PSA that you should read

I’m going to push this with all of my heart and soul right now. 
All of it. 
There is a plant, and while this plant isn’t some of the other plants that we have come to love such as cannabis, opium or ya know, kale, it is a rather important plant. 
It’s name as you might hear it is Milkweed. As a botanist would call it; Asclepias
This plant looks benign. It’s flowers aren’t the most wonderful, though they tend to be fragrant. Their flowers are small, and clustered. Their leaves can be anything from flat and fuzzy to long, thin and waxy. And when plucked or ripped, they bleed a milky substance, hence the name. And probably the most common is simply called Common Milkweed. 


Why am I telling you about this plant? 
Because of the Monarch Butterfly. If you don’t live in the US, you probably don’t need to worry much about it too much, however a simple share of this valuable knowledge can find its way to someone who might need to know it. 

The monarch butterfly lays its eggs on the milkweed, and only the milkweed. The caterpillars that hatch eat the milkweed, and only the milkweed. 
This is why this plant is so valuable. Because now that this plant is being torn up by its fragile roots, the monarch suffers. 

So I’m writing this PSA in hopes that I might spread the word about this plant, and hopefully help it, and by extension help the Monarchs. 
So please. If you see this plant in your yard, save it. Nurture it. And if you’re active in conservation efforts, plant it, along with other butterfly attracting plants. 
I have images of common milkweed. I have yet to find any others in the wild, but a google search will get you to those that grow in your area.
 


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Two Weeks In: The Beginning Of A Vegetarian Life?

So, a little over two weeks ago I stated that I was going to try and remove meat from my diet. I was reluctant to say the word vegetarian, however. I couldn’t even say it to my boyfriend, or my family. I told them “I want to eat as little meat as possible.” Yeah, that’s why I went out on payday and bought all of the veggies I could get my hands on. Seriously. I never used to buy so many veggies, and if I did chances are they were frozen. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with frozen veggies, let me start there. But this time around, instead of my frozen corn and brussel sprouts, I got all sorts of lettuces that I’ve never tried, broccoli, carrots, artichokes, green onions, cilantro and that’s just the few that come to the top of my head. I’ve never really had room in my budget for fresh produce because I was saving most of my money for meat.

That’s the first thing I noticed, more money for the things that make me feel good, that until now were a luxury. Really. Artihcokes were a luxury. I couldn’t condone spending a whole dollar on the worlds smallest artichoke, when you only get such a tiny amount to eat from them. I bought two, and it didn’t even hurt. I couldn’t condone spending so much on herbs that I could just grow, so I’ve rarely bought herbs from a store unless they were dried. (And I still think growing them is the preferred method.) I even spent the extra dollar to buy dried beans because you get more in a bag than you do in a can. I’ve never even had a reason to do so until now. But beans are soon to be my main course in at least a few meals, I have the reason to get all fancy with my beans.

Why does it all feel so fancy? Buying fresh produce feels freakin’ fancy right now. And that’s not even considering the food I’ve made with it. Walking out of the super market with a paper bag (one paper bag, already less waste!) full of produce is kind of fancy. That’s what you see in comercials on prime time tv. It feels fancy because meat was always my mian course, meat is expensive, I never had the extra money for the produce to go with the meat, unless it was potatoes and an onion.

So, that’s my shopping experience. Filling up my cart with produce as my boyfriend shops for the biggest piece of meat that he can find that won’t break his wallet and will feed him for a week, I’ve got the whole top part of the cart full and he’s got just one measly package of meat and some cheese in his (and eventually he grabbed greenbeans to make stew). Onto the kitchen. I spent that afternoon cooking.I made myself some sesame noodles, which turned into a few lunches last week. I also made some rice and bean concoction, mixing crushed tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cilantro, green onion and carrots into it. This became the stuffing for some tortilla burritos, which became the other half of my lunches for the week. I had already been having overnight oats for breakfast in the mornings, so that was a quick and easy thing to make up every couple of nights. Then I had to figure out something for dinners, which wasn’t terribly hard. One of the nights I went out with my dad and his girlfriend, and I decided to try a veggie calzone with mushrooms, olives and broccoli. That turned out to be delicious, and I have no regrets. I had the two artichokes another night, stir fried broccoli, mushrooms, onions, sesame noodles and carrots another night. My favorite by far however was this recipe for roasted four cheese spaghetti squash. I could eat that every day, and I only had to make on change to it. Instead of using chicken boullion, I simply used a few spices I would put on a chicken myself, only because I’m not sure what “chicken powder” is, and that was the main ingredient in the boullion cube.

