Medicinal Trees: Hawthorn – Good Witches Homestead

Crataegus oxyacantha
or
Crataegus monogyna

Also, Known As:

  • English Hawthorn
  • Haw
  • Hawthorn
  • May
  • May Blossom
  • Maybush
  • May Tree
  • Quick-set
  • Shan-cha
  • Whitethorn

The herb called the hawthorn is one of the best herbal remedies to boost the performance of the heart and the human circulatory system in general. A potent vasodilatory action can be induced in the human body by the flowers, leaves and the berries of the hawthorn. When these parts of the herb are consumed, they open up the arteries to promote circulation and improve the blood supply to all the general tissues in the body. Regular supplementation with this herb can thus help bring some balance blood pressure and it is considered to be an excellent remedy for the treatment of high blood pressure – especially when the condition is connected to hardening in the arteries of the person. Problems such as those connected to poor circulation caused by aging arteries, problems of poor circulation towards the lower body and legs as well as problems like poor memory and confusion induced by a poor blood circulation to the brain can all be remedied by supplementation with the hawthorn herb. The herb also has an effective and remedial effect in angina cases, the hawthorn based remedies can help open the coronary arteries in the heart and by so doing aid in the improvement of blood flow to the heart, and this herb also softens deposits in the arterial system. The vagus nerve which influences the cardiac muscles is also beneficially affected by the hawthorn herbal remedies, the consumption of this herb can thus slow down irregularities in the heart and reduce a rapid or fast heart rate in a patient. It can be said that herbal remedies made from the hawthorn are ideal for most heart conditions affecting people.

Hawthorn-fruitHawthorn berries possess a potent and effective astringent effect – this is very effective in the treatment of problems such as diarrhea and dysentery in patients. The digestive system also benefits due to the relaxant action possessed by the hawthorn leaves, flowers and berries – the herbal remedy also boosts the appetite. At the same time, it acts in relieving abdominal distension and in the removal of stagnation of food in the intestinal tract. Hawthorn herbal remedies also have an effective relaxing effect on the functioning of the nervous system, the herb aids in relieving excessive stress and anxiety, it helps in calming mental agitation, it lessens restlessness and reduces nervous palpitations. The herb also induces sleepiness in people affected by insomnia. The herbal remedies made from the hawthorn also have a diuretic action on the body, it aids in relieving fluid retention in the body and helps dissolve deposits of kidney stones and gravel. The herb is helpful to women in menopause, as it aids in removing debility or night sweats in those affected by them. The hawthorn berries can be made into an herbal decoction, which can be used as an astringent gargle for sore throats as well as an herbal douche for women affected by excessive vaginal discharges.

Hawthorn-flowersThe hawthorn family of herbs is represented by a family of one hundred to two hundred related species of small trees and shrubs, found in the North American continent, with huge populations in the eastern part of the United States of America. This family of related plants has a very confusing and difficult taxonomy. Though no longer used for most, the hawthorn herb was initially divided into many species. At least 1,100 specific names were published, most of which are no longer accepted. At the same time, many different varieties of the plant are recognized, and hybrids of the herb do exist in the wild. The hawthorn family serves as an important source of food for wildlife; these plants also serve as foliage and cover for animals. The many species which bear fruits that can persist over the winter are particularly of great value to different animal communities in the forest. The many varieties of the hawthorn are utilized in environmental plantings in many forestation projects. Hawthorn plants are very hardy and can tolerate conditions in many different sites with a variety of climatic and soil conditions, due to this, the plants have been planted for stabilizing river banks, and have also been used to shelter reverie belts, as well as being used for erosion control of the soil.

Most members of the hawthorn family of plants are characterized by the presence of thorny twigs and branches, while a few species bear no spines whatsoever. Hawthorn plants bear leaves singly on the branches; these are simple leaves that are borne in alternate rows along the axis of the plant – all of them in different degrees of lobing and varying shapes and serration. The hawthorn family is characterized by bearing very conspicuous flowers, these flowers have five creamy coloreds to pinkish blossoms. The hawthorn flowers are an important part of the history and lore of the United States – for example, the Pilgrims’ ship, the Mayflower, is named after hawthorn flower. The hawthorn flowers normally grow in fragrant clusters during the midsummer, thriving in flattish and terminal groups on the branches. Hawthorn also gives out fruit each season, these are small and resemble apples, and they are characteristically tipped with the remnants of the outermost floral leaves. The fruits are really pomes, which is a fleshy reproductive entity of the plant. Hawthorn pomes have five seeds enclosed in the capsules. These pomes also have a thick outer fleshy layer that is markedly different in taste from one shrub or tree to the other – particularly when the pomes are raw. The size of the each pomes or fruiting body is usually less than half an inch in diameter. The color being reddish, though sometimes yellow and rarely bluish, black or purplish. The hawthorn fruits have a high sugar and low protein, as well as low-fat content pulps.

