Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day

I guess if it helps people become more aware, then it's a good thing, but I don't understand the need for an Earth Day, not really. For me, every day is Earth Day.

Don't know if it's because I used to be a witch or just the way I've evolved into an adult. I identify as pagan now, half witch, half Buddhist with plenty of Celtic and Norse curiosity thrown in. I'm a gardener and farmer wannabe who gets pleasure from figuring out how to grow things. I see how the climate is changing for the worse because of humans, and it makes me ache; and I'm studying sustainability in the hopes that my efforts will retard that ever-so-slightly. Our next car will be some sort of hybrid, and I dream of solar panels and rainwater catchment.

Asheville is an amazing community, chock full of hippie types intent on changing the world. I hope to be able to find a niche of friends here eventually. I should be getting out more, to knitting circles or community gardening. It'll happen eventually. I'm only just getting back to some semblance of time management, and debt looms like a storm cloud.


The fair was so terrific...more on that over at Dark Meadow. I'm still processing, and digging into the books we bought. I experienced another 2 days of soreness after all the activity, and it was the push I needed to get walking again. I've already signed up for another 5K, this one in May, and I have my eye on that June 6K too.

My body surprised me by jogging a fair amount yesterday. I'm trying not to think about what it looks like, because it certainly isn't a Merriam-Webster definition of jogging. Not going to make any magazine covers any time soon, winkwink. But it's just a pinch more than a speed walk, and my joints aren't screaming today, so I must have been watching my gait well. Hot damn!

Image from here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday! Mother Earth News Fair! Huzzah!

I know! Twice in one week! Call Ripley's!

Was going to post on Dark Meadow, but the guilt over not starting seeds yet drew me over here instead. I'm plowing through sites today as quickly as possible, so I can plan out the delicious logistics of our weekend. Mother Earth News Fair is in town!

Homesteading is so much more than being a farmer. I stopped buying bread about 6 months ago, and never looked back - I make it by hand. Now that the farmer's markets have started up again, our Saturday mornings will consist of getting up at a decent hour to take a wander through the North Asheville Market, our cash jingling in our pockets as we maintain loyalty to vendors and make a friend or two along the way. Made breakfast this morning of a made-from-scratch waffle with unsweetened almond butter and local jam and was struck by how these simple things taste so much better than what the American food industry passes off as food.

Side note: the jam people at Imladris are often at the North market, and I've bought eggs from them a couple of times. The lady running the booth said her son was in charge of the eggs. Happened upon this article recently, which only increases my love of the area. Her son is 12.

Les and I attended the Fair in Seven Springs, PA, last September and it was an amazing, motivating time - a serious 3-day high. Even if you already have a farm or live sustainably, there should be stuff of interest for you there. From workshops to live demonstrations, if you have any interest in homesteading, living sustainably, knowing where your food comes from, animal husbandry, goodness, I could go on....it's an educational and fun time.

Les learned enough about herbalism to start himself on a new hobby, and our apothecary has slowly grown ever since. Just this past week, we created a homemade first aid salve that will definitely replace anything with the name Neosporin in our cabinet (full disclosure: Les added arnica for pain relief and comfrey and plantain for wound healing, and double boiled everything instead of straight pan heat). I learned about a little bit of everything, and hope to narrow that focus just a touch with this year's workshops.

Joel Salatin is headlining again, Deborah Niemann and Dawn Combs are in the house, and I'm digging thru the program guide today to see when the demonstrations are occurring at the John C. Campbell booths, as I'd love for Les to see some blacksmithing first-hand. While I dream of enough pasture land for sheep to live comfortably, he dreams of a backyard forge.

Come on out to the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, y'all! Should be a big time!

Image from here.

I'm not a sponsored blog, so this postscript is barely necessary, but Mother Earth doesn't know me from Adam and hasn't compensated me for this post. I just seriously dig what they do.

Monday, April 07, 2014

April Showers

Man, time flies. And it turns out I have 7½ readers instead of 6, because someone actually missed me, which is funny since I've always thought of this blog as a diary that very few read.

I pulled out of my responsibilities with Ashevillage, which made me sad but couldn't be helped. They weren't asking much of me, but we're in decent debt this year, and my attention needs to be focused on projects that actually make us money.

