Ward House

Crystal bowls and a repurposed jumper

Class last night was amazing.  Our instructor purchased a set of crystal singing bowls and brought them to class for us to check out.  One of my classmates was smitten; sound therapy is a modality he wants to pursue.  Amazing is all I can say.  My other classmate and I could feel the sound circling us – almost palpable; it definitely lifted the funk cloud that has surrounded me for these last few weeks.

Some excerpts from this site:

Everything that moves vibrates, from the smallest molecule to the universe itself. As long as it is vibrating, it is making some kind of sound. We may not perceive the sound, as it may be below or above the threshold of our hearing. The human ear can hear sound vibrations between 20 and 20,000 cycles per second, although we also perceive sound by skin and bone conduction, ingesting and consuming it with the whole body.


Scientific studies show that sound can produce changes in the autonomic, immune, endocrine and neuropeptide systems. Every atom, molecule, cell, gland, and organ of the human body absorbs and emits sound. The entire body, as well as our brain waves in a relaxed state, vibrates at a fundamental frequency of about 8 cycles per second, literally entraining and attuning us to the basic electromagnetic field of the earth itself!

There is much information online about sound therapy and, after class yesterday, I can say there is something to it.  Yes, this goes against conventional medicine and, the disclaimer is that it is not to replace consulting with a medical professional.   I’d love to have my own set of bowls – the sound and feel is just incredible.  I can only imagine the healing that can be done with these beauties!

Rain for the last two days has done immeasurable good for the garden.  It is unreal how a ‘natural’ rain benefits  in ways that a sprinkler cannot.  My boss says that tilling before watering is helpful; that and watering with non chlorinated water (which I have).  I’d love to use a pair of dowsing rods and see if there is a water source, within reasonable drilling distance, on the property.

The Dollar General battle continues with the Board of Stupervisors meeting tonite to set a meeting day to discuss the matter.  Umm.  Have a meeting to set a meeting?  Sounds redundant to me; just have the meeting already.  What gets me is that even if the Board approves the rezoning of this piece of property (which is in the development corridor as determined by said County) does not mean Dollar General can actually build there – ordinances need to be reviewed..  Seems to me that, if the Board is going to hold to their plan, the rezoning would be non issue.


July 13, 2010 Posted by | politics, self sufficiency | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Important papers

I am fearful that as we drift away, this will be forgotten.  Here is a copy, just in case.

The Constitution of the United States
The Declaration of Independence_ A Transcription

June 29, 2010 Posted by | politics, self sufficiency | , | Leave a comment

A mini rant with some useful information at the end.

Something good happened in our community last night; the planning & zoning committee approved a request to rezone a parcel of land (from R2-B2) on which to build a Dollar General (see picture).  The family of the overpriced grocery store objected, along with a few of the affluent.  Keep in mind that out here, you can pay the inflated prices of the local grocery, drive 30 minutes South to the Walmart and Food Lion or continue driving to Roanoke to Kroger, Ukrops, etc.

Now keep in mind, both the location in question and I live on Route 220, which, before I81, was the main road to states north.  While I81 has taken most of the traffic, it has not re-routed all and 220 is popular for logging tractor trailers headed to the paper mill.  Dollar General was jacked on a request to build this business in a community north of here (Mitchelltown) and I am thankful they are pursuing a different location.

My original draft included more detail from the meeting and, well, I believe it would bore you; small town egos and illogic go a long way to creating an unsustainable community.  Yes,  I live in a logic vacuum; we are doomed to repeat the past.  I am going to fight where I can to save my little corner (you too, Pat) and sadly watch the rest slip away.  Wow, reading this now, it appears so tame; all the fire and brimstone are gone!  Guess I’ll save that for the Board of I-believe-I-am-god Stupervisors meeting (dang, it crept in anyway).

Ok, mini rant is over.

In other, more sensible news, I found this two-part series, from the American Preppers Network about lactofermentation: parts 1 and 2.  Some great information for those Nourishing Tradition’s fans (including me).

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Canning, Cooking, economy, politics, self sufficiency | , , , | Leave a comment

Friday remembers

There are some exceptional articles today and this list is so I have the info handy and, well, it is well worth a read.

*whew* all this has inspired me to remake our bedroom > I am overcome by the urge to declutter…again!  I’ll post pictures as soon as I’m done.  

May 14, 2010 Posted by | politics, recipes, repurpose | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Informational humor

Mom sent this to me and I just had to pass it along:

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Wyoming when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust..

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, Why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany ..

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”

“You’re a Congressman for the U.S. Government”, says Bud.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep…

Now give me back my dog.


