As you can tell by the photo Mr. T is a free range turkey. If you look carefully in the background you can see one of his girlfriends she is laying down in the brush. Turkeys are more like a harem. Mr. T had 6, he was very busy! He is dancing for me in this photo he had a crush on me who was his human care takers. This is how he courts his ladies. Sometimes the male turkey can dance for up to 20 minutes.
I have a special place in my heart for turkeys and their added benefit to any personal backyard, urban farm, community (CSA oriented) peri-urban farm or large scale farm.
This is a link to a documentary that shows what can go wrong in factory animal farming:
It may shock you to hear the farm animals do not have any rights and have no legal protection under the domestic animal laws. This means that they can be treated in harshest and most abusive ways possible. In the past I have helped to educate people about the outright inhumane treatment of farm animals the shock to them so severe that in less than one day have become 100 percent vegetarians and vegans. Though it is not the only step we can take in changing out diets radically by stopping our meat consumption to stop the monstrous behavior by factory farmers. We also need to support those farmers who are raising animals with a sense of sustainability and natural partnership to make real change. Put your money where your dinner plate is!
Factory Farm: a large industrialized farm; especially: a farm on which large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost.
I always ask the question, same question to people I know and meet who live in a sustainable manner what their definition of sustainable is? In my own attempt to find what I believe the word really means. What I can tell you today is that for me sustainable means: to relearn something that is within me already, becoming a natural self, living in a natural way, being a authentic natural being living with nature. As nature lives so do I and there should be no separation where in myself and nature, that is sustainability. Nature knows who to do everything; it is a perfect system of thrival, thriving, prosperity, abundance with all needs being met by everyone for everyone. We once knew how to work with nature, we once worshiped her and she has had many names including: Demeter goddess of all life or nature. In her mythology she once withheld life, growth from the people of earth to see her daughter again. The ruler of the dark underworld Hades kid napped Demeter’s daughter for his wife. Demeter or nature stopped in a reaction of upset. Hades had to make a deal so that nature would again start living again for the people of earth. A deal was made and so in what is called winter her daughter stayed with Hades and when she was released to Demeter then summer began. It continues on to this day.
Most of us do not know what has happened to the food we eat and I truly believe that if you knew, you would make a serious effort to change it. Factory, industrial, commercial whatever you choose to call it is not only bad for the people who eat these animals produced from these farms, it is bad for the farmers who have been forced into this way of life as a way to stay in business to hold onto their families farm lands and mostly importantly it is the most horrific possibility for the animals that end up on them. There is just no way you can handle, maintain or take care of a massive amount of animals in a very small area in any natural/sustainable way. 17,000 chickens in a building with no proper air quality, no sunlight and the people that work in them wear respirators because the conditions are so bad. You could not just all of a sudden let 17,000 birds or chickens outside to be sustainable. There is not enough food for them to eat, what about the people who live around you, releasing diseases into the environment and the bottom line these chickens have spent all their lives in this fake environment created by humans. These chickens would not be able to survive in a natural setting as all of their basic instincts have been forced and abused out of them. Not to mention the astronomical amount of antibiotics that these factory animals are feed and injected with to keep them alive in conditions that cause unavoidable diseases. I am not just talking about birds it is affecting all farm animals across the board. How does flu from a bird or a swine flu from a pig come into existence? That transfers from animal making a human so sick they die, well here it is folks it may be linked to how the animals are treated on factory farms.
If the factory farm collapses like in the documentary Turlock that I have provided a link to there is no options for the animals but to let them die. There are several reasons this can happen: when the farmer is tired, when he emotionally cannot handle the type of high maintenance farm a factory farm is, when he may no longer be able afford to feed the animals, when the farmer gets sick and can no longer manage his farm. So many reasons come to mind about why a monoculture kind of farming will fail at some point.
Let’s look at homesteading, organic, biodynamic, community and urban farming. You only have as many animals as you have land and natural food for them. The animals naturally become free range which allows them to move around in open spaces; getting a large amount of sunlight which naturally is a disinfectant, antibacterial as well as vitamin D. this free range allows them to find with their own natural abilities the best food possible. The animals have a inherent skill and know to graze away from the poisonous weeds that also grow in pastures. Unlike animals that do not graze and are strictly feed dry alfalfa where these weeds are harvested along with it and the animal cannot separate the weeds from its food supply. Causing long term liver damage to animals that are strictly feed it year around. I also work on animals and I get many calls about health issues in horses and their back ends dragging. Always comes back to the food, the liver meridian and the toxic levels of horses that live in desert climates, with no pasture and only feed low grade that usually have highs amounts of the weeds per volume it is usually chemically treated as well. Currently there are farmers who are growing certified weed free alfalfa.
