Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Biodynamic Gardening and Farming
Workshop for Beginners
with Chris Korrow
Gardening with biodynamics and understanding what nature is telling us about our gardens.
Plus, making and spraying biodynamic preparations, Barrel Compost and Horn Manure (BD #500).
When: Saturday, September 24, 2011, 11am-early afternoon
Where: Langley Community Garden
(Anderson Family Farm: 1041 Al Anderson Ave, Langley, WA 98260), Whidbey Island
Call: 221-0430 (local) or 270-406-9116 (mobile)
Bring: A chair if you think you might need one, sun hat and water.
Cost: Fee by donation. Farm interns are free.
Chris has been farming and gardening organically and biodynamically for more than 20 years.
Learn more about Chris at www.breathedeepproductions.com
Friday, September 2, 2011
This yummy sauce is made here on Whidbey Island.
Gabbi and I picked blackberries today, she made tarts and cobbler.
Chris picked this horsetail yesterday, so we brewed up a big vat of tea for the garden. It's one of the nine biodynamic preparations, also known as BD #508. It helps combat fungus and mold, and regulates water forces. We'll spray it on plants, and use some in the compost piles.
Amy gave us these big green apples from her tree on Maxwelton. I can't remember what they are called. They taste like a yellow apple! So crisp and sweet.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
September, (starting now!) Chris, Gabe and I are participating in Transition Whidbey’s local food challenge to, as much as possible, eat foods grown within a 100 mile radius of our home on South Whidbey Island, Washington. Mind you, I have only lived here for six weeks, so I thought this challenge would be a good chance to learn more about our local food shed, and the rest of the family agreed to give it a try.
I also want to use this challenge as a chance to become more aware of what we eat in general. I expect it will be an interesting exploration and take me to the next level with my commitment to making the right food choices and remind me of the social and economic consequences of my and my family’s food choices.
I don’t want to attempt to eat “only local” for the month, instead I want to use the challenge time to examine my non-local food choices, and to discover new food choices that we can integrate into our family diet for a long time to come.
We are blessed to grow all of our own vegetables in a community garden within walking distance from home. Right now we have plenty of potatoes, chard, spinach, lettuce, carrots, onions, green beans, beets, what else...assorted herbs, cucumbers, zucchini. Right around the bend, we’ll have kale and collards with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage coming on before winter. This seems to provide us with more than enough variety of vegetables. We buy an occasional avocado and also fruit. Neighbors and friends either give us eggs or we trade for produce.
Last month we ate a lot of bing and Rainier cherries (organic were available for almost the same price as conventional). Now plums, pluots and peaches are all for sale at the farmer’s markets. Since I am new to the area, I am not sure how long these fruit trees of Eastern Washington continue to produce. Blueberries from Oregon have been for sale at the grocery store, and yesterday, a friend brought by some apples from her tree.
With all of that, we still eat a lot of food that we don’t grow, and there are a number of foods we eat which might or might not be available locally.
I am hoping to meet with Georgina, a woman who is producing kamut, hard winter wheat and barley on a seven acre plot in the historic Ebey’s Landing National Historic Preserve. While her land is not Demeter Certified Biodynamic, Georgina uses biodynamic farming practices. I’d like to buy some locally grown wheat from her, although I have no grinder, so I am not sure how we will put it to use. I think she offers flour. The barley we could put in soups.
I spent over an hour on the internet trying to find out how to buy lentils grown in the Palouse region Eastern Washington, even though it is the (self-proclaimed) lentil capitol of the world and home to the National Lentil Festival. I finally did find a couple of sources, but nothing organic so far. Go figure.
So the challenge begins!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Today when I went to the post office, the prized proofread copy of the fall issue of LILIPOH magazine had arrived in the mail. I knew it because of the red card in my PO Box. I took my tag and handed it to the lady working behind the counter. She presented to me my Express Mail package encased in a plastic bag, stamped with the words “We Care.”
Normally, the cardboard envelope was not surrounded in plastic. As I picked the package up, it went limp. It was soaking wet. I could see through the clear wrapping that the envelope was torn. The postal looked at me with compassion, “It arrived that way,” she said. She also noted that it arrived late, which meant that Caryl, our proofreader, could obtain a full refund of the $18 dollars it cost to insure the package arrived in my hands the day after she’d mailed it.
