Please help me get to The Budwig Cancer Center, Spain!

I am so Thankful for any help towards my trip to Spain.

I have exhausted ALL options for cancer treatment offered by our Cancer practitioners here in BC, including Stem Cell Transplant and the strongest available Chemotherapy. I have worked with the head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Dr. Nantel, of Vancouver General Hosp. My Oncologist, Dr. Shustik, of the Fraser Valley Cancer clinic, can offer me no further treatment that could give any chance of success.

2014-08-06 ~ Stem Cell Collection - Cynthia Tupholme

2014-08-06 ~ Stem Cell Collection – Cynthia Tupholme

The Budwig Cancer Center has had success with my type of cancer. It is not new or unproven, Dr. Budwig started her work in the 1950’s, was nominated for the Nobel prize for her work and has thousands of success stories.
I am fighting for my life. Please help me!

Cynthia Tupholme, 56 yrs

Cynthia Tupholme, 56 yrs

The Messy Shepherdess

Cynthia Tupholme


Seed Catalogues & Soil Amendments

Tis the season…
…for Seed catalogues!

My first seed catalogue arrived in the post this week! I will be found happily pouring over the pages to see any new (to me) seed varieties that are available and to decide which ones I should consider purchasing to add to my own personal collection or to try, just for fun!

I do most of my seed ordering online, however there is nothing like getting my hands on an actual catalogue full of gorgeous photos taken from the past seasons harvest to inspire me and I often have to whittle down my seed wish list to a more manageable amount financially, as well as, for a more realistic view of what I can truly expect to accomplish in the space and time I have to give the garden.

Over the years, I have been asked many times about ‘Soil Amendments’ and what their purpose is in the garden. I have a reference list that I use but soil amendments or additives can vary a lot depending on soil requirements and on the types of additives available from region to region. However, in my travels on the Internet, I came across this great graph at Planet Natural and although I am not trying to promote their site, I thought I would share the graph with you folks. It gives a well rounded selection of amendments and their recommended application rates. Although personally, I would go a little lighter on the application rates, preferring instead to build up the additives slowly over time in order to create a more balance soil composition.

I would highly recommend before adding anything to your soil, besides compost, to have your soil analyzed by a local lab and hopefully this will help to determine what your soil needs most to get off to a good start. Often asking other gardeners in the area what they have experienced, can also be very helpful.

Most soil amendments are added to improve the structure of the soil, to increase the organic content so that the soil is more capable of holding nutrients and moisture. When these organic materials are added to the soil, they also act in varying degrees as fertilizers, providing a mix of nutrients to plant roots.

  • Alfalfa Meal
    Primarily a plant source of nitrogen, Alfalfa Pellets (5-1-2) also contains trace minerals and triacontanol, a plant growth promoter.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Blood Meal
    A strong, slow release source of nitrogen, Blood Meal (13-1-0) is also chock-full of trace minerals.
    10-30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Bone Meal
    Granulated for easy application and quick uptake by plants, Bone Meal contains 20% phosphate and up to 23% calcium.
    10-35 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Chicken Manure
    Composted Chicken Manure (3-2-2) provides a well balanced supply of nutrients and is excellent for mulching and moisture retention.
    1 cu. ft. covers 200 sq. ft.
  • Coconut Coir
    Made from compressed coconut fiber, coir is an eco-friendly peat alternative! Works anywhere you would normally use peat moss, rockwool, vermiculite, perlite, or pumice.
    1 part coir to 2-3 parts soil.
  • Compost
    No amount of organic fertilizer can make up for poor soil. Compost provides a microbially active source of organic matter and other important soil builders required by plants.
    Up to 20 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
  • Greensand
    Contains about 7% total potash, along with iron, magnesium, silica and as many as 30 other trace minerals. May also be used to loosen heavy, clay soils.
    50-100 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Gypsum
    Used to loosen heavy clay soils, Agricultural Gypsum contains about 23% available calcium and 18% sulfur.
    40-120 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Kelp Meal
    A great source of micronutrients and beneficial plant growth promoters. Kelp Meal also encourages tolerance to stresses such as pests, disease, frost and drought.
    5-20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Dolomite Lime
    Sweetens soil (raises pH in acidic soils) and is a quality source of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Promotes healthy plant growth.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Dust
    Improves soil vitality and plant health. Rock Dust contains a broad range of trace minerals. Many of which have been slowly lost through the ages, by erosion, leaching and farming.
    50-150 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Phosphate
    Provides up to a 10 year reserve of phosphorous! Contains 27% total phosphate, 33% elemental calcium and many other trace minerals. Great for flowering plants.
    50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Shellfish Meal
    A source of calcium (23%), nitrogen, phosphorus, and a large number of trace minerals. Contains chitin, which stimulates the growth of soil microbes that inhibit root-knot nematodes.
    30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sulfur
    Lowers pH in alkaline soils. Elemental Sulfur contains 90% sulfur with 10% bentonite as a binder. Also useful around acid loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.
    10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sul-Po-Mag
    Also known as sulfate of potash-magnesia, Sul-Po-Mag is a quick release source of potassium and contains 22% soluble potash, 22% sulfur and 11% magnesium.
    5-10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Worm Castings
    Gardeners know Worm Castings to be the most nutrient dense organic compost available. In soil, they retain water and release nutrients in a form that is easily used by plants.
    5-10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.


