Nature is Everywhere

Island day memories….the ice was like a floor of jagged glass, surrounding the island. Here and there open pools of water, which was good so the swans and ducks could fish as if nature cared enough to create what was needed for her special creatures. There I would be, looking at mountains of ice while pouring through heirloom seed catalogues. A bit like living in Antarctica wishing for open ground so you can plant. I knew this is part of living in a place where there are seasons and I do love being in a shifting weather system but I miss putting my hands in dirt. As wonderful as Florida and California are year round, there is something to living through seasonal changes. I think I would go a little bit bonkers living in Paradise everyday and is paradise an impetus for motivation….I don’t think so.  Besides, I like cold weather. If I could garden in 40 degree weather that would be heaven…and of course, there wouldn’t be any mosquitoes. But back to ordering my seeds.

Going through my seed catalogs, there seems to be a renewed interest in organics and heirlooms. Once a given in our culture now seems to be a specialty. I am hoping that this sends a message that many of us are interested in healthy choices rather than the easy way out which is to just eat what is in front of us without thinking what it is, how it was grown and where it came from. To date there are close to 30 countries that have banned Genetic Modified Foods including: Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, Paraguay, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, India and though, not a country, Hawaii. It is encouraging that these countries have had long range vision and understand that saving a little bit of money is not worth the state of our health which is a trade many are willing to make until they get sick and then understand that there is nothing more important than their health.

“Living on an island, being in the middle of nature while gardening has taught me that there are principles of nature.”   

The principles, lessons or maybe even wisdom reveals itself while preparing the soil, choosing and planting the seeds, watching and watering and finally harvesting. I have come to understand that I am one with a magical cosmos that works on a multi-layered system of energetics. When watching a seedling break through the soil, there is a fundamental understanding that I am a partner with Mother Earth. But what does that actually mean? This is an ongoing lesson but so far, I know that I am a caretaker of the air, water, plants and animals as they are part of the complete eco-system. The Native Americans thought of the Elements, Plants and Animals as their brothers and sisters. I have to agree. To know this sets up a new awareness, a new responsibility.

“The responsibility is daunting really. To co-exist with nature, to honor our children by giving them longevity due to the health of the earth, to implant everyone that we meet with a love for nature, to remember that life is precious, to understand that nature was here first, and to never forget that we are not the owners of land, but merely it’s guardian is a huge task.  No matter how much we have paid for our “property,” it really isn’t ours. How can you own the earth?”

The job or responsibility seems singular. I can’t make anyone do anything. No one really cares about my opinion as they are too busy forming theirs and in most cases, it seems to me humans are unwilling to change their beliefs until something catastrophic happens. But every day I can take steps to make life better. I can be more self-disciplined in the smaller details of my life, renouncing anything that doesn’t work for the environment i.e. pesticides, plastic, toxic fertilizers, weed killers and whenever I can, vote against anything that may include irreversible destruction of the foundation of our existence.

I try to set aside time to be with the world rather than use the world, never forgetting that I am part of the eco-system. It is a struggle to not be extravagant and just consume what is needed. I have to constantly remind myself to be aware of what we produce and consume locally, which may help to end decadence and luxury. The action of responsibility can stimulate self-reliance and the sovereignty of local community within the limits of the health and “remaining” resources of a permitting planet.

Maybe, I will continue to be reminded while looking at a sunset, or climbing a mountain or just sitting on my porch looking into a star filled sky. As I move through this incredible time, watching the planet’s cyclic nature, I might want to continue to ask myself, “How can I help?  What can I do to make this world a better place?”  Whether I am struggling or not, there should be one constant thought and that is that we are all brothers and sisters – cells in the same divine body celebrating the diversity of all cultures and people and faiths, with a goal to live in unity respecting our differences. While I begin to wear this suit of generosity, compassion and humanness I have to include Mother Earth, who is not a raw material or a financial commodity. She is my mother. I am here to re-establish a harmonious and responsible co-created life with her.  In the solitude of a quiet mind, the same thoughts always return, “Be respectful of every living thing, be a participant and finally to know that like my human mother, I cannot buy, sell or forget my benevolent earth mother.”

From My Garden To Yours…….

Crockpot Pork Roast and Kale

3 lb. boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of fat
2 cloves garlic, minced 1
/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 c. chopped kale
1-1/2 cups broth or water

  1. Whisk together garlic, mustard, tarragon, thyme, sea salt, and pepper.
  2. Spread mixture over the pork roast and place in bottom of large crockpot.
  3. Arrange kale around the roast.
  4. Pour broth or water over kale.
  5. Cook on low 8 – 9 hours until roast is done.

Fennel Pecan Salad

This recipe comes from the Body Ecology Diet website. The Body Ecology Diet is one of a handful of healing diets aimed at healing the digestive tract for total, lasting health.

Dressing:

1/2 cup cold pressed, unfiltered olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans *
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 drops of Liquid Stevia Concentrate or 3 pitted dates or 1 Tbsp. raisins
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Salad:

2 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fennel fronds, chopped
1 organic apple, cut into matchstick slices
1 tablespoon of roughly chopped pecans

  1. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Prepare salad ingredients. Toss everything in a large salad bowl except the tablespoon of pecans.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve. Sprinkle servings with remaining chopped pecans.

*I prefer to use crispy pecans soaked and prepared according to Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. If you do not have time or care to make these, lightly toast your pecans in a small pan over medium heat until they start to give off a pleasant smell.

Kale Fish Patties

2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. ghee or butter
1 pound soul, flounder, or other white fish (could also be made with salmon)
10 – 12 oz. kale
1/2 c. minced onion
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
4 large eggs
more ghee for sauteing

  1. Place water and ghee/butter into a large skillet or saute pan. Heat until ghee is melted. Place fish in the pan, cover, and simmer 6 -10 minutes until flakey. This will depend greatly on the thickness of your fish filets.
  2. While fish is poaching, place kale in a vegetable steamer or saute pan with 1/2 c. water. Steam kale until tender. When done, drain and chop finely.
  3. When fish is done, drain and place in a large mixing bowl using a fork to break it into small flakes.
  4. Add chopped kale, minced onion, sea salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
  5. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl until well blended.
  6. Pour eggs into fish/kale mixture and mix well.
  7. Over medium heat, melt some ghee – about 2 Tbsp. – in a large saute skillet. Form patties and place gently in the skillet. Saute until well browned on one side. Gently turn the patties and continue sauteing until the second side is well browned.
  8. Remove patties onto a paper towel lined plate. Continue cooking remaining patties.
  9. These are a bit delicate but very tasty. They can be served immediately or frozen and eaten over time.

Art Bell, Radio Host Who Tuned In to the Dark Side, Dies at 72

His “Coast to Coast” show was syndicated and broadcast from 1989 to 2003, followed by episodic returns on satellite radio and online with a program called “Midnight in the Desert,” which he canceled in 2015 after he said shots had been fired at his home. Mr. Bell said he kept a .40-caliber Glock 22 in a desk drawer of his isolated desert home. “If I had a problem out here,” he told Time magazine in 2012, “well, the police would arrive just in time to draw the chalk outline on my floor.” While some critics accused him of laying the foundation for right-wing conspiracists on talk radio, Mr. Bell’s politics were not easily pigeonholed. He described himself as a libertarian, but his passion was directed less at politicians or ideology than at debunking scientific doctrine and preaching apocalyptic prophecy. “He was different, fed up with the government not because of some tax increase or a bad vote but because of what they were hiding,” the journalist Jack Dickey wrote in Time magazine in 2013. “Where others had rage, he had skepticism, and lots of it.”

