Grackle & Sun

Instead

Below follow the resolutions I made for 2016.  I don’t want to make any new ones without first revisiting last year’s to see what of this list I did or did not accomplish. A review, if you will, of imperfection and humanness, good intentions and fickle will. Let’s take a peek and reflect, shall we?

  • Become best friends with my body–maybe do some juicing, a little cleansey+detoxy sort of thing, and (ahem) start working out again. Easy, right?  Well, I did start off last year with a detox, so technically, check mark. The rest is a long story for another time–but the short story basically involves me being tested for multiple neurological diseases and ultimately being diagnosed with Lyme. Again.
  • Take trumpet lessons. Didn’t happen. But I did learn the C major scale and played a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to myself when I turned 42 last year. And I’m signed up for lessons which begin later this month. So… I’ll call this one good.

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  • Grow a bunch of awesome seedlings for the garden.  Sadly, no. But not for a lack of trying. Things started off really well, and then one day, after I’d moved the seed trays outside, it rained, filling up the trays. I didn’t find them until the next day, and they were very, very drowned. But I drained them off and thought maybe they could be saved. Then it got balls hot 2 days later and baked the shit out of them. It was terribly sad and frustrating. The garden still grew things, though, as it is wont to do when I throw seeds at it and then get out of the way. Points for trying, right?

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  • Establish proper dye, herb, and medicinal garden beds. Alas, no, as all those seedlings perished in the above catastrophe. GIANT SADFACE. I did, however, successfully establish a Missouri native wildflower garden in one corner of the vegetable garden space. It is very pretty. This is a native copper iris.

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  • Do this fun Plant Ally Project Challenge.  I did not do this. Instead, I kept the tab open on my laptop for almost a solid year and stared at it every day thinking, tomorrow. Many great things are never done one day at a time.
  • Two words: Dye. Yarn. My great disappointment. We won’t talk about it. I have yarn washed, tied, and ready to go; buckets of poke juice sitting in the garage staring at me petulantly. Sometimes your groove gets shelved as you run around putting out fires instead of tending the creative fire. Nothing to do but be kind to yourself and allow things to unfold when they will. I love dyeing, and I could not push this.
  • Have the soil at the farm tested.  Nope, but for good reason! This year, I went to several intensive grower’s conferences. Major research mode. Two were for growing native elderberries, and the other was for holistic orchard practices. Both Terry and Michael were absolutely fantastic, and I learned so much important information–including what specifically to test for when establishing orchards. So, I am now properly prepared to do the soil sampling and have contacted my county extension already.

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  • De-fence the pasture pastures. Re-fence the pastures.  Yes! I didn’t get all of them, but I did take down the worst offender. And now that I know how to do it, the rest should be much easier. We decided not to re-fence any pastures with permanent fencing, and instead my dad has invested in some good movable electric netting for the sheep. This has worked remarkably well. I’m planning on purchasing the next set of fencing so that we have more flexibility for group separation.

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  • Begin intensive grazing. Of the sheep. Not of me. Slowly, but surely, this is happening–especially with the aid of the portable fencing. There is a learning curve for sure, and until I’m on the farm full-time, it won’t happen quite the way it needs to. But improvements are being made. Check.

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  • Start drawing again. Play with the inks (that I’ve had for 5 years).
  • Fix my sewing machine. Sew.  No and no. Although, I did figure out what was wrong with the sewing machine. And knowing is half the battle, right?
  • Learn how to make tinctures and more medicinal tea blends.   I worked on this quite a bit. I’ve done a lot of reading on medicinal herbs this year. And listened to some excellent talks, as well. I made several tinctures and tea blends this year. Check.
  • Learn how to can, freeze, and dehydrate.  Canning and freezing, no. But I did do some fruit dehydrating. Love me some dried mango.
  • Take more walks. Yes, I did this. Most of my walks were taken with my best friend, Ronin, who unfortunately went on to the great gig in the sky in November, after a short but sucktastic tangle with metastatic lung cancer. My heart hurts. I still feel his spirit with me, but my walks will never be the same.

