Friday, October 25, 2013


Elder's Meditation of the Day October 25

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 25

"What does it matter how long I pray, so long as my prayers are answered?"

Too often we worry about the words we use in prayer. We focus on the words. What really counts is the spirit and intent behind our words. It is the spirit and intent that the Creator responds to. He reads and listens to our heart. Prayer isn't only when we fold our hands and pray. Prayer is when we talk to the Creator even when we are walking down a path or sitting on a hill or walking in the mountains. The Elders say, walk in prayer. We should be willing to talk with the Great One.

Great Spirit, today I will pray to You all day. Listen to my heart.

By: Don Coyhis

Thursday, October 24, 2013

150 years ago....

150 years ago, Sept. 3, 1863, The Dakota and Lakota incident remained submerged for years. For whites, Whitestone Hill was overshadowed by the Civil War. (seems many massacres were overshadowed by Lincoln's civil war. it hasn't been forgotten, another massacre then a large monument was erected for the dead soldiers. lincoln cleared the way as planned)

Whitestone Hill: Was N.D.’s deadliest conflict, 150 years ago. It stands as the deadliest conflict ever recorded on North Dakota soil. Between 100 and 300 Dakota and Lakota Sioux men, women and children were killed, and 20 soldiers died from their wounds. After the fighting stopped, soldiers lingered for two days, burning teepees, shooting dogs as well as wounded horses and burning the Indians’ food and belongings.

An immense mound of buffalo meat – half a million pounds being dried for winter provisions – was burned. The melted tallow ran in streams down the hilly terrain. The acts of destruction ensured that even the survivors were condemned to hunger and hardship as they scattered after the attack on a sprawling Sioux encampment in Dakota Territory. But what happened on this lonely patch of rolling prairie 150 years ago, on Sept. 3, 1863, has been largely forgotten, as if swept from collective memory. The Dakota and Lakota, the incident was so painful that it remained submerged for many years. For whites, Whitestone Hill was overshadowed by the cataclysmic Civil War. The 150th anniversary observance, held last week, aimed to change that, to help heal historical wounds among descendants of the victims.

Efforts to nominate Whitestone Hill to the National Register of Historic Places have prompted a deeper examination in recent years about the enormous human suffering that came from the clash and a reappraisal of what happened and why. The U.S. Army, which was carrying out reprisal raids following the deadly 1862 Minnesota Uprising, called it the Battle of Whitestone Hill. Today, in fact, the National Park Service recognizes the site – which is in Dickey County, a 90-minute drive south from Jamestown – as a Civil War battlefield.

Descendants of the Dakota and Lakota Sioux, many of them from Yanktonai bands, use a different word to describe what happened here. They call it a massacre, with human consequences still felt today.

‘Basically forgotten’

Mary Big Moccasin had spent some glorious late summer days playing children’s games.

Her family was among the 4,000 Sioux, mostly Yanktonais and Hunkpatina, who had gathered for a late summer ritual, a trade rendezvous and buffalo hunt.

Late one afternoon, as the annual event was winding down, men in blue uniforms came swooping into her teepee village on horseback, shooting indiscriminately and surrounding the camp.

The 9-year-old girl, who became separated from her family, was unable to escape unscathed. She was shot in the leg, but was able to crawl to safety in a ravine, where she hid for several days.

She watched as the soldiers shot dogs and wounded horses and heard the cries of women and children. She was taken prisoner and held for seven years.

As an old woman, she sometimes woke up from a nightmare, screaming, “Run, run, the soldiers are coming!”

Many years later, her great-great granddaughter, Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, came across Mary Big Moccasin’s account in an archive – where she also read that the site of the conflict, whose precise location had been forgotten, was discovered 20 years later when a settler was picking up buffalo bones and discovered they were mixed with human bones.

“Oh my God, these are our relatives!” Brave Bull Allard said, recalling her reaction.

Some Indians who were killed were hastily buried, some beneath stones, but their grave locations never were recorded.

“There has never been a concrete answer” about what happened to the remains, she said. Some bodies might have been burned, she added, and some human bones likely were picked up with buffalo bones to be sold and ground into fertilizer.

The Yanktonais Sioux bands, sometimes referred to as Nakota, were widely dispersed after Whitestone, permanently separating many families whose members ended up in far-flung locations, Brave Bull Allard said.

Soldiers captured 156 women, children and old men and marched them to Fort Thompson on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota, where they were held as prisoners of war. Some of their descendants still live there.

Others fled to the Devils Lake area in North Dakota, Fort Peck, Mont., or Canada to join relatives. Still others, including some of Brave Bull Allard’s relatives, later ended up at the Standing Rock Reservation.

Extended family connections lost over the years are only now being pieced together through genealogical research that Brave Bull Allard and others are helping to compile.

“After Whitestone our families separated,” she said. “We are trying to find our relatives again.”

The Yanktonais, once one of the most powerful tribes of the northern Plains, who had made their home for many years in the James River Valley, never fully recovered after Whitestone Hill. The scattered bands do not have a reservation of their own.

