Monday, April 1, 2013

Newsletter - 4/1/13

The Nature In Us Newsletter

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. -- Martin Luther King

Happy Springtime!

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© Donna L. Watkins - Purple Crocus
State Botanical Garden of Georgia
It's a sunny day here in Central Virginia and the high is supposed to reach 68 degrees.  I won't be sitting at my computer after lunch!  We had a special Easter remembering the great love that God has for us evidenced by Him sending His Son to die so we could be with Him forever in Heaven.

We had a special meal of Roasted Vegetable Lasagna (from Trader Joe's), salad, organic multi-grain bread (soooo yummy) with an olive oil and herb dip and grape juice for a beverage.  Since we're used to one-dish meals, this was a feast for us.  Randal made a pineapple cake in the bread machine and we had that later in the afternoon with herbal tea while we watched a movie about Jesus.

We had a nice day on Saturday also and did a lot of garden work, with plenty more to be done.  We leave all of our Fall leaves on the ground since we have no grass, so they can provide warmth for the perennials and we've even had annuals that come back next year because of it.

One of the first things we do in Spring is to suck up and chop all those leaves so we can use them as mulch for our beds and bushes.  Nothing has done better at bringing in earthworms and making our soil rich and dark.  How do they get there?  Where do they come from?

Considering that we're in an area with heavy clay soils, that's a beautiful thing to have those hard-working wigglers chomping on the leaves and funneling it out as rich fertilizer.  It's quite the craze right now to do worm composting where you keep them in a bin and feed them kitchen scraps and then use their "castings" as fertilizer for lawns and gardens.  Randal won't allow that method for us since he says I would have every worm named and be losing sleep wondering if they're warm enough when winter comes.  Want to know more about Worm Composting?

April is National Gardening Month. Programs and activities around the country help to transform America into a greener, more livable place, where the act of nurturing plants can influence education, health and nutrition, community, and local food sources. Search for events in your area. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place! There's 101 Ways to Celebrate. The website has a section on Fresh Ideas and some great "My Garden Stories" also.

Golden Salve
A great gardening tip that I learned if you're going to plant seedlings ... don't buy those expensive set-ups. Use egg cartons! It's just enough space for the roots to grow and easy to fill 12 "pots" at a time with dirt. It's a great way to recycle egg cartons and save money!

I've been out in the yard any chance I get a few hours of warmer weather. It's been late coming this year, but it's a sunny day without a chilly breeze, I get my garden shoes out. The first day I was so excited about just getting to be out there that I wasn't paying much attention to the task at hand, like thinning out some dwarf spirea bushes. I made a good slice on the tip of my left little finger, but left enough skin that it stayed attached. What an annoying interruption in all the fun!

Black Ointment
We use Capsicum to stop bleeding anytime we get a deep cut. Randal cut his leg down to the shin bone with the chain saw years ago and poured a capsule of Capsicum on it to stop the bleeding because he was out in the woods 90 minutes from home. It held up till he made his way back after the work was done. I came in and used Capsicum and then went outside again with a bandaid which ended up coming off since it was too small, so the wound got dirty, but I cleaned it up good when I was finished with what I wanted to do.

We then use Golden Salve to "stitch" the wound together. It has Comfrey in there and bunches of herbs that fight infection. Comfrey has the ability to knit together flesh and it works really fast. By that evening it had sealed up most of the actual cut but was very red and swollen when I took off the bandage. I instantly thought of tetanus since the toxin is generally found in soil and I cut myself with a dirty steel hand clipper, so I poured some Black Walnut Extract a few times to let it soak in.  The extract is made from walnut hulls, one of many herbal choices for tetanus.

Just in case there was anything else in there, I used Black Ointment which is a drawing salve, so any debris would be drawn out. We've used it to draw out splinters or small pieces of glass.  I left that on overnight and by morning the swelling was gone, so I went back to the Golden Salve so it would "stitch" itself together. Two days later it had healed enough to leave the bandage off.  It was very hard to type with it on since it was my "letter A" finger on the keyboard.  I put Golden Salve and a bandage on for bedtime for a few nights.  Now all I can see is a tiny "dent" of an area that is still a bit rough.

© Donna L. Watkins - Beaver Swmming
I thought I'd share this story with you so you might be able to save getting stitches. Randal has done that numerous times and we also had opportunities with our son. None of us has had to have stitches since we discovered herbs in 1978.  I wrote about one incidence with our son 20 years ago.  Seems like it was yesterday when I read the story and saw the picture.

I love getting to see "up close and personal" activities of wild animals.  I received an email from several people showing a closeup look at a Beaver family working on their house (called lodge to them) that needed to be repaired due to the water level changing on the river. There are two adults working feverishly on a warm February day in Calgary, Canada, so the guy who lived nearby who was filming the event was actually doing so from the actual mound of the lodge.  Amazing the adults kept working!

The only one who seemed to freak out about this was the baby beaver who popped up out of the lodge and quickly went back down.  If you watch the video you will also get a chance to find out that beavers can walk on their two hind legs like a human, which is something I, nor the photographer, knew. Did you know that the Beaver is the national animal of Canada? Watch the video here.

