A New Cat- Thoughts on Welcoming a New Animal into a Household

My daughter Lizzy has a new cat in her household, a rescue Maine Coon cat named Tobias. She also lives with an elderly cat named Morgan, a beloved calico. In the way of Green Hope Farm, no sooner had Lizzy welcomed Tobias to her household than a lot of you called and emailed to talk about your own process of blending cats into one household. I found myself calling Lizzy every few hours with tips from you.

I also had some thoughts on Flower Essences for her to offer her cats and ways to give the cats the information of the Flower Essences. The Animal Wellness Collection offers a lot of helpful Flower Essence support for easing the household blending process be it with cats, dogs or any other animal or person.

Back to the specifics of Lizzy’s household, elderly cats often react negatively to the introduction of a new cat, and this has been Morgan’s response to young Tobias. However, I am very optimistic about their relationship long term. Here at the farm, we have seen that with the help of Flower Essences, this initial fiery reaction almost always transforms into a softer welcoming of the new cat. We have seen that as the Flower Essences ease the animals’ concerns, the developing friendship between the older cat and the younger becomes a gift to everyone. The older cat feels younger and more playful again and often moves through its grief about earlier lost companions. And the relationship with the older cat helps the younger cat grow into a solid citizen of the household, more mature than he or she could have been without the example of the household elder statesmen.

Today, I thought I would discuss some of the Animal Wellness Collection Flower Essence mixes particularly relevant to introducing an animal to a new home. These are mixes that have helped with the blending process of new and old cats, dogs, and other animals in literally tens of thousands of households.

I have given an overview of how each remedy might be a help. Sometimes, I describe some of the strengths of a couple of the Flower Essence ingredients in the mix. My descriptions are woefully incomplete. Flower Essences are so much more than any description.

If I were to describe in words Beethoven’s ninth symphony it would fall so far short of the beauty of the actual music. As Flower Essences are music, this is true for them as well. My words never do justice to the beautiful healing music of Flower Essences. Please make your own acquaintance with these mixes to know their true glory!

New Beginnings– This is a good Flower Essence mix for both the newly arriving animal as well as all resident animals. In fact, it’s a good one for the people in the household to take when a new animal arrives in a household. A new animal in a household is a New Beginning for all.

New Beginnings is a softening mix that helps everyone feel better about the new animal’s arrival. Flower Essences in New Beginnings, including Morning Glory and Mutabilis Rose, help us to accomodate and welcome the change a new animal brings. Flower Essences in the mix, including Gall of the Earth and Red Mangrove, help us feel integrated during changes, safe enough to literally stay present. Flower Essences in the mix, including Red Rugosa Rose and Pale Pink Rose, help us roll with the changes and release worries. Flower Essences in the mix, including Tree Peony and Rose a Parfum de l’Hay, help us know there is enough love to expand the household to accommodate this new member.
Anxiety– Change invariably stirs up anxieties. For example, it’s not uncommon for old cats to hideout when a new cat arrives or fall into patterns of obsessive grooming, peeing in strange places, or other stress related coping mechanisms. This mix helps everyone feel more peaceful and calm during the transition period. It also helps animals release their stress and stress related coping mechanisms as well as find their emotional balance again.

Flower Essences in Anxiety, including Aspen, Scarlet Runner Bean, and Red Clover, help with fear responses. Other Essence ingredients, including Borage and Pink Tecoma, help everyone find a bead on good cheer and hope if they are depressed or overwhelmed by the changes. Essence ingredients, including Feverfew and Crab Apple, help break the grip of obsessive compulsive response behaviors. Essence ingredients, including Mustard and Pennyroyal, help release deep seated and nameless anxieties. Other Essence ingredients, including Trillium and Queen Anne’s Lace, offer help to find equilibrium and inner strength during turmoil. As with any description of one of our mixes, to list a few strengths of a few of the ingredient Essences feels vague and incomplete in contrast to the actual support the Essence mix offers. The Flower Essences in this mix contribute in so many directions and so many levels to ease our anxieties.

Abandonment & Abuse– Changes in a household of any kind almost always takes a rescue animal back in time to the trauma of being abandoned. The animal feels he is back in that earlier abandonment experience and reverts to his earlier coping mechanisms. This is a post traumatic stress reaction and almost all rescue animals will experience this pattern of response. For some, the earlier coping mechanisms may be hiding. For others, it may be aggressive behavior. There are so many responses and not all of them declare themselves as stress related patterns. For example, some cats get very passive. That was their survival response then and it returns to them in times of stress.

