Honey-Peach Jam

Honey-Peach Jam | onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowersA couple of interesting things have happened since last jam-making season…

One, my husband gave up white sugar (go him!) and dragged my unrepentant sweet tooth along with him (jerk! … I mean, thank you, honey, I really needed that loving boot to the fanny).

So, early this summer, just as the local strawberries were making themselves known, I was in a bit of a quandary. I could knock myself out making jam that my husband would not eat–and, let’s be honest, that I shouldn’t be eating myself, OR feeding to my kids–or I could try to figure out how to make jam with local honey or some other natural sweetener.

Then the solution hit me. No, I mean it literally Fell On My Head while I was searching for GMO-free chocolate chips in my local grocery store. (No small feat, let me tell you!)

Pomona’s Universal Pectin.Pomona's Pectin

Besides the fact that I have been harboring doubts about the pectin I had been using (this is the second thing; though, to be quite honest, I wasn’t planning on tackling it this year), Pomona’s Pectin was all about low-sugar, and using honey or other natural sweeteners.


My first batch of strawberry jam was amazing. Jam where you can actually taste the fruit?!? Count me in!

bookI was so excited that I bought the accompanying book… and immediately started fiddling with the recipes. (Have I mentioned that I’m not much of a direction-follower?)

The Honey-Peach Jam was something of an accident.

I needed more honey to make a blueberry-peach jam (I haven’t done that yet) and stopped by my favorite honey vendor (you can check out their Facebook page here) at the Public Market. Naturally, my kids–okay, I did too–wanted to taste the honey samples. And, as I was savoring some of the lovely dark, rich Summer-Fall Blossom honey, I thought, “Wouldn’t this be delightful with peaches…”

So that’s what I did.

And it was.

You already know how to make jam, right? So I don’t need to tell you about setting up the canner and getting the jars and lids ready and all that, right? Well here’s a quick refresher course (or first-time instructions)… plus a quick tutorial on using Pomona’s Pectin, which is a little different from the “regular” pectin, but easy enough.

I promise.

Honey-Peach Jam | onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers

Honey-Peach Jam

This is modified from the Simple Classics: Peach Preserves in the book. (So I guess it’s not jam at all, but preserves… Though I have to admit that the technical differences between jam and preserves don’t interest me. Can I spread it on toast? That’s what interests me.)

What you need:

About 3 pounds peaches

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 1/2 tsp calcium water — don’t worry; this is explained in the “refresher course” above, and in the package directions. Plus, the calcium for the calcium water comes with the pectin

3/4 c Summer-Fall Blossom honey (I’m sure any raw honey would do, but it might not be quite so amazing!)

2 1/2 tsp Pomona’s Pectin powder

Pit, peel, and cut up the peaches.

Combine peaches and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 3-5 minutes. (You’re looking for 4 cups when you’re done. You can measure if you like; I didn’t.)

Add calcium water and lemon juice. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, measure out honey and add pectin. Mix well. This takes a minute or two, but the pectin should completely dissolve into the honey.

Bring peach mixture to a full boil. Slowly add honey-pectin mixture, stirring constantly. Stir vigorously 1-2 minutes until the honey-pectin mixture is completely incorporated.

Return to a boil.

Take the mixture off the heat, place in jars, and can properly in a water bath canner. (Do I need to tell you not to “can” this with wax? I didn’t thinks so.)

Honey-Peach Jam | onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers

This jam is quite delightful on toast.

Honey-Peach Jam | onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers

I hope you enjoy it!

This post is linked to Party Wave Wednesday at Holistic Squid!

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Non-toxic Deodorant

What if I told you that I knew how to make a non-toxic deodorant, that is easy to make, that doesn’t leave white marks on your clothes, and that actually works?!?

Well, I do!

And I will share… because I’m nice like that.

