Thursday, October 20, 2016


In this country we are inundated with a plethora of choices no matter what item (food, clothing, appliances, medications, etc.) we want to purchase. Here's just one of many examples: Have you ever counted the number of choices for Acetaminophen, aka Tylenol, there are on a drugstore's shelf? Furthermore, have you read each label? The choice is actually between regular (325 mg.) or double strength (650 mg.) Acetaminophen; the rest of the choices have to do with the fillers, aka inactive ingredients, which vary from having benign to extremely troublesome untoward effects for humans.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) in full bloom this Summer past.
For myself, having mild discomfort in my hands, I make a salve from St. John's Wort grown right here at MuRefuge: the flowers featured in the above picture are plucked and "tinctured" in half organic olive oil and half organic jojoba oil. Choosing to use herbal alternatives rather than those offered by the gigantic pharmaceutical industry just seems to me to be a safer choice. Do any of you remember the salve we used to purchase in the local drugstore for abrasions, scrapes and cuts? I remember it smelled just like Yarrow. I believe it actually was made from the healing herb Yarrow rather than some pharmaceutic manipulation.

The bright yellow flowers are picked and packed
lightly in a sterilized glass jar. Within a few days the
oil turns this bright red which I am in awe of every time it happens.
After the above beautifully red liquid sits in the sunshine for six weeks, it is strained. Along with beeswax and coco butter it is gently heated to melt the wax and poured into small jars.

Each morning before sitting I slather on this richly healing herbal preparation
to find that the achy joints are soothed for the day.
Then there are also choices about, take for example, washing machines: a bazillion different companies make them. Our friend who lives on Molokai was in need of replacing their washing machine and went to see the options (Sevens are big on options as my baseball buddy constantly reminds me). "Easy," she said, "There were only two choices and I just pointed to one. It does the job!"

Perhaps we would find negotiating the excessive number of choices, which are in place to support the capitalist driven economy, if we established for ourselves some helpful parameters before making a purchase, like does it benefit Mother Earth or at worst does her no harm. Avoid using such parameters as "is it cheap?" or "is it on sale"? My beloved now dead stepfather Stephen B. Howard had a saying he lived employing: "Those who buy what they do not need often cannot buy what they need."

Supporting companies that produce items responsibly and sustainably is a great way to reduce the excessive amount of choices. Recently I was pleasantly surprised when the organic non-soy laying pellets we purchase for our small duck flock had included on the label no corn. When I contacted the company, Bar Ale in Winters, California, they indicated that both ingredients are nonorganic and tainted with GMOs. HURRAH! for Bar Ale!!

Across our county there are many concerned citizens who believe the state of our Union  is no longer a democracy and do not believe there is a viable choice for the next President of the United States of America to reverse this. One candidate is determined to maintain the status quo of "Big Money" running our government and the other is a bully.

Our friend, Larry Needleman, a talented sculptor, created this mask.
With this candidate's snorting during the debates
an alternative mask to the baboon could be of a snorting bull.
As with so many choices, neither candidate is without major negative consequences. So as we deal with this troublesome choice and all the others we face daily, may we


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  2. An email from a local friend: "Wonderful edition, really enjoy your writing and topics. But I can't figure out how to comment other than this.
    I have removed hypericum from my house and my mother's knowing it is a beneficial herbal but also invasive. Your salve sounds like something we all need. I have a salve with slippery elm in it. My grandmother always kept it on hand but I'm not sure it's best use.
    Happy fall, nice to see Dwight again, Chris"