The Sweetest Story

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to work with a Portuguese beekeeper here on the island of Santa Maria in the Azores. He comes from a very long line of beekeepers, and he got his first sting when he was very young. His initiation.

I really enjoy working with bees, learning about bees.  Harvesting honey. Eating honey. Drinking honey.

Well we didn’t harvest honey, that will be in August. No, we just checked on all the hives to make sure the bees were doing ok. Most of the hives were doing well. There was a lot of honey. And a lot of bees.

One beehive alone has an average of 50,000-60,000 bees.  Well my Portuguese beekeeper friend has 17 hives in his backyard. 17 beehives is seriously millions of bees!! (and this is not counting the young bee colonies in the ceramic cylinders) The buzzing produced by that many bees is intense.

Smoking the hives

Smoking the hives

My sweetheart and my 5 month old daughter Luna stayed away from the field and hung out in a large garden. Joao got close enough to take a few photos of us at work, but most of the time, he and Luna hung out under some banana trees, far away from the the buzzing of the bee yard.

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Honey Bees, Abelhas

Some of the Beehives

When we were done checking all the hives, we walked back to the shed, and learned that little Luna had been stung on the back of the head. Apparently she barely cried. But I know bee stings really HURT! My little girl is very tough. Out of all of us, she was the only one who got stung. I felt really bad. I would have preferred it if  Joao got stung! (Haha).  Anyways, our beekeeper friend went to the garden and brought back  a handful of parsley. He wrinkled it up and put it on the back of Luna’s head. He said this would help the sting and prevent it from swelling. It worked. There is barely a mark. Perhaps she has been initiated. But next time I work with bees, she will stay home. She can start beekeeping when she is a little older. Like 5 years old. ;)

My beekeeper friend gave us a very large jar of honey, some tomato plants, and told us the craziest story I have ever heard. About a pigeon and a cat.

The Pigeon and the Cat, Soulmates

The Pigeon and the Cat, Soulmates

There is a wild pigeon that showed up at the beekeepers house a few years ago and has become best friends with his cat. They play together, eat together, sleep together, and are very much in love. We caught them having dinner.

Isn’t that the sweetest story?

With lots of honey~Tiff

 

 

The Azores: Paradise for The Herbalist, Stinging Nettle Harvest Time

I am always looking for natural ways to heal. I have taken one of Susun Weeds online herbalist courses, I have books, herbalist friends,and a love for natural magic, I know the basics.  I know how to dry herbs, make tinctures and infusions, and I can identify and safely harvest some of my favorite herbs in the wild.  But I am in no way an expert, I am learning everyday.

The Azores seem to have more herbs than anywhere I have ever lived.

There is a little old lady in our village who noticed me looking at her lavender the other day, she slowly hobbled outside and in Portuguese she told me how “lavender can cure things that the hospitals cannot”. She then offered to give me some lavender and rosemary.. But she said in her crackly crone voice. ” You have to come back, because you need to plant the lavender three days before the new moon.Come back when the moon is nearly dark”  I will go back. Lavender is my favorite herb. Favorite smell, favorite tea, maybe even my favorite plant. Practical and magical wisdom: Things they don’t teach in school. 

I do have lavender growing in my herb garden. It is beginning to flower. It brings me so much joy. But this isn’t a post about lavender. In fact, maybe this post is just me rambling about herbs. Herbs. Santa Maria has so many. Growing wild everywhere. We go hiking and I see Mint, Stinging Nettle, Milk Thistle, Chamomile, Clover, Horsetail, Fennel, Dill, Dandelion, Aloe vera, and Watercress, and these are just naming a few- the most easily recognizable.

We found a spot deep in the woods with a large Bay Laurel tree. “Lets go hiking to get some more Bay leaves”… my kind of FUN!

Trees, leaves. Wisdom and medicine of the ancients..

Anyways, my daughter just turned 5 months old, and my hair is still falling out in clumps. I eat a good diet, take multivitamins, and live a healthy lifestyle.  I am still exclusively nursing. My body is supporting 2 people. Nutritional demands are high.  There are no health food stores here. There is no food co-op. What should I do?

Use my natural wise woman wisdom and HARVEST STINGING NETTLE.

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There may not be a health food store, but there is plenty of health providing food and herbal medicine. So, yesterday, we harvested Stinging Nettle. Early spring is the perfect time to harvest Nettles.

Beautiful Green Medicine

Beautiful Green Medicine

To protect the nettle, and for the most health providing leaves, I have learned only to harvest the top three tiers of leaves on each plant. To protect yourself from the painful stings, wear gloves.

