Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice!!!!

A Happy Solstice to Everyone. It's another winter wonderland here on this the first day of winter. After the ice storm last week, then 2 inches of sleet on Tuesday, we received 15 inches of snow on Thursday. Today it is snowing heavily in those big, fluffy, drowsy flakes and is piling up even more. We probably have gotten another foot of snow. Soon, the winds will be picking up and causing white out conditions. I'm glad I have nowhere to go today! As we celebrate the longest night and welcome the return of the sun in anticipation of the days getting ever more daylight, it's a good time to reflect and then to turn our thoughts to the future.

Here's a piece I stitched a few years ago. A very wintry piece. Around the edge is written: "Neath blue sky and mantle of white, the heart of the land pulses with life". Serendipitous for today.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice Storm

On the December full moon - the Longest Night Moon - we got hit by the big ice storm. Freezing rain, sleet and snow fell with temperatures hovering at the freezing mark. Ice accumulated at over 1/2" and covered every surface. At 3 a.m. on Friday, December 12, power went out amidst the sound of tree limbs cracking. The temperature went down to 13 that night. The next day dawned pale and cold. It was like a crystal wonderland outside. The ice wreaked havoc, but the crystalline coating was breathtaking. Everywhere hung icicles. Every surface was encased with thick ice. Branch, limb, leaf, wire - all in suspended animation within its frozen wrappings. The day was gray, still and freezing. Temps never got over 22. We heard that most of the northeast was hit by the storm and a quarter million people in NY state alone lost power. We got a kerosene heater. On the way to the store, we noticed a huge amount of trees downed and blocking roads, toppling power poles and anything in the way. Friday night the temps got to 10. We heard on the battery-powered radio that it might be the middle of next week before rural areas (read Huntersland, NY) would get power. So, Saturday morning, we made a 5-hour round trip to the nearest store that had a generator in stock. DH hooked it up and it worked great. We were able to alternate running a space heater and lights to running the freezer (filled with organically raised beef and pork and lots of veggies from our garden) to the radio. Saturday night dipped down to single digits, but it wasn't too bad inside and no pipes burst! Sunday the sun was shining like crazy and as the temps made their way into the mid 20s, some ice started to break up from the wires. We ran to our youngest son's house (he still had power) and took a shower. Came back home and ran heaters and such some more. The sun shining on the ice-covered hillside really was amazing. Then, bless National Grid, power was restored to our house at 2 p.m. 2 1/2 days of no power in such cold temps was more than enough for me! We are astounded at how quickly the crews restored power, although we realize many are still without power. The magnitude of the storm was huge. Kudos to National Grid and all the hard-working crew!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2009 Herbal Study Program - makes a terrific Christmas present!

This is our wonderful herbal study program! If you would like to pay using a credit card via PayPal, just email me at for details.

2009 Green Spiral Herbal Study Program

A Common Sense Approach to Incorporating Herbs Into Your Everyday Life

Many of us remember the time when grandmothers had the knowledge and skills to keep their families healthy through good nutrition and simple home remedies. The time has come again for us to recall that wisdom and incorporate it into our lives. Discover how easy it is to bring that genuine experience to your everyday life -- wrap your hands around a steaming mug of herbal tea; ease a headache with natural relief; or soothe your skin with an organic salve.

Through the Green Spiral Herbal Study Program, you will learn to identify, grow and use herbs for their nutritional, therapeutic and creative benefits. You will create herbal preparations for personal use. Come to Dan and Betty Pillsbury’s herb farm in Huntersland for 42 hours of instruction from April to September and learn about herbs.

The focus of this program is to learn about herbs in a friendly, caring environment. Class size is limited to allow for meaningful interaction.

The curriculum includes, but is not limited to information on:

- Identification of cultivated and wild herbs

- Growing herbs organically and gathering wild herbs ethically

- Preserving the harvest

- Herbalism terminology

- Herbal tea blending

- Poultices, soaks and compresses

- Medicinal infused oils and vinegars

- Salves and creams

- Cooking with herbs

- Infusions and decoctions

- Tinctures

- Syrups

- Herbal first aid kit

- Materia medica

- Herbal strategies to improve your health

Class dates:

Sundays: April 26, May 31, June 28, July 26, August 30 and September 20.

Class Times: 9:00 to 4:00

Students are expected to arrive on time, participate fully and remain for the entire class time.

Physical Requirements: Students should dress for the weather and be able to tolerate outdoor environments as herb walks will be held rain or shine, heat or cold. Proper foot wear is needed. Part of each day will be spent indoors.

Absences: Any student with more than one day’s absence will not receive a certificate of completion. No make up dates are provided. If we must reschedule a class, we’ll do our best to find a time convenient for all students. However, we reserve the right to make the final choice of dates. If a student cannot attend a rescheduled class, no refunds will be given; but upon request, we will issue a credit voucher for the value of the rescheduled class. The amount of the voucher may be applied to tuition fees of any future Green Spiral class. Credit vouchers are good for one year.

Tuition: Tuition is $750. This works out to less than $18 per hour! A $150 non-refundable deposit is required with registration. The balance of $600 must be paid prior to the first day of class. Should a registered student not begin or complete the program for any reason, Green Spiral assumes no obligation, financial or otherwise.

Meals: Students should bring their own lunches. Herb teas and snacks will be served at no charge.

Supplies: A supply list and directions will be sent upon registration.

Call Betty at 518-827-8730 or email to register.