Category Archives: Heatlhy Living

catnip/dandelion pesto

I had my first spring meal, and it was so, so good. After a winter of eating bland, sad vegetables grown just for the sake of making money, eating spring greens right outside my front door is like coming home.

I made catnip/dandilion pesto. It’s what happens to be growing prolifically on my yard right now. The catnip counters the bitter dandelion. I had on top of oat pasta, vidallia onions and kidney beans. Hmmmm good!!

pesto

catnip

dandilion

My favorite way to spend the day….

There’s a little cabin 1 ½ miles from my place where I find solace.  I pack books, my journal, a lot of water, some paperwork and a supper wrapped in tin foil.  The anticipation is high as my boys watch me pack up.  It always takes too long, and I get baleful looks and jittery dances in front of the door.

I hook the boys up to the bike and they slowly pull me across the highway.  Once we are on the safety of the path, I let them loose and they immediately pee on everything within a 10’ radius and then take off to explore.

I bike and the boys race up ahead till we get to the aspen stand where the trees are magnificent and the undergrowth is minimal.  I take off the harnesses and lock them and the bike up to a tree.  We pick a random animal path that heads straight south into the bush.

I always feel strung out as we start off our mini journey, and every stumble and branch in my face feels like a punch in the gut.  My soul is definitely not ok.  I wonder why I bother because it’s so much work to come here, but the cabin getting close with each step, tugs at me.  It’s a healing, soothing balm for my raw, wounded spirit.

The bush is wet and slosh through swampy areas, step over fallen trees, and slip on the slick mat of leaves.  Time and time again I’m thankful that I moved to minimalist footwear; my ankles are strong and never give out.

My backpack is heavy with all the provisions for the few hours I will be away from the house.  The load keeps me to a mere trudge, but I know I need the distractions to keep sane.  For most of the time in the bush, I am not able to tolerate the silence and have either music or a podcast playing to fill the quiet void.  Listening to dance music in my golden hued enchanted forest seems wrong, but I try to forgive myself.

After 10 minutes of cutting straight through the bush we make in onto the unkempt trail.  It seems as wide as a highway, but it has holes big enough to swallow up Sweet Sam.  We never know where we will come out along the path, and always get drawn to the west, when it’s eastward that we actually want to go.  I wonder why this is.

It takes another 10 minutes of dodging the holes, and skirting the edges of deep standing water before we reach the cabin.  As I walk into the clearing, it’s like I’ve taken a hit of some marvelous drug.  For the next few hours I’m free.  No hydro.  No phone, no people.  I’m not lazy, and I’m not trying to be a hard worker.  I’m not a complicated mess that can’t find her place.  The bone deep loneliness drops away, the loneliness that makes me want to kill myself.  Out here, it doesn’t matter that I struggle with depression.  The sickening feeling from being alive lifts off my chest and I can breathe.

I open the door and know that I have arrived home.  I set about starting a fire.  They boys snuffle around outside, cataloging every overturned leaf, and every new footprint.  The fire catches and I go out to replenish the kindling that I used, but can’t help but stop to play with Mr. Sam I Am and Hephzibah.

Hephzibah, the staid, serious little man in our household let’s his hair down a bit and permits himself to chase Sam around the clearing.  Sam runs and runs in tight circles, flitting here and there.  I laugh and encourage his silliness.  When I go back in, the fire has died, so I nuture it back to life.  Soon the packet of food is sizzling and the cabin is warming up.

To be continued…

Gardening Adventures – Hugelkulturs and Strawbale Gardening

It’s been a few years since I gardened seriously, but with my growing interest in health and wellness I want to get back into it.  My beds are depleted or overgrown with weeds, so I’ve been looking for solutions and came up with a few different ones that I am trying out.  I’ve thrown out conventional gardening, and don’t care what other people think.  I’m living life on the wild side!  ; )

I’ve been working at it through the depression and anxiety.  I can’t get much done in a day, and it’s been overwhelming to say the least.  I’m so grateful for a group of women who came to help me out on Saturday.

Redoing the flower bed.

I redid this bed.  The bottom two layers of bricks had sunk into the ground so there wasn’t very much dirt to plant in.  The bed is on the south side so it constantly dried out.

Hauling in manure for the garden.

I’ve hauled in many loads of manure of all sorts, but mostly bedding from bull calves.  There is a little barn down my driveway where I go with the little wagon and pull it back.  This wagonful is from my parent’s petting farm.

Gardening

I’ve also hauled many loads of dead trees from the pasture behind my house.  It’s a small trailer, and not much fits in at a time.  But the dogs love it cause it means they get to on many walks.

Laying out the cardboard.

I turned this bed into a hugelkulture, which literally means hill garden.  Traditional hugelkultures can be up to 6 feet tall.  This one is flat.  The first layer is cardboard to suppress the quack grass.

Hugelkulture emulates nature by copying it.  Trees die, fall over and eventually rot.  The humus that is created is rich and nutrient dense.  A hugelkulture a mound of trees covered by soil.  The trees will rot over the years produing wonderful soil.  A dead tree is sponge like, and holds a lot of water.  This is where I first heard of hugelkulture.  The link takes you to a forum on permies.com.  http://www.permies.com/forums/f-117/hugelkultur

The start of my hugelkulture garden.

The next layer is dead trees and branches.  I got my uncle to cut fallen tress into 4′ lengths.

A thick layer of straw went over the trees.  Over the trees went a thick layer of bedding straw/manure.

Almost done.  Just want to add a bit more soil to the top.

The finished bed.  On top of the straw is a thin layer of dirt.  I want to add a bit more to cover most of the straw. I’m having a hard time hauling the soil in the little wagon because it is so heavy, and a distance away. 

Gardening

This is my other raised bed.  Once this one is done, it will look more like a traditional hugelkulture.  Steep, sloped sides.  I’ve very curious to see how things will grow in it.  I put in a few peas on Tuesday.

I made new compost bins this year.

A serious gardener needs to compost seriously, so I moved my compost piles to a better location, and in a system that makes sense.

Helping me haul bales for strawbale gardening.

The boys got a few rides.

Strawbale GardeningI’m also trying straw bale gardening this year.  I got some bales from my parents that had been sitting out for year.  I tried to condition them, but either I was to impatient or they conditioned themselves by being out for a year.  I planted 3 potatoes, 2 swiss chard, and a short row of peas so far. 

Rainy Days

It’s been raining off and on for the past couple of days.  It’s perfect to get the hugelkulture settled and well soaked.

Samuel

Mr. Sam I Am is in quarantine after helping out with the gardening.  Once he dries off and loses the dirt, he can join me and Hephzibah again.