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Grass Roots

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Grass Roots

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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

The earth trembled. The fires raged. The stock market crashed. October has notoriously become a month when disasters great and small occur.

No matter what transpires, life goes on and nature always prevails.

After a summer of extreme heat, cooler weather is a welcome gift. The benefit for gardeners is that the soil is warm making it perfect for rooting, especially when we receive a bit of precipitation.

The next weeks are the optimum time to grow grass. Many lawns died during our heatwave and water shortages. Green areas were replaced with succulents, rocks, and, most sadly, pavement. If you want to seed, re-seed, or install turf, fall is the time to do it. Since I prefer a verdant lawn all year, this season I plan on adding more clover to my grass. 

Throughout the hot weather, I sparingly watered, providing just enough H2O to keep the lawn alive. What I observed during this drought was that the clover interspersed in my grass was always green, even when I didn’t water. Clover is a nitrogen fixer. Like all legumes, it takes nitrogen from the air and through a chemical reaction, deposits it in the ground as an absorbable fertilizer. It is constantly providing fertilizer to itself and the surrounding grass, making the entire lawn healthier. Because my clover is spread throughout my lawn, the entire lawn appears to be greener. 

Besides providing nutrients to the soil, clover is also resistant to pet urine. If you are a pet owner, you probably have brown spots on your lawn from the urine of your dog. If you add clover, you’ll have a more uniform green.

A positive and a negative of planting clover is that the flowers attract honeybees. As a gardener, I welcome honeybees to my landscape, but honeybees on a lawn can result in unwanted stings if you happen to cartwheel on a bee! Be aware that bees are hovering to avoid a confrontation.

If you’ve been to the Oakland or Mumbai airports, you may have witnessed the beautiful walls of plants. Vertical gardening is a mixture of plants that grow up and out as a living wall. As our lawns and lot sizes decrease, many people are discovering that embracing vertical gardens is a way to enjoy nature in a smaller space. Try it out this season.

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In preparation for Halloween, there are many traditional endeavors to experience. 

ü It is time to harvest the pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash. If you don’t grow your own, you’ll find funky as well as colorful pumpkins at the local Farmer’s Market and grocery stores. 

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ü Apples and Asian pears are still hanging from the trees awaiting their reaper. Did you enjoy candied or caramel apples as a child during October? There are easy and fun recipes online to enjoy an old-fashioned treat. 

ü Cut your corn stalks to use in decorations and buy a hay bale to add to the décor. You can later use the hay to cover your newly planted vegetable patch. The hay mulch will keep most weeds from emerging as the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins begin their rampage.

ü Build a scarecrow to hang in your front yard for the season, then use it in your vegetable garden when the winter vegetable seeds sprout.

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Cynthia Brian’s October Gardening Guide 

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The next two months are busy ones in the garden as we prepare our beds for a winter’s sleep. Chrysanthemums, belladonna lilies, and pelargoniums are in full bloom, a certain beacon of the blazing fall colors to follow. 

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FERTILIZE lawns during the rain for faster absorption. Don’t forget to re-seed during these wet days as well. 

PULL any weeds you find in your garden before they develop seed heads.

CUT cattails for an autumn arrangement. Every part of the cattail is edible, too.

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COLLECT abandoned bird nests to add to holiday décor.

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REPAIR birdhouses so that overwintering birds such as bluebirds, chickadees, and nuthatches will have a warm, safe, cozy place to rest during the upcoming cold nights. 

INCREASE bird feeders in your yard as birds consume more food in fall and winter.

TUNE up your garden by pruning back overgrown shrubs.

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DIG and divide iris rhizomes now. Make sure to keep a few inches of the leaves on the stems and bury the roots two inches deep, eighteen to twenty inches apart.

FORCE your final produce to ripen by halting watering.

PRUNE berry bushes, including summer raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries by removing dead canes. Thin any new forming canes.

AMEND your hard clay soil with large amounts of compost.

MULCH with wood chips to prevent erosion and maintain temperate soil temperatures.

FREEZE or can your vine tomatoes before the rains rot them.

PROPAGATE perennials through root cuttings.

SAVE seeds from your favorite annuals, herbs, and vegetables by gathering, drying, labeling, and storing. 

HARVEST the remainder of ripe produce before the end of the month-apples, Asian pears, peppers, Swiss chard. 

ROAST seeds from squash and pumpkins by first cleaning, drying, soaking in salted water, then, baking at 375 degrees until golden brown. What a healthy snack!

Fingers crossed that this October will be disaster-free. Whatever transpires, in the freshness of fall, we’ll start anew. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1517/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Grass-roots.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Propagating Plants

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Propagating Plants

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*I recommend that all bachelors have a garden. It will give them the experience of being a parent.”  Richard Goodman

One time when I was the celebrity garden guest on an HGTV program, the discussion turned to relationships and family. My advice was like Richard Goodman. I announced that relationships and parenting are like gardening. They require being present, constant nurturing, detailed attention, consistent efforts, and sometimes sacrifice. If you can grow a plant, you can grow a relationship.

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We parent for a lifetime. A garden is forever evolving.

Autumn is the best time to plant. The temperature is usually a bit cooler, yet the soil is warm.  Hopefully, a bit of rain will also provide precipitation.  During this season, I encourage more people to become plant parents. The secret is to get going now before the first frost.

There are so many easy and inexpensive ways to get started.  You can grow in containers, on windowsills, even in cardboard boxes. You can buy seeds, bulbs, seedlings, or full-grown plants. Or you can get plants for free by propagating them yourself, with a little help from your friends.

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If you are a beginner, start small so that you don’t get discouraged. Since growing our own food is empowering and nutritious, perhaps start with containers of your favorite herbs or vegetables. Soil is the most important aspect of growing a successful garden. Great garden soil is full of organic matter and crumbles like cake in your hands. According to the Home Garden Seed Association, rich soil is the home of an array of organisms, bacteria, fungi, and insects. It drains efficiently, yet it still retains essential water for the plants. They offer these tips to determine if your soil is ready to accommodate plants. 

1. Take a handful of your garden soil and squeeze it. It should hold its shape. Then drop it. It should crumble. This is optimum.

2. If it stays in a ball or falls apart the second you open your hand, you need to add compost to correct the poor drainage. The point is to assist your soil in retaining water and nutrients. Work about three inches of compost into your existing soil, then try the experiment again.

You can buy bags of garden soil, potting soil, and compost. If you are planting in a pot, make sure to purchase new potting soil which has the necessary nutrients to help your plants flourish.

If you are buying plants to boost your autumn curb appeal, simple-to-grow suggestions include pansies, ornamental kale, snapdragons, chrysanthemums, primulas, violas, and Iceland Poppies. 