Bulgarian medical doctors were reportedly treating patients with coronary heart problems using a fluid extract of the hawthorn according to British newspaper reports from 1969. These doctors treated patients over a period of six weeks, the dosage for each patient was fifteen drops of the extract dropped beneath the tongue two times every day, at least three-quarters of the group of sixty-two patients were said to fully recover from the treatment given to them. The use of the hawthorn berries in the treatment of problems such as heart palpitations, conditions like angina, as well as a problem like a stroke was also given in the report by the Sunday times. The presence of organic compounds such as bioflavonoids, like the compound rutin and hesperidin as well as vitamin C, is believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects.

There are two major ways in which the hawthorn acts on the human body. The dilation it induces in the blood vessels, particularly the coronary vessels, which leads to a reduction in the peripheral resistance and a consequent lowering of the blood pressure is the considered to be the primary action. This action of the hawthorn is believed to be responsible for beginning about a reduction in the tendency to experience sudden attacks of angina. The secondary action that the hawthorn induces is apparently a direct and favorable effect on the functioning of the heart; this action is very evident particularly in cases of heart damage sustained by a patient. The effect of the hawthorn extract is not immediate and the beneficial actions tend to develop very slowly over a period of time. The hawthorn is also known to be toxic only at abnormally high dosages and is safe in low doses as a heart tonic. Hawthorn can be considered as a relatively harmless heart tonic, which yields beneficial results in many cardiac conditions that can be treated with herbal remedies.

The beneficial effects of the hawthorn principally accrue from a mixture of plant organic pigments called flavonoids, these chemicals are present in high quantities in many different parts of the herb body. The greatest chemical and physiological actions seem to be displayed by the compounds known as oligomeric procyanidins – or the dehydrocatechins. A strong sedative action is also displayed by these chemicals which suggest a beneficial action on the central nervous system in general. The various hawthorn’s based herbal preparations said to possess significant therapeutic value has been recently defined by the German commission E. In the year 1994, the German commission published a revised monograph that recognizes an herbal preparation containing fixed combinations of hawthorn flowers, leaves, and fruits, the monogram also recognized herbal preparations made from the leaves and flowers for use in various treatments. These two herbal extracts are both formed from water and alcohol mixtures with the herb to extract ratio at approximately 5-7:1 per volume. These two herbal hawthorn preparations have been calculated to deliver from 4 mg to 20 mg of flavonoids – that is based on the hyperoside content – and from 30 to 160 mg of the oligomeric procyanidins – based on the epicatechin content – in a single daily hawthorn extract dosage amount of 160 to 900 mg. The dosages are pre-determined by the physician after examination of the patient. A usual dosage period of these oral forms are extended for at least six weeks and can be longer on a case by case basis. Though unsupported by any major clinical study, the usage of other hawthorn preparations, including a well-known alcoholic extract made using only the leaves or the flowers may also prove effective and useful in many cases. As the effectiveness or safety of some preparations made from hawthorn leaf, berry, or flowers alone in the form of mono-preparations have not been documented – such therapeutic claims must be ignored till further study.

These findings may be defeated or substantiated by further scientific studies. As the hawthorn remedies are potentially very valuable in the treatment of many disorders and conditions in the body, the need for immediate scientific studies is apparent and urgently needed. All the side effects and potential dangers of using hawthorn medications must be considered by patients till additional research is carried out, this particularly concerns all prospective users of the hawthorn for serious heart and circulation conditions. Most people who self-prescribe their medications tend to do so following self-diagnosis of the symptoms. There is a great deal of danger involved with this practice particularly when the vital systems of the human body such as the heart and the blood vessels are concerned. Therefore, due to such reasons, the use of hawthorn remedies without the diagnosis of a professional clinician is not suggested – there may be a side effect and other dangers.

Plant Parts Used:

Flowering tops, berries.

[…]

Source: Medicinal Trees: Hawthorn – Good Witches Homestead

Medicinal Trees: Prickly Ash – Good Witches Homestead

anthoxylum americanum

Also, Known As:

  • Angelica Tree
  • Prickly Ash
  • Suterberry
  • Toothache Tree

The prickly ash or the Zanthoxylum americanum is a tall shrub that may also be described as a small tree and usually grows up to a height of twenty feet. The shrub is distinguished by its barbed stalks and branches. The leaves of the prickly ash are covered with fine hair-like materials when they are young and as they mature they become smooth and have spots of resins on the outer surface. When the leaves of prickly ash are crushed, they give out a fragrance similar to the lemon. The shrub bears green colored flowers that appear in bunches on old wood prior to the leaves. Next, reddish brown coarse casings appear on the wood. These capsules enclose black seeds of the prickly ash and the seeds are spicy to taste. In fact, the prickly ash shrub may be found in the region ranging from Canada to Virginia and Nebraska.