With the horror novelist Whitley Strieber, Mr. Bell wrote “The Coming Global Superstorm” (1999), in which violent climate disruptions lead to a global deep freeze. The director Roland Emmerich adapted it for the 2004 film “The Day After Tomorrow,” starring Dennis Quaid. (Writing about the film in The New York Times, Andrew C. Revkin noted, “Most experts on climate change say a switch from slow warming to an instant hemispheric deep freeze like the one posited in the book is impossible.”) Mr. Bell wrote several other books, including “The Quickening: Today’s Trends, Tomorrow’s World” (1997) and a memoir, “The Art of Talk” (1998). His spoken words had a much wider reach, however. “His Marlboro-Lights-weathered voice blanketed the continent after dark, reliably chilling his audience,” one reviewer wrote.

Mr. Bell acknowledged that he had a certain hold on his nocturnal audience. As he told The Washington Post in 1998, “There is a difference in what people are willing to consider, daytime versus nighttime. It’s dark, and you don’t know what’s out there.

Why am I upset…well for one thing, this article is written with an intentional smirk on the reporter’s face. Oh that Art Bell, the host for all of us who were a part of his late night campfire for the lunatic fringe – now called conspiracy nuts, or theorists or Anon’s or whatever the flavor of the month is even though so much of what his interviews were about have become part of our mainstream thinking.

So really, nothing’s changed, right? Same shit, different day. Nothing but disrespect for anyone that doesn’t tow the line. Afterall, we are just a bunch of fricking crazies. If I don’t believe what you believe well then, I must be one of those who thinks everything is a conspiracy. But I’ll tell you what, Art Bell was nobody’s fool. He would often say, A mind should not be so open that the brains fall out; however, it should not be so closed that whatever gray matter which does reside may not be reached.” I would dare you to go on his show back in the day and not have your facts together. Even if you were part of the fringe, you better not be crazy because Art Bell would tear you apart. He was brilliant. A disembodied voice that opened up our reasoning and imagination and sense of reality understanding that so much more could be going on or be real than we ever had before considered.

I would drive home late at night after gigs, dial in CKLW, a Canadian station and listen to Art Bell. The craziness of the gig would soon dissipate as Art would announce his guest in that smooth baritone voice introducing his guests or when the power would go out, dialing in Coast to Coast on my transistor radio cued up for power outage emergencies ….his voice being the constant, the glue, the theater, the teacher, or maybe just a radio guy who was brilliant at what he did. He actually knew how.

You see he didn’t open up his computer or his eye phone or Ipad and just start talking. No he had a producer, a license, knowledge of ham radios talking to people all over the world, a timeline, a schedule. He had skill.

I’m ashamed of the Alt-Media YouTubers. Not a one of you mentioned Art Bell’s death. Not a one of you. How dare you. How dare you to not take one minute out of your all important lives and pay respect to a man that was the glue for this kind of work. He was the beginning. There was no one else. He took the slams, the disrespect, the threats to his life, the divorces the heartaches, the accusations – he did that first! Not you, Not me Not Lionel or Alex, or Tracy or Jordan or Isaac or Styx or You Are Free, or Jerome or well any one of you.

Yes, I am ashamed of all of you YouTubers as individuals and of us as a community. How dare us to not honor what came before us like a hip hop artist or rock and roll musician who doesn’t understand that their music started in the fields, sung by slaves, morphing through time so that they could play and create along within a true musically historical narrative. So Like the blues, alt-media radio has its historical piece of history that more than likely made it possible for what we all do. The template and outline for all of us amateurs. So I take this moment to say for all of us, I am going to miss you Art Bell. You will hold a very important place in my psyche of all that is possible. You will be sorely missed by your 10 million listeners of yesteryear. And Mr. Bell I wish for you all that you ever dreamed that the afterlife is and may you do what you loved to do best broadcast to all of the cosmos from now until eternity.

So from the High Desert to the Great Southwest

Radical Gardener

Sending you Tons of Love

Specialization is for Insects, Diversification is for Humans

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.” 

– Robert A. Heinlein’s character, Lazarus Long

What a month!  After the recent 50 degree winter in Michigan, I got to spend time in the garden.  I refreshed the mulching and took the pots out of the small greenhouse and onto the shelves where I usually keep them.  After that it was off to clean the Greenhouse, pick up branches our Maple trees no longer were in need of and finally moving the larger pots into position for when I do plant them.  Along with all my other garden duties, I am going to have to get a soil sample so that I can better serve our soil supplementing where it is needed.  Most of our veggies’ grew brilliantly, but it can always be better and since I and Joe have to be all things to the garden – soil experts, harvesters, planters, weeders, greenhouse keepers and insect savvy – We seem to always be in learning mode, taking on something new while staying open to understanding all things are joined in our lives and nature.  The more information, the more we can live with integrity – a connectedness.

When I left performing, and because it really was at the top of my game – I heard all kinds of reasons why I left.  My favorite continues to be that I am/was afraid of success.  It is incomprehensible to many, especially musicians who crave big stages and big crowds, that leaving when you are successful, well, there just has to be something wrong with you. What never seems to be considered is that I had accomplished my vision. The group was fantastic, the crowds amazing, the music was the best that I have ever played in a live situation (Lucy Mongrel wins for recorded efforts) – but honestly, I had done it all before. I had accomplished what I set out to do. What was the point of doing the same thing over and over again?  For applause? That becomes empty and meaningless quick. Besides I was teaching full time which was rocking my world and wanted to do solo recordings, learn to cook, have a huge garden, write books, poetry and songs, pursue my spiritual interests and well the list keeps growing.

To just do one thing, pursue one career, seems to me too specialized, pointless. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who are perfectly happy doing just that. And I say bless every one of them. But I wanted to be a citizen of the world, the universe – which meant that I needed to “know” what was happening around me. How are all things connected?  What am I really made of? I love sitting at a table with a group of people and not know anything. Wow! You mean an opportunity to learn something else?  The more I know the closer I get to compassionately understand what makes people, the world and I, tick. If you have lived it, you can feel it. (Ask anyone who was a waitress if they ever get beyond over-tipping). I knew there were more questions and answers in acknowledging and understanding my responsibility in being increasingly aware of a bigger picture. Specialization would only cut me off from what I was truly seeking – being connected.

But the myopic thinking in coming up with cures for what goes on in our world, the specialization if you will, looks just like the illness that we are suffering from and trying to cure. A day does not go by in politics (for example) without legislation intending to fix one problem but ultimately affecting a host of other issues. It’s the principle of unintended consequences, and a fact of life in our complex world where everything has become so compartmentalized that the whole picture is not considered – creating more problems. To be a great Politician would be daunting as you would have to have true knowledge in industrialization, history, economics, environment, infrastructures, health and the arts – while being compassionate, intelligent, spiritual and a true artist.  Wow!  Know anyone?

When living on the island, I watched a non-indigenous plant pretty much eradicate the nesting areas of water fowl and so much more. It is an infantile approach of let’s fix this and see what happens before considering how it just might play out.