The key thing here is that this post traumatic stress response CAN be released and the animal can heal so that present day stress does NOT return them to a reliving of their earlier traumas. The Abandonment & Abuse remedy was developed to unwind the emotional scars rescue or traumatized animals experience and to free them from this post traumatic response. This remedy will help them to know they are safe and to know they are in their present life not back in the past.

With some remedies, animals can learn what they need to learn from the remedy in a few exposures or over the course of a few weeks. Because a rescue animal’s scars are so complicated and deep, this is a remedy that may take much longer to be fully integrated by the animal. While you may need only a small bottle of most of these remedies to share with your household during the introduction of a new cat, if any of the animals are rescue animals who have not worked with Abandonment & Abuse before, you might consider getting a large bottle of this remedy and giving it to the rescued animal or animals for many months. Each exposure to the remedy will help them to peel off and let go of a layer of trauma. As they heal, they begin to experience a new way to live with other animals. From a place of actually knowing they are safe in a post rescue life, they find a new ability to welcome a new cat into the household and a new ability to experience loving social community.

Animal Emergency Care, Recovery and Immune Support– Sometimes the new arrival of an animal in a household triggers such dramatic fight or flight reactions in the animals that they need these remedies to help them with adrenaline exhaustion and their post traumatic stress reaction. As you might guess, this is especially likely if the animals in your household are rescue animals. These remedies help with recovery from this kind of reaction by generally restoring the electrical system in the animal. I would offer Animal Emergency Care if the situation feels like a crisis in any way and offer Recovery and/or Immune Support as a way of restoring a physical sense of well being after everyone begins to settle down.

Outburst – If any of the animals are fighting or being aggressive, if the situation feels explosive or if anyone of the household is responding by peeing ouside the litter box or being destructive, this can be a useful remedy. It helps animals to find more benign ways to release their stress than through uncontrolled outbursts.

The Angels have a very expansive way of thinking about what an Outburst is and when to use this remedy. They suggest this remedy for all kinds of diverse situations including skin rashes or temper tantrums. So, if you are prompted to get this one for something that doesn’t exactly feel like a classic outburst, trust your intuition.

Flower Essences in Outburst, including Indian Pipe and Mary Queen of Scots Rose, promote an end to inner and outer conflict. Flower Essences in the mix including Orange and Orange Hawkweed smooth and settle erratic high voltage energies. The Snapdragon in the mix offers its very helpful release of aggressive mouth energies. Cleansing Flower Essences, including Bloodroot, Eggplant, and Dandelion, are balanced with calming, centering Flower Essences, including Wild Columbine, Dogberry, and Bunchberry.

Jealousy and Arbor Garden I once heard a mother of young children remark that she was puzzled that we all expected our children to share their toys with other children effortlessly. After all, she noted, did we really know a lot of adults that liked to share their toys? Yup, Jealousy is a useful remedy in this and a lot of other situations. For animals and humans alike it is not always easy to share our people or our home let alone our toys.

The Arbor Garden mix is an ingredient in Jealousy and a number of other mixes because it offers such a wonderful vibrational example of harmony, oneness and steady reassurance that there is enough love for all of us. Sometimes Jealousy feels just right for a blending situation. There may be one member in the household in particular that needs this information to ease up on their jealousy. Sometimes Arbor Garden feels like a good mix to have in its own right. Arbor Garden tends to relax everyone and help them feel that life is good. After losses, change, and other transitions, this can be such a balm of an Essence mix.

Grief & Loss– If there was a death in the household and this new animal is coming in to help the household recover from this loss, some in the household may find the new arrival takes them back to a strong experience of the lost person or animal. Grief is a long journey. This remedy supports us on every step of it.

Transition– Because a new arrival in a household can trigger a returned feeling of loss to older members of a household, it no longer surprises me when someone knows their household needs Transition when they get a new animal. While we developed this remedy as support for the dying process, we rapidly discovered the Angels wanted us to offer it in a lot of situations of change. There is a lot of death in birth and a lot of birth in death. This is an exceptional support for ALL moments of transition.

Flow Free– Could I write anything about Flower Essences without mentioning this mix? I doubt it. This is such a godsend for keeping a situation moving towards resolution and healing. If anything is stuck, if any patterns of response feels unable to shift, if in any way the household feels shut down, consider giving everyone Flow Free to encourage movement.

How to Give your Household the Flower Essences
When a new animal arrives in a household, spritzing the rooms in your home with Flower Essences in water is a wonderful way to give the information of the Flower Essences to the animals.

