Newsletter for April, 1999 ce

GREETINGS

We got some moisture, finally! I don't particularly enjoy driving in the snow, but I was very happy to see the last two snowstorms &151; even if I decided to work at home for one of them. The grass in my neighborhood definitely looks greener than it did a couple of weeks ago.

Now if everything (or even part of it) that I planted will start to grow, I'll be happy. I have gotten some fairly successful tomato starts to plant in a few more weeks &151; but the Brussels Sprouts seedlings didn't take at all. Does anyone know where I can get some seedlings? All the nurseries I've been to don't have Brussels Sprouts, and I happen to really like them.

—Alia

 

THANKS AND A TIP OF THE HAT

Our thanks to Dragon'sTide, who gave us a lovely Ostara ritual complete with kid's stories and red eggs. (Now, how do you get four-year-olds to sit still for a story?)

—Alia

 

APRIL OPEN FULL MOON

The April Open Full Moon will be on Friday, April 23, 1998, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO.
Due to the fact Alia had misremembered the date of the next OFM, we do not have a blurb for April's ritual.

 

SUGGESTED DONATION

We have determined that our break-even point is about $3 per person.

We aren't going to start collecting at the door, and no one will be turned away for not having a donation. However, we would like to suggest a donation of 3 to 5 dollars per person. (The extra is to cover the pagans that can't swing $3.) If you can't afford it, you are still welcome &151; if you can afford more, we'd be delighted to accept it.

IN THEIR SERVICE

by Hawk Shadow

One of the primary criticisms that could easily be leveled against modern paganism is that is tends to be self-centered. I would not argue that point very far or for long, for it is one of the things that most disturbs me about us. Recent criticisms aside, however, I am seeing many positive changes taking place. Bits of charity are popping up all over.

It is possible that people who come to paganism after bad experiences in the more mainstream religions might feel that it's their turn now #151; time to think about themselves instead of others. This has value for a time, and it is certainly true that one must care for oneself if one is to be of service to others. The problem is that many people get stuck there. They spend so much time tending to their own needs that they don't notice the rest of the world.

Look around, please. Those of us who are involved in "discretionary" religion &151; which is to say, those of us who have the luxury of worrying about whether or not Gerald Gardner really met witches in the New Forest, or what the true origins of the Rede are — are generally white, lower-middle to middle class, well-fed (no one can argue that one), educated to a reasonable degree. In short, we are not starving, foundering, or otherwise in trouble. Not that we don't have our moments. I've had a few very scary times in my life when sleeping with a rifle was the reasonable thing to do. But all in all, these times pass and we can go back to worrying over the trivialities that so entertain us. Now and then a little voice inside reminds us that there's more going on, though. We rarely listen.

We cannot single handedly stop hunger, or war, or cruelty. Each of us can, however, make a difference to one person, one animal, one organization dedicated to helping others. Whether you contribute financially or physically, you make a difference with every dollar or every hour. Sometimes it's hard to see, especially when we are used to looking at the world only from the viewpoint of immediate gratification.

There are countless local organizations that need your help. You can also do things all by yourself. Take flowers to a nursing home and bring some joy to cast off elders. Does that do any real good? Of course it does. Bringing joy anywhere in the world does good.

If you can give blood, do it. You don't have to make a display of it, but maybe it would be fun for you to join the local pagan blood drive. When you go grocery shopping, buy a few extra things for the EcoPagans food bank (which, contrary to recently published comments, is NOT solely for the use of pagans. Anyone is welcome. Charity must never be judged on its loudness or lack thereof). Call the hospitals and see what volunteer opportunities are available. Contribute to United Way through your employer's program.

You don't have to be noisy to be effective, and you certainly don't have to mention your charity work. Many people find it preferable to keep such things to themselves, possibly so they won't be accused of being "holier than thou."

I require charity work of some type from my coveners, and recommend it for everyone. What disturbs me lately is the tendency of some to decide that others aren't doing anything simply because their work is not visible. It doesn't matter if your charitable work of choice passes someone else's litmus test. It doesn't matter if you never mention it to a soul except your god and your accountant (may we all someday need accountants.) What matters is that you do something for someone other than yourself.

(As an afterthought: Hearthstone provides a needed service. Please be a little more generous in supporting pagan projects such as the Open Full Moons. Do yourself a favor &151; quit smoking and donate the money saved. Give up that extra movie rental and fork over the two or three bucks. Make your coffee at home and save that couple of bucks a day for something that does your heart GOOD. The Open Full Moons happen only once a month. Five dollars a month probably won't hurt you at all. You'll never miss it. But you'd miss the Open Full Moons. .Prioritize.)

KITCHEN WITCH AND THE KINDLY CHEF

by gypsy

There are a number of restaurants featuring unusual or unique cuisine near my home. Aside from Caprial's (which I have written about previously) there are such eateries as Adobe Rose, featuring New Mexican cooking (not to be confused with nouvelle Hispanic cooking; here New Mexico refers to the state), Stickers, named for potstickers and specializing in Asian "street food," and Fiddleheads, which is best known for the chef's innovative use of fresh ingredients in creating a new menu every day. That's only three of over a dozen fine restaurants within a five-mile radius.

