Thursday, February 26, 2009


i've been feeling the weight of the world lately...the heaviness in what i've been reading about so many different types of problems.

today adam & i talked about whether it's good to know, or not know. it's a tough one.

sometimes you can take on more information that your spirit can bear. and yet, we are one planet, and one people, and what one suffers, all suffer.

i've been thinking that maybe this was the lesson that jesus showed us with his life. he shared in the suffering.

not that there isn't joy. life is still here. spring is around the corner. the birds sing, crocuses bloom.

it's amazing that life continues and joy continues even amid such problems. it's inspiring, actually.

here's to awareness mixed with the courage of joy.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

baking bread

finally, after many crumbly, dense loaves, i've had one victorious, fluffy, delicious loaf. a second batch is on the way to rising perfectly, thanks to the heater in the kitchen.

the recipe is from a bag of king arthur whole wheat flour. i think i actually misunderstood the recipe, though, and didn't mix the yeast with water prior to starting. and it works! and is less messy.

This is my version, which makes 2 loaves.

first, mix the dry ingredients:
5 t of yeast (2 packets)
7 cups of flour (I use mostly wheat, some white. however, the original recipe says all wheat)
2 t of salt (i use slightly less than 2)

mix them together, then pour the wet ingredients on top:
2 2/3 cups of lukewarm water
1/2 c of vegetable oil (i think the coconut oil i've been using makes extra delicious bread)
about 1/4 c of honey, with some molasses in there too

mix it all together, then knead for 6-8 minutes.

set it to rise. i put the bowl of dough on a chair next to the heater, and then use a towel to trap the heat and bring it to the dough. it rises in half the time.

punch down.

re-rise in greased loaf pans.

bake at 350.

I love this because it makes very little mess, and I just threw it together in about 15 minutes! unreal.

Of course, more experimentation will be required in order to incorporate sprouted wheat, but for now we are eating our sprouts in other ways, so I won't worry about that for now.

Get the butter ready.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


inspired by reading this article:

economic stimulus. economic growth. but is growth really a good thing?

it seems to me that the whole idea of investments is that we put our money somewhere and it grows into more money than we had before.

i can understand not wanting ones money to decrease in value, and inflation would inevitably make money buried in the ground 50 years ago worth less than when the hole was dug.

but when growth must come at the expense of the health of our planet, the health of individuals, the quality of food, the quality of life...can having more money really make up for the incredible losses we as human beings, creatures of this planet, have sustained?

the markets have demanded: more must be made, more efficiently, faster, cheaper, for greater profits. the desire to squeeze money out of each square inch of soil is desperate; eventually there will be no value left in the soil to squeeze. the growth is not sustainable. our land is dying. and our lives are suffering.

there is an alternative.

contentment. having enough, and being happy to live a little land and have enough to eat, warmth, shelter. making a profit is great, but how much of a profit does one need? perhaps enough to buy certain necessities, small luxuries.

i have been reading much on this subject, and i am thrilled to discover that others can express these ideas much more poetically and thoughtfully than i.

Wendell Berry in his book "The Art of the Common Place: The Agrarian Essays" speaks well and profoundly about our relationship with the land, the history of our country, and why we have not cared for the land as we ought. He gives stories about people who were content with less, and as a result they were able to treat the land with observant gentleness.

We don't need more money, more stuff, faster. All of that more & faster philosophy actually makes us unhealthy and unhappy.

LESS, and more slowly. Taking time for contemplating nature, family, the spiritual world.

It's great to learn sprouting, baking, book binding, gardening. This morning I picked the dead flowers from my basil plant and harvested seeds. What joy!! I compared them to the seeds that I bought & planted last spring. Similar. Now I have my own seeds, with a year's experience living in this place.

I guess I am greedy to do so many things. I wish I could help start a million community gardens. I wish I could teach poor people to sprout grains so they'd have low-cost, nutritious food available to them. I want to build a house, just to show that it can be done and it doesn't have to be so confoundedly complicated as modern houses are. Finish sewing that dress. Write letters to my friends. Learn how to make kombucha and yogurt and cheese and soap and candles. Knit. Write more. Learn natural healing techniques.

It's pretty clear that I'm bringing my characteristic intensity even to my desire to live a slow life. And clearly my biggest challenge will be to simply enjoy the present, and to find contentment exactly where I am.

Monday, February 09, 2009

the man who created paradise, by gene logsdon

what an amazing story. fiction, unfortunately. yet it's the not the first time i've read of someone who was inspired to buy devastated land with a view to restoring to it some of the beauty and health it had lost. and since ravaged lands would be far more affordable, perhaps that is the most accessible way to own land. not to mention the most satisfying.

wendell berry speaks of caring for the land, of being a steward, of helping it to heal, and letting it heal us.

wouldn't it be wonderful to heal just one little piece of our sad, wounded planet?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

timeless dwellings

there is a gentleness to these homes, their inhabitants are connected to the earth. they are worn, softened, and cozy. warm, too. also, i believe that one of these could be built by a couple who is starting out in life together.

while these buildings look like they've been abandoned, the article i lifted the picture from here discusses earth roofs and their advantanges. the yurts, on the other hand, have the advantage of being temporary structures and thus less restricted by building codes and property taxes.