My favorite way of birthing new vegetation is through propagation. Many of the specimens in my garden have been slips, cuttings, seeds, divisions, roots, bulbs, or pinches from my mom’s, sibling’s, or friend’s gardens. A garden is to share and there is nothing more satisfying than growing floras derived from a beloved garden.

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Here are ways to become a plant parent or grow your current plant family for little or no cost. In the botanical world, we call it sexual propagation or asexual propagation.

Sexual Propagation

Seeds: 

Be a seed saver. Save seeds from your favorite flowers. Because of random pollination by a variety of insects, the baby may differ from the mother. My favorite seeds to save from my flowers are nigella, sunflower, hollyhock, cosmos, nasturtium, calendula, marigold, and lavender. I’m scattering the nasturtium this autumn and the rest will be sowed in the spring. In my potager, I collected the seeds of arugula, sugar snap peas, pole beans, and Swiss Chard. If you saved these vegetable seeds from your summer crops, sow them now. I have grown numerous trees from seeds (and pits) including magnolia, Asian Pear, apple, plum, peach, flowering cherry, Japanese maple, pistache, and loquat. When you gather the seeds, dry them on a screen and place them into a brown paper bag. Label with the date and store in a dark space until you are ready to sow.

Asexual Propagation

This is also called vegetative propagation because the vegetative parts of the plants are used: stems, leaves, roots, and organs. 

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Cuttings, pinches, and slips: Soon I’ll be pinching my geraniums and pelargoniums. After letting the cuttings harden off for a few days, they will be planted directly in the ground throughout my hillside in sunny areas.  Every year in February, I hard prune my many rose bushes. I gave over a hundred cane cuttings to my neighbor and within three months, she had a glorious blooming rose garden. Pinch a small piece of a succulent and it will grow in a pot or the ground. My prolific grapevines are the result of cuttings from our Napa vineyards.

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Dividing: Using a garden fork, divide daylilies, Bearded irises, Bergenia, peonies, astilbe, bleeding hearts, Oriental lilies, Naked ladies, and other perennials that are getting too crowded. Rhizomes that are divided such as Bergenia and Bearded iris, can be cut into smaller pieces and planted. Many bulbs multiply including Naked Ladies and daffodils. By digging up a few, you can greatly increase the blooms in your landscape. I started with one Naked Lady (Amaryllis Belladonna) bulb and now boast a blanketed slope of hundreds. 

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Rooting: Kids love rooting in water in a jar and putting the jars on a windowsill. Sweet potatoes, green onions, ginger, avocadoes, and lettuces can be sprouted in this manner. The ones you buy in the vegetable aisle can be used, although they may not produce as abundantly as ones from a garden center.

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My preferred method of growing potatoes and sweet potatoes is to cut chunks with an eye or two, let them harden for a couple of days, then plant in a cardboard box placed in my potager with compost-rich soil. By planting them in the box, I always know where to harvest. The cardboard box decomposes adding to the mulch.  Layering cardboard in your raised bed before adding the soil is also an environmentally friendly system to suffocate weeds. Ginger can be grown similarly, however, let the sliced pieces of ginger soak in water for twenty-four hours after cutting and before planting.

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Grafting, budding, and layering are other ways to propagate plants but if you want exact clones, investigate tissue culture techniques. Whatever way you decide to be a plant parent, you will be rewarded. If something doesn’t work, don’t worry. Failure is fertilizer. Put the mistakes on your compost pile and grow a new garden.

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1516/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Plant-parenthood.html

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Happy parenting. Happy gardening. Happy growing!

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg

Care, Share, and Be Fair

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Care, Share, and Be Fair

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MIRACLE MOMENT®

“Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

 


A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CYNTHIA BRIAN

Cynthia Brian

When I was only eleven years old, a newly ordained young priest came to our parish. He was from a dairy farm in Limerick, Ireland and felt very out of place in very liberal and loud California. Since my family were fruit farmers and cattle ranchers, we invited him out to our place and he immediately felt at ease.

As he acclimated to life in the United States, he and I developed non-denominational youth programs. By the time I was in high school, our teen programs were the most popular with adolescents coming from all over northern California to attend. Father Pat McGrath became a mentor to many, but especially to me. The motto he lived by and I incorporated into my life was “Care, share, and be fair.”

In these tumultuous times, I find that adage to be more important than ever. Our Kindness Coordinator, Karen Kitchel, advises us to take a deep breath, think a kind thought, then proceed. This is a wise recommendation.

If we can all pause and remember that no matter what is transpiring, we are all in this together. When we care more, we share more.

Be the Star You Are!® has packed many cases of brand new books to ship to shelters and organizations in need of these resources as a result of the natural disasters that have occurred throughout the United States. If your organization is in need, please contact me so that we can include you in our Operation Disaster Relief program. We really do care and we want to share.

The Pear and Wine Festival is next Saturday, September 25th from 11-2pm with a live concert from 2-4pm. At this outdoor event, our volunteers will be following CDC protocols. More info at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/events. We hope to see you there.

Please care about your fellow citizens and get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Employ social distancing. We need to stop the variants from mutating. Covid is not something we want to share.

Be safe and enjoy back to school in-person learning.

Care, share, and be fair.

Sending healthy thoughts,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504


Pear Festival flyerSEE YOU AT THE PEAR FESTIVAL! 

The Pear and Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 25th from 11 am-4pm with free family fun at Moraga Commons Park in Moraga. Be the Star You Are!® is participating with a booth. hosts and reporters of our radio broadcast, Express Yourself! will be in person to greet visitors. Instead of doing our normal face painting for kids, BTSYA volunteers will be providing a table with masks to be decorated. We will also have a Kids Korner with a reading circle. Many thanks to our sponsors The Lamorinda Weekly Newspaper (www.lamorindaweekly.com), Dr. Brian Sheaff Family Dentistry ( https://www.drsheaffdentistry.com) and MBJesse Painting (www.MBJessee.com). Also appreciation to author Brooks Olbrys who has donated two cases of books in English and Spanish of his 10 year anniversary special of Blue Ocean Bob. (https://www.blueoceanbob.com) Children who attend will be given a beautiful new book.

