Friday, 23 January 2015

Herbal Rescue Remedy - Chocolate

Over Christmas and the New Year I had a heavy cold and hacking cough.  to find relief from the symptoms I search my Herbal rescue basket, herbal notebook and my collection of books on herbs.  I was surprised to find that chocolate was good for chest congestion. colds and flu.

I had already brought some Fair Trade, organic raw cacao to make hot chocolate for my visitors over the holiday season, I could now have some not only for the feel good factor but also to help get rid of my cough and cold. -  Oh Yum yum or Num Num as my cat friends say!


Chocolate has been maligned as the devils food.



It has been accredited as causing tooth decay, obesity, acne, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetics.   It has been cited as the cause of headaches, heart burn. Chocolate that has high amounts of fat, sugar added and too much could lead to weight gain which could lead to heart disease, diabetics.


Hey isn't the sugar and fat that cause the problem in some chocolate confectionery -  not Cacao and Dark 60% Chocolate?

Chocolate  reputation has been rising in the last few years as a number of studies have suggested that it could be a health choices.  Not milk or white chocolate but 60% dark chocolate. Though no-one has suggested yet that is a health food

Cacao appears to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Flavanols in Cacao beans have antioxidant effects that reduce cell damage implicated in heart disease. Flavanols — which are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate.  It also help lower blood pressure and improve vascular function. (Mayo Clinic)

Dark chocolate is rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron, which can aid in preventing stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease and type-2 diabetes.( Women Health Review)

There are more health benefits from Chocolate which are well documented in medical and health literature.  Chocolate and especially raw Cacao is good for you. but not in huge quantities, 1 oz a day is the recommended amount to eat for health.   I bought a 200g pack of Raw Cacao before Christmas and have used only 70g up to today.   I have used it in drinks with milk or almond milk on cereal, and with nut butter and drinks for friends.  100g of raw cacao has 309 calories and only 9.5 g of fat and 1.5g of sugar..   These calories have been spread over 28 or more days.  I have really enjoyed using it, and it has given me health benefits and has been a great treat and pick-me-up when suffering the misery of bad cold and cough.  Yea   - three cheers for Cacao!

Chocolate and cacao  contain caffeine but about 10 to 20 percent of  that coffee.  So it can be a good alternative to coffee to beat drowsiness, and without the jitters that drinking Coffee can sometimes bring. However gorging on chocolate may  give  you a high but then can quickly  plummet you into a slump.  

Chocolate Aztec gold to Fair Trade co-operatives.




Thinking about chocolate made me realize that I knew very little about it where does the Cacao  grows?  Now I know it grows in  Peru and along the equator.  I am going to find more about the Fair Trade Cooperatives for farmers who grow Cacao


I also did not know what the Cacao trees and its fruit and the beans looked like.  I certainly do not think I have seen the flowers before. They are beautiful, would stunning be a better word? These produce the cacao beans which were the Aztec's gold.


I love this picture of Wild Cacao flowers.



Chocolate was not known in Europe until 1509 when Cortez was given it in a drink in golden beaker, he was interested in the gold beaker but the Aztec ruler Montezuma informed him the 100 of the beans was worth more than the gold of the beaker. 


Cortez took chocolate back to Spain and it was kept a secret from Europe until 1660.  It was most popular in Holland and England where milk and sugar was added, it was was not until about 150 years ago that it was made into the bars and the sweets we are so familiar with today.

Chocolate is now in my Herbal Remedy basket for the feel good factor and for its health benefits.  

My Conclusion is dark Chocolate and especially Raw Fair Trade, Organic Cacao is good for you. 
 Are you a believer?

With Reiki blessings and a chocolate kiss

MerryB

Here is a link to the Kitchen and recipes for healthy Hot Chocolate for you

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Herbal Rescue Remedy - Valerian officinalis



Valerian - I am getting Sleepy

 After a stressful time before Christmas I found my sleep was disrupted and  my back and shoulders and neck were aching. This pain, I suspected, was because I was tense rather than a strain from digging on my plot.. Finally just after Christmas  I developed  a heavy cold and cough,  Then I was more frequently waking up in the night and finding it difficult to get back to sleep.  During the day I felt exhausted.  After a couple of day of this I set off  find a herbal rescue remedy. I went to see my local Medical Herbalist. Sandy,  After a consultation we decided that Valerian was the rescue remedy I need.

