Archive for the ‘In Season’ Category


Dear Diary…

December 25, 2009

I see you here covered in dust and feeling neglected and wondering where I have been. Well…. it is complicated. When I started blogging in 2005 or so – I was just sort of talking to myself and felt anonymous. I can’t believe that I ever felt that pouring my heart out on the page and then publishing it to the internet felt anonymous -but it did :)

And then I met people – lots of people. Before FB there were blogs and blogrolls and connections upon connections. I wonder if part of my neglect of this space, is that I am more connected now, more embedded in a community of others with similar interests, values, desires, and yearnings.

Or is the neglect because I was deeply contented this last quarter of the year?

From autumnal equinox to winter solstice was a period of deep satisfaction and resting and consolidating.


The true cost of food

September 20, 2009

It is hard to argue with people who think that buying food at the grocery school for pennies a pound is cheaper than growing your own food.

So I am not going to argue with those people – like the woman who had an article in the Washington Post Business Section this morning about how growing your own vegetables is meaningful and satisfying but doesn’t save money.

I think we are thinking about the true cost – she and I – in different ways. How do you think about the true cost of goods and services? If you think those tomatoes in the grocery store at $0.99 per pound are cheaper than mine out of my own garden, consider this.

What are your thoughts?


What I love about our new Mayor

June 1, 2009

How many times have you been to a meeting that goes on and on and on and you are bored, bored, bored? And isn’t this (you gotta listen to the video) a refreshing way to convene people and ignite their passions and invite them to focus on what has heart and meaning?

Video of Kai Degner explaining the upcoming summit.

Between his efforts, the new and improved Farmers Market, the possibility of a Food Co-op, and more – the friendly city is living up to its name!


Fermentation and Retardation

April 11, 2009

I am at a place in my training program where the end of classes is in sight… I can see it in the not so distant future – and perhaps that is part of the expansiveness I am feeling right now. Once the coursework is over – the apprenticing begins and with that apprentice stage – there is also room for the creation of my own unique style. The last two years have paid off – and it has been a long¬† journey. This last round has been particularly intense – and I have not been able to savor the experience.

I have sourdough fermenting in the first rise right now – and I have been thinking about how I never use commercial yeast anymore (well I do for orange rolls and sticky buns! – but not for bread). There is a slowness, an unpredictability to the way my own wild yeast interacts with me, my kitchen environment, the warmth or coolness of my hands as I knead it. I have some control over the growth experience – with temperature mostly – I can accelerate or retard – but there is an element that is completely up to the mood of the yeast – and I have to learn to listen and speak its language.

I am enjoying the long, steady rain last night that watered in my plants. I am enjoying the flour under my fingernails. I am enjoying the slow, deep breathing of teenagers lost in dream time. Today is a good day to be emerging from the winter.


Ponderings on Place

January 9, 2009

guitarpianoI drove my husband to work this morning so our son could have a car for the day. You might be wondering why the son wasn’t up at the crack of dawn – but if you did, you would not be the parent of a high school senior who runs track, plays in the pit orchestra, takes guitar lessons, cooks in my kitchen with his girlfriend, hangs out with his guy friends, and has a crushing load of AP and honors classes – and also finds time to daydream and read for pleasure and teach himself piano.

With the winter break, it has been a few weeks since we did this early morning run – and today I was struck by the sun – right in my eyes – blazing over the top of Massanutten mountain. In the dark days of winter, it was hidden, and would just be glowing when I returned home. This morning, it was clearly up and shining. I have also noticed the shafts of light that are sneaking back into my kitchen in the evening. By far, this has been the easiest turn of the seasons ever for me. I think at fifty – I am finally figuring out what I need to feed my soul in the dark times – whether they be external literal darkness, or the wanderings into and out of my unconscious.

I sit each morning, and look out over the woods behind my house. With the leaves off the trees, I can almost make out the distant hills of West Virginia. This land is lovely in the winter – bulbs resting in the soil, trees down into their roots, clear crisp winter skies, blustery winds, and occasional warm days with that earthy smell that rises when the sun heats the upper layers of soil.

