Archive for the ‘Self-help’ Category

Tea With Auntie Linden


What, you don’t name your trees? This is one of our favorite trees. Mine (Laura) shades my whole front yard in the summer. Lois’ shades the old wood shed/ice house at Cook’s Country Connection. Listen, if Pocahontas could have Grandmother Willow, we can have an Auntie Linden. And like Grandmother Willow, the Auntie Linden in our yard has smacked a guy or three in the head. So shush.

Linden, Basswood, tea, make your own tea

The last time I read Jean Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear series, Ayla used Linden flowers to sweeten something. Finally! Something that grows in the near-arctic conditions of Cook, MN!! I searched Wikipedia to be sure it wasn’t just literary license, and discovered many other fun facts.

There is a Linden tree in Gloucestershire that is coppiced (omigod, I didn’t even know there was a word for that!! It means to harvest by cutting tree down to the stump, then letting its shoots start over. It’s technically the same tree) thought to be 2,000 years old. If you live up here, imagine a willow after attempted chainsawing.

coppice

Coppiced tree +1 year. Image Wikipedia.

The name of Linnaeus, the great botanist, was derived from a “lime” tree in Europe–what we Yanks call Basswood or Linden .

Linnaeus… You know, the guy who came up with a universal system for naming things. Binomial nomenclature. ie: Tilia americana. Ringin’ any bells??

There’s more.   “The excellence of the honey of far-famed Hyblaean Mountains was due to the linden trees that covered its sides and crowned its summit.” Beekeepers love Linden/Basswood/Lime trees! The first time I noticed a buzzing noise coming from the tree I park under (Auntie Linden), and looked up to see thousands of honeybees I called my sister in a panic. “Don’t come over!! You will DIE!!” (She’s allergic to bee or hornet stings.) She laughed and said ” They’re just doing what bees do. Leave them alone, and they’ll leave you alone. Just don’t piss ’em off.” Roger that.

July2013 069

I read on:

“In particular, aphids are attracted by the rich supply of sap, and are in turn often “farmed” by ants for the production of the sap which the ants collect for their own use, and the result can often be a dripping of excess sap onto the lower branches and leaves, and anything else below. Cars left under the trees can quickly become coated with a film of the syrup (“honeydew”) thus dropped from higher up. The ant/aphid “farming” process does not appear to cause any serious damage to the trees.”

Well, that’s pretty awesome… and it explains all the ants in that area. And it doesn’t hurt the trees! Huh. Here I was all worried that the ants were a sign that one of my favorite trees in all the world was sick. Whew!

It’s also good for making guitars, and even clothing. You can eat the young flowers and leaves, too!

Linden, Bassweed, tea, make your own linden tea

But coolest of all, it has medicinal properties that my body needs, like fighting inflammation and healing the liver.

“Most medicinal research has focused on Tilia cordata, although other species are also used medicinally and somewhat interchangeably. The dried flowers are mildly sweet and sticky, and the fruit is somewhat sweet and mucilaginous. Limeflower tea has a pleasing taste, due to the aromatic volatile oil found in the flowers. The flowers, leaves, wood, and charcoal (obtained from the wood) are used for medicinal purposes. Active ingredients in the Tilia flowers include flavonoids (which act as antioxidants) and volatile oils. The plant also contains tannins that can act as an astringent.

“Linden flowers are used in herbalism for colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine), and as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative. In the traditional Austrian medicine Tilia sp. flowers have been used internally as tea for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, fever and flu. New evidence shows that the flowers may be hepatoprotective. The wood is used for liver and gallbladder disorders and cellulitis (inflammation of the skin and surrounding soft tissue). That wood burned to charcoal is ingested to treat intestinal disorders and used topically to treat edema or infection such as cellulitis or ulcers of the lower leg.

Linden, Basswood, tea, make your own linden tea

Thus, last year I made tea from the flowers and the smaller leaves they were attached to. Honestly, I don’t know if it helped the Stupid Rheumatoid Arthritis. But I’m sure it didn’t hurt. 😉 And it tasted good. Want to make your own? Good. Here’s what I did:

  • when flowers are mostly open, gently pick them and the smaller leaf they are attached to from the bigger main leaves. This year, they are a month behind normal. Big surprise.
  • I spread them evenly on trays in my dehydrator and when crumbly I separated leaves from flowers and put them in old, airtight mason jars for winter.
  • Then, come January I added some Rugosa Rose hips for Vitamin C and voila! Yummy, healthy, tea for two.