I used one teaspoon to make herbal infusion which I drank half an hour before I went to bed. It worked almost immediately, although at first I was still woken in the night by my busy mind chattering away, or a bout  of  coughing would wake me.   However I  was more relaxed and I was able to get back to sleep much more quickly. Gradually my sleep pattern has returned to normal.   The aches in my back, shoulder and neck were eased effectively.. I used Valerian tea  for ten days..  It seemed wise not to use it continuously but only when needed.  It is not addictive but I did not want to become psychologically dependent on it to get to sleep.

The taste of Valerian is for many people unpleasant and often they add honey and lemon, or mint to it. I found it OK and took it straight without additions.

Healing with Valerian


All parts of Valerian have sedative effect but the highest concentration is in the roots. Valerian has been compared to Valium, but Valerian is much safer and milder sedative and muscle relaxant and does not have side effects  of Valium. Valerian is contained in many over the counter medicines to ease insomnia and to deal with stress.. In Germany over 100 medicines have Valerian as the active ingredient as sleep aids and tranquilizers, some of which are suitable for children over 2 years old.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin musician and Herbalist


The modern story of the Pied Piper has him enchanting the Rats with his flute playing but early German Folklore credits him as being a accomplished herbalist and he charmed the rats and children with the hypnotic effect of Valerian and his flute.  It would have certainly worked on the rats  Rats and cats love it and sprawl and roll on the plant in ecstasy. It has a similar effect on cats as catnip. Raymondo cat would bruise the leaves of catnip by rolling on them each morning.  I had a supply of Pots for him to enjoy,   If the Pied Piper had given the children a drink containing Valerian it could have relaxed any fears they may have had about following the Piper out of Hamelin


The Greeks and Romans called  Valerian  Fu  - phew  -because of its taste, it was used as a diuretic, antidote to poison, pain relied and by  Galen as a decongestant.  Around the 10th Century it began to be called Valerian  derived from the Latin "valeo" meaning  " I am well".   It was known in local folklore as  "all well" suggesting its use as an ancient medicine.  The term officinalis  reflects the fact that monks and nuns distilled  this herb  in their herbarium still room. The 10th Century the German Abbess  Hildegard  of Bingen, a distinguished  herbalist, recommended it as a tranquilizer and sleep aid.

Culpeper in the seventeenth Century described Valerian as:
As Excellent  against nervous affections
During the World War 1 Valerian was prescribed for soldiers with shattered nerves as a result of the artillery bombardment and the horrors of life they had to endure on the battlefields. and in the trenches.


David Hoffman author of  book Holistic Herbal calls Valerian
one of the most useful relaxing herbs.
I am glad that my Medical Herbalist Sandy recommended  its used  at a time for me of sudden stress and illness.  I take most herbal remedies as a cold infusion or as  herbal tea of fresh or dried herbs rather than taking supplements or over the counter medicines..

Growing Valerian on My Plot.


I am wondering whether to grow Valerian on my plot, it is a hardy perennial.  It can be grown from seed or root cuttings. The seeds however, have a short viability, therefore  I  would need to get a root. It grow in the wild in marshy places and damp hedgerows, It grows to 5 or 6 feet, the flowers are pale pink or white, the leaves grow in pair which distinguish it from Kentranthus-ruber or Garden Valerian. which grows leaves in groups and the flowers are like red spurs.  Garden Valerian in the wild  grows on cliffs and in stone walls.

Valerian officinals  does have odour which the herbalist Michael Moor described as:
Like the smell of dirty socks
Hmm may be I will think again about growing it on my plot!

To help with quieting the mind before going to sleep you may like to listen to ELFENTHAL The early music ensemble playing "Caritas in abundat omnia"  a chant composed by Hildegard of Bingen  
 Love lives in all things, from these lowest being to the highest stars

 Wishing You Good Sleep and Reiki blessing

MerryB

PS  Chocolate is another  Herbal Rescue Remedy I used over Christmas.   I will blog  about this wonderful herb soon. Watch this space!


