Kalin Art & Spirit

Gardening as a Spiritual Endeavor

I’ve spent this Sunday morning celebrating Spirit by gardening- I figure being a good steward of the Earth honors the patch of it I attend to. If I ever get rid of all the bindweed, somebody owes me a plaque!!

An important bit of knowledge for any land owner, that includes any home sited on a bit of grass, is to Know Your Weeds. There are good ones and bad ones. There are good ways and bad ways of dealing with them. DO NOT go out and buy pesticides or herbicides like ‘RoundUp’ and spray every living thing in sight, especially on windy days! The over-spray can kill your neighbors organic produce, bees and other helpful pollinators.
Contact your local state extension office to identify weeds or problems with your lawn before you do more damage to Mother Earth. Their number is online and in the phone book. It’s kind of like “Calling the utilities company Before You Dig”~ Very Important to do.

Today I’ve been battling the dragon ‘Spurge’ – usually a worthy opponent, but after the last two days of heavy rains it doesn’t stand a chance. I know I should eradicate it, because it’s a nuisance, but it’s so lovely the way it edges the walk up to the house, like a yellow petticoat under a green hooped gown, that I can’t exterminate it altogether. Besides, it’s one of the few plants that holds up year ’round in the Denver weather – which is saying a LOT. Someday I will find a better replacement.

I gathered a bunch of lovely dandelions, which I will wash and cook for tonight’s dinner’s greens.
They are edible, and especially good with hot pepper sauce [yellow pepper vinegar]. Dandelion greens have lots of vitamin C, have diuretic properties and have been long used as a Spring tonic. People used to look forward to Spring Greens in order to prevent scurvy/gout after a long winter without fresh veggies. Be sure to bring to a boil in water. Drain first batch of water and reboil in change of water in order to leech out bitterness.
Some people make Dandelion wine. My parents did one year and I sampled it. It was much like Chardonnay, but a tad bitter. I’m not a wine person but they liked it.

When gathering edibles make sure you correctly identify the plant and then don’t go hog wild and gorge yourself on something new. Duh. Be sensible in your tasting new things.
Find a County extension office Master Gardener, someone who has training in identifying plants, or an old-timey gardener, [someone over 60 years old who has long gardened in your region] and who knows what’s what, to help you discover edible wild plants. Some community colleges offer classes on edible wild foods. I encourage you to take a course and discover a new outlook on Mother Nature.

There are lots of weeds that are edible *in my region* for example, alfalfa, dandelion greens, chickweed, burdock, chicory root, amaranth, catnip, red clover, wild strawberries, sage, yarrow, and mints to name a few of the most common and benign. So instead of spraying them to death, try pulling them out, washing thoroughly and steaming them or making tea with them. Once you read up and know your weeds you will look at them in a much different light!

Susun Weed is a naturalist who has extensive familiarity with healing herbs. Google her for info.
Other resources;
pg 284 Food Remedies – Rodale Press pub, Selene Yeager editor
Medicinal Plants of the [Mountains West] – Michael Moore [regional editions exist]
Readers Digest Handbook “Herbs” – Lesley Bremness
Home Herbal – Penelope Ody
State Extension Offices

originally published April  25, 2010

Posted August 19th, 2012.

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For the Glory of the Earth

This year’s Earth Day has arrived without much hoopla or hype. I wonder if people are thinking the holiday has become passe? Isn’t there enough profit to be made on the topic of ‘honoring our Mother’ or does ‘Saving the Planet’ throw people off because it is a challenge too large for the individual mind to fathom?

I see the Earth as a shaggy, wet dog…. she is shaking to rid herself of the fleas and debris she has accumulated. Surely she is a living being. How do we react? Do we scold her and fear her trembling or do we send her love and adapt our actions to her movements? I suppose it depends on your world view. Are you arrogant enough to think you are holding her leash?

I propose we each do what we can on a daily basis; recycle, reuse and reduce our carbon footprints. Buy smart by purchasing products without harmful chemicals or wasteful packaging. Decide what we really NEED and stop doing only what we want.
Then gather together wherever we can, online or in our local parks/coffee shops, to discuss solutions where problems are pointed out. A positive approach offers better vibe and encourages more cooperative thinking than being against something and using negative rhetoric to ‘beat the opposition’. I believe the Universe will attract more help to our causes when we frame our position in the affirmative.

I’ve joined many online groups in order to get input on subjects close to my heart. I sign petitions for the ACLU, PAN, and local political issues, because local action can become precedence for larger movements. I ReTweet posts to bring attention to worthy causes. I send links by email to my friends and family, but I know there is more I can do! When we add our voices together we can become more than the sum of our parts. This synchronicity is necessary if we want to accomplish bigger things.

So do your daily best. Send prayers and affirmations into the ether. Light an Earth friendly candle, sing and dance for the greater good. Do what you can to right wrongs in your local communities.
Then go seek out groups to join to add your voice to the wonderful cacophony that is raised each Spring for the wellness of the Earth. Blend your individual gifts with those of others to make our light radiate around the world…
And continue to do the great work all year ’round.
May our numbers increase and our work be bountiful. Blessed Be!

originally published April 20, 2010

Posted August 19th, 2012.

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Gardening by the Moon

Just an introduction today about Gardening by the Moon. 

I’m sure I’ll have more to say on this when even warmer weather comes. Hardy seeds of greens like spinach, collards, and kale can be planted, even when its still cold and wet. Larger seeds, such as spinach can be soaked and nicked for faster germination, but if you’re expecting the soil to be wet for a week or so, it’s not necessary. I quickly planted some turnip greens as the cold front spritzed me this afternoon. I’ll plant other greens later in a staggered fashion, as I don’t want everything maturing at the same time.

The observation of the Moon’s influence upon the Earth was recorded by Pliny, a Roman statesman, who noted that the “Moon replenishes the Earth; when she approaches it she fills all bodies, while, when she recedes, she empties them”. This means that during a full moon the tides are high and moisture is pulled to the top of the soil, where seeds are to be planted. Sensitive people can feel this pull and are a bit on the edgy side during this time. When the moon is full, Luna can bring out the ‘lunacy’, in one degree or another, in us all. 🙂

The following are days when the moon is in the ‘water’ signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces~

Also note; Full moons are not the best time for operations as bleeding can become excessive.

Originally published March 23, 2010

Posted August 19th, 2012.

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