Now, for years I have been studying the process of thinking, watching thoughts arise, trying to be mindful and awake to the understanding that thoughts are realities and have an impact on the physical world. I noticed what was surfacing in me as I held my soggy pile of important papers. I was annoyed. Pissed. Discouraged. A refund just wouldn’t be good enough. Someone had to make this right.
I walked home, and peeled the package open for closer inspection. The pages were damp all the way through, but luckily, not to the point where the ink had run. The copy was still legible. I pulled each article apart and spread them out across the living room floor, near the open front door so the air blowing in would help them dry quickly.
As it was, I was running late. I was headed out to attend Just Write for the first time, a writer’s group in Coupeville hosted by literary agent Andrea Hurst. I brushed off my annoyance and rushed out the door.
On the 30 minute drive north to the midpoint of the island, I thought about the following:
My package was wet, and though the label on the outside said “We Care,” the subsequent fine print said, in so many words, “We’re sorry, but mistakes happen.” I can understand that sometimes a machine might tear up an envelope, or a piece of mail might get lost. But this—this was clearly the result of someone who did not care, someone who was sloppy or negligent. So here I was, a mind full with negative thoughts (as opposed to mindful). At least I noticed that much.
Later, I began to wonder about the man or woman who’d mishandled my package. What kind of day might he or she been having? Underpaid, overworked, feeling pressures of family, economy—while here I sat, in the sun, on the Coupeville wharf writing this blog post. As I looked out over the water, the wet manuscript suddenly didn’t bother me one bit. This unnamed postal worker had a careless moment, and it resulted in a wet package. But then, I had personalized the unfortunate experience.
Thankfully, I realized I had a choice. Did I want to say “yes” to the negative thoughts I was having toward this person, when, by thinking them, I was only solidifying the truth that this person disappointed me and negatively affected my experience? OR did I want to hope for a healthy, happy, peaceful life for this person who maybe did not have the presence of mind to care about my package?
By saying “yes” to caring about the individual, I did something for myself. I released myself from reliving the idea that I am a victim, that I am merely the object of someone else's circumstances. By changing my thoughts, I freed myself from recreating a negative reality (“Why did you do this to me?”), and instead, retrained my attention, my thoughts, onto a mental picture of “I wish you well.”
An interesting inner shift. It might not change the reality of this other person, who I don’t know, but it has changed mine by giving me a more compassionate vantage point, and a softer, more humane point of attraction. So, for that, I thank the postal worker who left my package out in the rain.
PS Suggested flower essences to support our best self in this kind of situation to come soon!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Wind blows across grass
Finally reaching my yard
Torn flag points the way
Carried down this road
that stretches out like a prayer
asking for a map
My word was not loud
I got my message across
I can now move on
Oh the looming walls
taunt me to scale the brown earth
I climb toward the sun
New Faces —CK
I cannot find you
No one looks familiar
I once knew them all
Acres of sage brush
line roads that look wet from sun
The mountains are close
Sangre de Christo —CK
Pilgrims reach the sky
Saints live high in these mountains
Dust devil follows
Four at the hot springs —CK
Red tape stuck to glass
Wind makes it crackle and move
Pieces of windmills
Spacious mountains span
distances and horizons
A bird flies across
Red, yellow, purple
Flowers shout out their colors
Desert sands listen
Ghosts in tee pees hear
desert rabbit run through brush
Ears above cactus
Baker City, OR —GK
Empty town houses
looked perfect from the surface
Quiet streets were home
One calf leans under
Drinks milk in Oregon field
Cascades watch the herd
Leaving Home —GK
Suitcase packed with dimes,
I’m leaving the fields I’ve known
for copper windows
Summer Heat —CK
Road so hot and black
makes eyes turn to red flowers
Warm winds blow them closed
Railroad Tracks —GK
Wrapping round the hill,
my ear to the steel waiting
for ground to tremble
Red Lipstick —CK
Lying alone, deep
under the ground, white, but for
her lips still so red
Thursday, May 26, 2011
As a busy editor who also works in various other sectors of publishing, I wanted to share the following flower essence combination with any of you who are also multitasking your way through the world, and at times find it all to be a bit too much. Typically a remedy is taken on an as-needed basis as acute situations arise by putting 2 drops into a glass of water and sipping it throughout the day, or for ongoing situations, 2 drops, 4 times per day is a standard recommendation. Remedies can be purchased at local health food stores, or ordered over the internet. I can do a session with you over the phone, drop me a line if you are interested. email@example.com
Elm is the remedy for those of us who take on a lot of responsibility, but then begin to feel that the responsibility is too much, and who feel that our confidence begins to slip. Thoughts such as -- how can I ever accomplish all of this? I am on over my head, and I am not going to be able to do a good job with all of this, I’ve overcommitted myself and the quality of my work is going to slide -- are indicators that Elm is in order.