“The ripple effects are still all around,” Brave Bull Allard said. “We (Yanktonais) have never been given anything for the loss of our land. We never signed a treaty. We’ve been basically forgotten.”

Observances evolving

Thomas Marshall, then a congressman representing North Dakota, secured a federal grant to buy 640 acres and rebury the 20 soldiers killed at Whitestone Hill.

A 30-foot granite monument topped by a bugler was erected, encircled by the soldiers’ graves on a hilltop. Marshall spoke when the memorial park was dedicated in 1914, an event attended by thousands.

For Marshall, the violence Whitestone Hill was justifiable. It cleared the way for white settlers, whom he viewed as superior to the Indians who were killed or displaced and later confined to reservations.

Lightning struck the monument in 1922, and later the North Dakota Legislature appropriated $500 for repairs to what was maintained for years as a state park.

In 1942, during dedication of improvements built by Depression-era Works Progress Administration laborers, a small concrete cairn of field stones was erected in memory to the Indians who died.

Two decades later, 6,000 spectators turned out for a two-day observance of the Whitestone centennial in 1963. The anniversary weekend, hosted by six neighboring communities, had a celebratory air. Events included a rodeo with a capacity crowd and traditional dances by students at the Indian boarding school in Wahpeton.

In recent years, the State Historical Society of North Dakota has sponsored anniversary observances, often during Labor Day weekend, with educational programs about Whitestone Hill and related events.

This year, the Aug. 24 public observance of the milestone 150th anniversary was quiet and reflective. Brave Bull Allard, one of the tribal historians consulted for the report nominating the site for national historic recognition, served as a speaker. A buffalo dinner was served.

Today, which marks the actual anniversary date, Dakota and Lakota will gather at Whitestone Hill for a private observance.

“It’s the 150th year,” Brave Bull Allard said. “We need to heal. The repercussions of what happened 150 years ago are still happening today.”

Site ‘a touchy subject’

Today the conflict surrounding Whitestone Hill involves interpretation of the bloody conflict.

The controversy is one reason it has taken so long to prepare to nominate it for the National Register of Historic Places, said Tom Isern, a history professor at North Dakota State University who studies the Dakota Conflict in Dakota Territory.

“It’s a touchy subject,” he said. “This is the most controversial Dakota War site we have in North Dakota. There’s a greater sense of injustice around this site than any other.”

Some of the Hunkpapa Lakota at the encampment probably took part in earlier clashes, and some Santee Dakota resisters from Minnesota also were present, along with refugee Santees.

The Yanktonais, the most prevalent group at Whitestone Hill, had nothing to do with the Minnesota uprising, and have a justifiable grievance over the attack, Isern said.

For some, the discussion has moved beyond whether the clash was a battle or massacre.

Aaron Barth, who is writing his doctoral dissertation in history at NDSU about events including Whitestone Hill, prefers the term, borrowed from another historian, “site of memorial, site of mourning.”

Still, he believes what happened was a massacre, and notes the general who led the Army troops, Gen. Alfred Sully, himself termed it a “slaughter.”

Dakota Goodhouse, a member of the Standing Rock tribe whose ancestry is both Hunkpapa Lakota and Yanktonai, agrees. But he doesn’t press the point.

“That is what happened, but I don’t know if North Dakota is ready for that word,” Goodhouse said. “I think massacre is such a strong, powerful, negative word.

“Memorial has a connotation to it that demands respect,” he said. Today, Whitestone Hill should be a place of prayer and reflection, he said.

Goodhouse and Barth were on the team that compiled a detailed narrative history of Whitestone Hill for the State Historical Society of North Dakota, which is preparing the nomination for the national historic register.

The application went before a state review panel Friday. An earlier version was rejected in 2010 because it was deemed to rely too much on official army reports, with insufficient input from the tribes.

Conflicting accounts, drawn from such different cultures and perspectives, are inevitable and happen all the time, Barth said.

Trying to arrive at a complete understanding is important, he said, but no
 — with Lena Brown andGilbert Vega.

One Eagle Feather against RCMP Blue

Hemp is Earth Medicine

How the Fly Saved the River – Ojibway Legend

How the Fly Saved the River – Ojibway Legend

Many, many years ago when the world was new, there was a beautiful river. Fish in great numbers lived in this river, and its water was so pure and sweet that all the animals came there to drink.

A giant moose heard about the river and he too came there to drink. But he was so big and drank so much that soon the water began to sink lower and lower. Thebeavers were worried because the water around their lodges was disappearing and soon their homes would be destroyed.

The muskrats were worried, too. What would they do if the water vanished? And, of course, the fish were very worried. The other animals could live on land if the water dried up, but they surely could not.

All the animals tried to think of a way to drive the moose from the river, but he was so big that they were too afraid to try. Even the bear was afraid of him.

