About Ms. SpoolTeacher

Ms. SpoolTeacher is a Designer by career profession, a seamstress by passion, a teacher by osmosis. She's very intent on getting off the grid and loves to participate in anything that uses resources that already exist. She is aka Ms. Jackie of all Trades. She can be found expounding around at any of a number of places, click the vintage pattern Gravatar image to see where Ms. SpoolTeacher expounds around.

Above Ground Mound

On the “Practice” page of this blog, I go into detail to explain why I live like I do. This is an excerpt from there:

A huge part of the reason that a life of #VoluntaryRadicalSimplicity was adopted by me was because of a desire for freedom — so that instead of regretting I had spent my life making someone I didn’t approve of rich or that I had overstepped my limits within my place on the planet, I would end with feelings that whatever value had been endowed in me was used for its best purpose. Pursuing wealth didn’t seem to meet any of those goals, but personal austerity had merit — the less I needed, the less I had to ‘work’ in unhappy places. I wanted to break free of the mundane…

I was surprised to see the stats for this website today while I was updating the links to the creative writing website. Far more people are visiting this website than I had imagined. I am sorry I’ve been so neglectful. I shall try very hard to improve.

On the “Practice” page, it explains that I’ve started writing more regularly because it is something I feel compelled to do whether anyone sees it or likes it or not — my soul asks me to do it and it is impossible to refuse.

Writing has been filling up time I might have been trying harder to grow things and as discouraged as I’ve been — it’s been a welcome reprieve — we all need outlets.

And not only that, growing anything has been nearly impossible for some new reason and I haven’t identified why. Possibly just that whatever nutrition was available has been exhausted and the attempts to replenish have been very, very slow. Trying to work with no external inputs has its limitations, but it’s what I want to do — another conformity my soul demands.

That all being said, this is the latest adventure, one in an attempt to clear things up a bit and have a cleaner slate.

The front yard was piling up with this and that, logs from my neighbor, leaves that were left in place, branches cut or dropped off of dead things…and was mostly all corralled to make a mound at the east side of the #MotherChaste tree.

It was done as much to neaten things up as for making a habitat that lizards are already clamoring to and for offering a buffer for the tree and water channeling. I have to say, I like the way it looks. It was a marathon project — one that was started and not stopped until the body was exhausted and fried up by the Sun. Up until this, leaves had been left where they had fallen so that anything using them wouldn’t be disturbed. They may be just as happy in their new home, that is the hope at least. It was done quite gingerly.

And when we steamed slowly out of the lagoon, making our way gingerly through the opening in the reef, and then steered for the open sea, a certain melancholy fell upon me.

Just looking up words bring inspiration for writing — chomp, chomp — chomping at the bit…

I digress.

Anyhoo, the lily is happy, Buster is still alive but everything else is a challenge and right now the Monsoons are failing to fall but making the air quite heavy and me as limp as a rag.

above ground mound

This is the finished mound. It started with the biggest logs on the bottom and then layers of debris ending with a mesh of vines that held it well together at the top and then more leaves jiggled in from above to fill things in.

DSCN8363

The last of the logs on the top are to weigh it down while it settles.

DSCN8370

Still lots to clean up but it isn’t fair to only show the best stuff.

Reality bites.

The covers are off of the #CattlePanelArches now and the thought is to cover it with a sheet of the heavier-duty plastic to make a tunnel of sorts for a winter place the avocado tree can be so that it doesn’t have to be taken in and out of the studio. The panels may need to come off, some PVC pipe laced over the posts to rest the panels on to raise them some for more height.

It’s all so discouraging in this desert, but after seeing a video lately of some fantastic success by a rural couple planting trees in the desert, there is new determination not to give up.

Above ground mound

This above ground mound started by laying the bigger logs on the ground in a somewhat crescent shape. Smaller things were used to fill in holes and then leaves and other finer debris layered.

Above ground mound

This is pretty much where it all started on the day of the marathon yardening session that left me exhausted and sunburned — that I didn’t realize until two days later — the sunburned part, I was exhausted without a doubt.

So, here is another place for critters to use as a hostel — “will work for bugs” — and got a lot of debris corralled and kept it all from any landfill.

It’s all good and I’m very happy with the results.

Trying to find the video an hour or so ago shut this old computer down, so I guess you’lll have to search for it on the Facebook page where it was posted the other day. Sorry. New computer on the horizon.