The festival will feature food, wine, art, children’s activities, a petting zoo, and fun for everyone. Admission is FREE. More information at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events


rosesarner-headshotMEET OUR NEWEST EXPRESS YOURSELF TEEN RADIO REPORTER

Rose Sarner is a Junior in high school at the Archer School for Girls who enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and hanging out with her friends. Her radio show sheds light on the pressing issues of urban food policy, nutrition, and the importance of food access in our world today. Rose is eager to share her knowledge, create an impact, and provide the tools and resources to enhance people’s lives in the community. Her segment on Express Yourself!® Teen Radio is called “Bite Share” and she is anxious to provide tips on how everyone needs to have access to eat healthy, nutritious meals. Her first reporting gig can be heard on September 26th at 3pm on the Voice America Empowerment Channel at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2014/express-yourself

Read more about Express Yourself!™ Teen Radio at www.ExpressYourselfTeenRadio.com


Kind conversations-kidsSTART A KINDNESS CONVERSATION 

A Minneapolis parent shared her story about how her two young boys chose to make hygiene kits to donate. They helped make a list of needed items, all went shopping, and put everything together. Next was delivering them to a shelter.

“As a family, this allowed us to talk about different people’s situations, and how we can help. Our boys learned to be grateful for things like food, water, our home, and basic needs.  Each month we take on a new project listed on the website  Doing Good Together.  This provides ideas for simple, yet meaningful ways to give back, spread kindness and engage in conversations we would not otherwise have” commented Ann K.

This fantastic organization, Doing Good Together, has many tools for families to spark kindness. Check out their “Start Kind Conversations.”

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com


BOOK SALE

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In honor of our 20th anniversary since being on the first New York Times best seller list, first edition, autographed books are discounted in a special sale with proceeds benefitting Be the Star You Are!® You will also receive extra goodies and FREE music CD with your purchase when you buy from the website. Stock up now! http://starstylestore.net


OPERATION DISASTER RELIEF

The 2021 natural disasters continue to climb. Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados, and fires are more ferocious and deadly causing thousands to flee their homes. Global warming and climate change are causing extreme weather conditions that have never been seen before. Throughout 2020, Be the Star You Are!® concentrated disaster relief on helping individuals who were out of work survive during the pandemic. We now turn our assistance back to helping survivors of these major natural disasters happening throughout the United States. Be the Star You Are!® will be providing books and other materials to shelters and organizations in need. If you’d like to donate, please do so at our website, https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org. If your organization or shelter is in need of our resources to supply to survivors of a disaster, please email us at info@BetheStarYouAre.org.

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SHOP and GIVE!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

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3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

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5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

T-shirts

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6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4


EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

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LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
 
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You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen. 
Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.
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DIRECT LINKS


“Read, lead, succeed! To be a leader, you must be a reader! Communicate, collaborate, and innovate.”

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Harvest Time and Bulbs

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Harvest Time and Bulbs

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“Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a harvest.”  English Saying

 

Every September I think about two major garden projects that transpire throughout the autumn season: harvesting and bulb buying.

Fall boasts a spectacular bounty of pears, Asian pears, grapes, apples, tomatoes, tangerines, blackberries, walnuts, kiwis, and more. The last of the peaches and nectarines are being picked while festivals celebrating the end of the fruit and vegetable collections transpire throughout the next two months across the United States. 

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We also kick off fall by thinking about what bulbs we’ll want to plant for spring. Alliums, daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinths, iris, snowdrops, muscari, and fritillaria top the lists of many gardeners. 

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Let’s get started on this month’s workload! 

Fruit and Vegetables

What do we do with all the produce that is harvested? Besides eating your fruits and veggies fresh and raw, autumn is a plum time for canning, freezing, pickling, and drying the season’s extra yield to enjoy during the winter months when “fresh-picked” is not possible. Use a dehydrator to dry apples, peaches, tomatoes, and pears. Put grapes into an ice-cube tray, add water, and make grape cubes that are pretty and delicious in drinks. After cooling, freeze batches of various fruit sauces that have simmered in a pot with a dash of salt, sugar, honey, and/or vinegar. For canning and pickling, check online sources for simple recipes and make sure to follow the safety requirements. Making jams, jellies, pies, and chutneys is easy and fun, especially when you involve the kids. Next to Christmas, harvest time was always a favorite family experience when I was growing up.

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Although my vegetable garden did not return the abundance I had anticipated for the year, my fruit trees overcompensated. I’ve been slicing crunchy apples into salads, sauces, compotes, soups, and making crumbles, pies, and crisps. Peaches or nectarines with fresh cream is one of my favorite breakfast treats. For a refreshing and invigorating weekend cocktail that I call Sunday Sensation, try this beautiful and delicious combination. It can be made with or without alcohol.

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Sunday Sensation

In a clear pitcher, muddle cut pieces of peach and nectarine. Add slices of an orange, tangerine, and Meyer lemon. Stir in a shot glass of Campari or Aperol for an alcohol infused drink, add ice cubes, and top with sparkling wine or Champagne. For a virgin sensation, use a cup of orange juice topped with sparkling water or apple cider. Garnish with sprigs of basil and mint leaves. 

Yummy!

While you are enjoying your Sunday Sensation, it’s time to contemplate the bulbs and rhizomes you’ll plant this fall for a spring showcase. Bulbs can be planted mid to late fall in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Daffodils can be planted anytime and anywhere. They are especially great in areas where deer roam as the deer are repelled by them. There are so many varieties of tulips for early, mid-season, and late blooming that it may be best to peruse bulb catalogs to get an idea of the specimens that speak to you. All tulips will need six weeks of refrigeration before planting so it is doubly critical that you decide on what to buy now. For rock gardens and borders, you may be thrilled by Water Lily tulips that naturalize when left undisturbed. When you want exotic-looking tulips, consider the flamboyant Parrot or Peony flowering tulips. If you want to force flowering, single or double early tulips are the most well-known as well as Species and Triumph tulips.

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Forcing How-to:

Plant bulbs in well-draining pots in October, place them in the dark for 12-14 weeks while chilling at 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Gradually move pots to filtered sunlight to allow sprouting and acclimation. Water as needed. 

Ponder the Pollinators:

Happy bees stay in our gardens helping nature thrive. By planting bulbs in colors most attractive to the bees­­­­––blue, purple, white, and yellow––fresh food is provided for them after winter when they need it most. The best bulbs for bees are allium, anemone, camassia, corydalis, crocus, fritillaria, Galanthus, hyacinths, muscari, tulips, and scilla. 

Best Way to Plant Large Quantities:

Most people plant bulbs in groups of five to seven spaced six inches apart and buried four to five inches deep. However, if you want to create a bold and beautiful impact with large swatches of color, try trenching. You can mix bulbs or use one variety or one species.

Dig a long five-inch deep (or whatever depth the bulb packaging indicates) trench wherever you want to make your floral statement. It can be straight or made into a circle or pattern. Add soil amendments if your ground is clay and hard. Arrange a minimum of a hundred bulbs with the pointy side up. Cover area with soil and mulch. Water, wait, and WOW!

After blooms fade in the spring, cut the flower stalks to allow the bulbs to conserve energy for the next year while the foliage continues to flourish. 

