Mabon is Approaching

The Autumn Equinox is one of my favourite times of the year. Light and Dark are balanced, and then from that day forward, the day begins to lose the battle with the night.

The inward spiral that began even as the sun was at it’s zenith at the Summer Solstice becomes more evident. Though the days are still hot, there is a crispness to the air as the sun sinks into the ocean. There is a change in the smell on the wind.

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R.I.P Ziggy


It’s kind of strange. I’d been so mad at him lately. Ziggy was a funny cat. Mr. Tough Guy… he would bully our little tabby around mercilessly. Twice our little tabby, Goku, required vet attention for abscesses as a result of the brawls. Goku never won them.

It got to the point where Goku spent any inside time hiding in my daughter’s room. Outside he was safe, because Ziggy, as tough as he was INSIDE the house, was a nervous wreck outside. He HATED outside.

Every once in awhile, he would go out the open patio door on a nice day,but if he saw the door was about to close, he’d run for his dear life back to the door. If by chance he did not notice the door closing, and inadvertently got locked out, WOW. A total freak out session would ensue with him scrambling futilely against the glass… trying to claw his way through the glass sliding door. It was a wee bit funny to watch.

Ziggy never bothered our orange cat Harley. Nope. If Ziggy ever got on Harley’s nerves, the hissing and growling that Harley would direct at Ziggy would definitely encourage Ziggy to piss off. Oh.. speaking of piss… Ziggy had a habit.

Pissing.

He had no urinary crystals, his kidneys were fine… he did it to be belligerent .

All three cats were obtained at approximatelythe same time from different sources about 8 years ago. Our beautiful long hair Tika had just been torn to pieces by a friend’s pit bull in front of my three older children who at the time were 12, 8 and 6 . So I purchased a beautiful black male short-hair (Ziggy), from the pet store, my oldest found a stray (Goku) and brought him home, and a boy/friend had promised a friend of his with a litter of kittens that I was taking one of them, (Harley)… So, we ended up with three..

In the beginning, it was just silly kitten fights, but soon enough, hierarchy was determined and it was like this… Ziggy was the big naughty one who liked to bug the other two. Harley would tear a strip off him if Ziggy REALLY bothered him, but Goku would cower and run. So… Ziggy decided he was boss. At LEAST of Goku.

Ziggy developed an annoying habit of pissing in any place that Goku enjoyed relaxing. And eventually, pissing to show his displeasure became a regular occurrence. At least once weekly we wold find some VERY smelly male kitty urine in an irritating spot.Yes, he was neutered. They all were neutered quite young.

But other than that habit, and bullying Goku, Ziggy was awesome. Gorgeous, sleek, black ,large (upwards of 17 lbs), a strong face, almost panther like. His fur gleamed. He was affectionate with people, never scratched or bit. Just loved attention.

When my two youngest were born, Ziggy started getting less attention. When my 19 month old was born, Ziggy pissed in our heating vents in the floor in almost every room on the main floor. So we had to start locking him out of the bedrooms. And of course that meant no more sleeping with us. And when our newest child was born three months ago, even less attention was bestowed on Ziggy. I never really thought about it. Three cats, a dog, five kids…. I mean I TRIED to remember to pay more attention to him. But lack of sleep, pre-occupation with the new business I’ve been trying to get off the ground, argumentative teens, crying babies and housework…

Anyhow. A friend moved to a farm and I offered her Goku. What a great life! Away from Ziggy, freedom! No more sneak attacks and vet visits for drainage tubes etc. Goku probably did not mind leaving too much really. He’s an odd little guy. If you show him love, he’ll follow you anywhere. When you pet him, as you pull your hand away, he grabs on so that you don’t stop. His big eyes pleading ‘LOVE ME!!!’…. he will do this with random strangers and has taken it upon himself to invite himself into our neighbours homes on multiple occasions. So, though we’d miss him, we knew he would be happy.

I noticed Ziggy had been losing weight, but attributed it to springtime, and to locking up the food so he couldnt help himself (it’s Evo, it’s expensive!)…I had a fleeting thought of ‘oh, sure…. Goku is gone and now Ziggy’s going to get sick and die’… not really believing it, but the thought began to take hold as a noticed his breathing seemed a bit laboured when purring…. there was a deeper heaving sort of effect when he purred that my 20 year old son and my husband dismissed as being non existent.

What was not dismissible though was the weight loss. Though it seemed Ziggy was eating, but i think he would just run to his food dish happily, with Harley,and just stare. I did not watch the eating habits, as their dish was down in the rec room and it was my 16 year old daughter’s job to feed them.