Non-toxic deodorant (that really works!) by onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers

I think we can all agree that no one likes to be stinky, and no one really likes that soggy arm pit feeling, either. So we put on deodorant and antiperspirant, right?

Which is fine and reasonable–except for the fact that most deodorants and antiperspirants have some pretty scary and toxic stuff in them.

Toxic stuff like… 

Aluminum–Abundant in nature, it can be toxic in large amounts. It can be found in aluminum cookware, antacids, and antiperspirants, and competes with calcium for absorption in the body. It can be deposited in the bones and central nervous system, particularly in people with decreased renal function. It is linked to breast (and maybe prostate) cancer, and and increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Parabens–A class of chemicals used as a preservative in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, they are found in a wide range of personal care products. The are also used as food additives. They are easily absorbed through the skin and are a hormone disruptor. They have also been linked to breast cancer.

Propylene Glycol–Used in products to keep them at a consistency where they are easily applicable to the skin, it is toxic in large amounts, and known to cause damage to the central nervous system, liver, and heart. It is unknown what a “safe” does might be.

Phthalates–Used in plastics, they are included in a wide range of products from electronics, to medical care items. They are also found in many personal care items, often labeled merely as “fragrance.” They are hormone disruptors and can cause birth defects. They are implicated in breast cancer, and may contribute to a wide range of problems, including obesity, premature delivery, asthma, and ADHD in children.

Triclosan–Antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral, it is found in many personal care items, antibacterial soap, and in things like certain toys, furniture, and kitchen utensils. It penetrates the skin on contact and enters the bloodstream. It is a hormone disruptor, harmful to the liver, and linked to allergies, asthma, and eczema. It is a possible carcinogen, and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.


While no one has yet been able to prove that deodorant is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, sixty percent of breast cancer tumors are found in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast–the part of the breast nearest the arm pit and your deodorant. 

All that time I spend seeking out healthy food choices and natural products… and I’m spreading poison under my arms once, maybe twice, a day? Hardly ideal.

But let’s be honest. I’ve tried those all-natural deodorants. And They. Do. Not. Work. And if I’m stinky in November… let’s not even talk about July!

I was beginning to think that I was doomed to keep wearing my Secret non-whitening, “lavender” smelling, chemical-laden deodorant… and showering before bed in the hopes of washing off at least some of the scary chemicals before sleeping.

Which, by the way, is what I recommend that you do, but only until you get a chance to make this fabulous deodorant. And since it takes less than 10 minutes and you probably already have all the ingredients in your house anyway…

Just make it and toss the toxic stuff!

Non-toxic deodorant

Non-Toxic Deodorant

1/4c  baking soda

1/4 c arrowroot powder or corn starch

1/3 c coconut oil

15-20 drops essential oil



Non-toxic deodorantMix the baking soda and arrowroot powder (or corn starch) together. I was moved by this article to start removing corn starch from my life, but the first time I made the deodorant I used corn starch and it worked just fine. Now I use arrowroot powder.





Non-toxic deodorant

I actually don’t like the smell of coconut oil (shhh… don’t tell, I’ll lose my “crunchy” credentials) so I use the expeller pressed, refined coconut oil for this. I have also used extra-virgin coconut oil and it works well… but I smell like coconut oil.





Non-toxic deodorant

It’s best to use coconut oil that is solid. Just mix it in like you’re making biscuits or a pie crust. You certainty don’t need to melt the coconut oil; many essential oils are heat sensitive and might be damaged by the hot oil. However, if your kitchen is a balmy 86 degrees (as mine is right now), your coconut oil will be melted. Just stir it in.




Non-toxic doedorantI have used both lavender and tea tree oils with great success. They are both non- irritating, antibacterial oils and I like the way they smell. Currently I am using tea tree oil because my husband strongly prefers it to lavender, and I strongly prefer having only one jar of deodorant in the bathroom at a time. (My bathroom is teeny-tiny!)