Best to all. Thanks for coming and returning time and again, according to the stats. ❤

Advertisements

What’s The Point

going in style

Could it simply be that the days have been too short and that not enough Sun exposure has been occurring? Could it be that 65 is approaching and Medicare is ‘calling’? Could it be that this is about the same age that my mother fell into a five-long-years battle with clinical depression?

Well, I must confess, that for about three weeks now, the daily walk was put aside. I’m not sure which one affected the other the most. I was finding myself under-motivated to go, as much because it was seeming like too much drudgery as that I was feeling low — but, I went walking today to do errands and I have to say, my spirits have been somewhat lifted. I think walking is best with purpose. I did make it a point to stop at a shop on the main street where I know the owner and had a long involved chat. That worked wonders too.

I spent $5 on a movie lately, Going In Style, with Alan Arkin, whom I love, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine — oh heck, I love them all. Ann-Margret was in it too. Who doesn’t love Ann.

I laughed my head off in one of the first scenes where Michael Caine’s character is at his bank and has to take a seat to wait for someone to attend him. He just barely gets plopped down in the low-slung chair when he’s alerted to an available attendant. As he struggles to get out of the low-slung seat, he behaves exactly like I do when I try to get up sometimes. I just hooted. What I absolutely LOVED about the movie, was that my peer group is being depicted in all their current glory — old age.  It’s not the first movie of its kind lately. The one with Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen, Book Club is another.

What these movies reminded me is that we live until we die. The dying part is awful to think about and it gets continuously closer as the days go whisking by — and I’ve been thinking far too much about it lately. If I could say why I think I have been going through this low emotional state that I have been lately, it would be that I needed to. It is forcing me to look at my life and see what I don’t like about it and what I don’t want to spend any more time wasted on.

For 16 years come June, I have been here thinking that I was making a life for myself. I’ve been busy building hugelkulturs and soil and trying to get my home to a state that doesn’t leave me anxious at the thought of others seeing it. I’ve tried several ideas to create income and the only somewhat successful model was to provide sewing and general services for others.

Speaking with my friend in town, she asked if I was still cleaning house for one of her neighbors. I grimaced and let out some exhaust in my breath because I don’t want to do it any more even though it is $60 each time I go and they need me, (I can’t find anyone I feel confident to suggest they use instead).

Money just isn’t at all what motivates me. As little as I need, prices on everything continue to rise. That really angers me. They seem to just because it isn’t illegal for them to.

Anyhoo, I’ve been forced to really look at things.

What’s the point of having a straightened home if no one comes to visit?

Seems like I go around in circles and it is more because of anxiety than anything else — I’ve needed busy work to keep me from thinking. Something is forcing me to think for a change and I’m discovering that I’m not all that happy. I need a better purpose.

I don’t know what the answer is just yet, but I know that I’m glad something has forced me to look.

Years ago, and I’ve probably told this story before, I had an elderly client that was living in an assisted complex call me out to help her fashion a drapery treatment for the ‘room’ she and her dying husband were residing in. I think they were in their 90s. He had a hospital bed in the middle of their space. There was one big window that looked out to the complex and that was what she wanted treated. She’d had it in her mind to have, forever she claimed, purple drapes. We found the most beautiful purple satin and a purplish blue sheer and she took out a line on her JCPenney’s credit to fund them. People live until they die. They turned out beautiful. All her neighbors came to see. She was very pleased with herself for getting it done, finally.

The point is, we have to find reasons to want to live. At the least, we have to find reasons to be happy about living. Maybe my next purpose will involve animals, maybe it will involve other people. I am getting very tired of living for myself.  I’ve lived for my mother, my sister, my dogs, but they are all gone now. Yes, I still have the kitties but you know how kitties are. There is great value in living to help life even if the life we are encouraging is something we almost cannot see. Maybe when warm weather, longer days and growing things return again in Spring, this malaise will lift and that will be the purpose — soil microbes — simple as. Time will tell.

DSCN5811

What’s the point? The point is, we can either drudge through life or make it purposeful. Not always easy. One of the lines in the movie was Michael’s character addressing Alan’s character and stating that, “You have been waiting 20 years to die.” Another one was where they were trying to decide how much money they needed to steal to make up for the losses to their pensions and Michael’s character was asking them all to account for how much longer they thought they’d live. Alan’s character said, “I’m unlucky, I will probably live to be 100.”

By the end of the movie, Alan’s character thinks he is suffering from happiness. I hope to do the same — live to be 100 and ‘suffer’ from happiness.

Scientists are working on 1000. Imagine that!

 

From Now On…

For a New Year’s declaration on the Facebook page for this website, I vowed to spend the rest of my life continuing to #FirstDoNoHarm. It is not a new thing, but a continuing thing. It was really a declaration in hopes of influencing the thinking of others to do the same; planting seeds you know.

