O Sun, wherefore art thou?

Hey there,

O Sun, wherefore art thou?  That doesn’t sound so much like complaining, does it?  Fancy. 🙂

Took a wee break and now I’m back.  Did you miss me? 🙂

Two words:  New. Phone.

Two more words:  @#!&%!! Frustrating.

Enough said

Into August we go – my birth month.  Yep, another spin around the Sun for me…not yet, but soon; I’m on the cusp, first full day of Virgo.  Right now we bask in all things Leo – can you feel the Sun’s energy? (When we are blessed with it, this year!)  Leo is of course ruled by the Sun and the Sun represents the outer you, or your ego.  The colours? Gold, yellow, amber, orange – the colours of Sun-day. Warm, summery, fun.  Many of the greenies that flower in August are yellow.  Cool fact.

So how does your garden grow?  My veggies are kind of at the in between stage right now.  The early, cooler weather crops are not doing well in the heat, although I’m still harvesting lettuces and Swiss Chard, the radish and spinach have called it quits.  I’m going to re-seed end of August for another cool weather crop in the Fall.  Something went bums up with the peas.  The vines grew, developed the pods, but they never ripened, got soft and then the vines died…hmmm still looking into that one.  It couldn’t have been lack of rain!  They aren’t chewed, so I don’t think anything got into them.  Anyone have any ideas?  Maybe I should have harvested them when they were fully formed, but yellow?  They are called green peas for a reason. >: I’ve left them on the trellis to shade the lettuce, but it doesn’t look pretty…

The hot weather veggies:  cucumbers, beans, mellon, squashes and tomato are all coming along, but not nearly ready to harvest.  Lots of tomatoes on the vines, but very green.  I’m harvesting beans and will be harvesting beets and carrots soon.  We haven’t had a lot of hot Sun, although we did get some this week.  I did call this the year of experiment, garden-wise, so I’m waiting things out.  The early crops were good and I will be harvesting garlic when things dry up a bit, next week.

Endings are new beginnings.
Edit the story and continue the book.

I just got back from visiting in the City (Toronto) for a few days.  Down to see my daughter’s new abode and to visit Mr. G (my grandkitty) 🙂  Lots of walking and it was very hot.  Such a different world from the one here at Blue Roof Living.  I always love to visit – a few days is enough to experience the fast pace, the people, the food, do a little shopping, visit a gallery or two, get caught up.  I usually go for a spin through the financial district, my old stomping grounds from what seems like a lifetime ago, and then back I go to my kitties, the greenies, the birds, the fresh air, the dark night sky and the quiet:  home.  I usually take transit down – I’m not a big fan of driving in the City.  When I get back, there’s Pearl (my VW Bug rag top), patiently waiting for me and all is as it should be again.

Always fun to visit, but I’m not sure I could live there anymore.

Breeaaathe – and into a frenzy of spot watering my gardens as soon as I get my stuff in the door.  (Um, I might have bought a few new plants and tucked them in, here and there.)

It hasn’t been a great Summer to get out on the boat – our Civic Holiday long weekend is upon us; fingers crossed for some Sun and Wind.

Nothing too new critter-wise here (other than insects) – Niles is settling in.  Niles is the latest kitty to call the blue roof home. Ralph brought him home and he’s certainly paying for that…Niles is not far out of kittenhood and is in constant play mode.  (If he would stay still long enough, I’d take his picture and let you see him!)  Ralph is entering his golden years.  Playing is ok for a while, then, enough already, time to rest. Niles will push him one step too far…and then WHACK >ouch<…poor Niles – he’ll learn the hard way. Winnie, in her platinum years, just slugs him whenever she sees him, so he steers clear of Winnie – she doesn’t have the patience for a young whipper snipper like him.  Her mode is called “cranky”.

Winter should be interesting.  If Niles wants a bed by the fire, he’d better win over Winnie first…that’s her domain!

My stone wall?  Sigh  That’s not going nearly as quickly as I had anticipated.  It’s either raining or I can’t stand to be down by the trees for the mosquitoes – they are so fierce this year.  Even with my bug stuff on, I get badly bitten. So not happy about that.  There will be a push in the Fall to get some more work done on it.