Having gained access to my old account, I have been catching up on reading everyone’s blogs.  This one caught my eye as Chiot’s Run will be growing Egyptian Walking Onions.  Well I snagged some of these during Howling Hills last seed exchange, planted them and then just forgot them.  They came through the winter wonderfully and are strong and green.  I wondered how to propagate them and, well, Chiot’s answered that question for me.

Egyptian Onions are described by Southern Exposure this way:
The onion to plant if you always want onions. Egyptian Walking Onions grow perennially in a bed. Hardy bulbs set bulblets on stalks. Air bound bulblets will sprout new smaller stalks, which fall over and replant themselves, hence the name “Walking”. Bulbs can be harvested over Fall and Winter. Green Onions can be harvested selectively as they grow. Plant them where you intend to have them for a long time, as they are quite hardy.

The office is closed tomorrow so the three day weekend will see all sorts of garden activity: the remaining potatoes will go into the ground along with yellow and purple onion sets, some cabbage, and. . . I know there is more, just cannot think of it at the moment.  Looks like a list is in the making!

April 2, 2010 Posted by | Gardening, humor, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Where are all the trees?

Classes continue to go well, my regular job is busy so life is good. Tandems of wood are becoming difficult to find – the local Westvaco has forced their loggers to sign an agreement that prohibits them from selling wood to locals.  What the… ?  We may end up cutting all year instead of working up a tandem in the fall and through the winter.

Heard some other disturbing news today and I have not verified anything.  Thought I’d through it out and see what/if you’d heard anything.  As many of you know, the US owes several billion to other countries.  It is these other countries that are wanting to buy our National forests in exchange for settling some of that debt.  This bothers me.  Is it true? 

I’ll let you know what I find.

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February 20, 2010 Posted by | economy, politics, wood cook stove | Leave a comment

Another satisfying weekend

In preparation for the next storm that is due to start tonite/tomorrow, Ronnie and I have been outside cutting/splitting/stacking wood. We have logs at the house, just had no means of digging them out of the snow to cut – Ronnie’s boss lent us his tractor so in addition to moving the shed to the side yard, we have drug logs from off the hill to cut/split/stack.

While all of this is going on, there are black eyed peas on the stove and left over pot roast warming up for lunch – I used part of this recipe from October farm (no pepperocinis) and we did not put it on garlic bread.  We did, though, add potatoes and carrots; it was wonderful!

Two weeks ago the local paper published an opening, in our district, for the local planning/zoning board.  He left a message with that office that he was interested and the week after that office called to confirm his  interest.  We did not hear anything else until Saturday, when our neighbor (you’ll see her shop, Pat Broyles, in the left hand column) came over to say that the paper published Ronnie’s assignment to the board.  We have not officially heard from the county.  LOL  Let the games begin! 

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February 15, 2010 Posted by | Cooking, politics | Leave a comment

M is for Manipulation

A coworker told me about this article and how it reminded her of another coworker so you know I had to see it.  Sadly, these tactics are popular with the one coworker.  Glad to have some cool comebacks – now I just need to remember them!  This author is Brett Blumenthal with the official article available here.

Many of us like to think the best of people.  We like to think that they shoot straight and are forthright in their intentions.  We also like to believe that they will ask for what they want and not resort to crazy tactics to get it.  Unfortunately, however, there are times when we come across those who will do whatever it takes to get what they want…including manipulation. Being manipulated never feels good, but the worst part of manipulation is that often, we don’t even realize that it is happening.  Here are a few ways to know if someone is trying to manipulate you:

  1. Buttering You Up: To get their way, manipulators will often make you feel good so that they can then ask you to do something that they want.  The person may first compliment you or tell you what a wonderful job you did on something.  Making you feel good will, in their mind, make it difficult for you to say no…after all, you wouldn’t want to disappoint them or give them reason to think you didn’t deserve the compliment in the first place. What you can do: Return the compliments and the niceties before saying no.
  2. Guilt: This doesn’t only pertain to Catholics and Jewish Mothers; guilt trips have been a successful manipulation tactic for centuries.  The saddest part of this strategy is that the victims of this tactic succumb to the manipulators’ demands because they feel they HAVE to, not because they WANT to.  In personal relationships, this sets up a co-dependency that is extremely unhealthy.  What you can do: Ask the individual if they want you to do something because you have to or because you want to.  If they say they want you to want to do it, tell them that you don’t and that they are trying to force you into something you don’t feel comfortable with.
  3. Broken Record: Probably the most obvious of formats is the broken record tactic.  If a person asks you enough or pushes their agenda enough…constantly repeating the question or request over and over again…in slightly different ways, the victim will inevitably give in and give them what they want.  Oye!  What you can do: Ask the individual what they don’t understand about the word “no.”  Tell them that asking you over and over again isn’t going to change anything and that they are inappropriately over-stepping boundaries.
  4. Selective Memory: This one gets me the most.  You swear you have a conversation about a plan and everyone is on the same page, and then one day, the manipulator pretends to remember the conversation completely differently, if at all.  What you can do: Record your conversations…seriously!  Okay, maybe not.  At least have a witness that you can count on to back you up if the person pulls this shenanigan.  Call them out on the fact that they conveniently change the game to fit their needs.
  5. Bullying: If a person doesn’t get their way, they make you out to look or feel like the bad guy…like you are the wrong one.  What you can do: Be firm and tell them that their bullying tactics are inappropriate and unacceptable.

