where to start

responsibility.

if i tell my daughter to pick up a mess she did not make, i am met with complaints and refusal. "i didn't make this mess!"

the next several generations on our earth are going to have to clean up our environmental mess. we need to do better for them.
why isn't this sense of responsibility innate within us?
we have to look at ourselves and what causes these behaviors. what character traits do you have that need to change to cause change?

we as as humans try to distance ourselves from discomfort.
do you remember when it was uncomfortable or inconvenient to take your reusable shopping bags into a grocery store? the sense of oh, i might have to wait for someone to tare my bags if i use the self-checkout. or the sense of what if i'm scoffed at?
now reusable bags are the norm! that all happened because of people like us who started using our own bags.

never feel like your voice isn't being heard. it is.
not just with the power of your spending habits, but with your personal habits.

use this as a motivator for responsibility.

do something, rather than just thinking about something.
do you take your own reusable grocery bags but then end up grabbing plastic bag after plastic bag to keep your produce together? or to keep packaged raw meat from touching other things in your cart? or even for bakery goods? look into reusable mesh produce bags. i always get a compliment on them and people inevitably want them as well. this is how change happens. seeing others doing something so normal causes other people to not think it's uncomfortable or weird. use a cloth bag for bread. for meat, just designate a couple of canvas bags for them, bypassing the need for plastic. pop those icky bags in the washer if a leak happens or they smell funky. no big deal!

if you use the bulk bins, go to customer service and they will tare your mason jar for you. sharpie the bin number on your jar. there is no transferring of food from plastic bag to jar when you get home, and no hole in your granola bag. and you'll know what the product is and can go right back for more! i can almost guarantee you will not be the only person to ask for a mason jar tare.
if you find you are met with resistance, instead of making someone feel inadequate, judged or dumb, approach the newness with patience and compassion. you don't want to make anyone feel bad or shame them. chances are if someone has made you feel this way, you put up a wall. don't put up walls around good things (see what i did there)

make it about you, not them. say you are not using plastic as a personal challenge. it will make this a positive discussion! it will make other lifestyle switches less scary or overwhelming, for both you and the next person.

you can make better choices for our generation and the next several. we have to.

how to help

i have gotten a lot of inquiries about what we do with our stuff as we get rid of it. nothing we had was useless garbage, quite the opposite! that said, selling things is the opposite of what we wanted. i wanted to give back.

there are 28 locations of the International Rescue Committee, one of which is in Denver. The IRC helps refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. when refugees arrive, most have nothing more than the clothes on their backs. your unused or unnecessary stuff will make a difference in these people's lives, allowing them to achieve a safer, more secure life. 

another option is contacting your local safehouse for victims of domestic abuse and see what they are in need of.

for our old blankets, project linus is an excellent option, find your local chapter.


if you just want to get rid of things but don't want to do the legwork (it feels SO good to help!), there are local charities that will even pick up your stuff, like the disabled american veterans, which you can schedule online and not even have to talk to anyone if that's your preferred method of donation. ARCgoodwill, etc are all other charitable places you can drop off your stuff.

there is no reason your stuff has to sit unused and unnecessary in boxes in your home (or even worse a storage unit!) just in case. it should and can be used by someone who needs it.

thank you to everyone who has taken a moment from your day to reach out and ask questions, give encouragement, or just share your journey. we are all in this world together. let's make it the best we can!

find your why

as i read more, get rid of more, and want less, i notice more around me. 
i notice all of the things competing for my attention. not just advertisers, which no one is immune to, but the things that are in my house that call for my attention. 
it started with marie kondo's book and decluttering. then it was onto brooke mcalary helping me discover my why
so we donated so, so much stuff! so. much. stuff. 
joshua becker has proved to be an ongoing inspiration as i continue my journey into wanting less--because i know my why. 
if you want to figure out how to start being happy and stop buying things to make you happy (it will never work) or stop saying "i'll be happy when _______" and you want to spend more time on experiences and with meaningful relationships, then you have to stop buying things to fill your void. 
happiness is bad for the economy. once you're happy, you won't be wanting this thing or that thing or the newest version of this thing.
you can walk through a mall and not want want want. my family can go to the mall and not buy a single thing except a treat for our kids. or a nice lunch. that feels really, really good. 
stuff will never make you happy.