Linden, basswood, lime tree, tea, arthritis, rosehip,

Linden, basswood, lime tree, tea, arthritis, rosehip,

As you can see, the tea has very little color to it. Go by taste- not color- to judge strength. 3 or 4 minutes should be fine for a cup to brew.

Linden, basswood, lime tree, tea, arthritis, rosehip,

You’re welcome.

As usual, if you liked this article, please click “Like” “Share” “Pin”, or leave a comment. Thank you for reading! Loveyabye!

 

 

 

WWLD?


Every time I am stumped by something… whether it’s mechanical issues, gardening basics, general efficiency, or  plumbing-related, I pause and ask myself, “What would Lois do?” . (She worked in a small hardware store for years, and has an innate common sense that I lack.) Occasionally it works, and I can figure it out. Most of the time, though, I just call and ask.

Last Wednesday, it was plumbing. Water was dripping out of the bottom of my toilet tank. I tried to tighten the thingy that was leaking and the drip turned into a stream.

pooh

Think, think, think… WWLD??

I shut off the supply, emptied the tank the rest of the way with DBarn knockofff Sham-Wows, and sat back (cracking my noggin on the sink of course) to ponder some more. Then I called my bossy big sister, aka The Birthday Girl.

She let me talk it out and then told me what else commonly causes the same issue, so I could check for that before putting it all back together again.

I think everybody needs at least one “Lois” in their life… someone who can help reason things out. Do you have a Lois? Wanna borrow mine? 😉

Playing With Water at -25F


One of my latest self-discoveries was that hating winter doesn’t make it shorter, and it certainly doesn’t make me any happier. So, after making ice candles, candle rings, and ice gems/marbles, I went hunting for more crafty ideas on Pinterest and found this genius named Tracy Lynn Conway who had pinned ice sun catchers using a cake pan and/or muffin pans. I was inspired.

The best thing about this cold snap is that I can stand at my kitchen door and watch water freeze. Shut up–it’s verry interesting. Stop judging me!!  Mr. Wonderful found it pretty chuckalicious too, until I sent him a picture.

ice suncatcher

Eat those words, Larry.

This is a fast, cheap, and easy way to fight cabin fever, depression, and/or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is also Parent of the Year stuff. Youngest Spawn is learning all about frostbite and how ice forms.

Tracy made her sun catchers in the freezer, but I had a blast watching the ice form outside. (And at -20, it was waaaaay faster. See her pin/blog for more on using the freezer.) My favorite effect is when the food coloring freezes while dissipating in the water…it looks like psychedelic snowflakes.

TIP: If you want to use multiple colors, wait until the water is almost ice. Otherwise, you will end up with brown sun catchers.

I’d tried making my ice marbles into hanging ornaments, but the curly ribbon always broke when I tried to remove the balloon. (And they were kind of heavy, which is tough on winter-brittle branches.) That’s where the muffin pan came in. I used magnets to hold the curly ribbon where I wanted it.

muffin pan, sun catcher, ice

I like the way the silver curly ribbon catches the light.

Like the other ice crafts, it’s all about catching the light. A Bundt pan has a ready-made hanging hole, as well as ridges.

ice, bundt pan, suncatcher

I only filled it 1/3 of the way..less weight for the string.

Because I didn’t want all the colors to bleed together, I didn’t add the drops of food coloring until it had started to freeze. Therefore, the color only shows from one side. I dribbled more food coloring on the other side like a glaze.

Glazed.

Glazed.

We have these sets of 3 plastic heart containers at The Barn ($.50 per set), and I just knew they would be good for something. Adding lace (also on clearance), and some foofy colored ice cubes I made from silicone baking molds…

sun catcher, ice, heart. rose,

Ice Valentines to hang in a tree.

Looking forward to seeing this in the sunlight.

Looking forward to seeing this in the sunlight.

On the thicker sun catchers, my color didn’t go all the way through, so I finger-painted a quick heart on the back of this one.

sun catcher, ice, valentine,

This is why my fingers are red.