Elm will help to bring about a sense of balance, and a renewed sense of feeling as though you are on the right track, and the work load will be placed in its proper perspective. Mechthild Scheffer notes that the stress of the Elm state is the higher self calling for moderation, and on some level this stress we are experiencing is a warning to us -- we are not meeting the demands of our own soul.1 It is helpful during times like this to visualize or picture a task completed, this is especially effective at bedtime, right before sleep. When we sleep we connect with spiritual beings who assist us on the astral plane and help us work out our problems. Our impatient and doubting ego is out of the way, and all the voices that say “I can’t” are quieted during the night. When you wake up in the morning, quietly pay attention, and notice if you are receiving a solution or resolution to an issue from the pervious day, or sink in to the sensation of knowing you are capable of meeting your responsibilities. This exercise enhances the effects of Elm.
Hornbeam is for when we feel mentally overwhelmed at the thought of all that we have to do. Where Elm will help us regain confidence with our responsibilities, Hornbeam will bring about an inner strength and knowingness, an enthusiasm. For it is with enthusiasm that we can accomplish great things.2 We can accomplish things with sheer mental will, but this is not sustainable. When the intent behind our actions is lined up with the mission of our higher self (one of love and service), a strength comes from this, and we can trust in the outcome of a plan larger than ourselves.
Once we trust in something larger than ourselves, we can relax into our daily demands, and know that each situation is bringing about the best for our highest good. It is helpful to pick on or two doable actions, and without further contemplation, just do them--this sets a flow in place where momentum can build on the feeling of having actually accomplished something. This sets off a domino effect where things seem to become accomplished on their own, or with very little effort, a person you are waiting to hear from calls you, a project is approved with no hassles, people are early on deadlines--there is an ease and a flow to the tasks at hand. Activities that takes us out of the mind like exercise, yoga, mediation, and time in nature are additional remedies for the Hornbeam state.
Now, this is interesting. On the surface, Chestnut Bud helps those who continue to make the same mistakes over and over, and fail to learn from the lessons that life, God, the universe is trying to teach. But, when we go a little deeper, and look into why it is that we are met with the same kind of repeated lessons again and again, we see how this is often an issue of attention, of paying attention and of awareness. So often, we don’t move through life in an awakened way. If we are too busy and as a result too scattered, we aren’t fully incarnated into the moment, we skim the surface, going through the motions, while in our thoughts we have already moved ahead to the next task. This can quickly spiral out of control, not only do we not get the most out of our experience, we never feel fully alive because we are concentrated not on the NOW, but on the future, which doesn’t exist yet!
Chestnut Bud cultivates the inner experience of being in the moment, and the simultaneous experience of higher self awareness (our higher self is the part of us connected with that which is eternal, so when we let go of our worries of the past and future, the part of us that is constant can live in our consciousness). Deep breathing and stretching are both helpful body-based ways to help us slow down and integrate into the body--a solid representation of the now.
When we are filled with enthusiasm, balance and self-awareness, our thoughts are free from angst, stress, judgement (you get the picture). Our thoughts then vibrate at a higher level, which means that all of our bodily molecules are vibrating at a higher level. The result? Our gifts to the world are more evident and generous, we shine, and the world begins to shine back on us. The resistance which kept us apart from that which we were trying manifest, accomplish and attract has now dissipated.