be happy. pay attention to your stuff. how much stuff do you own? does your stuff own you? does your stuff own your time? how many times have your kids wanted your attention but you're too busy cleaning, sorting, folding, shopping, scrolling, watching. instead of building those memories? you're not going to remember watching netflix or putting away multiples of x,y,z utensils, clothes, toys, stuff. you will remember, and your kids will, too, building something together. going for an adventure walk, really getting to know your family instead of just having them drive you crazy in the background while you try to watch other people live their fake lives while your real life passes you by. 
it drives me BONKERS when people say they don't have the time. they DO. they just don't prioritize the important aspects of their life. or they don't know what is important to them yet because they are too busy numbing their minds, pacifying. wasting their time. 
we are all given the same 24 hours in a day. wouldn't you rather fill that time with goodness? with activities that fulfill your life? or do you want to continue not having the time or money to do the things you've always wanted to do? 

you, and only you, are responsible for your happiness. 

breathing

the weeks have been fulfilling but not full. 
popcorn garlands take forever to make.
reading a library book that is due with no renewals is real pressure.
if you rinse the goose poop off of your intentionally collected perfectly open pine cones for a christmas wreath, they will close up. 
line a cookie sheet with tin with foil, bake at 250 fahrenheit until they have once again opened and your home smells like pitch. 

planning, plotting, designing and brainstorming edible, medicinal gardens with the most inspiring landscape. 
2017 was rough. and i know that every year we are toasting to a new, better year with an improved this or that or sense of self. 
but really. just flipping the calendar over to a new month was easing. just to be able to see a month, this december, with no stuff all over the calendar. no appointments. just the good days. and birthdays. and reminders of holidays spent with family. no doom and gloom. 
a breath. 
here's to a month of breathing. 

if you want change, you must change

over the summer, i decided that enough was enough.
we all know that almost every single piece of plastic ever made is still in existence. but what about your clothes? i bet you're wearing acrylic, polyester, nylon, spandex or rayon right now. these are synthetic, man-made fibers. and you're probably drinking those man-made fibers right now. those synthetic fibers, tiny itty bitty pieces every time you wash your clothes, go into our water supply and are too small of particles (micro fibers) to filter out. our bodies, not just the bodies of whales and fish and birds, are full of plastic.
you don't want to drink plastic water, or give your kids plastic filled water? then stop contributing to it. if you want change, you must change. posting angrily about plastic pollution in our oceans but still wearing acrylic, or buying those cheap kids clothes from big box, is contributing to this. no one wants to be told that they are a part of the negative impact. but you are. we are.

i find that with the holidays days coming up, i can feel my anxiety starting rise, anticipating the garbage gifts. the synthetic fiber kids clothes that we won't use, the plastic wrapping that everything comes in. a simple, straight-forward conversation is all it takes to change your consumption of crap. talking about it with your friends and family causes awareness.

so. over the summer my family and i went through every single piece of clothing we own and ditched all the synthetic crap. 100% cotton clothing, wool and hemp, linen and nettle. nettle sounds itchy, its similar in feel to jute and is very cool how it's made. i don't personally wear silk, but that is another natural option. bamboo clothing has some questionable practices to get it to that soft fiber which in turn makes it a form of rayon, so we don't wear that either.
my husband was all "you're getting rid of that dress?!" yep. that patagonia dress. well, they're a company that does a lot of good, but no one is climbing a mountain in that dress. there is no need to contribute to the shitty synthetic mania of our culture.

eliminating the plastic and chemicals from your life is not going to be easy, and it will never be easy. you will be tempted to buy that cute outfit for your kid or that cheap shirt, but read that label. if you don't want to contribute to the wasting of our world, then don't. being a mindful, conscientious person starts with your mind. your mind. before you try to change the minds of others, you have to change yours.

ancestral bounty

my baker creek whole seed catalogue came last night, i go through it with a pen while the kids sleep, ogling giant gourds and jewel corn and pawpaws. 
in the inside front cover is a letter from the baker creek owners. i'll share an excerpt:
 
"...Not only do our travels yield new seeds, but also friends from across the globe who united with us in the passion to preserve the seeds of the people, in the hands of the people, and free from corporate control, patents and GMOs. Each year the resistance to corporate, GMO, factory farming continues to grow, both in America and oftentimes faster internationally. People want the food their grandmothers grew and cooked, as well as trying the foods of other cultures. Seeds and gardening have an amazing way of bringing cultures and families together."