A stretch of the daily trek

A stretch of the daily trek

In my mind, and not out loud, I vowed to not let things keep me from going on my daily walk. For the most part, I have been rather diligent; but through Christmas I let myself go for almost a whole week on the days when a friend wanted to shop or just go sit for a spell to talk or it seemed too cold or too late or I was involved in something else… any excuse would do. It’s very easy to get out of a good habit with that kind of thinking. It’s perfectly okay to take time for friends, as valuable health-wise as walking, but it is important to get back to it as quickly as possible. So far, I am two for two since making the mental declaration. I’m off to a good start.

I did edit the ‘Our Story‘ of the Facebook page to include “Vegan Gardening” ahead of the rest of the story because it has become first and foremost in all of my gardening considerations. I think when I started the page, I was still under the misconception that external inputs might have a value. For me, it turns out that I no longer want to include them, especially if they are animal derived; definitely if they are animal derived. For one thing there are just too many problems with them. I won’t go into it now. Suffice it to say, ‘contamination’ in one way or another is a big part of the equation. But it’s enough that most often they require harm.

I will forage for some mesquite chaff in open areas possibly. Even that is disturbing habitat where it can be found in the wild. It would be best gotten from someone who is intent on an immaculate yard but then they usually spray herbicides/pesticides.

Best to just try to grow my own necessary resources the best I am able I have decided. A big challenge for me currently is finding enough carbon matter for humanure/compoosting. Since deciding to leave the leaves, that resource is scarce. I might need to take someone’s advice to dig a trench for it since our water table is so low.

happynewyear mice

I noticed that a lot of postings for the New Year seemed to have a common thread; replacing fear with love or just getting rid of fear period, especially ‘what-if’ fears. It seems that most of us are coming to realize that we are being manipulated to be fearful as part of a bigger, destructive agenda lurking out there. Even that is fearful thinking…that lurking agenda; what is it? who’s doing it? what are they doing it for? It turns out that there is very little we can do about any of it other than to quit being fearful and band together to accomplish a thing outside of that thing… We’ve got this!! It is up to us.

Fearless examples in nature

Fearless examples in nature; self-seeded broccoli plant.

Year after year I have been trying to get cool season crops to grow in this bolt-inducing desert. Year after year, Brussels sprout and broccoli plants have continued to sow themselves. Some go two seasons and more trying to produce. I am now seeing their value for producing caterpillars for the birds and Buster, the turtle, if not food for me. The white cabbage moths don’t seem to ever leave until it is literally freezing. So be it.

So my declaration here on this post is, from now on I will try ever more diligently to keep my head in gardening mode and bypass fear inducing propaganda.

Lovey dovey

Lovey dovey doves

Love or fear, what say you?

From now on…let’s choose love. Let’s garden more. Let’s garden without exploiting animals or ruining their habitats. Let’s really and truly love them. Let’s share what we grow with them. From now on, let’s not let those who would have us fear think that we can’t change the world for better.

One garden at a time. From now on…we can do this.

 

 

Just One Thing

Every late afternoon as I go on a two-mile trek around my neighborhood, I think. I’m big on thinking, but this allows for a rather clutter-free venue for doing it. Except that there are plenty of stimulating distractions as I walk without a cell phone, i-pod or any other electronic device.

I can’t speak for almost every driver that I pass with their eyes gazing down, one hand on the steering wheel, one hidden, sometimes both hidden, but mostly all with eyes down. I suspect they are all looking at devices.

People that I pass who are walking also often have something in their ear or in their hand. Sometimes they rip a plug out of an ear when they see me smile and my lips start moving. “What!”, they ask. “Hello”, I repeat.

There is one man I often cross paths with and we’ve gotten to stopping for a brief “what movie are you watching tonight” conversation. He lives alone too and asks me if I get lonely? “No, I don’t”, I respond. He says he does a little. He has two leads, one in each hand, no devices as he walks “his girls” around. They are both very old as he and I are too. They walk very slowly, I very fast so we often cross twice. I love to see his doggie’s butts in front of me as I come upon them. They are all so happy, out walking together. One of the dogs is always off stretching the lead to sniff; the other stays on the straight and narrow.

There is another lady whose yard I go by and it has chickens in it; five or six beautiful things. Once in awhile she is outside and we stop to chat too. Her name is Francie and I made myself remember it by thinking of the Gidget movies. She had forgotten mine and apologized. She commended me for walking and complained that she does not. I always invite her to walk with me. She hasn’t taken me up on it yet.

