Happy November! It has been quite dry – please make sure that your plants and lawn have enough to drink. And drink enough yourself – the best way to moisturize the skin is from the inside, and right now our normally dry climate is even drier.
It’s that time again time to make sure everyone who is receiving the newsletter still wants to receive it. If you would like to continue to receive the paper newsletter, please let Catherine or me know. If you are receiving the e-mail newsletter, you don’t need to “renew.” Look for an asterisk on your address label – that indicates you are renewed.
Our thanks to Phoenix, who helped us to remember our pets and familiars during Samhain. It was a lovely ritual and visit with our dear friends.
The November Open Full Moon will be on Friday, November 19, 1999, at 7:30 PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, CO. The doors of the church open at 7:00.
We did not receive a blurb for this month’s ritual, but it should be lovely.
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 – if you can afford more, we’d be delighted to accept it.
Joy versus Pain
Most of us don't like it, and many of us view it as a Bad Thing. I'm one person who does not like pain. Yet, today I deliberately allowed myself to be hurt. And I'm glad.
Allow me to explain.
Recently, the First Unitarian Church had a rabbi give a sermon. His name was and is Steven Foster. (If the name seems familiar, it might be because he was part of the "No on 2" coalition.) I thought he might have some interesting things to say, so I decided to attend. There were, it turned out, several reminder-lessons that day, some of them amusing. It's more comfortable to sit on a chair than a hard floor, for example. Most people sound better when accompanying a well-played musical instrument than without one.
Rabbi Foster is a talented speaker, and utilized a bit of humor while on the pulpit. The worthwhile points in his sermon were more serious, though.
One of them was: Try to make a difference.
Another was: Turn intentions into actions.
The learned gentleman brought up a number of other issues, but I wish to focus on those two for now. They stirred in my mind, on both the conscious and subconscious levels, for the next several hours and days. They were moving, and, ultimately, motivating. Today (Friday, November 12), I chose to make a difference. I turned an intention into an action.
I chose to help save lives.
I donated blood.
It took about an hour, and involved a little pain, but not much. I didn't even need an aspirin afterward.
A unit (which is about a pint) of human blood contains numerous components, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and so forth. Blood banks can separate some of these components to treat different problems. Someone undergoing surgery might need red blood cells, whereas a hemophiliac would require clotting factors. That way, my one unit can help up to three people.
the way, I tried to find their web site by typing, "Belle Bonfils"
into a search engine. It
didn't work. After I'd
arrived at the center on Yosemite Circle, I discovered they do have a
web site. The URL is:
This time of year is a tough one for blood banks. People get busy during the holidays, so donations go down. But the need doesn't.
Sometimes, pain is a Bad Thing. But the joy of knowing you've helped someone else so much is a Good Thing.
That joy, the joy of helping save a human life is worth a little pain.
Shalom and Blessings,
There being no way I can top last year's Thanksgiving column (wherein I found the perfect turkey stuffing for Alia's standard Thanksgiving chowdown) I'm going in a totally different direction this year. My parents, who aren't getting any younger, are always on the lookout for new ways to cook without fat or sweeteners. It was in the quest for Thanksgiving ideas for them that I found myself perusing AMERICAN MACROBIOTIC CUISINE by Meredith McCarty.
I generally disavow all knowledge of macrobiotic cooking. Brown rice is nice, but give me my lemon curd-cream cheese croissant or give me death!
Macrobiotic cooking is too complex to explain fully in this short space, but the bottom line is that it is predominantly vegan (although some folks do sometimes eat fish) and embraces grains above all other sources for food. Second to grains are vegetables, followed by beans, and lastly there are seeds and fruits for occasional variety. It is frequently considered an oriental style of cooking, largely because it uses so much soy. It also uses a lot of rice, which obscures the fact that there is also an emphasis on corn and wheat, both of which are grains and hence part of the main body of foods eaten. Many people think that a macrobiotic diet allows no tastes other than bland.
The truth is, macrobiotic foods can be really good. Dirk Benedict (anyone else remember "Battlestar Galactica" or are we all thinking "A-Team" here?) did macrobiotic cooking no real favors in his Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy. In that book he credited the diet with curing his prostate cancer, but made it sound like all he ever ate was unadorned brown rice accompanied by twig tea. That may be all HE ate, but most macrobiotics have a lot more variety and color in their daily meals.