To do this, mix a dropper or so of each of the Flower Essences you want to use with up to a cup of water and put this mix in a plant mister or one of the spritzer bottles we sell. Then spritz all the rooms where the animals live with this water Flower Essence mix. This is a very non invasive, but very effective way, to give all animals as well as the people the information of the Flower Essences.

Why use this method?
When animals are stressed, they don’t always eat or drink according to their old routines. This means they may not receive the information of the Flower Essences if the Essences are put in their food or water. As things settle down, putting the Flower Essences in water or food becomes a more reliable way to proceed, but to begin with, spritzing insures that everyone gets this information in a very gentle way.

There are other great reasons to spritz. When a new animal arrives in a household, it can be very unclear exactly what is going on. For example, even if only one animal appears to be on the warpath, there often is a more complicated dynamic going on than this surface dynamic. Giving just the aggressor Outburst may not get to the bottom of the problem. In any household, the complexities of human and animal relationship grow exponentially with the arrival of each new animal or person.

If everyone gets the information provided by the Flower Essences, the animals as well as us humans all receive potentially helpful data. And just like our wise animal companions, our electrical systems know what Flower Essence information we need and know how to integrate this wisdom into our electrical systems. So when we spritz our households, all of us are getting support to make this the best new beginning possible for everyone.

Happy Thanksgiving!


As Riley contemplates Thanksgiving dinner and his potential for scoring extra treats

And as Gus contemplates spending the next six months curled up in a ball by the woodstove, the rest of us look out and contemplate the new fallen snow.

Hope you all have a peaceful, happy and WARM Thanksgiving! Love and Blessings! Molly

Keeping Up with the French Quarter

Here at kitchen stadium Green Hope Farm, there are culinary triumphs and there are culinary disasters.

As the dust settles on the pre-Thanksgiving November, it is time to share a culinary mishap sure to go down in the history of the neighborhood.

As you may or may not recall, our neighbor Teddy, eternal friend of all things Green Hope Farm lives the good life next door in French Quarter with her three french poodles AND her husband Malcolm. Since Malcolm does not have a single cell in his body that says, “Je suis francais.”, he did NOT feature in our glowing description of french culture at Teddy’s.

Malcolm, an ecumenical minister who marries and buries many folks in the Upper Connecticut River valley, was profiled in one of our green newsletters, so you may have read about Malcolm before. In fact, you may have heard about Malcolm even if you have never heard of us.

Malcolm is a land unto himself. If I need to give the Sears repairman directions to our home I say, ” I live in the house before Malcolm’s” and that is all that is needed. If someone wants to know what Connecticut River valley town I live in, I say, “Same one as Malcolm Grobe.” and everyone knows where to place me.

The fact that Malcolm is well known and also beloved does not mean that Malcolm won’t fire the occasional shot across our bows to keep us down on the farm.

When I wrote the blog about his glamorous wife Teddy, Malcolm wanted to set the record straight about cutlure in the neighborhood.

I received a seething four page diatribe from Malcolm about how he is one of, “the Plain People, original settlers before the “others” arrives with their “goldens,” people who “remember paying taxes by bringing a couple of bales of hay to the Town Barn”, people “longing for the good old days” before we moved to the neighborhood and things went to pot.

But being a forgiving man, Malcolm still invited us riffraff to his seventy seventh birthday party and as a peace offering, I offered to bring the birthday cake.

There are so many questions to be asked about the baking nightmare that followed this offer.

First, what possessed me to try a new recipe from a cookbook I had never used before? What was wrong with tried and true chocolate cake recipes? Why the switch to the big city Magnolia cookbook? In short, why was I trying to keep up with the french quarter?

The chocolate buttermilk cake I made, described in the Magnolia cookbook as having a wonderful flavor and texture, hardly held together as a cake when removed from the cake pan. It had a tinder dry crumb and was an unattractive shade of beige. As I went to frost the first layer, the cake disintegrated into large chunks resembling flecked styrofoam.

Not yet fully alarmed, I pulled a trick out of my baking bag of tricks and went to pop the cake in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up the first coat of frosting so I could apply a clean white second coat. Unfortunately, during this maneuver, I did not keep the cake plate level. Layer number one went flying off the cake plate and smashed into a zillion pieces on the ground.

With layer number one in the dustbin. I returned to examine the remaining layer. It was a sad little thing, hardly an offering fit for Malcolm’s seventy seventh. I clearly needed to bake another cake.

For attempt number two, I went back to a tried and true chocolate cake recipe, one requiring cocoa.