The natives of North America used the prickly ash to seek relief from toothaches and hence the prickly ash shrub is also known as the toothache tree. In order to get rid of toothaches, the natives of North America chewed the barks of the prickly ash shrub. Many of them even crushed the bark of the prickly ash and pasted it on their gums for relief. Although the Native North Americans vouched the usefulness of the prickly ash in curing toothaches, Constantine Rafinesque, a European herbalist who was studying therapeutic herbs in America around 1830, claimed that the medication did not bring any relief to him. In his documentation, Constantine wrote that he experienced a burning sensation in the mouth when he used the bark of prickly ash. He further wrote that while there was a temporary relief from a toothache owing to the burning sensation, the pain returned as soon as the effect of the bark waned.

In addition to relieving toothache, the prickly ash tree had other benefits for the native North Americans. Gradually, they shared their experiences with the prickly ash with the new settlers in the continent. A poultice prepared with the prickly ash bark blended with bear grease was used to treat external pains. On the other hand, the liquid or infusion obtained by boiling the bark in water was used to treat a wide range of ailments including gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted disease), sore throat as well as rheumatism or stiffness in joints and muscles. The writer of the three-part American Medical Botany (published between 1817 and 1820) Dr. Jacob Bigelow, as far as treating rheumatism is concerned, wrote that there are many medical practitioners who rely heavily on the therapeutic potential of the prickly ash. As a result of this tendency, the medicine finds a place in many drug stores. Significantly, even today, numerous herbal medicine practitioners recommend the usage of prickly ash barks and berries as a medication for rheumatism.

Another intimately associated species of the prickly ash tree known as the Z. clava-herculis or the Hercules’ club is also known to possess similar remedial properties as the original prickly ash tree or Z. americanum. This variety of the tree is also called the Southern prickly ash tree.

Plant Parts Used

Bark, berries.

[…]

Source: Medicinal Trees: Prickly Ash – Good Witches Homestead

I Am A Pagan-Buddhist Witch

Medicinal Trees: Linden – Good Witches Homestead

Tilia americana or Tilia Europea or Tilia cordata

Also, Known As:

  • American Basswood
  • American Linden
  • Basswood
  • Bast Tree
  • Common Lime
  • Limeblossom
  • Lime Flowers
  • Lime Tree
  • Linden
  • Linden Flower
  • Spoonwood
  • Wycopy

Linden is a tree belonging to different species of the genus Tilia, also known as lime or basswood tree. This herb has been used in European traditional medicine for long to cure an assortment of health conditions. In fact, the majority of the linden products available commercially are obtained from the species T. platyphyllos Scop. and T. cordata Mill. Linden is basically a huge deciduous tree belonging to the plant family Tiliaceae that generally grows more than 100 feet tall. While T. cordata Mill. is generally denoted as the small-leaved European linden, T. platyphyllos Scop. is generally known as the large-leaved linden. The fragrant flowers of this genus have a whitish or yellowish hue and are collected during the summer. They are dried soon after collection in a shady location. It is important to conserve the dried out linden flowers carefully, as even a little amount of humidity is enough to lessen the aromatic attributes as well as the actions of the flowers.

An herbal tea prepared with dried linden flowers has been employed in the form of a diaphoretic (any medication that stimulates sweating) since the later part of the Middle Ages. In fact, the flowers of linden are prescribed for two opposing purposes – as a nervine (a sedative or medication for the nerves) and also in the form of a stimulant. Apart from these, linden flowers are regarded to be very effective in treating indigestion, headaches, diarrhea and hysteria. There was a time when people believed that linden flowers were so useful in treating epilepsy that any individual enduring this medical condition could be cured just by sitting beneath a linden tree.

Linden flowers enclose several flavonoid compounds, especially derivatives of kaempferol and quercetin accompanied by p-coumaric acid. The effectiveness of linden flowers as a diaphoretic is attributed to these compounds. In other words, these compounds enable the flowers to stimulate perspiration. The flowers also enclose an aromatic volatile oil in conjugation with varied amounts of mucilage and tannin.

Findings of a number of researches undertaken with linden flowers have revealed that the comparative quantities of mucilage and tannin are vital to the flavor of the herbal tea prepared with the flowers. The taste of linden flower tea is important, as people require drinking comparatively large quantities of the tea to promote sweating. Linden flowers containing high tannin content (about 2 percent or more) and comparatively less amount of mucilage help to produce an herbal tea that is high in flavor compared to those prepared with flowers containing a lesser amount of tannin and more quantities of mucilage.