At last the fly said he would try to drive the moose away. All the animals laughed and jeered. How could a tiny fly frighten a giant moose? The fly said nothing, but that day, as soon as the moose appeared, he went into action.

He landed on the moose’s foreleg and bit sharply. The moose stamped his foot harder, and each time he stamped, the ground sank and the water rushed in to fill it up. Then the fly jumped about all over the moose, biting and biting and biting until the moose was in a frenzy. The moose dashed madly about the banks of the river, shaking his head, stamping his feet, snorting and blowing, but he couldn’t get rid of that pesky fly. At last the moose fled from the river, and didn’t come back.

The fly was very proud of his achievement, and boasted to the other animals, “Even the small can fight the strong if they use their brains to think.”

A child is the greatest gift from Wankan Tanka. -HIGH EAGLE

If all the Beasts were gone.......

Elder's Meditation of the Day - October 24 --- w/picture

Elder's Meditation of the Day - October 24

"We create that bad among ourselves. We create it; then we try to call it devil, satan, or evil. But man creates it. There is no devil. Man creates the devil."
-- Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA

Inside every human being are the laws and codes by which we should live. These laws and codes are communicated to us through a little voice. When we are still, this voice guides us. If we choose to live out of harmony, our lives become filled with anger, hate, selfishness, dishonesty, etc... When these things appear in our lives, we give up accountability and blame it on something or someone else. If we want to live in harmony, we need to pray our way back to living the principles the Creator gave us.

Grandfather, today let me walk with the principles.

By: Don Coyhis

This is why we plank....

Starting this today!! Who's with me?
The 30 Day Plank Challenge will send your core strength through the roof! 
Day 1 - 20 seconds 
Day 2 - 20 seconds 
Day 3 - 30 seconds 
Day 4 - 30 seconds
Day 5 - 40 seconds
Day 6 - REST
Day 7 - 45 seconds
Day 8 - 45 seconds
Day 9 - 60 seconds
Day 10 - 60 seconds
Day 11 - 60 seconds
Day 12 - 90 seconds
Day 13 - REST
Day 14 - 90 seconds
Day 15 - 90 seconds
Day 16 - 120 seconds
Day 17 - 120 seconds
Day 18 - 150 seconds
Day 19 - REST
Day 20 - 150 seconds
Day 21 - 150 seconds
Day 22 - 180 seconds
Day 23 - 180 seconds
Day 24 - 210 seconds
Day 25 - 210 seconds
Day 26 - REST
Day 27 - 240 seconds
Day 28 - 240 seconds
Day 29 - 270 seconds

Blackfoot Words

Blackfoot Words




















Blackfoot Prayer

Lakota Words

ai - yes
an’petu kin - the day
a-oh - watch out
agli - to return
ahoappa - wheat
akicita - peacekeepers
amba - goodby
anapo - the dawn
anho - to count coup
ate - father
awi - they

can wakan - sun dance
cetan - hawk
cetan nagin - shadow hawk
cha - without
Chaka dee Wakpa - the Powder river
chante - heart
chatawinna - left-handed woman
chikala - little/small
chun - tree
cinks - my son
ciye - my brother (a man’s brother)
cola - friend
colapi - friends
cunks - my daughter
dho! - an exclamation
dopa - four

esnella - a loner
< eta-ma="" gozua="" -="" rain-in-the-face ey-hee! - alas!

Haho! - look at this!
Hanhepi-wi - the moon
He wonjetah - One Horn
hecheto aloe - it is finished
hecheto welo - it is done well/ it is good
he-ay-hee-ee! - a call to the Great Spirit
heecha - owl
hehaka - elk
hehaka sapa - black elk
heyah - no
heyoka - clown
hin - yes
hohahe - welcome
hohe - enemy
hoka hey - pay attention!
hoppo! - let’s go!
Huhn - kill cry
hunkaschila - young man
huntka - god of the east

iktomi - trickster spirit
iku - chin
ina - mother
inyan - rock
inipi - purification rite/sweat bath
ishta - she/female/girl
iyotake - sitting

kaga - demon
kangi - crow
kapi - story
katiyimo - enchanted mesa
kiksuyapi - don’t forget/remember
kikukanpi - makes room
kin - this
kokipa - fear
kikipapi - fears
kola - friend (same as cola)
kte - dead/killed
ku - come back
kuwapi - is chased by

