My Imaginary Garden

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Here I go again, daydreaming of this year’s garden…imagining delicious tasting, perfectly plump, vine ripened tomatoes, crisp hot peppers, large, manageable mounds of fresh herbs strategically placed to ward off invasive insects, beautifully tapered crunchy-sweet carrots with strong tops that never break off when you tug them, oh and loads of summer squash growing on compact bush style plants that respect the boundaries of my weed-free garden paths! I’m dreaming of okra and tender green beans that never hide from me, sun ripened strawberries, those little tiny cucumbers you can make sweet pickles with, oh and sweet potatoes! Lettuce that stays sweet and buttery all summer long, onions and leeks and radishes and beets and swiss chard and pok choy and cow peas!!! A weed never grows in my garden and it’s always 85* and sunny with a slight breeze. There are no squash bugs, no aphids no fungus or blight. Everything is organic and the moon tells me secrets about when to plant and when to harvest.

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Beyond the Painted Picture Puzzle Door

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One of the things I set into place to help break the negativity habit is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. While I really fell off the wagon recently, by allowing the drama of my little sister and her baby daddy to derail these efforts, I believe it’s important to allow myself to process the past. Face the forbidden depths of my darkest moments;  let the monster within me breathe down my neck, stomp his foot and snort.Out here in the open, I can examine him. Find out where he came from, what his name is and what makes him tick.

Last week I’d forgotten this monster existed. Ignorance is bliss they say but this rediscovery is exciting. He is the Dragon of Thou Shalt and I’ve been hunting him. At some point along the way his scent mingled with the sweet perfume of goats, soap and True Love. He slipped my mind; crawled under the rug and off the grid.

The Dragon of Thou Shalt holds the keys to the Painted Picture Puzzle Door beyond which life’s limitations vanish and anything is possible. And that my friends, is where my compass is pointed. So the question for this farm girl is, how do I get those keys?

First things first…

Remember and Forgive.

so long couch-y-poo

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So far I have avoided the couch (in the morning) for 2 days which has freed up my time to make scrambled eggs for breakfast and say hi to the goats before leaving for the office (two VEREY positive activities). Getting ready has been kind of fun lately too. It’s weird how long I suffered with that one considering how easy it was to change. I think I didn’t want to care about my looks and so I thought that I didn’t…but in reality I do. It’s been an ironic lesson in self acceptance because I learned to accept the part of me that wasn’t happy with another part of me, which led to a few minor and relatively easy improvements and now all parts of me are getting along quite well. What a relief!

In addition to having a plan, Leo also says you should use visualization to help keep yourself motivated while changing habits. So here goes.

I see myself basking in the rays of positive energy…better yet I see those rays shining from within me out into the world. I am a light moving about on the farm, laying my hands on the backs of the goats, looking into their eyes and connecting with the cosmos within me and within them. I see this energy filling me with a passion to DO, to create, to be active, to come out of my bubble of lethargy and shyness and connect with the excitement of the universe! I see myself feeling alive all over and feeling light and free from worries. When a negative thought threatens these happy moments, I squash it! I SQUASH THEM ALL!!! And replace them with gratitude for nature’s beauty and the love of these dear sweet creatures.

Dirty Thinkin’

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When you dig around in the dirt, grow and harvest your own food, it kind of gets into your bones and you start thinkin’ about deep stuff. Stuff like “all dirt is is a bunch of poop and dead stuff.” Am I right? And that’s where we get our nutrients, from the dirt (poop and dead stuff). We just keep consuming one another, excreting what we can’t use and eventually we die and rot back into the dirt. Then something else grows out of us. According to this line if thinking as far as I can tell there’s not much difference between plants and animals. Its kind of like we’re just recycled versions of one another. I like that. It makes me feel so cozy here on my little farm with the garden, the weeds, the poop and the chickens.

Slay the Dragon of Thou Shalt

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At some poignant moment (one that I barely remember), in the fog of my early twenties, a friend whom I will most certainly stumble upon again in some future lifetime, gave me a little book called Reflections on the Art of Living: A Companion to Joseph Campbell. I read it from cover to cover, gave it to another friend, then bought it again, read it, and gave it to yet another friend. I went on like that with this book which had become my favorite, always giving it away only to buy it again and reread every page.

Its message haunted me, “Follow your bliss as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond”. Every fiber of my being yearned to run urgently toward my destiny with love and gratitude. To save myself from the shallow mediocrity of philosophical waxing over cocktails and cigarettes. And so one day, many years later, instead of turning right into the parking lot of my favorite pub, I took the road less traveled…a left turn down the path which led me here, to “slay the dragon of thou shalt”.

The Call of the Outlaw: A Farming Revival

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Hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive a link to a news cast featuring some cool looking chap in overalls and a cowboy hat sporting his latest bushel of kale. Its kind of fun being in the “in crowd” for once in my life. But I hope this farming revival thing sticks around for more than just my ego.

The thing is, America needs to reconnect with our land and our food. There are so many reasons why: to renew our health, to address the needs of the land itself and the plants and animals that inhabit it, to regenerate our economy and create jobs. But in the immediate short term, I believe farming can help us heal from the pains of war.

As most of us have gone about our regular routines these last 10 years, our soldiers have been deployed into battle over and over again. And what sacrifices have the rest of us been asked to make? Spend more money on crap from China?! That’s pretty much the advice we’ve been given from our country’s leadership.  Whatever you do don’t stop spending. Is that what America stands for these days? Are we just a bunch of spenders?

I believe the farming revival is an organic response to the hollow empty promises of a globalized economy in a world at war, even though many entering the fields aren’t even aware of why they are so compelled. Its like we intuitively know we must change and the earth is calling out to us. As we help heal her, she brings healing to us as well. This is a movement no corporation can co-op, mimic or replace and no government is capable of regulating. But they will try.

If you are new to farming beware, there are inherent risks involved. You will find fewer friends than enemies. But the rewards come as your life is transformed and your soul uplifted. Together we are more than just the cool kids; we are the momentum behind the change we’ve been longing for. This change is not an empty promise but a real force that is already in motion. It is the call of the Outlaw. Are you ready to answer her?

Making it without Losing it

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Recently I had the opportunity to attend a conference for women in farming and small business. I expected the workshops on marketing and management  but what I didn’t expect was an intimate forum in which several successful business women shared their stories of self doubt, faith, motherhood, natural disasters, community support, customer relationships and well facebook of course.

I couldn’t believe my ears, all this time I felt like a crazy person, obsessing over every detail of my fledgling soap company, feeling incompetent, frustrated and overwhelmed while simultaneously having the time of life. It is a strange reality sometimes but hearing other women share their experiences, I realized I don’t occupy this reality alone. In a way, I felt reassured and relieved that I’m not the only one… But then it was also kind of like wtf? will there be no end to the insanity?! These “successful” business women are obviously struggling with the same issues I am.

I walked away with some great tips on how to tell my story and how important that is in business. I went home and began the first draft of a press release about my soap farm, vowed to open a twitter account and made photocopies of all the important crap I carry around in my purse. Then I had an extra dry vodka martini, cried, laughed and fell asleep.

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