You can use fresh nettle right a way, but you have to steam or cook it. It tastes delicious in soup. Or gather the nettle in small bundles, and hang to dry. Depending on the humidity, the leaves should dry within a few days. Then you can make delicious tea and infusions. :) Once dried or steamed the stinging disappears.

Tying the Nettle in bundles, WITH GLOVES

Tying the Nettle in bundles, WITH GLOVES

“There are no contraindications to the use of stinging nettle infusion. Side effects may include: thicker hair, softer skin, stronger veins, and greater delight in life.” ~Susun Weed

“Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.” ~Susun Weed

A couple of the drying bundles in my kitchen.. (being blessed perhaps by the prayer flags)

A couple of the drying bundles in my kitchen.. (being blessed perhaps by the prayer flags)

Nettle really is a powerful energizing healing tonic.I am grateful that we have so much green medicine growing everywhere. Taking our health in our own hands (sometimes with gloves). haha. ;)

Be Healthy~Yogini Tiff

 

Yoga At A Gym, An Unexpected Miracle

Yogini Tiff:

This is an old post, but I reread it today and was truly amazed once again by the strangeness and the magic of my journey… this was written before I had ever been to the Azores, and about a class and a time dear to my heart. xxxx

Originally posted on Flowing Yogini :

Two years ago, a fellow yoga teacher called me, and asked if I had interest in taking over one of her classes at a nearby gym. I was teaching a lot of classes at the time, and I had no interest in teaching at a gym. “I can’t teach GYM yoga!” was my snobby response.

Anyways, a couple of days later,  I was at my son’s rehearsal for a play he was in. Sitting and waiting, I had a conversation with one of the other mom’s. She happened to be the fitness coordinator from the very same gym. She asked if I would teach a class there. I realized there was clearly a divine pull for me to teach there. So, I told her I would try it. Honestly, I never would have looked for a class at a gym. Gyms make me uncomfortable. I need a quiet, sacred space to practice. But, I agreed to teach…

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Flowing Yogini is nominated for The Liebster Award

 

The wonderful blogger, fellow yoga lover, Jen, from Yoga Moods,  http://yoga-moods.com, has nominated Flowing Yogini  for The Liebster Award!  I am  honored!

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The Liebster Award allows us to express appreciation for other bloggers.  It was also created to increase readership for blogs with fewer than 500 followers.

Following are the official rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. Answer the questions you were given.

3. Nominate other blogs with fewer than 500 followers.

4. Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.

5. Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated them and appreciate their hard work.

Jen’s questions for me and my answers:

1. What are 3 things you love about yourself?

I love my ability to keep smiling even when life is seriously rough.. Spontaneous dance parties in my kitchen are pretty normal for me…

I love that I always strive to  live my truth, I have never followed the norm, which has made my life both challenging at times, and exciting too.

I am a very good yoga teacher. And a very good channel of Reiki energy. I love this about myself. Natural healer. 

2. What is something you were afraid of doing, but did anyway, and would you do it again? I was afraid to move to the Azores, but I did it anyways, and although I miss my yoga community in South Florida, I am finding my way, and very glad to be here.  ;)

3. Where is your favorite place to replenish yourself? I love being surrounded by trees. I grew up in Washington State, and spent my childhood exploring the woods. Trees are magical. Even now, when i need to recharge, I go up to the mountains on this island, and put my hands on a tree or rest my forehead on the trunk  and feel it heal me. 

4. What is one skill you’d love to learn?

I will share 2 skills I want to learn.

I want to learn how to partner dance really well.. 

Here is the BIG one: I would love to learn how to keep my mind relaxed. I am very sensitive to my surroundings and the energy of other people(I am an empath).. I would love to stay centered and connected all the time. I am trying!!!!  ;) 

5. What are 3 little-known facts about you?

Against my family’s wishes, when I was 9 years old, I became vegetarian. I had never even met another vegetarian!! But deep in the core of my being, I knew I had to listen to my own deep truths. 

I was  in love with Bing Crosby as a child. I loved Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, all the Crooners.. Years later, I met and married the Grandson of Perry Como ( we are divorced now), which gave me a glimpse of the wealthy world- it is a world  far scarier than I had ever imagined. Oh, the lessons we learn… :) 

I had a shaved head and played drums in a punk rock band in Olympia Washington in the 90′s. Hahaha…(and i was a terrible drummer) Seriously!

One more… I am very strongly affected by the moon. I am so overly sensitive near the full moon, that the only thing that helps is being alone, and surrounded by trees. I have found I am becoming more sensitive and I am curious to know if others are also feeling the same way…??? 