A few days ago, I noticed the laboured breathing seemed worse. I looked into his huge ,yellow, full harvest moon eyes… and I saw it. I don’t know if he was telling me he was going… or if I just knew. But I cried.

Part of me just thought I was silly, but the bigger part of me knew I was right. The next few days I really watched him, and took note of things I had been missing. He was weaker, he ate almost nothing. His eyes looked searchingly into mine when I stroked him and felt around. I booked a vet appt for the next day. I would have booked an appt the 1st day I noticed weight loss a few weeks ago if we were not so financially challenged these days. Later that same day, Ziggy went outside on the patio, got himself locked out, but this time, his scrambling was very subdued, and when he came in, he was happy and purring, but lay on the floor – like he always has done when he wants to get fed, runs ahead of you and throws himself down on the floor – but this time it seemed more like he could not catch his breath easily. He was laying down out of exhaustion.

Today we went in. Husband, myself, baby Demetrio and Ziggy. The vet was good and did not make me feel bad when I told him that if it were serious, we could not afford treatment, that instead we would have to euthanize. By the time we had Ziggy out of the carrier, and on the scale, (still weighed in t 13lbs!), he was breathing with his mouth open.. like some cats do when they smell something peculiar. But he was doing it because he was frightened, and his heart was racing, and with that came the need for more oxygen, which called for more work on the lungs’ behalf. The vet said it did not look good. He listened to his heart and chest, prodded around, then took him to see if he could draw out fluid from around the lungs. He came back with a syringe full of cloudy pus-like fluid. We decided to get a chest x-ray. Ziggy did not fare well through the chest x-ray. The doctor took more fluid to try to ease the discomfort and make it easier to breathe…. this time the syringe had pus and blood in it.

The x-ray showed a large mass filling his chest cavity, compressing his lungs and heart. By this time, Ziggy was on oxygen. I hated for his last day to be like this. But there was no other choice. My husband went into the surgical room to be with him while the vet gave him the needle. The vet thought the needle may not even be necessary because his lungs were barely functioning. The only sign of life was the heart beating on the monitor. Ziggy lay completely still. Eyes wide open. I was not in the surgical room for that part. I stood in the waiting room, staring out the large windows with 3 month old Demetrio in my arms, with tears streaming down my face. Trying not to think of how badly I wanted to have more time with him, to show him the love I’d been to busy to share the past while. Trying not to think of the scoldings I’d given him for deliberately pissing here and there…wishing I had appreciated him more while I still had the chance. His glorious, satiny black fur. The most beautiful cat I had ever owned. His cheeky, silly self.

Then, it was over, my husband came out. I’m so thankful that he was there with him. Ziggy loved him so very much. I was torn. I had wanted to be in there, but if Demetrio had started screaming and fussing… I just didnt want to make anything more stressful. And I just couldn’t handle it. I’m weak I guess.

I can only be thankful, that those last few days I had with him, I told him how very much I loved him. And each stroke was full of tenderness and the desire to heal him. By the way he stared at me, I think he understood. And he knew that I knew… he was dying.

Bye Ziggy. I love you.

What’s in a Title?

Okay, I couldn’t think of a title for my post. I always have a problem with titles. ANYhow…. eoN came over today and we made wreaths for Ostara. I made a lovely pork roast and my super moist banana bread/cake (cream cheese in the batter ooh yum) for dessert.
eoN brought eggs and now I have some beautiful Ostara eggs for the altar. (also make good decorations for hanging on trees out in the yard). Oh! And we added to our sabbat tree as well, speaking of trees. Added little blossoms. It was a good day, and now I’m sleepy.
Our Society forms should go in at the end of next week. eoN contributed 31.00, and bought some incense today. Im using the money from the incense to go towards the Society as well. Almost all the money we need to get Terra Spirit Pagan Fellowship legal, is in. Im so thankful to those wanting to make this a reality.
Our little ritual with hubby, baby and I went well last night and I feel very excited about the season to come.

Family Ostara

A family Ostara is quite simple really. All the festivities that are associated with Easter are more than appropriate. (minus the ascension)

On the family altar, decorated eggs, early spring flowers, anything that represents new growth. Likewise, if you have things that you want to see take off and flourish, representative tokens of these desires should be placed there as well.