I’ve found, within the first two weeks, the most important tips a new vegetarian could find. Prep your meals. Always. Prep them, and also, shop for certain recipes. Make sure you’re buying what you need, rather than random things that you’ll throw together later in the week. Make sure what you’re buying can go together, or you risk having to go out again in the week for more ingredients, or whole meals. The second tip I’ve found is to not worry about your label. I feel odd calling myself vegetarian, I am afterall a very very new vegetarian. So am I really a vegetarian? I’m not a seasoned vegetarian anyway, so the word still leaves something of an aftertaste in my mouth. Forget labels. You’re not a vegetarian, you’re not anything. Just a human trying to eat, which happens to be humanities favorite past time, we even do it while experiencing our other favorite past times. When addressing my family, and my new diet, I left out the world vegetarian. They were the first to call me anything, and it was okay. No weird after taste, just pure conversation as I explained the things that turned me onto this new life style.

Turns out, I’m liking this a lot. I’m not finding many difficulties with it, and I’m already seeing good side effects. The most obvious was the money situation. I’m not struggling to keep my cart below a certain amount, in fact I’m struggling to spend everything in the budget. But I’m also mostly headache free, I’ve had one over the past two weeks, which is like  an all time low. I’m regular in the bathroom (sorry if that’s tmi, but it’s important even if we don’t talk about it.) I find that I have more energy already, I don’t get tired until sun down, where before I was yawning as early as noon. I’m finding that I’m fuller longer, and when I am full it’s not uncomfortable. I think these are all good things, and I’ll keep you updated on whatever else I notice.

The first two weeks have been successful, and I think this week I’ll be trying a new recipe. Something comforting as we fall into the fall season, litearlly. Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Chowder. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

I’ve Been a Busy Bee

I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a while. Well, to me it feels like a while. I had planned on writing a few posts a week and then I got a job. I started that job yesterday. I’m working at a local supermarket and for the most part I like it. I mean, it’s a retail job and those are hardly the most exciting or rewarding jobs around, but it’s a job none-the-less so I am grateful to have it. I was starting to think I might actually rot away without my own means to make a living. A few days before my fist day on the job I spent some time with family and did some digging around. See, I stumbled onto a post somewhere about the total number of bees that have been killed due to us spraying for the Zika virus. The number makes me cringe. Makes my heart skip a beat, and hesitate on the next beat. Our bees are literally the one animal that we need the most, and we just killed off quite a few of them. Do I decided I should stop procrastinating and just look it up. What does it take to own a bee hive in Indiana?

Not much, turns out. You have to have the proper set up and someone has to come and inspect your hive for parasites and illness. That’s about it. And if you have shit neighbors, you might have to disguise the hive, which I plan to do anyway. I was actually in contact with the only apiary inspector in the whole state. She’s very very nice and has told me to contact her with anything I might need, at all. On top of that, there is a local bee club in my county that meets once a month, even during the winter. I plan to go next month and meet all of the people who are locally a part of the bee obsessed population. While researching things I needed and rules and regulations, I came upon a list of people who sell local honey. I ended up buying 40oz of the good ol’ raw honey. My desire to house a hive of my own was only tripled when I saw the nearly 20 hives that sat off in the distance on the families land that I bought the honey from. I’ve fallen into a hive of my own it seems. That same guy actually makes the bee hives that I will be needing! I’m ready, mentally. Knowledgeably, and physically, not so much. But I have all winter to prepare. I’m here though, and that’s half of the battle.

So I’ve been busy trying to learn all that I can about this topic. I’m desperate for spring and it’s not even technically fall yet. This happened last year after I grew my first tomatoes too. I grew tomatoes this year as well, but I’ve wanted the bees far longer than I’ve wanted the tomatoes. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be wearing my bee suit for long (or not, I’ve heard that you don’t actually need one. Morgan Freeman doesn’t wear one.) and I’ll be preaching about bee safety and love.

So rest assured, I’ll be continuing with this blog as well. And it might include some things about bees. Maybe my next post will be about the beloved honey bee? Only time will tell.

Sundown

At the end of the day when it’s time to rest, we get one of the most beautiful shows. Things were quite different when I lived in NY. The mountains and trees would block my view and the clouds acted in a different manner. I am enjoying the sunsets here. 