A little farther up, I make a special whistle for Jewel to recognize that it is me that is coming and that she doesn’t need to bark if she doesn’t want to. She has a special conversation for me anyway, not really barking, “Arr, arr, arr, arrrrrr!”. Her mother was out yesterday with a friend at her gate and she looked up to tell me, “She’s talking to you!”. I shared my special whistle so Jewel’s mother knows that I make sure to talk back to Jewel each time I pass by. I always tell Jewel how pretty she is. She’s a black and white, very fit boxer-pit mix of some kind I think. “Hi Jewel. You’re so pretty”, I say. I want to tell her mother that if she ever needs a home…

Sometimes I run across a homeless man who makes his two beautiful hounds, (one probably the mother and the other one of her babies), traipse around the neighborhood with him everywhere he goes. Sometimes he is on foot, other times riding a bike. The dogs have to keep up with him, strapped to whatever he has with him collecting junk; a cart or a bike with a cart. I try to divert my path if I see him ahead as it breaks my heart the way he treats them. It’s all I can do to not chastise him. I have heard from a friend who lives near him that he gets mad and pounds on them. Oh, my heart aches for animals that are not treated right.

Today on my trek it was snowing broom seeds everywhere I went. Desert Broom is everywhere here and most people think of it as a nuisance; an invasive species.

Of course, I think they are beautiful and that whatever will be should be. There are a couple in my yards.

I ended up the proud owner of a very nice pair of lops because a friend wanted me to take out broom plants that were interfering with people getting up her long and winding driveway. She can’t do it herself anymore so donated the lops to me so that I can do hers for her once in awhile. I have only done them once. I love the lops. Lucky me.

Desert broom is a vertical, evergreen, densely-branched shrub usually 3 to 6 feet tall, occasionally up to 10 feet tall. Its many fine twigs are green; the tiny, linear leaves are deciduous during dry periods. The plants are dioecious (that is, each individual plant bears only “male”or “female” flowers) and blooms in the fall. The wind – dispersed, white-tasseled seeds are produced by the female plants in such abundance that the plants and nearby ground appear to be snow-covered.

Desert broom grows in the desert, desert grasslands, and chaparral from 500 to 5,000 feet elevation in Arizona, California, Sonora, and Baja California.

In the winter the cottony mounds crowning the female plant are composed of countless individual fruits. Each seed is attached to many silken, white hairs called pappus. The pappus, serving as parachutes, carry by the wind, the seeds which drift to the ground, collecting everywhere!

Desert Broom is relatively short-lived. It is rarely browsed by mammals, but its strong shade fosters the growth of other plants. Desert Broom is most prominent in the higher areas of our Arizona stream beds.

https://delange.org/BroomDesert/BroomDesert.htm

Lizards are brumating at this time of year. I ran across this little baby while doing some cleanup work today. It was moved to a safer location. It was between some door skins that needed to be moved so that compost could be transferred. First do no harm.

There is just one simple little thing that any person can do to make this a better world. First do no harm. After that, all other things can fall into place.

Just one thing. First do no harm.

Imagine if we all just did that. Imagine.

The Waterfall Event

On my neighborhood walk this evening, I went down an alley where the back part of a lot has a fountain with water cascading down two tiers. It made me recall being nine years old and going on a Girl Scout trip; actually I was probably still a Brownie at the time.

Mr. and Mrs. Acker were the leaders and just a lovely, kind couple. My best friend at the time, Patty Hoyt, was there too. She was the youngest and I recall her being picked up and put on the shoulder of Mr. Acker for me to take a picture with the camera my mother gave me to take along. I remember it looking something like this:

It was hanging around my neck as we all went off on a hike. I remember there being quite a few of us marching along a mountain trail with the leaders ahead of us. We came upon a waterfall and I became so enamored with it that I just had to get a picture and started jumping from rock to rock in its stream to try to get closer. I remember thinking they all seemed to be getting a little too far ahead, but of being even more determined to get that shot then worried about their leaving. Some saw me doing it but marched on.

The memory includes the camera banging around on things as those stepping stone rocks were navigated and then a feeling of exhilaration of getting the shot.

When I got back out from the stream and waterfall, no one was within proximity enough for me to hear them. A tiny bit of fear crept in as it was getting dark, but there was an overwhelming sense of confidence that it would all be okay and that I would catch up.

