The people who constructed Stonehenge divided the year into solstice, equinox and cross-quarter days. A cross-quarter day occurs midway between a solstice and an equinox. August 1st marks Midsummer. They celebrated Midsummer as a time when the sun came down to caress the earth to help the crops to ripen. If you have been watching the sky, you will note that shadows are beginning to lengthen. The days are a bit shorter as well. If you watch the horizon, you may note that the place where the sun rises and sets is shifting. Ancient people celebrated these times.
We can celebrate midsummer by shopping at our amazing outdoor markets which are bursting with fresh vegetables, fruits, free-range chickens, eggs and wholesome bread.
Once in a Blue Moon
August 1st not only marks the cross-quarter day of midsummer but also the first of two full moons this month. August 30 is the second full moon, often called a “blue moon.” Between these times, the Perseid Meteor shower peaks around August 13. This is also a good time to see the meteors because there will only be 10% moonlight that night.
One of my favorite past times at dusk is watching little bats and dragon flies hunting mosquitoes! A little peppermint oil helps to deter them. But if you are fond of carbs, you will find that mosquito moms will bite to get your sweet blood for their babies. Shamas is given Black Walnut in his food to protect him from heart worm should the mosquitoes be carrying it. He is also taking ½ teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar in his food and has virtually no fleas this year.
So enjoy the cool evening/night. Perhaps take a walk in the moonlight as Shamas and I are fond of doing. Sometimes I find myself singing “I’m being followed by a Moon Shadow…” Indeed, the shadows cast by the full moon are magical!
Those of us who have opted to eliminate certain “creature comforts” like AC and travel in order to help the earth, have been fortunate. This has been a relatively mild summer. Perhaps, as Sir David Attenborough is fond of reminding us: “Fortune sometimes favors the brave!” Personally, my dedication to minimize driving has enabled me to have a deeper sense of peace and happiness. In the past, I hiked hundreds of miles each year, along rivers, mountains, the Redwoods and our beautiful coast. Ironically, these exploits increased carbon emissions, threatening the very places I love!
I now find great joy living in harmony with plants and wild creatures in my gardens and around the land. When I come to the clinic, my walks take me past lovely trees and gardens in Grants Pass. My focus on urban nature has deepened my appreciation of the beautiful place we all call home. My health has also improved because I am not stressed preparing for and recovering from excursions. As Lao Tzu wrote:
The people must not waste their lives in distant lands
Let them return to the knotting cord
Let them enjoy their food and care for their clothing
Let them be content in their homes
and joyful in the way they live.
“To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower.
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”
Fusion Chick Pea Summer Delight
Plant based meals are one of the secrets of longevity from China. They are good for preventing and treating cardio-vascular disease, and help reduce our carbon footprint. (Methane from animal husbandry is a major source of carbon pollution.) You can stay healthy longer if you include such eating strategies in your diet on a regular basis.
Soak a cup of Chick Peas in water with a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar for 8 to 24 hours.
Rinse the beans under running cold water.
Place in a pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and a piece of Kombu.
Cook as directed. Generally about 10 minutes. Let the pressure drop naturally.
Place the beans and some cooking water in a blender with Italian Seasoning.
Blend to a lovely consistency.
You can enjoy this with celery sticks, pieces of tomato, zucchini, or romaine lettuce. California produce is contaminated with perchlorates which suppress thyroid function. But the produce from our local markets is clean and fresh.
Sea Otters, Kelp and Carbon
The Center for Biological Diversity is working to reintroduce sea otters along our west coast. It is projected that reintroduced Oregon and Northern California sea otters will protect our coastlines in many ways. Sea otters love eating sea urchins! Unfortunately, sea urchins love to eat kelp. Without sea otters in the ecosystem, the urchins overpopulate and destroy the great kelp forests. This endangers fish populations and removes a large carbon sink from our shoreline.
Reintroducing sea otters can help both kelp and sea grass beds to come into balance again. These plants protect our shoreline from the realities of rising ocean levels and erosion. They also act as carbon sinks.
Good reasons to encourage sea otters, not to mention the fact that they are darned cute! To find out more about this and other projects, contact The Center for Biological Diversity, Tucson, Arizona.
Health in High Summer
Even though the days are slowly getting shorter, the earth is also getting drier. This is why rabbits, deer, and other critters love the lush vegetation of cultivated lands and gardens. In addition, plants produce bitter alkaloids to deter insects from eating them. So deer and rabbits are thirsty for something lush to nibble on.
Like our wild friends, we and our domestic friends can become dehydrated at this time of year. Shamas has itchy skin, for example. Some people find that they have painful cracks in the bottom of their feet. Ouch! If this happens to you, soak your feet (or your entire body, if you can), and then scrape off any dead skin. Use either castor oil or lard directly on your feet and cover with a pair of white socks. This will help your skin to heal.
Our lungs can also begin to dry up at this time of year. This is especially true if you are a smoker or simply tend to be dry for other reasons. Smoke in the air is very drying to our skin and lungs. Mullen and other demulcent herbs can be used to moisten our tissues. The clinic always has Chinese herbs which can be used to protect your epithelial tissues.
So when a deer is nibbling on your plants, know that they are thirsty! What they are showing us is that we need to moisturize our own bodies at this time of year. Some foods and beverages, however, may feel good in the short run but will create health problems down the road. (Soft drinks, ice cream, excess amounts of cold dairy, ice water, and alcoholic beverages.)
Our lungs will be challenged in the Fall when the children return to school and people spend more time indoors. If we can protect them now, we will have fewer health problems down the road. Sun teas with peppermint, spearmint, and a little lemon or lime in water are great refreshing choices. A little honey or maple syrup in lemon or lime juice and water further lubricates the tissues.
Soups continue to be good choices for dinner. They are fun to make, easy to digest and moistening. Adding crumbled kelp or dulse sea vegetables to soup adds minerals and iodine for our immune systems. A bit of sauerkraut as a garnish, protects our intestines which, like the lungs, are stressed in fall. Bon Appetit!
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The care I have received at Ráven's clinic has made an almost unbearable situation bearable and allowed me to hold a job and continue on with my life. She and her staff work with you at any time you need them. They are amazing.