Channeling my inner Jamie Fraser......I'm a lifelong horseman . There are a million reasons that I could recite that...Posted by My Outlander Love Affair- Milady's Pantry and Stillroom on Monday, 27 July 2015
Channeling my inner Jamie Fraser......I'm a lifelong horseman . There are a million reasons that I could recite that...Posted by My Outlander Love Affair- Milady's Pantry and Stillroom on Monday, 27 July 2015
“Jamie disappeared for a few minutes. He came back with a handful of dark green oblate leaves, chewing something. He spat a glob of macerated green into the palm of his hand, stuffed another wad of leaves into his mouth and turned me away from him. He rubbed the chewed leaves gently over my back, and the stinging eased considerably.
“What is that?” I asked, making an effort to control myself. I was still shaky and snuffling, but the helpless tears were beginning to ebb.
“Watercress,” he answered, voice slightly muffled by the leaves in his mouth. He spat them out and applied them to my back. “You’re no the only one knows a bit about grass-cures, Sassenach,” he said, a bit clearer.”
Excerpt From: Gabaldon, Diana. “Outlander.
Many people over the years have asked me about my involvement with alternative medicine, most specifically my use of herbal remedies to address the various maladies that periodically plague me, my friends or my family. As we find out with increasing frequency about the corruption of the large pharmaceutical companies as well as the continuing dangers of the untested drugs that they create, I think that it's natural to have become more curious about holistic methodologies and their effectiveness. The overuse of antibiotics in America has created some of the scariest and most resistant strains of Staphylococcus and other superbugs that we've ever seen and having had a 3 year fight with one of them (a strain of Klebsiella that only 2 antibiotics could fight, one of which would have knocked out his kidneys within 6 months)that eventually killed my father, I do believe that there is cause for alarm.
I've seen a dramatic rise in the number of people turning to alternative remedies for self healing and daily I'm asked for suggestions to increase immunity. Although there has been much improvement, health insurance (or lack of effective coverage) is still at the forefront of the current political debate. It's clear that it's become time for a powerful paradigm shift relating to the way that we deal with illness.
I became familiar with herbal medicine very early in my life, because as a child I had an Irish riding instructor from County Galway who hardly ever used veterinary medicine to treat her beloved Welsh ponies. Colic , which is a horrible impaction of the gut was never an issue with our horses. Every morning she would boil flax seed on her stove and create a jelly to be given in the mornings feed. We rarely wormed our horses with the fancy new paste wormer filled with chemicals, but kept them parasite free with the pine and spruce that she kept in the pasture for them to eat.
I began to notice that our horses were eating all kinds of different plants that were growing with rarely any ill effects and they ate them readily. Horses that seemed a bit lackluster ate certain plants and when I pointed them out to her she was always able to tell me what was ailing them because of what they were eating. One day, one of the horses went straight for a patch of yellow dock which she told me indicated a weakness in his stomach. After a day or two he brightened and was much happier and far stronger than he'd been several days before. Not a miracle cure at all, he was just an animal who trusting his natural instincts to choose the plants that would help him heal. It was pretty amazing stuff for an impressionable 12 year old to see. We used tinctures of chamomile and beer in the bran mashes that we made to help promote calmness and vitality before horse shows. We rarely used chemical liniments, relying on herbal vinegars that we made with saltpeter, sage , fresh mints and comfrey leaves.
I use poultices of comfrey and French green clay to draw out abscesses and instead of relying on injections to help keep Setaukets sperm count up and his energy balanced during breeding season, I added a few fresh artichokes, beet pulp and Guinness stout everyday to his feed until breeding season was over. He never dropped weight like so many stallions do and was happy and very easy to handle.
I think that it was only natural for me to question the amounts of medicine that were being used by my family Drs. to "promote health" , because I had been exposed to something so different in my very early years which made complete and total sense to me.
In my early 20's after a tangle with birth control pills, antibiotics and the ensuing amount of damage that they did to my body, I really swore off of the convenience of modern medicine as the first resort when I fell ill, always the last.
In my mid 20's (I'm 55 now!) I was fortunate to find a wonderful wise woman named LaWanna Rine who is a very experienced herbalist and healer. She became my teacher and I still work with her to this day, she's always got something new and wonderful to teach me!