i recently shipped out 18 envelopes to states like oregon to maine, michigan, louisianna and new mexico. years ago i hunted down true aleppo pepper seeds. i have grow them quite unsuccessfully every year, only yielding a pepper or two but enough to coninue saving the seed. this year i was able to grow 5 beautiful plants, all full of peppers. i saved every single seed and sent them out to other gardeners and community seed savers who manage seed saving groups in their local area. the 5 pepper seeds i obtained from a syrian citizen in 2009 now will produce true aleppo pepper plants through the united states. 

there are so many varieties of heirloom, family grown vegetables and herbs that also need to be recognized, found, and carried on to grow. i hope i can continue to grow such cool, important diverse foods and pass them on to other growers and eaters. 

permaculture palms

the rainy autumn has arrived, supplying us with bountiful worms to save from puddles (sometimes putting them in the garden!) peeling wet pants off at the door and a resurgence of peas, cracked heels and permaculture palms.

the happiest

the happiest moments always coincide with the freest time.

resting.jpg

a teachable spirit

“love them, show them grace, and walk through life with a teachable spirit, freely knowing you don’t need their approval in order to live consistently with your values.” -tsh oxenreider

first equinox dinner

i'm throwing an autumn equinox dinner party in celebration of the beautiful food that i've grown and am harvesting this month. i was inspired when i read ashley english's book handmade gatherings and realized all of my roots and dry beans will be ready to harvest around then. 
checking the push of the celeriac root out from the soil, gloving up and pulling those prized parsnips and shaking runner beans. september is a magical month and definitely deserves to be celebrated!

i made some shrubs that will be the perfect mellow yumminess for the party. palisade peach and local bing cherry shrubs that i'll mix with herbal-infused booze and sparkling water. 
a shrub, friends, is at its core a drinking vinegar, but so much more! it's made with 2 parts fresh fruit, and 1 part sugar and 1 part vinegar. i don't heat mine. if you're curious, use this food52 article on a basic shrub recipe. 

fulfilment is fueled by optimism

esterday a friend said to me "the smile you get when you talk about your soil? that's the smile i get when i bake the perfect loaf of bread." 
we sowed cornflowers and breadseed poppies into the cut flower garden while our children wandered around playing happily and unassisted. for three years our little girls have grown up in our community garden. now we have sons who walk and explore on their own. my son, otis, goes right to the butterfly garden to play in the wallowing pond and ruffle the feathery leaves of yarrow. 
my perennial and/or self-sowing herbs are coming up beautifully already. chamomile, lovage, sage, tarragon, stridolo, thyme, raspberry canes dotted with new lime-green frills. blue violets have already been harvested, picked by the tiny hands of my daughter. the violet leaf harvested a bit every week. a rainy night means greener plants, softer soil, happier earth. 
we have always tilled our soil. not entirely, not deeply. but enough. last year i decided i wanted to build it up and build it up and added compost, and after i planted garlic and added more compost and soil, i added hay from our local mill. then cover-cropped with oats. 
my garlic looks amazing, and i've watered as needed and added more compost and soil to the garden. 
yesterday i planted my root veggies-albino beet, watermelon radish, parisian carrot, turga parsnip, bedford monarch parsnips, cylindra beets. and frisee. when i went to hand-rake the soil to add the seed, i was amazed at how soft and luscious, dark and silky it was between my fingers. this is going to be one great gardening year! 

perennially blooming where you are planted


i have been thinking a lot of community. I suppose I always consider community, but right now I am considering myself in my community and where I want my community to be. where would I bloom in my community. is that here, in golden? is it somewhere with a longer growing season? is it somewhere where fertile land is attainable for a reasonable price, and if the place does have land, who are the people surrounding that land? how do they treat it, what is their sense of community. and I keep going in circles because we all want to make our home work for us instead of seeking a new home. once we are tied to our community, change is hard. are we innately creatures of habit or can we scatter around with shallow roots?
this mama wants roots. I'm ready for my family's perennial home.

feeling the weight

bending in the garden,
a morning prayer before the sun bakes my back into a confetti of freckles. 
i am 7 months pregnant, feeling the weight of this child more every morning.
hotter days, swollen feet in sandals.
hosing the dirt from limbs. reveling in the cool of the water. 
thump-bump, flip. my womb is kneaded.  
my daughter, almost 2 1/2, plucks blue cornflowers, her gardening ritual.
the stray pink or purple flowers are reserved for her strawberry blonde hair. 
a second pregnancy differs from the first. counting down the weeks, instead of up. 
mr. October will arrive, an end to the harvest.