Hope everyone had a happy holiday season filled with friends and family!!!
Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess

Moving again! June 06, 2014

June 06, 2014

The only advantage to the place we are living in is it’s proximity to the hospital and cancer clinic but otherwise there are so many negative things about it that it’s location is no longer enough to make it worth staying here. As a result, we and by we I mean my daughter and I, are looking to move again before my cancer treatment becomes more intense. I will still be undergoing moderate chemo where hopefully I will still have some energy to help.I have a window of about 6 weeks to find somewhere more suitable, pack, move and settle into a new place.

June 21, 2014

Yay! We found a place! Still close to the hospital and cancer clinic, in an older home with character and more room for us, our dogs and for long distance visitors. With a landlord who seems to empathize with our situation. What a relief!

Now to organize the physical part of the move and availability dates. We don`t have much, but we can`t handle the couch and beds on our own so could use some help from someone with a truck to handle that. Hopefully it can all be finished this weekend coming up, 28 & 29, mainly because I don`t want to be stuck paying additional rent on the old place by staying past the 1st.

moving day

Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess

Tattoo’s, Celts & Belief

Maybe someone has already done this but if not, I think someone should write a book about Tattoo’s, with big, beautiful photos illustrating the amazing work these artists do but more importantly detailing the stories behind the tattoo’s. I am sure some, maybe lots?, are frivolous expressions of a current fad and the need to “fit in” but I am confident many also reflect a special meaning to the wearers and come with interesting stories attached.

I know my own personal tat is exactly that… It was during a phase of my life where I felt I needed some big personal changes to take place and I had some time to do some research into my families surnames and their origins. I wasn’t so interested in a genealogy tree as I was in where the names came from and the history behind them. Thinking I would find out something like for example, the ‘Belanger’ name comes from the french word for baker and obviously reflects the profession of someone long ago who adopted that name and it has been passed down for ages since.

However, what I found out was far more interesting (to me at least). My fathers surname goes so far back in history that it predates actual written documentation. The area of the world that it comes from is steeped in history surrounding the name, there are towns and landmarks using the name, and the name has never lost it’s meaning over the ages, even though there are not many people who carry it as a surname, so it is somewhat unique.

I didn’t do as much research into my mothers maiden surname but, like my fathers surname, it goes way back in time in a region of the world not that far from my fathers surname origin, although it did see a few variations over time in spelling and a meaning was never clearly defined as far as I could find out. Still it is a very old name.

All of this exploration lead me to think about those long ago deep roots of my families. The history of the region they came from is very old indeed, traveling well into the original areas where the Celts prospered and populated. So I can only imagine that my genetics and roots go back somehow to those that lived long ago as Celts. Which gave me a profound sense of belonging since I have always felt a deep connection to the earth and no matter where my life has taken me I have always had that connection to draw on, more so than any religion or other spiritual calling could ever do.

The Celts were an artistic people who created intricate art in any form they could with the materials they had to hand. One of those expressions took place as body art and tattooing was common. This inspired me to design a tattoo of my own. I felt that a permanent artistic expression of my roots would be the change or anchor I was looking for.

It took me months to research the symbols that I wanted to incorporate into the design, during which I discovered that in the Celtic Zodiac I am under the Rowan tree. Then I had to create a layout that could include all the symbols in one design and convey their deep meaning in a way that would last over time and as I aged.

My tattoo, an original design, using ancient Celtic symbols.

My tattoo, an original design, using ancient Celtic symbols.

The symbols incorporated are…
– a spring budding Rowan Tree (sorbus aucuparia) the tree of life and mother of all plants on earth, providing protection for all life against wickedness, enhancing strength and courage, transformation and regeneration, quickening new birth…
– the Pentagram, a strong symbol of protection, also represents the exact image found within the flowers and berries produced by the Rowan tree …
– the Twin Green Dragons guard the Rowan Tree and in concert provide the spark needed to regenerate the flames of eternal life …
– the Triquetra binds the image together, encourages balance of the body, the mind and the soul …
– while the Triskele provides the roots for life, death and rebirth…a never ending cycle.

I feel that my tattoo helps to ground and balance me as a person, an affirmation of who I am, stablises me in this current life no matter how convoluted or topsy turvy things get. Believe me when I say I have had many people in and around my life who have tried to unnerve and upset my balance but their success has always been limited and only temporary because I have come to believe my connection or roots in this earth go so deep they cannot be truly uprooted or destroyed.

This belief has allowed me to be more assertive and vocal in expressing things that I feel are important in this world. Things that I believe in, such as the importance of a supportive, loving community for raising children, growing/raising food that is healthy, nurturing and naturally in harmony with the earth, that learning is something that everyone should do for all of their lives. Just to name a few. I have been accused of being idealistic, but to me these sound like simple, natural ways to live a fulfilling life and that everyone would/could embrace them. But I have found that not to be the case.

Many people feel these things are ideal ways to live life but are so caught up in the material world, the drive to climb that corporate ladder, accumulate wealth, that they compromise these ideals constantly in their daily lives, often to the determent of those around them. As the more compromising that is done, the more and more difficult it is for our youth to get a foothold on their futures. It saddens me greatly but I am only one voice and can only do so much. I will continue to support any movement I see towards those ideals but my focus now is on helping my children cope with this world, while I am now faced with the greatest challenge of my life so far and that is trying to survive as long as possible against this disease of cancer that has infected me.

So, you can see this tattoo of mine unfolds into a story that reaches back into the ages and expresses a lot of personal exploration, deep thought and is a creative, artistic, permanent representation of my own personal beliefs about myself, life and living.

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess