Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition

There are patterns to human behavior, societal change and catastrophes.  In Jared Diamond’s book Collapse  (a follow-up to the Pulitzer-Prize winning Guns, Germs and Steel), he explores how climate change, the population explosion and political discord create the conditions for the collapse of civilization as we know it.

These elements were factors in the collapse  of past societies around the world. Some found solutions and continued to survive.  Others did not. Diamond traces these patterns through a number of global societies  and draws attention to similar problems we’re facing today.

A brilliant book. A must read

Price: $19.00

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Naked Winery Best Sellers Mixed Pack, 4 x 750 mL

I love the wines. Love the business model of this winery. It’s purpose is to support the small, indie wine maker and help them grow their business.  You can order all manner of combinations, become a wine angel for a small monthly fee and get a case a month at dramatically reduced prices.  Or you can buy through Amazon by clicking on this image. Hope you enjoy them!

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Plastic Bag & Bottle Dryer

Here’s a great way to dry plastic bags for reuse. Someone gave it to me as a gift and I use it every day without fail. One of the handiest kitchen gadgets ever!I have it hanging about my kitchen sink (chain and hook are included)  but it stands alone as well; the center column can be used to dry reusable water bottles. There are 8 spokes for plastic, pastry, or other lightweight bags.  Made  from sustainably harvested wood.

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Find Out What It’s All About

In the 60’s, Ina Gaskin significantly influenced the reclamation of the birth process. Many were fed up with hospitals and doctors taking the birth process away from mothers, and it was time to bring back the midwives, the personal, the intimate nature of something as profound as bringing new life into the world.

The same is happening now with the death process. The funeral industry is just that…an industry. Huge. Corporate. And although many independently owned funeral homes and funeral directors intend a sense of intimacy, ultimately, a corporate agenda is a corporate agenda.

There’s no need to give your loved one, grieving process and confusion over to those who charge big bucks and produce ‘canned’ funerals. There is a movement afoot that is changing all that, domestically as well as internationally.

Find out what it’s all about by vising my friend Kateyanne Unullisi’s website.

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Essential Oils for Flu & Cold Season

4 Thieves Oil

Thieves oil has an interesting history that’s rooted in the herb mixture used during the bubonic plague.  Gary Young, founder of Young Living oils, studied the properties and effects of essential oils against micro-organisms that cause disease.  It’s true that in studying them myself, I’ve learned a lot about their hertz resonance, their medicinal, preservation and disinfectant qualities and to that end, have stocked my cupboard with a wide variety of essential oils, and have been collecting recipes which I will, in time, pass on to you.

Here’s one that’s timely as we enter winter.  Mix the oils according to the recipe and use 1 drop of the mixture to 1 oz. of water.  I add a little white vinegar (about 1 teaspoon) to the 12 oz. bottle because it helps diffuse the oil into the water and not clog up the spray mechanism:

40 drops clove oil
70 drops lemon oil
40 drops cinnamon bark oil
30 drops eucalyptus oil
20 drops rosemary oil
10 drops each of tea tree, lavender and cedar oil

You can also adjust the smaller dosages to your preference but leave the first 5 ingredient ratio alone. For the last 3 ingredients, I’ve also  used geranium oil, camphor or grapefruit in place of the cedar or lavender …all chosen for their medicinal and anti microbial properties (as well as fragrance).

Use 1 drop of oil mixture to each ounce of water. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and you are good to go.

Spray in bedrooms, near litter boxes, in the bathroom…wherever you need it.

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Chocolate Beet Cake Recipe

Chocolate Beet CakeThis cake is outrageously good – moist and full bodied. Great texture too.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter a 9 x 13 pan  (I use coconut oil spray).


  • 1-1/2 cups cooked, peeled and pureed beets (should be consistency of applesauce  so you may need to add a little water) 
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1 cup oil 
  • 1 tsp vanilla 
  • 1-3/4 c. flour 
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Combine dry and wet and mix well. Batter will be very red and thick; you can add a little water so you get cake batter consistency. (I mixed with my hand held mixer for a couple of minutes but take care to not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into baking dish and bake 35 – 45 minutes. Cake comes out looking like dark chocolate.

I frosted with a small amount of genache…sugar, butter, cocoa, splash milk, splash of leftover coffee and cooked over stove top to soft stage; then added 1 tsp vanilla. (you could add rum). Cool slightly before frosting. It makes a glossy glaze.

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Chicken Allergy…Who Knew?

My cat has had hideous feline dermatitis for months and months. Scabby, oozing sores that she’d open daily with her itching. Tried everything to get rid of it. Finally, after reading a Review of a chicken free catfood (Instinct), I realized that almost all commercial catfood has some form of chicken in it…and she’d developed an allergy to it.

I spoke with pet store folks about this and they told me that the processing of the chicken is what they figured was causing an outbreak in toxicity to animals. The frozen, or freeze-dried versions are affected as well. I guess it’s the equivalent of ‘pink slime’ in human-grade hamburger in terms of using industrial solvents to clean the chicken.

Gross and disgusting. I’ve finally found Instinct and Evanger’s, both are pretty pure. The dermatitis has gone away.

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Home Remedies for Fungus

Herbs dryingSometimes I wonder if any of us who live in moist climates can avoid getting some kind of fungus. My dermatologist, Dr. Langei in Mt. Vernon, Washington, tells me that we are hosts to many.  I found this recipe for a natural antifungal salve in Rosemary Gladstar’s ‘Herbs for the Home Medicine Chest,’ a book I just love. Here it is:

Antifungal Salve

2 parts chaparral

2 parts black walnut hulls

1 part organically grown goldenseal (make sure it’s organically grown)

1 part myrr

1 part echinacea

a few drops of tea tree or cajeput oil


To each cup of oil, add 1/4 cup beeswax.  Heat until the beeswax is completely melted.  To check for firmness, place 1 tablespoon of the mixture into the freezer for just a minute.  If it’s too soft, add more beeswax.  If too hard, add more of the oil mix.  Remove from heat immediately and pour into small glass jars or tins.  Store extra in a cool, dark place.  Salves will last for months, even years, if stored properly.  If you want to add a natural preservative, add vitamin E or tincture of benzoin.

You can buy the oils as essential oils or you can infuse them yourself using solar.  Place dried herbs and oil in a glass jar and cover tightly (I like to use olive, almond or avacado oil). Place the jar in a warm sunny spot and let the mixture infuse for 2 weeks.  Strain through muslin or cheesecloth, add a fresh batch of hers and infuse for two more weeks.  This will give a very potent medicinal oil.  Strain well, squeezing out the herbs with your hands.

Many thanks to Rosemary Gladstar!

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A Resource for Pathfinders