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Hose Repair:

Every time I or my siblings telephoned my Mom during a summer or fall day, the first words out of her mouth were “I’m busy. I’m pulling hoses.”  That line became a code sentence for us whenever we were doing manual labor that others may not think was important, but what was critical to us. This past summer, to save water by not turning on my irrigation system, I found myself pulling actual hoses daily. By spot watering, I was able to water deeply and accurately, but it was arduous work pulling those heavy hoses. Several tore or broke during the process and I mended them, giving them new life. I have always repaired frayed or cut hoses and figured everyone repaired theirs when necessary. But then I saw a couple of hoses in the recycle bin area of a client’s yard with new hoses sitting next to the front faucets. They didn’t realize that hoses are easily repaired with inexpensive parts. If your hose is damaged, head to the hardware store to buy either a female or male coupling. If your hose is broken in the middle, you can buy a connector. Cut off the damaged hose part with a shear or sharp knife. Use a Philipps screwdriver to open the connector. Push the new female or male plug into the hose and tighten the connector with the screwdriver. Test the hose. It will be good as new. I tend to use more female couplings than males, so I always buy extras.

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Tickle your garden with a hoe and you’ll have a great harvest. Come visit me at the Pear and Wine Festival in Moraga at the Be the Star You Are!® charity booth on September 25th and pick up some free goodies. Laugh on!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

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Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1515/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Gather in the Garden

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Gather in the Garden

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“We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit.” Dalai Lama

It’s official. The Pfizer vaccine has received full and final approval by the FDA with the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines soon to follow. The CDC stated that if we want to spend time with people who don’t live with us, outdoor activities are the safest choice.  In these dire days of global crises, natural disasters, evacuations, and a highly infectious Delta variant, any positive news is appreciated.

At the beginning of summer, we all had high hopes that we would be able to emerge from our caves to enjoy a quasi-normal season. With the emergence of the Delta variant, it became clear that the pandemic will not be contained until most of the country prioritizes health and gets vaccinated. Humans are social beings and we like getting together. With warm weather predicted for the next two months, gathering in our gardens for a picnic, barbecue, or just a chat will be a safer method of communing.

I recently attended an outdoor birthday party for a dear friend generously orchestrated by her adult children and their spouses. This was the first time since the pandemic began that I had gone to any non-family occasion. Although I was hesitant to be around a few dozen people, every precaution was taken to make guests feel safe and comfortable. Being informed that all guests had been fully vaccinated prompted me to R.S.V.P. “yes”. The affair was colorful, fun, and secure. I came away with constructive ideas that we can all utilize to enjoy togetherness outside in our gardens during these challenging times.

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How to have a more formal yet guarded, glorious garden gathering:

  1. 1. Prepare your patio. 
    1. a. Add colorful potted plants.
    2. b. String lights, flags, garlands, or pennants.
    3. c. Set up tables with fun placemats or tablecloths.
    4. d. Space tables and chairs for appropriate social distancing.
    5. e. Select throw pillows to add comfort and color.
    6. 2. Hang hummingbird feeders and birdhouses to attract the birds.
    7. 3. Create your scene with a theme and decorate accordingly.
    8. 4. Add a vase filled with flowers, branches, or fruit, preferably picked from your garden.
    9. 5. Design a thoughtful menu that allows you to be part of the party.
    10. 6. Have guests enter via a garden gate or other outside entrance.
    11. 7. Set up a “Covid” station with hand sanitizer and masks.
    12. 8. Ask that masks be worn when going indoors for any reason.
    13. 9. Make a playlist that fits your crowd.
    14. 10. If yellowjackets have been bothering your paradise, put up traps the day before your party and keep them in place throughout the event.
    15. 11. Invite the partygoers to tour your landscape.
    16. 12. Provide a “wow” moment with a special dessert.
    17. 13. Send your guests home with a gift from the garden.Round table set.jpeg

Being in a garden setting is always impressive to me. I relish being in nature, listening to the sounds, watching the birds, and appreciating the growing plants. I was especially impressed with the gigantic tomato plants my friend had grown from seed. A rock waterfall planted with abundant succulents echoed the theme.

Waterfall-succulents, birdhouse.jpeg

Joyful décor boasted multi-colored, elegant mats, runners, and tablecloths festooned with yarn pom pom ropes and a clear glass vase filled with lemons and fresh cut dahlias on each table. 

Festive table.jpeg

The “wow” factor was provided by the spectacular cupcakes that mimicked the succulents and flowers on the tables. These beautiful cupcakes designed by Sarah Thongnopneua of Baked Blooms in San Anselmo (www.bakedblooms.com) were almost too gorgeous to eat. They were devoured with enthusiasm.

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Each guest was gifted a small succulent reminiscent of those luscious cupcakes and perfect for our drought, parched soil.

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When I came home, I found a small empty bird’s nest on my porch. Have you ever closely inspected the intricacy of a bird’s nest? What an architectural marvel.  Wouldn’t it be great to create a themed event around this wildlife discovery?

Now that the vaccines are receiving official approval and authorization, I hope that everyone will get vaccinated without delay. Once that is achieved, we will be able to return to the freer glory days of party frivolity. 

Fete the final days of summer with a casual gathering or formal gala. A setting in nature sets the tone for a festive, friendly, and safe celebration for the benefit of everyone.

succulent-red.jpeg

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.  

See photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1514/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Garden-gatherings.html

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian-party.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Sacred Spaces

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Sacred Spaces

garden stream.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

“Nature is the original church. Worship there daily.”  Alan Cohen

If we have learned anything from the pandemic of the past eighteen months, it is that our greatest blessing is to be able to go outdoors to breathe fresh air. Many people choose to hike the hills, walk the reservoir, or take a jaunt to the ocean to calm nerves and preserve sanity. For those of us fortunate enough to have a garden, balcony, porch, or patio, we can open a door to escape the confines of lockdown.

The majesty of Mother Nature rivals the most exquisite man-made cathedral. Throughout my landscape, I have designed special areas that stimulate my senses, inducing a sense of tranquility and connectivity with the natural world. I have dubbed these my “sacred spaces”, places where I can meditate, watch the wildlife, listen to birdsong, commune with the breeze, rest my weary legs, take a nap, or just sit and contemplate life. My “sacred spaces” provide a structure amidst the chaos, a respite against the turmoil of the times.

We can expand our living environment by crafting outdoor elements that nurture our spirits, emotions, and bodies. Here are a few of my favorite strategies to help gardeners recast their yards into a serene, yet lush oasis. 

Water

The sound of water is immensely soothing. Listening to the gurgling of a fountain or the rippling of a stream heightens my creativity. Birds splashing in a birdbath bring a smile to my face. A pond with a recirculating pump provides a happy home for frogs, and if deep enough, fish. 