The days are growing longer than the nights from this point on and will continue to do so until Mid-Summer, at the solstice. This is one reason why it’s my favourite time. There is only hope at things to come. No thoughts of long nights and cold days… just anticipation of those lazy summer afternoons, spent in gardens and parks and beaches etc… amongst all the greenery that now is merely a promise.

Everywhere around us is evidence of life returning. Lord and Lady are young and vital, full of energy.

I think a nice big pork roast with mint sauce and maybe my special banana cake made with cream cheese…fresh greens, chocolate eggs for the kids.

Truly Ostara is one of my most favourite sabbats.

Finally

The store is done. I am still uploading more items to it, but now it is online, running and all is working. Ive made three batches of massage oil, two different batches of soaps, two different salves (foot massage salve with lavender, mint and rosemary as well as all purpose healing salve with calendula, chickweed and comfrey) .. there are some BEAUTIFUL hand dipped tapers from Kootenay Candles, and incense, and more is being added all the time. http://www.terraspiritessentials.ca

Earthy Delights Soap
Earthy Delights Soap
All Natural Healing Salve
All Natural Healing Salve

Well, It’s Been Busy…

It is amazing how much time (and patience) starting up this business is taking.
First of all I’ve been having a nightmare of a time with a webhosting company that I had read GREAT things about.
They advertised in their package that they offer Plesk Sitebuilder, osCommerce, SSL certificates (for $15/year) and a bunch of other included, bundled things. They also said that anyone can make a great online storefront in just minutes.
So, I was working on my site at www.terraspiritessentials.ca (the home page looked great) and when building the actual Eshop, I felt it was lacking the customizing I wanted for multiple item shipping etc. So, I asked tech support if osCommerce was available to use. They said yes, and said they would get it installed for me. Yay! Sounded great. In the meantime I noticed that neither my blog OR my Eshop was showing up through my site. The pages just came up ‘internal error’. So, I put the Eshop on invisible for the time being, seeing as how my items were not ready for sale anyhow, and went about my merryw ay investigating the osCommmerce application.
Well.. that just stumped me. What can I say, I am a noob. I really do not have a clue how to go about doing all that needs to be done to make the site look good.
And about the same time, it seemed my site actually stopped showing up altogether. Kind of cruddy seeing as how I had already been working on business card and label designs through a friend of mine. (thanks again Stephenie!)
Another thing that was annoying me was that when anyone arrived at my website – BEFORE it disappeared – , you would get a blank white page for a moment saying “you are now being re-directed”, and the page that came up would be http://www.terraspiritessentials.ca/site/home.aspx… (did the word SITE really need to be in there? And being redirected made some people feel that it could be a hijack sort of attempt).
So, back to last night. My site was gone. Yay. And NOW I was ready to start selling my merchandise. GAH!
So, trouble ticket after trouble ticket and no response.
This morning, I check my site and it was up! I was so happy to see it, lol… So I went to my control panel to open my Plesk Sitebuilder to work on my store (even my blog was showing up, so I had faith all was well)…. and lo and behold, my Sitebuilder had been deactivated.
Hmm…
So I trouble ticketed again, asking where sitebuilder went. AFter all, in my trouble ticket the night before I told them I did NOT want to use the osCommerce, that I was too crunched for time to worry about its set up, and thanks for letting me run it, but I would stick to my Sitebuilder.
Well, I get a message back saying ‘Sorry, you wanted osCommerce installed and you can not have that AND Sitebuilder’ EVEN though right on the package it says both are ‘included’….
So, now… my site is up and running, looks good, but I can not add anything to the store, or even activate it.
And I paid for this. I cant get the money back for the domain. Nor can I get the 15/ back for the SSL certificate that I found out only today would ONLY work if I used osCommerce.
WHY arent these things mentioned?
It COULD have said ‘SSL certificate and dedicated server available to osCommerce users’… and it could have said there was a choice to publish the site via osCommerce OR Plesk… but no, it clearly says in the info for the beginning site that BOTH are included.
In my trouble ticket, I apologized for the inconvenience and said that I had thought by reading the site that because it said both were included, that I could use both. It did not say I could use only one or the other, if it DID, I would not have opted for osCommerce over the Sitebuilder, as NOOBS like me RELY on things like sitebuilder to do all the work for us. (though I said it kinder than that)
I got a not so nice reply back saying ‘Nor does it say you CAN use them both. If you are not happy with our service , ask for a refund’
HUH? a Refund on a non refundable SSL certificate and a domain name that will now have NO SITE to point at? Especially when most often there is a period of time that you MUST remain at the purchasing hosts site before transfer is allowed? And here I am, 25 days away from having a new baby and Im supposed to worry about finding a new host…. with NO money left.
GRRRR. NOT impressed with Cirrus Hosting.

