A Simple Case of Multiplication – Dandelion Style

Dandelions are popping up all over our yard right now. They’re hearty enough to withstand almost anything (I suspect they’d even survive ravages of a nuclear kind), and their seed dispersal method is remarkable!

Starting out as cheerful yellow flowers…

Starting out as cheerful yellow flowers

Starting out as cheerful yellow flowers

… dandelions quickly mature and turn into puff balls. The white fuzz is attached to seeds that act as parachutes.

Dandelions quickly mature and turn into puff balls

Dandelions quickly mature and turn into puff balls

Riding on the wind, platoons of tiny paratroopers are carried away for one purpose only—a single-minded, tactical mission—to multiply.

Having one purpose only -- to multiply

Having one purpose only -- to multiply

In researching the etymology for the word “dandelion,” I expected to find the name came from the flower’s similar appearance to that of the regal, golden mane of lions. Not so.

The English name dandelion is a corruption of the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth—referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.

Did you know that all parts of a pesticide-free dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses? As a matter of fact, they’ve long been used as a liver tonic, diuretic, and for making dandelion wine.

Then, of course, there’s the Dandelion Doo sported by the one and only Alexis de la Luna (lovingly referred to as Lexi) in the Buchanan household.

Dandelion hairdoo modeled by Lexi Buchanan

Dandelion hairdoo modeled by Lexi Buchanan

What is it that you’re dispersing—sending forth to multiply?

 Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
                — Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

June Is Bustin’ Out All Over!

June is Bustin' Out All Over by Laurie Buchanan

June is Bustin' Out All Over by Laurie Buchanan

You remember these lyrics from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel”…

June is bustin’ out all over
All over the meadow and the hill!
Buds’re bustin’ outa bushes

Buds are Bustin' Outa Bushes by Laurie Buchanan

Buds are Bustin' Outa Bushes by Laurie Buchanan

Well that’s precisely what’s happening at our home. Our climbing roses started out with zillions of buds. Then like ruffled petticoats, in a matter days, hints of pink started winking through.

Like ruffled petticoats, hints of pink started winking through by Laurie Buchanan

Like ruffled petticoats, hints of pink started winking through by Laurie Buchanan

Finally, the bush exploded with fragrant, tea-sized roses.

Bursting with fragrant tea-sized roses

Bursting with fragrant tea-sized roses by Laurie Buchanan

While taking these photographs we discovered that a pair of cardinals had set up home—with a cozy little nest—in this climbing rose bush.

A pair of cardinals have set up housekeeping by Laurie Buchanan
A pair of cardinals have set up housekeeping by Laurie Buchanan

Shhhhhhhh, be really quiet and tiptoe forward a wee bit. Don’t be shy, just a little bit closer. There now, upon closer inspection—and taking great care not to disturb anything—look who’s there. Simply click on the photo to enlarge it – enjoy!

Look who's there by Laurie Buchanan

Look who's there by Laurie Buchanan

Note: directly through the exterior wall that the roses are climbing on, is our headboard. We can assure you that the babies (and we think there are three of them) have great lungs—chirp, Chirp, CHIRP! chirp, Chirp, CHIRP!

What’s “bustin’ out all over” in your life?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               — Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Garden

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During a recent visit with my dad in Encinitas, California (Dec 31 – Jan 1) I spent time at the Self-Realization Fellowship and Meditation Garden. This location—founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda—is always included when I visit.

It’s a wonderful place to recharge one’s personal battery; to just sit and drink in the beauty with all of the senses; to meditate, relax, and renew. It was a welcome part of my journey. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

E is for Elements

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Each of the traditional elements—earth, air, fire, and water—is associated with traits, meanings, and a direction on the compass. The information in this post is for readers in the Northern hemisphere. For my friends in the Southern hemisphere, please use the opposite correspondences:

Earth is associated with the north, the season of autumn, and the colors green and brown. Zodiacally speaking, the element of earth corresponds to Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo. Considered the ultimate feminine element, the Earth is fertile and has the aspects of birth, life, death, and rebirth. The Earth element is thought of as nurturing, stable, and full of strength and endurance.  

Air is associated with the east, the season of spring, and the colors yellow and white. Zodiacally speaking, the element of air corresponds to Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. Considered the ultimate communication element, this masculine energy is wise and has the aspects of intellect, focus, and telepathy. It supports the powers of the mind—intellect and claircognizance.

Fire is associated with the south, the season of summer, and the colors red and orange. Zodiacally speaking, the element of fire corresponds to Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. Considered the ultimate masculine element, fire is associated with strong will, vitality, and endurance. Fire creates and destroys; it can heal or harm; it purifies. And like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, it can transform.

