Inspired by trees

Imagine yourself walking along this tree line. Imagine the way it would smell, the way the air would feel on your skin. Your fingertips brushing against the trees or your hand pressed against the bark. Smell the leaves and the grass and wander into your mind.

Monday, January 18, 2010

10 uses for wood ash

A cord of firewood can produce 50 pounds of ashes—a formidable heap of soot but also a great source for mineral-rich dust that has practical uses. Just be careful to store them in a fireproof container with the lid shut to choke any embers. Unlike ashes, you can't use flames any place except in the fireplace.

Use wood ashes to:

1. De-skunk pets. A handful rubbed on Fido's coat neutralizes the lingering odor.

2. Hide stains on paving. This Old House technical editor Mark Powers absorbs wet paint spatters on cement by sprinkling ash directly on the spot; it blends in with a scuff of his boot,

3. Enrich compost. Before the organic compound get applied to soil, enhance its nutrients by sprinkling in a few ashes, says the host of radio's You Bet Your Garden, Mike McGrath. Adding too much, though, ruins the mix.

4. Block garden pests. Spread evenly around garden beds, ash repels slugs and snails.

5. Melt ice. TOH building editor Tom Baker finds it adds traction and de-ices without hurting soil or concrete underneath.

6. Control pond algae. One tablespoon per 1,000 gallons adds enough potassiumm to strengthen other aquatic plants that compete with algae, slowing its growth,

7. Pump up tomatoes. For the calcium-loving plants, McGrath places 1/4 cup right in the hole when planting,

8. Clean glass fireplace doors. A damp sponge dipped in the dust scrubs away sooty residue.

9. Make soap. Soaking ashes in water makes lye, which can be mixed with animal fat and then boiled to produce soap. Salt makes it harden as it cools.

10. Shine silver. A paste of ash and water makes a dandy nontoxic metal polisher.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Let's talk about the many benefits of Lavender. Lavender is my favorite herb, so I figured I would share what I know about it.
Lavender, as an essential oil, has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. I use it in my soaps, lotions, bath salts, and body scrubs. People use it in aromatherapy for stress-relief, relaxation and headaches. It can be rubbed on your temples. It is also one of the best insect repellents. It can be used as an acne treatment as well. Lavender is a good treatment for psoriasis and eczema. I love to drink lavender tea before bed. It is extremely relaxing and assists with restful, pleasant sleep. Gypsy Organic Red Lavender tea is my favorite and I get it at Giant Eagle.
Other food uses are lavender honey and lavender scones or muffins. People use the lavender buds for baking. Lavender buds would also make a beautiful substitution for confetti at a wedding.

NOTE** Avoid ingesting lavender during pregnancy and breastfeeding.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gifts, not presents

Ok, so I am done with finals and getting ready to leave for the holidays. We are leaving tomorrow to drive to Ithaca, NY then to Nicole's Mom and Step-father's house in Newark Valley, NY where we will be with her family until Saturday. We then travel to my parents' house in Coudersport, Pa until Monday. Then, it is off to Nicole's Dad's house in New Jersey until New Year's Eve, when we will travel back to Meadville to celebrate our Christmas together.

This time of year can be chaotic for everyone and stressful. The thing to remember is why we do it all. We need to be mindful of our families, our blessings and our gifts (not presents). Giving is one of the greatest joys. I was reading a book about a woman who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and she thought her life was over. 28 gifts in 28 days. I love this idea. To give to others as a way of sharing yourself and recognizing the gifts (not presents) that you have to offer. We all have the most beautiful gifts inside to offer. Sometimes, the most special gift to offer can be the words of love, joy and passion you share with your loved ones. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos and distress that surrounds us, but ever so important to remain present in our hearts and souls of the true gifts we have to give. People will not remember what you bought them from year to year, but they will remember how you made simple moments special. So, take the time to go for a walk or a hike with your loved ones. Go sled-riding, smell the fresh pine that is ever so beautiful this time of year with the snow hanging from the bows. Listen to the silence the snow has to offer and take the time to get lost in your mind, if even for a moment. Share your favorite cookie and get warm by a fire. Make hot cocoa and rub someone's shoulders. Built snow forts and have a snow ball fight. Pull one another around in sleds or make snow angels. Take pictures of all the beautiful things nature has to offer, create the environment you love the most.
Most importantly, take the time to make a list of at least 5 gifts you have to offer. Share that with your family friends and listen to theirs. It is an amazing way to gain insight into our families own perspectives of themselves.
Enjoy your holidays and may 2010 be a wonderful year! Positivity, love and joy to all!