The toe bone connected to the heel bone, The heel bone connected to the foot bone, The foot bone connected to the leg bone, The leg bone connected to the knee bone, The knee bone connected to the thigh bone, The thigh bone connected to the back bone, The back bone connected to the neck bone, The neck bone connected to the head bone…..

But where it really hits home for me is in the world of medicine. In the book Dragon Rises, Red Bird Flies, the author, Leon Hammer, M. D. (along with being an acupuncturist) states that he gravitated towards Chinese medicine because it was the fulfillment of a search for a congenial system of healing that embodies the inseparability of body and mind, sprit and matter, nature and man, philosophy and reality.  It is a personal, subtle, gentle, yet highly technical medical system, which allows him to be close to essence – the life force – both his own and that of others”.

I remember being on a gruesome road trip with a woman who had set out to make all of our lives miserable. Then to add fire to the hell we were already in, the guitar player went psychotic (we later found out he did this with every band) and I had to fire him, picking up players on the way. It was horrible. But in the meantime my shoulder was shooting non-stop pain up my neck. I could not get it to stop. Every town we pulled into, the first thing I did was see a massage therapist or a chiropractor and yes, even went to an emergency room where they told me to take Tylenol – I was way past Tylenol. The pain was intolerable.  I lived in Seattle at the time where my main healthcare practitioner – Jim Dowling, RN and Acupuncturist resided. He was an emergency nurse and had a thriving Chinese Acupuncture/Herb practice. I called him while on the road, begging him to help me somehow. He kept telling me, “It’s not your shoulder, it’s your liver”. He knew that the rage I was repressing due to the circumstances, the emotions, were being held in the liver sending it up the meridian to my shoulder. Well, sure enough, as soon as I got home, I went to see him, he massaged, poked and cleansed my liver – it was incredible what was being released, oh and by the way, the shoulder pain was immediately gone. He was not a specialist but a comprehensive thinker/practitioner who held the knowledge of how the body works; i.e. energetically, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Not all problems are this simple to fix or are we lucky enough to find the people that we need to help us out of our situations. I don’t profess I have any of the answers. But I do have some big questions. If we apply our focus on a more comprehensive/big picture solution, will it take us to not only a more profound result, but a long-lasting one? One that works? One that doesn’t have the impact to someone or something else’s expense? How connected is everything to everything? If we look at the whole, will more problems get fixed than just the one we are looking at? And will that open the doors of a totality of perception?

I return my thoughts to the garden – For me, the ultimate metaphor for life. I put my hands in rich soil, acknowledging an element that is part of me. I know as I smell, feel and see the growth around me, that I will better understand the connectedness of everything. I say the prayer to Mother Earth – “I’m here for you so you can be here for me. You, Dear Mother Earth, are here for me so I can be here for you. Show me the natural world I live in, a world where all elements of living life have been taken into account – from the smallest critter to an universal alignment – allowing earth to become a masterpiece of harmony, intricacy and movement. Show me my dear Mother how we may create the greatest masterpiece of all.

The Radical Gardener

From My Garden to Yours

May Your Garden Always Grow

Sending you Tons of Love

Nut & Pear Brie

Ingredients

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans
1 tbl. brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges for serving
Pear wedges for serving
2 to 3 tbls. lemon juice
Crackers for serving
Directions:
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, nuts and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to one week
  2. Preheat overn to 500 degrees F
  3. Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate
  4. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened
  5. Spread the sugar mixture in aneven layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts
  6. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side

Weeding with Wisdom and Compassion

As I assessed the end of the summer garden, I could see that all of my tall beautiful grasses were overgrown, the bamboo had taken on a life of its own and the butterfly bushes had outgrown their pots.  I could see that I needed to transplant as much as I could.  But that was just the beginning.  The garlic lived in the dark along with some of my other veggies so they did not grow.  I had to make the difficult decision of transplanting and horror of all horrors, eliminating some of the overgrown vegetation.  In the long run, it is best for the health of many of the plants…. but it is incredibly difficult for me to eliminate even one grass.  It’s funny because it is mirroring something going on in my life..  I have realized that I need to do some compassionate gardening with people who don’t have my best interest at heart.  Over and over again there would be suggested changes that could improve circumstances, or a practiced forgiveness for repeated behaviors causing the same agitating story.

Now, this is a two way street.  I’m sure many have felt the same about me.  My behavior and refusal to follow a “real” schedule, not follow the rules, outspoken opinions… might all be a bit much…most don’t seem to mind, but still…..  I honestly understand this and let me say, I will never change.  I am who I am.  Anytime I try to be some other way it causes me a distress that only inauthenticity can cause.  I can’t stand to “fake it”.  If I don’t feel it then I don’t feel it.  Plain and simple.  So I understand, if I need to be weeded out of their lives.

Real compassion includes truth.  From there wisdom can make a judgment with care and concern; it says some things work for me and some things don’t.  I will choose to act only on those things that are informed by this logic.

However there seems to be another step that I need to investigate before taking any action.  Am I emotionally charged on this? This is necessary as compassion is not only our ability to be with another’s pain and suffering but also to see and accept our own. Once this is accomplished, what needs to be considered is how many more chances should I or they get?  The answer seems to be, we will just know when it’s time.

Yes, I am open-minded and compassionate, but never want to be so open-minded that my brains fall out.  

Of course, the picture keeps getting bigger. If someone has a history of cheating, lying and/or stealing, when do I stop giving them another chance? Or do I even go there?  Do I just figure that life has a plan for this individual, which I think is probably true, but then where does that leave me and what is my job? Do I still work with this person? Do I forgive them even though they are never accountable? Do I stand in a place of understanding that each person has their lessons and are disguised in drag, if you will, to teach compassion?  If they are in drag to teach others how to be compassionate, then do I love from a distance and just understand their role?

Like overgrowth in the garden, the plant living in the shade does not have a chance to live in the light until the shade, or shadow is removed, yes that’s true. But rather than the overgrowth being eliminated maybe it should just be cut down to size and with this adjustment, both can coexist – each understanding the other’s role but definitely staying within their boundaries so that they can thrive. Meaning each plant can do what it is here to do – experience the experience.  And with that, to not just blindly accept but be reminded like in  that sometimes more than compassion, we need to see with awareness and discrimination.

Compassion is the idea that we want to do good….But that doesn’t mean to say that we have to be gentle all the time. Our gentleness should have heart and strength. In order that compassion doesn’t become idiot compassion, we have to use our intelligence. Otherwise, there could be self-indulgence of thinking that we are creating a compassionate situation when in fact  we are feeding the other person’s aggression. If you go to a shop and the shopkeeper cheats you and you go back and let him cheat you again, that doesn’t seem to be a very healthy thing to do.

This is known as wise compassion which has the ability to see the whole situation and aims to bring release from suffering; its opposite is known as blind or idiot compassion, which does not take into account the whole situation and so, while appearing compassionate, is inherently unskillful and may actually increase suffering. For instance, idiot compassion occurs when we support or condone neurosis.  Another way to see blind compassion is when we give for our own benefit, not for the recipient’s, because we can’t bear to see them suffering. Our giving has less to do with what they need, but plenty to do with trying to escape our own feelings of inadequacy. This is a more subtle point, but sometimes we can get so impelled to give, that we forget why we are giving or what is actually needed.