LaWanna has been a practicing herbalist and aromatherapist for decades and graciously taught me by example. I spent many hours with her helping her to prepare teas, salves and tinctures and walking through her woods while we gathered the plants that we would use.
Her herbal practice is a very complete example of a whole body system for healing. She is is totally vegan and she practices her yoga and meditation everyday. She uses herbs from her property and water from her spring to create her healing teas. She is an aromatherapist and uses essential oils and hydrosols in the wonderful treatments that she gives. Her powerful medical intuition as well as her vast knowledge of the body's systems are her most profound diagnostic tool.
She is to this day, one of the only herbalists that I've ever met who I would trust with the dosage of the more powerful herbs like poke root, because she knows how to use them with the safety and precision that we wish that our Doctors practiced with their candy box of pharmaceuticals. I was very lucky to find her and she taught me that the practice of herbalism is everyones birthright, something to be shared and not hoarded.
LaWanna encouraged everyone in her circle to learn as much as possible so that you could live well wherever you found yourself and not be at the mercy of a medical system that she felt had betrayed our humanity. She also was very firm about her belief that eating with the seasons , harvesting and growing your own foods as well as wildcrafting your own herbs provided the most potent medicine for body, mind and spirit. She taught me to use fasting, whole foods and mini cleanses as tools to promote a healthy digestive system thereby creating a strong immune system. She's also 89 years old, still teaching and wildcrafting in her woods. She's really quite a remarkable woman!
Now that so many natural herbal preparations can be found in our local Whole Foods store and even in grocery stores that are not traditionally "Health Food " stores, it's more important than ever to learn as much as you can about this old and wise tradition of healing. Herbs are indeed natural, but they are powerful medicines. There are many wonderful books available by herbal legends such as Susan Weed or the late Juliette De Baricli Levy as well as home study courses that you can purchase and enjoy at your own pace. I still use holistic remedies on all of my animals and the vet ONLY when I find something that I cannot treat myself. By the way in case anyone is wondering, I always vaccinate my animals.
Herbal remedies in most of their forms are very gentle yet powerful and effective. They should not be taken carelessly because they can be as toxic as the drugs we are trying to avoid. Take the time to do the research and always remember to consult your pharmacist if you are taking any other prescription drugs. Herbs can mix poorly with many pharmaceuticals, so it pays to proceed with with caution. No herbalist in this country can legally prescribe herbs , so be very careful if you run across one that tells you to take something and prescribes a dosage for a certain illness as it's a pretty sure sign of either immaturity or arrogance on the part of the practitioner. Always consult your Dr. before you change your medicines or embark on an unknown course of supplementation.
What I strive to do instead is what my friend LaWanna taught me to do, I suggest and educate and try as much as possible to empower people to create their own template for their healing journey. Use your own good judgment and learn as much as you can. You'll have a lot of fun doing it..I promise!
In this age of global uncertainty and instability , I truly believe as LaWanna does that it is so very important to be able care for yourself and your family with as much self sufficiency as possible. We are fortunate to live in a world where so much is readily available to us including excellent Doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists. However, the tradition of herbal medicine for healing has been passed down from generation to generation and it belongs to everyone, not just a chosen few. Thankfully, it is a traditional, yet sophisticated and effective folk medicine that can be readily utilized by anyone who cares enough to truly take the time to learn about , respect and understand fully the properties of the many herbs that are so readily available to us all.
Pictures of comfrey, yellow dock and poke root are not taken by me. I do not know who to attribute them to.
“Jamie’s face, rather tired and worn, broke into a grin.
“A son? The blessing of Bride and Michael be on him! A braw lad?”
“Very,” I assured him. “I think he must weigh almost nine pounds.”
“Poor lass,” he said, with a sympathetic grimace. “And her first, too. Wee Rachel’s all right, though?”
“Rather tired and sore, but quite all right,” I assured him. “Shall I bring you some beer, while you take care of the horse?”
“A good wife is prized above rubies,” he said, smiling. “Come to me, mo nighean donn.” He reached out a long arm and drew me in, holding me close against him. I put my arms around him and felt the quiver of his muscles, exhausted, and the sheer hard strength still in him, that would hold him up, no matter how tired he might be. We stood quite still for some time, my cheek against his chest and his face against my hair, drawing strength from each other for whatever might come. Being married."
Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Written in My Own Heart's Blood.”
St. Brides Feast
"I should like a great lake of finest ale for the King of kings.
I should like a table of the choicest food For the family of heaven.
Let the ale be made from the fruits of Faith, And the food be forgiving love.
I should welcome the poor to my feast, For they are God's children. I should welcome the sick to my feast, For they are God's joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place, And the sick dance with the angels. God bless the poor, God bless the sick, And bless our human race. God bless our food, God bless our drink, All homes, O God, embrace."
An ancient song to St. Brigid from Celtic Fire ~ Robert Van de Weyer
I love Jamie Fraser's devotion to St. Bride as he calls her and it's quite touching and personal for me as I have been called to the work in the service of Brigid for many years now.
I am a Reiki Master who works with the energy and symbols of Brigids Flame and it is work that I love and feel so honored to be able to do in this world.
I am also a Flamekeeper of Ord Brighideach International and it is my great blessing to tend to Brigid's Flame every 20 days.
Tonight I set my table for St. Bride or Brigid ~ Triple Goddess of The Hearth, Temple & Forge. As Flamekeepers we all have chosen to be a part of a cill (or church) that inspires us and there are many to choose from, all based upon the ancient Ogham tree Alphabet. I and 18 others are part of the Cill of the Hawthorn, a beautiful tree that is sacred to the Goddess Brigid.
The Hawthorn is thought to inspire creativity, loyalty and fertility. It is a wonderful ally that strengthens the heart and is the tree sacred to love and happiness, whose flowers are often to used in Springtime handfastings and weddings.
I spend much time tending the beautiful Hawthorns that grow in the herb garden that I am fortunate enough to tend. They teach me to handle all beings with great care and patience as they are incredibly thorny and will not hesitate to bless you with a lesson if you need it. A prick from a hawthorn is incredibly painful and not easily forgotten, but it usually means that you're traveling through life too quickly and working too quickly. Simply slow down and take your time...no matter what it is that you're doing.
All 19 of us are tending Brigids Flame from sundown tonight until sundown tomorrow ~ the span of time for the traditional Celtic day! The worship of Brigid pre-dates Christianity and goes way back into the Druidic mists of early Ireland and Scotland. Brigid's flame was burned continuously in pre~ Christian Ireland by her priestesses who would gather on the hills in Kildare and invoke the benevolent Goddess to protect their livestock and insure a plentiful harvest. Later, when St.Brigid built her monastery in Kildare she continued the custom of keeping the flame alive.
The number 19 was sacred to Brigid as she had 19 female disciples who kept her sacred flame burning continuously in Ireland. Brigid's flame is still tended continuously in Kildare, Ireland by the Brigadine sisters at Solas Bhride, the hermitage that bears her name.
I keep her flame alive tonight in honor of World Peace, Hospitality & Charity for all....
The beautiful photograph of the hawthorn was not taken by me.
It is courtesy of https://www.best4hedging.co.uk
The flame I have chosen is from Photobucket
Cast the most glamorous spell in the room! I think that this gorgeous duster would be absolutely perfect to wear from Samhain straight through Yule... The best news? It's on sale!
Bewitching and Beautiful!
Juliette Jacket - RAISIN - $279.95
Delicate gold foil vines and leaves subtly shimmer on this magical velvet jacket, an exclusive Label Noir find, highlighted by an ornate, Moroccan-influenced antique brass ornament closure aglow with lustrous cabochons. Front and back princess seams and waist shaping complement curves. Long bell sleeves, on-seam pockets, front curved hem, fully lined. An enchanting way to make an entrance at holiday celebrations. Polyester. Misses front 51" long/back 57".
One of the loveliest things about growing your own herbs is that you always have a pesticide free source of flowers and leaves to create delicious fresh teas. I learned to make fresh teas many years ago and when I have the plant material at my disposal I actually prefer teas made this way. The vibration that you experience from drinking a tea of just picked herbs is indeed different then a tea steeped from the dried.