It may be noted that mucilage has a propensity to be somewhat bland and this possibly elucidates the reason behind the blooms of T. platyphyllos and T. cordata being preferred as the main source of this herb. These two species of genus Tilia have comparatively more tannin and less amount of mucilage in comparison to the flowers of other species of the genus, for instance, T. tomentosa Moench – commonly known as silver linden. As a result, herbal teas made with the flowers of T. platyphyllos and T. cordata have a superior flavor. Usually, authorities concur that the herbal tea prepared with linden flower not only has a pleasing flavor, but the beverage is also effective as a diaphoretic. It is advisable that if you desire to have the most excellent flavored linden product, you should opt for the flowers of either T. platyphyllos or T. cordata. It might not be very effortless for any individual to depend on the commercially available supplies of the herb that usually fail to ensure the botanical source. It is essential to store the flowers in a light-resistant and sealed container to conserve their utmost aroma.

It has been reported that very frequent use of the herbal tea prepared with blossoms of linden may harm the heart. While this only happens rarely and owing to drinking the beverage in excess, it is advisable that people having known cardiac disorder would be better off by keeping away from using linden flowers. In effect, the flowers of linden are an excellent medication for treating tension and nervousness. At the same time, they also promote sleep (cure insomnia), alleviate restiveness and excitement in children as well as facilitates in unwinding the tensed muscles. Blossoms of linden are also effective for treating a medical condition related to tension, such as headaches, colic, menstrual pain, and cramps.

The bioflavonoids present in linden flowers have soothing properties, which coupled with their favorable actions on the arteries make them an effective medication to lower high blood pressure as well as treat arteriosclerosis (a degenerating disease of the arteries). In addition, the flowers of linden also comfort/ unwind the arteries of the heart, which make them helpful in treating palpitations and coronary heart ailments.

When taken in the form of a hot infusion, linden flowers promote sweating and improve blood circulation to the skin. The flowers of linden are also an effective medication to reduce fevers, especially in children, to clear catarrhal blocking. When ingested along with elder flowers, the blossoms of linden facilitate in treating colds, coughs as well as flu. When taken in the form of an infusion that is either cool or warm, linden flowers have a diuretic action and facilitate in getting rid of excessive fluid accumulation as well as toxic substances from the body by means of urination.

Plant Parts Used:

Flowers, young leaves, inner bark. […]

Source: Medicinal Trees: Linden – Good Witches Homestead

BLM claims selling wild horses to kill buyer Tom Davis was selling them to a “good home” | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2017

On the Bureau of Land Management’s new website, on the Program Data page for the Wild Horse & Burro Program (under the Wild Horse and Burro Sales to Private Care tab), the BLM claims “It has been and remains the policy of the BLM, despite the unrestricted sales authority of the Burns Amendment, NOT to sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughterhouses or to “kill buyers.”

The BLM claims “Wild Horses and Burros Sold to Good Homes” but then includes a total of 402 wild horses and burros sold in Fiscal Year 2012. (In this 402 total, 320 were horses and 82 were burros.)

BLM sale logs obtained by us in Freedom of Information Act requests indicate that in Fiscal Year 2012, the BLM sold 239 wild horses (about 74% of the 320 horses that were sold) to kill buyer Tom Davis. Many, if not all, of these wild horses went to slaughter in Mexico.

Does this look like a “good home” to you?

BLM states it has a policy not to sell wild horses and burros to kill buyers, but:

  1. On 1/11/12, Lester T. Duke (BLM Burns, Oregon) sent an email to BLM’s Bea Wade, regarding 50 sale authority horses, noting that a “large portion”of the mares were “possibly pregnant.” Lester asked if they should ship to long term holding or hold them at the corrals for sale. Bea responded that she forwarded the email to Sally Spencer. After a couple of more emails regarding this, Sally finally sent email on 2/23/12 that Tom Davis would purchase the horses, starting with the load of mares from Burns, Oregon. (About a week later, BLM sold 32 horses to Tom Davis from Burns, OR.  19 of these horses were mares)
  2. On 4/19/12, Deanna Masterson, Public Affairs specialist for the BLM Colorado state office, sent an “Early Alert” email to “WO BLM/DOI Officials” (Jeff Krause, Leigh Espy, Helen Hankins, Steven Hall, Tom Gorey and Sally Spencer) that “The Colorado Department of Agriculture notified the BLM Colorado State Office of a Colorado Open Records request from David Phillips, a freelance journalist, for brand inspection and transfer paperwork for horses the BLM sold to Tom Davis of La Jara, Colorado. Phillips indicated he suspected Davis of selling these horses for slaughter to Mexico.”
  3. On 4/24/12, the BLM, alerted that Tom Davis was suspected of selling horses for slaughter, still sells 106 wild horses to Tom Davis.
  4. On 5/17/12, Sally Spencer sent out an email, marked “High” importance, to 21 people (Joe Stratton, Roger Oyler, Amy Dumas, Fran Ackley, Karen Malloy, Christopher Robbins, Jared Bybee, Robert Mitchell, Alan Shepherd, Rob Sharp, Robert Hopper, Gus Warr, June Wendlandt, Joan Guilfoyle, Mary D’Aversa, Dean Bolstadt, Jeff Krause, Tom Gorey, Debbie Collins, Lili Thomas, Bea Wade) and BLM_WO_260 WHB Communications, telling them a reporter was calling about Tom Davis. Spencer asked Joe Stratton to send out a message to all facility managers and the state leads to send a message out to all WHB Specialists that if they were asked “specifics” about a purchaser, they shouldn’t respond for privacy issues…”

If BLM personnel were so convinced that they sold the wild horses and burros to a “good home,” why all of the urgency and secrecy?