Now….back to the garden.  I approach the problem with shovel in hand, apologizing to the newly trimmed plant for cutting it down, while thanking it for doing its job.  I give the plants that will nourish us – garlic, asparagus and beets  a better chance to grow.  Choices are being made that will serve the bigger picture while energies are going to where they are actually needed.  It seems that life on all levels is a place, a reality where decisions can be made on where the compassionate effort needs to be focused and all the while this interaction is taking place, it is done in wisdom, for the highest good, with an open heart.  For we all know that in the end, an open heart is all that really matters.

The Radical Gardener

From My Garden To Yours

May Your Garden Always Grow

Where to Find Free Worm Food

Worm FoodWhere can you find more scraps to feed your worms? Your kitchen and yard are primary sources, but if you want more compost, you need more worm food. If the compost is smelling sweet and the worms are reproducing, you may be ready to expand. The more scraps, the more compost. Note: You may need to add trays, expand the capacity of your composter or start an additional composter to keep up with more scraps.

Here are some ideas for sources of free worm food.

Friends & Neighbors 
Talk to people who live nearby who might be able to save food scraps for you. They can store scraps in their freezer until you can pick it up or they can drop it off. Make sure they know what types of scraps are suitable – this photo album on Facebook is a great resource: Can I Feed This to My Vermicomposting Worms? Your friends will be happy to know that their organic fruit and vegetable waste is getting reused.

Corrals & Grazing Areas 
For those living in rural areas, manure of herbivore species such as horses, cows or rabbits is one of the very best things you can feed your worms. There’s a big difference between manure of carnivore species and herbivore so stay away from dog, cat and human manure. Those types of manure will stink up your worm bins and likely cause you to gag every time you check in on your worms. You can find manure from plant-eating animals in corrals, in pastures or at dairies. Simply check with the animal owners to find out what you can work out together!

Grocery Store 
Worms love brown corrugated cardboard. It’s one of their favorite things to snack on. The next time you are at your local grocery store, ask someone in the produce department if they have any leftover cardboard boxes that were used to ship in the fresh produce that morning. Chances are, they’ll have more than you can manage. The great thing about brown cardboard used to haul fruits and veggies is that some of the food particles ends up in the cardboard so it gives the worms an extra incentive to eat it. Just remember to shred the cardboard when you put it in your worm bin to facilitate the eating process. It also doubles as bedding.

Remember to follow basic composting guidelines. Don’t over-feed your worms, especially when first starting out. Add more scraps gradually. A bad odor is a sign that you are giving them the wrong foods, or too much food. If this happens, try feeding them a little less food and adding some grass clippings or shredded corrugated cardboard.

Sweet Potato Waffles

Sweet Potato WafflesEnjoy sweet potato waffles for breakfast.

Get the recipe here.

Garden Duties! If We’re Lucky!

Why are we even talking about gardening. There’s a foot of snow on the ground with two storms on the horizon. Freezing cold temperatures.  Christmas and New Years were less than a month ago! Well, because planning is what gardening is all about. I have found that if I do a few things each month then I never truly feel overwhelmed. As much as I love gardening, the to do list can feel a bit daunting.

Thinking back on warmer days, Joe and I would drink a quick cup of coffee and talk about our garden duties, i.e. weeding the raised beds, planting new perennials, mulching, rearranging pots, picking lettuce, painting boxes, adding more dirt and mulch to the potatoes (yes, folks they grow up not down) and with that complete, starting up the new barbecue. On the menu were delicious, grilled chicken shish kabobs or steaks and sometimes roasted veggies – accompanied with a fresh salad from the garden. We worked from 7:30 until 5:30, the weather perfect for staying out all day. It wasn’t too hot, overly humid or maybe just mildly overcast – the sun peeking out here and there, allowing us to be comfortable while doing the work.

On Saturdays, we would buy wonderful and (sometimes strange) plants from the Farmers Market. Butterfly bushes to add more flowering plants to encourage activity from the dwindling bee community not to mention the Monarchs which love to stop by on their long migratory routes. The lily pad flowers, blooming in the pond while the plants that look like huge petaled umbrellas spread out even further than last year. (I don’t know the name as our neighbor just dropped them off one day). Speaking of gifted plants, our friends the Victorys, brought a rare plant called, Little Brown Jug (wild ginger) from Tennessee that loved the shade along with some cool looking bamboo. We already had bamboo growing but love it and always thrilled to have more.  After living in the Northwest and seeing so much bamboo, I developed quite a love affair that stays with me today.

When I tell people about the size of the garden, many times their comment is “Wow, that must mean a lot of work!”  Our reply, “If we’re lucky.”

The garden is such a reminder of what it takes to produce something worthwhile. The responsibility that falls upon the shoulders of the gardener to participate in a cohesive way so that all is ecologically balanced – giving as much as we are taking. The earth reminds us that she is here for us, if we care just a little bit and let me tell you, we have had to do our bit over the years since we didn’t have much help.  It was all up to us. But we always managed and instead of thinking about what we had to do and stressing about it, we chose to look at it as a co-creation with the earth. Doing the best that we can when we can. And because it is incredibly collaborative, we have understood that the effort and love we put into the garden, more than equals what we get back. Since everything is a metaphor for every thing, the connection is made – life is exactly what you put into it. Life works if you do. So with this memory and work ethic firmly placed in our DNA, Joe and I understand that we will work hard, hands in dirt, side by side – tilling, planting, watering and collaborating.  Mostly on bended knee, pulling weeds in a half prayer to our dear earth, that is, if we’re lucky.
From My Garden to Yours

Plan your Garden: 
Where are you planting?  How many different kinds of seeds will you need this year.

Download a Compatibility Chart:  What should be grown next to what? This will help to inform what you have room for and what you have room for.

Organize your Tools:  Clean your tools, Can you hand them on a wall in the garage and keep the organized?

Buy Supplies Now:  Might be a great time to get what you need.  With all the storms and shipping problems due to weather, might want to be an early bird so that you have everything you need.

Kale Chips and Lebanese Salad
Kale Chips New Favorite, KALE CHIPS – WOW!!!  Never believed these could taste good at all – they are TERRIFIC! Use kitchen shears to cut the kale off the stem and cut the leaves into bite-size pieces (discard the stems). Then arrange the pieces in one layer on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper), drizzle olive oil over them and then sea salt (Kroger sells in a salt shaker size grinder) grind it right over the cookie sheet. Baked on the top shelf of the oven (350 degrees) for about 4 minutes (tips start to turn brown, crinkle. YUM!! Then I scooped them off the parchment paper, dropped onto paper towel to soak up an excess olive oil. WOW!!!! I LOVE these! Just melt in your mouth. You have to try…

Lebanese Salad
5 Tomatoes chopped
1 Cucumber chopped
1-2 Bunches green onions with tops chopped
1-2 lemons Juiced
2 Bunches fresh parsley finely chopped
1-2 Tablespoon minced garlic
Mint for garnish add more if you want it in the salad
Sea salt to taste
Olive oil optional

Sowing Bears Fruit – Paying Attention to the Details

With a Grand Solar Minimum staring us in the face, it’s important to understand that gardening is not for some other persons in a future time. It can be meant for each of us, right here, right now, with a desire to help something grow and change a small spot on earth while continuing to thrive.  And no matter what our beliefs seem to be, gardening brings out a little bit of the spiritual in all of us. Gardening doesn’t just enhance the environment but us too, as we are one of the factors in the cosmos of growing things, so we most obviously are changed and can be even more so if we are paying attention to the details. We become gentle revolutionaries believing in all life great and small, as our thinking changes about how things work. With this opening of our minds and hopefully our hearts, it creates a symbiosis for our personal gardening history which includes memories. These memories can fuel why we seem to be here in the first place – to create and especially to experience.