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year to You, Ancestors - Jelaluddin Rumi

Before I sit down to write to or email family,friends and followers at on New Years Day I draw a card from John Matthew's Shaman Oracle.  I use this card to help guide my wishes for you all for the next year. Today I drew the card The Ancestor of Guidance  Here is its guidance for you all in 2015. 



Ancestor of Guidance

I am the Ancestor of Guidance, I remember you and so watch over you.  I guide your steps as you embark on your life-path and counsel you as you make important decisions. Because I am your family - however ancient I know well the deepest places of you heart and soul , and stand ready to assist you in discovering the path you need to follow.  John Matthews Shaman's Oracle
The Elk or Stag is a powerful symbol found in Prehistoric Cave  Painting and here it represent the guidance we can receive from our ancestors if we open our minds to listen to the ancient wisdom of our families.  If you are seeking a new direction then the echoes of profound wisdom of our inner guides can help us find our way successfully, or give us aspiration to lead us forward on our life path This Card reminds us that we have the companionship of our Ancestors on what can sometime feel a lonely and difficult journey through life.

Here is a poem that illustrates our interconnecting to the the Wisdom of the Universe


"Say I am You" by Jelaluddin Rumi

 

I am the particles in sunlight,

I am the round sun.

To the bits of dust I say, Stay.

To the sun, Keep moving.

I am morning mist,

and the breathing of evening.

I am wind in the top of a grove,

and surf on the cliff.

Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,

I am also the coral reef they founder on.

I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.

Silence, thought, and voice.

The musical air coming through a flute,

a spark of stone, a flickering

in metal. Both candle,

and the moth crazy around it.

Rose, and the nightingale

lost in the fragrance.

I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,

the evolutionary intelligence, the lift,

and the falling away. What is,

and what isn't. You who know

Jelaluddin, You the one

in all, say 

I am. Say I


Here is a link to a beautiful video of this poem 




Wishing you a Happy New Year

&
Reiki Blessings and Light

MerryB


 



Sunday, 28 December 2014

Happy Birthday Pops Dog


Poorly Pops bounces back

Poppy dog started December being poorly, she was sick and did not eat for a day then gradually began to eat again small  amounts at a time.  Then she developed a cough which sounded just like the honking of a goose  .She had a swollen glands and throat and a dry nose, She still wanted to go out for walks but she did not whirl like a dervish with excitement and did not hustle me up the road to get to the park. Shoes and socks were not snatched away as they were taken off,  An annoying habit which frequently greeted us if we  had been out without her, but life seemed duller without the chase to get them back. The neighbours' cats could put their paws in the garden without Poppy hurtling down the garden path to protect her territory,  She seemed to have Kennel Cough so it was off to the vets.  Who confirmed she had Kennel Cough but was recovering and needed no treatment 


Twirling log roll 
Poppy bounced back quickly and once again  hauled us out of the door, bouncing and rushing to get to the park the woods, beach or plot. She was able to run and playing with her friends and back to whirling and twirling in the street and  park. Socks and shoes were once more at risk from a flying raid by Poppy dog seeking games and mischief.


Happy Birthday Poppy Dog.




Poppy's Birthday is the 21st of December she had lots of presents squeaky toys, an Eeyore soft toy which she adores and runs around carrying it and loves us to play with it with her, she jumps runs and tumbles with it.  She was given balls, and lights for her collar, which I love and she hates.  One is already broken during a whirling moment.  We cooked a special dinner of stewed lamb, for her, but best of all, I am sure, we went for a long walk to the sea, dog park and then  had lunch at the plot, which she loves.  She has a fan club among the plot holders and gets lots of cuddles,  She rolls on the grass plays with her balls and squeaky gnome, barks at  cats, seagulls, helicopters and the brent  geese flying overhead  to the mud flats in Langstone Harbour. 
.  