If the BLM truly believes these horses were sold to a “good home,” why isn’t Tom Davis’ photo featured on the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program page on the BLM’s new website, instead of the photo of the young blonde girl? After all, the BLM sold Tom Davis 1,794 wild horses and burros from 2008-2012.

If the BLM thinks they’re fooling us, they’re only fooling themselves.

All documents referenced above can be seen HERE.

Source: BLM claims selling wild horses to kill buyer Tom Davis was selling them to a “good home” | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

time to win some books! – Natalie J Case

Are you ready for two new giveaways?

I certainly am!  Opening for entry today are my two latest Goodreads Giveaways.  I have two copies of both of my books available to win.

To sign up to win a signed copy of Forever: Click Here

To sign up to win a signed copy of Through Shade and Shadow: Click Here

Are you excited?  I know I am!  I love the feeling that comes when I drop a book in the mail for someone.

Source: time to win some books! – Natalie J Case

Wyoming opinion differs on leaked BLM talking points and expanding energy development | Energy Journal | trib.com

In Wyoming, where the BLM manages 17.5 million acres of public land, any changes in how the agency permits and leases land for drilling oil and gas, or digging coal, sparks debate between those seeking to do business and those who want to reserve more land for public use and conservation.

The five-point draft from the BLM lists a number of priorities for the agency, like promoting energy independence for the U.S. and developing habitat improvement projects. The majority of the bullet points concern fossil fuel development. They include streamlining the drilling application process, opening new lands for drilling and addressing a “backlog” of industry requests. E&E News obtained a copy of the document and reported on its contents April 10.

A spokeswoman for BLM said the list reflects the multi-use responsibility of the BLM but emphasized that it is not a final draft.

“While these documents are still in draft form, these talking points are being assembled by the team at the BLM to clearly lay out our continued commitment to ensure opportunities for commercial, recreation and conservation activities on BLM-managed lands,” said spokeswoman Megan Crandall in a statement. “Our multiple-use and sustained yield mission for managing public lands on behalf of all Americans supports an all-of-the-above energy plan, shared conservation through tribal, state and local partnerships, public access for recreation and other activities and keeping America’s working public landscapes healthy and productive.”

The apparent energy-first platform reflected in the agency’s talking points has been expected by both industry and environmental advocates since new leadership arrived in Washington.

The new Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, formerly a congressman from Montana, has repeatedly expressed his belief that increasing energy development on public lands can be done without harming conservation commitments.

“Let me make one thing clear: The Interior Department is in the energy business,” he said in March, after approving a $22 million coal lease in Utah. “It is my hope that working together he will help identify areas where we can expand responsible mineral development while still conserving habitat and wildlife”

***

Not everyone shares the secretary’s confidence that uses of public land will be balanced.

“The bullet points for the conservation stewardship section are incredibly minimal,” said Chris Merrill, director of the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

One priority laid out is to increase volunteerism. Another professes to develop priority habitat plans, which pleased Merrill. There is no specific mention of issues like sage grouse, which has dominated habitat conservation goals on public land in places like Wyoming.

“In a larger sense, the protection of habitat should be a key priority for the foreseeable future,” Merrill said. “When it comes to wildlife, habitat is everything … not just improvement projects, but protecting the habitat we already have, and it doesn’t seem to be in this document.”

Merrill takes issue with the energy aims, and the attitude that there is an overwhelming backlog of requests to drill.

“The first thing that struck me is that [the talking points] seem to ignore the reality of energy markets,” he said. “The reason, for example, that the price of natural gas plummeted is we have a glut on the market. It’s not as if there is this huge desire on the part of energy companies to be drilling more. They have so many leases that they could be drilling. They are not because of market decisions, not because of anything the BLM is doing.”

Yet the idea of streamlining processes for drilling or for permitting could be viewed as simple “good housekeeping,” said Charles Mason, an economist at the University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy.

“I don’t know how you are going to make a compelling case for retaining or reinforcing (bureaucratic) frictions of that sort,” he said of the BLM’s plan to increase efficiency.

From an economic standpoint, however, the list reflects a shortsighted outlook on how to deal with federal mineral resources, he said.

The Trump administration is taking the view that increased leasing and drilling is a way to boost economic activity, he said. Another way to look at it is how increased drilling or mining can impact the supply and demand cycle, he said, echoing the concern that Merrill voiced on overproduction.

The government is a proxy agent handling public assets, and their end goal should be getting as much of a return on federal minerals as possible, Mason said.