Grazing has numerous benefits; it is the full circle of life and continuation of life in a natural way for those animals living on that land. Animals eat the pasture grasses, they fertilize it as they eat, with the hooves mash the fertilizer tilling it into the soil, the microbes get a hold of it breaking it down further in nutrient ready for the grasses and over time the soil becomes darker and richer providing a natural state in which nutrient dense grasses grow for the animals to eat. Perfectly natural process, there is no work needed and the cycle can go on endlessly without effort. Maybe the only necessary work is to irrigate the pasture from time to time if rain is not available and to bring the animals in at night (most of them come in on their own at dark as long as their pins are open) and in the am reopening the pins so they can head out for work on their own.
One of the best natural method/s of pest controls is to be found with the birds. They are most efficient masters of eating bugs. Bugs are bird’s number one favorite food. Farming varieties of birds included are: chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese when allowed to free range will clean up over time most out of control bugs. Remember that these birds also love good home grown produce. You may want to put in place barriers around garden areas that have current produce in them. When the season is over, let the birds into those areas to eat up what is left, scratch up the soil and eat bugs! I build home family food production systems called urban farms the farm implies an animal of some sort. Usually for pest controls, natural fertilizer and food. Everyone is different in the choice of what animals they choose for the back yards or urban farm. Animals that are best fit are: chickens for laying eggs, chickens for meat called fryers and rabbits. Most local butchers teach classes on how to slaughter and if you are in with a good local farmer he can show you to. If you do not have the stomach for it then laying hens are up your alley. It is always good to educate yourself on the proper care of any animals you choose to have for whatever reason. There are many methods of care or lack of out there and my advice would be to follow the thoughts, ideas and philosophies that treat animals with love and respect following the principles of nature as close as you can.
I want to leave a small thought about nutrition which is one of many you are dealing with when considering your choices in farming products and where they come from. Most factory or commercial farms for cows as meat do not let the animals move around and are kept in filthy small pens. The cows on these farms are feed very little alfalfa, no natural grasses and large amounts of GMO corn, GMO soy beans and litter. Litter is what comes out of factory (chicken fryers, laying hens, turkeys) buildings, it is ground up and given to cows to eat. The litter contains: droppings, feathers, dead animals, decaying animal parts, dander, chicken feed and who really knows what else. Cows are only grass eaters, they only eat grass, the cow was not designed to eat anything other than green beautiful pasture, that is why is has 4 guts. I have read that in the main stream or factory cattle farms cows are literally in the processes of death and are “dying” when they are slaughtered. The diet they give the cows is the cause. Similarity in humans as our diets are not what we are eating either. We are suppose to eat little meat, lots of veggies, grains, fruits but very rarely do so and instead eat the main stream diet of fast food which is something humans are not meant to eat. We get fat, sick, tired and usually die young from one of the numerous diseases that come from eating the main stream diet. Last fact, silica is a mineral that is considered the fountain of youth. It is important for many reasons to the body processes and systems for anti aging and longevity. We get much of our silica in high amounts from eating animals that eat lots of green, soil rich grasses. Apparently silica is found in high amounts in grasses of microbial rich soil. Even chickens in a free range lifestyle eat massive amounts of grasses daily. Eating factory farmed meat contains zero silica the bottom is that you are missing out on a natural mineral eaten by animals in a nature raised way. How many other nutrients are you losing out on by buy factory farmed meat? I know what you are getting instead: pesticides, gmo/s, antibiotics, hormones, steroids and whatever else I do not know about.
Know your farmer: get out, tour farms that are organic and use natural process like free range, ask the farmers what they feed the animals; small farms are popping up everywhere, purchase meat/s from farmers who care, are sustainable and are moral.
Buy organic meat/s: buy organic meat that is labeled from the place, farm that it was raised on. If the store, butch does not know or is vague do not buy the meat. Honest is of real value in the search for real meat for your table.
Build your own urban farm: you can build a year around food production in your own yard, patio or kitchen. When consulting for urban farm builds I focus on at least 20 percent of the food they are eating and feeding their animals come from their back yards. When all is said and done off a ¼ acre in the summer months you can usually get 95 percent. Then you know what your animals are eating, what you are eating and you have control over it.
If you are a meat eater please take responsibility for what you choose to consume. Farm animals deserve better treatment from us we are the stewards of all living things on earth. There are many documentaries out there on the dangers of factory farming so please educate yourself so that you fully understand the lies, deception and propaganda out there. If we are willing to pay more for better quality food then I believe the factory farmers would change they are being held as prisoners in the economy just like the rest of us are. No one wants to be cruel to animals, every farmer would much rather see their animals grazing on their lands in the sun shine. It is up to the consumer, we make the choices for all life on earth including our own.