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Hammock

Hanging a hammock from two trees is the ultimate in shaded relaxation. I have double hammocks strung between a giant magnolia and Japanese maples. There is nothing quite like swaying in the hammock looking up at the light as it dances between the branches. The colors of the leaves are forever changing. For an afternoon nap on a hot day, a hammock provides a piece of paradise.

Hammock under magnolia-japanese maple.jpeg

Swing

I’ve installed a metal garden swing behind my pond flanked by orange Birds of Paradise and midnight blue agapanthus. By adding comfy cushions, I can silently swing while listening to the aerating pond and watching the aerial antics of squirrels spiraling through the loquat tree. 

swing near pond.jpeg

Tables, Chairs, and Benches

Throughout my landscape, I have placed multiple tables, chairs, and benches in specific areas to encourage me to take a break from the hard labor. A wooden picnic table under an apple tree begs me to take a lunch period. A bench facing the hills beckons me to behold a doting doe with her twin fawns as they forage. A small rocking chair in a cozy nook allows me to remove my mud boots and watch the sunset.

pond with tables.jpeg

Paths and Walls

Whether you use gravel, bricks, decomposed granite, pavers, or flagstone, creating paths throughout the garden allows for interesting patterns and yard exploration. Because I believe in recycling, upcycling, and repurposing, I always utilize whatever materials are available when I’m building stairs, paths, or walls. A former built-in redwood bench is turned on its side to be reused as a retaining planter box. Used bricks add a separation element to the revamped below-deck walkway bordering the tangled wisteria forest. 

below deck path.jpeg

Pergolas, Gazebos, Decks

A deck is always a great gathering spot. A gazebo or pavilion is a stately structure to sit, embrace the view, and offer gratitude for outdoor rooms. On my deck, under my grape, wisteria, and bower vine-covered pergola, I unwind after a long day by soaking in the hot tub. This is my prayer place as I gaze at the twinkling stars above.

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Plantings

The selection of specific plants is critical to the overall color and scale of any garden. My goal is always to witness botanical interest 365 days a year through express attention to the trees, flowers, shrubs, bulbs, vegetables, herbs, and bushes. Every season brings a change to the landscape. Roses bloom for nine or ten months when regularly dead-headed. Perennial sweet peas flourish with their pretty purple pea heads from spring until autumn.

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Pink naked ladies pop up to smarten the summer soils when most other plants find it too hot to shine. Deciduous trees such a Japanese maple, pistache, crape myrtle, and liquid amber offer spectacular autumn colors.

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When you think about creating your sacred spaces, make sure you are bringing the indoors out and the outdoors in. Expand your home environment by mimicking and mingling colors, patterns, themes, and shapes through both areas. Great design amplifies your emotional well-being. Rediscover forgotten or overlooked spots. Feel the vibes as you develop your scheme keeping comfort and safety at the forefront. Use your imagination to unearth the endless possibilities.

Mother Nature is the original church. When we honor Her, we will attain a more balanced life with peace as a bonus gift, no matter what is happening around us. As this latest Delta variant spreads its dangerous virus tendrils, I urge everyone to talk with their physicians, listen to the science, and get vaccinated. Discover your sacred space, breathe, and spend as much time outdoors as possible. 

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A Be the Star You Are!® volunteer from Minnesota emailed me “I go for walks on our nearby trail as often as I can because it’s a way to escape to nature, and I know how you feel about that!  So off I go.”

Off you go!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly(www.Lamorindaweekly.com) and MB Jessee painting (www.MBJessee.com). Wear your mask and visit us! Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Phots and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1513/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Sacred-spaces.html

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Cynthia Brian.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Water Works

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Water Works

Ranch lake before drought.jpeg

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” Benjamin Franklin

We turned on the spigot. A trickle. Seconds later, nothing. 

For over a hundred years the deep well had served three houses, several barns, and all the gardens on our Napa County ranch without a problem. This summer, the well is empty. The bucolic lake built by my Dad and brothers in the former horse pasture served as a family playground, fishing area, and farm irrigation reservoir for decades. In 2021, it is a big basin of cracked clay. There is no water.

In the San Joaquin Valley, an area known to be the breadbasket of fruit and nuts for America, the aquifers and canals are depleted. It is projected that by 2040, 535,000 acres of agricultural production will be lost. If the drought persists and water is not available, double that amount of land will not be planted resulting in food shortages around the country.

Seventy-one percent of the earth is covered in water. Over 96 percent of that water is saline, represented by our oceans and seas. The human body consists of sixty percent water. H2O is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell. People can survive without food for several days, but without water, organ failure commences around the third day of dehydration.

Water matters and water is scarce. Climate change is resulting in rising temperatures and when the soil gets warmer, heat waves worsen. Fifty-five percent of the West is experiencing extreme drought conditions. Some scientists have declared the summer of 2021 the worst drought in over 1200 years. 

What is a gardener to do? 

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Because of the efforts to reduce water usage as well as the higher costs of water, many people have asked me if it would be best to “let their landscape go”.  My rapid reaction is a decisive “NO!” Besides the financial burden of re-landscaping, maintaining a garden during a drought is essential not only for the aesthetics and beauty a garden provides but for keeping your home cooler and contributing to a fire safety zone. If you let your plants and trees die, your parched landscape could become a fire hazard. 

Here are ways to minimize watering while keeping your plants alive.

  1. 1. Weed your garden thoroughly as weeds are huge drinkers.
  2. 2. Mulch to conserve water. Add three inches of good quality mulch to your entire landscape to suffocate weed growth, conserve water, prevent evaporation, and reduce the heat to the soil.
  3. 3. Check for leaks in your sprinkler system. If you find a spike in your water bill, you probably have a broken pipe somewhere.
  4. broken water pipes.jpeg
  5. 4. Water deeply and infrequently. Once or twice a week will suffice. Most plants need about one inch of water weekly. Check your soil to make sure that the water is penetrating the soil. Dry soil sheds water as run-off. If this happens, water twice, five minutes apart until the soil is saturated. Deep watering encourages a healthy root system while frequent short showers are wasteful and not beneficial to plant growth.
  6. 5. Water early in the morning or early evening when moisture will be retained.
  7. 6. Refrain from fertilizing in the summer months as feeding promotes thirsty hyper-growth.
  8. 7. Mow your lawns without using the bag. Grass clippings supply nutrients to the lawn with less water usage. 
  9. 8. Don’t worry about keeping your lawn super-green. Just keep it alive and it will re-green when the weather is wetter.
  10. 9. Use soaker hoses around plants to eliminate evaporation. Trees can be especially vulnerable during a drought.  Use a deep soaker wand to supply water to the roots.
  11. 10. Don’t put your irrigation on a schedule. Instead, check your soil moisture and monitor your plants. Turn your system on when it is necessary but do make sure to run it to keep the system free of invading insects, roots, and stagnant water.

