work for blockage removal, which to use is dependent upon what effect you need or want.

Get to know these Gender, Planet, Element formulas, it will make a huge difference in your herbal knowledge and working. (Nobody taught me this, I had to figure it out for myself. I hope it will be of as much use to all of you as it has been for me).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Making Oils Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

Making Oils Doesn't Have to Be Expensive
When I set myself purposefully upon this spiritual Path I read everything I could find, there was no internet, so research was through libraries & bookstores. Learning the correspondences of stones wasn't so difficult as there are books all over about those and Melody's book set was easily obtained at the bookstore. And it's about the only 2 books you'd ever need!

But when it came to oils and making them....good luck! Although expensive, it was just easiest to buy them. So I picked carefully and got ones that were "general" in use, such as "Come To Me", "Money", and "Witch's". By using one in conjunction with another I could pretty much cover the spectrum of any work to be done.

Over the years though I bored with these. While they worked great, I wanted something more personal and more specific. And by this time the internet was the go-to place for everything. The problem I ran into though was that most recipes called for Essential Oils - and those are, or can be, quite expensive. It was cheaper to just stick with my "general" oils. Nothing I read explained how it would've been done historically in the sense of the average lay-person and their extremely limited budget and the availability of "foreign" oils. THAT was the information I was looking for.

The Hoodoo/Rootworkers that began to show up online were the closest I'd come to up to that time. But still, they use the EO's and other "foreign" materials & ingredients. Once I adapted my herb craft practice to my oil craft I realized that all that was missing was the oil! I already had the herbs, I just needed to put them in a carrier oil, let them stand for a few weeks and voila! I'd have my oils, for any and all spell work purposes.

Many people suggest Virgin Olive Oil, but I found it to be too thick, too heavily scented (and not a pleasing scent to me), and relatively expensive. I prefer the lighter oils: Sunflower, Safflower, Corn, and Soy. These are also crops that are grown in this area, thus historically, would've been easily available to use for crafting oils for spell works.

It was in front of me all the time!

So I now have quite a shelf full of oils made with my own recipes - and many more are written down and ready to be made. All I need are the bottles to put them in. Which is another point I'd like to make. I don't buy my bottles, unless I find some interesting ones at a flea market. Most of mine are re-purposed from jelly jars. It's taken many, many years, but I harvest or wildcraft my own herbs & plant materials, and I finally make all of my own oils, and all at a very inexpensive cost!

Here is my shelf of oils:


Here are a couple of close-ups of the bottles:

Banishing, Protection, Money, Love

 
Love, Mandrake, Dragon's Blood, Blockages Removed (Strong & Fast) (small bottle), 
St. Joseph's (small bottle in front)

Fiery Wall of Protection, Juniper, Cedar, Blockages Removed (Slow & Steady)


Cedar, Blockages Removed (Slow & Steady), Blockages Removed (Strong & Steady), Dragon's Blood, Control Over Others, 
Blockages Removed (Strong & Fast) (small bottle in front)

I'd like to find more of the corked bottles. There were only 5 of them so I bought all of them. The small bottles are syrup bottles from Cracker Barrel. The liquor bottle I found out in my woods buried in the mud by the creek. and the square bottle I got at a yard sale. I have a few other bottles that don't have lids or corks for them - yet - so they have to wait to be used. LOL I love bottles, so making my oils just gives me another excuse to find & collect them!

Loaded Nutmeg - Money Amulet

Loaded Nutmeg - Money Amulet
Materials
Nutmeg
Money Herbs
Green Candle
Drill

Instructions
1) Carefully drill a hole in one end of the nutmeg.


2) Stuff the hole with the herbs.


3) Light the candle and carefully pour the melted wax over the hole to seal in the herbs.



Place on your altar to consecrate.

Either leave on your altar or keep with you in a Mojo Bag.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oooo, Lookie What I Got!

Oooo, Lookie What I Got!
I went wildcrafting for Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum) a couple of days ago and was thrilled to find some great pieces. So I decided yesterday to go back down to the woods for more. I dug up quite a few great pieces, all of them between 6" & 8" long. 

When I washed them all off I found these two:


A perfect Male & Female pair! (LOL She even has boobs!)

I haven't decided if I will sell these or not. Probably not - until I find more. I'll be going back down into the woods to get more this coming week. There's only about 6 - 8 more weeks before the plants disappear and I'll have to wait until next year (if we're even still here).

In the mean time I excited with my find. I posted the others on Etsy for $10 + $5 shipping. Mine are whole pieces not chips or broken bits, unlike every place I've found online. Hopefully I'll sell a few! :D

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tree Cuttings

Tree Cuttings
When we moved here in Sept. '08 there were no plants or trees around the house. There were large mature trees on the hill and down the driveway, but nothing near the house. I don't like emptiness so I had to begin filling in all that empty space!

Around the house itself I planted red & white roses along the front porch, and Burning Bushes on the southwest side. Along the fence line in the front yard I planted 2 Curly Willows and a Contorted Filbert. On the hill I planted 6 of those multi-fruit trees - only 3 of which are still alive; 2 doing very well (the 5-apples), and 1 (the 5-plums) that is a bit "iffy". And down on the other end of the corn crib, I planted a gorgeous deep red/purple Chinese Plum tree, which I can't wait until it gets bigger! Sadly, I didn't take a picture of it when I planted it last year. Honestly, I didn't think it would make it.

