Loving Your Mothers Days

Actually every day is a mother’s day.   This lifetime commitment isn’t always easy, celebrated, or what you thought it would be.  I’ve been lucky enough to be Bess’ Mom for 13 years but she’s the one teaching me.  Bess is my beloved Border Collie who romps around the garden and shows me how to love all days:

 

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Wishing all mothers happy days!

 

Nature Teacher: Getting Along with Others

You’ve probably been in a situation where you can’t wait to get away from someone’s toxicity.  Maybe it’s a stranger.  Maybe it’s family.  Maybe it’s your employer who you see day after day after day.  You’re not alone.  Nature deals with this too.
daffodilsDaffodils (aka narcissus or jonquils) are often the showy greeters in springtime, yet, like the attractive stranger or successful relative, we often don’t readily see their toxicity.  Daffodils contain toxic lycorine and calcium oxalate crystals and when freshly cut, they emit a virtually invisible but poisonous, gooey sap — similar to insidious commentary from passive-aggressives.  No wonder they usually appear solo in a vase.  But, you can help them get along with others!

daffodils separatedTo create a diverse but happy springtime bouquet, give daffodils a time out before introducing others to the vase.  Cut their stems at an angle and leave them by themselves in a vase of cool water overnight.

The next morning, after most of the sap has seeped out, change the water and safely add other flowers.  Then change the water every few days to maintain the harmony of this mixed bouquet.

blue tulip daffs 011

Cutting Trees for Arbor Day?

Forgot about American Arbor Day this year?  It’s recognized on the last Friday in April (April 27th this year) but many states celebrate on their best tree planting date.  Still, you may decide to chop down a tree for Arbor Day rather than plant one.  Yes, that’s what I said — chop down a tree.

The first tree I planted over 20 years ago was a Bradford pear. Weeping and kwanzan cherry, rose of sharons, lilacs, flowering plum, weeping willow, star magnolia, Harry Lauder’s walking stick, redbud, and my beloved dogwoods followed.  Most thrived.  A few didn’t.

For years, I longed to line my driveway with more of those pretty Q-tip shaped, white flowering Bradford pear trees like I’d been admiring in other sweeping driveways.  Thankfully, I never got around to it, even though I lamented year-after year, “Think how big those trees would be by now.”

pear trees
CC BY-SA 3.0 Attribution: jwshaw

Certified Nurseryman and Arborist Durant Ashmore, who has a master’s degree in landscape architecture and over 30 years experience, says, “The Bradford pear is worse than kudzu.”  Builders cursed many neighborhoods by landscaping with an abundance of Bradford pear trees.  Besides smelling bad (some say like stinking fish although I haven’t detected it in the one Bradford pear I do have) flowering pears now appear on some invasive plant watch lists, and their wood is weak.   The Bradford pear’s life expectancy before breakage is only 25 years.  Seems mine is ready to go.

tree chopped

Avoid cultivated forms of this invasive species (aka Pyrus calleryana or Callery pear tree) and commonly available ornamental pear cultivars which include:  Bradford, New Bradford®, Cleveland select, autumn blaze, Aristocrat®, capitol, Chanticleer®, and dozens more. 

Ashmore says the problem with Bradford pear trees is that they aren’t sterile.  “No two Bradford pears will ever reproduce among themselves, but they do cross pollinate with every other pear tree out there, including the Cleveland select pear trees.  The introduction of other pear varieties has compounded the problem to the point where it is almost too late to rectify.  Because of the cross pollination problem, pear trees have now proliferated exponentially across our environment. And, to make matters worse, the evil offspring has reverted to the ancient Chinese Callery pears which form impenetrable thorny thickets that choke out the life of pines, dogwoods, maples, redbuds, oaks, hickories, etc.”  So, for Arbor Day I’m considering chopping down my one Bradford pear.

If your Bradford pear is splitting, maybe you want to cut it down too or if you already have a lot of these pear trees Ashmore suggests applying the Principle of Regeneration. “Plant substitutes in the gaps between your pears, and when the substitutes gain a few years of maturity, cut down the pears at that point and have a great celebratory bonfire.  Pears make great firewood.”