Poppy's birthday is on the day of the Winter Solstice and there was a perfect sunrise to greet her on her special day. She is such a gentle, being and loves playing, walking, always looks with delight at the food we put down for her.  She will come up and snuggle against us, enjoys being hugged, and having her tummy tickled. We are very blessed to live with her she brings joy and laughter to our home, banishing grumpy moods with her enthusiasm.  What a lovely gift we got six years ago of Poppy Dog . I am grateful for saving yes to  a friend who told me about  her being tied up 24/7 as her owner could not cope with her hectic ways.

With gratitude for the wonderful animals who share our lives

and planet

 Reiki Blessing to everyone.


Where has the squirrel gone?.
The tree is Holm Oak 250 years old

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Oak Lore, Legend & Myth



The Usefulness of Oak For Humans Created  Its Place In Legend,  Folklore and Myths.



The Oak's huge structure and long life, provides timber which has been used in buildings, joinery, fencing, and boat building from early Celtic times into the present day.  A matures oak's crop of acorns provides food for both domestic and woodland creatures. While in Spring its bark is stripped and used in  the tanning high quality leather.   


Oak is extremely durable and strong. In East Anglia the Sutton Hoo memorial ship-burial made for a fallen King or Hero was made of oak about 1400 years ago. The wood had disintegrated but the the Oak left a imprint in the ground and enable a reconstruction of the ship. 

Oak houses and building before the 12th Century would perhaps only last  a generation as the wood post driven into the ground would eventually rot away. 
However in  the 13th Century it was discover that:
.... a stone plinth and timber sill along with the use of strong timber joints. The stone plinth consisted of a line of stones, perhaps partly below ground as well as above, laid along the foot of walls. On this was placed a sturdy wooden sill….  Green oak rectangular post were then inserted into the sill and secured by mortise and tenon joints and held together by oak pegs (http://www.today.plus.com)

This solved the problem of oak posts rotting and building exist in the twenty first Century that were built in the 13th and 14th centuries


Oak's use in Healing


Oak galls, made by the larva of  gall wasp induce the oak to produce chemical that form into abnormal growth or galls  to encloses the developing larv, these galls were ground and were used as a cure for problems with the liver.

The distilled water of the bud, before they break out into leaves is... to assuge inflammation and to stop the fluxes. (Culpeper -15th century)
The inner bark of the tree and the skin covering were used to stop the spitting of the blood and the flux or as we would called diarrhoea  The bark is used by modern herbalist as an astringent, as a gargle for a sore throat and to stop diarrhoea. 

Edward Bach 's remedies were based on finding a cure for physiological states and stress that depleted the immune system.  He also looked to Doctrine of Signatures a medieval system in which the appearance and habit of a plant was thought to indicate what it would cure. The Bach Oak remedy

... is used to help us remain strong in adversity, while at the same time we learn it is better sometimes to let go rather than crack under the strain. (The Bach  Center)
Tradition Folklore healing would advise a person  facing a difficult situation or who was unable to cope with life to go to the oak wood and walk three times round an oak. Then rest against it to restore their equilibrium and to be guide by the wisdom of the Oak.


 The Oak Folklore and legend and myths   


The oak is strong and endures.  Foresters traditionally used to pollard a living oak tree back to the trunk for timber, the tree will re- row into a dense canopy which may have been harvested again.  Most of the ancient and veteran oaks are pollard oaks they generally live longer than trees that have not been cut back. 

The oaks has become associate with fire in legends and folklore.  Oaks are taller than most other tree and are full of moisture which increases  its vulnerability to

being hit by lightening strikes.  The lightning’s  intense electrical charge travels into the  trunk and instantly vaporizes the sap and moisture into steam. The tree may then violently split or explode  and the sap from the heart wood may catch fire.  Yet the Oak lives on even though part of its trunk may be blackened and damaged.

The oak was used to kindle the fires at Celtic festivals Beltane, lammas  and Samhuinn.  The use of Oak of fires also had a sinister aspect in  history and folklore. In Scotland if a malevolent witch or someone accused of heresy was sentenced to death by burning at the stake, the fire was made of green oak which burns slowly and gives  off noxious fumes Traditional belief in oak’s protective power, it was believed, would prevented the shade of the  person escaping from the flames and haunting the community in revenge for their hideous death. 