What you see here is a tea brewing that is made of several different herbs and flowers.This is specifically combined to be a very relaxing tea that will also help me focus upon the writing work at hand. I harvested these herbs literally 10 minutes ago, at twilight with fireflies dancing all around me. The base I've chosen is about 2 cups of Holy Basil ( tulsi), an herb widely renowned for its soothing, stress reducing and cooling properties ( I still get hot flashes !) and 2 cups lemon verbena, lemon balm (quite good for the gut and any frazzled nerves!) , rose (well known as an antidepressant and digestif!), pineapple mint( a beautiful light mint with a very fruity quality!) and some Pink Monarda (One of my favorite herbs to use when my energy is waning).
You can make fresh herb teas through a electric tea infuser and it will work quite well, but in my experience the depth of flavor is not the same as what will develop if you use this easy process. I just put all of these herbs into a non-reactive stainless steel saucepan and I add about 3 quarts of filtered water. I prefer filtered water for the obvious reasons....it simply tastes better! Then I turn on the stove and I let the water heat up, to not quite a simmer.
Keeping the burner on, I let the whole thing steep for about 45 minutes or however long it takes from the blooms and leaves to lose their color. Then I turn off the heat, let it all infuse for about 20 minutes, press the herbs one last time with the back of a spoon and remove them from the pot. Then I decant the tea into 1 quart mason jars, put on the lids and refrigerate. These teas are absolutely delicious warm, but they really come into their own when they've settled a bit a chilled down.
Just add your favorite sweetener, a still warm oatmeal raisin cookie , a hammock and call it a day!
This Beautiful Wedding Hammock is courtesy of The Victorian trading Company
It's so hot and humid in Cleveland today. With weather like this I don't really want to eat much, but a cold soup is a quick and perfect meal for a day like today. The best part? I don't even have to use the stove because my trusty Vitamix does all of the work for me. This was truly simple and took me 5 minutes to prepare, that's it.
In the pitcher of the Vitamix I put 4 six inch long cucumbers, 5 cups of filtered water, one and a half tablespoons of "Better than Bouillon " No Chicken , Chicken flavored base, 1 cup of really good full fat yogurt , 1/4 teaspoon of salt and1/4 cup of onion, and a tablespoon and a half of Penzeys Sunny Paris herb blend and a teaspoonful of dried dill or a big handful of fresh dillweed.
I turned on the Vitamix, blended on the highest setting for one minute and poured it into a bowl to chill.
Serve with some crusty bread and a lovely white cheddar and some sliced ripe pear. That's all you'll need! So easy and delicious!
'When the day shall come that we do part, he said softly and turned to look at me,"if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time.”
The Fiery Cross ~ Diana Gabaldon
I think that of all of the lines from every Book of the Outlander Series that I've ever read, these romantic words from The Fiery Cross are the ones that I love the most. I've been married now for 33 years. Gone are the years of feeling immortal and that you have all of the time in the world. When you've been married as long as I have, you begin to learn that the happily ever afters are the ones that you choose to create yourself and together everyday. Each day becomes a day to experience love fully, without hesitation, without the petty withholding of emotions that you think that you have time for in your youth.
Everyday is a day to live and love so completely that even if you don't have the chance to say goodbye, that deep within is the feeling of having said and felt everything that was ever needed to be said and felt, so that the goodbye becomes way less important then than ever. To me, thats what Jamie Fraser has always been alluding to in those words.
My dashing husband has always had his own way of saying exactly the same thing. He has looked at me time after time and said " I could die tomorrow with no regrets, having had a love that has completely exceeded my expectations of what a marriage could be ." He is not afraid of the mortal concept of death, a thrilling quality that very few men possess anymore and its a quality which makes him a most amazing partner in life.
When I first met him on a cold march night, I took one look and that was it...smitten..gone. After a shy hello at the club where we met, he uttered 4 little words to me. "I play the piano".
Goddess...a Bard to boot. Trouble, with a capital T and the sexiest bee-stung lower lip that I'd ever seen.
