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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Of Steaming Mugs & Creative Endeavors

As February sleeps on, the sky remains a steady color of grey. But indoors, we create warm centers of Life around the fire and bring each other mugs of steaming teas and coffees.  It is the time to read and snuggle in blankets, the planning season, where the whole year lies beautifully ahead of us.

Sap will soon flow in the Sugar Maple trees and the birds will begin their sing-song mantras of early spring. I heard my favorite spring bird this morning, testing his song. I call him the 'Hurdy Gurdy Birdy' because that's just what his song sounds like. 

May your day be full of warm mugs of goodness and a snippet of birdsong prelude to early Spring.

In joy,

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Late summer fruits and gifts from the trees...

There is that tail end, a snippet, of seasons that is tacked on at the end of any lengthy stay of weather, that begs us to say, "when will the next season finally get here?"

August weather extending into the flourish of early September leaves many of us asking just that question.  Take heart. In a few weeks, the axis of the earth will shift just enough to send the hours of daylight versus darkness galloping away from us faster than we can run.

There will be frosty air, the kind that makes the tips of our fingers numb, hurried jaunts out to the field to gather the last of the green tomatoes and narrow leafed plantain, and favorite tweedy wool sweaters will be pulled from drawers smelling of last autumn's perfume.

The rush will be on to gather acorn and firewood, depending on if you are a squirrel or a woodsman. And, the ever comforting stock pot will return to the kitchen, re seating itself as the regal overseer of all kitchen merry making for the next 6 months or so.  Next to it sits it's royal counterpart, the tea kettle.

Boots come out of cobwebby closet corners, and striking a match at sunrise to light our candles catalyzes from a physical act into one of spirit and understanding.

Summer stories spill from the tips of the trees as their leaves fall in a dizzying cosmic dance.

It comes upon us quickly, yet we forget each year and still we sit in the late summer heat wondering...waiting for Autumn's arrival.

As I write this, the air is blowing in hotly from the southwest, hot as an oven door left open after baking a peach pie.  The fruits of summer are ripening like tinted gems in the heat, readying themselves for basket and jar, to sit upon our shelves during the cozy months ahead.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A little chart for you to print, and hang inside your cupboard door. If you are 'new' to herbal medicine, this is a good little thing to have to get you started and to 'build' your apothecary. (:

Some Common Medicinal Herbs & Their Uses

Sage:                                        Sore Throats, Nausea, Calming. Digestive Aid, Hair Rinse

Thyme:                                     Antiseptic, Respiratory Expectorant, Headaches

Mint:                                       Colds, Flu, Calming, Digestive Aid,

Comfrey:                                   Externally for cuts, Abrasions, Wounds, Insect bites, Bruises, Soreness.

Red Clover Blossoms:              Arthritis, Diuretic, Calming, Cough/Asthma, Phytoestrogen

Red Raspberry Leaf:                  Astringent, Sore Throat, Laxative, Uterine Toner

Plantain Leaf
(Narrow & Broad):                   Stops external bleeding, Wounds, Dry Skin

Mullein:                                    Expectorant for Respiratory Disorders, Infusions for Earache

Dandelion:                                Diuretic, Potassium, Vitamin A, Liver Cleansing

Elderberry:                               Antiviral

Hops:                                        Sedative, Calming, Phytoestrogen, Muscle Relaxant

Calendula:                                 Dry Skin, Pain, Swelling, Inflammations, Wounds

Echinacea:                                Immune Strengthener
Jewelweed:                                 Poison Ivy, Oak & Sumac relief

Lavender:                                 Calming, Digestive Aid, Depression, Fatigue, Headache

Rosehips:                                   Uplifting, Vitamin C

Motherwort:                              Uterine Toner, PMS, Calming, Blood Pressure

Catnip:                                      Nausea, Indigestion, Calming

St. John’s Wort:                          Depression

Nettle:                                       Anemia, Fatigue

Purslane:                                   Extremely High in Omega 3, Vitamin C

Chamomile:                                Stress Relief, Indigestion

Shepherds Purse:                        Nosebleeds, Deep Bleeding

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Abre la puerta
Her name is Hope and she’s 12 years old,
going on 20 to life. She is god at 5 feet tall.
Abre la Puerta, open the door
and let her in, give her food.

Old Florence lives in the parking garage
at the university with her bags and packs
on the floor all around and she washes
her 84 year old body in the sink at the library
with a piece of flannel from her deceased husband’s pajamas.
Abre la Puerta, she’s god.
Florence is God, there’s a God named Florencia.