Oaks were often planted by dwellings to protect it from a lightening strike:

It is not wise to shelter under an oak in a thunder storm!

Oak’s gives sanctuary and protection from enemies and evil spirits.  In Scotland a traveler sleeping in or near a wild wood drew a circle round him with a oak staff to protect him from the attentions of malicious fairies.  Oak baskets and cribs, it was believed, would stop the fairies stealing a child and leaving a changeling in its place

The word Oak in Irish and Welsh also mean Chief. and oak  is ranked as a Chieftain Tree in the Celtic Ogham.  Chiefs and Kings would plant an Oak grove around their residence or fort as symbol of Kingship  Strength and Fertility. In the crowed rural homes the Oak woods would allow privacy and sanctuary from prying eyes.  Many children would be conceived under the shelter of an Oak tree.


The Oak has been associated with sacred places and In the Pagan era for ritual and ceremony.  This was also true of the early Christian church.  Holy wells had Oaks growing nearby with its male powerful energy of the universe combined with the female life giving trees, often the Hawthorn and Willow.

The Oaks were places where teaching and laws were given.  King Edward The Confessor in 1005 delivered The Charter of London  by the scared Oak on Parliament Hill. This Charter made London the oldest democratic City in the world. Over time, it became the first stepping stone to the emergence of the Parliamentary System for the UK.



The Crouch Oak in Adlestone marks the boundary of Windsor Park is said to have been planted in the 11th Century.  It was a gathering place, marriages would have taken place there until the Church stopped the practice. 
The people gathered at the Crouch  Oak to hear readings from John Wycliffe's translation of the Bible from Latin into into English (1382). Many hearing and understanding the Bible Texts for the first time in their own language. 



The 18th Century Preacher John Wesley who thrown out of Oxford and his preaching was dammed as blasphemous by the established church, preached to people under under the Crouch Oak. The oak's branches make a wonderful sounding board so  the huge crowds that gathered to to hear him speak could all hear him clearly. 



The Oak a symbol of courage & determination to overcome adversity.


Damage by caterpillars can strip a  Oak of its leaves and seriously deplete its energy. However round the time of The Celtic Festival of Lammas in August the Oak will grow a second growth of leaves which enables it to recover from this damage . The wood sculpture David Nash believes  the insect can smell an ailing tree and this result in insect infestation.  The insects burrow under loose bark  and into rotting patches on the tree. The Oak responds  by using its sap to form a callous which prevents the insects burrowing deeper into the wood.  The attack can leave huge burrs on the trunk and branches. But the Oak:

   ... has the courage to survive despite the injuries it endures, it has a determination to live and achieve its potential (David Nash)

  


The Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle


My knowledge of the Celtic Tree Ogham is gained from reading the works of Scholars, 
and three Wise Women who guide me in the realm of The Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle.  They are Liz Murray, Catlin Matthew, and Glennie Kindred.  I have absorbed their wisdom and combined it with my learning about trees and experience of being in forest and woods.


A Visualization and Meditation  on the Oak

Standing by a mature oak and looking upwards I can see the strong boughs reaching up to the sky and imagine the great roots that anchor it growing deep into the earth. One a sunny winter's day the light that filters through the open canopy of its branches is dappled and creates a magical space to stand or sit quietly and enjoy 


a wonderful moment
a perfect moment 
of interconnect with the oak,

The Oak Tree of Knowledge


The Gaelic and Sanskrit word for Oak is Duir , which means door. If you draw the Oak when casting the Ogham you should approach the Oak with respect and let your presence be known.  Touch the Oak gently, either with a hand or with the mind and wait and see if the doorway to inner knowledge opens. If it opens enter:


into the power of your imagination... we are taught that imagination only reveals what is imaginary that is not true Imagination is a faculty of the soul.  the same way sight is a faculty of the eyes. (Cailtin Matthews) 


There are many reason The Seeker are drawn to the Celtic Tree Ogham Oracle. 

Here are some of the reason to seek answers from the oracle.  