The landlord never inspected our place, but I'm glad I tore down the shelving out front, as it was a catch-all and an eye sore. I set up our plastic patio furniture and gardening containers out there, and I hope to have the same size garden as last year. Starting seeds this week. Guess I should decide on what the heck I'm growing...I'm already thinking it will be more of an herb and tea garden this year than veggies, just to be safe. I'd rather not have lots of veggies growing and have the landlord decide everything needs to be moved inside.


I'm still struggling with my weight issues over at Melanie's Gym. I'm not on the straight and narrow yet where that is concerned, unfortunately, but reading Robert Lustig's Fat Chance was illuminating, and I just did a 5K, my first walking race in years. Hell, maybe a decade. I finished in under an hour, my everything is sore, and I'm determined to improve myself more.


Over on Dark Meadow, I focus on the farm, such as it is. Our debt isn't going to go away overnight, unfortunately, but on the other side of the coin is the knowledge that our landlord is a bit of a douche (based on the way he's treating a neighbor), so I'm motivated all the more to improving our situation so we can find somewhere more stable.

April is shaping up to be rather excellent. I read and respect a handful of bloggers, and this past weekend, I got to meet a biggie: Ashley English of Small Measure. She hosted a wild foods walk and talk with Keri Evjy of Healing Roots Design. Les and I joined a bunch of other females as we traipsed through Ash's property a bit, identifying edibles, and then enjoyed lunch out in the sunshine. Made me a bit sore going into yesterday's walk, but I wouldn't change a thing...it was an informative and exhilarating time! I'll likely gush more about it over on Dark Meadow in the next day or so.

This coming weekend is the Mother Earth News Fair here in Asheville. We attended the Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, last year and it did not disappoint. Les came away with a strong interest in herbalism, and I came away solid in the notion that this farming dream ain't going anywhere. Can't wait!

Image from here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Yea, it's been awhile...


End of February already. Time's flying, and I can't decide how to feel about that.

I'll probably never shut down a blog, per se, but I'm definitely putting this one on the back burner. As my interests shift into full-scale farming on a really small scale, and my busyness with both that and my work for the nonprofit escalates, I just don't have a lot to post on this here blog. Which is fine, cuz this space was for whining anyway. OK, it certainly wasn't all about that, but it was a much more personal space that I'm pulling away from right now. So whatev.

The big guy upstairs giveth, and he taketh away. We were forgiven my ER bill last month, but a trip to the tax man unveiled a painfully egregious underestimation of my quarterly tithe to the feds (and the state...so much for my pipe dream that I wouldn't have to pay NC because my contract is with a Florida company), so it's a little more than a wash. The result means we're looking at easily a year of debt, and it ain't pretty, because budgeting will only do so much. As I related to Lil Sis recently, it's totally doable, so long as we give up food...

That setback certainly hurts a little, because I was hoping this would be the year to start saving for our little patch of land. I'm hoping to not touch what's left of the nest egg (stocks), because I'm earmarking it as money for Les's teeth down the road. But I can't stay in a funk too long about where we're at, because it definitely needed to happen. We've been living a little too loose this first year, and freelancing barely does pay the bills. Recognizing that, and reorganizing to tackle it, should keep me from online shopping whims, for the most part.

A byproduct of some classes I'm taking to boost my knowledge for the nonprofit, is that it's showing me how to market myself as well. I know a girl from work who's a self-published author, and I used to chuckle at her borderline spam-like flooding of FB and other venues to get her name out there. But now I see her for the shrewd businesswoman that she is, making use of the tools at her disposal. Makes me wonder how many people in my age group find themselves in the same boat, because even after years of computer use, we just aren't used to thinking of the web in that way. So that's another thing keeping me busy in the coming months, finding more paying work, finding ways to get my name out there...

Hop on over to Melanie's Gym and Dark Meadow Farm if you get bored...I'm still fighting the big butt fight, and diving into permaculture on those outlets.

After a week of false spring, the temps are going to nosedive again this week and give us snow showers. I'm starting to itch to get my hands dirty, and when I walk outside to our front area, I'm pondering raised bed layouts and clearing under the tree. Time to start planning!

Image from here.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Turning point(s)

I've been working with the TV on in the background lately. It doesn't really distract me enough to slow me down. There's plenty of other things that do that. Blogs, Facebook, dreaming...a little Law & Order and Waltons ain't gonna make much of a difference.

I've been itching to write lately, itching to find my focus and put words on paper (or screen, as it were). But I let life live me, I eat too many carbs and my brain gets fuzzy...there are a million excuses.