Well, I didn’t catch up until, by some miracle, I found my way back to the lodge where we were staying; I had climbed out of the wilderness and found a paved road that I was following. By the time I made camp, everyone was fully engaged in getting their beds set up and had no idea whatsoever that I was ever missing.

That was my first recollection of feeling invisible and of realizing just how alone we really are in life. That image of the waterfall is still in a box somewhere; black and white and very poor, but a wild accomplishment logged in the book of my life. Maybe even the bigger accomplishment being that I didn’t lose my head when it finally dawned on me that they had left me behind and didn’t have a clue.

I read a quote lately, “The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.” Not sure who said it originally and it’s kind of stating the obvious.

That day as a little nine year old Brownie, I felt like I had been somewhere no one else wanted to bother with. I remember feeling all the elements fully and enjoying the experience as I went through it. Even knowing that it was risky, it felt inevitable; something I had to do and I did it. I remember feeling challenged to get close enough but striving and not giving up. I have a vague recollection of thinking I wouldn’t get close enough to take a good shot but I took one anyway, as close as I could get to it, not willing to risk going any farther or making any longer delay in catching up with the crowd.

Of course in those days, there wasn’t the instant gratification of seeing a digital image. No telling how long the wait was for that film to be developed. I do remember being so happy to see that picture though. Things were very special because of that fact then; slow living.

Wild accomplishments are available at any age. I think of waterfall events as being things that you may have only dreamed about for a very long time but finally manage to scale the obstacles and eventually get to, even if you feel left behind most of the time getting there.

There are always streams to navigate and rocks to climb. There is a waterfall in front of me most of the time as I go through life; a thing I want to get to. Sometimes things can feel a little hopeless, but most times the feelings of enamor, determination and accomplishment overcome any reluctance to keep at it.

My young friend, whom I refer to as my Bohemian Fairy Daughter, brought me the latest issue of Where Women Create yesterday. Scouring the pages is so, so inspiring. It puts a flame anew in my soul to not give up and I’m always so grateful to her for making sure I get to see it. Thank you Sammie.

The waterfall event in front of me now is to finally get out in the studio, where this woman creates, and get creating.

lipstick roses

Lipstick Roses; handbag in the queue

 

Do you have a waterfall event in front of you?

What is it?

Thirty Seven Years

It’s so very important to be doing what you really love to do.

It’s important that this gets figured out as soon as possible.

It’s not always easy to do this.

I wrote a whole post years ago about how, as a child, I loved to go out in the open fields of my neighborhood and build imaginary neighborhoods where my family and friends would live. I dragged things around in these open fields to section off roads and plots that defined these spaces. I was very spatially oriented even then and would gravitate to a career that utilized those senses, Interior Design. It was a matter of being able to make a living doing something close to what I loved to do; which basically was simply to configure things, anything/everything in ways that pleased me.

I just turned 64 on June 22 and now, today, July 1, it dawned on me that 37 years ago today, July 1, 1981, I had a first date with a man who would be the most significant influence in my life to date. I thought that I was madly in love. Of course I know now that those feelings are transient and usually mean that it is going to be an experience of profound growth for me; which that relationship surely was.

True love is a whole different thing than madly in love.

Nonetheless, he impacted my life in ways I will never regret. We didn’t get married, we didn’t even move in together, but we never broke complete contact until just recently when he died. Several years had gone by since our last encounter and that encounter provided me with a release from all the thoughts of what could have been.

As it turns out, what could have been happened. He was everything he was supposed to have been for me. We would never have been happy as a couple; we were far too different in our passions and preferences. For one thing he didn’t really like animals all that much and that’s a very big difference.

The moral of this story is that all experiences nudge and plod us along in life to end up where we need to be. Some experiences have more significance than others.

As I shared in that story about my childhood, a publication about drapery hardware and beautiful window coverings had a profound effect on my life early on. That single thing steered my life in a direction. It made my heart beat faster. It gave me goose bumps. I couldn’t wait to get myself into that environment and I did everything in my power to get there and I did get there, step by step by step. And I’m still there. I still move things around, configure things to please me. I still love to handle fabric and fashion it into things of greater value. I still love to drag things around and create plots where my family and friends will live. My family and friend are now mostly pets.

DSCN1477

Turtle found crossing the street lately on a morning walk around the neighborhood. I think I’ll call him Buster. “Hey Buster, where are you hiding now!”

 

36431731_1673793072668162_1157072384340000768_n

A place for Buster to keep wet

DSCN1499

Buster at feeding time

Thirty seven years ago today, I had a first date with a man who saw these values in me and encouraged them. He applauded my endeavors making it easier for me to go on with them. He saw things in me that I didn’t see. I felt special in his presence. For a very long time, I felt lonely without him. But because of him, I was stronger and even that was easier to endure.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that everything will turn out right in the end and, to quote from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “if it is not alright, it is not yet the end”.