Water is associated with the west, the season of winter, and the color blue. Zodiacally speaking the element of water corresponds to Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio. Considered the most cleansing of the elements, this feminine element (Goddess energy) is associated with emotional healing. It is used in many spiritual traditions for consecration—setting something apart as holy.

Spirit is sometimes referred to as the fifth element. Spirit transcends, yet is part of all the other elements; it has no direction, yet encompasses all directions; it’s beyond seasons and times, yet is all seasons and time. It is the source of human love and compassion.

Depending on the culture and tradition, elements are used in ceremonies, rituals, meditation, and Zen practices. And while sometimes identified differently than I’ve described here, the basic meaning is the same.

Which of the elements do you resonate with the most?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com.

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

Rose Hip Season

Rose Hips on the Vine

You’ve seen them. Those things that look like cherry tomatoes or large berries flirting with you from between the leaves on your rose bushes. Those are rose hips. They form after the rose bloom has died. They’re typically red or orange, but depending on the type of rose bushes you have, they can also be purplish to black in color.

Providing almost 20-times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, rose hips are an incredible source of vitamin C. In addition to their anti-inflammatory properties, they also help to protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

You can use them fresh off the vine, dried, or preserved. They can be used in apple sauce, soups, stews, syrups, puddings, jelly/jam, bread, and pie. My favorite way is to use them is to make rose hip tea. Regardless of how you use them, you’ll need to prepare them first.

Preparation
Place the hips on a clean surface to dry. When the skin begins to look slightly shriveled it’s time to split the hips in half and remove all the seeds and tiny hairs in the center. After the seeds and hairs are removed, let the hips dry completely. Don’t wait to remove the seeds until the hips are completely dry because it’s harder to de-seed them.

Storage
If they’re not going to be used within the week, store the prepared hips in sealed plastic bags and freeze them. If you’re going to use them in the next few days, simply place them in the refrigerator. Somewhat like dried cranberries, they can be eaten as a healthy snack anytime.

Herbal Tea
Boil the dried and crushed rise hips for about 10 minutes (about 2 tablespoons of berries per pint of water). If the mint in your garden took over like ours did this year, you can add a crushed mint leaf (fresh or dried). Depending on your geographic location, you may even be fortunate enough add a few hibiscus flower petals as well.

If you’re going to add honey, make sure it’s locally grown – this will help to combat allergies.

Cheers!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

Birds of a Feather

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Our friend and avid cyclist, Nan, told us about another gorgeous bike trail that she and her husband, Dave, found. The trailhead is in a tiny little town in northern Illinois called Hebron.

On Monday we, too, rode the trail and discovered that it was flanked on one side by breathtakingly beautiful wetlands. And just out of view for a good camera shot without a zoom lens, but well within earshot, there were hundreds of Great Blue Heron and wild turkey. They were singing. We couldn’t tell if it was a combined effort of both types of birds, or if it was one, or the other. Regardless, it was startlingly magnificent to be serenaded in the crisp morning air.

A little further down the trail, we came to the sporadic placement of several manmade nesting boxes. We’re not sure what type of waterfowl they’re for, but we’re fairly confident they’re not meant for the Great Blue Heron or the wild turkey as neither of them could possibly fit into the small circular entrances.

On the return ride, we were gifted to see the same birds, but this time there wasn’t a sound—not a single peep. It was hauntingly quiet. Either they were all asleep, or choir practice was over! Regardless, it was again done in unison.

We hadn’t known until Monday morning that Great Blue Heron hang out with wild turkey. If it’s true that “birds of a feather flock together,” what type of “birds” do you hang out with?

 

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

GREEN – Develop Your Emotional Empowerment

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For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to the University of Life. In the previous “classes” we laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness, and looked at the therapeutic properties of the colors red, orange, and yellow. Today is my 53rd birthday and I worked it out so that the class palette would feature my favorite color, Green.

Green is associated with self-acceptance, love, and emotional wellness. It enhances love, peace, and inner-balance. It’s the color of growth. Think of freshly-mowed grass that springs back after a barefoot step, a wedge of lime hugging the rim of a glass, moss-covered rocks in a stream, freshly-snapped sugar peas, or new leaves unfurling as they herald spring.

The positive properties of green are expressed as warm, sympathetic, compassionate, soothing, relaxed, fair-minded, and consistent.

The negative properties of green are described as envious, mean, bitter, inflexible, and jaded.

The healing properties of green are described as calming and soothing, and can address physical symptoms that include headaches, heart, and kidney problems, flu, and negative states of mind such as irritability, spite, fear, of emotional involvement, and claustrophobia.