With the memories of last year’s garden keeping me company, I have to say that I could be better about the impatience I feel as the snow and cold hang on to the raised beds. I love having my hands in dirt, and though I am ready to hang up my rubber palmed gloves mid-October, by March, I can hardly wait to go at it again. It is about that time, I have forgotten the humidity and mosquitoes. Like a mother that gives birth, I can’t quite remember the pain of lifting the bags of compost, heavy pots, gravel and bending over weeds for hours on end. Then there is the canning, dehydrating, washing, cutting, dicing and slicing the bounty so that it can be eaten throughout the year (yes we still have root veggies and frozen strawberries along with our canned goods). And even if I could remember the hard work, I would quickly realize that of course, it is all worth it.

But what the garden truly gives me are memories of a much more personal nature. As I think back to the year we moved to Harsens Island, we not only had our garden cat, Buddy on detail but he had a calico to pal around with, our beloved, Cricket. Between the two of them, not a mouse, rabbit, mole or any other living thing had a chance in hell surviving once it came within the perimeters of the garden. Cricket was so good at her job that we named the garden after her because she loved it more than being inside even on a cold rainy day. Cricket is no longer with us, having eaten something that took her quickly. I can look out our kitchen window, overlooking the pond and still see her walking along the cedar beds, patrolling the area for invaders. But worse of all, Buddy missed her terribly so watching him go it alone was a bit heartbreaking.

Another casualty of our garden pets was, Howie. Now don’t be fooled by the name, Howie, who it turned out, was female. Of course, we didn’t know that small detail until a visit to the vet because Howie was a box turtle. And by then we had called her Howie for too long to shift to another name like, Howette!  Howie traveled cross country with us in in her portable aquarium. She was abandoned in Seattle, rescued by our neighbor Bill, only to pawn her off on us.  But we quickly fell in love with her, especially, Joe as it triggered young memories of growing up, living on the lake. I imagine, he being solitary by nature, that it meant turtles and frogs were boyhood companions.  He would fuss over her well-being, giving her weekly “tub time” and making sure she had her favorite melon. The spring of that year, I got a brilliant idea of letting Howie live in the greenhouse. She loved it, until one day, she found a crack between the ground and the frame, somehow squeezing out, shell and all. I know turtles are slow, but there is something to that fable of the determined turtle beating the hare over the finish line, because she was nowhere to be found. Joe still really doesn’t like to talk about it so we have taken the high road of living in the positive, convinced she is in the ravine behind the ½ acre of garden.

But the sweetest memories are always of my husband, Joe, working in the garden. As I write this, I have such a clear picture in my mind of him sitting on an overturned plastic bucket, trimming his heirloom tomatoes, fussing over each branch, unraveling them from each other as he puts them in their cages so they will have support for the rest of their growth.  I kid him, and tell him that he really isn’t Jewish, but Italian as those damn tomatoes seem to be a part of his DNA. Each day, his skin becomes a deeper shade of brown, ball cap a bit more frayed, the dirt under his nails a little harder to dig out and most importantly, it opens my heart. Seeing Joe, happy, at peace with his hands in dirt, helping things grow, hits every note of loving him more. His interchange with the garden and the animals continuously shows me, that somehow I chose the perfect man in a complete moment of divine clarity.

In this co-existent journey with nature, we find that each season has a spirit of its own. Spring is full of energy and hope, summer offers endurance, autumn is for gratitude, and winter harbors a sense of reflection. Since gardening cuts across the distinctive seasons it takes on a different character with each month of the calendar and virtually each week. With this as a backdrop, it colors and feeds the memories of what I love the most. All of this of course, is not just the action of what I am doing but always a metaphor for life. Though we may have heard it a hundred times, it doesn’t make it any less true, and that is we reap what we sow and what we sow, bears fruit.  And every time I have heard it, I really haven’t realized how it is applicable to my daily life, because I just don’t think about it in those terms. But I could never have imagined that what it means for me is that reaping is the awareness, sowing – the hard work, and the fruit – a fullness of love. As I continue to garden, and fall more deeply in love with everything and everyone around me, I wish you these upcoming months to have the strength and means to prepare along with a truly bountiful year…. as you too bear the fruit of what you reap and sow because while you live fully inside every second of your incredible life because honestly every single one of us deserves at least that.

With all of my love, from my garden to yours

Recognizing the Strength of Community

As I get a chance to relax, I feel like there is something in the air. An awareness if you will. It has a tinge of the uncomfortable, and a smack of reality – definitely a shift – one that doesn’t feel good but still necessary. It has the smell of global and universal implications – but what is it? Is it one thing or everything? What I do know is that whatever it is, it is meaningful. It’s also interesting that I am watching it play out in a more individualistic way not only with others but personally. And aren’t we just pieces of the total cosmology?

I am not to say what another human being’s lessons are. That is their personal journey. My lesson is to remain aware of my part and to remember that whatever happens, it was due to my actions and I have no one but me to blame for it. What I put out into the world is what will come back. Some examples are the pickpocket who believes everyone is out to get their hands in his pocket. A liar thinks everyone is lying to them. Someone that uses people believes that they are or will be used.  If a human being feels the need to compete than everyone becomes competition. It’s human nature. What you are, is what you see, is what you get back. I am coming around to my own accountability and with that have asked myself some hard questions. I have come up with some answers that seem satisfactory and will continue to work on the issues at hand. But as I was dealing with my own story, I thought – isn’t this the same journey that we as a species need to undertake?

If as individuals we learn to take our own advice, then so must the human race in our global development on this planet. While reviewing, there seems to be one thing that can quickly make a difference….and that is to stop being a victim. What is a victim? In my opinion a victim compels others to rescue them by making them hostage to their alleged circumstances, dragging them into the abyss of their own making. Did I say of their own making? Yes, I did. No matter what your, mine and our circumstances, we are responsible for our actions from this point forward. Where we are now is a result of our previous decisions and actions. Regardless of what has happened in the past, we have the awareness for our situation now. If we don’t like what is happening on this planet – whose fault is it? We get what we deserve. This mess is a result of what we either asked or settled for – and most importantly, what we needed to experience.

When we play the victim and expect others to come to our rescue, we are shutting ourselves off from that tremendous power of personal accountability, the power of “you’. We are creating a self-limiting environment for ourselves. We are failing to be 100% responsible. Do I deny the reality of circumstances good and bad? No, but I do deny the benefit when you or I or anyone else focuses on them from a victim’s perspective. For every whine, somebody has a better case somewhere else. You’ll never win this losing battle of being the biggest victim. Every minute you spend playing the victim, is a minute you spend not doing something about it. Aside from that, nobody else wants to hear it. You are just spreading the misery unnecessarily.

Right, so what are some of the characteristics of the victimized masses that got us here? Greed? Fear? Partially, and much more, but I am going to deal with the result of competition.