I don’t know how thirty seven years went by so fast and I’m very sad about the fact that it has. I don’t want to spend another minute dwelling on things I can do nothing about or things that don’t utilize my skills in the best way possible.

There are a great many things wrong with the world and it is easy to get caught up commiserating about it. I think it is a far greater thing to do something about it. To my mind, permaculture practices and living a radically simple life are about the greatest things anyone can really do to effect change. And that is what I shall do. Certainly nothing else I have done has worked and this I love to do.

Life is far shorter than we start out thinking it is.

It is so important to do what we love to do.

DSCN1467

What do you love to do?

Are you doing it?

Why not?

 

 

Every. Single. Day.

It’s really about a lifestyle.

DSCN8386DSCN8387

 

Choosing #VoluntaryRadicalSimplicity was about not participating in things that seemed to be complicit in destroying peace and happiness for myself and others.

I certainly wasn’t at peace getting up each morning to “dress for (someone else’s) success”. It was getting clearer and clearer that I was running on a treadmill, getting nowhere fast and using up my valuable life doing something that I was beginning to hate.

Yes, it did require me to participate in said system just long enough to get to the point that I could leave it all behind. Every. Single. Day. of my career was spent angling for ways to use it to get out of it. Every. Single. Day.

Now every single day is about getting up to see what success nature has brought to my attention. I’m in love.

I see so many posts each day that could cause me the same anxiety that used to fuel my drive to escape the status quo. Articles about exactly how to get good soil. Exactly how to maximize your space. Exactly how to not do or to do this or that.

I try to utilize my intuition instead for it has sustained me all throughout my life thus far. For me now, dressing for success is getting up and putting on the same dirty clothes I wore yesterday to fill up with yet more dirt. It’s about not looking in the mirror to see if I am acceptable but rather getting out there where the birds and bees and flowers and trees could not care one iota about how I look but rather that I put out some water for them, or plant flowers that they like, or throw out some seeds that they can steal…

Yes, I’m in love with life now, finally.

I guess I always have been but I had to tolerate the invasion of the body snatchers just long enough to find a way to escape them.

Now the daily task is to assist nature the best that I can so that I might be rewarded with ever more natural peace and happiness.

 

Self imposed daily rituals only involve utilizing the least of things for the most of things.

 

And maybe, getting to the library in time to check out a new collection of movies to watch in the evenings.

It’s all I can do to get cleaned up enough to go shopping for essentials.

 

As my house continues to fall into ever more disrepair, I try to imagine how I could live without it. There is no point in worrying.

Every. Single. Day. is for not letting other people’s bad politics infiltrate what can otherwise be a day for improving something, anything.

Will there be a nuclear attack? It sure seems that it is being normalized to be expected. Oh, woe is me! What can I do? I know…I can plant food. I can not drive my car. I can eat an organic, plant based diet. I can not participate in anything that supports what is at the root of all the destruction; using resources that are scarce. I can live a voluntarily radical lifestyle. It’s the best I can do.

And, possibly…not vote! Yep, you heard it here. That also is participating in a corrupt system that needs to be extinguished. At least in my humble opinion. It isn’t working; at least not fast enough.

DSCN8243

So I will continue to plant food and flowers in hope that enough people will plant food and flowers enough to change things the real, good way.

And…I would like to learn how to paint clouds.

DSCN8379

Image from Doc Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Day’s a Holiday

These were beautiful zinnia’s in Summer.

I think they are still beautiful; dry seed heads dancing on dried out, brittle stems. They were all over the yards; here, there and everywhere. All different colors. All from seeds saved from other years.

Flower Power

It’s hard to distinguish one thing from another these days since everything is one or another shade of evaporated green or other color.

Holidays come and go like any other day for me.

I don’t have children, except for fur babies. I don’t have a husband; never have. My sisters children are all busily involved in their own wonderful lives and live distances away.

New Year’s Day comes and goes with little fanfare here. Our mantra, mine and the fur babies, is “No hurry, no worry”.

I lived that crazy life of corporatism’s entrapment until I could find my way out and into this peaceful existence.

The other late afternoon, a friend called and asked if I wanted to run up to get something at McDonald’s with her. I said I’d rather she would come sit and have some of my #KitchenSinkSoup. I had been bragging about it lately. This batch had turned out especially good and she wanted to try it.

