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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lavender Love



You can grow all the lavender you want if you remember a couple of things. First, lavender must have full sun to be happy. Second, it wants very little water and will die if its feet are wet all the time. Third, don't be generous with the soil. Lavender doesn't want rich, loamy soil and prefers sharp, sandy, well-drained soil. If your foundation is dry and hot, living against warm brick or cement will be the perfect home for lavender. And a warm microclimate will keep your lavender cozier during cold, winter weather. Give your lavender a haircut in the spring to cut off dead branches. I didn't cut mine very much this year so I'll give it a good trim after its finished its first bloom. If you want to dry your lavender for sachets or culinary use, it's best to dry the buds just as they're beginning to open. Fully open, lavender is actually many tiny flowers with petals that will fall off instead of drying nicely in one piece. This plant was labeled "dwarf lavender" so I'm not certain it it's Munstead or Hidcote or Sarah (a somewhat smaller English lavender variety) but it tolerates the cold well. Either way, it's the best English Lavender I've grown and its compact form is lovely. When I lifted some branches from the path in the Spring there were several baby plants growing in the gravel underneath. Now I have a lavender nursery and hope to spread the lavender love to family and friends next year.






Friday, June 2, 2017

Telomeres & Meditation



I'm still reading The Telomere Effect, by Nobel Prize Winner Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD and Elissa Epel, PhD. I'm very aware that the excessive inflammation in my body, evidenced by a high CRP, causes shortened telomeres. My cardiologist advised me that this is due to the Multiple Sclerosis I've had for over 30 years. She agreed with the information I'd received from my naturopathic physician that MS patients tend to have more cardiovascular events. Shortened telomeres has been proven to cause premature aging, basically by physically disrupting DNA replication. Age alone will cause this to happen but it can also be caused by environmental conditions we can manipulate.
One of causes of shortened telomeres is stress and anxiety. Some of us (I'm raising my hand but you can't see me) ruminate. Cows ruminate when they chew their cud. I ruminate over big things but even little problems get into my head where I go over and over them. Rumination can then be translated as WORRY. Which then folds into general anxiety. Go ahead and try not to think about something. That will then be the only thing you CAN think about. One method of letting go is to meditate. Before you reply that you can't stop thinking so meditation doesn't work, think about this. I discovered a long time ago that the only way I can meditate is through guided meditation. I need to plug in my earbuds and sit alone and listen to a calm voice telling me exactly what to do. Focusing on my breathing. Watching thoughts float by. According to Blackburn and Epel, thought awareness can reduce rumination and automatic negative thinking. They advise not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. That shorter periods of mindfulness can help us develop thought awareness and reduce the power of negative thought patterns. Many years ago I found a company called "Health Journeys" who describe their company as providing "resources for mind, body and spirit". I've used two of their products and believe I benefit from guided imagery. If you'd like to begin to meditate and don't know where to start, I highly recommend you check out their website.
I do not receive any monetary benefit from mentioning this book or this company. I am not a health care provider and do not claim to give any advice on health or otherwise.
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