I've been making soups from scratch this week. It feels like a February thing to do, and I need the reminder of how dang easy it is to do, because I really do like a good soup or stew and lord knows, I'm not eating right and want to get away from anything that comes from a box or can...

I happened upon the blog of a woman who's perfectly average-looking, body-wise (actually, she's easily 25 pounds "overweight" probably), who is a triathlete and Ironman champion. Her blog mantra is "just keep moving forward®" and she writes under the name Swim Bike Mom. It gets me thinking about how I'm not even a mom, so what the hell's stopping me....

Letting life live me also resulted in me being behind on my Ashevillage work this week. I do not like the way that made me feel, like I'd let people down...


So, grumble, grumble, yea, yea.....the sad thing is there's nothing new here. New subject matter glossing over the same issues: disorganization, laziness, food addiction, and scatter-brained nonsense. Why not do something about it, Melanie?

That image above...can't decide if I'm pushing the snow down the hill or if I'm already underneath it...

Image from here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Perhaps a pause

I'm definitely in a bit of a dry spell on this particular blog. Maybe it's winter, maybe it's work...just ain't a whole lot going on here to justify a post lately.

As my work for Ashevillage increases, I'll be posting more over at Dark Meadow...plus, once Spring starts to sneak in around these parts, I'll be wrist deep in the soil and writing about that over there.

I'm also in a dry spell over at Melanie's Gym, but that's just laziness. I'm having a helluva time finding the necessary willpower and mental strength to make the changes this body needs. January has been Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (is that even attributed to Einstein? just realized it's one of those web quotes that's been used enough where you just assume, rather than research its veracity...). I voiced the issue rather succinctly on my FB this morning: I just want to detox from the Standard American Diet, while maintaining focus on my work and not desiring to murder everyone around me in the process. File it under work in progress, I guess...

It's been actual winter around here! Not getting much above 40 these days, and quite a bit of snow, though the white stuff is light and doesn't stick around. Still, so nifty to watch it fall and dance around in it like a kid!

Getting proactive about the indoor plants finally, keeping them in window areas during the day and watering them when needed. I fear I lost the rosemary and the holy basil...time will tell.

Have a great week, y'all! Stay warm!

Image from here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just popping in

Nothing exciting to post, actually. One of those times when you want to push down the previous post, because it's too sad to think about. Kendra's memorial is this Saturday, and I wish I could go, even though it promises to be more of a zoo than a memorial. She garnered such support and publicity during her struggle. But it's moot. Weaverville, NC, to Pace, FL, is way too far to drive in a car that needs 2 tires, new brakes, and a serious tune-up, even if we had the dough (and patience) for another long car trip, which we don't. But her story had me praying again, and that's something I struggled with for years since going non-Christian. When you grow up talking to Jesus, and now Jesus isn't the big guy in your spiritual life anymore, who the heck are you talking to now when you pray?

I went to church this past Sunday, a UU congregation a half hour's drive from here. I bypassed the Asheville UU to get to them. I went to Asheville's UU once last year, and the vibe in the place just didn't appeal to me, no clue why. I have high standards with UU churches, because Rev. Dr. John Young (ret.) at the Jacksonville UU was excellent, very friendly and immensely learned. But the Swannanoa Valley UU felt better. The reverend seemed smart and jovial. I was in my shell the whole time I was there. That's the one hard part about hitting a new church - everyone's so dang friendly, and it takes me at least one service to thaw out. But I liked what I saw, and I'll be going back, weather-permitting, this Sunday.

In a case of painfully coincidental timing, the service I attended last Sunday was that congregation's chance to honor the members who passed on in 2012 and 2013. Reading out names, dedicating a song, ringing the meditation bell. I thought of Kendra and got teary, but I also felt a peace, similar to the comfort I experienced at the Catholic funeral last week. Hey, I'll take it.

Just wrote a pile of paragraphs on the frustration surrounding my MIL's attitude and living situation, and then thought better of it and stuck it on my private blog. So I'll just ask for prayers of compassion, that I may relate to her situation better and help her find her way eventually.

This week is about making new habits. I've half-assed started Whole 30, meaning I'm burning through the almond milk in the fridge first and THEN I'll really start, and there have been slip-ups here and there in just the 2 days that I've tried to be more conscious of my food intake. But my inflammation is down again already, noticed it when I woke up this morning, and that's motivating as hell. Eating clean, whole foods as often as possible, and getting back on a walking regimen are the main goals this week.

Image from here.