Again, thank you to Tracy Conway for the great tutorial! Here are some other fun things to do with water in the winter:

ice marbles/gems

Make ice gems/ marbles with balloons. And spray yourself and kitchen blue.

Cool-Whip, Ice candle

Make ice candles with Cool-Whip bowls.

Bundt pan ice candle

Ice candle ring from Bundt pan.

Comments? Questions? Tips? Please “like”, share or Pin it! Better yet, vote to make me Employee of the YEAR!! Loveyabye.

Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?


Thanks to The Daily Prompt for this little nugget. It’s a great question. And I’ve kept one resolution that I made 21 years ago, while pregnant with Eldest Spawn.

I was 16, pregnant, and terrified. I was in college, so I was smart enough to know that this could be very, very bad, for me, the child, and society in general. I was told I would never finish high school OR college, and that the unborn kid was screwed from the start. I might as well just give up now.

I almost did. I spent a few nights with my .357 in my mouth, pretty sure suicide was the only solution.

I didn’t do it. I can, however, still taste the cold, oily, metal on my tongue and it reminds me of the only resolution I ever kept. As resolutions go, it’s pretty vague and it doesn’t exactly reach for the stars:

Screw up my Spawn as little as possible.

It started with the hope that maybe all was not lost. That if I tried hard enough, learned enough, and wanted it enough, we could maybe be ok. I was taking Survey of Calculus at the time, so I began with the known quantities–things I knew I did or did not want: Don’t ever make them feel like the only good option is to kill themselves. Tell them how smart they are. How beautiful, inside and out. Keep them alive and relatively safe. Do what I can to help them not be in the position I was in (trying to parent while still a child) . Tell them they can be whatever they want when they grow up (even a mama duck). Love them.

But…HOW??  I began by talking to other parents (grown-up ones), and reading a lot of parenting books.   That eventually led me to self-help books and counseling, and depression medication, and support groups, where I made some great friends who loved me unconditionally and taught me how to  take care of and heal myself, and my spawn. I tried and retried everything. I made mistakes, and learned from them.

I am not Parent of the Year. I swear too much, I’m cranky in the morning, and until recently, my housekeeping sucked. I hate cooking. I have made a TON of mistakes. But I read something about parenting once that stayed with me…I don’t know who wrote it or where I saw it, but it went something like this: Children are like a clean glass. Every parent harms their children in some way. Some hurts are just greasy fingerprints that can be wiped off. Others leave chips or cracks. Some shatter their glass children irreparably.

My goal is to at least give them the tools to overcome the damage I (and the rest of the world, including themselves) will do to them. So far, so good… I hope.

photo credit: Humor Train

photo credit: Humor Train

PS: I found this pic on Facebook today. Perfect timing for this post! It reminds me to ask myself where I am today, and where I want to go. 🙂

Liebster Award


Liebster Award

“The Liebster Award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The word ” Liebster” comes from the German language and can mean the sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, most beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.”

Thank you Heather, of Ramblings of a Hedge Witch, for the nomination! 🙂 The toughest part was figuring out how many followers each blog had. There were a few that I couldn’t find any stats on, so I hoped and included them anyway.

Cliff’s Notes on how it works: I answer 11 questions, share 11 random facts about myself, nominate 11 bloggers, and write 11 questions for them to answer. (Full rules at the end.)

The questions I was supposed to answer:

1) Why did you start writing a blog?

Mary Conger told me to. Bossy Big Sister seconded. Motion carried.

2) What is your favorite work of fiction?

The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

3) How would you describe your personal philosophy/spiritual path?

Seeking balance.

4) What has impressed you lately?

The snow llama. (https://pajarigirls.com/2012/12/16/weekly-photo-challenge-delicate/)

5) What has depressed you lately?

The Sandy Hook tragedy.

6) What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?

Can I make a joke about getting a defense lawyer instead of a divorce lawyer?

7) What are your vices?

Smoking, cussing, being late.

8) What would you like to achieve in 2013?

I want to be Employee of the Year at Cook Dollar Barn. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. But will my sister acquiesce?? Nooooo.

9) Describe your personal style.

In public? Jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts.

10)  What is your favorite city?

Philly 🙂

11) Name something that always makes you smile.

Playing ball with Walli; Corgi butts drive me nuts. That is funny stuff.