You wouldn't think pie would be in the macrobiotic cook's repertoire, but there it was. This isn't pumpkin pie. The recipe is under vegetables, not desserts, and it contains no sweetener. It shouldn't need any. True, I have a deadly sweet tooth, but I find squashes to be sweet enough all on their own. Note that the recipe refers to rutabaga. I told my mother to use acorn or butternut squash instead (as is recommended in the ingredients.) Agar, or sea vegetable flakes, is available on the health food aisle at my local Safeway and probably in bulk at stores like Wild Oats. Ume vinegar refers to a Japanese umeboshi plum and seems to be a sweet vinegar. If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can just cook the vegetables on a low simmer until they are soft but still hold their shape when pushed against. (And, no, I'm not making this for my mom. It wouldn't ship well.)
(serves 8, she claims)
To prepare crust, boil rinsed millet in salted water for one-half hour. Press hot millet into corn-oiled pie plate** with a moistened rubber spatula, then with fingers. Bake 20 minutes at 350F degrees.
To prepare vegetable puree, bring rutabagas and water to pressure and cook 15 minutes. (Other vegetables may need just five minutes of pressure cooking.) Puree while hot. Drain and set aside cooking broth.
To assemble filling, first bring cooking broth and agar to boil in small saucepan and simmer until agar completely dissolves, about two minutes. Mix well with puree and seasonings and spoon into prebaked pie shell. Garnish and allow to gel, about one and one half hours at room temperature.
*Soy sauce being sodium intensive (even the low sodium kinds have too much salt for my mother's taste) I simply left this ingredient out when I gave her the recipe. Since soy sauce is such a strong flavoring agent, this creates a whole different taste, more dessert like.
**Did I mention that cooking oil is also banned from her kitchen? She said she'd use a corn oil flavored fatfree cooking spray. Sigh. Mothers…
by Ken Cannon
I can't remember when the trees kept their leaves green and held onto them so far into Autumn. But most of the leaves are down now, many of them stuffed into trash bags and lining streets like erstwhile dams against the coming of winter.
Maybe it was the sight of these pudgy sidewalk sentinels that prompted Adrienne St. Clair to send in a guest column. Here's what she had to say.
Did you know that 20% of our landfill use is from yard wastes? In the growing season, Denver needs twice as many trash men to carry off all the grass clippings, prunings, tree trimmings, and autumn leaves that residents throw in the trash. Yet all of this could be composted, and given back to the land as nutrient-rich organic material.
If we throw these goodies in the trash, we're just interfering with what nature does She cycles it, gives it back to the earth. This is what we're singing about in "Hoof and Horn", when we chant "vine and grain, all that falls shall rise again." So it will, if we let nature take her course... or, if we strip our yards of all that fallen dead material, it shall also rise again if we use bags and bottles of chemicals, to fertilize, fight plant diseases, and kill harmful insects...and bring profits to chemical corporations.
Of course, a certain amount of additional plant food is often needed, and sometimes pest control substances (hopefully organic) are also needed, but these do not replace the water holding and disease resisting abilities of compost.
And by the way, if you use peat moss for humus, you're using a non-renewable resource. Compost is such fabulous stuff that some people call it black gold. It holds water longer in our dry soils, it suppresses disease, it causes the soil to warm up sooner in spring (anything to accelerate the onset of spring!!), and allows a slow release of nutrients to plants. Our yards love it, and become more flourishing with compost in our soils. Simply spread it on as you would commercial fertilizer, especially after aerating.
While not a complete fertilizer, compost supplies many micro nutrients and can be dug in to vegetable gardens spring and fall, and carefully dug in around perennials once or twice a year. Compost helps loosen compacted clay soils and slows the drainage in sandy soils, so in either soil, the water holding ability is improved.
Right now you can take some easy composting shortcuts. Dig your leaves into your vegetable beds, and they will decompose over the winter, adding nutrients and more humus to your soil. Leaves can be piled as mulch around roses, other perennials, and over bulb beds to protect plants from drying winter winds and those long weeks of winter drought. I like to bury vegetable scraps in a hole 12-18 inches deep in the vegetable garden. By next spring it's perfect for planting; plus, you've made some worms very happy. Simply collect a bunch of scraps, several quarts, if you wish. These can be kept in the fridge or in a closed container. Dig a hole, big enough to hold these scraps and still leave room for about 6 inches of dirt. Pour in the scraps and cover them with dirt.
For those who have to strip their yards of fallen debris for aesthetic reasons, but want to recycle it, there's also the option of building a simple compost pile, in a partly shady corner. Since that's a rather complicated subject, save your leaves now, and look forward to a column on how to make a compost pile. Meanwhile, the leaves can be stored in bags.