I give the gift of sustainable farming during the holiday season and my favorite gift is the hive of bees. With so much going on that is killing our bee populations I feel that it is a much needed gift to give. We cannot have sustainability without our bee friends. To gift sustainability please go to: http://www.heifer.org/ and find your level of giving.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
This is a photo of water that was placed in contact with a cherry blossom and then frozen. I would have to say that a cherry blossom has a beautiful effect on water.
I woke up early this morning with the idea for this blog, something I feel is seriously important if we want to have a conversation about food — clean, green food. I am not going to go into all the aspects of how we and the things around us imprint on water. You will have to click the links to study that information. Most of you reading this may have already had some experience with the water imprinting process.
What I want to discuss is that every living thing, which includes soil, contains a certain amount of water. Human cells are 65-90% water. Many plants have an even higher water content.
If water has a sort of “memory” and can be imprinted, what does that mean for living things that are made up largely of water?
Research done by Russian scientists, including Leonid Izvekov and Vlail Kaznacheyev, shows the serious implications to us, our planet, the water around us that we drink, and the food we eat. Watch “Water: The Great Mystery.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlWboI_0obk)
Now, if we can imprint water with thoughts or energies, and everything that is living on the earth, including ourselves, is mostly water, what has been imprinted on this water in our food that we do not know about or completely understand? For me this is a no-brainer. I have spent the last 25 years doing “Energetic and Structural Medicine.” For others, it may be a hard idea to swallow, and that is OK. I see energy and the imprinting of it as the source of what makes us better or what makes us sicker.
A few years ago I was sitting on a porch eating an apple. It was an organic apple, one that I purchased from Whole Foods. As I was munching along I became sad, down in the dumps, with a feeling that the whole world was wrong and unfair. It had been a perfect day. I had been gardening — digging in the dirt, which is the closest to Heaven I get here on Earth. I had drunk plenty of water (which I began imprinting with joy starting in 2006), and had just stopped to rest and have bit of lunch, which included an apple.
I began to explore my own mind looking for signs, thoughts, old issues surfacing, something creating a trigger in me for this sad feeling. After scanning all possible data for what the source might be, a stroke of insight hit me square! The down-in-the-dumps trigger was the apple. Someone had imprinted the water in the apple!
I know that my mouth must have been gaping open something like a stroke victim. I started seeing a mental picture, a timeline of events in the life of this apple, and it went backwards. I saw the apple handler at Whole Foods taking it out of the box, thinking about his life. With each thought, the apple was imprinted with information and emotion.
The next image was of a worker picking the apple in South America. I wondered how he had been feeling when he picked it. What was the imprint on the apple at that moment?
The last flash was of the land owner of the orchard where the apple was grown. He was crying. Maybe someone had died? Maybe he was afraid that the bank was going to take his land? Maybe he was just tired?
For the past two years, I’ve been thinking about imprinting whenever I am choosing water-based food. When I choose an apple, I now ask my higher self to help me pick the apple with the highest amount of nutrition and the highest imprinting of love and joy.
I am learning to farm, so I now prefer food from the farms I go to. I know where what I am eating is grown, who it was grown by, and sometimes I get to pick it myself with the highest amount of love imprinting I can muster. This is my number one reason to own my own land and grow all of my own food.
Imprinting your own food after you get it home may be the next best thing you can do. I suggest doing it at least twice. The first time you take an item out of the bag, hold it, and using green heart-energy, send it all the love you have. Then, when you are ready to eat or cook the item, do it again. You will have the greatest effect on what you are putting in your body by your own imprinting.
When I water a garden and I have to use city water, it worries me. I turn the situation around by praying, sending waves of love and thought to the water.
My desire is that every imprint on food be one of love. As soon as seeds are planted, they begin to take on water, so from day one you can imprint with whatever you desire using water. If you are struggling with illness, grow your own food and imprint it with healing light and love.
When I was raising meat birds I would spend time making sure their every need was taken care of in a loving way. I blessed the water for them. I imprinted them with thoughts and words of how beautiful they were. Before I slaughtered them I honored them, thanking them and hugging them with love.
I feel that the energetic imprint is much more important than the nutrition factor. So what if your apple’s nutritional level matches the highest standards and it was grown organically? Was the person who picked it hung over? Angry? Overworked? Unhealthy? Stressed out? For me, the overall value of the apple would be determined by the imprint; I really do not want any more anger or unconscious programming.
The work I do imprinting my food is the only thing I can control about it. That can be enough to give me hope to run that extra mile during grim times!