Questions for my nominees:

1.) Does YOUR sister pick on you, too? Nagging and such?

2.) When was the last time you shoveled poo?

3.) What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?

4.) How YOU doin’? (It’s just not the same without an up-nod and a bad Sopranos accent.)

5.) What do you want to be when you grow up?

6.) If you could live anywhere on earth (and take whomever you wanted along), where would it be?

7.) What do you admire most about yourself?

8.) What would you most like to change about yourself?

9.) What are you waiting for?

10.) Why did you start blogging?

11.) What is the most-watched movie/DVD in your collection?

11 things you might not know about me:

1.) I hate this part.

2.) I know how to harness and drive a team of horses.

3.) I have been a mom since I got pregnant at 16.

4.) I always wanted to be a truck driver/ heavy equipment operator.

5.) I can play 3 instruments, though not well: piano, trumpet, and guitar.

6.) The activity that makes me happiest is gardening.

7.) The first deer I shot was a 12-point buck. Really pissed off the Chicago boys lol.

8.) I have Rheumatoid Arthritis…I spent 18 months in a wheelchair and give myself a shot in the stomach twice a week to keep that from happening again. (There also a million other things I need to do to stay upright, but that is the one that seems to freak people out the most.

9.) We Pajari Girls speak in movie shorthand–if you haven’t seen The Boondock Saints, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, Practical Magic, and The Big Lebowski, you will totally miss what the hell we are talking about most of the time.

10.) I had the WORST taste in men. Mr. Wonderful endured a committee of friends and family members, as well as a 3 page application, a note from his doctor, and a background check. It was worth it. (PS I did the same for him, under orders from my bossy sister, aka Head of the Committee. )

11.) I am always out of the running for Parent of the Year by mid-January. (See #3.)

And the nominees are (in no specific order):

Quite Contrary

Hammer Like a Girl

Verbatim Gibberish

Everyday Gurus

Trophy Daughter

Catherine Holm

Rice River Ramblings

whiskeytangofoxtrot

momuverse

Blaise Lucey

Superkat Wins

Here are the RULES –

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  • Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
  • You write 11 NEW questions directed toward YOUR nominees.
  • You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog.

You paste the award picture into your blog, Google it or steal mine.

Ice Candle Tutorial


This is northern Minnesota. Bitching  Bragging about extreme winterness is in our Nordic DNA. When hell freezes over, Minnesota schools will start 2 hours late.  There are four seasons in Minnesota: Early Winter, Winter, Late Winter, and Road Construction. The majority of cars and trucks have block heaters, standard. And on and on…

I used to hate  detest  abhor dread winter. Winter can be cold, dark, expensive, depressing, and we love to complain about it.  However, as part of my ongoing quest for better health, personal growth and general serenity, I have been looking for ways to be more positive. I have come to realize that hating winter does not make it shorter, dreading winter does not prolong its arrival, and preparing for winter internally and externally reduces my stress levels about it. Less stress translates into less physical pain and reduces depression. This may be first-grade stuff to most people, but for me it was a revelation. Winter may never be my favorite season, but I can accept hate it less and find its unique moments of beauty and joy.

You will need:

2 containers of Cool-Whip

2 plastic tumblers

rocks or sand

food coloring

water

tea-light candles

First, eat the Cool-Whip. If you are from North Dakota, mix it with Jell-O and cottage cheese. If you are in Minnesota, combine it with a can of fruit cocktail and Jell-O to make a “salad”. Wash out the Cool-Whip containers, after licking them mostly clean.

I brought everything outside, having had a VLE (Valuable Learning Experience) while making Ice Gems/Marbles . I centered the rock-filled tumblers in the Cool-Whip containers, then filled them with hot water* from a teapot and added a few drops of food coloring. *I was told that the boiling water would make the ice less cloudy and add cool bubbles, but with a project this small, and my overuse of food coloring, it didn’t seem to matter.

Cool-Whip, ice candle

Freezing times vary, depending on climate. These small containers freeze faster than their traditional 5-gallon bucket counterparts. And I can lift these without hurting myself. Once frozen, I tapped the whole works gently and popped the tumbler out.

Cool-Whip, Ice CandleTah-dah!! Add the tea light candles for another craft that’s fast, cheap, and easy. 🙂 And hopefully, something to make winter feel a little less…blah.

