Sherry’s Lyme Treatment Fund

Sherry is a wonderful artist and photographer. We’ve been following each other for a while now. I’m so glad she’s reading my posts and catching photo mistakes and my bird ID blunders! 😉
Sadly, while enjoying the outdoors, she contracted chronic Lymes disease. Even worse, her insurance doesn’t recognize the disease as a disease and won’t pay for her treatment! This is ridiculous!
Please help a wonderful, fellow blogger pay for her December treatment and hope her new 2017 insurance has some sense of humanity, and covers her treatments! Thank you!

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Dear friends, I am forced to seek your help to pay for the treatments for a second relapse of my chronic Lyme disease, contracted while working as a naturalist at Greenwich Audubon, Connecticut in 1998. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) still doesn’t fully recognize chronic Lyme in the United States. This provides the health insurance companies with a reason to not pay for extended treatments. It is virtually impossible to find in-network doctors.

I finished 7 weeks of IV antibiotics (intravenous ceftriaxone), which used up my savings, and started Gamunex (IVIG), which is a tier 7 drug. I must pay %25 of $25,000 now. This includes the cost of lab work, medical tests, attending nurse, supplies and doctor visits. Gamunex-C (immunoglobulin therapy – IVIG) is can be used to fix the neurological problems. Three months of Gamunex worked in 2010. I tried using an in-network neurologist but he bailed…

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Evergreen Winter Seasonal Pots 2016

It’s that time again!! Wiiiinter pots!!

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We pre-fab these at the office and the crews deliver these to the client’s homes. You can skip many of the next steps if you already have a prepared pot of soil. We make them this way so we don’t have to stand outside and do it! I think this almost falls into that category of, ‘Lazy man works the hardest!’ Ha!

We use nursery pots that closely fit the size of our client’s containers. Cut a plastic sheet to fit over the bottom holes. This slows or stops the water from draining and helps freeze the display in place. Next, add florist foam to the middle for stability of the larger ‘thriller’ items, as these could be rather large birch poles. Then fill the rest of the pot with a 50/50 soil/sand mixture. Be sure to really stuff that soil into the pot. The better packed soil helps hold the display in place from precipitation, the weight of snow and wind.

The design is the standard, Thriller, Filler & Spiller! The Thriller is that one large sprig/evergreen, center piece, or for this season, mostly sticks. Filler are those mid-range sized pieces of evergreen, or other material that is generally wider and less tall that the thriller material. Spiller is just that, floppy evergreen, weaker-stemmed items that hang over the edge of the pot.

A few often overlooked hints and tips:

  • Fresh cut ALL of your greens right before sticking into the pot. It does make a huge difference as to how long the greens will stay green and especially how long the holly berries will stay on the branches.
  • After you have created your masterpiece, wet the display down well. It will freeze and hold all the stuff in place. It will also give some moisture to the cuttings.
  • Before using hydrangea, pre-treat them to a blast of clear spray paint to help them keep their form.
  • If your display becomes covered in snow, be sure to clear it by hitting the branches in an UPWARD motion. If you push too hard on them downward, they may break. A broom does a great job.

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© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Real Snow

Breck loves snowballs!!

Although we had our first little frosting last November 19, we had some real snow yesterday! It was still snowing while I was writing this! I hope you’re enjoying these photos, Scifihammy!!

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It was fun watching the birds land on this and spin… Not so ‘Wheee’.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Red Breasted Nuthatch ~ Sitta canadensis

image I started offering peanuts to my feathered & furry friends about a month ago. Word must have gotten around as now I’ve got a few new visitors! Not only do the Blue Jays and Crows love the new treat, I’ve got a Red-breasted Nuthatch now. I’m so excited to see him!

 

His identity had me a bit confused. I swore he was some kind of sparrow. I have White-breasted Nuthatches around and they really don’t have the same body shape. I think the Red-breasted is shaped and sized more like a Chickadee.

I was also hoping for a better photo than these 😉 Boy, that little guy is fast!

Facts:

The Red-breasted Nuthatch’s diet changes throughout the year, as their southernmost areas may actually be quite far north. In summer, they eat mostly insects, while in the winter, they switch to seeds. At feeders, they like sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. In true Nuthatch fashion, they wedge nuts in tree bark and hatch the fruit out by hammering it with their beaks. They also like to stash food for winter.

Red-breasted Nuthatches nest in tree cavities that they excavate themselves. Both parents will work on the nook, and it can take up to eight weeks to dig it out. The nest is primarily built by the female and she uses, grass, moss, shredded bark, needles, and rootlets.

One of the coolest things the Red-breasted Nuthatch does is to collect resin globules from coniferous trees and attach them around the entrance of their nest hole. The resin may help to keep out predators or contenders. The homeowners avoid the resin by flying directly through the hole.

They have an enlarged hind toe and a short tail, which allows them to move in all directions on a tree trunk, along with the undersides of branches. They don’t need their tails to move on the trunks like woodpeckers do.