For both firewise and waterwise gardening, permeable surfaces in your hardscape such as decomposed granite, gravel, stones, and mulch are advisable. They provide a fire-safe zone and allow rainwater to percolate into the soil without runoff. For a list of plants that are both fire and drought resistant, re-read my article located at https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1508/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Fire-retardant-and-fire-resistant-plantings.html.

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  1. 11. Summer is not the time to plant but to plan. Any specimen planted in August will require regular and concentrated watering to establish strong roots. Late fall before frosts will be optimal for sowing.
  2. 12. Recycle your household water. Keep a bucket in your shower and bowls in your sinks to catch the water from your faucet. Use it on your houseplants or pour it into your garden. When you steam or boil vegetables, allow the water to cool, then use it on your plants. 
  3. 13. Minimize your personal water usage. Turn off the water when brushing teeth or when soaping up in the shower. For toilets, we may be approaching the former drought mantra “if it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”  This is obviously a personal choice.
  4. 14. Adjust your expectations for your garden. Accept the fact that your garden may not be as green, lush, and colorful as it would normally be if water scarcity was not an issue. Plants wilt to conserve energy. Many plants are resilient and can deal with hot weather. They will bounce back with winter rains.
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During the past two months, I have been busy personally repairing broken PVC pipes, valves, sprinklers, and hoses as hiring anyone to assist has been impossible. Between the marauding deer, shifting soils, and invading roots, the work is endless, arduous, intensive, and necessary. I have also implemented the tips that I am suggesting. 

Taking a long, relaxing shower used to be my reward after a day of digging, weeding, pruning, repairing, building, and planting, but for the past few years I’ve resorted to three-minute scrubs to save water.

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Living in Lamorinda, we are fortunate to be able to turn on our faucets and have water. Farmers throughout the state are not so lucky. Continue to grow edibles as growing your own groceries will become more critical as the drought continues. 

As for now, on our family ranch and vineyards we are buying water.  Last year’s grape harvest was 100% destroyed by smoke taint. Because of the three-digit temperatures experienced thus far, we have already lost 20% of our Cabernet. I pray for a winter of maximum snowfall.

Water is life. It’s precious. Don’t waste, conserve. 

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

Saturday, September 25th, Be the Star You Are!® will participate in the first live event at the Pear and Wine Festival with a booth sponsored by the Lamorinda Weekly. Details at https://www.bethestaryouare.org/copy-of-events

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. 

Photos and more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1512/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Water-matters.html

photos of cyn by jim scala.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

10 Summer Blooming Perennials

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
10 Summer Blooming Perennials

daylilies close-up.jpeg

“When the sun rises, I go to work.  When the sun goes down, I take my rest. I dig the well from which I drink, I farm the soil which yields my food, I share creation. Kings can do no more.” Chinese proverb

In the sizzling heat of summer, many annuals go to seed and flowers fade. Thankfully there are plants besides cacti and succulents that enjoy the higher temperatures. Most of my favorite summer bloomers are perennials that once established require minimal irrigation. 

My top ten summer flowering favorites include acanthus, agapanthus, bougainvillea, bower vine, crape myrtle, crocosmia, daylily, hollyhock, hydrangea, and rose. I also am a huge fan of the Naked Lady, but it sprouts its neck later in August, lasting through the fall months.

Acanthus:
 

Also known as Bear’s breeches, Acanthus can be deciduous or evergreen growing from rhizomes. It is drought tolerant with shiny oval leaves lobed with spines and spires of flowers that are purple, white, pink, cream, or green. It doesn’t like full sun when it is hot, so it may be best to grow Acanthus in partial shade. The flower spikes can grow to five feet. I like it as a back border plant or to line a path. The good news: butterflies flock to it. The bad news: deer devour it. Cut it to the ground in the fall and it will re-emerge in the spring. Greek Corinthian column capitals were and are modeled after the Acanthus plant.

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Agapanthus: 

Another rhizome spreader that is hardy in drought times, yet pretty in bloom is the Lily of the Nile or African Lily that we know as Agapanthus. The rhizomes retain water and divide easily to plant in other locations. They prefer a sunny location, although I’ve seen many beautiful specimens growing in the shade. The sky blue, midnight blue, or white trumpet-shaped flowers bloom June through the end of August with stalks that reach four feet high. The elegant strap-like leaves are evergreen. When planting work compost and organic matter into the soil and continue to fertilize during the growing season. Deadhead when the flowers fade and toss them on the compost pile. Wear gloves when working with this plant as it is poisonous and could cause an allergic reaction in those who are prone to plant allergies.

Agapanthus-blue.jpeg

Bougainvillea:

A gorgeous tropical vining shrub, bougainvillea flowers are modified leaves called bracts blooming in colors of yellow, orange, white, and my personal favorite, fluorescent pink. Native to arid climates, bougainvillea thrives in hot weather and needs full sun while requiring a minimum of H20. On our ranch, bougainvillea covered one full side of our two-story farmhouse delighting our family year after year with a spectacular showcase of hues. Plant bougainvillea on a strong structure or well-made fence. It can be pruned when it starts to rain or after flowering. Since it is susceptible to frost, cover with burlap in the winter to protect it if your plant is small enough.

bougainvillea.jpeghttps://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1511/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Perennial-favorites.html

Bower Vine:

This is the most perfect flowering evergreen vine for pergolas, arbors, and trellises. Grow bower vine over awnings, around windows and doors, or as a gate climber. It is easy to care for, doesn’t invade a roof or siding, and is a swift grower.  Blooming throughout spring, summer, and fall, flowers are pink and white with deep-throated trumpets attractive to hummingbirds. I grow bower vines in full sun and partial shade. Once established they don’t require much water while providing year-round beauty with their shiny green leaves. Prune whenever the vine needs a bit of TLC as this vine is not fussy. Cut stems to add to indoor arrangements.

pink bower vine.jpeg

Crape Myrtle:

The crape myrtle is hands-down one of my very favorite specimens because of its beauty and interest in every season. In summer the bush or tree is covered in showy flowers, in fall the leaves change to gorgeous red, umber, and gold, in winter the leaves fall off showcasing beautiful bark, and in spring the shiny green leaves sprout. All crape myrtles bloom on new wood and come in colors that include watermelon, red, white, pink, lavender, and purple. I prune my purple shrubs in early winter to twelve inches from the ground and by summer they have grown to three feet high. Prune trees periodically to keep them shaped. Although crape myrtles prefer acidic soil, they will grow in sand, clay, or loam. The Chinese Lagerstroemia indica crape myrtle is prone to powdery mildew so look for a cross with the Japanese L. fauriei to enjoy glorious blooms, attractive bark, and leaves without any issues. They are drought resistant, too!