A couple of doors south of Fiddleheads, and owned by the same people, is Bella Coola. Initially, I assumed this was an Italian restaurant. It wasn't until the night we were looking for someplace to eat and knew we couldn't afford Fiddleheads that I discovered my mistake. We thought we'd try Stickers, which appeared to be crowded. And Adobe Rose (these are the restaurants at one particular intersection) had been closed for remodeling and we didn't know if it had reopened yet. That left Bella Coola.

The menu describes Bella Coola (named for a northwestern tribe) as featuring "Foods of the Americas." So it came as no surprise when we learned that it is owned by the people who own Fiddleheads. Both restaurants claim Native American influence in their menus. The difference is that Bella Coola, with its fixed menu, is less pricey and does not feature a celebrated chef at the helm on a nightly basis.

The dishes ranged from Aleutian Hot Pot (which bore a suspicious resemblance to a mild bouillabaisse) to planked salmon to spicy buffalo chili to Peruvian potato cakes with fried plantains. The desserts included a number of lovely sounding items, including an apple pandowdy with molasses flavored ice cream (it was yummy) and a dense chocolate cake that Quetzalcoatl would have been proud of (and which was pretty tasty, too.) But the most intriguing thing on the dessert menu was the pumpkin fry bread.

The only way I'd ever had fry bread before was probably the way the rest of you have had it (if you have ever had it, that is.) I had it fresh from the oil, and topped with taco fixings. It's something variously called the "Navajo Taco," the "Indian Taco," and a couple of other variations on that theme. I've also had fry bread unadorned. I imagine it could be served with honey, like the sopapillas it is based on. But I had never eaten any kind of fry bread as good as the pumpkin fry bread at Bella Coola. I asked the waitress if I could get a hint from the cook as to how he made it, and she said she'd ask.

Remember, they don't have the big name chef at this restaurant. They have a very personable and competent head cook, but he's not the one who gets written up in Herb Quarterly or Sunset magazines. (He's also cute as a button.) He was apparently so flattered, he dropped what he was doing (hopefully into the hands of a well-trained sous chef) and joined us at our table, along with his master book of recipes, to find out of there were any others we wanted. (There were, but the restaurant was about to close for the evening, and we didn't want to keep him any later than necessary.)

Now, his big book didn't contain full recipes. It is designed for someone in a commercial kitchen who has some of the techniques already well memorized. So I have found instructions for frying Navajo Fry Bread and added them to the recipe. Please, remember to serve this fresh from the oil.

PUMPKIN FRY BREAD A LA BELLA COOLA

(serves at least four, maybe more.)

Combine and mix all dry ingredients. Combine all wet ingredients, then add them to the dry. Mix all together until dough comes together into a ball.

(this is the part I got from someplace else)

Brush a tablespoon of oil over the finished dough and allow it to rest 20 minutes to 2 hours in a bowl covered with a damp cloth.

After the dough has rested, heat the oil in a broad, deep frying pan or kettle until it reaches a low boil (375).

Pull off egg-sized balls of dough and quickly roll, pull, and pat them out into large, plate-sized rounds. They should be thin in the middle and about 1/4 inch thick at the edges.

Carefully ease each piece of flattened dough into the hot, boiling oil, one at a time. Using a long-handled cooking fork or tongs, turn the dough one time. Allow about 2 minutes cooking time per side. When golden brown, lift from oil, shake gently to remove bulk of oil, and place on layered brown paper or paper towels to finish draining.

This should be served sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Next time we go in there, we're going to ask for the molasses ice cream recipe.

THE FIVE R'S

Reduce,

            Reuse,

Recycle,

    Replant,

    Remember

 

by Ken Cannon

"And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home."

--Wendell Berry, THE UNFORESEEN WILDERNESS.

REPLANTING: A big THANK YOU to those who came out for the Buffalo Creek Tree Planting of April 10: Anne, Derek, Jay, Joanna, John, Marie, Maris, Marlene, Stephanie, and Valerie. That made eleven of us, including me.

Unfortunately, the wind prevented us from working. It is simply too dangerous to work in a burned out area with high winds felling the snags around you. Since Mom wanted the wind more than trees that day, most of us took the time for a pleasant day in the mountains.

The Forest Service also had a contractor working on the planting, so I hope they got all the trees in the ground. But I was also happy to see the snow this past week — good moisture for the trees that did get planted.

MORE REPLANTING: Another group of us gathered in the cold and snow of April 17 to help the "Denver Digs Trees" organization plant trees for urbanites who were unable to plant their own. Anne, Betty, David, Derek, Jo, Len, Margaret, Marie, Mark, Marlene, Melissa, and Pam all showed up to lend a hand. Our crew alone planted 11 trees, helped with distribution, and slept quite well that night. All in all, volunteers helped distribute and plant some 2500 trees in the metro area that day.