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
Last weekend I took my first course in Biodynamic bee keeping. There are three classes in the series. The next one is in June and then September.
The honey bee is vital to our future. Without the honey bee we cannot grow food. In many countries around the world they are passing new legislation to protect the bees from chemicals that are depleting their population. Without honey bees we will starve. That is the absolute bottom line truth. Over the past 10 years there has been an epidemic of bees vanishing from hives due to poisons that either confuse them or kill them. Bee sanctuaries are places where humans can provide an organic, healthy environment for the bees so that they do not travel to areas where they become exposed to anything that could damage them or their hives.
I’ve inserted some links below which are videos of a man with a vision. He created Spikenard Farm to save the honey bees. Gunther Hauk has also written a new book entitled, “Towards saving the honey bee”. Gunther practices Biodynamic bee keeping and that’s why I really respect his work.
If anyone raises bees and you’re searching for a better way to handle them, Biodynamic is the answer. You can find books on bees that Ruldolf Stiener authored for Biodynamic bee keeping. Stiener also has some very interesting views on the bee that can only bring you into a broader understanding of the bee, yourself, and the world around you.
Biodynamic farming does not practice anything that does not occur naturally. There are biodynamic guidelines for bee keeping as well. Biodynamic bee keepers are swarm catchers and one would be amazed with what ease these keepers can catch swarms. There are several reasons to utilize swarm collection to create hives for your gardens and farms. Swarms are from a healthy hive. The bees are living in an area in which you want to keep them so they are familiar with weather and food sources. The more ferrell the better. It seems that ferrell hives are surviving many of the issues killing the hybrid bees. It is essential to have hives with strong queens to create offspring that are healthy to perpetuate the future life of the hive.
If you are contemplating becoming a keeper of bees, you may want to learn how to catch swarms to fill your hives. One of the links below shows Gunther in action. There are hot lines in every community where one can get added to a list to collect swarms in your particular area. When the police, fire and pest control workers are notified regarding a bee swarm, they will forward the call to the local call center for the bee keepers in that area. So if you happen to be on that list, you’ll most likely receive a call. Swarm collecting is the preferred method in biodynamics to create hives.
The brood chamber is very important because it is the part of the box or container where the bees live, where they make wax, collect food, nectar and raise there young. It has to be a super chamber to fit the bill for Biodynamics. The super chamber is a chamber that’s long in length. The queen loves to inspect the wax chambers before ever depositing an egg in one. Since she lays many eggs a day, her natural way of doing her work is to go up and down the full length of the waxed area of her hive. She needs a lot of room. The longer the chamber, the happier she is. I have added a link for the uk demeter standards for Biodynamic bee keeping in case anyone is interested in learning more about this.
There are NO artificial queens allowed in Biodynamic bee keeping and NO synthetic chemicals of any kind. Most Biodynamic bee keepers never use even an organic-based chemical. There are NO artificial drone products.
The bees are never fed anything but “bee tea” which is a tea made to feed the bees during times where food is limited — and no wax foundations. Bee tea is a combination of clean water, organic white sugar, salt with minerals, a selection of herbs, chamomile, and, at the end, 10 percent of the mixture should be honey from the hive you’re feeding. Using what is called a Top Bar Hive is really the only way for bees to do what they do in wax production so that wax foundations are not used. Most of the time we have no idea where that wax is coming from. In Biodynamics, the farm is considered an organ and anything brought in from the outside could severely cause an imbalance.
The wax is a major component of the hive. The bees communicate through vibrations to each other on the wax. It sends out waves of information essential to keeping thousands of bees working together. Bees know what to do and the best thing we can do is give them what they need. The wax serves so many important functions and the bees know how to make it on their own.
I have changed my direction in what kind of hives I will eventually be collecting my swarms for. I tend to gravitate towards the traditional ways. I really love the old school German hives that are hand woven with cow manure on the outside.
In the future I will write more about bees, but for now, I will keep it short and sweet. Plus you have all of these great links to check out!
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
4 everything there is a season:
is a good time: to have your soil evaluated; to prune roses, shrubs and bushes; to apply compost and put mulch or chips on areas of the yard that need nutrient; to remove plants and trees that are dead or not growing well ; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for leaves to help fruit to mature; to cover sensitive plants for winter; to deal with erosion areas; to glean remaining produce; to collect and dry seeds; to build a winter cold frame; to replace organic material in your cold frame; to plant in your cold frame; to plant winter crops as seedlings.
is a good time: to prune trees and cut back last year’s growth; to create an effective food storage operation so that your fall and winter produce will last as long as you need it to; in late winter, to start sprouting seeds to plant as seedlings in spring gardens; to create a culinary herb window garden; to plan your summer garden; to build containers to harvest water.