crape myrtle-purple shrub .jpeg

Crocosmia:

This firecracker plant boasts a tropical origin with bright blazing orange, yellow, red flowers that light up the summer garden. In our region, they start blooming right in time for the fireworks of Independence Day and continue until autumn. Their sword-like foliage offers spikey interest to the landscape. Hummingbirds and butterflies are especially attracted to the trumpet-shaped blooms while deer and rabbits stay away. The corms naturalize and the stalks make excellent floral displays. After the flowers are spent, the seedpods provide additional appeal. 

crocosmia firecracker.jpeg

Daylily:

Sometimes called “ditch weed”, daylilies will grow anywhere! Their botanical name is Hemerocallis from the Greek word hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty. They tolerate every kind of soil, are extremely low-maintenance, and require minimal irrigation once established. They are not a true lily as they have fleshy roots as opposed to bulbs. The leaves grow from a crown and the flowers form on a leafless stem called a “scape”. Most do not self-sow. Divide the roots every three to five years to create more plants. Each flower blooms for only a day, but each scape will have a dozen or more buds that will continue to open. A variety of colors and shades are available with butter yellow being the most ubiquitous. Every part of the daylily is edible. Sauté the buds in butter, garlic, and a little white wine for a delicious veggie treat that tastes like asparagus mixed with peas.

yellow daylily (1).jpeg

Hollyhock:

Happy memories surround the legacy of my hollyhocks. I can’t remember a time when hollyhocks were not growing in my mother’s or grandmother’s gardens. My seeds are heirlooms from several generations of family gardeners with a history that goes back over a hundred years. Hollyhocks are the classic cottage garden staple that every gardener should include for spikey tall stalks of pink, white, magenta, and red blooms that will continue until winter. A member of the hibiscus family, this self-seeding China native grows best in full sun in rich, well-drained soil. Because they grow to fifteen feet or more, plant towards the back of the garden or near a fence. By deadheading when the flowers fade, you will encourage continuous bloom production. Prune to the ground by winter and save the seedpods to share.

hollyhock.jpeg

Hydrangea:

Another favorite plant for generations of gardeners, hydrangeas produce abundant blooms in partial sun. They are thirsty plants and need mulch around them to improve the soil texture and maintain moisture. Pruning hydrangeas is tricky because it is necessary to know what type you have as different hydrangeas require different pruning times and methods. The most common hydrangeas are Bigleaf, Oakleaf, Mountain, and Climbing which are pruned after summer blooming. They rebloom on “old wood” which are the stems from the previous season. Panicle and Smooth hydrangeas bloom on new wood (the stems from this season) and must be pruned before the buds form. I’m looking forward to trialing new Panicles from Proven Winners which will include Limelight Prime and a space-saving Fire Light Tidbit that will have cream-colored flowers covering the plant in summer, then turning to pink and lasting through frost.

hydrangea.jpeg

Rose:

No introduction is necessary for the fabulousness of the rose. Roses are the most versatile, beautiful, and coveted plant in every garden. When gardeners proclaim roses to be the bedrock of their landscape, they are not exaggerating. Roses come in every color, shade, petal, and size to suit every desire. Roses are a diverse group of plants that include shrub roses, carpet roses, floribundas, hybrid teas, climbing, old roses, rambling roses, and tree roses. Their shapes and structures differ. Some look like peonies, others have a single floral pattern. There are rosettes, cups, doubles, pompons, button-eyed, incurved, recurved, and quartered.  My favorites are David Austin roses with intoxicating fragrance, fine foliage, disease resistance, and stunning flowers.  Over a hundred roses grace my landscape and I am constantly adding more. As Emma Goldman stated, “I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”

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When the sun rises, I go to work, spending as much time in nature as feasible. Consider planting some of my perennial favorites to enjoy elegance and exquisite allure throughout the summer months. 

Stay cool, hydrated, and share creation.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia-Summer picnic.jpeg

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1511/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Perennial-favorites.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

cyntha brian with books SM copy.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Bee Diligent

Posted by Felix Assivo on
0
Empowerment
Bee Diligent

bees on clover.jpeg

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams. Henry David Thoreau

Barefoot and wearing our bathing suits, my daughter was teaching me Bar Method exercises out on our lawn on a beautiful summer afternoon. Partway through the practice I was stung on my foot by a honeybee dining on the clover. Clover is a wonderful addition to lawns as it adds natural nitrogen to the soil, however, when playing on the grass we must remember to be cautious as both red and white clover provide favorite nectar to our honey friends. 

We all want to attract pollinators to our gardens. The more flowers you grow equals the more food for the habitat of the pollinators. Bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds, bats, and bids are responsible for 35% of our food crop and 75% of the world’s flowering plants. Every three bites of food eaten can be directly thanks to the pollination from these garden friends. By helping plants reproduce, pollinators sustain our ecosystem and produce our natural resources. Sadly, the pollinator population is in jeopardy on a global level.

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In 2006, the honeybee population substantially declined in a phenomenon that became known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. When the worker bees disappeared, they would leave behind a queen and a few nurse bees to care for the queen and the remaining immature bees. There were rarely dead bees around the hives. Hives cannot sustain themselves without worker bees which resulted in the loss of the colony. There were many theories advanced on why the problem arose including new diseases, parasites, mites, pesticide poisoning, habitat changes, poor nutrition, and stress. Although an actual cause has never been determined, most scientists believe that CCD is related to this combination of causes. 

Honey bees reflect the health of the environment. Our agriculture depends on the pollination of honey bees. If bees continue to die, consumers can expect increased food prices and more scarcity. As gardeners, we can do our part to provide habitat and food for all pollinators and beneficial insects, including bees. 

Here are some ways individual gardeners can make a difference while creating harmony in the landscape:

  •  Support the pollinator population all season by including plants that bloom spring until the beginning of winter. Bumblebees need early-season nectar and pollen while bees need late-season blooms for winter hibernation.
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  •  Add easy-to-grow natives and native hybrids to your garden.
  •  Replace barren areas with wildflowers and perennials.
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  •  Include clover in your lawn.
  •  Avoid using any pesticides or herbicides.
  •  Provide a source of water by including a fountain or even a shallow birdbath with a landing pad of stones or pebbles.
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  •  Pollinators need a sheltered habitat of rocks, trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
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In general, bees tend to enjoy plants that have flat flower clusters, short tubular shapes, and single flowers which allow them to access the nectar and pollen easily. 