Unfortunately, I had no cocoa and did not have enough time before the party to get to the store to get cocoa and still make the cake….. so I substituted very upscale hot chocolate for cocoa. It seemed like a substitution worthy of gourmet Teddy’s as well as frugal Yankee Malcolm.

The cake baked up looking moist and dark. Unfortunately, when I went to take the cake out of the pan, most of the cake failed to come out of the angel food tin. It was at this point that I began to photograph this culinary nightmare for your edification. Here is the angel food tin after the unsuccessful removal of the cake from the pan. Note strange white lumps from cocoa mix, yet another sign that it was a substitution that had gone south.

The good news was that the cake had the consistency of tar so I could put all the pieces I scraped out of the tin onto the meager little piece of cake that had come out of the tin in the first place and mush everything together into something that looked like it was baked as one piece.

Party time was fast approaching. I t was time to frost the gooey broken mass of cake.
What can I say? Tar baby was too warm to frost AND tar baby was going to need the second layer from the first cake to have the stature needed for a seventy seventh birthday party cake.

I slapped Mutt on frosted Jeff and put the whole thing out on the back porch. It wasn’t as cold out there as in my freezer, but there was less chance of me dropping the cake while getting it onto the back porch.
The timeclock was ticking in Kitchen Stadium Green Hope Farm so after a short period of cake chilling, I had to get to work laying down first one then a second layer of frosting. I can’t say things went well, but there was general euphoria by the time I applied Flowers and candles. The cake actually looked good enough to eat and we had gotten a chance to laugh our heads off for about two hours.
Jim, Will, and I went to put our coats on to go next door with the proud cake. When we came back to pick up the cake, this is what greeted us.

This was a culinary first for me- A cake that literally fell apart after being frosted.

Further salvage was deemed impossible, our time was up and we had to give the birthday boy his cake just like that.

It tasted surprisingly good. More people got to laugh at the futility of keeping up with the french quarter.

And Curly, one of the three french poodles, gave us another moment of high humor when he put up his little head and howled all through our rendition of “Happy Birthday”

I guess he wanted us to be singing ” Bonne fete a toi.”

The Greenies

In the early years of Green Hope Farm, we sent out an annual newsletter to one and all. It was sort of a hard copy blog, a booklet summing up the garden season, sharing new Flower Essences, the kids’ drawings of their world and my musing on the events of the year here. A stranger to desktop publishing, I cut and pasted the whole thing together and then gave it to a friend to print in her little print shop, “The Graphic Magician.” We always wrapped the newsletters in green paper covers, and consequently we came to call these annual missives our “greenies.”

The artwork in the greenies was a particular joy. Over the years, we learned about Emily’s love of frogs.

We learned about elves.

They liked Flower Essences and had familiar names.

Their teeth were good and they thought a lot about ice cream.


Sometimes they were prepared to hold the labels in place on the greenie covers.

And they loved Flowers just like us.
We also learned a lot about Angels.

Angels liked high fashion especially when they had a cover shot.

Inside the newsletters, they sometimes were less flashy.

Sometimes, a few lines told us all we needed to know about the sweetness of Angels.


This styling Angel marked one of our goofs. One newsletter went out with stamped postcards addressed to us so that everyone on the mailing list could let us know if they wanted to stay on the mailing list.


We got hundreds and hundreds of postcards back with the “Please keep me on your mailing list” checked but no address written in to tell us who had sent the card!

Our artists also taught us a lot about the animals in our midst.

They liked a good party.


Sometimes it was necessary to fill in the details about an animal’s good looks.


Sometimes not.
When left alone at home, the animals also had their favorite web sites.


And they seemed to think about ice cream as much as the elves.

Sometimes, I would give the artists the themes for a story. Here’s Will’s take on the theme of holes.

Here’s Emily’s drawing for a piece of Ireland.

On the covers, the artists strut their stuff.

And got credit for all their efforts.
During all these years, the artists were needed for more than just their brilliant illustrations.

In our first years sending out the newsletters, the mailing list was quite small. I didn’t know how to sort our mailing list in zip code order, so addresses got printed out in random order. The kids were enthusiastic and nimble, happy to spend a weekend making piles of newsletters all over the playroom. One of us put a label on the newsletter, then it was sorted by the first three digits of the zip code. Every child would then fly around the room adding to the 034 pile, then to the 902 pile, then to the 021 pile. One side of the room was east coast, the other west coast and somewhere on the couch the mighty Mississippi flowed.
Any time we had a bundle of more than ten with the same first three numbers, we would put a 3 digit sticker on the bundle and earn ourselves a few pennies off the cost of mailing the newsletters in the bundle. Any time there was a cluster of more than ten with all five digits the same, we would celebrate the amazing fact that we had ten Green Hope friends in the same town. We reverently placed a D sticker on the group, wondering how we got such a gathering of friends in far flung places like Fort Bragg, Colorado, Santa Fe, New Mexico and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. These collections of friends were mysteries to enjoy and sometimes we fantasized about getting a map to stick pins in, marking Green Hope Farm outposts across the world.