“The question for me becomes, are we doing the right thing in facilitating the acquisition of maximum dollars?” he asked. “Do we make that happen by dumping a lot of that stuff on the market at the same time?”

***

Yet, there are some in Wyoming waiting for an open door from federal regulators, and the talking points speak directly to their hopes. Many in industry believe federal agencies had marching orders from the Obama administration to inhibit energy expansion by increasing red tape.

The good housekeeping, described by Mason, the UW economist, would potentially decrease the time it takes to process expressions of intent, the first step operators make when scoping federal land for potential drilling.

It’s imperative to streamline that process in Wyoming, said Steve Degenfelder of Casper-based Kirkwood Resources.

“It currently takes 1.5 years, BLM will say 56 weeks minimum, from receipt of the EOI to those lands being offered at an auction,” he said in an email. “The time period should be less than 3 months. Conducting such a thorough analysis on leases just being offered for sale has resulted, as the industry predicted, [in] a scheme to reduce the number of acres being offered for sale.”

By the time the paperwork is filed, some operators have moved on and given up on the tracts altogether, eliminating that potential state and federal revenue, Degenfelder added.

Applications for permits to drill are similarly backlogged, while federal fees have skyrocketed, he said.

The BLM’s first lease sale in 2017, one of four that take place per year, sold more than half the amount of acreage sold in all of 2015. Oil and gas operators were ecstatic at what they hope is a new direction for federal leasing in Wyoming.

If the trend is toward development, it’s a directional change that industry has been waiting for.

Thought the U.S. experienced a historic drilling boom under Obama, including on federal land, the on-the-ground experience in the last eight years has been one of frustration for people like Degenfelder.

Now, BLM’s steps are being closely watched by competing interests, with both sides concerned about whose political influence will be the strongest.

“My biggest fear is that the more environmentally acceptable points of the agenda will be followed first, and those dealing with oil, gas and coal will take a back seat,” said Degenfelder.

Land advocates like Merrill fear the reverse.

“There is a need to strike a balance and that means allowing for development in some places where it make sense and not allowing for it in other places where the other values are so important that they should be protected,” he said.

If the leaked draft is a fair sign of where the public land management agency’s is going in the next four years, then a friendlier environment for oil, gas and coal developers may be at hand. The impact on environmental agendas, however, is less clear.

Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner

Source: Wyoming opinion differs on leaked BLM talking points and expanding energy development | Energy Journal | trib.com

Connection as the Core Spiritual Philosophy in the Druid Tradition | The Druid’s Garden

It seems that religions/spiritual paths have a set of core orientations or philosophies that form the underlying foundation upon which the religion/practice rests. This core philosophy is like the seed from which the entire “tree” of the religion grows–the tree might branch in different directions, but all of those branches eventually lead back to that single seed. For example, in many forms of Christianity, we might see that core seed as salvation; this seed forms the bulk of Christian thought, belief, and action. In some forms of Buddhist thought, the seed is freedom from suffering. These underlying “seeds” or philosophies makes that particular path unique, form the foundation of what is considered right thought and right action on that path, give the path purpose, and that offers particular gifts to its practitioners or to the broader world.  And most importantly, this seed drives a number of underlying morals, values, and assumptions that practitioners of that path hold.

 

Seeds for new traditions!

Druidry is many things to many people, and the joke is that if you ask five different druids about what druidry is, you’ll likely get seven different answers. As scattered and diverse as the modern druid movement seems to be–I believe, we too, have a core philosophy (with at least three expressions of that philosophy), and I’m going to explore this underlying “seed” of our tradition in today’s post.

 

Sources of Inspiration

The flow of awen for this post comes from a few places, and I want to acknowledge those first. Part of my insight comes from being in a leadership role in a major druid order in the US. I serve as the Archdruid of Water in the Ancient Order of Druids in America, and in that role, I interact with a lot of different kinds of druids at multiple points along their paths. I interact with people when they find druidry for the first time–what they are seeking, what they hope to find, and later, I see them as they move through our curriculum deepen their own understanding and interaction and the insights they have. I get to read their exams at the end of their time working through parts of our curriculum–so I’m hearing of the experiences of many on the druid path who have taken up this spiritual practice in a serious way. Additionally, part of my inspiration is personal – it comes from my experience in working through the complete curriculum in two druid orders, the AODA (1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees) and the OBOD (bardic, ovate, and druid curricula) and coming to deep understandings over decade of time about that work.  Finally, I have attended and been part of a lot of gatherings, online groups, and various initiatives, so I interact with lots of druids frequently.  This is a synthesis of what I’ve read and conversed with others, and what I’ve generally understood over a period of time. But there is also another piece here– I’m also considering the overall trajectory of the druid tradition itself–not what we are, or were, but where we are heading and what potential exists for druidry in the future.

 

Therefore, this post is my take on the “seed” of our tradition, the underlying or core philosophy that drives much of druid practice. You might disagree with me, or want to add or subtract from this list–please do so and share in the comments what your own thoughts might look like.