Attract and Feed Pollinators, especially bees and Bumblebees by planting a selection of these specimens:

Anise

Aster

Bachelor Button

Bee Balm

Black-Eyed Susan

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Blazing Star

Bottlebrush

Calendula

Chamomile

Clover

Cleome

Cosmos

Daisy

Delphinium

Echinacea

Fennel

Four O’Clock

Foxglove

Gladiola

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Hollyhock

Iris

Lupine

Lavender

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Magnolia

Marigold

Milkweed

Morning glory

Nasturtium

Nigella

Oregano

Poppy

Rosemary

Salvia

Sedum

Sunflower

Sweet Pea

Yarrow

Zinnia

Another great addition to any pollinator garden is the bearded iris. Irises spread as they mature, with old rhizomes producing new ones to form rhizome clumps. These clumps need to be divided every 3–5 years to avoid overcrowding and reduce the likelihood of soft rot. You may want to designate an area specifically for an iris plot. Divide and replant the rhizomes to grow your garden. To divide irises do the following:

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https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1510/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

  1. 1. About four weeks after the flowers fade, cut down the foliage by about two-thirds.
  2. 2. Carefully dig up the clumps and gently separate individual rhizomes by hand or with garden shears.
  3. 3. Discard damaged or discolored rhizomes. Also, toss out any with soft spots.
  4. 4. Freshen soil with compost and replant the newly separated rhizomes 15–24″ apart.
  5. 5. If you have too many, share with friends and family. 

Bees are critical to the well-being of the planet. My daughter and her husband have become home beekeepers and are enjoying the delicious honey that their bees create from the many flowers growing in their garden. The bees are sunbeams of beauty and productivity.  It’s up to humans to “bee” careful with how we manage our biologicals to promote the health and longevity of all pollinators.

Just don’t exercise barefoot on the clover!

Photos: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1510/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian.html

Happy Gardening. happy growing!

BEST cynthi-BEESUIT.jpeg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy copies of her best-selling books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Honoring Dads

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
Honoring Dads

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Happy Father’s Day
June 2021

MIRACLE MOMENT®

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham


1985-Al Aburrini-Dad-POPPA (dad)A MESSAGE FROM FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,CYNTHIA BRIAN 

My Dad was my hero and my champion. My great fortune was to be born into a family where my parents deeply loved and respected one another and their five children. We were farmers, working the land from daybreak to dusk to feed others. At the time, as far as monetary means, we had little but we always were surrounded with love, encouragement, and home-grown fruits and vegetables. When my Dad came in from a day in the fields, we kids would fight over who got to dust him off with a broom. He was a humble, self-educated man who knew how to fix anything. We always felt safe when we were with Daddy. He’d saddle our horses, tighten our ski bindings, build our chicken coops and sheep pens, and take us on the control burns to mitigate fire danger. My Mom was his girlfriend and he treated her like a Queen. When he walked his girls down the aisle to be married, his gentle eyes shed tears of joy. He made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. When he died young, over 1500 people came to his funeral to honor this simple farmer who treated everyone with dignity and love.

My hands are rough and calloused from the years of driving tractors, cutting fruit, raising animals, and digging dirt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  By growing up on a farm under the tutelage of my Mom and Dad, I learned the importance of family, hard labor, responsibility, caring, and integrity. My Dad inspired me to live my dreams and help others reach theirs. He is the reason that I founded Be the Star You Are!® 22 years ago.

This week we honor fathers, those wonderful men who give so much of their talent, time, and treasures to help their children become the stars they were born to be.

Reach out to the Dads who make a difference every day in big and small ways. Show your appreciation. You can pay homage by making a donation in the name of your special father through Be the Star You Are!® In recognition donations can be made by check to Be the Star You Are!®, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556. A card honoring your wonderful man will be sent as well as a receipt. If you prefer to use Paypal or GiveButter, here are the links:

GiveButter: https://givebutter.com/be-the-star-you-are-charity

PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

I will be forever grateful to my amazing Daddy for being outstanding in his field! He was the best of mankind and a role model for what a good person can be. Thank you, Daddy, for shining your light on me and so many others.

Happy Father’s Day to all the magnificent men who make this world a better place. We love and bless you.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 Cyn wedding with dad 1975


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WANT TO BE IN A SURVEY OF  “Experiences of Children and Teens During the COVID-19 Pandemic”?

A group of researchers from NYU, University of Vermont, University of Ottawa, and University of Colorado Boulder is studying the experiences of school-aged children and teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are the parent of a child or teen ages 5-17 or are 18 years old, we would love for you to participate! The survey should take less than a half an hour and you can close and return to it at a later time if needed.

Here is the link for parents of children ages 5-10 to complete the survey: https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_4VGIYrj7OZgW9T0

Here is the link for children and teens ages 11-18 to complete the survey with their parent’s permission (if under 18): https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_6JS2H1zV4M87DDM

Feel free to pass the link along to those in your network with children and teens ages 5-17 or other 18-year-olds who may be interested in participating.

Please reach out to Gabriella Meltzer at gm2477@nyu.edu if you’d like more information or if you have any questions.


REMEMBERING DAD

All Saints CemeteryI wish I could more vividly remember the afternoons when we ate popsicles together. Or the evenings drying dishes when I wore your slippers.  A photo taken in the parking lot of an amusement park reminds me of the day I won a big plush dog, and how I couldn’t wait to show you.  You were the most important person in my life.

Because you’ve been gone for more than 35 years, it’s hard to picture what I know were many days when you made me very happy.  I didn’t know how I would go on without you in my life.  But I did. And when I look up into the beautiful blue sky, I can almost imagine seeing your kind smile.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com


ARE YOU AN ORGANIZATION THAT NEEDS BOOKS?

Be the Star You Are!® has boxes of brand new books to donate to shelters, organizations, or charities in need. The books retail for $15-20, but to increase literacy, they are FREE to qualified groups. Shipping cost is $25 per box. There will be 10-12 books per box. If your group is interested, email info@bethestaryouare.org. We do not provide a list of the titles but will discuss with you the type of books that would be most beneficial. We have non-fiction and fiction, soft cover and hard cover.  The shipping charge can be paid via PayPal or GiveButter. Details will be emailed to you.
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GIFTS FOR DAD!

We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

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3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

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5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/

T-shirts

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6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4


EDU_TAINMENT WITH BE THE STAR YOU ARE! RADIO

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LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
 
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You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen. 
Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.
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DIRECT LINKS


CELEBRATE DAD!

Thank you logo 2Stay healthy and safe as you venture out this summer. Honor your father and have a wonderful Father’s Day. Thanks for being part of our Be the Star You Are!® galaxy.

Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556

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