So, if you’re ready to regenerate and “plant” in recognition of National Arbor Day, check out some fun options on the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) website.   A mere $10 can get you 10 seedlings to plant in your hardiness zone, or 10 seedlings planted in your honor in a needy national forest.  This small donation helps millions by preserving clean air, drinking water and the habitat — a small gift with big results (and probably less than you spend on a month of cell service or latte’s).

The first American Arbor Day was on April 10, 1872 when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska.  Global Forest Watch states 73.4 million acres of tree cover were lost in the world’s forests by 2016 due to poor forest management, climate change-driven drought and fires.  This was a 51% increase over 2015!  In 2018, the Arbor Day Foundation (ADF) will provide 5 million trees to help replenish those wiped out by fires and storms in California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.

 

 

 

Get a Universal Hug!

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day sat on my bucket list for several years.  With no events offered in my small, semi-rural community, I made up my mind last year to drive 1.5 hours to participate.  The powerful group energy felt like a profoundly calming universal hug, not to mention the good people I met and now have the pleasure of studying the Tao with.   Yes, I make the 3 hour roundtrip drive to do this monthly but it brings me so much pleasure it’s a worthy investment.  Now, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is an annual must do event for me.  (FYI, it’s always the last Saturday in April at 10AM local time.)

As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person),  safeguarding my own peace and serenity (aka well-being) is critical for me.  Detaching from the bombardment of frenetic and frantic energy through sensationalized “news” while staying engaged with humans and the environment is key, and I’m meeting numerous others with similar observations.  Like the waitress who sadly said, “I’m serving more and more families who come in and sit glued to their phones rather than talk to each other.  It doesn’t make sense!”  Or the fellow concert goer who high-fived me after first responding in shock, “You did what?!  I’d like to give up this thing too and get my life back.”

tech free

For the record, I recognize some value in having technology like GPS or locating a restaurant in an unfamiliar city, but it’s not worth the expense to me — financially, mentally or emotionally. I just don’t need technology. My life M.O. has changed to “discarding” rather than “adding” non-essentials. I value my time more. I see how easily I could become addicted. And I see the stress — whether to the user or those around them — from constantly pinging phones interrupting each moment, deteriorating eye contact and banishing personal interaction. I see others trying to remedy their lives after their electronic financial accounts were hacked… What I don’t see is the value of turning my life over to technology.

seth-macey-396196-unsplash
Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash

But anyway, the point of this post is to encourage you to try World Tai Chi & Qigong Day if you haven’t already.  Whether you are or aren’t engaged with technology, Tai Chi and Qigong are certain to bring a calmness into your life.  And couldn’t we all use that these days?

Visit this site to find an event near you:  http://www.worldtaichiday.org 

 fhug

It’s More than Just Earth Day

I grew up seeing public service messages of a Native American crying about litter strewn across the land and water they honored.  The message stuck.  I don’t litter.  And I honor, I love, Mother Earth and our environment.

When Earth Day began in 1970, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  It still does.  We just need 364 more days of it.  Worldwide.

In my lifetime of globalization, littering escalated to what you see below.  The five major oceans on our planet all have garbage patches.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is larger than Texas.  Unthinkable, isn’t it?!

Today, I am the one shedding tears for how humans and corporations worldwide are polluting our land and oceans.  There are plenty of examples showing how we are destroying our environment.  You’ve seen them.  I have too.  Some become active or proactive but too many turn away in apathy saying “there is nothing one can do” yet it is up to each of us to care, to not look away.

A long time ago I heard the sentiment, “Ignore your health long enough and maybe it will go away.”  That stuck with me too.  Ignore problems and maybe they’ll go away… maybe.  Maybe they’ll snowball and be harder and more costly to solve. Or, maybe they’ll become unsolvable. Call me an insurance salesman’s dream — I’d rather pay now than pay later. Maybe, probably, if we ignore the environment long enough, it will go away.

“From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival.” from the Earth Day Network.

Has the message stuck?

What are you willing to do to honor Mother Earth and our planet?  Will you commit to stop using plastic bags, bottled water, and plastic tableware?  How about microbead cleansers?  Will you educate others about plastic pollution in our environment and to our bodies?  Share a video on the sea of garbage, lobby for bio benign plastic packaging, boycott companies responsible for oil spills?  Get creative.  No matter how large or small, we each need to do our part.