 

On the Druid Revival

To understand the underlying core philosophy of druidry, we first need to delve back into the history of the druid revival and then move into the present day.

It is no coincidence that the very roots of the druid revival came about at the same time that industrialization rose in the British Isles. Farmers and peasants who had lived, sustained, and tended the land for countless generations were driven from their homes to work in factories (see, for example the “Highland Clearances” and “Enclosure Acts” in Scotland). During this time, the rise in machine-based worldviews, that is, that humans are machines (and cam work like machines, act like machines), and that nature is just another machine, became dominant (we see the outcome of this thinking everywhere today, particularly, in industrialized agriculture).

 

Our spiritual ancestors watched this scene unfolding: the land stripped of her resources for industrialization and progress, the growing emphasis on produced goods over communities, the rampant pollution and exploitation industrlization was creating, the relegating of humans, animals, and the land to that of a machine. It was during this period of time that our spiritual ancestors reached deep–and creatively–into their own history to return to an earlier time where humans and nature were connected. The druid revival movement, then, sought to reconnect with nature throug ancient roots in a time where society was heading in the opposite direction. I believe it is the same reason that people today are so drawn to the druid tradition–there is “something” missing for them and it is that connection to nature.

 

Now, a lot of the early druid revival works and authors have been discredited for creating “ancient” texts, drawing upon “found” materials that they had created, I find these attempts to discredit them problematic because they do not understand the context. These early attempts at bringing back the ancient druid traditions had a lot to do with people’s response to living in an age that was quickly stripping the lands of their resources and filling the skies and rivers with pollution. The important thing here is that druid revival tradition that we practice today was a spiritual response that emerged during the very beginnings of this current age of industrialization, and, therefore, offers us much wisdom as we are living with the outcomes and consequences of this same movement.

 

Industrialization, with so much promise at the time, much harm not only to our living earth, but to the pre-industrial communities and customs of the common people (a topic I picked up in some depth in my last series of posts on “Slowing down the Druid Way”). It is unsurprising, then, at the persistence and growth of the modern druid tradition in these times. For over 300 years, the ancient druids have offered our tradition sources of inspiration and reconnection. It is in this perpetual seeking of reconnection that we can see how druidry is, in some ways, a very human response to the larger wheels of industrialization that have been thrust upon most of us in the Western world.

 

[…]

Source: Connection as the Core Spiritual Philosophy in the Druid Tradition | The Druid’s Garden

The Easter Bunny’s “Horse Cousin” – WARHorses

The Easter Bunny’s “Horse Cousin”

They look like BIG bunnies but we can attest that they are pure genus equus – meet the Poitou donkey.

Poitou donkeys originated in southern France, developed from donkeys imported from ancient Rome. They are the largest donkey breed historically used as breeding stock to produce working mules. Their coats are dark brown and black, they have white underbelly, nose and rings around their eyes. They have large features – heads, leg joints and ears. Some ears are so large that their weight causes they to flop sideways. The Poitou’s most distinctive feature is their matted coat, hanging cords of soft hair called a “cadanette”.

 

Poitou donkeys became status symbols of the wealthy during the middle ages – the shaggier the coat, the more highly valued the animal. By the 18th century the breed’s characteristics were well defined and a studbook was established. As many as 15,000 were sold annually. By the next century mechanization (and war) obliterated the breed. By 1977 only 44 donkeys survived and the mortality rate for foals was nearly 30%. Public and private breeders joined forces to save the Poitou. The studbook, abandoned for nearly a century was reestablished and split between pure and part breds. By 2005 there were 450 registered purebreds.

The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy lists the Poitou as Critical, a category for breeds with less than 2,000 animals worldwide. Science has certainly impacted efforts to save the breed. In 2001 Australian scientists implanted a Poitou embryo in a Standardbred mare resulting in a healthy birth. More recently, establishment of a sperm bank coupled with improved means for artificial insemination using the frozen semen has helped conservation efforts on a global scale.

Source: The Easter Bunny’s “Horse Cousin” – WARHorses

The Bureau of Land Management is scrubbing their trail on the internet | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

After NBC News wrote about the Bureau of Land Management featuring a photo of a coal bed at the top of their website, the BLM changed it… to now feature this photo of an oil & gas pipeline.

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation                                                                    All Rights Reserved.          Copyright 2017

The Bureau of Land Management is scrubbing most of its links off of the internet, and in doing so, erasing much of its history from public view.

Many of the blm.gov links that are still remaining on the internet at this point say “page not found,” or the links are no longer cached.

The BLM also suddenly removed state and district websites.  Instead, you will now find “landing pages” that direct you to only one main Bureau of Land Management website.  (You can look at the new BLM website HERE.)