- Scheffer, Mechthild. Bach FlowerTherapy: Theory and Practice, Healing Arts Press, 1988, p. 83.
- Steiner, Rudolf. Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture, Bio-Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, 1993.
For those not so familiar with flower essences, here is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of LILIPOH magazine, “Flower Essence Therapy: Blossoming to Wholeness with Plant Energies” by Elizabeth R. Mackenzie, PhD.
FET: The Inside Perspective
From the point of view of the FET practitioner, the essences are all about energetic vibration. According to [flower essence practitioner] Rhoni Groff, “Flower essences are made in water and begin with prayer.” Practitioners point to the unique properties of water, which is known to be an excellent conductor of electrical energy, as the reason the vibration of the flower is able to extracted and stored. They cite the work of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese researcher who demonstrated that water crystals appear to reflect the attributes of positive or negative words as evidence that water transmits energy.
FET practitioners believe that the spirit of the plant transfers to the water, which can then be preserved as a tincture, and that when the client imbibes the tincture, the energetic essence of the blossom interacts with the client’s vibratory field to catalyze changes in consciousness. Groff puts it this way, “Flower essences carry a high vibration, and through the process of resonance they raise vibrations with our chakra system.” As with the idea of entrainment, similar vibratory fields are drawn to one another, so that a person attracts people and events based on his or her vibratory rate. The basic idea is that a person with a relatively low rate of oscillation will end up surrounded by other persons with low vibrations, and vice versa. In this worldview, raising the rate of vibration becomes an obvious good for all with important healing implications for both the individual and the collective.
For most FET practitioners, the main goal is to use the energetic healing forces of the plants to help clients free themselves from habitual patterns and beliefs that no longer support growth.
1 See www.hado.net.
2 See www.GiftoftheFlowers.com. Rhoni Groff works with clients by telephone as well as in person.
Monday, April 25, 2011
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OBTAINING NUTRIENTS FROM PLANTS AND ANIMALS
“There are no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better obtained by plant-based foods.” —Dr. Colin T. Campbell
This is a surprising statement to many, but a basic study of nutrition shows that this is actually true. Both animal and plant foods contain essential nutrients required for human health, for instance, both contain fats, protein and calcium. But, once one analyzes the metabolism and subsequent function of nutrients from both sources, a marked difference can be observed between plant and animal-based foods as sources of nutrition. The scientific studies of Dr. Campbell have shown that, once metabolized, plant-based foods are the optimum source of nutrients for human beings for creating health, including an optimum source of protein. Though nutrients work in concert with each other, and not in isolation, we can learn a lot by examining the function of individual nutrients.
Protein: The research of Dr. Campbell and his associates showed time and time again how, even though animal protein is thought of as high quality protein, once metabolized, the function of animal proteins have the ability to foster the growth of cancer and the catalyze the formation of cholesterol. Whereas plant proteins showed the opposite—tumor growth was arrested in laboratory tests where animals with cancer were fed plant proteins, and those people who ate plant-based diets had low cholesterol rates—the data from The China Study confirmed these findings.
Fiber: One reason that plant-based foods are an optimum source for nutrition is the high fiber content. High fiber diets are correlated with lower rates of colorectal cancer. Meats and other animal products do not contain fiber. Though we do not produce the bacteria and enzymes to break down the molecules in fiber (as do ruminants), this unbroken down fiber remains in the intestinal lumen and performs important health-related functions in the body. Different fibers have different activities, for example, fiber will bind up unwanted substances such as chemical carcinogens, other toxins and bile acids, and remove them.
Fiber also we helps us manage the rates at which we absorb sugars and other nutrients into the bloodstream. As the body attempts to digest the fiber, more enzymes come in and this slows down the digestive process, thus metabolism is regulated, and nutrients enter the blood stream at a more controlled pace, will not spike blood sugar, etc.
