Wednesday, October 7, 2015

To Be Me

I need a day to breath
To sit and not care about anything around me
To only know that I exist
And nothing else
I need a day to be silent
To hear the subtle whispers of the earth
To let my ears stop throbbing
From the constant assault of noise
I need a day to be still
To rest this weary body
To let the ever present tension go
And remember what it is like to feel my own energy
I need a day to be me again
To be immersed in the knowledge of me
To be reminded who I am deep down
Because I have lost myself in other peoples’ worlds
I have been enveloped in other peoples’ wants
I have been covered in other peoples’ dreams
And I need a day to be me.

Thanks for reading,
Sarah McTernen

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Serendipity of Mayonnaise

She wanted an egg, without the yolk, my youngest daughter was being specific and stubborn.  I just wanted her to eat some protein. I gave in, and separated the yolk from the white.  The white was fried up and served, but what to do with the yolk?  Mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is either a condiment that you hate, or just kinda use.  Most mayonnaise is bland and acts as a moistening agent for otherwise dry sandwiches.  I have always been a big fan of mayonnaise on sandwiches, but I gave up buying mayonnaise quite a few years ago because I didn't care for the ingredients, the cost, or that fact that it didn't get used all that often, so it just sat in the fridge. 

Over the years I have tried my hand at making mayonnaise.  A whisk in the one hand beating furiously at the egg yolk and the measuring cup of oil pouring a subtle stream into the bowl with the other.  Normally too much work for something that was going to go bad within a few days according to the recipes.

I was stuck with what to do with this solitary egg yolk.  Another attempt at mayonnaise was the end result.  This time I used my mini prep, a scaled down version of a food processor.  Why hadn't I used the mini prep before? Because I neglected to see the holes in the top used for the oil..

Into the bowl went the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.  I closed the lid and started blending while pouring a oil into the top of the unit for it to drizzle into the emulsion below. I didn't measure my oil, most recipes say 1 cup oil to 1 egg yolk.  I know I didn't use a full cup, it was the end of the bottle.  I finished it off with a bit of wine vinegar and then put it in the fridge to meld.  It is exactly what mayonnaise should be: simple, subtle, and tasty.

1 egg yolk
dash of salt
squeeze of lemon
1/2-1 cup oil (I used EV Olive)
wine vinegar to taste

It is your mayonnaise so use the flavor components to taste, even the oil in my opinion.  The main point behind mayonnaise is to create an emulsion with the yolk and oil, which means combining them steadily and slowly.  The mini prep, or food processor, is an easy and consistent way to do this, though you can do it with a whisk.

Give it a try and let me know how it turned out.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 28, 2015

Purple and Green Makes Me Smile

Star of February by Sarah McTernen

I love creating jewelry with purple and green. 

Every time I pair the colors together I am reminded of a friend who loved to where a purple t-shirt with dark green jeans.  I looked at him quizzically and told him purple and green do not go together, but he most rightly informed me that the colors where complimentary and did, in fact, work well together.  Though I am still unsure of my friend's choice in attire, I do have to agree that I love the color combination.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Don't Let the Opportunity Pass You By

When you are a kid, pictures with your parents are inevitable.  They are around you all the time and even a simple get together can bring the opportunity for a candid snap of you hugging your mother or talking with your father.  As you walk your way into adulthood and have your own family or move away to pursue your life, those candid shots become fewer, and sometimes just stop. Then one day, you are thinking back, realizing that you do not have any photographs of you as an adult with your parents. 

With Father's Day approaching, and Mother's Day just a few weeks past, I started to muse about those precious photographs of children with their parents and realized that I have very few. I have photographs of them, of them with the grandkids, but I want some photographs to put on the family wall to remember them as they are now.

I am not the biggest fan of having my photograph taken, silly, I know, and for the most part, I do not exist in the captured history of my family.  I think memories need a little help sometimes, and photographs are a great way to give them a boost.  In that vein, my goal in the next few months is to take portraits with my parents.  Maybe I'll let the grandkids join in on a few.

If this sounds like a good idea, but you need some help in the photography department, contact me and book a portrait appointment.  I would love to help you capture this memory.

Best wishes,

Sarah McTernen

Friday, May 8, 2015

Green Stuff: Herbal Ointment for Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes and Scratches

A long time ago there was a product I used to buy that I used on every boo boo in the house, whether it was the kids or the adults. but as the years went one, this ointment was harder and harder to find.   Me being me, I knew that I could come up with a formula that would work just as well, be homemade, and under my control. 

This is Green Stuff.  Great for bruises, cuts, burns, etc.  It helps injuries heal faster and keeps things from getting infect.  At least in our house it does. 
Green Stuff
1 Part Comfrey leaf
1 Part Rosemary leaf
1 Part Calendula flower
½ Part peppermint leaf
-cut very small or whir in a food processor until fine
2 parts comfrey root powder

-Soak above mixture in 2x volume of olive oil for 3-4 weeks.
After the oil is finished being infused, strain through fine muslin into a saucepan and add 2oz beeswax per pint of oil heating until beeswax is melted.  This measurement doesn’t have to be exact, but using too little is better than too much.  It will harden as it cools.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly then add a few drops each of grapefruit seed extract and lavender essential oil.  Pour into container and cool.

The first time I made this, I just strained in through a fine mesh strainer, and though that worked, the comfrey root powder still got through so the finished product was a little gritty.

This can be used as a base if you know of other herbs you would like to use.  Customize it to your needs.