I called a BLM Public Affairs Specialist to ask some questions about the defunct websites and links.  This person said in the past there were about 90,000 pages (and then a bit later stated that it could possibly be only about 60,000 pages) of BLM content on the internet, but that all of these pages couldn’t be maintained or updated, and weren’t centralized.  This person said the BLM’s prior content management system was outdated.

Most importantly, this person also said there were now standards to reduce the amount (of pages/content).

Who made the decision to even have a standard to reduce content available to the public on the internet?  During this website transition, who is making the decisions, and on what basis, of what data to migrate, or not to migrate, to the new BLM website?  These decisions cherry pick what information will be available to the public in the future.

Make no mistake, this “reducing the amount” of content on the internet is erasing many of this agency’s past actions, activities, and government documentation.  Many of these links had historical value.  For example, the BLM activities of BLM employees Sally Spencer and Lili Thomas over the years are now gone.  These types of links on the internet didn’t need to be “maintained” or “updated.”  They were historical in nature.

In the past, in doing a google search for Sally Spencer (a longtime BLM employee, and the Marketing Specialist famous for selling so many wild horses and burros to kill buyer Tom Davis), she was included on many, many BLM government links.  I went to the BLM’s new website and searched “Sally Spencer,” and only 3 items appeared.  When I searched “Lili Thomas” (another longtime BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program employee who oversaw the BLM’s Long Term Holding facilities for wild horses for many years), only 4 items appeared.  And when I searched “John Neill” (a longtime Palomino Valley Center manager), all that came up was “No results found.”

These individuals are BLM personnel who have been central in management issues in the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program, as evidenced by FOIA documentation garnered by the late Dr. Patricia Haight of The Conquistador Program.

Even when I searched the new BLM website for “Dean Bolstad” (the Division Chief of the Wild Horse & Burro Program) only 2 items appeared.

(Although, luckily, thanks to In Defense of Animals, you can still go online and see this youtube video of Lili Thomas saying “working with wild horses is not a pretty sight” at a public meeting.)

What I can’t understand is, if the new content management system is bigger and better, why couldn’t the new content management system have contained all of the old data along with new data?  If this agency were truly transparent, they would add data, not reduce data, available to the public on the internet.

At first the Bureau of Land Management only removed the Directories for District offices and Field Offices, making it difficult, for example, to find out who was the Wild Horse & Burro Specialist, Hydrologist, Range Management Specialist or other personnel in any particular district or field office or to find an email address or telephone number for them.  BLM personnel frequently transfer to other offices and states, so it was already hard enough to try to keep up with who was where.  But now the public really doesn’t have a clue who is doing what or where.

You used to be able to go to the home pages of BLM state and district websites, and get a quick overview of not only roundup plans for wild horses & burros, but mining expansion plans, oil & gas lease sale plans, and other uses of our public lands in that area, all in one place.

Now, the BLM has divided these by topics or by “regions,” on their new website.   Under the “region” of Nevada (we call them states here in the U.S.A.), there isn’t a box for wild horses & burros (only oil and gas leasing, greater sage grouse, Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Information Access Center, Nevada Resource Advisory Councils & Federal Register Notices).

By scattering information all over this one “centralized” website, the BLM has made it much harder for the public to put together the pieces of information for a clear picture about the multiple uses of our public lands in any one area.

The Program Data page for the Wild Horse & Burro Program is HERE.  When I clicked on the box for Historical Program Data and Public Lands Statistics, I noticed something was missing that used to be available to the public.  It was the column on Adoptions by Locations & Date.  Information from the years 2009-2015 were previously available.

The biggest reason this data was important is because it let the public know the dates of adoption events (including internet adoptions), the locations of the events, the number of the wild horses and burros offered for adoption (until Fiscal Year 2014) and the number of wild horses and burros that were actually adopted at each event.

The BLM likely stopped reporting the number of horses & burros offered at adoption events in Fiscal Year 2014 because it didn’t want the public to know how many horses & burros were racking up “strikes” by not being adopted.  When a wild horse or burro isn’t adopted after 3 events and gets 3 “strikes” it can be sold without restriction (to slaughter), no matter how young it is.  Even this seemingly small reduction of data indicated a lack of transparency by this agency.

Another reason this data is important to the public is because it let the public see what areas of the country adopt the most (and the least) wild horses & burros.

While the new BLM website contains a lot of information, it seems we have lost much more information that was once available on the internet, but was not migrated to the new BLM website.  For example, the BLM News Release on its promised investigation into the deaths of wild horses at the Scott City feedlot is on the internet, but as of today, is not one of the 63 News Releases available to the public on the BLM’s new website.

We will never know how much, or what, the BLM has removed from the internet.  The BLM’s scrubbing of their trail on the internet has not only erased part of the history of this government agency, it is censorship, and it is the equivalent of a modern day book burning.

SEE EXAMPLES REFERENCED ABOVE HERE.

Source: The Bureau of Land Management is scrubbing their trail on the internet | Straight from the Horse’s Heart

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