She agreed since I was in the middle of cooking and didn’t want to leave it to go with her. I went about setting up the table for an impromptu, what she called a, “Tea Party”. I put out all my hodge-podge favorite eating things; pretty, vintage glassware and mismatched bowls and plates for all the little odds and ends of foods I could come up with to make it a dinner that included the soup.

I didn’t take a picture. It wasn’t all that special. But it was special to feel free to do that without a lot of rush, planning and fretting.

We talked our heads off for a couple of hours, uninterrupted by TV or any other distraction.

For me, the turning of the year is completely insignificant. It’s just another day, a wonderful day, a day to be one’s best. Always be one’s best.

I think every day should be a holiday. At least it should be treated like one because there aren’t that many of them and I cherish every one.

Haute Handbags

“Haute Handbags” in the queue

Things I love to do: Garden and Sew. I’m determined to continue to declutter to the point that those two things are pretty much all I have to think about doing.

Oh, of course, and to love me some fur babies. The more the merrier.

DSCN6420

The only thing I can think of that I want to do more of now that today is today is to drink more green tea. 😉

Here’s to your health, your peace and abundance.

Every Day’s a Holiday.

 

 

Inventing The Wheel

There is nothing new under the Sun.

This has been a hard lesson to learn for me as one who is always trying to come up with some new, wonderful thing that could potentially sell. Once upon a time I tried to invent a harvest apron based on my own needs when trying to use whatever top that was on me to cradle the pickings wasn’t fitting the bill. When I finally bothered to “Google” it, someone had already stolen my idea. Ha! So much for that, and they were selling it for way under my cost of labor, let alone the materials needed.

After Thomas Edison’s seven-hundredth unsuccessful attempt to invent electric light, he was asked by a New York Times reporter, “How does it feel to have failed seven hundred times?” The great inventor responded, “I have not failed seven hundred times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those seven hundred ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

All of the things we use every single day were invented by someone somewhere. It’s mind boggling.

After years now of trying to figure out how to grow food, it is becoming ever more clear that Mother Nature knows exactly how to do it and the key is to be with her enough to hear what she has to say. Read, read, read…hear what others have to say…go to the ‘experts’ for advice; but the only sure way is to actually do it and live in the results.

DSCN1946

Even then, it’s very perplexing and the science behind it is complex and sometimes hard to grasp.

Researchers have long assumed that the main way that plants lose water is through leaf pores called stomata. When water is abundant, the stomata open wide to let carbon dioxide flow in — maximizing photosynthesis, but allowing water to exit. Plants also lose moisture through a leaf’s waxy outer surface, or cuticle, but this effect has been considered negligible…

Is this why my plants look so dwarfed compared to the ones I see in places that get tons of rain? Are they not opening their stomata enough to take in carbon dioxide because of so little water and trying so hard to conserve what they have/transpiration? No, that doesn’t seem to be all there is to it:

Higher temperatures cause the plant cells which control the openings (stoma) where water is released to the atmosphere to open, whereas colder temperatures cause the openings to close. Relative humidity: As the relative humidity of the air surrounding the plant rises the transpiration rate falls.

I’m so confused.

Hand watering is terribly inefficient, not good to splash dirt up on the plants, and some don’t like water on their leaves, especially in this arid, Sun-tortured desert. It’s a great way to get to know the plants though and I rationalize my water use by claiming I’d rather use it to grow plant food than to eat meat.

DSCN1945

There is no way to know it all either. Things continue to unfold and awareness follows. Reading about how and when the wheel appeared in history revealed that sequences occur. First tools that could be used for the precision of making them had to have been already invented. And, of course, there had to be a value and need for them.

DSCN1942

Inventing the wheel was certainly an achievement; but as history tells, when roads weren’t available (war ravages), camels came back into play and that was because camel saddles had been invented. The wheel was of little value for transportation.

It’s an awesome world we live in.

I can’t imagine living without a wheelbarrow or a hand-truck. I certainly wouldn’t lash things onto the backs of animals and burden them with that trouble.

The moral of this story is though that Mother Nature has it all figured out already and we don’t need to re-invent what She is already an expert at. We just need to pay attention and study her habits.

She’s the best teacher of all.

They say that most inventions derive from nature, but that the wheel was a completely human invention; nothing like it exists in nature.

As far as gardening goes, I’m going to follow the wisdom of Thomas Edison and claim no failures, just eliminations of what doesn’t work.

Happy Gardening.

DSCN1977

June 29, 2017

 

 

 

Is Happiness Overrated?

Not long ago I finished up to season 7 of the Doc Martin series. Season 8 has yet to be released. I want to own that series someday. I could watch it over and over. It really makes me feel happy for some reason.

I think it is because it is a rather poor community of people who care for each other in all ways. Martin is the rich ‘outsider’ who comes into the play of things because of his own frailties; he has a phobia of blood for one thing and is forced out of his passion and extreme competence as a surgeon. He has to face his ‘failures’.

The character Dr. Martin Ellingham is a brilliant man who has issues with expressing positive emotions. At a point, he and his wife Louisa seek professional help for their relationship. In an answer to the therapist, Martin says, “I think happiness is overrated.” He would like to ‘make’ Louisa happy, but he doesn’t think it is necessary for himself.

As the story unfolds it is revealed that Martin had suffered an emotionally deprived childhood. He wasn’t wanted by his mother and his father was self-involved.

I love his character. Even in the depths of emotional isolation, he struggles to turn his unsuppressible love for Louisa into a good thing; he sees the errors of his parents ways and realizes he doesn’t want to be that way himself.

A big key to unraveling what genuine happiness is seems to be self-discovery and not hiding from truths.

In the 80’s I read “The Road Less Traveled”, by Scott M. Peck. In the book he is describing what he says to a patient when they ask about terminating their therapy. He tells them, “When you yourself are able to be a good therapist.”

To which he claims many patients say,  “That’s too much work. To do that means that I would have to think all the time in my relationships with people. I don’t want to think that much. I don’t want to work that hard.. I just want to enjoy myself.”

A permanent feature on the bottom of each blog post on this website is my all time favorite quote about success.

This seems to be where happiness resides for me. When I feel that I have met a challenge and not shirked from it, I feel a real sense of happiness.

My career in design was often grueling. It required tedious attention to detail if I didn’t want to run into trouble and even then, my own efforts were no guarantee because there were so very many others involved in the process. It meant constant attention to ‘relationships’, constant thinking, and exhausting work, both mental and physical.

But, I remember one specific job that was especially grueling and at the same time exhilarating. A woman wanted a bank of woven wood shades on a string of windows on the street-facing side of her house. There were so many little issues, I can’t even begin to explain it. The shades themselves had all kinds of details that had to be properly considered; where brackets can be placed, valances over the brackets, how far above, how close together between blinds, the gaps that would exist…and then there were the windows themselves with no two measurements alike.

Well, it was an unbelievable amount of focus on detail and required mathematical gymnastics that I felt forced to attend because my livelihood and reputation fell on that focus.

The job went in without one single solitary hitch. I felt probably the same way a rock star feels after an especially successful concert. I felt as high as a kite.

Driving home required a trek along a long stretch of downward sloping highway. Well, in my stupor-high from self-satisfaction, (happiness), my foot got heavy and a cop’s light went on behind me. Somewhere in the conversation he asked me where I was coming from and what I did for a living, (my car was filled with samples). When I explained that I had just come from working with a client as an Interior Designer his face lit up. His daughter wanted to pursue that path. I further explained how utterly high I was feeling from the ‘success’ of the job that had just been completed.

He was the nicest cop I have ever experienced. He gave me a chance to explain. He gave me a warning and let me go.

Part of why I think I wanted to remove myself from that career was because I had had relative success and I wasn’t interested anymore in going through those grueling episodes for money.

Money has NEVER been the ultimate motivation in anything I have done. It has always been about  pursuing my own truth, feeling free, and knowing that I was seeking truth in all things related to that freedom.

I do think though that I have gone a little too far in a direction I need to turn back from, isolation. I feel a need to reengage with ‘society’ again. That is what I will be working on to improve on the happiness I already have in this life of #VoluntaryRadicalSimplicity.

Even in this radical simplicity, there are needs and no one can kid themselves that it can be done without some form of ‘money’/ exchange.

This is where the new goal comes in, Spare Shelf, (an old business idea that needs to be exhausted), and why I am determined to get this old house in a less than hovel condition.

More than simply positive mood, happiness is a state of well-being that encompasses living a good life—that is, with a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction…

…Research shows that happiness is not the result of bouncing from one joy to the next; achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. Money is important to happiness, but only to a certain point. Money buys freedom from worry about the basics in life—housing, food, clothing.

~ Psychology Today

“Meaning and deep satisfaction” involves getting outside of self. Hopefully I can be what I need to be to make this change. It’s not about the money. It’s about feeling a deeper sense of value in the world. One that isn’t focused on negative things, but in making better things happen.

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

Are you happy?

What makes you happy?