Seeds, Magical, Mystical and Divine

Yesterday as I stood at the dock of our local feed store, Southern States, I watched small pellets of snow falling in the cold morning air. Yet when I looked closer at the mysterious dust that slowly covered the roof of my car and the shoulders of my sweater I realize that the white dusting is not snow at all but seeds. Seeds are wafting down through the air from the milling machine that I hear grinding away in the loft of the steel building. Some of the pieces appear as crushed corn, others are millet, cotton seeds and shells from soybeans. The mixture is for bird seed, I think, and the finches swoop in, landing on top of a stack of pallets at the end of the dock to steal what no human would want. My hair and sweater  are white in a matter of minutes and the older farmer standing next to me laughs at the sight of our hair white with corn dust. What a strange and wonderful way to start my day. It Reminded  me how wonderful, powerful and mysterious seeds are and what they can mean for us.

Cars at loading dock at Southern States

Cars at loading dock at Southern States

When I returned from Southern States I also started to clean out our garden. Trying to gather up the last of the died plants. The tomato vines,the pepper stocks, the Zinnia stems and a rotten watermelon are all that is left of the work that my garden did over the summer. As I move through the rows I come to Christopher’s Zinnia’s that bloomed like wild this summer. They died in mid bloom by a hard frost about a week ago. They are all that remains standing in the garden and still have seeds in side the brown dead blooms.  I though to myself that I should gather up some of the seeds for next year before the birds discover that in side this wrinkled crusty shell  there lives a hundred small seeds.

Deafd Zinnia Bloom in the Garden 2015

Dead Zinnia Bloom in the Garden 2015

So I gathered up about 12 seed pods and headed to the house to pull them apart. Remembering that before the frost I pulled the last few rounds of green beans off the plants to store as seeds for next year. I have been waiting for them to dry  so I can shuck the seed pods to store them for planting next year. So my garden will be full of green beans again.

Shucked green beans, leather britches or seeds for next years green beans

shucked green beans, leather britches or seeds for next years green beans

Dry Shucked green beans, Leather Britches, or dried white beans

Dry Shucked green beans, Leather Britches, or dried white beans

Then over the weekend my family also gathered the chestnuts and hickory nuts in our yard and the surrounding woods. this means I will have a few for winter cooking. The hickory nuts looked like they were ready crack open their hard shells and begin to grow if only the weather was getting warmer not colder.

ripe chestnuts in the back yard

ripe chestnuts in the back yard

Hickory Nuts with shell

Hickory Nuts with shell

What still surprises me every year that I plant a garden is the power inside a seed. That each one is the renewed life of what was lost only a few months ago. It really should come as no surprise to any of us that we instructed by Dr’s to eat more seeds, get more of our protein from seeds and try to get our oils from seeds instead of animal fats. They hold inside their shells the power and energy to renew life. They are the grand magic that holds with in them all the secrets of our living world. With just a little water and warmth, they begin the life cycle again in hopes that life will continue again, that we will see the spring flowers, see the fruit of their labor and again reap a harvest. It is miraculous that some how every thing we see in nature comes from a seed.

The seed is also one of the most used symbols in religious texts and a common metaphor used for writers and poets. It is the seeds ability to transform from a small brown stone, shedding its shell, pushing through the hard earth and reaching up to grow, that is stunning. How they survive the elements and sprout leaves and roots to one day become some thing enduring that fascinates me. It is hard to believe that about 6 months ago, this was just an avocado pit, a seed, that I lovingly planted in hopes of one day having an Avocado tree of my own.

Avacado tree from seed

Avocado tree from seed

One day the tree will be taller and stronger than me. It should live longer then I do and could produce fruit for generations. It can produce more seeds than we can count and one day may be the parent to a hundred trees. So with in one seed is the energy and potential to create hundreds if not thousands of trees. This is why the great texts  use the metaphor of the seed. To teach us about life, death and rebirth. That nothing really ever ends that it is only a transformation from one form to another. The seed lives in the fruit of the living tree, becomes the hardened seed when death and harvest comes, to sprout and regenerate when the seed roots,and finally grows sharing its new life. If only we could look at our lives in the same way and see the beauty that is found in the seed. That death and life are only part of a greater pattern of events. That life is the bounty of nature and that we are just simply seeds at heart.

popular tree seed pod

popular tree seed pod

Categories: Change, Fall, Foraging, gardening, Nuts, Preserving, seeds, water | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Problem for West Virginians with contaminated water and being Prepaire


Since  the terrible chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia on Thursday I have watched 300,000.00 of my states citizens suffer unheard of problems from just the simple lack of clean water. The chemical that my southern  friends are exposed to are toxic enough to not only made the water undrinkable for humans or animals it made the water unsuitable for even washing your clothes, bathing, or using it for any thing.  This  man-made disaster could have had to potential to have killed thousand of plants, animals and humans. Yet the biggest problem the my family and many others have been discussing is that people are not even close to being prepared to care for their families if this was to happen to their town. FEMA suggest that every person should have at least 3 gallons of water per person for at least a total of three days. This would mean that my family of three should have stored about 9 gallons of water per person stored for an an emergence like this. How many of us have that amount of fresh usable water on hand?