In Denver, many people bring their excess leaves to the leaf drop. The city composts them with the end products of our water and sewage treatment plants. I love knowing where things come from and who arranges all these details, so I'm pretty thrilled to have this little bit of information. Any folks who live in Denver are welcome to bring their leaves to the leaf drop through Nov 21st. (That's right, this Sunday is the last day). For those interested, the Leaf Drop is Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm at:
If you bring your leaves to the city or arrange for their reuse and decomposition among our growing things, I thank you, on behalf of the city in which you reside, and on behalf of the Goddess.
A couple of months ago I gave some history of how society has generated trash, and promised to follow up with a sketchy history of what we've tried to do with all that trash, so here goes:
"500 BCE--Athens organizes the first municipal dump in the western world. Waste was required to be disposed of at least one mile from city walls."
"1800--Patent for paper using deinked waste paper as part of its fiber source is issued in London."
"1874--In Nottingham, England, a new technology called 'the destructor' provides the first systemic incineration of municipal refuse."
"1885--The first garbage incinerator in the U.S. is built on Governor's Island, New York."
"1896--Waste reduction plants, which compress organic wastes to extract grease, oils and other by-products are introduced to the U.S. from Vienna. The plants are later closed due to their noxious emissions."
"1898--Colonel Waring, New York City Street Cleaning Commissioner, organizes the first rubbish-sorting plant for recycling in the U.S."
"1900--Piggeries are developed in small- to medium-sized towns where swine are fed fresh or cooked garbage."
"1902--79% of 161 U.S. cities surveyed in a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study provide regular collection of refuse."
"1904--The first two major aluminum recycling plants open in Chicago and Cleveland."
"1914--After a shaky start, incinerators catch on in North American cities. Approximately 300 plants operate in the U.S. and Canada."
"1916--U.S. produces 15,000 tons of paper a day, using 5,000 tons of old paper in the process, a 33% recycling rate."
"1920s--Landfilling by reclaiming wetlands near cities with layers of garbage, ash, and dirt becomes a popular disposal method."
"1942-45--Americans collect rubber, paper, scrap metal, fats, and tin cans to help the war effort. The sudden surge of waste paper gluts market, and price drops from $9 to $3 per ton."
"1954--Olympia, WA, enacts the first pay-per-can program."
"1959--American Society of Civil Engineers publishes the standard guide to sanitary landfilling. To guard against rodents and odors, the guide suggests compacting refuse and covering it with a layer of soil each day."
"1961--The Garden State Mill in Garfield, NJ, is the first mill in the U.S. to deink old newspaper to make newsprint."
"1968--Reynolds begins 'buying-back,' paying people for used aluminum--8 cents per pound."
"1969--Coca-Cola initiates the first life-cycle analysis in the U.S. by examining the energy consumption of alternative beverage containers."
"1971--Oregon passes the nation's first bottle bill."
"1978--The Supreme Court rules that garbage is protected by the Interstate Commerce Clause; therefore, New Jersey cannot ban shipments of waste from Philadelphia."
"1986--Rhode Island enacts the nation's first statewide mandatory recycling law. Citizens and businesses must separate recyclables from their trash."
"1986--Fresh Kills on Staten Island, New York, becomes the largest landfill in the world."
"1986--The Blue Box recycling container first appeared on the curbside of Ontario, Canada, under the Ontario Multi-Material Recycling, Inc. program."
"1987--The Islip, Long Island, garbage barge is rejected by six states and three countries, drawing public attention to the landfill capacity shortage in the Northeast. The garbage is finally incinerated in Brooklyn and the ash brought to a landfill near Islip."
"1990--McDonald's phases out its polystyrene foam clamshell and replaces it with a paper-based wrap."
"1991--Seattle, WA starts the first known high-volume, long-distance, dedicated railhaul operation of MSW [Municipal Solid Waste] in the U.S."
Quotes above are from The Garbage Primer, The League of Women Voters. Lyons and Burford, NYC. 1993.
Quite a list, isn't it? And as far as this century is concerned, it shows that we keep fighting the same battles over and over. But that's to be expected with ongoing problems like this one. So what can we as individuals do? For one thing, we can just say no to styrofoam, as a bunch of elementary students forced McDonald's to do nine years ago. We can also re-commit to our own recycling efforts and find ways to improve them. There are other things, as well, but this is a good place to start.
Yule is nearing, and ECO Pagans will again be putting together gift baskets for families in need. If you know of someone, please let us know how to contact them.
Next ECO Pagans meeting: Saturday, December 11 from 10 am to noon at Wings.
Anyone else like to write a Guest Column??
If you have something to say, and are willing to let Alia edit it slightly, (generally for grammar – I have the soul of an English teacher) please feel free to submit your writing. Content will not be edited. We can usually make room for more voices.
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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