Remember that old abuelita, your grandest grandmother?
How she staggered toward you on legs so thin?
You were just a baby then and she smiled all over your infant self
and when you rose young and steaming from the void
that was God in her abuelita form, crying with joy just to see you,
Que, que, que babybita” she’d say to you.
“Oh look at you, you babybaby you…”

“Look,” says God, “she talks.” God talks baby talk.
She opened a door in her belly for you.
Your grandmother is God. God is a grandmother

And you remember that red room where you grew? That was God.
And remember the warm hands that received you? That was God.
And you remember your father’s hands holding your face,
as though it were some kind of jewel that might break?
In that moment, he was God.

Your mate who snores, well… God snores, you see.
Your mate is God, who can never find his socks.
And your lover who burns for things you cannot give,
that is God also.

Your mate is God.
God is a housewife in mudface and hair curlers
at the door waving goodbye in a housecoat.
God wears a housecoat.

And, oh, the world that is young and has loved so deeply
and been betrayed, whose skin hangs like rags
and whose arms have no muscle and whose eyes have lost luster;
open the door of your heartaches and step through the door of your betrayal.
Pass through the hole that is left in your heart.
Pass through because it is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

Do you remember that your legs are el anillo, the ring that circles the lover?
Your legs make a door, pass through the door,
Abre la Puerta pass the bulb through.
Open the door, the most sacred of doors,
the trail through your belly and the road up your spine.
Remember, fire is a door.
and song is a door. A scar is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

The forest on fire is a door
and the ocean ruined is a door.
Anything that needs us
or calls us to God is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
Anything that hurts us,
anything that needs us opens the door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

All of these years of seeming indestructibility,
the grandfather of your world dies
and his heart explodes
and yours breaks into a thousand pieces.
These are doors. Open the doors.
Abre la Puerta. Pass through these doors.

The world is a tribe of one-breasted women.
Walk through the door of the scars on their chest.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

Over the edge of the world you go,
into the abyss. You march in time.
And put the best medicine in the worst of the wounds.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

The lake in which you almost drowned, that is a door.
The slap in the face that made you kiss the floor, that is a door.
The betrayal that sent you straight to hell, that is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

Same old story, all strong souls first go to hell
before they do the healing of the world they came here for.
If we are lucky we return to help those still trapped below.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
Hell is a door caused by pain.
Opening a flower, rain opening the Earth
the kisses of humans opening the heart of the world
these are doors.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
The scar drawn by razors, that is a door. 
The scars that are doors are opened, are opened.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
The scars drawn by chainsaws across forests, those are doors. 
The poem of new life that comes every dawn,
the soaring of sun, that is a door, the grave is a door. 
The door to hell is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.

Your grandmother, your grandfather,
your mother, your father have died leaving a hole in your life.
Step through that hole. It is an opening.
That hole is a threshold. That hole is a door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
Abre la Puerta, open the door.
©Copyright 1980, 2007, Dr. C.P. Estes, All Rights Reserved.
From La Pasionaria, Collected Works, Poetry of Clarissa Pinkola Estes,
forthcoming from Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted here by kind permission of author.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today, while on my daily run around the countryside and the old dirt roads in the glorious autumn sun, and leaf spinning wind, I spotted a beautiful languid Red Tailed Hawk. She was soaring on the updraft and enjoying herself, in a relaxed sort of way. She twirled in beautiful lemniscate figure eight's, every so peacefully above my head for what seemed a very long time. I thought I'd share what it means when a Red Tailed Hawk crosses your path. This excerpt is being shared from a site entitled Love One Another - Divine Child.

Spiritual Meaning of the Red Tail Hawk~

Part of the Role for the individual beside whom Red Tailed Hawk flies is that of Guardian of the Earth Mother. These are individuals who will possess an astute awareness of the concept of the interconnectedness of all things, and will have an inner reverence for all life.

These are the souls that are involved in making the world a better place, whether locally or globally. They will be protectors of the Earth Mother and tread softly upon her, encouraging and educating others to do the same.

Often, they are either found initiating or actively involved in environmental causes, where their keen perception and insight will serve their chosen cause well. Yet it is their day to day existence and fundamental philosophy/foundation of action and belief, that distinguishes these individuals as true champions of Mother Earth as they seek to live in harmony with the ~Ina Maka~ and all that She births, provides, nurtures and sustains.
The red tail of the hawk only appears when the bird reaches maturity. When looking to the human beside whom Red Hawk flies, this is quite significant, for it indicates that the Red Feathers are not easily given, and must instead be earned over time. Hence, the symbolism of the Red Tail Feathers emerging only with age and experience.