Non-toxic deodorant

Other thoughts to consider on your choice of essential oils… Do you shave your arm pits? My husband asked if I would give rosemary a try, but I declined. Rosemary just smells sharp to me and I didn’t want to find out if it really is sharp some freshly-shaved morning, if you know what I mean?

I have a lovely rose, though, that I would love to try. But I expect my husband wants to walk around smelling like roses even less than he wants to smell like a lavender blossom.

If you come up with a good combination, please let me know!

non-toxic deodorantI keep my deodorant in a jar in the bathroom. In cooler weather, it is solid and you just scrape up a bit with your finger and rub it into your armpit. However, coconut oil melts at approximately 76 degrees… so, yes, today my deodorant is quite liquid. I spread it on with a flat wooden craft stick and all is well. I always give it a minute or two to dry before getting dressed.

You could keep the deodorant in the refrigerator, and then it would be solid all the time.

(If you are looking for a deodorant that stays solid all summer long, you could check out this recipe, which uses beeswax, and you pour it into a deodorant container. I haven’t tried it personally, but it looks good.)

Both my husband and I really like this deodorant and actually think it works better than the store-bought, chemical-laden varieties.

As proof, I offer the fact that it has been above 90 all week… and neither of us are stinky.

Have you tried this? Let me know what you think!

This post has been shared at Thank Your Body Thursday.

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Finding and Avoiding GMOs

If you read “What is a GMO? (And why do so many people want them banned?),” you may be wondering…


Am I eating GMOs?

Yeah, you probably are.

Despite all the effort I put into avoiding them, I know I am. I know my kids are. That is because they are pretty much in everything that comes out of a box or a package. And don’t forget, there is NO requirement to label GMOs.

What do you mean everything?

huge number of the crops grown in this country are genetically modified:

      • 94% of soy
      • 90% of cotton
      • 90% of canola
      • 95% of sugar beets
      • 88% of corn

Other common GMOs are Hawaiian papaya,  zucchini and yellow squash. GMOs are also lurking in meat, eggs, and dairy products which have been fed GMO feed; milk from cows injected with the rBGH; and no-calorie sweeteners like aspartame.

Take a wander through your kitchen and pantry, reading labels… and, unless you are already making a conscious effort to avoid them, you will find GMOs in almost everything you pick up. Look for ingredients like corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and cottenseed oil–or vegetable oil, which could be any of many “plant-based” oils, including corn or canola oil. Look for ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or even sugar–because unless the label says “pure cane sugar” the sweetness comes from sugar beets, and therefore is likely to be genetically modified. Look for ingredients with the word “soy” in them–like soy lecithin and isolated soy protein–and “natural flavors” which can mean just about anything that is extracted from plant or animal matter and probably means MSG, which is hydrolyzed soy protein.

Does that make you want to toss out your bread, cereal, crackers, cookies, chips, chocolate and chocolate chips, ketchup, pickles, tomato sauce, peanut butter, and ice cream… and dozens of other things?

I did. I wanted to, that is; some of the things I really did just toss out.

The Boy and I went to the grocery store to find GMOs. It wasn’t hard. And it’s not just the stuff you already know is bad for you, like soda and chips. The so-called “healthy” foods are full of GMOs, too.

Yes, that is a Cheerios box, complete with corn starch and sugar on the ingredients list.

Yes, that is a Cheerios box, complete with corn starch and sugar on the ingredients list.

Isolated soy protein

Isolated soy protein. Not great, but it could be WAY worse.

Including: sugar, corn syrup, yellow corn flour, and corn oil. Yikes!  But, hey, it's gluten-free!

Including: sugar, corn syrup, yellow corn flour, and corn oil. Yikes! But, hey, it’s gluten-free!

Nooks, crannies, sugar, and soybean oil

Nooks, crannies, sugar, and soybean oil. (I don’t think that nooks and crannies are GMO–yet–but sugar and soybean oil most likely are.)