Lakota Oyate - the Sioux Nation
le mita - mine
le mita cola - my friend
le mita pila - my thanks
leksi - uncle
lela - very
lela oosni - very cold
luta - red

mahpyua - cloud
Mahpyua Luta - Red Cloud
maka - earth
maka mani - walk on foot
Maka Sichu - Bad Lands
mani - walking
mato - bear
maya owicha paka- fate/ he who pushes you off a cliff
maza - metal
maza canku - iron
maza chante - armor (metal heart)
maza ska - silver
mi - me
miyelo ca kola - I am friend
micaje - my name is
Mieyebo - I am
mila - knife
mila hanska - long knives
mitawa mine
minne - water
minne sosa - muddy waters
minne sota - many waters
minne-wakan - holy water (also whiskey)
mita kuye ayasin - we are relatives
mitawin - my wife/my woman
moksins - moccasins

na - and
nacacijin - loyal/faithful
napa lute - red hand
nagi tanka - Great Spirit
nimitawa ktelo - you will be mine
nita - yours
nituwe he? - who are you?
najin - stand/standing
niyaha - feather
nunpi - two

ocheti - seven
ohan! - yes!
ohinyan - forever
ohitika - brave/courageous
ohunko - false/untrue
onikare - sweat lodge
okute shooter
ocheti shakowin - 7 Sacred campfires of the Sioux
onsila - poor thing
onshimala ye - pity me
oo-oohey - it is time
oosni - cold
owa - wound
owa sicha - bad wound
owanka - floor
owatamla - straight tongue
ozuye - warrior
owanka wakan - sacred altar
owayyeke wasse - everything is good for the eyes

Paha Sapa - Black Hills
paha - butte/mountain
pahaska - longhair
pecokan sunpi - scalp lock
pejula - medicine

pejula sapa - coffee/black medicine
pejula wacasa - medicine man
peta - stone
pilamaya thank you
pila mita - my thanks
piskin - corral
pte - buffalo cow
ptesan-wi - white buffalo woman
ptecila - small buffalo

schila - old
skuyela - sweet
sheo - sage hen
shinte - tail
Shinte Galeska - Spotted Tail
shunkaha - wolf
shunke canku - iron horse
shunke-kan - pinto
sicha - bad
siha -foot
Siha Sapa - Blackfoot
siha sicha - bad foot
ska - white
sosho - snake
sota - many
skan - sky
sintkala waksu - sweat lodge
sitomni - all over
siyotanka - flute made of cedar wood with a long neck and heard of a bird
skunk manitou - coyota
sunkaku - younger brother ta - to sing
tanka - big/great
tashina - robe
tashina pte - buffalo robe
tashunke - horse
Tashunke-Witke - Crazy Horse
tasina shawl/blanket
tatoke - antelope
tahunsa - cousin
takuskanskan - power of motion/ power in anything that moves
tasunke hinzi - yellow horse
tatanka - buffalo bull
tatetob - the four winds
tatanka ohitika - brave buffalo
tantanka ptecila - short bull
tarca sapa - black deer
Tatonka Iyotake - Sitting Bull
to - blue
tokalu - fox
taku - something
tiyata - at home
toks’an - around about
tohan - when
tokiya where
tonkala - mouse
toksha ake wacinyuanktin ktelo - I shall see you again
tuki - is that so? (used only by women)
tunkasila - grandfather
tunka - stone

unci - grandmother
unktehi - water monster

wacin - I want
wacanga - sweet grass
wagichun wagi - talking tree (the cottonwood- sacred to the Lakota)
wahi - I am coming
wakina - thunder
wakuwala - chases
wakan - holy
wakan ankantu - great holy
wakan tanka - God
wakan tanan kici un - may the Great Spirit bless you
wakinyan - thunderbird
wana - one
wanagi - ghost/spirit
Wanagi Tacaku - Spirit path
wanagi yata - place of souls
wanbli - eagle
wanbli cikala - little eagle
wanbli luta - red eagle
wankala - tender/soft
waniyetula - winter
wasin - here
wanbli galeshka - spotted eagle
wasicun winyan - white woman
wasichu - white man
wasna - pemmican
Wa-sna-win - Storm Woman
wastelakapi - beloved
wayo kapi - it is the truth
waun - I am
waste - good

wi - sun
wichasha wakan - medicine man
wicksemna - ten
wicoti mitawa - my village
wicasa - man
wicasa tankala - Little Big Man
wicasa wakan - holy man
wickmunke - rainbow, or trap, or end of the rainbow
winchinchala - girl
winyan wanagi - spirit woman
witkowin - crazy woman
wiyan wakan - holy woman
wiwanyank wacipi - sun dance
wiwasteka - beautiful woman
wojapi - berry soup
wo-wakan - supernatural
wohitika - to be brave
wolakota wa yaka cola - peace without slavery
woyute - food
wonunicun - a mistake has been made

yamina three
yata - place
yunke-lo - death
yumni - whirlwind
yuta - eat

zunta - honest
zuya - warpath


Elder's Meditation of the Day October 24

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 24
"We create that bad among ourselves. We create it; then we try to call it devil, satan, or evil. But man creates it. There is no devil. Man creates the devil."
--Wallace Black Elk, LAKOTA
Inside every human being are the laws and codes by which we should live. These laws and codes are communicated to us through a little voice. When we are still, this voice guides us. If we choose to live out of harmony, our lives become filled with anger, hate, selfishness, dishonesty, etc... When these things appear in our lives, we give up accountability and blame it on something or someone else. If we want to live in harmony, we need to pray our way back to living the principles the Creator gave us.
Grandfather, today let me walk with the principles.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 23

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 23
"We do not walk alone. Great Being walks beside us. Know this and be grateful."
--Polingaysi Q�yawayma, HOPI
Many religions have different names for these Beings. Some are called angels, some are called spirits. These Spirit Beings are helpers. They guide us, protect us and will help us during our times of need. Sometimes they give us dreams. We need not be afraid when these Spirit Helpers come. We need to understand they are the Creator's helpers.
Great Spirit, send me the helpers to guide my path as I seek to walk in Your service.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Black Elk

The Circle.....