Be ever alert for the individual the red tail is flying near, for the Red Tailed Hawk will soar beside the individual whose own gift of vision is exceptionally acute. This may take the form of precognitive dreams and/or visions during which these souls are quite literally able to “see the future.” If the gift of vision is not present from birth, then there will exist within the Red Hawk soul, the ability to pierce the veil that separates falsehood from truth. They will also possess an intensive gaze that can leave those who might find themselves the object of such a gaze, squirming under the penetrating stare.

Equally, Red Tailed Hawk individual, will have the ability to view the broad picture, in much the same fashion that a Hawk can gain a wide view of their surroundings while soaring on the unseen currents of wind as they ride the sky. The human counterpart will be a believer in the philosophy that all things happen for a reason, and it will be this awareness of the Big Picture, that will assist both themselves, and those whom they share their gift of keen insight with, through many a difficult time.

To accept this Totem, is to be knighted as a Guardian and Protector of the Earth Mother and all her Children. Once this fundamental Kundalini energy unfurls as the Red Tail Feathers emerge, the beauty and depth of Spirit that shines brilliantly forth, will be both inspiration and guidance for others who may be just beginning, or in the process of, their own awakening.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

North Bimini, Bahamas, July 2012
Once you fall in love with the Sea, there is no undoing your love.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Catching the Moon

I have been absent from my blog for some time. Well, actually since this past winter when I had an unfriendly visit from Ms. Pneumonia. She took up most of my winter and when I was free of her visit, I immediately set about making up for lost time in my life by heading south to the sea, into 'said' sea with wild dolphins, and trying out new foods and recipes to heal my body and to enrich my spirit. My creativity has soared, but alas I have neglected to put my favorite words down here for you to read, and am now ready to make amends.

So, over the next couple of posts, I will be briefly touching on some of the different and interesting things that have transpired here at The Happy Peasant since I last wrote. Looking dolphins in the eye, swimming over sharks, foraging for wild food in the Bahamas, new moon bonfires, indiginous herbal teas from South America served in warm pottery mugs by moonlight, synchronistic friendships, farmers markets, new soaps...all will be put down here as fast as I can plunk the keys. (:

Today, I am listening to chamber music on the radio, the windows are thrown open to the din of the slowly retiring flora and fauna of this time of year. I have a handful of cashews (my favorite food in the whole world) and a dog eared, haphazard stack of many writing projects sitting next to me, fueling both my body and mind on this glorious late summer's day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Forte'

It appears Spring has decided to show her beautiful face early, and in full forte' force, here in Michigan. Weeks ahead of schedule she arrived and went from flower to flower, branch to branch, coaxing open petals and leaves.  She arrived with a whirl, as our small town of Dexter was hit by an F3 tornado on March 15th. Amazingly, no one was hurt, but many many hundreds of homes were damaged and some were destroyed.  Our small town pulled together and functioned like a well oiled machine of friendship and kindness. Very reassuring in today's times.

Before Spring's appearance, I was the unlucky recipient of a 2 month serious bout with bacterial pneumonia. My first, and hopefully last, experience with it.  I literally could not move from chair to couch without becoming fatigued and learned a whole lot about how to heal pneumonia.

My next post will be all about herbal allies, foods, and supplements, and what I discovered about pneumonia, to help anyone out there who is unfortunate enough to come down with it. It was unreal, that is for sure. I'm so glad and thankful to be well again, to be able to run, and move and have energy. I want to make sure to help anyone who is suffering and wondering if, they too, will ever feel well again. You will.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Old Roots New Page

With the cold long winter nights upon us, and the tucking away of the holidays, we find time to rest, think and renew. 
We are gifted with a plainly wrapped package of the new year, ready for us to write upon the blank pages of the book of time. The old crone whose roots are ripe with wisdom is holding the newborn baby of this wonderful year in one hand, and is handing us the book with her other hand.  We must learn to honor and use her wisdom, roots that reach deep, while still writing on the blank pages of the book before us, branches growing new.
Moon fires and rain dances await many, rites of passage will be crossed, flouncy carefree girlhood will fill children's days, responsible and shadowy manhood will greet many young men, and we may find ourselves handing out kindness as one would pass out apples overflowing from a bushel basket to those who are hungry and in need.  All these, and so much more, await us as we set out on the wooded trail, thick with moss and twinkling night sky. As we set out to greet the year ahead.

***Happy New Year, 2012***
A magical gift, in all it's cloaked, rooted, sleeping wonder.
"Wrap the cloak of winter, and her short days, about you tightly. Slow your movements to examine the weave of this warmth; each one a representation of the days that have passed before you. Be they unraveled, or tight, or moth eaten...reflect on them and then sleep deeply in the silence of night, the blackest midnight. The light, and movement, will come soon enough..."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What Keeps Me Awake At Night (Part I)

What Keeps Me Awake At Night

~That the written word will be lost as we sit and type all our deepest thoughts on our blogs and emails.(I am just as guilty)

~That the beauty of secret journals and little girls with diaries adorned with heart shaped locks, will disappear.