GMO cookesWe also looked at some stuff that can in no way be considered “good for you,” but is oh, so tasty. And–no surprise–found GMOs in the form of vegetable oil, soybean oil, soy lecithin, corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and natural flavors.

GMOs crop up in a bunch of places they just should not be. They are in infant formula, children’s vitamins, and my favorite Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry tea.

Is it even possible to avoid GMOs?


Here are some tips:

        • Buy Organic. Certified organic foods are not allowed to contain GMOs or be GMOs.
        • Buy foods labeled “Non GMO Verified.”
        • Avoid processed foods. A lot of GMOs can be avoided simply by shunning anything that comes out of a box, jar, or bottle.
        • Read labels. Skip things with corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, soy lecithin (that’s the one that gets me… it’s in almost every chocolate bar out there; if you find one without any, please let me know!), sugar, and soybean or canola oils.
        • Use resources like the NON GMO Project and Fooducate (including the cool app you can download and scan food at the grocery store–it’s fun, trust me) to find GMO free food.
        • Shop at your local farmers’ market and ASK the farmer where the food came from and how it was grown.
        • Buy grass-fed or pastured meat, eggs, and dairy. Better yet, get your meat, eggs, and dairy from farmers you know and trust.

It takes a little work, and a lot of label reading. But it is quite possible to cut down on, if not eliminate entirely, GMOs from your diet.

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Red, White & Blue Cookies… for Patriotic Moments

Red, White & Blue Cookies

You might think it’s a little strange (hypocritical, even) to pause in the middle of a blog series on GMOs, and why so many people want them banned and how to avoid them to write about Jell-O Cookies.

Jell-O, of course, being a GMO-laden concoction, which also contains a number of other ingredients that fall neatly under the heading of Bad For You.

But I am a Wildflower and I can do that sort of thing.

The Annual Big Deal Bake Sale at my kids’ school was last week, and as my list of  Baked Goods Successes is not exactly Long and Varied, I was somewhat at a loss as to what to make. A number of people requested that I make the same  Jell-O Cookies I made last year.

Some weeks, I would have refused, and sought out a more whole-foods option; other weeks, I would have spent hours fiddling around looking for a less toxic alternative to Jell-O, which I might have even found.

Last week, I marched myself down to the grocery store and did something I haven’t done in a year–I bought Jell-O.

Why? Because I was feeling patriotic and knew that these cookies would provide me with a vibrant Red, White & Blue offering for the Bake Sale. (It turns out that I wasn’t quite right about that… but, in this case, it’s the thought that counts.)

Why was I feeling patriotic?

Because of Edward Snowden and this article and video. I am immensely grateful to Edward Snowden for risking his life to warn the People of the United States that our own government is spying on us. We can no longer pretend (or hope) that we are not being monitored. We can no longer be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure — our phone calls, e-mails, texts, and instant messages… the NSA can see and store them all.

And it is my fervent hope that we stand up together and demand that it stop. Now.

Not exactly a topic that lends itself to Bake Sale chatter…

Which leads me back to my Patriotic Cookies:

Red, White & Blue Cookies DSC_1195 DSC_1227Cream 1 1/2 cups softened butter and 1 cup sugar. Divide, equally, but  unscientifically, into three bowls.
Add 1 egg and 1/2 tsp lemon extract to EACH bowl. Mix.
Add one 3 oz package of “red” Jell-O to one bowl (I used “raspberry”); one 3 oz package of “blue” Jell-O to another bowl (I used “berry scary”); and 1/3 cup of white sugar to the third bowl. Mix.
Add 1 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 tsp baking powder, and 2/3 tsp salt to EACH bowl. Mix. (This is where I found out that I should have used bigger bowls.) 
Take the dough and roll it into little balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar to coat. Then set them on an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten with a glass or a plate. Sprinkle with some sparkling sugar (I used white).
Bake at 400 for about 6 minutes. Seriously, you do not want to overbake these; the bottoms get all brown and yucky-looking. I learned THAT last year… and didn’t repeat my mistake.
Cool and bundle in little baggies tied with curling ribbon.
This recipe should make about 60 cookies. I didn’t count them.
Note: The “blue” wasn’t exactly vibrant… a few drops of blue food coloring might have been a good idea. And the “white” had a slightly yellow tinge… but I used butter from grass-fed cows and eggs from pastured chickens, both of which added a lovely golden hue to the white flour and sugar. I’m sure if you used insipid eggs and butter, the cookies would have been whiter.   