"The Circle has healing power. In the Circle, we are all equal. When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you. No one is above you. No one is below you. The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity. The Hoop of Life is also a circle. On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree and every plant. It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet."

~Dave Chief, Oglala Lakota~

An Indian Respects a Brave Man

An Indian respects a brave man,
but be despises a coward.
He loves a straight tongue,
but he hates a forked tongue

Artist: Kirby Sattler

Elder's Meditation of the Day - October 21

Elder's Meditation of the Day - October 21

"There is one God looking down on us all. We are children of the one God. God is listening to me. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we now say."
-- Geronimo, APACHE

The Old Ones before us knew things. Many of them were so spiritual that the Creator told them things through visions, ceremonies, and prayer. The Creator taught them about interconnectedness, balance and respect. The Old Ones experienced these things and told us we are all children of the same God. We all live under the same natural laws. Every human being, every animal, every plant, every insect, every bird, we are all the same in the eyes of God.

Great Mystery, teach me to respect all the things You have created.

By: Don Coyhis

Way of the Warrior

Way of the Warrior
Code of Conduct


Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true Warrior, there are no shades of gray in the question of honesty and justice. There is only right and wrong.


A Warrior has no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A Warrior is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals.


Rise up above the masses of people who are afraid to act. Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A Warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky, It is dangerous. It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind, it is intelligent and strong.


A true Warrior has only one judge of honor, and this is himself. Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.


Through intense training the Warrior becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.


When a Warrior has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to "give his word." He does not have to "promise."


For the Warrior, having done some "thing" or said some "thing," he knows he owns that "thing." He is responsible for it, and all the consequences that follow. A Warrior is immensely loyal to those in his care, to those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true.

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 22

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 22
"Growth is a painful process."
--Wilma Mankiller, CHEROKEE
Whenever we grow, we usually need to let go of emotional attachments. Letting go can be painful. Sometimes growth allows us to deal with fear. All fear can fit into two categories: one, we're going to lose something we have, and two, we're not going to get something we want. Both of these categories can cause pain. The best way to grow is to pray to the Great Spirit and ask Him to guide and protect us. All growth is guided by God.
My Creator, guide my growth today and give me Your love and courage to help my pain.

Everything on Earth is Borrowed....

Monday, October 21, 2013

Die like Warriors

Hold On --Pueblo Indian Prayer

Peace Pipes-

Colorado hemp offers hope for struggling farmers

Colorado hemp offers hope for struggling farmers

In Colorado, the first commercial crop of hemp in 56 years is harvested, and demand is high. One problem: It's illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

October 11, 2013|By Jenny Deam
    • Email
  • Ryan Loflin tends to a hemp plant at his farm in Crested Butte, Colo.
Ryan Loflin tends to a hemp plant at his farm in Crested Butte, Colo. (Aaron Ontiveroz / Denver…)
SPRINGFIELD, Colo. — Out near a lonely highway southwest of town, a farmer's son stuck some seeds in the ground last spring to see what would happen. What he pulled from the soil made history and has sown new hope for struggling farmers both here and across the nation.
Last weekend, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin, a fifth-generation Coloradan, along with an enthusiastic crew of 45 volunteers, harvested what is being called the first U.S. crop of commercial hemp in more than half a century.
Hemp is the mild-mannered sister of marijuana, springing from the same tall, leafy plant family. Although it is often mistaken for its more potent sibling, hemp has only a tiny trace of the buzz-worthy chemical THC found in marijuana. Highly marketable, hemp's seeds, roots, stalks, fibers and oil are used for products including soap, clothing and construction materials. A company in Boulder even sells hemp ice cream.
It grows easily here, needing less water in this flatland of drought and wind. Loflin's father, John, has made his living coaxing corn, wheat and alfalfa from the soil since the 1950s. Over the years he has watched the hard life take its toll as storefronts shuttered on Main Street and families moved away. The population here is about 1,500, down nearly 1,000 from a generation ago.
"This could be the miracle crop we have been waiting for," the elder Loflin says.
There is just this one pesky problem: Like marijuana, hemp is illegal. At least so says the federal government.
"According to the Controlled Substances Act, there is no differentiation between marijuana and hemp," says Dawn Dearden, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington. She says the federal law banning the two plants has been on the books since it was signed by President Nixon in 1970.
Last year things got tricky. Colorado, along with Washington state, legalized recreational marijuana. When a state law conflicts with a federal law, the feds win. But in the case of small-scale marijuana use, federal authorities have been advised to back off, letting local jurisdictions handle the issue through regulation, according to a recent Justice Department memo.
Hemp was legalized under Colorado's Amendment 64, but more as an afterthought, says Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national advocacy group. State lawmakers were directed to come up with a plan to regulate hemp farming, and that authority was given to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
"It should not be treated like a drug, it should be treated like corn," says state Sen. Gail Schwartz, a Democrat and chair of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
For years hemp was widely grown in this country, even promoted by the government during World War II. But it eventually fell out of favor, and the last known commercial harvest was in Wisconsin in 1957.
Colorado's rules for hemp farming are still being determined and will not go into effect until next year.
Ryan Loflin knows he jumped the gun with his harvest but is unapologetic. "I like to be first," he says. "Someone needs to take this ball and run."
The father of two has never been arrested in his life, and searches for a family-friendly adjective for the federal law equating marijuana with hemp. He settles on "comical."
After Amendment 64 passed, he thought of his father's struggle, knowing hemp could potentially bring three times the profit of wheat. The big problem was — and is — getting hold of the seeds, which are illegal in this country. He is vague about how he was able to smuggle 1,500 pounds of hemp seed from Canada, Europe and China.
Last year he grew about 50 seedlings at his home in Crested Butte. He transplanted them as well as sowing the rest of his seeds on a 60-acre plot in Springfield leased from his father.
As fall approached, Loflin considered harvesting the inaugural crop with a combine but quickly found the machinery chewed up too much of the plant. He decided to go old-fashioned and pick by hand. He put out the word on Twitter and Facebook, and help arrived.
Kay Cee Carson came because she had known Loflin since kindergarten and wanted to be part of what she considers a new national movement. She's still got the blisters. Matt McClain and three others drove 18 hours straight from Los Angeles and camped in tents near the field. His company is launching a hemp clothing line that gets its material from overseas.
"I'm almost 64 years old with a bad back, but I got out there and picked too," says John Loflin. But both father and son admit they are in a trial-and-error phase because no one really knows how to grow hemp anymore in this country.
Today, the harvested hemp sits in a waist-high pile inside a steel barn. The younger Loflin says it is already spoken for by companies wanting to buy it all, root to stem. He is keeping the seeds for next year, hoping to triple his crop. His father fields calls from farmers in their 70s from across the county who thank him, saying they have wanted to plant hemp for years but never had the nerve.
Of course, not everyone is sold. Mayor Dusty Turner worries that his town's growing fame comes at too high a price.
"I don't want to be on the map for anything illegal. Maybe this is the cash crop farmers need. We want economic growth, we want families to move back. It's just we want to make sure when it does happen it's legal."
John Loflin's 94-year-old mother was worried too, but about the pickers smoking the yield.
"Mom, you don't smoke hemp," John remembers telling her.
"Oh," she replied. "Well, then I hope Ryan gets rich."
"Yeah, me too," he said. "Me too."

Native American Prayer---- by Yellow Hawk

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 21

Elder's Meditation of the Day October 21
"There is one God looking down on us all. We are children of the one God. God is listening to me. The sun, the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we now say."
--Geronimo, APACHE
The Old Ones before us knew things. Many of them were so spiritual that the Creator told them things through visions, ceremonies, and prayer. The Creator taught them about interconnectedness, balance and respect. The Old Ones experienced these things and told us we are all children of the same God. We all live under the same natural laws. Every human being, every animal, every plant, every insect, every bird, we are all the same in the eyes of God.
Great Mystery, teach me to respect all the things You have created.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

4 Step Guide to Building a Herb Spiral

4 Step Guide to Building a Herb Spiral

Want to make your own vertical herb spiral garden? This compact space saving design can be made with just a few basic steps.
Construction materials and methods vary so after deciding on the best position and gathering your materials, you can have one built the same day.

Stone filled gabion walls are an elegant twist on this herb spiral | The Micro Gardener
Depending on your budget and taste, herb spirals can be made very economically or be quite elaborate like this one with stone filled gabion walls.

Think of this as a typical ‘recipe’ you can follow, substituting ‘ingredients’ you have handy. If you like this particular design, here are some basic instructions for making a gabion wall or visit BlondeMafia or Garden Drum. Instructional videos for gabions are here andhere.  For the tutorial steps, read on!

Materials you’ll need

  • Cardboard (without ink or tape), weed mat or gravel – optional but useful to kill weeds if building your spiral straight on top of lawn. (I avoid carpet because it’s likely been treated with chemicals that will leach into the soil as it breaks down). Alternatively, you may need a drill for drainage holes if building on concrete.
  • Long stake. Secure a 1m length of string to the stake and tie at the other end with a lightweight stake, bamboo cane or chalk. Use this to draw a line on the ground to measure out the circle.

Assemble all materials ready to make the herb spiral | The Micro Gardener
Gather edging materials e.g. bricks, pavers, stones, rocks – choose long-lasting materials for a permanent structure.

  • Organic matter such as mushroom compost, worm castings, lucerne, mulch, straw and garden soil to build fertility to feed your garden long term (quantity depends on diameter of your spiral).
  • Compost (for planting your herbs into – preferably homemade so it will be full of living microorganisms or alternately, a certified organic compost).
  • Rock minerals and organic fertiliser (to add nutrients to your soil).
  • Mulch (whatever you have available) e.g. lucerne, sugarcane, baled grassy mulch hay, pea straw, grass clippings, leaves, etc.
  • Herb seedlings; bay tree and vegetable seedlings if planting.
  • (Optional) pond materials and irrigation fittings if including.


Locate your herb spiral close to the kitchen for easy harvesting. | The Micro Gardener
Choose a spot that ideally receives 5 full hours sun/day and is close to your kitchen for easy access.

Orientate your pond or bottom of the spiral on the southern side in the Southern Hemisphere and northern side in the Northern Hemisphere. When it comes to planting, this will allow you to position your plants according to their sun, shade and water requirements.

Herb spiral with compass points. | The Micro Gardener
Herb spiral with compass points.

How to Build Your Spiral

STEP 1: Measuring up – Have someone hold or bang the stake into the central point of the ground where you want to position your herb spiral. To determine the perimeter, stretch out the string attached to the centre stake to mark out your circle, drawing a line in the soil with the other stake or bamboo cane tied on the end of it (or use chalk if you are marking out a hard surface).

Measuring out a herb spiral | The Micro Gardener
An alternative method for marking out your spiral.

The diameter averages between 1.5 – 2m (5 – 6.5 ft) or 750cm – 1m (2.5 – 3.25 ft) from the centre. 
Tip: If building straight on top of concrete, make sure you drill holes or have adequate drainage.

STEP 2:  Your base – if starting on lawn you will need to stop weeds from growing. Cardboard can be used for this purpose to sheet mulch and build the spiral on top. No light = no weeds! Some people use newspapers or thick phone books instead but I choose to avoid adding anything to my organic garden with inks that may be based on genetically modified soy beans. Cardboard edges need to be well overlapped to block all light.

Cardboard base laid for a herb spiral to block weeds. | The Micro Gardener
Cardboard is easily accessible for free from most businesses that pay to have it taken away and recycled + we can tread a little lighter on the planet at the same time!

Lay your weed mat or wet cardboard (soak with a hose or in a wheelbarrow) to cover the circle you have marked out. Cardboard will breakdown and add carbon to your soil and provides a food source for microorganisms. You may also choose to add some organic matter under this to accelerate breakdown of the cardboard such as chopped vegetable scraps and other green waste from your garden.

Herb spiral base pegged out, laid with drainage gravel & pond positioned. | The Micro Gardener
The base for this site has been pegged out, a gravel base laid and pond positioned.

STEP 3: Construct the wall structure – Using your edging material of choice, start laying your bricks/rocks on the outer edge and working inwards to create a spiral shape, allowing about 0.5m (1.6 ft) width to plant into or adjust if making a smaller spiral.

Laying out the basic shape of the spiral on top of the gravel base. | The Micro Gardener
To minimise your cost and time, use the dry stone wall method where rocks or bricks are laid on top of each other, overlapping for stability.

For a more formal look, use mortar or cement between your bricks or stones.
Tip: Save your best looking materials for the outside ‘face’ and those that will not be seen on the inside of the spiral.
If using heavy rocks or stone, you may prefer to dig a shallow trench around the circumference of the circle and lay these into it on top of a layer of cardboard or weed mat to prevent weeds. If using the dry stone wall method, you may find it easier to add your organic materials as you go to provide support rather than adding these at the end for the mortar method.

Building a spiral - the width may vary depending on your requirements and space. | The Micro Gardener
A small herb spiral being constructed with bricks inside a raised garden bed with cardboard and gravel added at the base.

Once you have your basic shape laid out around the circumference, add a second tier of bricks, remembering the outside ‘wall’ of your spiral is lowest (e.g. 2 bricks high or perhaps 1-2 rocks depending on size – enough to retain your soil).

Pavers have blocked off the end and laid gradually rising to the centre ready for adding organic materials. | The Micro Gardener
Use more bricks or rocks to build the internal spiral walls, gradually increasing the height as you work your way into the centre.

The middle will usually end up about 1m (2.5 ft) high with a central planting area, gradually tapering down in height on a light slope to the bottom. You can block it off or add your bog/pond at the base if using.

Filling up base with rubble | The Micro Gardener
To minimise the quantity of organic materials required, you may prefer to add some rubble to the centre where the depth is greatest before adding your organic matter.

STEP 4: Add your organic materials & nutrition – for each of us this will be different, depending on what you have easy access to. Some people only add mulch or straw to their herb spiral and plant into pockets of compost. If you’re on a tight budget or this is all you have access to, then this system of ‘growing soil’ will work fine but ‘dead dirt’ is unlikely to bring you a successful outcome!