ACT. To make a difference.

And as Earth Day approaches on April 22nd, remember the oceans too.

 

Can You Love More than One Day?

Pets are on my mind.  I’ve finished viewing “The Truth about Pet Cancer” which I alerted you to in my previous post “Your Pet Trusts You.”  And with today being National Pet Day I’m thinking about these beloved creatures more than usual.   According to PetSecure.com, “Americans spend over $50 billion annually on their pets, and 36% give their dogs birthday presents.”  But why wait for one special day when animals freely give us their love, forgiveness and attention 365 days, year after year after year?

Don’t have, or can’t have a pet you say?  It doesn’t matter.  Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter American animal shelters every year.  These animals don’t have a pet parent or pet guardian — their only hope is caring humans.  Cats and dogs come in varied sizes, so are the ways you can help.  Here’s some options:

dog-hugShop on Amazon Smile and get 0.5% of your purchase donated to a 501(c)(3) pet charity registered on their site.   Even better, buy some pet supplies via Amazon Smile then donate them to your local SPCA, no-kill shelter or rescue group.

dog hug soldier

Support no-kill shelters.  Look for no-kill shelters in your area:  https://www.nokillnetwork.org/no-kill-animal-shelters.php

horse-hug girl

Aid rescue groups.  Some rescue groups are breed specific:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/maps/feral-cat-groups/feral_cats_list.html

https://www.habitatforhorses.org/state-national-rescue-links/

For some tips on rescue groups visit:  http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-breeds-breed-specific-rescue-group-adoption-tips or http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm

dog hug boyAssist with dog transport and save the life of a dog on death row:

FreedomTrainTransports: http://freedomtraintransports.com

If you’re on FB or Yahoo, take a look at these sites to see what you can do:

Animal Rescue Transport Network: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-Rescue-Transport-Network/117998798306519

Rescue Angels on Wheels: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RescueAngelsonWheels

goat hug ladyHelp find homes for orphaned pets by signing-up for Shelter Pet PR and promoting the pets on your social media site:  https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns/shelter-pet-pr

And what about that beloved pet you do have?  I thought I gave good care — at least until I realized that Big Farma and Big Pharma have also corrupted the pet food and medical “industries.”  Remember, your animal friend relies on you to give them the best of health. It’s not that difficult (and you’ll become healthier too).

 

Feed a breed-specific diet and the best diet you can afford.  For instance, use quality canned food for cats who can dehydrate easily and need more moisture; and if your dog can’t tolerate a totally raw diet, select kibble without soy, corn or rice, and is preferably organic.  Supplement a few times each week with raw meat-based scraps and chopped brightly colored veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and carrots.  Blueberries and even a raw egg now and then are good too.  Just skip the pizza crust and other highly processed foods!  That includes colored food treats too.

Offer plenty of clean water — spring or distilled rather than fluoridated city water — in metal or ceramic bowls.  (Get rid of plastic dishes.)

Play with nontoxic toys, get lots of exercise and sunshine!

Consult a holistic vet especially if your pet buddy is already not feeling well.  They are trained to help pets achieve quality living without costly surgeries, pharmaceuticals or side effects:  https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/

Bess still thanks me for taking her for acupuncture.  In two treatments she was running like a pup again — even though she was 11 (and now doing well at 13).  She’s not leaving a spec behind of the raw purple cabbage and kale with flaxseed oil and organic raw chicken added to her kibble!

Include animals in your will.  If you have a chunk of cash to leave behind, consider naming a charitable pet organization in your will.  None of us will be here forever so make sure your pets will be cared for in the event you depart first.  For some helpful info, visit: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/protect-your-prized-pet-create-a-pet-trust or https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pet-trusts.html

Of course, the standbys of donating money, supplies, and volunteering your time are always needed.  Hopefully, National Pet Day is the kickstart for you helping animals all year long — just like the love they give to us every day.

Oh, and if you missed National Hug Your Dog Day yesterday (4/10) — just give them a hug every day too.