Sunday, July 29, 2007

Life Is Rich ...

Susan photographing a praying mantis consuming a butterfly!

Last weekend my friend Susan, from Visual Voice came for a visit. It was wonderful to have her here and to share with her life on the river. We ate well, talked and talked and went kyaking up Ivy Creek where we spent almost 30 minutes with a young Great Blue Heron who refused to be disturbed by us. We also saw Little Green Herons, Kingfishers and a variety of other birds that didn't want to hang out with us. I know Susan took some great photos of Big Blue and I'm sure if you keep checking her blog she will be posting some soon.

Yesterday, I attended a raw foods workshop where I learned to prepare wonderfully delicious uncooked foods right from the garden. We had a fabulous luncheon of cucumber and pineapple gazpacho, three different kinds of crackers made from nuts and seeds, zucchini "pasta" with both an Alfredo sauce and a pesto marinara and then tacos made with large leaves of Romain lettuce, filled with walnut meat filling, avacado, green peppers, cheese made from nuts and spicy salsa. There were tastes of veggie burgers with a sweet curry relish, a "massaged" salad of kale, avacado, lemon and salt, pickled veggies and for desert pecan cookies and real live fudge with raspberries and nuts. Oh my! I was stuffed and enjoyed every morsel.

I've been playing around with green smoothies for breakfast for a couple of months now and really enjoy them. They keep me filled up all morning with no need for snacks before lunch. I make mine with a banana, fresh ginger, seasonal fruits such as fresh peaches or nectarines, almond butter, greens such as spinach, turnip (my favorite), beet, chard or kale. I've also added zucchini, cukes, kiwi, or whatever else I might have on hand. I also add a bit of agave nectar, some strawberries and fill with water to the top . I've also experimented with a raw cream of shitaki mushroom soup and even my "Oh no, now what?," fussy husband loved it! I'm not sure I'll go all raw with my eating but I've started a new trend in the household and who knows where it will lead.

I signed up for a six week herbal class in September and am already reading and studying. I've harvested some St. John's Wort, which I'm making into an oil for aches and pains, made a mullien oil for ear infections and dried mint and lemon balm for later use. I've planted a number of new herbs and in the spring there will be many more.

At the end of this coming week I will go off on another adventure and when I get back will hopefully share pictures taken in Northern Canada and Greenland. I am very excited but also feeling a bit guilty for expanding my carbon footprint for this trip. But I am drawn to the North and the ice and feel that if I can bring back a message of its beauty and the need for habitat for wildlife like polar bears, I might be able to help just one person understand the devastation we are and have been causing our planet.

I am feeling hugely grateful for all of the opportunities that I am being given. Life is rich and so very wonderful!!

My garden, July 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Favorite Kitty Flower

Cleo in the garden

This is Miss Cleo. She was my mother's cat and is just now beginning to feel like she belongs with that "Rough crowd" upstairs. Though she has lived in the same house as we do for over 6 years, she has always stayed in her own little patch of house and garden downstairs in my mother's apartment. She is afraid of our dogs, Molly and Sam, and most people. She gets along with my cat Lilly, but she and Pepper give each other the evil eye.

When my mother adopted Cleo and her brother, Leo, 12 years ago, they were feral kittens ... about 6 months old. Leo was the bravest of the two but disappeared shortly after mom moved into the apartment downstairs. Cleo still remains to this day very shy and afraid of the dogs, but finally she is getting better. For a while, she seemed very depressed and I know missed my mother after she moved into the nursing home. I thought I might have to find another home for her with an older person with no other pets. But we've hung in there and it seems to be paying off. Sam doesn't want to chase her anymore and she seems to trust him just a bit.

Cleo has her very own special room next to my studio. It is also a store room for all my junk but she doesn't seem to mind. I've fixed the door with a hook and eye so that the dogs can't fit through the narrow opening and it's there that she spends most of her time when she is indoors. I feed her there and she has a kitty pan and cushions and blankets to snuggle in. She doesn't seem attracted to her old stomping grounds downstairs, except for the garden outside the door where she frequently sits, taking in the sun. She is a lovely, special flower!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Bits And Pieces ...

Garden Bouquet

This is a bouquet of bits and pieces from my garden ... bold zinnias, bursting blue balloon flowers, buttery yarrow, purple buddlea, lovely lavender and leafy sprigs of things that have already flowered and gone by, like false indigo. Of course the garden itself is a bouquet, best seen in person and as a whole in order to appreciate the different values of green, yellow, red, etc.

It's been a bits and pieces kind of week for me. A holiday right smack dab in the middle of any week always leaves me in a strange mood. Is it Sunday or Saturday? Why is tomorrow Thursday? And why didn't the mailman bring me the books I recently ordered from Amazon?

Add to that the fact that I spent 9 hours on Tuesday at our local hospital in order to have a kidney stone removed which in itself only took 30 minutes. I arrived at 11 AM for surgery at 1 PM, but it didn't happen until 4 PM. I was back home by 8:30 PM. The anesthesia completely knocked me for a loop and I ended up sleeping all of July 4th away, though I did wake up in time to see the movie, Sicko, (not to be missed) and a very spectacular fireworks display nearby. Yesterday I felt completely frustrated because I hadn't gotten much "accomplished" this week. A few bits and pieces of garden work here and there plus the surgery and the needed recovery time somehow didn't add up to getting "stuff " done.

If you ask me what "stuff" is I couldn't really tell you ... yes, there is the bread I wanted to bake and didn't, the laundry and all the other "things" that somehow became more important than taking the time to keep myself healthy by doing the bothersome surgery and then spending a sleepy day healing.

So, I'm grabbing a lesson from that lovely bouquet of flowers I just gathered from the garden. Each stem is a piece of something larger, and in the arrangement of flowers they become a piece of something larger still, increasingly more lovely. And so go my days as well, becoming weeks, months and years. What is most important is that the whole arrangement of flowers or days is a gathering of what was and is, right now ... an absolutely marvelous gift any way you look at it.