It is April 23rd (Happy Earth Day yesterday!) and I am patiently awaiting Dandelion greens, Wild Violet leaves & flowers, and Wild Leeks (heading out, soon, to see if they are popped up enough to dig). It has been a long winter and a hard won Spring for us Waaaay Northern New Yorkers. Today is day 3 of sunshine and no snow floating down. The ground is finally bare save for a few pockets of the "white stuff" here and there on the northern sides of trees, hills, etc.Read More
Some Of The Sun's Awesome Gifts:
- warms us every day even when we can't see the glorious sun (When you lift the corner of the cloud, the sun is ALWAYS shining."Eli, my 14 year old at 8 had figured this one out!), this solar warmth drives weather patterns
- stimulates photosynthesis
- stimulates Vitamin D production in your skin and many other living being's skin as well. Vitamin D is needed for bone health, skin health, mood health, immune health (think cancer, MS, metabolic disease-diabetes, & auto-immune disease prevention)
- promotes the production of melatonin so you can sleep well every night and the production of serotonin so you fell happy & energetic during the day
The list of the sun's contributions to human and planetary health is a very long one. Without the sun... we would not be here; everything would not be here! It is time for some Common Sun Sense.Read More
I love Spring. The renewal of life, energy, and all it brings is breath taking to me every year.
Today is March 5th. As I walked in the woods with my dog, I can feel the pull of the sun. It is getting warmer, brighter, stronger... another winter survived! I can smell scents that were not there even 2 days ago; scents of the coming Spring.
I even found a Great White Pine whose south side's snow was already melted away. I sat my butt, right in the pine needles, and pressed my spine up along this mighty pine's trunk. The sun was in my face and the pine needles under me were fragrant in the sun's warmth.Read More
I need a raise of hands here: If there was a patch of green grass in your front yard... how many people would be out there grazing?
I have cabin fever, local food fever, warm sun fever...
Here in Northern NY the winter has been brutal; longs weeks of very cold weather. It has been years since I have lived through week after week of below zero temperatures. Snow, we have had plenty of snow this year to boot.
By the end of March I am always eager for the green foods of Spring: (Spring IS capitalized here because right now, Spring is very important to me!)
- wild leeks
- dandelion greens
- spring nettles
- violet leaves
- wild sorrel
- spring sorrel
It is but February 28th and I am crawling out of my skin for fresh food, food I can pluck off the vine or cut from the ground, food that is alive and vibrant with life force energy. I know it is a good two months before I am digging wild leeks. What is a girl to do when the root veggies, squash, and cabbage are no longer appealing to her? (Believe me; I am very grateful to my local farmers who work hard all season to keep me well stocked with these wonderful, winter storage veggies. I just need a break from winter; a bowl of freshness served up with sunshine.)
My radical plan to circumvent local food
I am off to the Potsdam Food Coop this AM to buy organic produce
- big, juicy navel oranges from Florida,
- sweet, furry little kiwis from California,
- luscious red peppers from wherever they were grown and harvested, and
- any other delicious, juicy looking fruit or veggie that comes from someplace that is sunny and warm.
I will bring them home, park my butt in a sunny spot (it is gorgeous and sunny today, by 2 PM my front porch will have warmed to at least 50 degrees... this is like a tropical paradise to me!), and indulge in food grown far from my home. My thoughts will go to the people responsible for caring for the orange grove and the kiwi orchards (Do you call a Kiwi farm an orchard?) with love and gratitude for the work they do to grow, harvest, and pack these sun filled wonders to be delivered to my hands. Gratitude to the many hands the crates pass through and the people driving up the East Coast and across this big continent, through the nights, to bring these delectable non-local foods to my hands and belly. This infusion of packaged sunshine, vitamin C, and so many other amazing nutrients may just keep me humming along until my feet are bare with the green grass under them again.
Enjoy the sun today, wherever you are and remember the words of my youngest son when he was an 8 year old boy:
"If you lift the corner of the clouds the sun is always shining." Eli
This is a warning to you dandelions... I will be eating you!
Please share your secrets for surviving cabin fever, the need for non-local food, and the need for grass under your bare feet.
No, no, this article has nothing to do with sex, reproductive issues, and human fertility (well, not human egg and sperm fertility, per se).
What are these two farmers sitting and squatting on?
Come on, guess....
It is soil. Fertile soil makes the world go round. Dirt is one of the earth's most precious resources, period.
How so you ask?
Read on my friend!
Fertile soil grows food that is intact, whole. I am always talking about how important it is to eat a 100% whole food diet. That whole food diet starts in whole soil; soil that is rich in nutrients and life, loamy, and fertile.
The fertility of the soil is the fertility of your body... and not just your reproductive fertility. Your body cells reproduce every day. Cellular health in reproducing vibrant, new cells is dependent on what feeds the parent cell. Read on for some soil and cell enhancing wisdom.
Soil is one of the foundations of all food, life, on this earth.
Healthy Soil = Healthy Food!
Soil + Sun + Water (and a seed or two!) = Food / Life!
When we pay attention to soil, maybe that plot of garden where we grow herbs or veggies, we see a microcosm that is teeming with life. Healthy soil is a living, breathing, dynamic organism: sand, silt, clay, air, water, minerals and organic matter crawling with earthworms, moles, grubs, centipedes, millipedes, snails, slugs, beetles, ants, fungi, insect larvae, bacteria, mushrooms, and many other organisms and micro-organisms. The sum of the whole, all parts working in synergy, is a well-orchestrated symphony. Nature is truly poetry in motion and that very poetry is what contributes to the heath and wholesomeness of the food you eat.