is a good time: to have soil evaluated; to plant new trees and plants; to build raised beds; to put in a new garden area; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for soil fertility and root growth; to dig up rocky, sandy and clay areas and bring in new soil; to plant deep- rooting plants for erosion areas; to harvest rain / snow water; to direct seed in cold frames to grow into seedlings for summer gardens.
is a good time: to have soil evaluated; to have biodynamic organic sprays applied for soil fertility and root growth; to have / use biodynamic organic sprays for increased growth and fruit; to deal with molds and pests; to harvest produce; to collect and dry seeds; to build a cold frame for winter crops; to collect your seeds for a winter garden; transplant spring seedlings; to start winter seedlings by direct seeding; to remove the used organic materials from cold frame and put it on an area of your yard that needs compost.
I was creating a flyer for the Urban Farm Project here in Reno I had the idea of putting on it the farming, gardening activities of every season in an attempt to get people 1) more motivated about their urban domains of food production and 2) to place the flyer on their refridgerator as a reference on what they can do every season or perhaps hiring COE to help them!
Feel free to print a copy off this blog. Put it somewhere to remind you of where to focus your attention each season. It is not a completed list. If I have missed something feel free to let me know what it was and I will add it to the season that it belongs.
The second section includes my urban garden bed preparation for winter.
1) Built a block boarder to hold in soil that was eroding all over the sidewalks and out into the city drain. I used a run of the mill block that you see everywhere. Since I already had them, I used them. You can harvest bricks, pavers and an assortment of boarder creating items from houses being remodeled and habitat for humanity in your area usually has recycled building materials.
A few months ago the house across the street from where COE and I have been renovating began to be remodeled. I approached the new owner about the piles of bricks and pavers being thrown off the house and around the property. Since he was not interested in them, he wanted a modern look he was more than happy to let me have as many as I wanted. For me it is very important to be sustainable and thrifty. For the new owner he saved himself quit a bit of labor as well as dumping costs by me taking the materials off his hands. Whether you need the items or not at the time you come across them should not be an issue. You can store them, share them with others and if you are going to create and urban farm you will find so many uses for these used materials.
2) The bricks created a raised bed and since there was not enough soil in the garden bed. I had to bring in soil from other areas of the yard where too much soil was an issue. I added several wheel barrows of depleted soil. I will be building many different types of layers on top of the soil to fortify it. It is not necessary to have good soil, nature and I can make it good soil by spring.
I left about 4 inches of room from the top of the bricks to the soil and will be filled in with soil makings.
3) I was lucky to have piles of horse poopy here in the property that was delievered here a few months ago. I spread a medium layer of horse dropings over the soil. There was a bail of straw that was left from last fall which was rotting slowly. Rottening is perfect to rebuild new soil. I spread out all the straw on top of the soil and horse poopy. I was able to use the straw. Otherwise I might have had to move it, take it to the dump more than likely. Again sustainabilty, using what you have, using what you can find close, using what someone else might have, saving money, saving labor, saving time and most of all saving out planet. The less we consume the less is manufactured and the less that ends up as waste in a land fill some where.
4) I had some old stumps and limbs, old dead wood laying around. Instead of tossing the old wood into the old garbage can I placed big chunks all over the garden bed. The old wood will break down slower giving the bed long term fuel, food to break down and turn into soil over time. Remember not to add materials that have toxic chemicals, those items should be removed from your yard properly, discarded properly of.
5) I watered the garden bed area to keep the material from blowing away and to assist with the breaking down. While I watered I thought good thoughts to the water coming out of the hose onto the garden bed. I thought good thoughts to the soil, the insects, the materials and to the forces of nature that will be working to break it all down and turning it into the best garden soil. This will support every need of the plants and provide very nutrient rich food for the bodies of the people eating it and in some cases animals as well.
6) There is a load of rich compost coming in a few days to place on top of what is there so far. It will get about a 3 inch cover of compost over the top. If you have a place in which you can create your own compost piles, go for it. The more your hand and heart are involved with what grows. Creating whats needed on your own land makes better medicine for the earth and will provide you with medicine as food back to you. More water. More good thoughts.
7) Lastly another layer of chips, wood chipswill come and be added to the top. Water and good thoughts.
In Nevada it can be extremely dry even in winter, check your garden bed weekly to make sure there is enough moisture to create the break down of the materials. Winterizing your garden bed for spring should be an annual activity.
Grow Food, Be free & Live for a Living!
Yesterday the last day of September 2011 we were out late afternoon picking blackberries off a very old mother blackberries bush. I am not sure if she could be categorized as a bush, check out the photos yourself.
