Friday, May 27, 2011


So, my dear Molly has moved out. She's taken a 6-month internship at Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina. She's blogging about it at On the Wing. Sounds delightful--I can understand why she doesn't ever want to come back to the Midwest. :/

So now it's gonna be just me and my part-time kid at the Little House. When my daughter's not around, I'll be living by myself, with no roommate, family, or "domestic partner" (not a very romantic term), for the first time EVER. I'm tempted to change it to Little Hermitage in the Ghetto!

HERMIT is a name now given to men who live alone in remote places, because they do not like to be around other people. Sometimes they become hermits because they do not like to work. Hermits seldom are neat. They usually have long hair and beards.

There have been also, from very early times, men who left their towns to give their time to God in solitude. Elijah and John the Baptist are examples.

The solitary worshiper, or hermit, is a feature of many religions. In the East, especially in India, devout men go off into the wilderness, where they sit and think or pray for days at a time. Usually they are thin and gaunt, for they eat little.

World Book Encyclopedia, 1965

Sounds kinda like me--except for the thin and gaunt part! Thought, famous hermits have been known to survive on graveyard weeds (Otman Baba) and nettle soup (Milarepa), and there's enough dandelion greens, garlic mustard, and lamb's quarters to feed me for a while.

Anyway, recent activities at the Little House include getting the mushroom logs situated in places where the mycelia will be comfortable. Reishi logs go into large clay flowerpots, upright, nestled into wet sand. Saralin suggested keeping a paper bag over the exposed top of the log. Hmm, I should probably check the moisture level in the sand sometime.

I've been harvesting lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) to dry for tea; and plenty of lamb's quarters (Chenopodium album) to eat as greens in eggs, salad, stir fry, and to dry for later use. Also, between bouts of Spring thunderstorms, uprooting asters to keep them from spreading even more. I'm seriously considering sheet-mulching huge portions of the yard, just to keep the asters down, and then I can at least sow desirable no-mow groundcovers in the sheet mulch.

I planted seed potatoes that Molly had prepped before she left, and mulched 'em with mower clippings and weeds from around the tater beds. I LOVE the free, nutrient-rich, mulch-at-hand!

Saralin, Julian, and their acquaintance Drew (whom I've not met yet) have dropped off small piles of firewood, starting to fill up the woodshed again before I've even cleaned it out from last year's wood. I'm ever so pleased to have free firewood delivered for free!!!

My temp job, which was JUST RIGHT for me, has dried up after a year and a half. I still work as a simulated patient at SIU School of Medicine, but that's not gonna be nearly enough to pay the mortgage. :( So I'm trying to decide between cube work and cloud work.

Also, thanks to Ran Prieur, I've been reading a lot of posts from Steve Pavlina. At minimum, it's encouraging and inspiring material for me to soak up in this time of transition. At best, maybe I'll actually discover my true life purpose, cultivate burning desire, develop the courage to live consciously, and become an early riser.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Update

My, how time flies on the Internet while stuff happens in real life. We have been welcoming Spring, with warm sunny weather pulling plants from the soil toward the sky. Some of our crew facilitated inoculating mushroom logs, so later on we'll have Shiitake and Reishi mushrooms fresh from the garden. (Special thanks to Saralin and Julian!) Molly and I trellised the raspberry patch, so it'll be easier to harvest and (we hope) less mosquitoey this summer. We have the usual spring bulbs coming up--crocus and daffodil blooming, with tulips and peonies leafing out. Oh yeah, and garlic and onions galore in the garden.

The elm tree and cherry bushes are in flower, and I swear I saw red buds on one of the little redbud trees. Dandelions are starting to show their bright smiley faces already.

Molting robins (with odd white spots on their backs) have been prowling the garden for bugs (they are birds of prey, technically). Our "garden tiger" Snapper has had a sore paw for a couple weeks, but he's healing up good, and he's back outside deterring squirrels and rabbits.

This morning K and I saw a bee and a butterfly, both on the cherry blossoms. If I understand correctly, a bee will keep going back to the same kind of flower it finds first, so hopefully it'll pollinate the cherries and we'll have some fruit later on. The butterfly may be a Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis, whose adults overwinter and thus are often the first butterflies seen in Spring. Also, they like elm trees, which we have.

The average date for last frost in our area is April 15 (easy enough to remember), so there's still a chance some of our plant friends will get frosted. If we get a chill, perhaps the "heat island effect" of the city will help. It's been a relatively dry Spring so far, with March bringing us only 1.60 inches of rain, compared to the "normal" 3.15. (Per I scattered red clover seeds in various places--it's a TERRIFIC medicinal, not to mention nitrogen-fixer, bee-attractor, and beautiful. After a good rain, perhaps some of them will sprout. Weeks ago, I dug some experimental rainwater-channeling trenches (not really formal enough for me to call them swales), and I've been waiting a long time to see what actually happens when it rains. Still waiting. This may be a year to find out which of our yard/garden/feastfield friends are "drought tolerant."

Either way, thanks and praises to the One and Only, the Source and Sink, the Overarching Underlying, the Uncontainable Container, for such a beautiful season.