One nice thing about the plentiful insects this year (I do try to find something good) is the butterflies!  Lots of them and they are so beautiful…I’ve been studying up on the different kinds and I’ve got most of the ones you find in Southern Ontario in my meadow. YAY!

Gee, that may call for a new book! 🙂 I’ve discovered Mourning Cloaks, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Red Admirals.  Of course, I always have lots of Monarchs, because I have lots of Milkweed in the meadow.

Look at these beauties on the Sea Holly.  Mourning Cloak on left above and Red Admiral on right.

And lots of Bees, which is always a good thing. The Meadowsweet, left above, is alive with Bees – all different kinds.  Look at that big Bumble Bee in the Hosta flower above right.

So, the flower gardens and the insects have most certainly benefited from all the rain we’ve had this year.

What have I been harvesting?  St. John’s Wort, for one.  This herb has also been called Touch and Heal, among other things. Hypericum Perforatum looks like the photo above on the left.  The photo to the right of that shows my jar of the flowers and leaves packed in oil, harvested about two weeks ago.  The jar in the middle, below them shows another harvest, flowers and leaves in oil that have been sitting for almost one month.  Can you see the colour of the oil?  Red!  Historically, the pigment from the crushed flowers was believed to signify the blood of St. John, who was beheaded.  Also the herb is usually flowering around June 24th, which is St. John’s Day.  You know me, I’m more about the woo woo, but interesting fact all the same!  I will leave the jars sitting in the Sun for two Moon cycles.  The Sun extracts the energy of the plant and harvesting by the Moon extracts her energy…it’s a twofer.

What would I use this red oil for?  I would use it topically for any kind of nerve pain.  Sciatica, Shingles, etc. It is also good for sun burn, but be careful with exposing your skin to the Sun while using it, as it can make you susceptible to burns. I’ll make a salve with the oil, incorporating it with beeswax – less messy to use that way.

Let’s turn to the night sky.  We get to experience some neat stuff this month in the sky.  The full Moon is this coming Monday, the 6th.  Mondays are ruled by the Moon.  We also experience a Lunar Eclipse on the afternoon of the Full Moon.  Two weeks later, on Monday the 21st, the New Moon, we experience a Solar Eclipse at almost the same time in the afternoon.  Very interesting.

Jupiter will be very close to the Moon in the week of the New Moon – especially mid week, in the West. Jupiter has been in the night sky since April and we’ll be losing sight of the King Planet before too much longer.  August is also an excellent time to see Saturn in the West to the left of Jupiter.  Because of the tilt of the planet right now, you can easily see Saturn’s rings with good binoculars or a telescope.  Venus still shines brightly in the East before dawn.  The Milky Way is still very easy to see overhead late evening.  A magic wash of light.

Hmmm, where are we tonight…the Moon is in Capricorn.  Very matter of fact, follow the rules kind of day.

Today’s colour is coral.

Well now, lots of goodies and photos this time around.  A little payback for being away. 🙂 For my Canadian readers, do enjoy your August long weekend, whatever you may be up to.  Our season is so fleeting, especially this year.  Enjoy safely.

Until next time,

-Debra

Delightful, Dastardly Dandelion

dandelion field

Hey there,

Repeat after me:  “Dandelion is my friend”.  One more time, “Dandelion is my friend”.  Now, before you get all “she’s crazy, I hate dandelions”, hear me out.  Do not leave this page!  Yes, I am crazy – I’m crazy about Dandelions. 🙂  The bane of of the manicured lawn, the most cursed garden “weed”, the spawn of Satan, you say?