Long before Dick Cheney made headlines, I heard the words “Edward Snowden” and “treason” thrown together in quite a few sentences…  

According to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution,

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

DSC_1210If that is Treason, I just have one question. If the Government of the United States is accusing Edward Snowden of Treason for giving the People of the Unites States information about what their Government is doing to them… Exactly who does the Government think their Enemy is?

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What is a GMO? (And why do so many people want them banned?)

You may have been hearing a lot about GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, over the past few weeks. At the end of May, millions of people from all over the world participated in the March Against Monsanto to protest GMOs and the company Monsanto, which is a giant in the GMO industry.  Recently, GMO wheat was found loose in Oregon, and there might be unapproved GMO wheat in your macaroni and cheese. In Connecticut, legislators  just voted to require labeling of genetically modified food.

GMO articleSo you might be wondering exactly what is a GMO, and what is all the fuss about?

Well, I’ll tell you.

A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Sometimes referred to as GM (genetically modified) or GE (genetically engineered), it something—a plant, animal, virus, or bacteria—that has been created through biotechnology to have specific characteristics.

One example of a GMO is the hormone rBGH (also known as rBST), produced by genetically modified bacteria, which is injected into dairy cows to increase their milk supply. Another example is Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” seeds—including corn, cotton, soybeans, and canola—which have been specifically modified to withstand spraying of the toxic herbicide Roundup. Corn, cotton, and some other plants have also been engineered to have the pesticide Bt toxin in all parts of the plant—including the parts you eat—to kill corn borers and other pests which might damage the crop.

These types of GMOs are in our food supply—and unless you are already taking heroic steps to avoid them—they are on your plate, too.

Animals can be genetically engineered as well. There is a type of salmon (awaiting FDA approval to be sold as food) where DNA from Chinook salmon and an eel-like fish have been inserted into Atlantic salmon to make them grow faster. These new creatures are sometimes unaffectionately referred to as Frankenfish.

Okay, that’s a little creepy, but is that really different from the sort of crossbreeding that farmers have been doing pretty much forever?

Well, yes, it’s very different.

Traditional crossbreeding consists of breeding two parents with desirable traits together (a la Gregor Mendel and his wrinkly peas) hoping that the desired trait will be present in the offspring. With careful breeding, certain traits can be amplified. These traits, however, are generally the expression of genes already present in the plant or animal. It’s not very different from natural selection, except that it is the hand of the farmer, rather than nature, which decides which traits are to be selected.

GMOs, on the other hand, are created inside a lab through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology which force genes from one kind of plant, animal, bacteria, or virus into another. Whole new creatures are created—creatures that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. Scientists might insert fish DNA into tomatoes to make them resistant to frost or frog genes into oranges to make them more disease resistant. Or a pesticide into corn, or a specific gene that allows a crop to be drenched in herbicide.

Now, I have to admit that it is kind of cool that scientists can do that… I just think that we should exercise extreme caution before turning these new creations loose on our Earth and allowing them in our food supply. At the very least, we should make absolute certain that they are not dangerous.

But, wait. If we are already eating them, they must have been proven safe, right?

Um, no. Sorry.

While the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) says that GMO crops are “not substantially different” from non-GM crops, they don’t actually know that. In fact, the FDA doesn’t do any testing, but merely relies on the research conducted by the manufactures of the products. (Do you have shivers going up and down your spine now? I do.)

Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job.

— Philip Angell, (Monsanto’s director of corporate communications), 1998.

Few independent studies have been done on the safety of GMOs, but the research that has been done does not give me warm, fuzzy GMOs-are-safe feelings. They imply a slew of potential dangers, including organ damage, cancer, allergic reactions, and infertility.

In a rat study of three types of GM corn, researchers found that the GM corn caused damage to the rats’ liver, kidneys, and other organs. These types of corn are in our food supply now. Furthermore, it has been shown that milk from cows treated with the GM growth hormone rBGH have elevated levels of a naturally occurring protein that stimulates cell growth–up to ten times that which occurs in natural milk, and with ten times more potency. These proteins are easily absorbed by the small intestine and raise the risk of breast, colon, prostate, and other cancers. (Source)

 Shouldn’t the FDA–or somebody–stop this?

I think so, yes.

But making them do it will be an uphill battle.

That is because Monsanto and the FDA have something of a “revolving door” when it comes to Monsanto employees and government officials. A number of Monsanto employees have served in government positions, including Michael Taylor, the FDA’s current “Food Czar,” who formerly served as Monsanto’s Vice President for Public Policy. In a previous stint at the FDA Taylor had been instrumental in introducing the GM hormone rBGH into our milk supply. In fact, it was Taylor who created the “substantially equivalent” policy used to justify the idea that no safety testing and no labeling is necessary for GMOs.

It is not only in the FDA where former Monsanto employees hold sway; the list of Monsanto employees who currently hold prominent positions in the government is quite long. Both Hillary Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas used to be lawyers for Monsanto.

So whose job is it to protect yourself and your family from GMOs?

Yours. And mine.

Check back to find out just how prevalent GMOs are in our food supply and what you can do to avoid them.

UPDATE: Finding and Avoiding GMOs us up!

For more information, check out the Institute for Responsible Technology and NonGMO Project.


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Land of the Free…?

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|EinsteinOver the past couple of weeks I have noticed a shocking—and disturbing—lack of discussion regarding the constitutional disaster that occurred in Boston after the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. One would think that wanton disregard for the United States Constitution in the city that birthed the American Revolution (just as the “shot heard around the world” was about to celebrate its 238th anniversary) would be a really hot topic.

Or at least worthy of comment.

But, no. The best I have seen is some shifty eyes when the conversation drifts in that general direction—and then a quick change of topics to talk about gardens, or butterflies, or the new playground.

Where is the outrage? When even one person—let alone a whole city—loses their rights, we all do.

Where is the grandstanding? About half of my friends ought to be waiving an American flag in one hand while insisting that if a pack of police came to their door, waiving guns and demanding entry that there would be, “no f***ing way they would get in without a warrant!”

Heck, no one is even claiming relief that the alleged bombers have been eliminated, or expressing sympathy for the residents of Boston and Watertown.

Instead there is silence.


You can’t stand around lauding law enforcement when the thought of heavily armed police-soldiers roaming the streets of your neighborhood, pointing guns at your children, and forcing you out of your own home (for your own good, of course) sends a shiver a terror down your spine.

And you can’t really bluster when the police state that you have been proudly promising to stand up to (from the safety of a backyard barbecue, and behind a glass of Chardonnay) is, in fact, a reality.

A police state? Really?

Come on, guys. Pull your heads out of the sandbox for a few minutes.

What else would you call it when there are armored vehicles rolling down the streets, helicopters circling overhead, and men with guns demanding entry to your homes?

What else would you call it when the media is pushed away into “safe zones” and completely prohibited from doing their jobs? The streets of Boston were made too dangerous for the men and women of the media—the people who face down hurricanes and report live from war zones—by a teenager who might or might not still have a bomb?

I smell bullshit. 

First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Apparently at least one of the major networks was airing on a five second delay and said they would only air broadcast feeds that the “police are comfortable with.”