Each year I've taken cuttings from the Curly Willows, then the next year planted those that rooted. I have 3 planted elsewhere around the hill. They're fast-growing trees, so those first ones we planted 3 yrs ago are now over 10' tall and just about as wide. Here are their before & after pics:

Tree #1 Before (Spring 2009)

 After (Spring 2012)

 Tree #2 Before (Spring 2009)

 After (Spring 2012)

 The Contorted Filbert hasn't grown quite so much. LOL It hasn't gotten any taller, but it has gotten wider. Go figure. Not sure if it's because it's a slow growing tree or if it's just the tree's location. Either way, it's still a cool looking tree!


Before (Spring 2009)

After (Spring 2012)

This year I decided to thin all 3 trees out (the Contorted Filbert always gets really thick around the base). The Chinese Plum I learned has to be kept trimmed back a bit at first or it will get all spindly and unattractive. So it got a pruning as well. 

Previously I'd only take a few cuttings here & there of the Curly Willows, but this time I went to town. They were definitely thanking me that they could now breathe easier! Of course, the Curly Willows quite talkative anyway. The Contorted Filbert is a rather quiet stodgy ol' character, never really expressing himself much, so his response was a rather stoic "ok, thanks" kind of thing. But I got the definite feeling that he feels much better as well.

The pruning was the easy part. Now, the fun began: haul out the long folding table so I could work outside (too gorgeous out not to!), brought out the planters for the cuttings to be planted in, brought out the fertilizer, a large tub, the hose, my hat to keep the sun off me and I was ready to begin.

I laid out each of the individual tree types in their own pile, stripped the leaves from the branches as I cut them into 8" + sections. These were then placed in the tub which I'd filled with water and some of the fertilizer, so I had a kind of "fertilizer soup". Once the branches of the tree I was working on was cut and in the tub I began getting the pots ready for them: soil, fertilizer, more soil, water, then placed the cuttings, then more soil, then more water. Then place the planter on the plant shelf I have that is attached to the back steps (next to the new Herb Garden Wheel).

This whole process took me about 4 or 5 hours. I had far more cuttings of the Curly Willows than I had soil and pots to place them in, but I think 52 is enough to get at least some of the cuttings to root! LOL

My total cuttings were:
7 Chinese Plum
9 Contorted Filbert
52 Curly Willow
My shelf of cuttings (the top planter is Lavender seeds)

Next year I should have a few trees to sell! If I hang on to some of them for another year, then I'll have even larger ones to sell. Maybe, just maybe I can convince hubby that I really do need a greenhouse! :) 

A greenhouse & bees are my next projects-to-be!

Herb Garden Re-do

Herb Garden Re-Do
Ok, have you ever done a project then looked at it and wondered "WTF was I thinking?!" Yeah, that's what I did with my herb garden. A seriously WTF situation.

I decided to place the herb garden near the kitchen door rather than up on the hill with the rest of the garden like previous years (which I still haven't dug out - another story). A few years ago I found this old metal wagon wheel buried in the woods. I was ecstatic when I found it, but it spent 3 yrs just leaning on the side of the steps because I had no idea what to do with it. Which in itself is ridiculous as what I finally did with it is an idea I've seen many times before in magazines and online. I really must've had some kind of mental brain fart going on where this damn wheel is concerned....and not just because I didn't get a clue as to what I should do with it.

So, a week or so ago I got a wild hair up my ass and decided that my herb garden was going to be planted. As I was gathering everything I happened to walk past that damn wheel again (can't miss it leaning on the kitchen steps' rail). Well, blamo! Say, "duh!". It finally hits me that I will use that damn wheel for my herb garden! Hello, light bulb goes on.

Ever have one of those "duh" moments like that? It's right in front of you the whole time and you just never see it! Well, my mental steps finally go all the way to the top...for this project anyway - or so I thought.

So I laid the wheel down, dug out around it to get the circumference, moved it back out of the way and began tearing up the ground. I removed the grass & weeds, dug in deep, broke it all up, added fertilizer & water to mix it up and break it all up some more. Laid the wheel down on top, drew a diagram on a piece of paper so I could keep track of what herbs were placed in what spoke areas. Woohoo! Done!

Yeah, until our lovely clay soil dried and it looked like the fucking desert! OMFG! I was so pissed I couldn't stand it. Really? I was that stupid?! What a waste of seeds. It didn't matter if I watered it until next Christmas, nothing was going to come up out of that clay cement they call "soil" around here.

I walked away, but had to look at it every time I came down those steps, which pissed me off all the more. It took about a week to get from pissed to "ok, time to fix it". My Dad always taught my sister and me that "if you're going to do something, do it right the first time so you don't have to go back and do it over." LOL I'd have to quantify that with - make sure you're head's on straight first!

So I bought a bag of garden soil, gathered my tools, seeds & fertilizer - again - and started over. I removed the wheel, dug up the clay-soil, watered it down, broke it all up, added some of the garden soil, mixed that in, and then poured the remainder of the bag on top. After spreading it evenly all around I placed the wheel back on top, and using my previous diagram I placed the herb seeds in their designated spaces, watered it and voila! finally done!

LOL Looks so much better too!


Now to wait for The Mother to bless the seeds with Her energy so the seeds will germinate and all those lovely plants to grow and fill in the wheel! It will be beautiful, I can't wait!