As our mailing list grew, our postmaster encouraged me to go to postal workshops to learn all the ways I could use my postal permit number 5 with more finesse skill. She would give me new publications on sorting systems and labels that often failed to have enough glue to stick to the newsletters. The language of the hefty postal regulation books was predictably obscure and every year the post office seemed to reshuffle its regional post office groupings into new apparently random groupings.

Eventually, I learned how to sort and print the mailing list in zip code order. It was no longer quite the chaotic process it had been, but it wasn’t straight forward either. This was because we had to sort the newsletters into regional post office groups as well as into 3 digit and 5 digit bundles and this regional post office category was the stuff of legends.

Zip code clusters from regional post office groups would read like this ADC 300 includes 300- 317 320-322 327-331 339, 341-350, 352, 356-363. 385, 392-394. As my skills only ran to printing the labels in zip code order, we would have to pull newsletters with zips like 326 or 340 out of such a regional post office pile and hope to find their regional post office homes elsewhere.
As we grew, the greenies, fresh from the printer, filled a truck. Soon, we needed a whole week’s time with all the staff labeling the newsletters to get the job done. Often the children would be recruited for the second shift of night time labeling. Their enthusiasm for the newsletters began to wane. Adolescence does that to people.

As we labeled and sorted, we would fill postal trays with the sorted and bundled newsletters. Each tray had to be counted and counted again before it could be sleeved and marked with the appropriate postal regional post office ADC code. My number tally for the whole mailing had to match exactly with the post offices number and weight tally. My fingertips would grow callused from counting the newsletters in each tray over and over again. The finished trays would grow to a sea of ceiling high piles before making their way to the Meriden Post Office to be mailed. We would enjoy the sight of all these newsletters about to head into the world.

I would give our post master weeks of warning about which day I would bring the mailing to our tiny post office. The arrival of the newsletter always gave whomever was at their post office box more than a moment’s pause. People were astonished by the size of the mailing, given that the consensus in the town seemed to be we were a bunch of funky ladies singing and dancing around in a garden while growing some kind of herbal type stuff.

As neighbors gawked, Postmaster Pam would weigh each tray before sending the mailing on to White River Junction, Vermont (ADC 050 if you must know), to be launched. Having heaved every tray onto our pick up truck for loads to town and then having carried each tray into the post office, I knew why she needed her Wheaties on mailing day.

The greenies usually went out in November. I could probably call out in the office right now about what November used to mean and there would be hoots and hollers and laughter as each person remembered some labeling mishap. We just didn’t do the sorting often enough for us to get it down cold. We were annually relearning the process with a lot of trial and error.

Like so many things, I didn’t know it when I was mailing the last of the greenies. It was two or three truck loads of trays that year. William had become the primary artist after earlier years in which first Ben and Lizzy and then later Emily had showcased her art. During that last greenie year, Ben had yet to whisper the word “blog” in my ear, but that was what was around the bend.

It’s been a happy “round the bend” for me. I love the blog. But I do look forward to someday handing the next generation of Green Hope children a black felt tip pen and asking them to draw their world.


Among Other Things, a Great Dog Story


Sophie, seen here restocking our Flower Essence boxes, is no longer the newest person on our staff.

Our newest staff member, Masaki Schuette joined us in September to help us with shipping. When not at the farm, she lives in the village of Meriden with her husband Lee and three year old twins Yuki and Koa.

We have Former staff goddess Vicki Ramos-Glew to thank for introducing us to Masaki. Vicki told us we would love Masaki and we do!

Masaki is from Omagari City near Akita in northern Japan. She met her husband Lee in the Seattle airport. When Masaki and Lee met, she was working in a hotel in Banff, British Columbia but was on vacation with friends from Japan in transit from Alaska to Boston.

She met Lee because he was traveling with his beautiful golden retriever, Banjo. Masaki went over to say hello to Banjo and then met Lee. They all got on the same flight east and met up again during a layover in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

And so the world turns on the charm of a golden retriever, as well it should. And we are glad! Welcome Masaki!