Antioxidants: Evident in the beautiful colors in plants, antioxidants are manufactured by plants as a mechanism of self-protection to counter the formation of free radicals, rouge molecules which cause cell damage and are harmful byproducts of photosynthesis. Humans also generate free radicals as a result of aging, and exposure to agricultural chemicals and environmental toxins—to name just a few of the ways. Free radical damage can lead to many many diseases, ranging from cancer to cognitive disorders. But, unlike plants, we do not generate our own antioxidants. Meats, on the other hand, do sometimes contain small amounts of antioxidants if the animals has eaten plants and stored them. More significant though, is that meat and animal products actually “tend to activate free radical production and cell damage.” (The China Study, p. 219) Therefore, not only do animal products not aid us in the defense against free radical damage, they add to our free radical load. Clearly, plants can’t be beat for their generous doses of health-bringing antioxidants.
ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VEGAN DIET AND A PLANT-BASED DIET
Based on people I have known, many who have adopted a vegan diet have done so for moral reasons, and may or may not have a strong interest in or understanding of health and nutrition. There is the likelihood of a vegan diet to be high in soy products and gluten based meat substitutes which have been shown to cause adverse health and digestive conditions in some people. There are no parameters indicating that a vegan diet should be primarily based in vegetables and fruits, therefore a vegan diet can include refined cards, sugars and processed foods, or it can mean a strictly plant based whole foods diet as described in The China Study.
On the other hand, those who adopt a plant-based diet, and who try to include a high percentage of raw fruits and vegetables in the diet, typically have a strong interest in nutrition. Many people have come to a plant-based diet because they had chronic health problems, did not get results with pharmaceuticals. In this case the plant-based diet is actually a therapeutic measure. And while the science in this course shows that an optimum diet would contain no animal products, there are no hard and fast rules. A person would ideally have the understanding of the nutritional values of the food they eat, and are therefore able to at least make an informed decision if they did decide to continue to eat meat in some capacity.
I can’t speak from experience, but I doubt there are many vegans who stay on an unhealthy vegan diet for the longterm, I would imagine that the results of the diets would manifest in low energy and possibly other health problems, which might prompt further exploration into nutrition.
So....what's next? Get eating and better yet, get growing! Chris has a nifty little booklet that only costs $5 called The 30 Square Foot Garden, it teaches you how to turn a patch of lawn into a patch of green edibles.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Solar fence charger $120
T Posts $2.50 each (32)
Cattle panels x 2 $12 each
Plastic step in fence posts $1 each
Flexible electric fence tape 600 ft. $15
3/4 of a roll 4 ft high roll chicken wire $15
100 gallon stock water tank $30
Elec web goat/sheep fence 164 feet $30
Deep well pump $80
Tractor cultivator $200
Thursday, April 14, 2011
This is part of an assignment for a course called Nutrition Fundamentals, part of a series of courses in Plant-Based Nutrition (nutrition as a science and a component of medicine, to both maintain health and prevent disease) authored by Dr. Colin Campbell, which I am taking through eCornell. Dr Campbell is Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University (wow!) and many people know Dr. Campbell for his seminal work, published as The China Study, considered the largest and most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. What I love about the course is the data and science to back up every claim!
My motivation for taking this course is my desire to be able to communicate clearly the facts and science behind the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
My strategy for provoking interest in this topic is to first begin with myself, and lead by example, and eat a plant-based diet as the basis for keeping myself in optimum health. As many have already mentioned, it is detrimental to push new ideas on a person who is not open to them. Additionally, if that person is already in the midst of an illness, he or she is struggling with so much already, therefore it is best to always leave people free to make their own choices, and understand that we might not always know what is best for another, and to still treat him or her with kindness and compassion.
Alternately, to those looking for answers, a few of the most convincing arguments for adopting a plant-based diet as a way of bringing about health are: it’s inexpensive; no side effects; it’s scientifically proven; it not only benefits your health, but also the health of the world.
As Dr. Campbell stated, we are currently spending more in the US per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world. Yet, we are not getting better health for all of this spending. We have been using costly pharmaceuticals for the last 50 years, substances which can only provide us with short term benefits, as we can see from the continued increase in disease rates. There is no evidence that these expensive treatments are bringing disease under control, and in fact cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease are all on the rise.
No side effects:
Medical care itself is the third leading cause of death in the US (with prescription drug adverse affects accounting for 106,000--almost half according to the JAMA).