And yet – even after 29 years – this place isn’t home.cacoast1

Home is the arid and semi-arid spaces out west. Home is the Pacific Ocean in winter. Home is citrus groves stretching infinitely to all horizons. Home is live oak trees and rock and the scent of eucalyptus. Home is Santa Ana winds in the winter and marine inversion layers in the summer. Home is mudslides and rain and wildfires and earthquakes and floods and storms. Home is rain in the rainy season where it belongs.

I have made a home here – I am at home in this moist and verdant valley of the Shenandoah. I have connections and networks and friends and acquaintances and I belong. Yet there are photos that cause me to slip into the trance of place memory. And the scents of sage and pinion and the feel of dry air rising off rocks baked in the sun wash over me and I am startled to come back into this space with all its juicy and succulent moistness. Perhaps I was meant to live in the desert.




November 29, 2008

Last night I was re-reading David Richo’s book Shadow Dance and thinking about virtues. The ones he lists are:

  • Love
  • Trustworthiness
  • Courage
  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Gratitude
  • Openness
  • Conviction
  • Compassion
  • Cheerfulness
  • Simplicity
  • Hopefulness
  • Generosity
  • Courtesy
  • Candidness
  • Flexibility
  • Appreciativeness
  • Confidence
  • Loyalty
  • Justice
  • Serenity
  • Respect
  • Humor
  • Forgiveness
  • Truthfulness
  • Cooperativeness
  • Ability to Temper Desire

A lengthy list – and it certainly gives me something to work with.

And I was pondering an aspect of myself – that is the bane of my existence – and also one of my truest strengths – my interest and curiosity about the world and people and my investigative nature. Next to my bed – I have piles of books – started, not started, half-finished. I often open a new book – read the preface and then just flip through until a passage catches my imagination – and then I read – until I get restless. I set the book aside – maybe to come back to it soon – maybe to never return – or more likely, I will return to the text when something in my life needs me to know that bit of wisdom. I almost always remember where something came from – and I know how to go out and find it.

And this morning – I am reading through the Twelve Days of Christmas – from Waverly Fitzgerald’s School of Seasons. Waverly is way more organized than I! And there are probably times that her level of attention to detail is bane to her existence – just as my investigative self needs to be reined in at times. But here’s the thing – her writing is well researched and documented and she tries to go find primary sources where possible. This makes such a difference in the depth and quality of the teachings that she shares with her students.

Too often – in my search for traditions that I want to add to my repertoire, I read something online or in a book – and it is difficult to tease apart the author’s wishful dreaming and the historical roots of the ritual or the practice. The Virtue in the packets I get from Waverly is that she is quite comfortable with not knowing and quite rigorous about naming her knowing.

It is not too late to shift yourself into celebrating this sacred time of darkness – where we welcome the Sun and the Son. Dive into the teachings from the School of Seasons (and if you miss Yule and Advent, Candelmas is right around the corner!). Or you can be inspired to open yourself to Advent right now by “a little magic everyday” at Owl’s Wings. And more here…

I believe that the attention and intention that we apply to daily practice is what allows us to be useful in the world – to be of Service. My musings on this started with Joanna’s last newsletter – and her sharing of her Daily Devotions. I am grateful to have wise women mentors in my life. Thank you to each of you – for being of Service and inspiring me to live a more virtuous life.


Making the transition

October 22, 2008

Fall is firmly here… we had our first killer, hard freeze several nights ago. The best part of the freeze was spending the afternoon with my soon to be college bound son – picking tomatoes and pulling up stakes – it was brilliant and sunny and a crisp breeze had us shivering.¬† Soon he will be gone – off to chart his own course and find his own True North – and I am feeling a great sense of satisfaction in a job well done – I am a “good enough” parent and he is a more than good enough man-child.

I have been spending much of my time reading, studying, and tending my hearth… Not much writing is being done unless it is of an academic nature.

Today in looking for something else, I ran across this great reading list. I have a four week break this winter and perhaps it will find me curled up with some of these books.