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  • Paddle the MR340.  
  • Prolly ought to practice paddling.  I did not paddle the MR340. Instead, I learned something about myself: I am not a competitive person. Not with this kind of thing, anyway. I’d really like to paddle the length of the 340, but not in some frenetic, heat stroke inducing, sleep deprived, timed contest. That sounds fucking awful. I am the tortoise, not the hare. I did manage to go paddling a few times. Slowly, with much looking around and dipping my fingers in the water.

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  • Sprout broccoli. Eat the sprouted broccoli.
  • Make water kefir. Drink the water kefir.  Yes and yes. Although, I had a difficult time keeping my water kefir grains alive for more than 4 or 5 batches at a time. What I did make turned out good, though. And broccoli sprouts are zesty and delicious. And full of sulforaphane, which is exceptionally good for you.

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  • Figure out what I want to do when I grow up.  I feel like I’m getting closer…
  • Send postcards to friends and family.  Sorry, fam. I did email more, though.
  • Go on a silent retreat. I wish.
  • Write down the stories in my head. Stories, no. But I did write down more of my thoughts and kept a bit of a journal. Occasionally.
  • Clean the basement. LOLOLOLOL.  The answer is still LOLOLOLOLOL.
  • Welcome the magic in my life. This was a priority, and I worked very hard to keep a committed daily practice in motion. Even when I didn’t feel like it. Kind of like flossing. You just get up and do it no matter what. This daily dedication has been a real blessing and a true lesson in the depth to be gained from a slow, sustained practice.

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  • PLAY MORE. And relax, everything is ok.  This one I think I finally remembered how to do.  This might be my best accomplishment all year.

Even though 2016 was a year that was in many respects quite tragic, it also brought many, many good things. We talk about a year as though it was an entity that acted upon us, instead of us acting within it–a measure of time that holds our deeds, good and bad. I have no resolutions for 2017. For me, they end up being To Do lists anyway. Instead, I simply want to remember that while I may not control everything around me, my circumstances or the actions of others, I am always in control of my actions and my attitude–the two things that count. So no matter what I might accomplish this next year, may I always reflect with honesty, discern with wisdom, act with integrity, and above all, respond with lovingkindness and good cheer. Because at the end of it all, it will be the love and kindness and good cheer that will be remembered. Not cleaning the basement.

Happy 2017 to you all! May this year bring you many blessings–good company, good food, good health, and grand adventures!

d

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13 thoughts on “Instead

  1. Hahaha- I know what you mean about not being a competitive person. A dear friend challenged me to a swimming race and whilst she was putting her all into it, all gritted teeth and frenetic limbs (and lengths ahead of me) I was just poodling along, looking at the view.
    Sounds as if the last year was a full one for you, I hope that this one brings you magic, happiness and love. Xxx

  2. Sorry to hear about Ronin. :(

  3. I have great sympathy for your outcomes, particularly the basement. Just remember “a tidy house is the sign of a wasted life”. I shocked myself by spending over an hour today sweeping up and removing grass growing in my front entrance path. Thankfully the desire to keep cleaning has passed. Now I am off to do some spinning (wool).

    • I love that quote!

      • I heard reference to a book recently, I think it’s called ‘More work for Mother’ that demonstrates that ‘labour-saving’ devices have actually increased the amount of cleaning women do because the expectations of how clean you could get something increased along side the equipment. To hell with that!

  4. Oh, I’m sorry to hear about Ronin…

    And those irises are gorgeous – also looking forward to hearing more about your elderberries – I’d like to get some in as well – swear by them for fighting off/reducing colds. And your pastures are gorgeous too – what a lovely place… Happy new year!

  5. That was a very ambitious list! I like how you expanded on it in this post, explaining what you had had in mind, and what happened, or happened instead.

    I looked at the Plant Ally 30-day project — that seems like a very useful and creative structure to apply to almost anything one wants to study, so thank you for that link.

    Also I am very sorry about Ronin!

  6. I enjoyed this post, your beautiful writing and your stunning photos, enormously. I am so sorry about Ronin and your Lymes diagnosis, both facts of life hard to live with…
    LOOK how much you have done! Be proud and stay in the moment. Happy 2017 to you! PS I have just dehydrates mangoes and they ARE delicious…

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