Kira the Wonder Dog’s Greatest Adventure

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On September 8th, Kira the Wonder Dog left this planet for her greatest adventure ever leaving a large hole in my heart. I trust that with time (and apparently a lot of cooking) my heart will mend. Kira brought a smile to so many over the years with her ridiculous antics, sweet smile and her loving loyalty. Her pal Poohger continues to look around the house and yard for her. and when we take our familiar walks through the neighborhood Poohgar stops at all the Kira spots looking around as if she expects her to jump out from the bushes. I must admit I haven’t quite adjusted to the routine of our lives without her. And so this blog post is in honor of our dear friend Kira who brought us all great joy and who is running those grand figure 8s in puppy heaven now.

As the crisp fall air, perfectly blue sky and shorter days become the daily experience I have been gathering the foods I planted this summer to store so the fresh tastes of summer are available during the winter months. This week I have made pesto and pickles…guess it has been a “P” week. There is nothing quite as nice as making a pesto dish in January to remind us that spring will come again before long. In fact I’m not waiting until January to eat some pesto. I found these delightful recipes in Eating Well Magazine and I’ll be making the arugula pesto tonight. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/healthy_pesto_recipes

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I also put up about 16 pints of dill pickles, some the refrigerator variety and some the old fashioned canned variety. I like the uncooked version because the healthy bacteria don’t get cooked out of the pickles when you refrigerate them. This weekend I will be putting up several pints of red and green cabbage sauerkraut also without cooking out the healthful bacteria. This is an easy to follow recipe for homemade sauerkraut that I found to be very good: http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipes/homemade-sauerkraut. There are many health benefits to eating traditional fermented foods which I have shared in previous blog posts. If you would like more information check out Dr. David Williams http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/traditional-fermented-foods-benefits/ and Dr Oz http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/fermented-foods-for-powerful-immunity. Starting with sauerkraut is easy but there are many wonderful quick pickle recipes out there as well. I’m adding a broccoli stem quick pickle I make and eat weekly:

Broccoli Stem Pickles

2 cups broccoli stems

2 tsps rice vinegar

2 cloves garlic minced

½ tsp fresh grated ginger

½ tsp coriander seeds crushed

½ tsp cumin seeds crushed

½ tsp sea salt

Using a sharp knife peel away the fibrous skin of the broccoli and then cut the pale inside trunk into matchsticks.

Blanch broccoli matchsticks for 1 minute in boiling water, rinse immediately with cold water. Then place in glass bowl.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over broccoli matchsticks in glass bowl.

Refrigerate for 2 hours, serve.

Benefits of Broccoli from The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood

           Broccoli supports the liver, spleen, stomach and bladder and helps to regulate circulation. It treats the eyes and helps to reduce eye inflammation. Broccoli is slightly diuretic. It’s anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties are due in part to its immune boosting glusinolates (specifically indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane). Broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C as an orange and is a superior source of vitamin A and K. It has almost as much calcium as whole milk and its calcium is better absorbed. Broccoli contains selenium, is a modest source of alpha tocopherol vitamin E and has value as an antioxidant.

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So here’s to you Kira girl…we love you and hold you close in our hearts forever.

Take a moment this weekend to tell the people and pets in your life how much they matter to you. Share a meal together without the distraction of phones, TV or computers. Relish these simple times together sharing attention and love and you will be spreading the ripple of that love and appreciation into a world that can at times seem unkind.

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I send prayers of gratitude to all that has given of itself on this day.

The strong beans, and the hardy grains, the beautiful leafy green plants and the sweet juicy fruits.

I thank the sun that warmed and vitalized them, just as it does me,

And the Earth that held and nourished them, as it does me,

And the waters that bathed and refreshed them, as they do for me.

I thank the fire that transformed them, just as I wish to be transformed by the fire of Spirit.

I thank the hands that grew and prepared this food,

Just as I thank all those that have touched me in so many ways.

Sedonia Cahill

Blessed Be

Leanne Yinger, M.Ed.
Certified Holistic Health Coach @ Kira’s Kitchen

Health Coach Meets Coopers Hawk

I was driving behind a school bus this week heading to work, engaged in my morning breathing and chanting when I witnessed a Coopers Hawk fly under the bus. He was rolled over a before flying out to the side of the road. I quickly pulled over and put my hazard lights on the see if he was alive and needed care. As I approached I saw that the hawk was alive but clearly stunned…I mean who wouldn’t be after rolling under a school bus.

I wasn’t thinking about anything except can I help this beautiful creature. My daughter had witnessed a similar bird of prey, car encounter a couple weeks ago and found that a beautiful Bard Owl had not been as fortunate as this smaller Coopers Hawk. I gently smoothed his wings and picked him up to warm him a bit and assess his need. He looked directly at me as I picked him up and did not try to fly or bite…he was just assessing me in the same way I was assessing him. After holding him close and sensing he was stable I set him down on the ground. He looked a bit frazzled like this picture below (which is a juvenile Coopers Hawk) and was lifting each foot as if to see they were still attached. He shook out his wings and then looked at me again as I was crouched down next to him talking softly.

I was trying to determine if I should let him be or attempt to bring him to a bird of prey rescue center such as VINS in Woodstock Vermont. It was at that point that I said to him can you fly and like a fool showed this hawk what I meant by raising my arms as if to fly. He looked again at me and then flew from the roadside into the woods where he had a rather clumsy landing. I knew there was nothing else I could do as he had returned to his world…so I got back into my car and said a little prayer that he would be okay. I also said a prayer of gratitude for having received this beautiful gift to encounter so closely and intimately this bird of prey that I admire often in it’s natural habitat where I live.

What does the Hawk teach us as a spiritual guide?

“When you have the hawk as a spirit animal, you may have an inclination towards using the power of vision and intuition in your daily life. The hawk totem provides wisdom about seeing situations from a higher perspective, using the power of observation, and focusing on the task at hand. It’s a good companion to develop spiritual awareness.”

“Hawks teach us to look at a situation from a different perspective.  Hawk holds the key to higher consciousness and trying to bring certain things into your circle of awareness. Know that enlightenment is imminent.

Hawk often represents the ability to see meaning in ordinary experiences if you choose to become more observant.”

I encourage you to explore what you can do to help preserve these and other birds or prey. I love going to sanctuaries to see them and learn more. Vermont Institute of Natural Science http://www.vinsweb.org/ is one place I love to promote.

I am grateful for the experience and hopeful that my encounter with this beautiful hawk will inspire others to take great care in how we live with our animal brothers and sisters. We are guests in their world and are wise to tread lightly on this Earth.

Blessed Be

Everything I think I’m Missing

My dear friend shared the poem below with me today and I am so moved by it that I am now sharing it with you! I’m not sure who wrote it so if any of you know please do tell.

Tonight, I am grateful that in this life I am blessed with the love of family and friends, good health, the joyful laughter of children, the playfulness of my dogs, the beauty that is abundant all around me and the hope of more to come.

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Sunset’s Silver Sidewalk (it is more golden tonight) on Pontoosac lake a stone’s throw from my front door.

The Poem:

I am struggling. There’s who I believe I ought to be, and who I really am.

It’s humbling, isn’t it? This being, this mystery, this me sits here radiating energy, yet I’m gripped by a nameless fear that I’m missing exactly what I came here to experience.

I am suffering, telling myself stories of what life should look like. And then I get the message like a meteor, like the power coming back on after hours in a storm.

This life, this extraordinary imperfection, this moment just as it is, this is all I’m here to receive. This infuriating, limitless simplicity of day-to-day living holds everything I think I’m missing.

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BLESSED BE