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He’s not picky at my feeders! Sunflower seeds, niger seed, peanuts or suet work for him =-)


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

The Local Watering Hole

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Whiskey Old Fashion & A Moscow Mule W/Apple Cider… very awesome winter twist on a summer fav!
The usual drinks, just local this time and enjoying Blackhawks hockey.
We’re done camping for the season. However, we have decided to cruise down to Savannah, Georgia for Christmas! We’ve picked a great Campground right outside of town.
Have any of you been there before? I’d love to hear of any ‘non miss-able events’ if you have any.
We did buy the audio version of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil’ for our ride down there.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk or Forgetful Friends Either…

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Look at the door handle closely…

I follow a traffic cop in Southern California by the name of Badge 415. He posts some funny shyt! This situation made me think of him…

I pulled into the parking lot of the local strip mall, containing a hardware store, where I was going, along with other stores and of course, a bar. It was early on a Sunday, and the bar was not open yet. This would lead me to believe that this car was a left over from Saturday night. I could go on and on about all the stories my brain was coming up with for the situation…

Did the driver get tackled by his buddy right as he placed the keys in the door and his friend drove him home?

Did the driver put his keys in the door, hick-upped and then thought he lost his keys and walked home?

Alien abduction?

The smell of the Taco Bell grabbed his attention and led him down the block?

How did he get into his house without his keys?

I’ll go back to alien abduction. Final Answer.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Magic ‘Psilocybin’ Mushrooms Help Cancer Patients With Depression & Anxiety

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I wish there weren’t so many laws telling us what we can and cannot do to our own bodies…

Scientists have recently completed more studies concerning cancer patients and end of life care using ‘Magic Mushrooms’.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring compound that is produced by more than 200 species mushrooms, collectively known as “Psilocybin mushrooms”. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera.

I read this write-up from Science Daily:
Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers in recent years have led to a marked increase in patients’ physical survival rates. While doctors can treat the physical disease, what is not well understood is how best to address the psychological needs of patients with cancer.

In addition to the physical pain associated with cancer, many patients also experience psychologically harmful symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger, and denial. Social isolation, in addition to hopelessness, helplessness and loss of independence, has also been associated with significant psychological suffering in patients coping with advanced-stage cancer.

A recently published book chapter “Use of the Classic Hallucinogen Psilocybin for Treatment of Existential Distress Associated with Cancer,” reviews the potential of a novel psychoactive drug, psilocybin, in alleviating the psychological and spiritual distress that often accompanies a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

The chapter, published in Psychological Aspects of Cancer: A Guide to Emotional and Psychological Consequences of Cancer, Their Causes, and Their Management, was co-written by Anthony P. Bossis, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and Langone Medical Center.

The hallucinogen treatment model with psilocybin has been shown to induce a mystical or spiritual experience and is a unique therapeutic approach to reduce the anxiety of terminal cancer patients.

“Mystical or peak consciousness states in cancer patients have been associated with a number of benefits including improved psychological, spiritual, and existential well-being,” said Dr. Bossis.

Psilocybin (a serotonergic psychoactive agent) is a naturally occurring active component of many species of mushrooms, and is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, a highly potent activator of serotonin receptors. In addition to receiving the psilocybin compound, patients enrolled in the study also receive psychological preparation prior to the psilocybin dosing followed by a brief series of integrative psychotherapeutic sessions.

The chapter includes a clinical case vignette of a patient in the ongoing Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study at the Bluestone Center for Clinical Research. Participants undergo two drug administration sessions in which psilocybin is administered on one occasion and a placebo on the other.

“The primary objective of this phase I, double-blind, controlled pilot study is to assess the efficacy of psilocybin administration on psychosocial distress, with the specific primary outcome variable being anxiety associated with advanced and/or recurrent cancer,” said Bossis. “Secondary outcome measures will look at the effect of psilocybin on symptoms of pain perception, depression, existential/psychospiritual distress, attitudes toward illness, quality of life, and spiritual/mystical states of consciousness,” said Bossis.

The clinical vignette describes a patient who, over the course of three years, experienced extreme fatigue, pain, overall body aches, discomfort and psychological distress due to cancer and intensive biweekly chemotherapy. The patient became increasingly anxious and depressed and was enrolled in two study sessions; in one he received psilocybin and the other placebo. Despite continuing the arduous chemotherapy schedule, suffering from illness, and undergoing additional surgical procedures, the patient continued to report a marked improvement in attitude, coping, and mood 18 weeks after his session and stated, “my quality of life is dramatically improved,” the patient said.

Stephen Ross, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine at the NYUCD is the principal investigator for the study; Dr. Bossis and Jeffrey Guss, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry are co-principal investigators.

The co-authors of the chapter were: Charles S. Grob, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Roland R. Griffiths, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study was also recently highlighted in a News article, “Opening Doors of Perception: Psychedelic Drugs and End-of-Life Care” in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The emotional, spiritual and existential distress that can often accompany a diagnosis of cancer often goes unidentified and untreated in cancer patients. Patients who have benefited from psilocybin clinical research have reported less anxiety, improved quality of life, enhanced psychological and spiritual well-being, and a greater acceptance of the life-changes brought on by cancer. It is a welcome development that this promising and novel clinical research model utilizing psilocybin has begun to gain clinical and academic attention,” Bossis notes.

The Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study is currently recruiting additional subjects. To enroll or learn more, please visit BluestoneCenter.org or http://www.nyucanceranxiety.org/

New York University. (2013, January 31). Potential of psilocybin to alleviate psychological and spiritual distress in cancer patients is revealed ScienceDaily Retrieved December 1, 2016 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131095040.htm

Art Shows & Meeting Fellow Bloggers

I recently went to an art show that was taking place near my home. Not only do I love art shows, a fellow blogger was going to be there showing off her goods!  ;-O Hey now! You know… her artwork! Karen of Karen’s Nature Art. I’ve been following Karen for a while now. She knows her botany and Midwestern nature very well. She’s blog is as interesting as her art!

From her website:

Artwork inspired by nature in a variety of media…including acrylic, watercolor, and pastel.  10% of the proceeds are donated to the nonprofit organization, Hesed House.

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Karen brought beautiful jewelry, drawings, calendars and other fine reproductions of observations she’s made in nature. The porcelain vine berries look true to life on one of her necklaces. This one below caught my eye. I’m a sucker for anything orange or red. Karen told me she was inspired by the honeysuckle bloom when she made this. I love it! It goes with many of my outfits and of course, my ginger locks🙂

imageWe walked around the show and this wineglass jumped out to me. Since ‘unplugging’ from T.V., we’ve been watching artists create their wares. One art that fascinates my husband an I is wood turning. We watch bowls and many other fascinating pieces of art being made.  This beautiful wineglass was made by Tree Nut Studio. The two wooden rings are moveable. They are fun to play with like a cigarette substitute😉 We like it so much, we are going to commission him to make a cutting board / cover for our camper’s stove. I can’t wait to see it done. I’m sure Ill post about it😉

 

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Another DIY – Evergreen Holiday Pot in Bucket

After making my gold / brown pot for my front door, my husband loved it so much, he wanted me to make one for his boss. Oakey-dokey! I can do that!!

If you’ve already read my DYI post for my last pot, most of this post is going to be plagiarized from that one… If you don’t want to read how to put this together, just look at the photos =-)

Instead of me using a liner for his pot, as I did not know if he had an existing pot to use, I used a shiny steel bucket. This time I did not have any soil, so I filled the bottom with a few rocks and cut the foam to fit in the bucket. This serves three purposes, better water collection for the greens at first, then for it to freeze the greens in place with little expansion, and lastly, a heavy base so the design won’t fall over in the wind and snow.

First, place your sticks (birch poles here), or the largest diameter things first. You’ll know right away if your foam is going to hold, nothing like making your whole design, and then placing your sticks and busting the foam!! Arrrg! >:-O Yes, I have learned the hard way!

Think about where your pot will be displayed. Will they be on the sides of your door? On top of a pier? On top of your mailbox? Or on just one side of the door, like this one. I set my sticks a bit to one side (the back) of my pot, so more bling can be added to the front and sides. If you’re pot will be able to be viewed from all angles, I’d center them. If you’re having one on either side of your door, I would mirror-image the bling on 3 sides of the pot.

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I like to get a ring around the bottom next, as you can be sure that there is a sufficient amount of greens around the bottom. Again, think of where your pot will be displayed. This one will be on the ground, so it will be viewed by looking down on it. Some folks have piers or taller areas where their pots are going, these pots will need to have a nice lower row, as this is what you may see when viewing up at it. I’m using Scott’s Pine for my bottom. I love this material, as it already has pine cones attached! Don’t worry if it sticks up a bit, as you add more to the center, it will flatten out.

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My next filler is a variegated boxwood. I love the variety of colors it brings to the mix. I’m not a huge fan of a straight green pot, although I can appreciate the simplicity. Don’t fill it to the brim, there needs to be room for other ingredients, and you can always add more boxwood later.

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Next I added some magnolia. It will take up a lot of space, which is always good as you will save on materials because of it. After that comes the eucalyptus and dried hydrangea. I usually harvest these (for free!) from the large limelight we have in the yard at work. If your display will be out in the elements, I would give them a quick spray of clear enamel. This will stick them together and help stop the wind and snow from taking their toll. I also used grape vine balls sprayed lightly with white paint, for some natural-looking balls to bring together the round, flashy ornaments that are the next step.

imageAnd now for the fun part…. the bling! The large balls were ornaments that I removed the hanger from and stuck a stick in the hole. You may need to use hot glue to steady it on the stick. The small ones came in a one-piece clump, which I cut apart. I then added the little silver glitter sticks. Voilà!

I chose to go with a silver / white theme here, as it can stay out past Christmas without looking too tacky. If I had to total my materials here, I’d guess-ta-mate it would be about $50.00 without the pot. Right now, Hobby Lobby has all their Christmas stuff on sale for 50% off! I was also able to pick-up the white/mirrored ornaments at the dollar store, SCORE!!

Happy Creating!!

 

 

 

 

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl