Goodness In The Cosmos

Sharing Goodness through Music, Jewelry and Food


Vegan Living

Hand dug crystals and agates found while gardening

Some of the many quartz crystal clusters and agate geodes I’ve found while gardening,

I usually spend as much time outdoors gardening as possible.  Over the years I’ve found many surprises while digging. Some finds have admittedly been, unpleasant.  Yet the ones I recall most are the many amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to discover, everything from old rusted rings, to unique stones.

However, in our most recent dwelling, my mineral finds have been the highlight of all my digging/finding, thus far.

When we first moved here I would find a quartz every so often, but last year, while planting dahlia bulbs, I found a whole catch of quartz clusters, geodes and swirls of agate.

I’ve traveled wide and far to hand collect minerals, sifting dirt in diamond mines, and visiting private lakeside destinations.  I was more than stunned to find some of the best specimens in our own yard!  How fortunate that a person who recognized the value of what was dug up, found it.  I’d be lying if  I said this was a unique occurrence to me. It’s really another example of serendipity in my life, being drawn to the right place, at the right time, and being present enough to notice.  Is it good luck, a faery gift, or happenstance in synchronicity? I’d like to call this type of moment, divine timing.

Have you ever found ‘treasure’, right under your nose, or in an unexpected location? Share in the comments or contact me at

Some of the gemstones, quartz crystal clusters, and geodes I’ve found while gardening in our yard.

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Using Rare Stones in Jewelry


It is not often that I will see a natural sardonyx, in  bead form. I think this is one of those gemstones that doesn’t usually get properly identified, as for the strong resemblance to carnelian and orange banded agate. Sardonyx is a combination of chalcedony, sard and onyx. It’s a beautiful gem with much lore and many different thoughts on gemological classification.

This particular stone was even more interesting than the usual in shape and cleave points. The facets are unevenly cut, probably due to the fracture points within the stone. Personally, I have had a few unplanned shapes come out of a stone while cutting during my own lapidary art creations.

When working with an interesting shaped, rare stone, there can be some challenges. In this bead the shape, size and weight had to be considered. It was obviously made to be a focal. Due to its hardness (sturdiness), I chose the sardonyx for a bracelet.

I did not use a traditional color match, this is a stone that should stand out.


I decided to create the design, like I usually do, by matching gemstone/gemology properties.  As usual, the stones resonated very well together and when the piece was finished, seemed as if it was always meant to be this way. It is very attractive in sunlight. Maybe I’ll get a better picture on here when the sun returns…

For the band, I used chrysoprase barrel stones, bloodstone rondelles, chrysocolla round and two rose quartz ovals.

Can you guess the energy/purpose of this piece?


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Cutting garden fresh organic herbs with an Ulu

Alaskan Ulu knife and bowl
Alaskan Ulu knife and bowl

My favorite way to cut fresh herbs is with the Alaskan Ulu knife and bowl my in-laws brought me back from their Alaskan cruise, over a decade ago.

It’s handy, useful, and reminds me of all the ways I am blessed by the generosity of others.

Here is a photo of organic garden chives and giant Italian flat leaf parsley that I have started to chop up.

What are your favorite ways to cut organic herbs?

What are your favorite organic herbs to grow?

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Yin Yang, Calypso, Orca Beans, Time to save seeds, 3 tips for seed saving

Calypso Bean, Orca Bean, Yin Yang Bean
Calypso Bean, Orca Bean, Yin Yang Bean

One of my favorite beans grown this summer is the bean with three names. It’s called calypso bean, orca bean and my favorite name, yin yang bean.

It’s amazing to know this little bean came from nature. And in order to keep that nature preserved growing from seed and saving that seed is essential.

When you save seed you’re ensuring that future generations of your seed will endure, and participating in a timeless heritage.

Some keys to saving seed:

1.Let it go- Yep,a perfect time to be a bit lazy. Don’t pick all that basil before it flowers, don’t tend that oregano, or search out every last cucumber on the vine. When you have enough saved, and shared, relax and let nature do it’s thing.

2. Wait- Dry, dry and dry some more. Whatever seed you are attempting to save, there is no such thing as too dry. Wait until you are sure before putting into storage.

3. Be easy- I let my beans dry out right on the vines. If there is an easy way, take it.

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Everything appears nicer with a better picture

How to Harvest Basil, over and over again, The best way to cut basil

So you took the ‘basil’ challenge from last week and planted basil in your garden, and now you need to know how to cut and harvest it.

Basil is one of those plants that loves to be cut. Wherever you cut the basil, it will bush up, branch out and make more basil. Us gardener types love this kind of plant. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.

Basil should usually be cut before it flowers, well how do you know where a flower is fixing to sprout out? Observe picture:

Basil, just about to flower
Basil, just about to flower

See the top of the basil where the leaves get tinier and tinier, that is where the flower is trying to form. 

Now you have a couple of options.

Option 1. Nip it in the bud.  If you do not have time or need for great quantities of basil at this moment, go ahead and pinch that bud off to the next set lower, of 4 large leaves. This will keep the basil from flowering

Option 2. Harvest time: This is how to harvest basil and plan for future harvests by making a healthy plant. Identify one of the lowest set of healthy leaves on the basil plant, Find that spot and pinch off the stem of the plant just above those leaves

Harvesting Basil
Harvesting Basil

Here is the spot on this particular branch.

Now see what it looks like: (yes I’m pointing to the spot with one of the just pinched off leaves)

Right after harvesting basil
Right after harvesting basil

SEE, There are tiny leaves that will form a whole new portion of basil plant. You did the plant a favor by taking such good care to cut or pinch it off at that spot!