Randal, Donna and Benjamin in Our First Office Space - 2/9/89
I've now finished scanning in prints from the year 1989. A friend visiting us took this photo at the first office outside the home for The Herbs Place (we then called it Sunshine Life Center which was to become the corporate name). This is the business God built simply because I used herbs for some health problems and dove right into education to learn all I could for myself and my family. For 6 years it went well in the home, but then it became a bit overwhelming and I felt God told me that Randal was to join it. He was in computer sales and liked the corporate life, but after being told he needed to lie to a customer or leave the company, it seemed to be good timing.

We finished the one-year lease in this office and moved into another space twice the size in the same building for another year. Then we moved into a space three times as large with a big classroom in the back and stayed there three years before moving to a popular shopping center.

There we had a retail area, a consultation office, a waiting area and a classroom and bathroom in the rear. We had a five-year lease at the shopping center and when it was coming up for renewal I heard God say to take the business online. Our son had graduated from home-school and took the GED for a diploma and was headed for full-time employment. It seemed so much changed in that year. Wal-Mart which was across the street began selling herbs and drugstores that we were stocking with herbs would soon begin to produce their own brands of herbal formulas as the pharmaceutical industry had no intention of being left out of the new health craze the nation was on.

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© Donna L. Watkins - Garden Sculpture
State Botanical Garden of Georgia
God had already prepared the way for us ... and as they say, the rest is history. We celebrated our 30th year in business on February 22 of this year. Being online allowed us to move out of the heat of Alabama to a cooler state and we chose Virginia.

But as many of you know, the winters here have not been to our liking, so we'll eventually get to an in-between place. Kinda like Goldilocks, not too hot and not too cold ... it'll be "just right."

There's a couple more "earthy" holidays this month. Earth Day 2013 is on April 22 and Arbor Day is on April 26. Get more info at those links and Google for local events for these holidays.

Charlottesville, our nearby town, is really big on Earth Day so we always have lots of opportunities to volunteer or get outdoors on a nature trail to celebrate. Being so close to the Blue Ridge Mountains is a real joy since just seeing them at a distance when we go to town is so magnificent.

Orchid From Our Neighbors
To Our Neighbor
Remember the purple orchids that a neighbor gave us before leaving for a month-long cruise? Another neighbor had a car accident and will be in a back brace for three months. I just knew they were meant for her.

The traveling neighbor had already told us they didn't want them back three times, but they always tell me they have black thumbs. My neighbor in the car accident loves purple as I do, so it was a perfect match. I love it when God does those kinds of things! And then there's the downside on the spiritual battle of life ....

Have you ever felt like a mighty victor through Christ of a battle that the devil placed upon you? You stood in faith even as you looked at the physical circumstances around you and in the end you overcame. That was my experience with a battle waged against my heart. The whole world spiraled downward as I was informed of the condition of my heart and the surgery that was required. In the end I decided to believe The Word and got through it and back to normal living through the strength from Christ.  Deception is his only weapon against us. Be sure to read my article, "Don't Give Up, It's Already Yours."

None of us can survive anything without the strength of Christ and without hope to believe the Word and His promises.  Discovering that there is a 33% increase in heart rhythm disturbances in the winter, 28% in the fall, 15% in the summer, and 15% in spring (Ref. 1996 Medical Tribune News Service) makes me realize why my body doesn't like winter.  I'm hoping the upcoming change in weather will take away the atrial fibrillation and I'll be back to normal breathing.

In closing ... I thought this cute saying would bring a smile or a chuckle. I find myself having to look for ways to chuckle in the winter time.

In my list of things to be healed I am definitely including what they call Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately dubbed SAD). If it weren't for the love and joy of Jesus within me, I'd be a pretty SAD basket case for sure.

I wish I could flip a switch and feel differently about it. I tried ice skating and skiing in my younger years, but simply hated being in the cold. Even though I loved making snowmen or having snowball fights, that didn't motivate me to be outside. When I moved South at the age of 22 I discovered a whole new world from the cold Pennsylvania I grew up in. I lived in the South for 28 years, and thought I wanted the weather a bit cooler.  Regardless I choose to be satisfied in Christ and when the time is right Father will tell us where to go.  Until then ...


Get outdoors and see Spring all around you.  The woodpeckers are  tapping their love message out to attract a female, the sound of Spring Peepers on warmer days, the bursting energy of upcoming bulbs, the love songs of the cardinals and titmice ... Spring is bursting out all over as the song goes and watching it is washing the winter in my life to places unknown.

If you're body is ready for a Spring Cleanse ... CleanStart is on sale this week.

Abundance of Blessings to YOU!

P.S.  Know somebody who needs to see something in this newsletter?   You can share this post from the website at the bottom of the post.  Look for the little white envelope. Thanks for sharing!  

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

Springtime Cleansing Sale at The Herbs Place

Long-term Sad Effects of a Happy Meal

His Great Love For Us

Cinnamon and Honey  (DLW)

Lawn Gone!  (DLW)

Gator Mating Season

Dogs - Big or Small?

Don't Give Up, It's Already Yours  (DLW)

Creating Bird-Friendly Urban Landscapes

The Importance of Play for Adults

2013 Free Entrance to National Parks & Public Lands

Newsletter - 3/15/13

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