Seeds!

The first batch of seeds arrived. Whoop!

Seeds!

Journey to a more self-sufficient & sustainable lifestyle: Hurdles.

A memorable year.

In February I had radio frequency ablation on the left side of my neck then taught a foot reflexology class less than a week later. To say that was a bizarre experience puts it mildly. My brain tried to rewire signals no longer going to portions of my neck. The cervical area of ablation; four sites, was completely numb. Teaching, though delightful, was simultaneously emotionally and physically draining. With the success of the radio frequency ablation on the left side of my neck, in April, the right side of my neck was done. Again, odd, disconnected sensations as my brain and body attempted to rewire themselves. And, as mentioned in a previous post, in June I broke my left wrist. I couldn’t support myself with my reflexology practice, had to learn to do everything using one hand, but despite this, managed to get a few things done in the garden. I plunked spaghetti squash in one of the piles of dirt and they did surprisingly well.

I’m grateful to the support of friends who built a few raised beds or lay sheets of lumber wrappings on the ground and covered them with wood-chips. The latter in an effort to choke out the blackberries in that area. The raised beds fed me throughout the summer and early fall months and the wood-chips seem to be doing the trick.

I think one of the biggest learnings for me was surrender. I was given an opportunity to learn about myself. To reaffirm I can simplify my life and survive. Though much is uncomfortable, there are always options and solutions.

For 2018, my goal is to continue implementing my five-year plan: Create permaculture and self-sufficient systems on the property whenever possible. Put in more raised beds. Plant the shrubs I was unable to plant last spring. Get the herb garden in. Finish the sandbagging around the holes and channel and plant up the resultant berm. Endeavor to become more self-sufficient, and, to become closer to being off the grid. I am pleased to see my electrical consumption measurably going down. I am hopeful to put in a humanure toilet. This will require purchasing heavy-duty five gallon buckets and lids, totes in which to store an adequate supply of sawdust, and somewhere to put bales of straw. The humanure will go in a specialist compost bin. I’m imagining raised eyebrows, and puzzled comments from visitors. I think they already consider some (many?) of my ideas odd. This might tip them over the edge. Oh, well. In this time of peculiar weather systems and global warming (I do believe it’s happening), I don’t think we can become complacent with water usage. A composting toilet, in my opinion, makes sense.

Always enjoying an experiment, I’m curious to see how long the water remains in the two holes dug in the veggie garden area. A rough estimate of 1200 gallons per hole then perhaps an equal volume of water in the channel connecting them. I’m hopeful some will remain. If not, then I’ll save for liners of some sort. In an ideal world, I’d love to channel the runoff from the house into them. I’ll find out in August, I suppose!

I’ve attached a short slideshow of photos of things I was able to accomplish last year. One-handed creativity.

What successes and failures did you have in your gardens this year? What do you hope to accomplish in 2018? And, how are you becoming more self-sufficient?

Wishing everyone a successful and loving 2018,

Brin

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Time. All in good time.

This sounds like a cliché, but if I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that everything happens for a reason. I know many people disagree with me, and that’s their prerogative, but in my case, I know when things happen, it’s because there’s a learning in it for me.

Case in point, on June 1, I slipped in the garden, hit my left wrist on a cement block, and broke both wrist bones. Three weeks in, it was decided that I needed surgery so my time-frame was effectively set back. I saw the surgeon last Wednesday for a new x-ray and consultation and was pleased to learn things are progressing well. I can increase my wrist and finger exercises and wear the wrist brace less often. That being said, it’s unclear when I’ll be working again. I’m hopeful early September I can slowly start seeing clients again.

The lesson for me?

Surrender. To have no preconceived notion of anything, or any outcome. To be still.

To be helpless. To do everything with one hand. To learn to ask for help. To learn some things – most things, can wait, or ultimately don’t matter.

It’s easy. Not.

We’re brought up thinking we have to be busy, doing things, accomplishing things – every waking moment. We must be constantly striving to reach our goals and ambitions. We must always be productive. Proving our worthiness.

To simply sit and be still, observing the world around me has been, at the end of the day, a gift. That most of what I thought matters, actually doesn’t. The joy in birdsong, Roo snoring, Harold purring.

I’ve turning an energetic corner. I feel the shift move from healing the bones in my wrist to experiencing an encouraging urge to begin writing again. This time an opportunity to complete the next draft in my novel.

British Columbia is suffering some of the worst forest fires in 60 years. There is a creepy haze to the sky and even under ideal circumstances, outdoor activities for everyone are curtailed. The air quality is awful.

This might sound like a gloomy post, but it isn’t. Despite the broken wrist, it’s been a positive learning for me. The torrential rain in early spring has created a glut of blackberries, and I have been one handedly picking like mad. I’ve also enjoyed taking magical walks with Roo.

I’m curious. How do you view the unexpected? Do you find it easy to surrender?

With loving and warmth,

Brin

 

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April. Hello, Spring?

Over the past few weeks I’ve nibbled away at the bramble pile. Yes, that bramble pile. It’s half gone. It’s like my own personal Everest I scale from time to time. I’m both delighted and overwhelmed to discover soil and worms at the top of the pile. It’s so thoroughly packed down I’m hoping when the fallers fall the maples, the pile will fall apart. Somehow I think that’s wishful thinking! There’s going to be great dirt in the middle of it though! There’s a pic in the slideshow below, of a friend standing beside the pile. For scale, she’s 5’5″.

Things are slowly greening out. Spring is late. We had a teaser of sun this morning, quickly to fade back to grey and cold. I’ve yet to start seeds in the greenhouse. The veggie garden area will be smaller this year. I’ve arranged for a young man with a backhoe to come in and dig two jolly great holes and a trench joining them — in early July. He’ll need maneuvering room, hence the smaller garden. I’ll plant squash and things closer to the house. I’m looking forward to this!

Gardening is magnificently expressive. Trying new things, new places to grow things, successes and failures, I love the adventure of it!

Roo’s growing like a weed. Just over fifty pounds at 7 months. He loves the water which is unusual for Sharpei. Great fun watching him! It’s his last Best Manners class this evening. He’s a clever boy and loves learning.

I’ll spare you a rant about plastic.

Harold is sleeping. He’s looking forward to long snoozes on the futon on the porch when the weather warms up. We’re all looking forward to that!

Do you have an Everest of a gardening project? Are you still in the depths of winter?

Here’s wishing you all well!

Warmly,

Brin

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