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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

Picking Peas – The Forest for the Trees

When picking peas this year, the phrase, you can’t see the forest for the trees, kept running through my mind. I would think I was done picking, only to step back and see thirty more peas, which just a moment before were virtually hidden. The phrase was mimicking a familiar theme that had been running through my life for the last year in a very big way. I had come to realize that no matter what I was looking at, there was an even bigger picture behind it.  There were deeper and more meaningful layers to how this universe may function. Now, if you don’t believe in higher purpose, than what I’m writing about today, will make no sense to you. But to others who are looking to make peace in what seems to be a very complicated world than maybe this might help a bit.

I guess the best place to start is with the political landscape. Okay, before you turn off your computer, I am not going to talk about “sides” because I believe that is where we are really being manipulated and have been since the beginning of civilization where we “thought” we were choosing our leaders.  With a historical perspective, the societal relationship with God was all-important and communication with God deemed appropriate only for the highest levels of society for reasons of national security (secret societies i.e. Mystery Schools, CIA, Freemasons). The motive for this is if we are made to believe that only something more powerful than us i.e. King and Country, Church or Government, Light versus Dark Hierarchies, are able to have the solutions than it serves these institutions to tell us that their way is the only way we can solve problems and prosper.  The attitude of both religion and politics are one and the same and have always made excellent bedfellows because both thrive by forcing us into dualistic principles, creating conflict with the very people they are supposed to be serving – us.  In other words their commonality is to promote duality through fear, serving the institutions who are more about control than enlightened leadership which would take us into the next forward thinking step.

I watch my lovely friends on Facebook feed a lot of not very useful energy into who is going to win or has won an election. The fact is, the people that spend the most money, win. Every single time. Both parties have undisclosed contributors – many of these special interest groups are opposed to the populations of the world living with a life of quality. As far as I can tell, all sides are self-serving, arrogant, mostly white men throughout the world who are making decisions that do not benefit forward thinking. This is way past democrats and republicans.

This is about a world system where “we the people” are putting the emphasis on money before everything else. We might want to consider working on becoming spiritually fit before we can make a collective decision about who our leaders are going to be. (When I say spiritual I don’t mean religion which remember, promotes duality).

The duality that is being served to us – democrats versus republicans, Catholics versus Moslems, good versus evil, light versus dark – only serves a fairly sinister system that has been in place before the Babylonians.

The other piece of this bigger picture is to consider that all people and things are purposeful on this planet. They are all here through a manifestation of consciousness that we have created to learn very specific lessons. When we change, everything around us changes. With this in mind, the journey for me, has been to keep working on my own personal clarity and keep an open loving heart. This action, seems to influence my family, which influences our neighbors, which influences the community, which influences local leaders – like ripples in the collective pond. I said it before and I will say it again. When a Gandhi type energy runs for government, that is when this system gets my vote.

However, when we are taking a potentially powerful loving energy and instead turn it an argumentative upsetting opposing force, this is only serving a very disrupted chaotic purpose, highly serving not us but the powers that be, because the more we are in fear consciousness, the more stupid we become and that can only lead to a downward spiral. I don’t know about you, but when I am in a fearful place, I really don’t have any clarity, which means I am not the brightest bulb in the pack.

I’m not saying, don’t do anything…….it’s just a change of focused energy. I’m objecting to the illusion which creates a dualistic system so that we believe a group of people are against us. As long as we point accusing fingers at “those republicans” or “those democrats”  instead of thinking of all people as deserving our open hearts, than they have us stuck in the system. Only with an open loving heart can we be removed from this limited grip and our own victimization and come up with a new system where maybe our collective consciousness doesn’t continue to choose politics first.

Why not begin to move into a direction of something meaningful and higher – God is in charge, not any politician I’m aware of. I’m saying put the focus there first, then see who shows up to be our leaders. Maybe something wonderful, like 25 different people with no party affiliation and no financial backing. We have the solutions for all of the problems here on earth….so who is keeping us from using them?

So what does this have to do with the peas? It means to stop and breathe and pull back to get a broader view. We, the people are the seed, the solution. Look through the vines of emotions with hearts, be a tendril that chooses it’s climb wiselyso that it can support the weight of new ideas and creative ways to serve old problems. Maybe with a clearer view we will be able to see what we are truly looking at, which is the fruit of who we really are. A living breathing organism that can only flourish in a healthy soil, propagating new ways of growing.