After returning to Nevada in July after a 3 month large urban farm internship on the northern California coast I began to look at the area in which I was living much closer. The photos are taken in the old Sparks area. In most of our older areas of towns and cities you can find many old apple trees, peach trees, blackberries bushes and much more. With in a 3 block radius here in Sparks where I am renovating a yard I have found so many food producing plants growing on their own. I harvested 3 paper bags of peaches from the neighbors tree a few weeks ago. I Shared these beautiful and i have to say tasty peaches with 4 other families across the street. I told this tree eveyday how lovely she was and felt deep kindness towards her and it paid off in the sweetest fruit.
The issues that these old neighborhoods are facing as a result of the economic systems failing us are tragic. In the old Sparks area meth addicts and drug dealers make up a large percentage of houses being lived in. Many of these houses are no longer kept up and as a direct result the old food producing plants are dieing and under large amounts of stress due to the negative energy produced by drugs and the effects on the people taking them. we are loosing food supplies!
Notice the dog in the photos? That is my Gin Gin. She is the offical Super hero of this old community. Gin is 9 months old. She was living at a meth house across the street from where I am renovating and it is also around the block from where we were picking the blackberries in the alley way. Gin Gin never seemed to have water in her yard, she was escaping constantly in the way of cars roaring down the street, she lived off of diapers and cat shit literally. I finally rescued her over 2 months ago. She is the smartest dog I have ever known. She is now my official peace keeper urban farm dog. Gin has some how become symbolic of this old community. Gin is fast becoming the love of my life! She loves anything I feed her, she especially loved the blackberries and goobled them as we picked them.
Without going off the deep end here i think that we all need to consider being a better part of our communities in different ways than the usual thinking process leads us.
Have you ever wondered your 3 block area and looked at what kind of plants and trees ar growing there? Are they food baring plants? Do the plants need pruning, cleaning up or maybe some compost to help feed them? Could they be removed to a better location and who could help with that? Could the fruits be removed? Could the fruits be taken to places where families in need could take them home? There are so many movements in this time period that are answering many of the questions I just asked and maybe your involvement in the future could benefit not only the plants, trees, earth, but could vey well benefit yourself, others and our animals. Just looking around and noticing sometimes all it takes for a bigger picture to open up to us. Lifting our eyes to the sky can open our minds.
We have such negitive news weighing on us day in and day out, I find getting away from it, digging in the dirt, touching a plant, a tree, an animal or another person with my hand and heart can uplift me in any situation. We are all in this together, all of us together, letting go of judgement finding what makes us more the same.
A group of us picked the most amazing blackberries yesterday, I came home and made a pie, it was so tasty, pure, it had love in it from the mother blackberry bush. She loves us for sharing in what she offers us, what she has grown for us and it is up to us to give her a future to contiue to feed us.
I encourage everyone to investigate your area in which you live, take a look and see what is growing there. If you find fruit gt prmission to pick it, then find a kid to help you harvest, any kid will do. Many kids have no idea where food comes from any more, our health, our future depends on educating them and that may mean educating ourselves on the same issues as well.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
It has been a couple of weeks since the last post. Many amazing insights have come to me. I am digesting and allowing my inner processes to reveal all into the blog; new videos, consulting for urban property owners in the Reno area, and an Urban Farm Project web page that should hit the net this week! Big changes here, as it all unfolds for the highest and greatest good. Just know there is more to come, my readers, more to come. I started classes on biodynamic farming and wow! wow! wow! Can I just say my life will never be the same?! I am gearing up to bring you new truths about the world in which we live! Now to the blog!
In this blog you will find before and after photos of an urban city domain that I have been renovating for 2 1/2 months.My focus has become about edible and medicinal plants as companion plantings. The before shots were taken 2 1/2 months ago. We are going to just look at the beds outside of the fence, the front street beds, the inner part of the yard is another blog down the road!
When I began working on these beds there were many obstacles. Reno is a desert… very demanding of the farmer. The house was built in 1905, which means a number of things: too much soil in the beds, mostly sand; no nutrient in the soil (pretty dead and lifeless); the dirt was hard as a rock and the cherry on top was that the yard sat on an old river bed full of those great round river rocks! yippeeeee
The front beds were more like enemies, they were armed and ready for battle. I was going to have to use those present moment techniques I have learned to stay in the game. My mental chant “Carry Water and Chop Wood” breath, breath, breath……..
The first tasks on the list was to remove soil? How much soil? I discovered that you can read books but in the end it is the land and you. This can lead to situations in farming that you’re lack of experience creates confusion. However, you are the only one who can appropriately make decisions it in order to grow and provide food and herbs to sustain and heal. What needs to be done should be based on your eyes, ears, smell, feel and, ultimately for me, intuition.