He came closer and we began to dance. He smelled a bit like French lavender, tobacco and windfall apples... a combination which is a real problem for someone like me. Lutes and mandolins started flowing through my thoughts and I quickly became lost in a lusty Jacobean fantasy. For the sake of full disclosure, I need to say that it was the early 80's and there were hallucinogens involved. Bear in mind, that in a million years on a normal day I wouldn't have paid any attention the incredible man standing in front of me because he was way to nice for for me and I had a thing for nasty men. The LSD I'd taken was my own personal trip through the standing stones..I took one look at this guy and knew that I had known him before, that I would marry him and it was just a question of when.
What I remembered when I came back around was a day dream of a beautiful meadow , gorgeous dappled bay horses with ribbons in their manes, beautiful, naked young men clothed only in flowing long hair with lutes and mandolins playing something that sounded vaguely like "Mood for a Day". My soon to be lover ( I hoped beyond hope!) was there as well. Looking back I've always been surprised that I didn't hit the floor in a truly indecent sort of swoon....He was my dearest fantasy come to life right in front of me....
He was a wiry farm boy who had come to live in the city. He had the ability to make me feel safe wherever we were and I found myself in some pretty tough places with him. Much to my delight, he was also "not quite a member" of a somewhat notorious Cleveland Heights gang called BAT and these guys were constantly being arrested for drunken brawls and other such fun and games. For a polite and proper girl from the suburbs, this was quite irresistible. And...best of all, he really did play the piano and still does...
I pursued him relentlessly, even though I was still involved in another relationship. I couldn't help myself...he had the most beautiful blue eyes that I'd ever seen , bravery and passion that I'd never experienced before and obviously at the end of the day , he won the girl. In the middle of all of the chaos he boldly walked out the door and moved across the state leaving me by myself to figure the whole "other relationship thing" out. Four months later when I called him, prepared to beg and grovel, he came back into the relationship with no questions asked as if he'd simply been waiting for me to come to my senses. We were reunited that weekend and have been inseparable since.
I quickly found myself wondering what it would be like to spend the rest of my life with him so I did what any normal girl does and asked him to marry me!
One year later we were wed in my parents back yard, underneath the blooming purple wisteria trellis that my father worked on for months for the occasion. Goddess, we were babies...I was 23 and Jim was 21, but daddy knew another great man when he saw one. My father pulled me aside and told me it was the happiest day of his life because he knew that he'd never have to worry about me ever again. Independent woman that I was, I was so annoyed , probably because deep down I knew that my dad was right.
Twenty four years later on Christmas night, Jim got down on one knee and asked me to remarry him in front of my whole family and our friends. He'd bought me a beautiful new engagement ring and had planned it all out with my mother. I think that he knew that I'd always wondered if he'd said yes the first time because he felt that he had to, a fear that he put to rest the second he bowed in front of me and took my hand.
The next year in a beautiful sunset ceremony on the beach in La Jolla, I was able to raise a toast to my father because what he'd spoken in 1982 was the truth. I have never had to worry about a thing in my entire married life. I have been loved, cared and provided for. To be sure we've had problems and spurts of pain and anger, but all of it is woven into a tapestry that is so lush and beautiful that I am grateful for it all...even the nasty bits.
I've spent my life, much of it growing up with a man who is more moved by love of me, our son and our family than he is by anything else, except for his guitars, piano and the Celtic music that he adores. He is literally lit from within by a deep and connected spirituality that is not at all superficial. Within hours of meeting him I knew for certain that I’d met the man who is my soulmate, my twin ray for all of eternity. Jim moves through this crazy new world with the ease of a sage but he also knows how to milk a cow and dance the jig. He is the perfect mate for me. It is because of him that I have the time to express the ideas that are constantly springing forth onto these pages. He is my greatest muse...
I still think that he's one of the sexiest men alive and I’ve always felt that way about him even after 33 years of watching him brush his teeth and listening to him belch. He’s quite attractive in what my mother called a “Prince Charles sort of way” and he looks marvelous wearing his Keith clan tartan. He doesn’t wear his kilt with all of the pomp and nonsense, he wears it with a blue Scottish wool sweater and looks as if he’s walked right out of the Highlands. He is quite formal about his tux though and he wears it like a man born to it...