Keep your eyes open for these behaviors and continue to stand your ground to ensure that you aren’t a victim of manipulation.  Have you seen any other types of manipulative behavior?

That’ll be $85 for the office visit.  =)

Keep safe AND healthy.

December 15, 2009 Posted by | family, politics | 5 Comments

My house trashy?

Yes, someone did call my house trashy; a cousin. Bothered me for a few seconds and then I realized that she mows an acre of grass, has a modest flower garden, no veggies growing in her life and her husband is abusive. Unhappiness brews discontent and criticism of others. I like this cousin and work with her at the restaurant; my girls just love her and she is fun to be with so her comment caught me off guard – until I remembered her circumstances. We have offered her shelter many times and she has not yet taken us up on it.

I reveal all this to talk about other’s opinions on the homesteader lifestyle. My house does not have a manicured lawn or flower beds. We have a wide front porch that shelters our favorite sitting spot – an old leather sofa! Yes, a little bit of West Virginia right here in Hot Springs! LOL Not bashing any West Virginia readers – remember that WV was part of Virginia until June 20, 1863. The ‘creation’ of WV is an interesting story; my info was found here. This same porch also houses a modest table and a few chairs – the place where Ronnie and I share breakfast on the nice mornings, when the wind is not blowing rain sideways.

Our family is happy here and with our lifestyle. The neighbors on both sides are happy with us (as far as we can tell) and life is good. Do not worry about other’s opinions; we do not know their circumstances. I am not, however, advocating acceptance of bad, rude, or cruel behavior. People never cease to amaze me.

Our front yard (minus the plywood on the porch)

The side garden (bird bath is in the good neighbors garden)
The main garden as can be seen from the yard (red pvc is gone)

June 18, 2009 Posted by | economy, family, politics, self sufficiency | 5 Comments

A cause for Cluckers

Good news! As some of you may know, I am not ‘allowed’ to have chickens where I live (not that this will stop me). There are several back yard chicken owners in R1 areas of the county and I plan to become one of those sometime this year. Neighbors are cool with this and I will definately share eggs. The City of Harrisonburg is voting on back yard chickens in the near future and that article can be found here. I am glad to see a close community finally address this issue. Here is a picture to give you a sense of where I live; the red me marks the spot.

In the meantime, our County has published a comprehensive plan and in several pages they unwittingly make a cause for backyard chickens. On page 38, under housing goals, the County wants to:

Ensure that the County’s natural beauty, environmental quality, and rural character are not sacrificed when planning for future housing opportunities.

Then we move to the Economy objective section:

Revitalize the farming community in Bath County

And then on pg 81 under Land Use:

Since development can either enhance or distract from a community, land use policies must reflect local cultural, natural and historic attributes. They must also provide for fair and equitable treatment of all landowners.

There are additional places within the Land Use section that continue along the protection of the rural flavor of our county. To respond to the above highlighted sentence, my home originally had both chickens and hogs, which satisfies the cultural, historic and natural ‘requirements’. I spoke with our local environmental advisor and he said that a penned or chained dog does more environmental damage than chickens; he is willing to put this into writing. As for fair and equitable treatment of all landowners, you cannot deny someone chickens in an R1 when you spot zone to allow horses. See, it is all about who has the money and who does not. I fall under the ‘has not’ (in case that was ever a question).

Today has been an incredible day for posts – not from me but from other amazing ladies. Matron posted this amazing recipe – easy enough to cook, simple ingredients. I will prepare it this weekend and hopefully have enough for lunch the next day. Now our garden is just getting started so my ingredients will need to come from the store instead of the back yard =( so when we had out, I will grab a few extra items to start towards our food pantry. Sharon makes an excellent point in her post, Friday Food Storage – and Food Pantry – Quickie; pick up just one or two additional items for the pantry on each trip you make to the store. Lastly is Rhonda’s Just do it. She says it so succinctly,

Deliberate living is deciding what you want your life to become, working out the steps you need to take to make that happen, then, as Elizabeth said, just do it. You will still get life throwing the unexpected at you, but when it happens, you work to solve the problem, then you get back on track.


April 17, 2009 Posted by | Chickens, economy, politics, recipes, self sufficiency | 3 Comments