 

My nominees for The Liebster Award (in no particular order):

Let There Be Peace on Earth http://lumar1298.wordpress.com/

Yoga Soul  http://yogasoulblog.com/

Spring Wolf  http://springwolf.net/

Holistic Space http://psychologiazine.wordpress.com/

Gneiss Moon http://gneissmoonastrology.net/

My Questions For the Nominees

1.What is your all time favorite book?

2. What was your absolute favorite vacation? (Why? Where?)

3. What helps you heal?

4. Favorite food?

5. Do you pay attention to the cycles of the moon? Do you feel it affect your mind/body/spirit?

Thank you, and I apologize if I missed something or did not link the sites correctly!!

Have a beautiful day~Tiff

The Garden Grows

This is just a brief update on our garden. If you have been reading my blog for a while, likely you read my post Dirty and Green.. it has photos of us working on our garden and transplanting young kale. We started the garden in February. Look at it now!!!!

As for me, I prefer 50 shades of GREEN!! Just look at our yard, the kale! SO GOOD!

As for me, I prefer 50 shades of GREEN!! Just look at our yard, the kale! SO GOOD!

 

I look out my kitchen window and I am simply amazed at the transformation.  We have so much food growing!!!

View from the Kitchen Window

View from the Kitchen Window

Surrounding the perimeter of the garden, we planted kale. We planted our first bunch of kale in Feb, waited a few weeks and then planted some more.. so we will always have fresh kale. We did the same with the potatoes. We planted two rows, waited a few weeks and then planted more. Carrots, kale, potatoes, green onions, white onions, strawberries (which are flowering), cilantro, cucumbers, and red peppers.

The garden is full and beautiful. A neighbor noticed our good-looking garden, came over and offered the use of her land if we wanted to grow more food.. So recently we have started another garden. Tilling the soil by hand is exhausting. Watching the garden grow is magical.

Starting a new garden, side view of our little cottage, the baby napping, and Joao getting the soil ready

Starting a new garden, side view of our little cottage, the baby napping, and Joao getting the soil ready

 

Peaceful Garden baby-she  is a REAL cabbage patch kid!

Peaceful Garden baby-she is a REAL cabbage patch kid!

Planting Potatoes

Planting Potatoes

 

I feel so connected to the food we are growing. We are growing everything organically, and I have learned (the hard way) that snails love kale!!!!  I felt sad when I saw that some of our kale had been eaten by the snails.   The neighbors told us we should spray.. but we said no, we are doing it the natural way. SAND. An old school portuguese farmer trick, is to put sand or sawdust around the base of the kale. So surrounding each bunch of kale is a little mound of sand. It works. Sorry snails..

Eating the fresh food is so rewarding. So delicious and nutritious. I will keep updating as the garden grows. ;)

the beauty of growing food, Organic Kale

the beauty of growing food, Organic Kale

 

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” ―Claude Monet

Have a healthy day. Eat fresh food, and better yet, plant a garden.  ~Yogini Tiff

“As long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world. ” -Micheal Pollan 

 

Barreiro da Faneca -Weekend Adventures with Yogini Tiff

There is a place on the island of Santa Maria called Barreiro da Faneca.  It is a protected area (a geopark) with trails and stunning raw beauty.  Much of the pottery and the ceramic tiles you find on the island was made with clay from Barreiro da Faneca.   There are stories and legends about this place.  The surrounding woods feel haunted.

We spent the day there on Saturday. Hiking, yoga, and some serious monkeying around.

Connecting with the Earth and Sky

Connecting with the Earth and Sky

 

Bird of Paradise in the Azores

Bird of Paradise in the Azores

Reverse Warrior-Viparita Virabhadrasana

Reverse Warrior-Viparita Virabhadrasana

Joao being a peacock.. Mayurasana

Joao being a peacock.. Mayurasana

Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana/Half Lotus Tree Pose

Ardha Padmasana Vrksasana/Half Lotus Tree Pose

We found the ruins of a very old house deep in the woods and made up crazy stories about the people who once lived there.

Enjoying the Haunted Woods with my cousin

Enjoying the Haunted Woods with my cousin and my baby ;)

Monkeys in the Azores, mother and son bonding

Monkeys in the Azores, Mother and Son bonding

Breathe. Smile. And every once in awhile, swing from a tree. ~Yogini Tiff

 

Amazing photography by the talented Diana Melo (our niece).. Encourage our children to pursue the arts, spend time in nature, climb trees, and follow their dreams!