~That dusty books,  the smell of an old book, the discovery of a forgotten tome of paper with broken spine and four leaf clovers pressed deep inside will become a thing of the past.

~That my son, and the sons of the world, will not realize he is capable of anything he could possibly accomplish, and will choose, instead, a less than savory path in life, influenced by all that this immediate-gratification world will thrust at him repeatedly.

~That my daughter, and all the daughters of the world, will sell herself short for the sake of airbrushed techno-pop fads that leave her self-esteem bankrupt.

 ~That tradition, family meals, recipes written by hand, tea parties, music played on old fiddles (including ancient instruments with funny names such as hurdy gurdy and lyre), and storytelling around the fire will vanish.

~That my children's children will not know the sweet taste of honey on their toast, and oatmeal, and in their cups of tea because we have addicted ourselves to digital satellite signals and bushels of high fructose corn syrup that are clogging the bodies and minds of these ultimately important pollinators.

~That simple folk medicine and the remedy of proliferate herbal wilds will be lost in exchange for a physician's prescription supporting mega-pharmaceuticals.

~That annual trips to cut Christmas trees and drink in the sharp pine air of north-wind winter will vanish with the ease of early artificial trees from Walmart.

~That the art of Christmas card writing will go the way of the dinosaur because of the internet.

Please help me to keep these things alive.

Tell the stories, take the time, do things the long, slow, and difficult way to preserve them.

Keep the ways of old flickering bright, so that they may be something new, exciting, beautiful, and useful for the generations to come.

Tradition, storytelling, handwork, care, time...keep them going.

Light a candle and do something the old way, the beautiful way.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Woodland Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, may the peaceful quiet of the leafless trees 
and the nesting animals smile down on you, 
and give you rest, and pause. 

May your thanks be for blessings, happiness and love.

There is no beauty like the silence of the woods in the crisp and cold of late November.

Happy Thanksgiving from The Happy Peasant.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Black Walnut Day

Black walnut day in October. 
Rain in peaty browns.
Rivulets on top of leaves. 
Black walnuts, ready.  
Air so cold, 
fingertips feel numb. 
Black walnut day, in October.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Goat Girls Get Ultrasounds (: (Silly, I Know)

If...if you had told me ten years ago that I would one day be calling a vet to come out to the farm and perform ultrasounds on goats...I would have laughed you off the face of this planet. But, that is just what I did this past week. Amelia and Fiona, my two main Nubian milk goats, were starting to come into milk and this during the week they were supposed to leave to be bred! What to do? I couldn't imagine that they would be pregnant (Amelia had triplet boys in March and I separated them at 12 weeks). It was heard of, but not common. Still, I couldn't send them off to be bred 'if' they were pregnant...and they had to be bred on time or there would be no milk in the spring. What to do? Call the vet. Oh, for a picture. I wish I had taken a picture.

Goat, on stanchion, munching her grain. Vet, with ultrasound wand and fluid and little electronic ultrasound box screen....  Did I mention that a goat ultrasound shows much of their goat insides that digest all that hay they eat? Well, there, I did. Anyhow. No goat kids/no secret mystery pregnancies. Breeding continues as planned.

It turns out that milk goats tend to be what is called 'precocious'. That is, they can come into milk, sometimes without even being bred, and produce milk for years this way.

Tomorrow, the two of them will go to visit their gentlemen goats for a few weeks and Mr. S'more will get to visit the Ewe ladies.

Aren't you glad you stopped here to ready today? A little birds and bees blogging. (:

Busy day of apple sales. Very hot here in Michigan for October 8th! 80 degrees. 4 different sets of family friends stopped today to visit, and the phone rang from out of state...all at the very same time.

The moon is shining brightly in the twinkling night sky. The chickens are calling softly out to each other on their perches in the coops. The goats are ruminating.  The children are tucked into bed.

I am tired.

Thanks to everyone who voted for Lesser Farms in the cider contest. We are in 2nd place and it ends tonight. Thank you for taking the time. We appreciate it. Thank you, too, for supporting small family farms. And remember, to try and buy organic food anytime you can. Every little bit helps.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3 - More Short Notes

The sun is the protagonist today...playing front and center in the autumn warmth, Indian Summer. Ladybugs are out in droves, landing on arms and face, biting sometimes. It is okay; we soak up the sun while we can.