Needing reassurance whether it is the right time to go forward with an action or project to

... have faith in your vision of what your are working towards.           (Glennie Kindred)

  
The seeker may have issues from the past.  The oak can give an inner vision which will lead to a new understand the past. It may show the knots of bitterness which are blocking the way forward, and give the clarity, strength and protection needed to clear the negative energy and to move on to a positive path.

A seeker may feel lost, or maybe is procrastinate about an ambition, dream or hope. May be fearful of failure and be at a standstill, terrified of being expose ridicule or harm.  The Oak show how to have courage, and the strengthen of will to achieve a goal.

The seeker is blocked from going forward in  life.  The Oak bends and moves in the face of a storm. If it didn't branches would be break and be ripped off.  The Oak can show the Seeker that stubbornness is the cause of stagnation, or a desire always to be right or to win is destructive. Oak’s  healing light can take away the seekers fear of change. 

In the modern world stress caused by work, relationships, lack of money, or life events may overwhelms us,. The seeker may feel as if they are running in circles and getting nowhere.  The stately Oak can give a place to be quite and still and let the white noise of life, the chatter the mind, be still in meditation and rest.


Sometime in life any of us may feels exhausted and broken, seeing before us a mire of unhappiness and darkness .But the oak teaches: 

When all seems dark the stars still shine trust and endure. 

I hope the Stars Shine For you

With Reiki Blessings

MerryB


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ramblings About Oak Trees

Childhood memories being with an Oak tree 


acorn fairy
I am in awe of Oak trees I feel them as a powerful and magical trees and like their strength and security..  As a child I discovered a huge oak tree in a boundary hedge of a farm.  It was balanced on  the edge of a steep bank where part of the land had slipped away and exposed some of the  roots.  The oak had been hit by a lightening strike and split open on one side and the cleft  was a perfect spot to sit and read, I would snuggle in to the heart of the tree with a book and my toys and happily stay for hours reading and using my imagination to create games. I would make bonnets and tea sets from the acorn cups as a gift to the fairies..

The mighty oak lives for hundreds of years and has provided a safe home for many generations of tree fairies; indeed, its leafy foliage makes an excellent shelter for a fairy house…Clever use of clothing and colour enables tree fairies to 'disappear' into the leafy backdrop. Fairy garments are sewn from leaves and the fairies make new costumes whenever the seasons change. (Cicely Mary Barker)))BARKER 

I  loved to clamber into the cavern of its exposed roots and journey into my imagination.

Down at the bottom  of the bank was a trout stream running with clear water and I would play in it for a while before laying  on the bank and and watch the shoals of  minnows and sticklebacks swimming  past, Other times I stood on the footbridge over the stream and look for river trout in the deep pools along the edge of the stream or hidden among the over hanging vegetation and rocks,  Sometimes I would see rings of water as a trout rose to the surface to feed on the mayflies, water shrimp, caddis flies and other invertebrates.  Other times just under the bridge a trout would lay still in the water with its nose pointing up stream waiting for insects to come floating by. Usually I would only catch a flash of silver as the trout darted away as it spotted me before I even knew it was there.  After playing by the stream I would climb back to the peace and security of my secret space away from my older brothers teasing.

Even today I love to sit along side a great oak or walk round it and gently touch its bark, and leaves enjoy the earthy smell of it.  I collect  a few acorns from a mature oak sometimes carry one or two to empty places in wild areas and gentle push them into the soil to germinate in spring.


Rambling among the Oaks of The New Forest National Park


Rambling in a ancient wood full of Oak trees is a joy at any time of the year but especially Autumn.  Each year  we ramble with Pops in the New Forest.  We delight in scrunching through the layers of gold and red leaves as we walk along the paths meandering though the tree. The path pass alongside the russet hues of patches of bracken   I am enchanted by the the changing moods of the forest created by the weather and season. In Autumn on a sunny day it is lovely to be out in the fresh air. I enjoy inhaling the smell of damp mosses and the earthy scent of leaf litter. It is  is very deep under the oaks as the soft leaves break down quickly in Autumn, creating habitats for stag beetles and other invertebrates.

Stag beetles are threatened species globally,  but here in the South of England they are surviving well, and they flourish in the New Forest.   When we have been walking in the forest on a sunny evening or early in the morning we have caught a brief glimpse of them flying past.