Like humans, plants thrive on good nutrition.”

Rather than buying in a trailer load of soil from your landscape yard, you can make your own soil teaming with living microorganisms. Soil that has a good structure (a crumbly fine texture that holds moisture well) is ideal for healthy productive plants.

Layering organic matter into the spiral. | The Micro Gardener
To achieve this, add different kinds of organic matter that will break down over time, feeding your plants rather than just garden ‘dirt’ which tends to compact & provides little nutrition.

These organic ingredients are likely much cheaper than buying in soil too!
Click below for more vertical garden resources
Your support of this site is appreciated!

Good sources of organic matter that will build soil fertility include:
  • well rotted manure
  • mushroom compost or even better, your own compost

Organic lucerne and sugar cane bales | The Micro Gardener
Lucerne, sugarcane mulch and straw mulches all add organic matter to build soil.

  • worm castings from your worm farm
  • moistened coconut fibre; and
  • for lower layers use materials like leaf litter, well chopped prunings and dry grass clippings.

Collect & bag leaf litter from gutters - it will breakdown into beautiful humus. | The Micro Gardener
Leaves from gutters are rich in nutrients & a free resource you can use to build your garden.

Sprinkle rock minerals (crusher dust from your landscapers is also suitable and very economical) and organic fertilisers as you add the organic matter to build in nutrients as a food source.

Certified organic powdered fertiliser with trace elements and minerals | The Micro Gardener
Soil Nutrition: Adding plant food that will release nutrients slowly while you build the spiral will reduce maintenance to a minimum.

If you have access to biodynamic preps you may choose to add these too. To assist breakdown and ensure there is enough moisture, water in each layer with liquid seaweed. Expect some natural settling to occur.

pH Testers are a low cost tool every gardener should use. | The Micro Gardener
Tip: It’s a good idea to check the pH balance of your organic matter – it may be necessary to sweeten the soil with some dolomite lime if the pH is too high.

Moisture loving plants at the bottom of the spiral will thrive if you include some (optional) additional moisture holding ingredients like coconut fibre (coir peat), sphagnum moss, worm castings or some well aged compost (humus).

Herb spiral planted out with a pond. | The Micro Gardener
Once your herb spiral is built, you will be ready to plant it out.

How to Videos & Resources

These videos focus more on constructing the spiral structure than building the soil but I think you will get a better idea watching several spirals being built – they all offer different perspectives and insights!

 Watch how to build your soil to feed your plants in a herb spiral, to meet their individual needs (the video quality is not great but the information is helpful!)

This video covers a Permaculture group building a spiral with straw and planting into pockets of compost.

This video shows a spiral made using rocks and soil.

Dean Chichelli from The Nature Learning Center shows how to build a Spiral Herb Garden – he mainly uses straw and then plants into pockets of compost at the end.

This last video shows how to build a very compact herb spiral with bricks.

Diagramatic technical specifications plan – Full size printable.

Herb Spiral Diagramatic Plan with Specifications

Tips for Building Your Herb Spiral

  • To fill gaps in the perimeter curves of your spiral, use small, cut or broken bricks and stones.
  • You can fill niches with ground covers like oregano or pennyroyal. Sphagnum moss can be pushed into gaps up the wall and a small amount of compost tucked inside to plant into. Or make a seed ball with some compost, a little clay and moist coconut fibre (coir peat) rolled up with seeds inside and push against the wall into the crevice. When the seeds are moist they will germinate and grow into the gaps.
  • Finish with decorative and smaller stones, rocks or bricks at the top.

Giant herb spiral with 50m pathway. | The Micro Gardener
For parks, playgrounds, schools and community gardens where you may want to build a larger spiral, adapt the design to build it on ground level instead. Allow enough space for a pathway alongside the planting area so instead of reaching in to the centre for easy access, you can walk around the spiral to pick your herbs.

  • To add a water garden at the base, dig out a hole and add black plastic to line it. You can use any container that will hold sufficient water and grow water loving species like water chestnuts and cress. Alternatively if you live in a dry climate, use the ‘pond’ as a reservoir to water the garden from.

Before & After – Some Inspiration!

Check out the Herb Spiral photo album on Facebook for more inspiring ideas.

A herb spiral - before & after 12 months | The Micro Gardener
LEFT: When spiral was first planted | RIGHT: After 12 months - depending what plants you grow, the edging may not matter!

 Really cramped for space? You can still design a mini sized herb spiral!
Herb spiral within a raised bed. | The Micro Gardener
Compact herb spiral in a raised garden bed.

Herb spiral on a small allotment. | The Micro Gardener
A clever way to maximise space on a small allotment garden!

Bamboo & rock herb spiral - before & after | The Micro Gardener
An alternative building method - with a pile of soil in the centre, then adding bamboo stakes & rock borders.