Mercury Retrograde

It’s at this point that many of you might turn and run. Mercury is in Retrograde, as of yesterday (31st). I’ve been seeing it’s effect since the 26th though.  I remember the first time I was aware of it too, I had just become really good friends with (a still good friend) who enlightened me to the idea that the planets could mess with us. Yeah, I didn’t believe it 100% at the time, I chalked it all up to superstition. But then, I believe that the moon has an effect on us, on a small level. I had believed that was all the placebo effect though, something I chose to believe so that each month I would have a day to renew and rejuvenate. That month however, I learned the ugly truth. Mercury fucks us when it goes retrograde. That month both my boyfriend and best friend went crazy. My boyfriend, who is highly emotional as it is, had a sort of break down, at the same time that we were discovering that my best friend was back into heroin. Not a good night. At all. I’m pretty sure that my work life was shit at that time too.

Anyway, I’ve tried to tread carefully during these times and since that one month last year, I’ve managed to handle the retrogrades well. Until now. Having just moved to a new state, I’m still learning the ropes and I have a job interview (today actually) and I’m helping my dad around the house and what not. As you might know, the Mercury retrograde tends to mess with communication, decisions, deals and travel. Travel is what’s being messed with here. My dad’s jeep died on the 26th of this month. Dead. Gone. Transmission locked up, missed two days of work. So he spends all day trying to get a loan to fix the stupid thing, and nobody is willing to help due to his bad credit (that his soon to be ex wife had the pleasure of ruining for him). So, he does the only thing he can. Trades in the broken jeep for less than a fourth of it’s value, puts that towards paying off the little that he owed, and signs his name in blood for a new car at the same dealership. So all is well we think. He’s gotta save up some money and it’ll be tight for a few weeks, probably for a month, but we will get through this. He won’t lose his job, he won’t miss any work and yay! Things are great now!

Don’t fool yourself. This morning he finds that there is a coolant leak in the car. OF COURSE! Now we are kind of back to square one, still waiting on some phone calls. He can borrow his dad’s truck for work, but now he’s got this laying neatly right back on his shoulders, and I feel just as stuck as him because I’m in no position to help. Hopefully (knock on wood) I get this job. I’ll let you guys know.

So, what can you do during a Retrograde?

Suggestion. Pray. Pull your tarot cards out. Cleanse your crystals. Meditate. Do yoga. Give up sugar. Drink massive amounts of tea. Smoke wacky-tobaccy. Put your coffee in a leak proof mug. Take precaution, and don’t make any big decisions. Don’t lock yourself into any big deals, like buying a car or a house unless you have to. Even then, double check everything.

I for one have started my day off with ultra creamy pumpkin spice coffee, took the black cat out on the leash (he loves the leash, and I gotta keep the black cat happy just in case). I sat in the fall-ish type weather and soaked up a bit of sun being thankful that the humidity has finally let up some for the rest of the week. I helped my dad get insurance on his new car, and (*update*) got the job. I feel like my luck is charged with positive energy right now and I’m going to cling to that energy without fear that it will leave. That’s it right there, try to bounce back quickly. When Mercury is in retrograde, it is not the time to worry. If you do, you run the high risk of attracting all that you are worried about. Attract that which you want and need, and know that this is only a hiccup in life and like anything else, it will pass in time.

What are some of the things that you can do during a retrograde to get life on the right track? Well, now is a good time to save money, just in case. Put some extra money into savings, and wait until after the retrograde is over to spend it, or use it for the things that go wrong during the retrograde. Go ahead and get some work done, make sure your car is working in proper order (wish I had known this before hand) or fix the leak under the sink. Don’t begin a serious relationship, but revitalize any current relationships you have, even if it’s not a romantic relationship. It’s important to keep clear and open communication during these times, as the Mercury retrograde effects communication and relationships. Most importantly, begin self work, or amp it up. Now is a good time to do so because believe it or not, the positive energy is stronger during this time, if you can focus on that instead of the negative.

Above all else, keep your head in the game, breath deep, and know that this too shall pass. 

When The Tornado Sirens Wail

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Storm rolling in 8.26.16 Indiana

Within the chaos I find peace while the rest of the town holds it’s breath. As the wind blows with great speed, I feel anchored like a mountain. As the hail pelts down upon the hard roof, I imagine the ice pellets bouncing off and melting quickly on the warm ground, mortal after all. At the mercy of Mother Nature, I know that if a cyclone were to form, all I could do is hold my cat tight and cower in the bathroom. We are all at the mercy of the changing winds and falling rain but I welcome this reminder that I am not God. The Earth sends out these reminders day after day, and you hear the anger in the thunder and see the warnings in the lightning. Must we always forget that we are just pawns? Must we always claim to own that which we cannot control? Or might we one day wake up and learn to live in peace with the nature around us….I feel that I might only be dreaming of a perfect world.