I would not call my family a prepping family.. .. just a county family that knows what being self-reliant is about. We know what it like to not see a snow plow for days on end and some times never. We know what it is like to go with out  electric for weeks in the cold winter and in the heat of summer. We know that every time the electric goes out you have no running water; no electric means no pump, that means no water. So from just our everyday lives we  think ahead and store what we can so that we can live comfortably for about a week with out electric, water or even  leaving our drive way.

Tip # 1   one of the least expensive ways to store water in large qualities is a simple rain barrel. I have had them for years and  at every home that we have lived in. I think I spent about 17 dollars on the barrel  and maybe 10 dollars on Quick dry cement for the level pad it sits on. Then the rest is free.

end of summer rain barrel and container garden

end of summer rain barrel and container garden

Their you go at least 50 gallons of water for almost no money. Our barrel has a spout kit on the other side so that I can use the barrel for watering my flowers and vegetables. The tap did add about 6 dollars and a little time to install to my barrel. We do not try to cover our barrel so we can use a bucket to carry the water into the house or out to bird bath it also allows for the water to expand in the winter when it freezes. But think this water could keep my family safely washing dishes, taking baths, flushing the toilet and giving my pet safe water to drink for days. In a real pinch we could even sanitize this water for drinking.  There are hundreds of rain barrel ideas all over the internet and huge storage systems that people build that enclose the water and run through filtering systems that can make rain water drinking safe if you want to go that far. We just want to know that we can flush the toilet and wash our bodies when the time comes.

Tip # 2 Tom and I also store water in our kitchen and basement in these 4 gallon bottles of water, the one below is the one that I always keep in the kitchen in case we need water for cooking and I am to lazy to go to the basement to get it. We found these at  local Kroger store with a refilling machine outside on the side walk.The cost per bottle may vary and may have gone up since I bought these but I think they were 6$ each with a refund of .99 cents every time you recycle the bottles for a refilled… I have never refilled the 4 that I have so the prices maybe different. So that is 12 gallons of cooking and drinking water in large bottles, used mostly for dishes and making tea.

4 gallons of water in a storage safe bottle

4 gallons of water in a storage safe bottle

Tip # 3  Everyone should try to store at least one case of bottled drinking water per person in their house hold.We keep at least 3 in our basement at all times, in the summer there is always some in the truck for Tom, in the fridge and in the kitchen… usually two more cases in the summer. For our family 3 to 4 bottles of water for drinking a day plus some for teeth brushing and hand washing is about all we really need so a case could last at least two days with three cases we have about a weeks worth for every person who lives in my home.

Tip #4 There are other item that is handy to have around to keep water safe and clean. The most important and least expensive is a simple bottle of bleach. As we all know from being kids at swimming pools chlorine bleach kills lost of nasty bugs in water. If I had to depend on my rain water for cooking, or washing dishes where the water temps were to low to sterilise the water 1/8 of a teaspoon of bleach will kill enough microbes to safely use the water for washing dishes, bathing, and cooking at high temps. It is even recommended  by the CDC for use in drinking water if you are unsure of the water coming out of your tap.


I try to always have a small bottle around for other uses as well. Never know when you are going to need to sanitize an area and this works great in a spray bottle or in a water wash.

Tip #5   Just in case you just cant get enough water to say take a bath or wash you hands. Lysol wipes, Wet Ones, Clorox wipes or any anti bacterial wipes are a God send. We use them for just about any kind of clean up you can think of… no water to wash up you hands … use a wipe… no water to clean a minor cut…use a wipe… need to clean a surface to cook on… use a wipe. They are easy to store, nice and moist, stay wet for years in their own container, cheap and portable. I recommend that every one have several containers stored away for a situation like this. We store around 4 large containers of these in the even that we need to wash up with no water.

Tip #6  Never ever toss out those extra paper plates  or plastic cups after picnicking season is over. It is a wonderful feeling not to have to boil water and use what little drinking water you have to wash the dishes. So when those store brand foam plates go on sale in the summer by extra… and keep them hidden away somewhere. They can save your family a lot of water when the time comes.

I hope this will help remind  some one of how much we need to store water in case of  an emergence. Water is one of the few things that we all MUST HAVE! There is no way to get around it and so many of us never think about not being able to use the water from our taps in any way. That is what my state is facing  as you read this.  How prepared are you and should you think a head just a little farther. It could keep you from standing in long lines waiting for the National Guard to get you the water you need to just make that cup of coffee in the morning.

Sharing this post with my friends at A rural journal and Nancy.


Random 5 Friday

Categories: Elk River, health, Safty, water, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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