Thanks for reading,

*Disclaimer:  I am not a dentist, a doctor, a nurse and I don't play one on TV.  I am just a person who has been studying health, herbs and the like on my own for over twenty years.  Anything I write is my own synthesis of the information I have found.  There may be errors.  There may be things I don't know.  Before trying anything, do your own research.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The World Awaits - Pictures and Poetry

The world awaits
the beginning of the day, lingering
a second to breath
in the sanctity of the sun
rising over a horizon of infinite possibilities

~Sarah McTernen

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cleaning is the Death of Creativity, Apparently

I hate admitting when this happens.  I hate admitting it, but I think I have to.

I am in a rut.

I am stuck in a deep creative rut that has proven difficult to climb out of.

Since at least the beginning of February I have been purging the house.  I decided to do it methodically this time.  I started in the farthest corner of my house and cleaned/purged until I got to the office.  I still have got quite a bit to do in here, but all this cleaning has drained my brain of creative ability.

The sun is shining outside, pulling me away from my dark office.

Too many worries on my mind. 

How do you get yourself out of a rut?

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Everything is Politics

In recent months I have come to a realization.  The world is way too politically oriented.

As a society, we have made some bad decisions because of expansion: monoculture, factory farming, factory food.  We have thrown away the basic knowledge of the land and biology.  This is not saying that science can't help, but it has to be hand in hand with the natural order of things that worked consistently before we started mucking with it. On top of all that, you have to worry about whose politics you are stepping on when you start talking about actual issues.  Okay, who cares why the world is getting warmer, it is, ever so slightly, but things are changing.  Let’s take the knowledge and start to adapt.  Let’s make informed decisions and move on; stop arguing about what caused it. 

We look to the government to fix….everything.  Somehow we think these individuals who do not spend their days in the dirt are going to completely understand what it means to spend your days in the dirt.  They don’t and government never will.  We live in an age where you can say something in the morning and the entire world has read it by lunchtime.  The government cannot help you.  You can help you.  You and the guy down the road who is dealing with the same problem and the community two towns over.  The government is always going to make bad decisions.  It is bad at healthcare, farming, nutrition, road maintenance, building things, etc.  Those things are our responsibilities.  It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to.  It doesn’t matter who you voted for in the last election.  What matters is that these things get done.  We, as a society, need to stop waiting around for someone to do everything for us.  We let some stranger grow and often cook our food.  We let some stranger tell us how to heal our bodies.  We let some stranger dictate how to feed our poor.  We give away all of our power to some stranger and then rail at the “way things are”.

I wish we could knock down the toppling tower that we have built and start over, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  We live in a world where everything is about politics from bees, to marriage, to your MRI results.  The actuality of life is being overlooked because it is not politically viable.  The way we grow and eat food as a society, doesn’t work.  It isn’t about your waistline, it is about the life cycle of a plant that we have forgotten.  The way we go to the doctor doesn’t work.  It isn’t about your insurance, it is about the amazing world of human anatomy that we are just now scientifically proving but that in-tune people have always intuitively known.  Take a minute to look at the life around you.  Take a minute to see what problems you can fix, what mess you can clean up, and do it.  If we all clean up after ourselves, the world will be just fine.

Thank you for reading,
Sarah McTernen

Source of rant:

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Heart of the Northwest

Chehalis by Sarah McTernen

An article was posted in the Seattle Times about the nature of the northwest native.  I will admit it is a mediocrely written article with a pretentious tone and poorly argued points but amidst all that is a grain of truth, the idea that sparked the article to begin with.  Though I may be seeing what I want to see.  In amidst the too many words, I see the notion that us native northwesterners somewhere along the line came here to be in the woods, to be in the wet, and to be mostly alone.  Oh, and we are fine with that.  Take your noisy politics and go home, both sides.  I will take my silent forests and running streams, my industry of living off the land and replenishing said land, I will take my cold mountain air and foggy beaches, wet summers and sunless winters.  I have webbed feet. 
The Puget Sound area used to be industrial, shipping, logging, fishing, low brow and quiet, maybe a little bit on the smelly side. In the last decade or two, the area has seen the rise of the tech companies instead of industrial work, Bellevue has become a big city instead of a dingy beige town, the I-5 corridor is clogged with cars and Seattle is itself pretentious.  The world around here has become very crowded. 
I understand the way the world works, businesses grow and bring more people and those people bring their ideas and everything is one big happy melting pot, but I miss my quiet woods. Woods not filled with people in designer hiking boots clinging to expensive walking sticks and talking about politics or ecology instead of nothing at all.
The world is changing.  The small towns are being swallowed up everywhere, slowly but surely. The tied to the land, hard-working roots of it all are dying out, being smothered by the showy branches of an unknown tree.  That is the grain of truth I saw lingering between the pretentious banter. That is what struck a chord in this girl who grew up walking through the old trees, swimming in the cold waters, and listening to the sound of rain with a smile.

Thank you for reading,
Sarah McTernen

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Day Dawns Grey

Gray Rain by Sarah McTernen
The day dawns grey, grey and heavy
Slowly the sounds of waking emerge
seeping into the day
swallowing up the silence
swallowing up the peace
bowling into one another with ignorant force
The weight of people burdens the air
the thoughts, the hopes, the emotions, and words
all the words
fill the air and make it hard to think
to hear
to be
There is yearning for the green spaces, the trees, the earth
the sky above
There is need for silence, darkness and