His very thick hair is gray in all of the right places and long enough for me to play with which I do all of the time. We are aging together after so many years of growing up together and he tells me all of the time when he find me fretting over a new gray hair or a wrinkle that even when I am old and gray that I will still be as beautiful to him as I was on the very first day that we met, but even more so.
How can you not fall totally in love with a man like that?
There’s always been something about him that seemed a bit timeless, of another place where men were a bit more dignified and by contrast much more bawdy, when men wore their hair long and wavy and they weren’t at all afraid to wear velvet and a bit of lace with their leather. He used to ride my stallion bareback with only a halter for control. I can easily picture him with a saber and a pistol although now the only weapons that he brandishes are purely raw courage, a rich and sarcastic sense of humor, a deep and passionate spirituality and his lightning quick intellect. On the softer side of things, he cried the day that we first married and has been a perfect father to our son, who I am so proud to say has become a man in the mold of his father, loyal, passionate and true.
He is loyal and so very kind, but don't ever mistake that sweetness for weakness. He is the only man I've ever known who has been man enough to handle me. I never tire of kissing him, of loving him and caring for him. He knows that I still think that he's the cutest boy that I've ever seen. I still want to chew on that lower lip every time I see it. (I can just hear my son thinking...ewwwwww!)
Last year, in a crazy climbing accident I almost lost him. He fell when descending Camelback Mountain in Arizona , hit his head and when I got to him after he called me (I still don't know how he did that!) I found him in shock and covered in blood. He lost his memory and the only things he remembered were me, Alex and Alex's beloved Angie.
It was completely terrifying. It took him three days to begin to remember anything and he still doesn't remember how he got off of the mountain or anything about the hospital. Not a day goes by anymore that I am not grateful that he's still with me. Not a day goes by anymore that I take the next day for granted. That day last March could easily have been the day when there wasn't enough time to say goodbye. Nothing has been the same since then, in the best way possible. That day, I realized completely what Jamie Fraser meant the day that he uttered those beautiful words to Claire.
Because I am the moderator of a fairly large Outlander fan page, people ask me all the time..."What is it with you guys? Are you so lonely or unhappy in your marriages that you need to escape?" I always laugh when I get that question. The amount of men who write saying that their marriages have become even more amazing since they have begun to share Outlander with their wives is astonishing. Those of us with amazing marriages are generally not the ones who get the press, in fact it's quite the opposite.
What we get in Outlander is a beautiful romance set in the middle of a real and sometimes terrifying life. We get to witness lovers who age together and have things happen to them, sometimes even really bad things. We get to watch them work together to reach new levels of love and communication. We get to experience truly mature lust and passion and for those of us that have that ourselves, we stop feeling guilty about sharing it as if there's something the matter with us because we can't keep our hands off of our mates. We don't watch and read Outlander because we're lonely. On the contrary we do it because we are affirmed for the marvelous marriages that we've worked so hard to create or because it helps us stay hopeful that real love is indeed possible.
One of the silliest comments that I ever read was from a fan that was complaining about not wanting to read about " Old people having sex!" No wonder it's said that great sex is wasted on the young! It gives us both great pleasure that we can still embarrass our kid...
I was so lucky. I opened up my eyes one day and found my twin ray standing right in front of me. For all of you who are still waiting for your Jamie....If I can find him ... then you can do it too. He's out there waiting for you. Just look deep inside and let your heart speak to you...look where you've never been brave enough to look before and then listen to the whisperings of your soul and follow it's lead. Men like Jamie Fraser are real. I know because obviously I married one.
Make no mistake...being married to this man has required fearlessness that I never thought I possessed, because he pushes me hard to be extraordinary, not ordinary. I have always been grateful that I found the courage to choose him instead of the fairly boring life that I know that I would have been doomed to live without him. Thank goodness the heart is a lusty organ that yearns for completion but knows it when it finds its true home. I have always longed for a life full of joy and with him I have found it.
I love you James Gehring and you know better than anyone what a greedy woman I am....I long for at least 60 more anniversaries with you and you know that I'm stubborn enough to try to make that happen. That being said....I do understand. Our life together has and continues to exceed my expectations and more.
Happy Anniversary my own...
I love you so much at times that my heart just breaks with the pleasure of it....and I'd do it all over again if the result was that I'd wake up every morning with you simply smiling at me.