Anyhow.. HAPPIER stuff.
I made a half dozen tins of Baby/Child Salve. Good for anyone really.
Organic infused oils (infused the oils tonight myself) of Calendula, Comfrey Root, Comfrey Leaf, St. John’s Wort, Lavender essential oil . (all those ingredients are organic), in a base of extra virgin olive oil, beeswax and Vitamin E.

Also, the beeswax candles are available now. All the colours of the elements for the witches out there. 7″ hand dipped tapered candles, 6.00/pair. There are some handmade aromatherapy tea lights as well. And Incense from Surya and Swagat. You can check out some of the items at my freewebs store which i luckily left running…. www.terraspiritessentials.com

Crossing my fingers that tomorrow my site is working again.
Oh! and it’s my babyshower on Saturday 😀

Making Salves

From http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/Herbal_Salve_Recipes

The basic salve will be a carrier for the herbs that you add to it. The herbs will do the medicinal work, not necessarily the salve base. The basic salve can be made a number of ways.

Base One

* 1 part oil
* 5 parts beeswax

Base Two

* 1 part beeswax
* 4 parts lard or lanolin
* 1 part oil

Base Three

* 4 parts cocoa butter, shea butter, or a combination
* 1 part beeswax
* 1 part oil

To make a salve of any of these, melt over low heat, and stir until blended.

Herb Infused Oil

1 part dried herbs 2 parts oil

Mix in a container and leave in a warm place for two to three weeks to infuse. When herbs have infused into the oil, strain the oil and store, covered, in a cool, dark place. The longer the herbs stand in the oil, the more potent it will be.

Good oils to use are:

* Sweet almond oil
* Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
* Extra virgin coconut oil
* Sunflower oil
* Apricot kernel oil (for facial salves)
* Grapeseed oil (for facial salves)
* Avocado oil

Always use cold pressed, organic oils for best results.

Healing Properties of Specific Ingredients

* Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is very good for the skin and is particularly good in diaper rash salve, salves for burns, hemorrhoids and the face.
* Olive oil makes a very greasy oil, which smells of olive oil. It is a superior moisture barrier that is best used in combination with other oils.
* Sweet almond oil helps relieve irritation, inflammation, muscular aches and pains and itching. It is a superior emollient.
* Avocado oil is a good base for salves that are used in treating cuts, acne, skin problems and burns. It is great for use with sensitive skin.
* Macadamia nut oil is good for burns, very fragile skin, bedsores and extremely dry, chapped skin.
* Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is helpful for dry skin.
* Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps with healing. It also is a natural preservative.
* Lanolin helps heal dry, cracked skin and keep it soft and supple.

Remember that essential oil is not the same thing as oil or herbally infused oil. It is a very concentrated form of the herb essence. Generally only a few drops of essential oil are needed in any recipe.

Specific Herbal Salve Recipes

Now that you know how to infuse the oil, and to make the base for your salve, it is time to add the proper herbs for specific use. Many of the herbs, like lavender, are used not only for their healing properties but also because they are fragrant herbs.

When using any herb for the first time, always rub a bit of the salve, or infusion of the herb, on the inside of your forearm to test for sensitivity. Some people who are sensitive to ragweed have an uncomfortable reaction to goldenseal. Doing this simple test can help to avoid such discomfort. Whenever possible, running a skin patch test is a good idea.

First Aid Salve

* 1 part goldenseal oil
* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 drop essential oil of lavender
* 1/8 tsp. tea tree essential oil
* 800IU vitamin E

Use as the oil in any of the basic herbal salve recipes. This is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and promotes quick healing. It is good for use on cuts, scrapes, infections, or just about anything.

Lip Salve

* 1 part lavender oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 part rose oil (be sure to use unsprayed petals)
* 800IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe. Coconut oil is a good oil to use with this.

Diaper Rash Salve

* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part lavender oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 800 IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe.

Chest Rub

* 1 part rosemary oil
* 1 part thyme oil
* 1 part peppermint oil (not essential oil, homemade oil infusion)
* ½ Tsp. camphor essential oil
* ½ Tsp. eucalyptus essential oil

Use with any salve base recipe

Hemorrhoid Salve

* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 part nettle leaf oil
* ½ part marshmallow root oil
* 2 tsp. powdered myrrh
* 1 part lavender oil
* 800 IU vitamin E

Use with any salve base.