What, I wonder, might the media have shared that the police were uncomfortable with?

SWAT teams entering the homes of ordinary citizens who had not been accused of any crime?

Guns trained on barefoot civilians?

Terrified children clinging to cowed parents?

Police in full military get-up brandishing guns and shouting at people to keep their hands up as they are forced from their homes?

The few photos and videos that have escaped the media choke hold are chilling…

They show that the violation of the First Amendment was, at least in part, to hide a totalitarian regime-style disregard for the Fourth Amendment.

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|1776 quote


I am not trying to say that the bombings weren’t horrifying, or that the idea that the suspect might be loose in your neighborhood wouldn’t be frightening.

But the suspension of your rights and liberties because something scary is happening should be far more frightening.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to keep the so-called good guys from participating in this sort of thuggish behavior. And the First Amendment is supposed to allow the media to document, and the people to decry and demand redress, of any thuggish behavior that might still occur.

So, why is no one decrying?

But what about the “exigent circumstances” we keep hearing about?  For that to apply the police must need to take official action, but not have time to get a warrant—and still must have probable cause. It is just not possible to say—with any degree of credibility—that the police had probable cause to search each and every home they burst in to.

What about the idea that people consented to searches? If people had consented, their Fourth Amendment would not have been violated. However, for that to be a valid argument, the consent must have been given voluntarily and not resulting from coercion or duress. Is it really possible to give consent at the point of a gun? Or with tanks rolling down your street?

onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers|KingWe have set a dangerous precedent here by allowing this violation of our rights to happen without protest and outrage. We should be criminalizing the police who participated in the suppression of the Freedom of the Press, and who conducted warrentless door-to-door searches–not lauding them as heroes.

We have simply accepted the notion of a police state.

We have assured our rulers that, if things get scary enough, we will allow them to trample any freedom we might have.

We had better start unassuring them. Now.

Before it is too late.

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Spring Soup with Fall Vegetables

Spring Soup with Fall Vegetables |onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowersThere are a lot of things to love about April. The weather is getting warmer, the days longer, and we stay on the playground after school for ages. Little blue flowers carpet the lawns in my neighborhood, and daffodils’ yellow cheeriness is everywhere.

On the other hand, finding tasty and interesting things to eat is something of a challenge. Spring has not yet brought with it anything edible, and while our Public Market still has plenty of fall foods left, the apples are growing wrinkly, the carrots are flaccid, and the onions are trying to reproduce. And how many beets can one person eat, really?

There’s plenty of food left in the freezer, but all of the normal and obvious combinations—along with most of my creativity—have been pretty much used up.

I came home this afternoon after a long, sunny play on the playground with one dusty child and one muddy child—go figure—and absolutely no idea as to what I might make for dinner.

I had chicken stock and fresh bread, which made soup seem like a good choice. I had sweet potatoes and the ever-present onions. A trip downstairs to the freezer, and I came up with my very last bag of corn [ insert frown face here ], some roasted red and green peppers, and a bag of kale… because it fell on me when I was pulling out the corn.


And we’ll call it Spring Soup with Fall Vegetables.

First things first. Chop the onions and sauté them in butter. I start almost every soup or stew I ever make this way. In fact, sometimes I chop up a few onions and start sautéing them and THEN try and figure out exactly what else is going in the pot. Oddly enough, this works more often than it doesn’t… and cooking onions smell good, anyway.

Then I decided that I wanted my sweet potatoes to cook fast and be squishy and mushy when my soup became soup. So I peeled them and cut them up tiny. And tossed them in with the sautéing onions, and cooked them for a bit.

Then I added the chicken stock, brought it to a boil and cooked it long enough to empty the dishwasher and fill it back up again.

(You weren’t expecting a detailed recipe, were you? Spring is no time to be following directions!)

I added the corn, then the peppers, then the kale. And let it simmer a bit until it was time for dinner.


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