Green plants do, of course, help cleanse our air as well as generating the world's oxygen. After the blue-green algae of the ocean, which contribute the most oxygen to our atmosphere, trees are the largest of green plants, and contribute in many ways to the health of the planet.

Besides generating oxygen, trees help an area retain moisture; they moderate temperatures; and they hold soil in place, to name only a few of the ways they help make the world a pleasant place for us to live. All green plants do these things according to their respective sizes and natures.

When we plant or replant an area, be it a forest or a flower bed, we honor the contribution of plants to our lives, and thereby honor the four elements, for each plant combines earth, air, fire, and water in order to live, flourish, and give something back to Mother Earth.

Plant something — anything. Keep a plant alive, even just a houseplant. With the worldwide rate of deforestation what it is, the smallest effort helps.

"1800--Patent for paper using deinked waste paper as part of its fiber source is issued in London." p 16
"1850--Paper is manufactured from wood." p 20

The above two quotes are from THE GARBAGE PRIMER, The League of Women Voters, Lyons and Burford, NYC. 1993.

Blessings,

kc

 

WISE WOMAN WAYS

by Deb Hoffman

Well, I've done dandelions every year, but she is my favorite friend and ally, so here goes again!!

It's spring! I know it's spring because every where you put your foot down you step on a dandelion. I'm the only person on my block who is EXCITED about the beautiful yellow flowers popping up on my lawn. The botanical name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which in Greek means "remedy for disorders" and that name certainly fits this sunny little plant. She is good for almost everything that ails you!

The greens, especially the tender spring shoots, can be eaten fresh in salads or steamed. The roasted root is a coffee substitute. The flowers can be made into a soothing, healing oil. The tincture is a diuretic and liver tonic. Dandelions are FOOD: nourishing, satisfying food that feeds our body and soul down to a cellular level. You can't get too much dandelion, there is no toxic level!

Let's start with the root, the livers best friend. Dandelion root is a wonderful and effective tonic for the liver and digestive system, as well as the kidneys. The liver is the major organ of detoxification in the body and if it works well you feel and look better. Dandelion root provides nutrients to strengthen, repair and nourish the liver tissue and stimulates bile flow which aids digestion and elimination. It also contains high amounts of iron, manganese, protein and vitamin A and is an excellent source of calcium. Dandelion root helps with menstrual cramps and premenstrual cramps. Be aware..she didn't acquire the name "piss-in-bed" for nothing, for dandelion root is also a diuretic and is a great ally to help heal kidney and urinary problems. Also be aware that the root can act as a laxative in large amounts (it's a "good" laxative however, not a harsh stimulant, rather it helps the bowel to do its work more efficiently).

Dandelion leaves, fresh and green, are a nutritious and FREE food, a digestive bitter and a blood and lymph mover. Whenever we taste bitter foods our digestive system is revved up, all the juices and enzymes start to flow and our digestion is improved. Most Americans avoid bitter foods.perhaps we'd need less Pepcid AC and Tums if we ate more dandelions!

The leaves are also full of carotenes, ascorbic acid, potassium and calcium, as well as iron and vitamin E complex. Believe it or not, the leaves are 19-32% protein! It is suggested that pregnant women eat the leaves during the last few months of pregnancy and all during lactation as they improve the quality of breast milk. The leaves act as a blood purifier by increasing the water and blood waste eliminated through the kidneys and urine.

Dandelion flowers can be used as a pain reliever, beautifier, and as Susun Weed says: "A friend to your heart". Steep fresh blossoms in a covered container for an hour in freshly boiled water. Strain, reserving both flowers and liquid. Put the warm flowers on your face and lie down for ten minutes. Rinse off with the liquid. Splash the infusion on your face and skin before you go to sleep. A tea made from dandelion flowers will ease a variety of aches and pains, and how can you feel down or depressed drinking flowers?

Even the sap is useful. Break a leaf, stem or piece of root and place the white sap on warts, calluses, bee stings or insect bites, blisters or old wounds and they will heal in short order.

Dandelion products can be purchased at any health food store — you can buy dried roots and leaves or tinctures. But why buy when you can harvest a year's worth in a few spring days?

And of course, what can cause a lighter heart that blowing away the dried tops of a spent dandelion blossom, watching the little parachutes float away on the wind?

Dandelions are hearty and tenacious little plants. The more you spray, the more they grow. They grow in great abundance as if to say, "Use me! Use me! You need me!". If you really can't tolerate having them in your lawn, at least harvest them roots and all and accept their healing gift rather than using herbicides. As a friend said to me "If you can't beat em, Eat em!"

Welcome, Sister Dandelion, little spots of sunshine in my lawn and garden, blessed healer and child of the Lady.

GUEST COLUMNS?

Thanks to Hawk Shadow, who provided us with an additional column this month. If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room, as the white space in this issue demonstrates.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER

Please note that information and opinions contained in the articles in this newsletter are the responsibility of the authors only. No endorsement by Hearthstone Community Church, Inc. is implied.


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