Cool-Whip, Ice candle

ice candle

As usual, if you enjoyed this post, let us know.  “Like”, share, or comment. Loveyabye.

PS: This is just another glowing example of how I am working ’round the clock to help Cook Dollar Barn. This is Employee of the Year stuff, if you ask me. Vote for me here. Or send my sister a postcard. Better yet, bring us a plate of Christmas Cookies and tell Lois in person that LAURA ROCKS!

The Insincere “Sorry”


…costs $1 around here. It all started when I was late to work. No, to be honest, it probably started 37 years ago when Lois became Laura’s  Big Sister. Anyway, things came to a head when I was late. Every. Day. I kept telling my sister I was sorry.

She finally snapped, “That’s a lie! If you were really sorry, you would stop doing it. From now on I decree that every time you say you’re sorry, I will charge you $1.”

Do you know how many dollars that is in a day?? 


I didn’t, until I thought I would actually have to fork out for it. And I hate to say it, but she was right. This little game continues to haunt me.

“I’m sorry I lied to the credit union ladies about you not wearing underwear.”

“That’s a dollar!”

I said, “I’m sorry I said I wrote your number on the mens room wall. I didn’t really write it there– I just told a customer I did. They knew I was kidding!”

“Dollar!”

I tried again. “Shit. I’m sorry I told your husband that I would ‘have my sister sleep with’ him when he fixed my brakes and again when he  plowed my driveway? ”

“Nuh uh!! Lies!! Gimme a dollar!” she’d say.  (She doesn’t think it’s funny when I ask to borrow a dollar, either.)

For awhile, I got quite good at not apologizing, even when I was truly sorry. Or using a mental Thesaurus to say I was recalcitrant, apologetic, and woeful. But that felt like a loophole.

I used to  hack* her Facebook  all the time. I would think to myself, what would Lois say? Probably something like,

“I declare Laura the Employee of the Month! Take my credit card and get yourself a hammock and a slushy machine. And call the contractors to build you your own office!!”

“LAURA!!!” , she would type once she noticed she was still logged in and I gave myself a promotion. (When she uses ALL CAPS IT MEANS SHE’S YELLING. Not a good sign.)

“sorry, sissy. i love you.” (All lower-case means I am contrite. Sorta.)

“BULL!! DOLLAR!!”  (Do you know what apoplectic means? According to Wikipedia, “Colloquially, particularly in the adjective form apoplectic, apoplexy means furious, enraged, or upset to the point of being unable to deal with a situation rationally or diplomatically.” I usually try to stop myself before she becomes apoplectic. With mixed results.)

Anyway, the game hasn’t been a total waste. I have dramatically cut down on saying things I don’t mean.  Ok– marginally cut down. And I like to think it’s good mix of self-help and parenting, too–we all catch ourselves doing it. I hope it’s teaching The Boy to consider whether or not he truly wants to change his behavior, or just duck the consequences. It makes me more accountable, too. I am not always late. I am even early occasionally. Why? Because that’s one thing I AM sorry for.

However, I cleaned my room today, and found 4 dusty quarters. Tomorrow I will present them to my womb-mate just in case she doesn’t think I am sincere when I say, “I’m sorry that Amy P. tagged you in a picture on Facebook, and I told 700 of my closest FB friends that you gave her crabs. (Not to mention all 12 people that subscribe to the blog).”

crabs, cook dollar barn

Thank you, Lois Pajari of the Cook Dollar Barn, for your expertise and great customer service this afternoon! Caleb’s seashore diorama wouldn’t look this cool without you!!! (and Walli Pajari-Williams helped with the inspiration as well)

And hope she doesn’t hit me. 😀 Seriously, how could I have let an opportunity like this pass by?? That is worth a dollar. Hello, it’s priceless!! It’s right up there with the time someone Googled “Queen of Poo” and were led to the post about my sister and fertilizer.

I'm sorry

*It’s not really hacking if your loved one forgets they are logged in and walks away.

PS: Only a few days left in the year, and my bid for Employee of the Year is in serious jeopardy. Please vote for me here?? And as usual, if you found this post the slightest bit helpful, “like”, share or comment. Thanks! Loveyabye! 🙂

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