Two of my does are 'mysteriously' coming into day before being taken to see the 'gentlemen goats' for breeding /:  Further details as we unravel this, ahem, goat mystery.

My list was excessively long for groceries and errands this morning. I have been holed up selling apples and working here. I didn't make all my stops, but did treat myself to a container of my favorite raw chocolate from Arbor Farms natural foods store in Ann Arbor and managed to procure meat, bread and milk in lieu of the two loaves I baked on Saturday, the steer that is due to be sent to market on Wednesday and the, ahem, goat mystery.

More details to follow on these happenings. (:

PS: Our farm, Lesser Farms & Orchard, has been nominated for the Best Cider Award from Ann! We have until this Friday to garner enough votes to win. If you would like to vote, you can do so at

Thanks so much! We hear from lots of people how they think our cider is the absolute best, but it would be great to win an award to prove it! (:

PPS: For some reason, spellcheck is not working on blogger, so please excuse any typos. (:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Long Shadows - Short on Time

So very busy, this autumn season is. With apples, cider, harvest, school. Too much, really. My writing has been scarce. The words roll around in my mind, waiting for my feet to stop and to be put on paper, or here.

Lack of time is plentiful, and so I will write short notes until my feet can move slower and the world rests for the winter.

October 1, 2011

The sun is more golden this afternoon and I notice the shadows have changed. The leaves on the trees clack with a knowing that frost will soon be here. Birds sing only the necessary songs.

I gathered goldenrod to dye the wool with. Washing wool and finally putting it out in the crisp fall air to dry.

Unloaded a truckload of pumpkins with Amanda and gathered a half bushel of chestnuts with Albert.

The help for the day served themselves from a dish of homemade lasagna and a fresh apple pie.

The chill was unmistakable in the air tonight. Woodsmoke fills the air here and there and it is time to have the woolens out of the drawers.

Picked the leeks from the garden and will make leek potato soup when time allows.

October 2, 2011

Sun is bright and air is windy and crisp. It will be another very busy day. Served fried oatmeal squares with our own maple syrup, strong coffee and cider for everyone to drink (well, not coffee for the children) (:

Back to the apple room, the eggs and making soap.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Stepping Off The Train

And so, September has arrived. I have said it before, but, the changing of these seasons..? Summer, she reminds me of a beautiful visitor from afar packing her bags to leave us after so many lovely months of carefree fun, laughter and dinner parties. We begged her to stay, but she has other duties elsewhere. She promises to return again next year, though a little older and wiser. 

September, he has already stepped off the train and is shaking hands with everyone, smart and serious in his tailored tweed suit.

"Goodbye Summer." We wave her off with tears in the corners of our eyes. Swallowing hard, we know we must do what we must, and so resolutely attend to the tasks at hand, with September offering his punctual and necessary attendance.

I am sure I'm not the only soul who feels this way. It does not get any easier as the years go by, does it?

Happy September to all the beautiful poetic souls who may stop here to shake hands with the man in the tweed suit, and to wave Summer off on her journey.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tasha Tudor Day ~ Part II

Tasha Tudor was a traditionalist and yet, Tasha Tudor was a revolutionary. ~
"What?", you say..."Tasha, a revolutionary?". 

Yes. You see, while she chose to live as though she were in the 1820's, she also 'chose' to live as she desired. Which, for her time, was revolutionary.  

I think, too often, when we try to emulate Tasha with our homes and our lives, that we become automatic carbon copies of her and feel as though something is missing. I can tell you what that is. It is your own signature style and your own twist to 'living as you choose.' Which, by the way, I am certain Tasha would highly approve of.

In that respect, I would like to share some beautiful clothing that I love. I believe these are very Tasha-ensian and would pass her approval. Feminine and billowing, beautiful yet artistic. I would love to collect more of them. 

Let us remember Tasha for her contribution to the world of beautiful things, but let us, also, not cease in bringing our own beautiful things to the table.

Please do join me in celebrating the joy of beauty...the joy of being feminine.

Take Joy ~ Take Peace ~ 
And, please enjoy wearing skirts if you are so blessed as to be a woman!

Take Joy - Take Peace - Happy Tasha Tudor Day!

Today, August 28, 2011, is Tasha Tudor Day! In honor of the birthday of the beloved illustrator and author, Tasha Tudor. Please take a moment today, to join us in remembering Tasha's beautiful and authentic ways of living. We will be posting pictures and snippets of the ways we incorporate her beautiful ideas into our daily life, and will be having a special Tea today, as well. Check back for pictures, recipes, ideas and thoughts. And as Tasha would have said, "Take Joy!!!".