Your food is only as healthy as the soil it grows in. Your animal based foods? Only as healthy as the soil supporting the plants that the animals are free-range grazing on.
Farmers who understand and live / work in harmony with this soil symphony are amazing people contributing to your whole health.
I have always loved dirt: playing in it, smelling it (dirt in your yard smells different than dirt in the woods...), smelling dirt after a warm summer rain. You know... when you go outside and all you smell is that damp, musky, wet dirt smell? That is a smell that always makes me smile.
Learn more about the dirt that grows your food.
Know your soil.
Know your farmer.
How does your farmer(s) interact with the soil they grow food in and on? Do they compost, rotate crops and animal in the fields, use cover crops to feed the soil... what are the soil nourishing habits your farmer uses to grow your food?
Rich soil, teeming with life and inorganic matter, grows food rich in vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients, and anti-oxidants. Get into your dirt. Study the dirt that supports your health and life! Find a farmer who makes soil care a top priority. (Consumer demand for good farmers, real farmers, will create better food, better soil, and a better world!) Thank your farmer for caring for the soil.
Please, share your dirt loving stories below!
The below kid's book on dirt was one of my favorites to read to my kids. Not sure they were so enamored with the life in our soil but I was!
Sunshine is a body, mind, and soul soothing ray of warmth. We smile more and laugh more when the sun shines. The warm sun on our skin just feels good. The bright light entering our eyes triggers good feelings.
The sun's rays create physiological responses in our bodies. One does not need the scientific reasons behind this. Common sense tells us the sun is just good. Plants starved of sunlight wither and die. Animals locked away from the sun wither and die. The logical conclusion is that sun is good for hum-animal!
Sun on your skin is what produces vitamin D (remember that Vit D is a hormone not a vitamin). Sun light to your eyes regulates many hormonal processes in the human body: serotonin, melatonin, endorphins of all sorts, regulate the cycles of night and day (this is apparent in the cycling of a female's reproductive functions), and so many other hormonal functions necessary for life on this Earth. Worshipping the sun is a fine thing to do. Without the sun life would not exist.
Here I sit in Northern NY State. I have to say it has been a gloomy late fall and early winter. I can count the sunny days in the last month on about 1 hand (with fingers left over!). Clouds, I have seen many clouds these past 4 weeks.
Now today was sunny. Wow, what a gift to body, mind, and soul. I hope everyone took advantage and soaked up and soaked in a bit of sunshine; even 10 minutes outside in the deliciously cold and yummy sunshine.
What is a person to do when we have days and days, weeks and weeks of very little sunshine? My first answer would be the obvious: get out of here. Head south, friend, head south! For most of us that is not a possibility. The trick is to learn how to create inner sunshine; how to raise our feel good hormones despite the lack of obvious sunshine in our days and life.
When my youngest son was 8 years old, his wise 'lil self said these words to me:
"When you lift the corner of the clouds, the sun is always shining." Eli
I was taken aback by his wisdom. He was speaking more of human sadness but the words hold true here...
- Get outside and get as much natural light as you can, every single day in every season. Even if it is cloudy, the sun is still there working magic with your hormones and health. Think about it... a solar panel still makes electricity on a cloudy day and a sun flower still follows the sun on a cloudy day. Get out there and create your own electricity (life force energy) with the sun's rays... even when they are behind a cloud. Be a sun flower and follow the sun's rays. Lift the corner of that cloud in your little world, metaphorically speaking, and get some natural light.
- You will get fresh air too. Again, this is life force enhancing. Get outside; you will be glad you did. Ditch the stationary bikes and XC Ski machines in the winter. Put on some Yak Traks, or similar boot sole (soul) enhancement, and go say hello to Old Man Winter.
- 100% Whole food diet. Seriously, do I need to say more about this?
- Pets: Having a pet to love and care for (and love you right back) is a huge creator of inner sunshine. Don't believe me? Try it. But only if you genuinely want to pour some love into a friend and have it come back to you 10 fold.
- Plants: Yes, get a plant and talk to it. Water it. Having a green plant growing in your home is something that you can love and care for. Grow an indoor herb garden that you can take little bites of to improve your mood: peppermint, rosemary, parsley, sage, lavender, oregano, basil... just have a window handy that gets plenty of light (even if the sun is not shining).
- Whole Health Lifestyle Choices. Another area I rant on about... Is anyone listening to me?
- Yoga... Yes, I love Yoga and all it has invited into my life: body, mind, & spirit healing.
- Acupuncture: I have extolled the virtues of acupuncture many, many, many times and I will again, over and over. Want a happy sunshine lift? Go get acupuncture.
- Massage: Massage is a great way to increase your endorphins. It is sunshine rubbing your muscles, energy transfer from another human being who is a storehouse of solar energy. Think about it: all of the food we eat is stored solar energy. A human is stored solar energy.
- Reiki or any other kind of healing energy work that speaks to you and your personal needs. Just do it; you will feel lighter, brighter, sunnier, and happier. Learn to do self-Reiki.
- Have FUN. Laughter and fun ups the feel good hormones.
- Volunteer and make someone else's day, or life, better - brighter - sunnier.