After a while this is what will happen:

Basil re-growing from harvested spot
Basil re-growing from harvested spot

The basil plant will grow new ‘tops’  on the side shoots.

It may even sprout a new shot right from the cut spot in the middle:

New basil growing from the harvested 'cut' spot
New basil growing from the harvested ‘cut’ spot


Finally, you have  a well groomed hedge of basil ready to give you an excellent harvest all summer long 🙂

I hope you like my basil post.  Please visit my other ‘art’ at my handmade jewelry webstore. I hope you love that too 🙂

Perfectly trimmed basil
Perfectly trimmed basil

BASIL, a must plant in the garden

Even if you do not care for the taste or smell of basil (Yes there are plenty of us who don’t) it is one of the essential herbs to plant in the garden.

Basil flowers attract all sort of beneficial insects to the garden.
The odoriferous smell keeps critters away and masks the smell of even tomato pollen.

Another great thing about basil is that there are many varieties to choose from. Basil comes in many shapes, sizes and colors. Some have very strong pungent taste and aroma, and others, like holy basil, smell like sweet honey nectar flowers.

Experiment with planting basil in borders and rows of vegetable gardens. See the difference basil makes in the garden for your self.

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Many varieties of basil. Basil Genovese, Basil violetto, Lime basil, Cinnamon basil, Thai basil, Greek Yevani Basil
Many varieties of basil. Basil Genovese, Basil violetto, Lime basil, Cinnamon basil, Thai basil, Greek Yevani Basil

Surprise Success, 100% Germination, Experimenting With The Faith of Sowing and the Miracle of Growing

ImageCosmonaut Volkov Tomato Seedlings.

Have you ever experienced an unexpected success?  Last week I planted some seeds I had saved from 2007.  Upon opening the envelope they were saved in, I was a bit disheartened.  Woops, I remember this was my ‘lazy’ experiment in seed saving.  Instead of properly fermenting, washing and drying off the soft squishy tomato seeds, I remember squirting them out (or maybe even spitting them out) and putting them on a plate to dry.  Anyone who has saved tomato seeds before knows this is not the way to save a ‘viable’ tomato seeds.  So anyways, in this ‘experiment’ the seeds dried, but they became all ‘stuck together with a clear ‘nail polish like’ film and had to be peeled off the ceramic plate they were stuck too.  I saved them anyways. Into the envelope they went.   How did I remember that this is what did when I opened that envelope from 8 growing seasons ago? 

The evidence was in the seed.  You see, a properly saved tomato seed is a beautiful sight to behold.  It’s texture is soft and fuzzy with a bit of hairyness.  It’s a beautiful consistent color and a bit pliable in nature.  These tomato seeds however were not at all as a beautiful proper tomato seed should be.  They were waxy and ‘crunchy’, the wrong color and texture.  I had little to no hope for these seeds actually sprouting into seedlings.

So I took a chance on the unexpected, I planted.  Why would I bother planting when the odds were basically 0 that this ‘experiment’ would do anything but waste my organic seed starter mix?  I planted these ‘wrong’ seeds because the envelope said great things that I wrote, such as “tastiest eary harvest, most prolific of Cosmanaut Volkov Tomato ever”.  So with little faith I planted a bunch of those ugly wrong seeds, hoping that maybe one of those seeds would be viable and turn into a beautiful tasty tomato producing plant.

And that’s when the great miracle occurred.  Because that’s what planting is, a miracle.  No matter what preparations or ‘unpreparations’ we take, the transformation of seed to seedling is a miracle, something that no human can actually control in entirety.  It takes a great amount of faith to put that little ‘thing’ in dirt and wait for it to ‘maybe’ grow. Sowing the seed is faith and watching it grow is a miracle in action.

Surprise, Every single seed germinated. 100% germination.

Isn’t life like that sometimes.  We might go about things in all the ‘wrong’, or in other terms ‘creative’ and un-tried’ ways.  Our results might not ‘look’ too pretty or successful.  But, in the end things turn out surprisingly fruitful.

Even though we can’t choose a miracle, or when that miracle might or could occur, It’s important to have hope.  It’s important to try.  It’s important to  believe in our broken ‘wrong’ selves. 

So go ahead, be lazy, take risks, be ‘creative’ and experiment.  I’m sure you’ll be surprised in the end!

Has this ever happened to you?  Do you have a surprising success or an ‘unexpected miracle’? Share in the comments section for inspiration.


Quick Methods of Drying Herbs or Seeds, Organic Garden Tips

Counter drying organic flower seeds for next years plantings,  on a plate
Counter drying organic flower seeds for next years plantings, on a plate
It’s that time of year again, The crops and flowers of the gardens are in full bloom. The harvest is slowly maturing, and soon we will be thinking “what to do with it all?”.

One quick way to preserve the harvest, and ensure seeds are saved for future harvests is drying.

Now if you don’t have a fancy dehydrator, or have the time to sit and watch a stove at a low setting in the middle of the hot summer, here are some quick ideas for herb drying/seed drying.

Various methods are,
1. In a paper bag

2. Upside down to dry on a line with the ends tied together (think clothes line but for herbs in the kitchen)

3. Tied up in a tight bundle and hung upside down (think sage smudge)

4. Flat on plates

5. Outside in the wild, this one needs the right conditions and probably shouldn’t be attempted by a
first timer

6. Folded in a paper towel in the refrigerator

7. In a basket

Make sure to check on your herbs daily to be certain they are drying evenly, and are getting enough air circulation.

What’s your favorite way of drying herbs? Do you have any other quick methods to share?

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