Ah, the world of competition. We get so focused on our daily routine that it never occurs to us how dirty we sometimes play. Society has always   been competitive, but today life is perhaps more competitive than in any previous era. Since childhood children are taught how to show that they are the strongest, the smartest the very best. This is where competition starts. People are used to thinking that their lives, possessions, belongings are the best, the biggest the most attractive. That keeps us wanting for more and we continue to never be satisfied. Race, financial, or social status doesn’t matter. When we are accused of playing dirty, everybody tries to prove the jury wrong even if the jury is them.

Is there an answer to this. I say yes there is. Let us consider the world of collaboration. A world where we see what our part is and then join together with others to accomplish the dreams of the individual, group and mass. Realizing that no one is better than anyone else. We all have our strengths, our weaknesses, our talents, our neurosis – it is what makes us interesting or challenging. With these characteristics in tow, are any of us really that different than anyone else? Do you deserve more than the human being you are standing next to? I think that many of us think so and I say, shame onus.

We will never move forward if we are victimized by our own desperation and dreams. We will never see eye to eye if we are not living in the collective consciousness about who we really are and what we all really want. I don’t think we have to think too hard about what truly makes any of us happy. Working towards “it” And what would that be? What is “it”?That my beautiful human family would be the pursuit of love. Working together in community

From my garden to yours…..

Finding a New Way of Thinking and Living

I have been putting off writing a garden newsletter for many reasons – mainly, because I’m dragging my feet on presenting the truth as I know it. I continue to carry the “sting” of political correctness, which is I think fairly evident by this time, that political correctness is a real killer when it comes to free and creative thinking.

Once in a box, I’m in a box with no chance of riding the horse of original ideas out into the open. Tired of the constraints, I have climbed on the wild stallion sharing where I am being led and what I am going to do about it. Of course, if I am being truly honest, I have never really cared what people thought of me (as many will tell you) so maybe it’s my old age, which has stalled me as I’m not up for the debate or rather the fight.

I have to remind myself though, to look beyond all of this, I mean why does any human being care what another human being thinks – it’s complete nonsense.  If I care what another human’s opinions are, than guess what? I have just become a victim giving other humans power over me. So enough on opinions, let’s go beyond them and enter the more layered, challenging and creative world of ideas. The idea place is where there is a more rarified climate and because it’s less populated, a freer place to communicate.  So where is this all leading?

The Radical Gardener

Opinions lead to stagnation = Ideas lead to future ideas and solutions = Replace Opinions with Ideas.

Being a gardener, one of the most important things for me to consider is weather. I’m not talking about, is it going to rain tomorrow or is there going to be a frost tonight but something that is much bigger and quickly impacting our planet – being referred to as “The Grand Solar Minimum.”

The politicians have sneakily begun to call Global Warming “Climate Change” ….with the next iteration, I believe, being Grand Solar Minimum. In a nutshell, Grand Solar Minimum means a mini-ice age, extreme weather (sound familiar)or just big, big weather – which is happening all over the planet while you are not being informed. Though my personal jury is still out whether a pole shift is also in play, it is all adding up to a rock ‘em sock ‘em challenge ahead of us.  Is this crazy? Not if you look at the mounds of evidence.

The Radical Gardener

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN

Okay, so there it is. A Grand Solar Minimum. All can be proven through graphs and charts showing the cycles of our dear Mother Earth and her relationship to the sun. Unfortunately, we have had politicians and “paid for” scientists that yelled, Global Warming! Of course, this became a political issue which as in all things political, led to money and finger pointing.  How about the creation of carbon tax?  Guess who got the bulk of that dough?

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/251232 That’s right Mr. Global Warming himself, Al Gore.  (By the way check out his eco-unfriendly huge mansion  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=al+gore’s+huge+mansions&id=D85688A89EA48A24C6E56D87E503429170F43364&FORM=IQFRBA

Like my dear old mum used to say, “Follow the Money.” So with an administration change, the same scientists are no longer under threat and/or receiving money for their one-sided research. To save face, they are SLOWLY reversing their “findings.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq3lvKj7qmk ; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dLAg0mrWpg ; https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Lord+Monckton+Australia&&view=detail&mid=908909D56D6C81ED215F908909D56D6C81ED215F&FORM=VRDGAR

With this new/old information, a window of truth appears so that we can lift an oppressive foot off of the back of our neck’s, allowing us to look around and begin investigating the truth. This was not a big leap for me. I never did buy into the global warming bullshit because whatever the weather trends were on earth – they were similar on other planets in the solar system. Beyond even this common sense thinking, I realized that all we have to do is follow the cycles.

Around the 1970’s to recently, we were hitting a warming trend within the ice age that we are currently living in. This trend like all-weather trends on the planet are a slave or co-operative or part of or whatever of the Sun’s activities.  Let me repeat. Our weather is based on the cycle of the Sun. The Sun is now entering a cooling trend. This cooling trend or inactivity of the Sun presents other electrical concerns i.e. Cosmic Ray Flux and much more. This is where it gets a bit more complicated. An area, I don’t fully understand but I sure mean to and will report accordingly.

The Radical Gardener

You don’t have the right to anything you don’t go out and discover.  It’s a harsh universe out there.

There is no authority that is going to grant you a right

Freedom is something you take.  Liberty is something that is granted.  A right is something you fight for and secure on your own.

So if you want to know something get off of your butt and go find it out.

Be Adult and Don’t Panic!

The Radical Gardener

There are cycles within cycles within cycles https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ice+age+cycles&qft=+filterui%3amsite-youtube.com&view=detail&mid=B12AAC6314C60220ADB1B12AAC6314C60220ADB1&FORM=VRDGAR.  With this cyclic information, frankly earth is right on cue.  Okay, got it. But what’s changed. What is going on? It’s obvious in the last year we have seen a dramatic shift within the activity of the sun and increased UV’s. And remember, 15% of our atmosphere was eradicated during the Indonesian Tsunami….which is amplifying the natural cycles…..as if that hasn’t been enough, the renegade and I think legitimate weather sites are basing their predictions on the activity on the sun whereas mainstream weathermen are not paying attention to this at all. It is absolutely absurd.

The Radical Gardener

SO NOW WHAT? WHAT THE HELL CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

So now what? Well, get ready folks, there ain’t nothin’ we can do about the weather. It is time for these cycles to repeat themselves. They are repeating themselves. Since we can’t stop it then how the hell do we get through these natural yet challenging cycles? Can we learn how to live with these earth changes. Yes, we can. Like civilizations before us and the ones after us, if we want to have enough food and survive, we need to meet this head on – we are headed for huge food shortages. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure Mr. Uncle Sammy is not going to make sure I have breakfast and a nice cup of coffee in the morning. Or whether I have toilet paper. Or if my animals will get enough to eat. Or make sure that whatever food is available is healthy for me, and not poisoned with GMO’s (which is also a death sentence – just a slower one).