This year the mild and wet weather has provided the perfect conditions for fungi to flourish.  In October rambling  in the New Forest  we saw near an oak  tree a group oak cap and milk cap fungi as well as different fungi growing on the trees branches in cracks and splits in the trees.  Fungi are one of the oldest organism on earth and thrive on the leaf litter of oaks rotting wood and dead animals.
                                

I always feel privileged to see roe deer, fallow or red deer in the forest while wandering along the edges of the forest.  Roe deer tend to be solitary and will quickly disappear into the depths of the forest when disturbed.  Fallow deer stay together in groups they will draw away when they hear us, but then stop and watch us rambling along.  In mid October in certain places in New forest you can hear rutting stags barking and perhaps the clash of horns as two stags fight for dominance over a group of does. 

In the Autumn the squirrels are busy collecting and hiding food for winter, you see them quite often scurrying about on the ground and in the trees making the most of the rich food of seeds and nuts on the forest floor.  However they do not have them all to themselves, badgers, deer, cattle and pony’s feast  on them and they are joined by commoners pigs which allowed to roam in the forest to gorging themselves on the acorns, beech masts and chestnuts.  The commoners have the right to turn out pigs into  the forest between 25th September and 22nd November each year 

The pigs eat huge quantities of acorns and that help to stop the pony and cattle eating too many  acorns,  which can cause them to become ill and sometimes die.  I have heard pigs and boars in the forest but I am wary of disturbing them while they are eating.  Those guy are big and getting bigger.  All the acorns and nuts are just right for fattening the pigs up for Christmas.  

Ssh don't tell them that!  Let them enjoy themselves for the time being!

Until the 12th Century there were Bison roaming freely in the New Forest   They have recently been re-introduced  but they are not allowed to roam free.  I am glad about that as the males are grumpy beast and can run at speeds of 35 mph.   Being Charged  by a herd male bison is not on my wish list to experience  before I die.

The open canopy of oak trees allows sunlight light to filter though to the floor and it providing In Spring perfect conditions for bluebells and primroses to grow but these are dormant now.



A Purple Streak Butterfly
Sheltering in the oak are the pupa of purple streak butterflies, whose life cycle begins on the oak tree.The oaks holes and crevices in the oak bark are favorite nesting spots for the pied flycatcher or marsh tit and woodpeckers whose old nest holes provide shelter for many creatures.  500 hundred different species of insects have been found on a single oak tree.  This food supply of insects encourages British bat species to roost in the oaks and to fed on the rich supply of insects in the tree's canopy. They use old woodpeckers holes or under loose bark for their roost.. It is easy to see if they are living in the tree because below the roost are stains of droppings and urine. Oaks are alive with myriad of creatures that live on it and in it.  If you walk quietly and at times when the forest is not busy with walkers, or foresters you may be privileged to catch a fleeting glance into their lives. 

The wild woods and forest is a wonderful place to ramble any season. I respect and admire all  trees and love to be among Ancient and Veteran oaks.

..
With Reiki blessing and gratitude to you and to the wild wood trees
and all its living creatures

Merryb


 A link to my Story:  Gog and Magog  - the famous Glastonbury Oaks












Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spinning Pops' Tale

The Big Bang in the night

Sunday night was a clear and dry as Pops I set off for our walk.  We wander around tree lined streets and were heading home. Pops was relaxed and her tail was wagging as we ambled along.. Boom there was thunderous bang followed by a circle of blue stars shot up over  our head. Another huge bangs followed and the night sky filled by green shards  creating a huge a ball overhead. Yet more loud  bangs rendered the peace of the evening.  Pops was terrified, and laid prone on the ground panting. Above us there was a chattering of starlings whirling and circling blindly in the dark.  They had been blasted out of their roost by explosion and garish light.  Their safe haven was shattered that evening..