When you need a boost in the areas of love and self-acceptance, indulge yourself with this color. Its frequency revitalizes the heart chakra, the center energy station in a system of seven. It encourages us to love ourselves just as we are.

Love, the most powerful energy of all, helps us to heal emotional wounds through unconditional acceptance and understanding. It’s here—the place of the heart—where we become a balanced and peaceful being.

What shade of green are you drawn to? Pure green is strongly associated with nature, new beginnings, and a sense of renewal; it’s the most neutral color in the spectrum. While the more muted tones are calm, restful, and soothing. Maybe you prefer the deeper, shaded variants that project trust and order, encouraging contemplation, serenity, and repose.

Regardless of the hue, green reminds us to listen with our hearts and encourages us to fulfill our heart’s desire. Archangel Raphael—Heaven’s Physician—is associated with the color green. It’s no wonder this color is often used in healing circles.

What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of green clothing. Add a splash of green to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle. or a throw. Do you enjoy antiques? Add a few pieces of depression glass or a green seltzer bottle to your collection. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of green crystals such as green aventurine, malachite, green jade, or emerald.

A special thank you to Joseph’s Market for allowing me to take photographs in their produce department.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

The Law of Gross Tonnage

The Law of Gross Tonnage

The law of gross tonnage is usually thought of in terms of the maritime world—an unwritten, yet accepted nautical law that has everything to do with common sense: “If it’s bigger than you are, get out of the way.”

As bicyclists we, too, have this law. Together my bike and I weigh well-less than 200 pounds. A car—even a small one—weighs a heck of a lot more! In the state of Illinois it’s a law that vehicles passing a cyclist must give them at least 3 feet of space.

It’s a nice law to have on the books, but in our real-life experience, sometimes we’re lucky if we get 3 inches. But when push comes to shove, regardless of the written law, the unwritten, yet accepted law of bicyclists dictates, “If it’s bigger than you are, get out of the way.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”
Albert Einstein
 

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”
Charles M. Schulz

“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.”
H.G. Wells

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
John F. Kennedy

“Chasing records doesn’t keep me on my bike. Happiness does.”
Lance Armstrong after his third Tour de France victory

“Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.”
James E. Starrs (sometimes referred to as the father of Indiana Jones)

Wasps don’t adhere to the law of gross tonnage. Even though we weigh thousands of times more than they do, they’ll still chase a bicyclist down and sting him right through his glove!

Wasps Don't Adhere to the Law of Gross Tonnage

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Emerald Eyes, Isles, and Stones

Raw Emerald

One of my friends, Donna Jill Witty, recently returned from North Carolina where part of her time was spent gem mining near Ashville. Much to my surprise and delight, she gifted me with three raw pieces: emerald, sapphire, and citrine. Since green is my favorite color, emerald is the gemstone that I chose to highlight in this post.

But first, please follow this LINK so that I can introduce you to Donna Jill Witty and her amazing artwork. I’m tickled to share that she was featured in the current (summer 2010) edition of the American Artist Watercolor magazine. The article, Mixing Careful Planning with Spontaneity, starts on page 42.

Emerald
The frequency of Emerald is said to enhance harmony, joy, cleansing, abundance, clairvoyance, memory, and faith. It provides inspiration and helps those in need of balance, healing, and infinite patience. It also benefits intuition, intellect, communication, decision-making, and promotes truthfulness and honesty. It motivates the possessor to give love and wisdom to others. Emerald is used to enhance intuitive awareness and to bring forth manifestation. It’s a stone of protection and is associated with the heart chakra.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Come Visit the Joyful Energy of “Our Garden”

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The other day we had privilege of being immersed in the joyful energy of “Our Garden.”  As guests we were treated to a delicious picnic-style meal and got to meet the family, and many friends, of my friend Cindy Kellogg.

As a Master Gardener, Cindy is living her dream. She just opened a flower and vegetable Market in Volo, Illinois. If you live in this geographic area, I hope you’ll stop by and visit. If you’re not in this area, please enjoy a virtual tour in the slideshow.

Our Garden
30523 N. Hwy. 12, Volo, Illinois
Phone 847-875-7321

Hours
9am to 6pm Wed & Thur
9am to 7pm Fri
9am to 6pm Sat
9am to 5pm Sun

Funny story … when we arrived on Friday night for the festivities, we were informed by a smiling Cindy and husband, Keith that we were precisely 24-hours early. I took advantage of the opportunity and snapped a few of the photos then. I got the rest of the shots when we repeated the visit on the following evening.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.