Adopting a plant-based diet is not a fad, there is substantial scientific data showing the progress of plant-based diets in not only preventing, but reversing advanced late stages of heart disease—an example of the power of the dietary effect. Though the scientific community resisted accepting this, it is no longer disputable that advanced cases of heart disease can be reversed. Data has also shown that in societies where a Standard American Diet has crept in, high in meat and processed foods, a simultaneous rise in the diseases of cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease has been evidenced. Diet is a proven risk factor for both cancer and diabetes.
Worldwide implications beyond your own health:
By adopting a plant based diet, you are not only doing something for yourself, you are doing something for others. There are environmental, economic and political and implications to large-scale industrial meat production—ranging from overuse of resources, pollution, and disenfranchisement of peasant cultures.
Taking responsibility for your own health can be a big step for some, though the rewards are great!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Canon VIXIA HV30 MiniDV High Definition Camcorder with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom
I've only used this as a second camera to my Canon A1 and as an occasional capture deck. In great shape, works great.
Canon, HD Video, Canon Lens
Friday, March 25, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Canon 50D Excellent condition (approximately 11,000 shutter clicks)
18-55 IS Canon Lens (or a Tamron 18-200 for $100 more)
Canon TC-80N3 Remote & Intervalometer
2 - 8 GB CF Cards
Original box, manual etc.
$900 with 18-200 lens
Shipping is extra
or call 270-406-9116
Monday, February 21, 2011
I am working in Level 3 (passed my Level 2 assessment). We are selling our organic farm and moving out of state. Unfortunately this means I have to re-home my three amazing horses. This link will take you to my parents blog, where you can see some photos.
We have lived on an organic farm for 20 years, the horses are healthy and well cared for. I have done western pleasure and trail riding. I have invested a lot of time in these special horses and would really like to find a Parelli home for them.
Please call me with any questions,
My phone number is 931-252-4301
We live in Burkesville, in southern Kentucky, near Dale Hollow Lake. On the TN/KY border, due north of Cookeville.
At this point best offer will be taken, we really need to find them a new home ASAP!
Oliver (Ollie): Friendly, Loving Paint Gelding
I have had this horse since I was ten (for seven years). He is 10-11 years old. He is the horse I used to certify my Parelli, Levels One and Two. He is very smart and attentive. Ollie is a full bred Quarter Horse, we just don't have his papers --we have had him almost 7 years. He is very well balanced, good woah and go. Not extreme left or right brain. Just a really fun, smart horse! Friendly, Ollie, our gelding is a hair under 15 hands
Rosie Cotton: Adorable Four-Year-Old Fillie
Rosie the Buckskin--born here--she will turn 4 on March 21, 2011. She is the daughter of the white standard bred mare who was bred to a black Tennessee Walker. Since she has grown up with me from the beginning, her curiosity is very pure, she has an amazing amount of trust and interest in people. Very balanced as well , an amazing partner!!
She is ready to take her Level One assessment, though a lot of her work is already Level Two (I refer to old level one and two). She is just a darling of a horse! If you meet her, you're bound to fall in love! She comes running to the gate when called. Born on our farm, was raised with Parelli. She is almost like something out of a Disney movie. Call her name and she comes running. Can do tricks. Saddle broke, ready to take her Parelli Level One assessment. Very curious and interested. Huge amount of potential. A joy to be around. Gorgeous buckskin with black mane and tail. Rosie is 15 hands.
Lucy: Lucy is our 11 year old standard bred. She is the sweetest thing! She is a little timid and shy. And tends to be more right brain then the others, but after a little warm up she is trusting and confident and really wants to impress! We have had her for 5 years, and she is the mother of Rosie. Takes a while to get to know her, but once you do, you are sure to fall in love with her. Has been a wonderful mother. Well broken, just needs some brushing up since she hasn't been ridden much lately. Sensitive and alert. Ready to assess at Parelli Level One. Lucy, the white mare is 14 hands.
None of the horses are shoed at this time, all are comfortable having their feet trimmed. Ollie and Lucy have been shoed in the past.
Here are some pictures of my babies!