I managed to get Pops home.  She crept along  along crouching low to the ground, while  every so often looking up at the sky fearful of more explosions .  Down the street doors had opened some people where peering out of windows.   A neighbour in that street must have called the police I heard the siren coming  nearer  as we went indoors

Next day I check on the internet for  firework and  found  lot of category 4 & 5 fireworks  to buy on-line. The description of one called The Big Ball, a category 4 firework, fitted exactly what I had seen. I could have bought one on the internet for £12.97.  Category 4 fireworks under UK  law can only be set off in by professionals.  This firework was launched in an urban garden in a terraced street.  Oh No!. I must not rant about fireworks as this a tale is about Pops dog.   But....No get on the story MerryB!

After Pops has been frightened next morning she wakes very anxious with her naughty button switched fully on.


The mystery of the missing socks had to be  solved.  
4 pairs of socks had been drying on the airer but now there was only two odd socks there. Who could have taken them?  Could it be?
 Yes, as I suspected it was Pops!  The evidence was clear. She was in the garden tossing an olive green sock and barking at it as flew up in the air.  Outside, I found three other socks, one had caught on a branch of the rambling rose one was trailing in her water bowl, one half buried in the back bed,  Other are still missing.  I had no choice but to put on odd  boot socks as we were going to the plot that morning. Oh sigh!
.
On the way to the plot I was dropping off some books at my friends Sue house for the Animals Asia Charity. Pops bounced out of the door full of energy ad launched herself blindly into the road. I hung onto her lead and dragged her back onto pavement and sat her down, until I knew it was safe to cross the over.  There was a look in her eyes that foretold she was ready to whirl and twirl her self into any mischief she could.  I sighed.


The incident of puddling pee.

This occurred, as I was poop scoping. I had put the two bags of books down by my feet. Pops was behind me as I scooped, I stood up and To my horror I saw a trickle of urine puddling round  the bags. Oh Pops!  I had to admit this was not entirely her fault she had peed behind me and the camber of the pavement made it run down and encircle the book.

We arrived  Sues house  without further incident but she invited us in for a cup of tea.  I was wearing my allotment boots so I was a bit wary about stepping onto her white carpets and even more wary about Pops entering in her current mood. Sue was insistent we should come in . Before we went in I explained The incident of the puddling pee and the bags of books. Sue just accepted in the casual way of a true dog lover.


The whirling dervish and the bitten leg
We sat in her conservatory which had a lovely pale pink Indian carpet on the floor.  Pops decided to yap and whirl in circles trying to catch her tail.  Pops' yap is ear piercing,  I know she uses this method of annoying people when she wants to get her own way. Pops  wanted to go to St James Green for a run and to the allotment.  she did not want to stay at Sue's while I drunk tea  and chatted!

Vintage Izzy dog had been woken up by Pops yapping and came grumping into the room. She sloped under my chair to sleep again.  Poppy pocked  her nose under the chair and yapped at Izzy. Izzy startled awake snapped at Pops and sunk her teeth into my leg instead of Pops nose.  I was by embarrassed Pops behaviour and Sue was mortified that Izzy had bitten me.Oh Pops! .

Chasing squirrels and woofing at helicopters and cats

Eventually Pops and I set off to the St James green, where she played with a very elegant and even tempered Saluki..   She and Pops played together a game called hunt the squirrel, they saw a squirrel and were off.  The squirrel darted up the tree and jumped from one tree to another before it drop to the ground in a different place   The two dogs  circled round and round the first tree sniffing frantically as they search  for  it. The squirrel seemed to wait to be spotted on the ground by the dogs.  Who eventually saw it and  ran in pursuit. The squirrel  promptly sprinted up into the tree' canopy.  The circling and sniffing would being again, and again, and again....

We were there for an hour before Pops always took herself off to the gate indicating that she wants to go immediately. So ever obedient I set off to the allotment with her bouncing along in front. Once she had her brunch, she woofed at the coastguard and navy helicopters flying to and fro from the harbour.  Whirled and twirled as passing cats came into  sight and yapped to  to get someone to play with her. Eventually she laid down bathed in dappled sunlight under the cherry tree.  I worked on the plot, for an hour before our lunch  Afterwards she lazed again, until it was time to set off for home. Tail  up she power walked home in a relaxed and happy mood. The naughty button switched off..

I hope you enjoyed The Spinning Pops' Tale



With Reiki golden light and blessings to you all

Merry b