The depletion of the soil was so extreme the only sensible measure I could take was to remove 6 to 10 inches of soil. I hit those river rocks at about 4 inches, and I suspect the people across the road heard a few cuss words!
My Dad always taught me to do a job right. How I feel inside about what I am doing is how to do the job right. I see why so many people take the easy way, the short way and are angry, with an unsuccessful result. I was going hold fast to ”doing the job right the first time.” In order to do it right ,I must dig the soil all the way out. The front beds found my weaknesses, but in the end, helped me recapture past experiences and recover energy that had been blocked. Energy blocks that I now realize had kept me repeating cycles of frustration, giving up on myself and blocking my own life’s energy.
While I am engaged in the practice of urban farming I always offer gratitude. Always thank the water, the soil, the earth for helping you to clear any energies. These energies can stand in the way of your life. Farming has given me my life back with great respect to all things, even myself. I had many a prayer smoke with the greatest thanks to the great spirit, during the renovation of the front beds. I became always thank you no matter what!
I shoveled the old dirt out and wagon’d it to the back into a pile. Later, when I have a chance, I will turn it into a compost, regenerating and using it in the future on other parts of the yard. When all the dirt was out I applied a new top soil. I made this top soil from 1/2 completed compost, fir mulch and a potting soil. I mixed them all together and filled the long beds. Later on, as the plants in the beds grew, I applied another inch of fir mulch and kelp meal. Here in the Reno area we have alkaline soils, with alkaline water. We need to add in much needed acids to get the balance so plants will grow. Just like the human body: too much alkaline and the heart will stop and too much acid and the heart will stop. We are so similar to soil and plants in what we need to grow, seed, bloom and bear fruit. Since we eat the plants, does it not make sense that they need to be perfectly balanced to give us the proper balance. Kelp meal is the most amazing nutrient! If I have time in the future I will blog just about kelp meal!
I am becoming a bit of an old school farmer. I do not want to buy what I can make or cultivate from my own yard or someone else’s. The first plants I planted were yarrow. Yarrow is my friend… what I do learn about it and from it blows my lid off! You can use yarrow blooms to create nitrogen preps for soil. You can mow it creating an herb lawn that mulches itself, thus adding nutrient in the long-term to soil. It holds water and can be planted around sensitive areas that need to be cooler. Yarrow can bring ancient nutrients up from the depths of the earth to feed and nourish other plants. You can make ales out of yarrow for stomach ailments. Yarrow gives and gives. I prefer the wild yarrow that is a non-hybrid. It has white flowers. Yarrow grows wild! Dig it up and plant it where you need it most.
Next, I found a large area of penny royal in the yard. I love penny royal. It has a great smell and bees love it. It helps, like yarrow, and attracts bees to your yard. This is necessary for growing a deluxe garden. You can rub it onto the skin as a natural bug repellent. Penny royal grows fast and is a good ground cover, helping to cool down areas for trees and plants that enjoy cooler moist climates.
Then, I planted onions, every kind of onion i could get my hands on. There are large white and purple onions, shallots and green onions. Remember I am gathering all of these plants from other people and places. My first choice would be from a bio dynamic farm…d plants have a vibration of love.
A serious issue of domain was the bugs. Sugar ants, carpenter ants, earwigs…….. Creating a front bed barrier to new bugs migrating in was imperative, the onions have done a master job in creating this barrier. When the onions move in the yarrow and penny royal literally sang. I had no idea what great companions onions would be and no idea what companion planting can really bring to the table until I felt the perfection.
Lastly I direct -seeded calendula, and with the right soil and the companions already the calendula has grown so fast! It’s beauty has warmed the cold heart. I am looking forward to using it in healing balms. If there are any words I could write to express the glory of growing herbs, it is in the moment when you have a need for them and you can go pick them, your own medicine, and make it up right there. Last night our doggy, Gin Gin, came home from the vet. She had her lady parts fixed. The razor the vet used to shave her left burn marks. I went out picked a few leaves of comfry, mashed it up, added a bit of grape seed oil and applied it to her burn areas. The results were nothing short of perfection. The best is that if she licks it no big deal!
Maintenance: I cultivate the soil in the beds once a month, water and will be putting a layer of chips and mulch and inch deep over it for winter. Everything will reseed and be big and thicker next year. The front beds have become a slice of heaven for all of us; the grower, the owner, the people walking and driving by. It is like a hope, a dream for a better day, a sigh of relief in a world of stress, pain and frustration. I have created an energy of delight to the senses…the eyes, smell, taste and touch. Peace surrounds me, from the plants, from what I am doing, and why I choose the methods I use. People drive by, turn around and visit the yard. Maybe the real change we need has to do with the plant and tree world. It appears to me that they create life, which is love, respect and reverence . I am finding that I just need to be aware, give them nourishment and love. This way the green world will teach me everything i need to know.