The Radical Gardener

The Radical Gardener

The Radical Gardener

I understand that this is a lot of information. I get it. I just want you to know that I do spend time researching these subjects. Like I said, you will get idea’s along with my opinions. I will touch on three basic ideas and/or suggestions.  As follows:

 

  1. Be prepared. I know you must be smarter than the average bear so I’m not going to mention the ignorance of running to the store to buy milk and bread which go bad after two days. Invest in food. If you have buckets of beans, rice and alfalfa – you can live for a long time on very simple food. If you want prepared meals, you can go that route. Buckets of flour and grains is a smart idea. Lots of water or at least a portable water system. Vitamins that you can’t live without. If you take medication try and have two-year’s worth. (not kidding). Essential Oils. First Aid Supplies, Visqueen (makeshift greenhouse); Lots of pet food as that will be the first thing to go; toilet paper, seeds sealed in cans for future planting. Look around! Look at all the devastation. Where do you think food is going to come from? Is it going to magically appear on the grocery store shelves? No. Be prepared!
  2. Begin a community resource center. Plan as a community. Can each person be in charge of a different food source? Can we have a community greenhouse? Can we have a community exchange program? What plans can be put into action?
  3. Grow your own food. Because of increased rain falls, get your food in elevated boxes. The sun’s increased UV can and will burn plants. How can we protect them? Is the water we are using clean? Will the plants have a better chance of growing under these harsher circumstances if we give them a fighting chance and co-create with them?

WHERE DO I GO FOR INFORMATION?

Please see links where I go for weather information.

This is Diamond’s website and youtube channel – The Oppenheimer Ranch Project. Honestly, you could just watch his videos posted every morning and probably know everything you need to about the weather and surviving it. He has a Masters in Paleontology and Geology. Brilliant and lots of attitude.  Hands down my favorite

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6VhLE7qAeW8NZm6PsXGGrQ

I love this guy! He’s great on Hurricanes but he does comment on other weather events. Very relaxed style and astute.

https://www.youtube.com/user/MrMBB333

This is Dutch from Dutchsince. He is a genius on calling Earthquakes and teaches you  how to do it yourself. The Seismology Community hates him. All I can figure out is because he makes the whole process look so damn easy that anyone can do it.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHE92x768p8h-fMrqhsnE1Q

I call him the Dragnet of the Weather Channels. Very science based and proponents of the Electric Universe

https://www.youtube.com/user/Suspicious0bservers/videos

Long Range Forecasting and Environmental policy. Revolutionary world-leading Solar based method of Long Range forecasting to include all countries of the world months and years ahead particularly for extreme and dangerous events. The background physics principles behind the method  are available in presentations. In addition, His True-Green-Policies defending biodiversity, wild-life and reducing chemical/particulate pollution and points out that CO2 is not a pollutant but the Gas-Of-Life (plant food).

http://www.weatheraction.com/

THE FINAL WORD

I want to say that I do not live in fear. I live in being prepared while having faith in the here and now. I love my earth mother. I love that she is changing, morphing and eventually becoming even more of what she is meant to be -a beautiful wild sphere with humans co-exisiting in a respectful manner. I love that the solar system is integrated, reacting, breathing, while dramatically changing – all within some of our lifetimes. This is a way to an even better world. I am honored to play a small part in this incredible time. I invite you to join me. I invite you to share. I invite you to live in a community and a solution based world. I invite you to co-create along with me in this next gorgeous evolution. I Love you all.

May your Garden Always Grow

Gardening Equals Taoism Equals Radicalism

I guess it’s no secret that by having limited resources is where true creative thought comes from. But first it’s important to define what limited resources means. For me, most of my life, it’s been economic as I lived my life as a musician and before that with a single mother who was physically limited. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Because I was limited in my resources, that meant I was limited in my living space, food that was available, clothes that I wore and where I shopped, traveling and well, it’s a bit of a spiral. This is not a curse or a “poor me”. This has been the greatest gift that I was ever given.  Through the limitations is where my sense of “forced” creativity began to thrive.  For example, when growing up, I lived in an upper flat, our backyard was a driveway but we grew grape leaves on the fence (which my mother would use to make stuffed grape leaves), along with herbs in pots and sometimes potatoes in a barrel. There were mirrors on the living room wall to make it look bigger and bless my dear old mom, she cooked everything from scratch. Like most poor cultures and indigenous tribes, great food comes out of being forced to use cuts of meats, unusual spices and vegetables that would not be considered by the rich folk. The food is usually more colorful, healthier and delicious than starred restaurants. To this day, my mother’s food was the best that I have ever had. But what does this have to do with Gardening, Taoism and a more Radical way of thinking.

Well, to be honest, I have always been a proud carrying Radical – Gardening nor Taoism had anything to do with my basic nature. No matter what someone tells me, I know there is a better way. I know there is no such thing as an expert because you can’t be an expert on what hasn’t yet been invented and since just about every thing we are doing bears improvement I continue to be radical in thought. Because I was raised to investigate my own truths and coming from a long line of people who were much the same (my grandfather would stand on a box in a public park and preach for rights of the worker), this was the absolute norm in my home. To this day, I can’t believe what people believe, but that is for another newsletter. So yes, what you may think sounds absurd I may think is worth a try.

So try I do. When moving into my new small garden, I could see it’s challenges.  There was nothing. A blank canvas framed by a cyclone fence, garage, cement driveway, view of the back of neighbors houses and a crappy patch of grass.  How could I turn this into the garden I have always wanted. So, I sat quietly on the patch of grass, later to be turned into a deck and looked, meditated, dreamed, researched and thought. Slowly the vision came. Sitting quietly in the moment, not expecting anything other than looking at the big blue sky was my Taoist way. No expectations. No regrets. Just random thoughts that finally formed into a vision. There wasn’t anything to distract me. Not one bird, not one bush – nothing.

As we began to work with our friend Karen, who designed the shape of the boxes and gravel floor along with the fountain, we could see what it could become. Each thing we added, would lead to a new thought, always radical in approach because the space demanded it – which we could hear because both my husband and I have learned to listen to great ideas that happen someplace above our hair. Within two months, we had begun to develop an eco-system. Vegetables grew, birds visited the newly placed feeders, found pieces of wood and pots from the side of the road became interesting points of view, rats disappeared with a hard working garden cat, privacy fence went up giving us a border to work with and that was just the beginning.

With our combined radical thinking, we now see that our garage can be remodeled into a green house, for now the driveway can be decorated with a Tuscan gold masonary paint, fences will have plants that climb, tungsten wire will connect from the garage to the privacy fence that will give hanging pots a place to live.

So for now, when we aren’t tolling away in the garden, we sit and dream. Living out possibilities. Living in the gratitude of being alive and able to imagine. Living in the knowing that dreams reveal themselves. Living with the knowing that visions are pursued turning the conservative thought into a radical one. Living in the revelation of the thought of how grand life really is.

From my garden to yours.

Now for the Garden Tips!

I’m Never Home to Water!

Talking to some of you, forgetting to water or just the fact that you travel can be a problem. Well, how about watering your pots every 7 to 9 days. This solution has been used in Mexico for the last 400 years and before them by the Aztecs.
Solution 1
Solution 2

Help! I can’t keep pesky animals out of my garden!

Have critters, birds and more getting into your garden? Here is another solution. We just started using the covered hoops that you can get at English Gardens and we love them. When we were where the deer were prevalent, we used to keep a boom box in the greenhouse tuned to talk radio. The deer never came into our garden because they thought there were humans there.

Solution

 Make friends with your bugs!

Bugs on your plants are telling you what is wrong with your soil. If the plant isn’t completely healthy the bugs will eat the leaves so that the plant can decompose and increase the nutritional content of the soil. They are communicating. Learn to listen and put the damn pesticides away.

No dig gardening!

We have just adopted this philosophy (remember I am a member of the radical thinking club). The thinking on this is that if you rototill your soil then it interferes with the natural matrix of the soil.

