Leave Wild, Undisturbed Corners in Your Garden

wild
There is an irony that Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden must ultimately carry a caveat, being that as a conscious gardener we learn that our immediate landscapes, the ones we play with, plant things in and recreate, are not, as we thought, blank canvases to reconstruct to our own liking. Not really. They are pieces of something, a larger something of which we are all a part. And that as loving stewards of that reality we are rather obliged to consider what came before, as in the last several millions of years, and to consider that carefully as we make our mark upon whatever lands we now call “ours”, which, ultimately, they are not. For as we all know, and hate to consider, whatever we do will, as the sand paintings of the Tibetan monks, will slip away into another form, our dear selves included.
sand
Meanwhile, in Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden, I did write about at very least leaving corners of undisturbed spaces in our gardens, honoring the unknown, so let’s begin there, shall we?

When I was 17 and living with my family on the western banks of Puerto Rico, in a passionate moment, I wrote the following poem:
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I still take pleasure in knowing this came from me at such a tender age. One could say it is rife with teenage angst, the longing of a young girl for her own space, her own ideas, her own life away from parental eyes and ears and minds and expectations. No doubt it was in part the result of being steeped in a tropical paradise, lying under huge full moons, browned by the Caribbean sun, lulled by the unstoppable crashing of large blue waves on the nearby shore, enchanted by riding horseback on the beaches, cast into a foreign culture so radically different from my New England high school!

More likely, however, another thread in my internal process is reflected in Rumi’s oft-quoted:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

For all the delving we do, for all the Inner Child work, the Shadow work, the poking around, the self discovery, there will always be, as Einstein told us, the inevitability of mystery. Sheer mystery. Try as we will, we cannot know everything. There will be more on the other side, when the veil of illusion is lifted, when we are at last home in the comfort of all that is. If Wordsworth was correct, that our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting, what must death be?

I am told that in Scotland and Ireland the old farmers always leave wild and undisturbed corners in their gardens, where they sow nothing, out of respect for The Little People, to give them a place to be. What wild undisturbed corners do you leave within you or within your partner, your children, your parents, your closest friends? What is left respectfully and quietly for passive cultivation, for privacy, for the imagination, for discovery, for serendipity, for faith, for secrecy, for grace, for reverence, for the untapped, for the future, for the unknowable and the unknown?

Happy New Year, darling and beloved readers of this blog. May 2015 bring each of you abundance, beauty, good health and many new wonderful chapters in your lives!

Love and blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: Many thanks to those of you who purchased copies of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy as gifts for your loved ones. So appreciated!


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Winter Butternut Squash Soup!

squash

Most likely because neither my mother nor grandmother, as I recall, ever baked or in any way prepared a winter squash for our family, it’s taken me quite awhile to familiarize myself with the many varieties–and then to learn what I can do with them! I’m imagining if I set my mind to it I could write an entire book about winter squashes and their infinite possibilities. What is more likely, and what appears to be happening, is that each fall and winter, as the squashes come into their splendid season–just in time for the winter holidays, how convenient, and no accident, I’m sure, given the organic nature of the tie between our winter celebrations and our Harvesting, I appear to be learning each year about yet another, and adding to my kitchen repertoire–and then sharing that with all of you. So, welcome. This year it’s the butternut squash, which, pretty sure, I have never ever cooked before now. Really. I’m sure I’m not alone in this unfamiliarity with all my options. So here we go. Butternut squash soup, which might be my all time favorite, though if I review my past discoveries it just might be that I say that every year. For now, it’s my yummy scrumptious fave and I am going to share this wonderful recipe I just discovered, and tweaked–as I nearly always tweak. ;)

Winter Butternut Squash Soup

You will need:

*a butternut squash
*butter and olive oil
*two medium onions or one large one
*curry
*brown sugar
*chicken or vegetable stock, depending on your orientation
*milk or (if you are so inclined) cream
*salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the outer skin of your butternut squash. Cut in half or quarters, oil slightly with olive oil, place in a baking pan and place in a 375°F. oven for an hour or until the squash is tender to the tines of a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Quarter your onions and cut into thin strips. Sauté onion in a combination of olive oil and butter until somewhat carmelized which is going to take a minimum of fifteen minutes. Keep stirring while this is happening. Look at that yummy goodness! By now your kitchen is going to smell delicious and you are going to get hungry!

onion

Now remove the outer skin of your cooled squash and cut pulp into large pieces.
pulp

Place in Cuisinart or blender.

chopped

Once blended add onions. Blend. And then add one cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Blend moderately.

Pour this mixture into a saucepan over a low heat.

pan

Season with salt and pepper. Add to this one cup of milk (or cream) and a second cup of your stock. You are now going to add into this mixture one teaspoon of curry. Blending would be easier if you were to put a bit of the soup mixture into a small cup or bowl into which you stir the curry and then return that to the soup. Lastly at this point you may also add a tablespoon of brown sugar, but I am recommending to add a bit at a time, and stop when you find the flavor to your liking. I used two teaspoons and found it be an interesting and unexpectedly satisfactory addition.

Serve this hot soup with your favorite bread for a wonderfully hearty meal!

done
I bet this becomes one of your favorite go-to recipes this winter! Enjoy!

Love and kitchen blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Book News: Planning Christmas presents already? (I am!) Is there someone on your Christmas list who would welcome a copy of Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden under their tree? Plenty of time to order from your local bookstore or from Amazon or Barnes and Noble online! Both paperback and Kindle/Nook options available! Or please consider a copy for yourself–reading one of the 52 stories each week next year, and taking notes in your journal of what each lesson means to you! #innerwork


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Another Garden Transforming a Community!

Seedsavinggarden
Neighborhood Seed Saving Project

One of the most life-affirming, inspiring movements in the world today is the Community Garden movement, particularly when it involves teaching children. And we see or hear of examples of this emerging trend throughout our country. But there is nothing as profound and wise and enlivening as bearing witness or becoming involved in a community garden that not only includes children, but also totally transforms a neighborhood, and that is precisely what Brightmoor Youth Garden in a formerly impoverished and crime ridden neighborhood in Detroit is doing! I learned about this marvelous endeavor on Super Soul Sunday on OWN and I immediately googled them and wrote to the co-founder, Riet Schumack, asking for a link to this vid, which she kindly shared.

Riet says, “Ultimately blight is an expression of the breakdown in human dignity and the breakdown of community. Poverty in itself doesn’t cause blight. It’s when people lose hope and stop caring.”

paint

I am going to let Riet tell you her story via this vid, as it’s beautifully produced. My deepest apology for the ad that was built in to the beginning of this wonderful vid. It’s standard at Oprah.com to include these at the beginning of all videos and interviews. It’s short, and worth the 30 second delay. :)

Is that not the most positive story you’ve heard recently? There is more information on the history and development of Brightmoor Youth Garden here.

I would love to hear about similar projects in your locale. Or perhaps this story will inspire you to start your own!

Love and garden blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

Footnote: If you are inspired by this story, check out this indigogo project to raise $10,000 for Neighbors Building Brightmoor Community Kitchen. These people are solid, inspired and creative folks and should be better known as role models for urban areas around the country! They have raised over $6,000 to date. Want to help? Click on the link and share the link on your social media platforms. Thank you!

Book News: Many thanks to everyone I met at the Book Depot in Mill Valley last Saturday afternoon. It was a fun time and I deeply appreciated the opportunity to meet new people, sign books, and to share Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden. Meanwhile Barnes and Noble has made copies of the book available throughout the country!


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