In the near future I am teaching classes on medicinal plants and planting with harvesting for healing as my goal. For now I am just listening to them and and allow the teaching they offer to me to make me whole.
This week the Urban Farm Project had it’s first job and is launching a traveling consulting company, specializing in edible and medicinal plants in urban areas. You never can tell where life will lead you? You never know what you will do or how you will do it? You never know until you learn to Chop that wood and Carry that water, which means to just focus on what is front of you, learn about it, immerse yourself in it, be it, and become it!
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!
Cultivate: to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
This week’s post is coming a bit late. In working with spirit, whatever that spirit be named for each one of us, it can take a bit of time to listen. Collecting information from the ethers is like turning on the spirit computer in myself and hitting download.
This was not an easy blog to write. Within the culture I grew up I did not learn to cultivate anything. I personally had to take time to think about cultivating, what I cultivate, how do I cultivate and when do I cultivate? When I received the information that I would be writing about cultivating ( see photo of cultivator garden tool attached) I temporarily went into a place of resistance. I needed to spend some time contemplating what the word meant to me. I was generally feeling sadness inside. I had to face the fact that I am the cultivator of my life, my soil, my water and everything that exists. As I searched my inner data banks I could not recall learning much about cultivating. In the culture I live in I began to recall learning more about running from everything; cultivating was the exact opposite of how I had lived my life. When I first picked up a cultivator and used it, I could feel anger and hostility. It took me months to relate it to energy. Memories flooded me from my past that I have been out-running, pretending things never happened. I began to use cultivating to feel my resistance, notice stress and this brought me to deep breathing. Cultivating the garden became a time for me when I could focus and let go no matter what was going on around me.
Spending time, in a peaceful place, with love in your heart cultivating your crops in a physical way is also an act of creating it within. For myself this week has brought me to a place of unraveling deep energies within. I wanted to present you with the definitions of the words, the descriptions of the act of cultivating. Cultivating has become so much more as it reaches into my areas of consciousness that have not be activated.
I recently spent 2 months on a farm in which the main work was cultivating. I began to understand early on that if the soil is not cultivated regularly, it becomes solid, hard and the weeds can be a boxing match event to remove. On the other hand if the soil is constantly cultivated it is light, fluffy, easily absorbs water, increases oxygen to the root systems of your plants which are the respiratory system of every plant and the weeds, the little invaders, are brought into a sort of compliance that even a 2 year old could handle.
The physical act of cultivating is a peaceful experience, once you get the hang of it. I came to the realization that cultivating the earth was teaching me something about my life that had been dormant. The statement “quantity versus quality” would roll through my mind early in the relaxing phase of cultivating. Cultivating your garden and/or anything else forces you into the present moment. If you are not present moment, your attention is not fully on what you are doing. Cultivators have sharp edges can cut through the stem of the plant damaging and killing them for the future harvest if we are not present giving our full attention. Cultivating is a zen process, it reminds me of raking gravel into meditative designs.
I am spending time farming. I am moving towards becoming a full time farmer. My favorite tool in the shed is a cultivator. It was not that way in the beginning. I Actually hated to cultivate in the fields… it felt like it was never-ending, boring and too time consuming. Now i see it in a much bigger picture. Now when I cultivate it is meditation, I become present, giving my attention to the moment, in the now. For those of you more science based it is also a great workout, builds incredible hand and eye coordination. Highly recommend cultivating for people who have had head injuries, strokes to build new nerve passages.
The cultivator tool you can buy at any garden shop. I prefer the long-handled with the triangle edged style. When buying garden tools, be present, hold them, move them around, notice how you feel about the tools ,buy and use tools you love, you like, that feel good to you. Remember you will be using them on the earth and possible near your food source, never act aggressively towards our mother who cultivates all the plants, trees, air, water, soil, animals and us.
In conclusion I am continuing to learn that I have to focus my attention on that which I want and then I have to cultivate it. The cultivation must be done with peace, tenderness, like an act of love to a beloved. When you grow food for yourself and do it as an act of love, attention, intent you create an experience of edible bliss.
Cultivating any aspect of life is the magic, a life transforming tool, it can only truly be understood by doing it and cultivating the art and practice of it and what it means.
For those of you in Reno if you would like to hands on lesson in cultivating call COE and we can do a class (donation, and you must bring your own tool).
We need not be afraid anymore. You can cultivate anything you wish. Only you are the Cultivator of your creation.
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!