Solution

Blight

There can be various reasons for this. But if there isn’t much rain, don’t expect your plants to like water that has chlorine and fluoride in it. Plants (not to mention our bodies) don’t want chemicals. We are going to install rain barrels this year, but next on our list is to put in a water system that will strip all of that crap out. We have a something installed for our drinking and shower water but it’s time to go for a larger system. Aquasauna has a very affordable system for the house and it is the best I have been able to find.

Solution

 Stumpery

I talked about this last week. We just got done planting it (well Theresa did). It was my idea and I built the wood structure. It looks amazing. Now we are talking about doing to all around the deck. Stumperies may be a throwback of a bygone age, but – perhaps thanks to the current trend for all things retro – they could once again command a place in the garden, creating a cornucopia of planting opportunities and providing a haven for wildlife. You can go as big or as small as you would like. Great for under trees and bushes. You might even get mushrooms…great for the compost if you can’t eat them.

https://www.bowdenhostas.com/pages/Stumperies.html

Solution

Purposeful Pursuits

The American Dream has been failing the masses and the world, fooling those who perpetuated the lie. We have been taught and therefore teach our children to find purpose and happiness in externals. We have taught each other to seek fame, fortune and power in such things as bigger houses, flashier cars, grander titles and larger bank accounts. Maybe I am assuming too much. Could be that most people are just fine with this. So let me then say, my experience has been – the simpler the pursuits, the happier I seem to be.  For me, this happiness really came through first realizing that there is no going back to the purity of wilderness on a full time basis. So the next best thing is to stick my hands in dirt and grow something.

“You have never been told that your real mother is Mother Earth, who is actually controlling your electromagnetic field.”

I have learned through nature and gardening the wise man knows there are a few profoundly purposeful pursuits; Peace, love, joy and purpose. These things cannot be found in external things and possessions. They can only be found within. Modern man seems to never slow down long enough to search his soul.  He cannot stop chasing the goal, and the tyranny of both the chase and its elusive end thwarting his quest for fulfillment. Since I have never had the opportunity or maybe more accurately the discipline to do a Vision Quest, (being aware of nature hard at work, doing what she does in the most elegant way), gardening seems to be the answer. Watching a flower slowly open, a bee lazily drop down on flowers happy to have the visit, realizing that it takes months to grow one watermelon, understanding the relationships between the wildlife, plants and soil – are gifts in educating who and what I am made of.  It has changed how I think. Of course, patience, living in the moment and grounding a busy mind are the obvious benefits. But more importantly is the connection to the mother of us all – Earth.

“You have to start your thoughts like this: “I come from the Heavenly Father to be on Mother Earth. She will nurture me and nurse me if only I ask.”

Our Earth Mother has been patient in her continued scolding of how we are treating her. She understands that we are her children and we are still finding our way. She resonates the pulse of who and what we are whether we are paying attention or not. I find her tolerance of us to be quite astounding. We pour poison into her yet she still generates, flowers, forests, lakes, springs, grass, our irresponsible food production and so much more. The Grand Mother patiently watches as I move through my busy life, sure that what I am doing is so important, setting off an imbalance to where I am not paying attention to my physical, mental and spiritual survival. The lack of balance is the result of her reasonable scolding, gentle reminders to get back to what is real..

I have received my marching orders. So with dirty hands, sweat and creaking knees I can be a part of consciousness that change is possible only if there is a recognition that people and planet are ultimately one and the same.  We carry Mother Earth within us.  She is not outside of us. Mother Earth is not just our environment. Once we have this insight, it is possible to have real communication with our Mother, which is the highest form of prayer. In that kind of relationship I have enough love, strength and awakening in order to change my life. Like an earthworm, borrowing through fear, separation, hate and anger I have come to realize that the Great Mother and I are not separate entities. We are the center, the part and the whole. I breathe in this knowledge….in and out, loving my sprouting children with joy and knowing that I can no longer be disconnected.

From My Garden to Yours

Let’s talk Gardening!

I have everything ready to go. Yes, for all of my talk of how the garden teaches me patience. I am still impatient to start. So what I can do before actually putting the seed in? Here is what we have done so far.

  1. Decided what to Grow.
  2. Ordered the Seeds
  3. Purchased Garden Supplies
  4. Stocked up on Manure/Compost Combo and Canadian Peat
  5. Prepared the Soil
  6. Checked on Plant Compatibility.
  7. Made Labels
  8. Plotted the Garden
  9. Cleaned up, Painted and Prepped pots and beds – making sure they have plenty of drainage.

Garden Pizza with Kale Pesto

Makes: 4 servings
Yield: One 13- to 15-inch pizza
Prep 45 mins
Bake 15 mins to 19 mins
Use kale in your pesto for this tomatoey creation, though you can substitute arugula, spinach or basil if you prefer. Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays for use throughout the year.  Once frozen, place the cubes in a freezer bag to pull out as you need them.”
Ingredients

1 12 – 14 – inch Pizza Dough or desired pizza crust  (You can substitute with other grains if you are gluten or grain sensitive)

1/3 cup Kale Pesto (recipe follows) or basil pesto

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)

2 medium fresh garden heirloom tomatoes, such as Cherokee Purples, green zebras, and/or Marvel Stripe, or desired red or yellow tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices or 1 cup mixed baby tomatoes, such as sungolds, yellow pear, and/or sweet 100s, halved

1/2-1 teaspoon pizza seasoning

Directions

Bake crust in 450 degree F oven 7 to 9 minutes or until light brown; remove from oven. (Or grill as directed in crust recipe.)
Spread Kale Pesto evenly over crust. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange tomato slices over cheese. Sprinkle with pizza seasoning.
Bake about 8 to 10 minutes more or until heated through and crust bottom is crisp and brown. (Or grill as directed.) Remove from oven. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes one 13- to 15-inch pizza (four 2-wedge servings).
Note

* If you like, substitute 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, torn fresh arugula or spinach leaves with stems removed for the kale.

Kale Pesto

Ingredients

1 pound fresh kale

8 cups water

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

2 large cloves garlic, quartered

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil

Directions

Using 1 pound fresh kale, remove leaves off stems; rinse leaves. In a Dutch oven, bring water to boiling. Drop leaves into water and cook, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Rinse leaves under cold running water; drain well. Wrap leaves in several layers of paper towel or clean kitchen towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Coarsely chop and measure for 2 cups.
In a food processor or blender, combine the chopped kale, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, walnuts, garlic, and salt. Cover and process or blend with several on/off turns until a paste forms, stopping the machine several times and scraping the sides. With the machine running slowly, gradually add olive oil and process or blend to the consistency of soft butter. If you’re not serving the pesto immediately, divide it into five 1/3-cup portions. Place each portion in a small airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 1-3/4 cups.
Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 4, Thiamin (mg) 0, carb. (g) 39, Riboflavin (mg) 0, Fat, total (g) 22, vit. A (IU) 1749, cal. (kcal) 398, vit. C (mg) 15, pro. (g) 15, Folate (µg) 77, Monounsaturated fat (g) 11, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 3, Niacin (mg) 3, chol. (mg) 34, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 0, sat. fat (g) 6, iron (mg) 2, sugar (g) 3, sodium (mg) 434, Potassium (mg) 294, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 0, fiber (g) 4, calcium (mg) 263, Trans fatty acid (g) 0