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Summer Project: Homemade Dandelion Wine

Here’s some summer fun for everyone. If you’ve never made your own homemade wine, don’t be mistaken, it isn’t easy. But, then again, it isn’t hard, either. It does take a bit of effort, a few tools and patience. But there is a big plus: the dandelions are free. Feel free to pick any kind of dandelion you can locate, from your yard, the neighbors yard, wild fields or someone’s garden. It actually doesn’t matter if it’s a pretty one or a ratty one, but be sure they haven’t been treated with pesticides or fertilizers. It’s worth the money if you have a local organic farmer that grows them or florist that has organic flowers; the cleaner, the better. You can sometimes buy them dried in health food stores but fresh is much better. What you will need is fresh blossoms and it doesn’t matter what genus or strain of flower. Wild or cultivated. Just pick or otherwise obtain fresh flowers and you are ready for wine!

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Why Are You Fat?

The answer to that question can be really surprising. Oh, I know it’s far more popular to write a post about a new diet fad, some pill or food or magic bullet I can talk you into taking that I promise will make you thin. Or to write a motivational piece about how you should get up and jog and run and climb monkey bars or whatever else is handy to get your butt shagging and this will make you thin, right? Oh, if the solution was only that simple. And those of you who have taken all the pills, foods and magic bullets and have climbed the monkey bars on your way to the daily jog and still jiggle when you walk, you know it’s not. But what are the real reasons you are fat? Could it be something around you that has nothing to do with what you actually eat or how often you exercise?

Now, I won’t be the one to tell people to eat what they like or to stop exercising. Our sedate society is making all of us lazy and unproductive to some degree. People were made for physical labor, to build their own huts, to hunt their own food, to run through the jungle, literally. Our current technology oriented sit on your butt and eat lifestyle can’t be good, no matter what. But what if it’s not the only factor in your weight problem? What if it is in the world around you? Among those things that you have made a part of your beloved lifestyle or among the expensive and much desired objects you surround yourself with? What if?
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Natural Halloween Treats

Halloween is all about costumes and candy. According to, “Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.”

Hey, there is nothing funner than a costume party where someone reads everyone’s fortune.

So Halloween is actually one of those holidays that hasn’t strayed too far away from the original purpose, unlike Valentine’s Day and Christmas. But many of us would like to see our kids eating something other than tons of commercial candy with so much sugar and chemical additives. Although I do not suggest making candy and handing it out to the kids who come to the door (if you do this you risk serious scorn as well as suspicion). Kids are warned by authorities not to eat any candy that isn’t in a sealed commercial wrapper and this is due to the past poisonings of candy, including razor blades in apples. What a horrid way to ruin the possibilities of getting children to eat apples! So thanks to the creeps strike another victory for food factories. But such as it is, we can still make natural candies every day of the week and on Halloween and teach our own children to make and enjoy it. I threw together a few recipes that I thought my readers might like to try. You might be surprised.

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Summer Craft Project: Sunflower Wreath

Summer Wreath Project: Sunflower

This is a design of my own that I came up with a few years back and have made every other year or so since. It is a really pretty wreath when finished and it brightens up any room. It doesn’t involve a lot of expensive ingredients and all of it is easy to find in craft stores and even Wal-Mart. Cheer up the sunroom this year with this lovely wreath.

What you will need:

Large Eucalyptus Leaves
Lemon Leaves
Floral Wire
Wire Wreath Base (the larger the better!)
Cattails or Bottlebrush Anthers
Spanish Moss
Floral Picks
Floral Glue

Simple Instructions:

Using floral glue or hot glue gun, grab handfuls of the Spanish Moss and attach it to the wire frame with the glue. Bunch it so that it does not stick out of the sides or straggle. Also pad it down (taking out extra if need be) to make it lay flat and not be “bumpy”. Wire it in if need be to make it lay flat. But also make sure it is thick and covers the wire frame completely. I have found that wrapping the bunches of moss and the wire frame over with the floral wire helps to make it even and tight.

Next, sort out the large Eucalyptus Leaves and bunch them together in a group of 4 of 5. Wire them together and then tack them to the wire frame. Tack bunches closely together all around the frame so that it covers the frame. Allow the leaves to point in different directions to give the wreath a full and fluffy look.

Group together the anthers in bunches of 5 and wire together as a group. Tie in two groups of 5 anthers on each side of the wreath, measuring on average 1/4 length from the top and the bottom of the wreath sides. Make them even to the eye. You should have two bunches of anthers on each side. See photo for clarity.

Plug in the large Yarrow heads at the very top and very bottom of the wreath. Make sure they are balanced and then wire them in. Push Lemon leaves in behind the Yarrow all the way around to make them look like Sunflowers. Glue them in with the glue gun or floral glue or use the floral picks.

The finished wreath smells fantastic and looks gorgeous when fresh. It dries gracefully as well, I have one that is several years old that is still hanging. This wreath loses its smell about every 2 years so it’s a good idea to make a new one every so often. Have fun!

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How to Avoid Toxic Products

If I was going to eliminate only the worst toxic stuff from my world because, let’s say, it was too expensive, complicated or uncomfortable to work my way through ALL of it, then which ones would I choose? How would I know which ones were the worst and how would I find them in that pile of junk I have around me that I’ve become dependent upon and used to? Well, I know that this is a daunting task and it could take a novice years to get up to snuff, as well as taking many months to work the bad stuff out and to find new.

So knowing this and thinking about how people are, I thought it might be a good idea to give a list that people could write down, print out or record for future reference. A simple enough list to be added to the grocery and household shopping lists. So I came up with a “worst chemicals in the world” type of list with the names they go by on the labels you read so that you can snoop them out in your buying expeditions. I also give a short description of what they do and why there are bad for you so that you can understand that this is important. So get your pen, open your text document or start the voice recorder. Here they are:

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