What are we going to do with them?  Here we go…

Every part of this plant is beneficial:  the roots, the stems, the leaves and the flowers.  Dandelion (Taraxacum) is your liver’s BFF.  Your liver is your body’s best ally.  Every drop of blood in your body gets filtered through your liver.  Your liver regenerates itself every six to eight weeks. EVERY. CELL.  Dandelion is also beneficial to your kidneys, your pancreas, your spleen – the middle organs in your body.  Starting to get a little more interested?  MmmmHmmmm

dandelion

The flowers make Dandelion wine (you’ve probably heard that).  How could anything with the word “wine” in it be bad? 🙂  Now there are lots of recipes online to make Dandelion wine.  Me?  I would take some white wine of your choice, dump the contents into a sauce pan, add about two cups of Dandelion petals (if you add the whole flower, it might be too bitter, so pull the petals out of the green base – unless you like bitter).  You can add some citrus peel – orange and/or lemon is good, then simmer gently for about half an hour or so.  Let it cool, strain, squishing out all the goodness from the petals, and then re-bottle or keep it in clean mason jars.  Keep refrigerated.  Enjoy a small glass prior to your dinner.  Most excellent for your whole digestive system.  Call it your Spring tonic.

Wasn’t that easy?  You can also make a vinegar from our friend Dandelion.  Excellent as a salad dressing.

What else can I use it for? Well,

The juice from the stems will eliminate warts and fungus.  Apply directly (think summer feet).  As with any natural medicine, you have to be a little more patient than with the “instant” stuff made of (ew) synthetics you buy at the drug store.

The leaves, of course, you can put in your salad.  You can also cook them with butter and garlic.  Add them to stir fry and soup.  Mmmmm  The older they are, the more bitter they are.  But bitter is good.  Bitter gets your gut juices moving, breaking down nutrients, eliminating the bad stuff.  Make sure you use an oil as a dressing on your salad.  The oil “cooks” the plant cells, effectively opening up all the goodies stored in the cells.  If you start by adding a few leaves to your salad at first, you build your taste for them.  Baby steps.

The roots can be made into a tincture or you can use both the roots and the leaves in a tea.  The roots have different energy at different times of the year, but to get started – just dig them up and use them, whenever!

dandelion-leaf

 

Dandelion or dent de lion (the tooth of the lion) has a bite!  See how the woo woo works?

Why, besides being my liver’s BFF would I go to the trouble (as if going outside and picking them is really any trouble…)?  Well,

Dandelion aids in water retention by extracting excess fluid from cells (read:  PMS, Menopause).  This would mean that it is also good for your heart and high blood pressure.  The plant contains iron, protein, copper, calcium, Vitamins A, C and E, magnesium, potassium and more.

Have you noticed how the bees buzz around Dandelion?  I say if the bees eat them, so should you!

Do I really need to keep cheering you on here?  Bossy Pants me, here…

 

The planetary association with Dandelion, a masculine herb, is Jupiter.  Jupiter is the planet of luck and good fortune.  Besides, it’s fun blowing the fluffy seeds off the stem after it flowers – spreading Dandelion love everywhere!  Everybody knows what a Dandelion is!

How can you say that a field full of Dandelions is not a beautiful thing?  See above.

A word of caution:  You should never pick and eat anything out of a lawn that has been treated with chemicals.  Be sure it is chemical-free for at least five years before eating anything growing there.  Here in Ontario, there is a law against spraying pesticides, however, you know there are some that will still use them.  Some of them are actually labelled “green”.  Um, OK.   The good news?  You don’t have to go very far to find an empty lot or field that is wild and wonderful and pesticide free. 🙂

“If you don’t know the history – you’re doomed to repeat it”

OK, climbing down from my soapbox now, but I hope you’re feeling the Dandelion love…

Goodness, was that a lot to take in or what?  Can you tell I’m back overlooking my meadow and not being city girl anymore?  Although I did enjoy my time in the city (Toronto) with my daughter, I do love my meadow.

Where is our Moon?  We are almost to full (tomorrow night) under a Scorpio Moon.  Intense, hypnotic, confident (see soapbox rant above).  The May full Moon is called the Flower Moon (hello, Dandelion).  We are also starting our first long weekend of the coming summer season and weather guy is promising glorious sunshine here in Southern Ontario. Yay.

Today’s colour?  Pink, as the Sun enters the zodiac sign of Gemini.

I will leave you to thoughts of Dandelion and all that he provides (lesson over).  Go outside, pick a leaf and eat it – your liver will thank you for it.

Until next time,

-Debra