When did Farming become Political?

When did Farming become Political?

—When industries decided to redefine agriculture for financial reasons!  This is happening in many communities. When my husband and I visited his hometown of Plainfield, Illinois, he barely recognized the environment. The once small farm community with its rich topsoiled lands had been sold to developers, and housing tracks stretched as far as the eye could see. Chicago’s suburbs were on the march!

Our version in the Napa Valley is with the wine industry. In the 2010 Winery Definition Act, tasting rooms and event centers with visitation and “food pairings” to all hours of the night have become so-called “accessory uses” of agriculture,…

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Change on the Ranch

Change on the Ranch

The meditation that I have been doing on Headspace these last days has been on Change. The concept is to allow space to not know, to tolerate uncertainty—mystery. In the meditation one is directed to witness shifts within the body and emotional self, realizing the connection. Focus is on the beginning and the end of an emotion while resting on the rise and fall of the breath within the body. Slowly one feels the rock of the inner witness.

Everything changes. That is true on our ranch as well. This year Donald and I are making big changes: we are living…

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Lavender Bone Broth and Health

Years ago  Ramon told us that his grandfather in Mexico only drank broth, never the meat. “The broth will make you strong,” he said his grandfather told him. “The meat will weaken you.”

Of course, we Americans do pretty much the opposite, eating primarily what we would call the choice parts of the meat. Recently a once-vegetarian friend told me that she did not start feeling better until she started making and drinking bone broth.

Bone broth is coming into the public eye in a big way these days, at least in nutritional circles. It is being touted as an important way to support  healthy…

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Crystallization Period and Spiritual Fruits

Crystallization Period and Spiritual Fruits

We are in the period of time that is called crystallization period, when the fallow earth is most receptive to the cosmic forces (January 15-February 15). The El Nino rains, which have already graced us with almost 8″ of rain this month, have brought inwardness and quiet for Donald and me— and yes, for the goats too, although they are not so enthused about the introverted time in the barn!  When we are quiet, perhaps we too, like the earth, are receiving messages from the cosmos. It is a spiritual practice that I find myself needing, even craving, one that I want to…

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Farming and Associative Economics

Farming and Associative Economics

For the first time, I understand something about “associative economics”. The term has hung in my mind like an acronym that you don’t remember the words to and don’t quite understand. Since it is often associated with the English magazine Resurgence and the Schumacher Institute, I figured it had to do with a spiritual approach to money, but it was not until BDANC’s (Biodynamic Association of Northern California) Winter Quarter meeting in Ukiah this last Saturday, that the term has inserted itself as pole star in the night sky of my psyche. Although the particulars can get…

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Weight Loss & Lavender: Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

Weight Loss & Lavender: Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

By: Cristin McDonnell

If your New Year’s resolution is to hit the gym in January, lavender will not only  aid in weight loss, but will help you keep the weight off.  Here are 3 reasons why.

1.) Drink Lavender Green Tea: Doing a teatox has become a trendy way to lose weight.  Drinking green tea reduces fat, stimulates your metabolism, and improves endurance while working out.  Since lavender is used to treat anxiety, add it to your cup of green tea to curve any emotional cravings. Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Oz, also recommends using lavender to help cope with cravings.

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Lavender Chips

Lavender Chips

by Cristin McDonnell

This is an Armenian recipe for chips called lavash.  The recipe for lavash is from allrecipes.  I found a recipe for the lavender seasoning at Discover Lavender, a blog for cooking with culinary lavender.  When I saw that the recipe included dried seasoning, I went ahead and came up with my own recipe to top the lavash with.

Lavender Seasoning
1 tbsp. dried culinary lavender
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 cloves of garlic

Roast the one tablespoon of dried lavender in a pan on the stove for about 30 seconds.  Add all of the ingredients in to…

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Return of the Light

Return of the Light

The longest night of the year is over. The light is returning.

The pause is to be noticed, like the moment between the inbreathe and the out; the out breathe and the in. Celebrating this time joins us with all who have done so before, including those not so immune to the dark and the cold.

Yes, we have the illusion of control of the dark with our electric lights, and we have the illusion of control of the cold by our heating. But at what cost?

At this time of the celebration of the winter solstice and  of…

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Lavender Cookies

Lavender Cookies

Absolutely delicious cookies! The dough of these cookies…amazing! If you make homemade ice cream and are looking to infuse your ice cream with cookie dough, this is the cookie dough to use.  According to The Flavor Bible, lavender pairs well with cream dishes. You could infuse vanilla or lemon ice cream with this cookie dough.  Or just make these sweet treats and serve them with an orange sorbet.

Ingredients
2/3 c superfine sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 egg
1 1/4 c self rising flour
1 tsp culinary grade dried lavender

Preheat oven to 350º. Cream 2/3 cup superfine sugar minus one tablespoon and one cup of…

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Yule Goat

Yule Goat

Evidently Santa Claus is the result of a long development of the original legend of the Scandinavian Yule Goat.  The  Norse god Thor’s chariot was draw across the sky by two goats, which Thor killed  and fed to the other gods for the winter festival. But the next morning he had great remorse and resurrected them with his hammer.

In the convoluted way that stories… and goats!… move, the Yule Goat appeared before Christmas in various ways throughout Scandinavia to check up on preparations and to demand gifts. Young men would dress up as the Yule Goat, walk and sing in the streets and get…

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