Wednesday, February 17, 2010

bravery and health

Today is a beautiful day outside and after a bout of yucky tummy virus on Monday and then snow yesterday - I decided that today I would prioritize getting some sun. Sunlight is an important factor in the absorption of some vital vitamins and minerals, and I tend to avoid the outdoors in the winter - I just don't like the cold. This winter and fall have been particularly bad because of the fall out of this fall's surgery. Depression is not fun, but the good thing is that sunlight helps with that too.

Anyway, I decided that I would prioritize getting some sunlight today and I really dislike just sitting especially when it's cold. I could read or surf the web, but not fun in the cold. I'm also trying to get up of my big, curvy bottom more often, so what to do? In the vein of health I turned to an old friend that has supported my mental and spiritual health over the years - my fiber arts. Yes, I did it; I took a big deep breath and got out some spinning. Aaaahhhh, spinning on the deck of my house in the sunlight with my spindle, listening to my cheeckens cluck and crow..... some things could be better, but that was pretty damn close to as good as it gets.

See I gave up all fiber arts (knitting, spinning and the like) over 2 years ago when the carpal tunnel symptoms started - this was my first line of defense and I manage to stave off surgery for a couple of years, but.... those arts along with my sketching and painting have been a major source of mental and spiritual health - those expressions of myself help keep depression and anxiety away. I've missed them horribly especially knitting and spinning. My decision to have the surgery had a lot to do with trying to get those activities back into my life and until today I've been hesitant to try - fear that the carpal tunnel symptoms would come back held me back. But I did it - I stood in the sunlight looking for healing from a little sunlight and a little piece of wool and a spindle and you know what, I think it's working.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

things newly considered

Okay - there are certain items in life that I never considered one could, would, should make. I mean the idea of a cloth shopping bag made sense to me when the plastic bags came along and though I've been a bit slow on jumping on the bandwagon, this was always something I knew I could, would, should make. (Of course now I work for L.L.Bean and get Boat and Totes inexpensively and they just rock, so our shopping bags are purchased for stupid cheap) I just recently made some produce bags for myself of muslin - I need to make about 5 more, but this is also an item that makes a lot of sense to me and doesn't shock or concern my more mainstream friends. But now that I'm drinking lots of herbal teas and yummy loose leaf black tea - I'm about to make an item that wouldn't have ever occurred to me even 2-3 years ago. I'm going to make reuseable teabags out of muslin and thin cotton cord/thread. I found these instructions online:
http://bp2.blogger.com/_734j__hVcBk/RcPVYqoHWtI/AAAAAAAAADQ/AEY5-Jymd6k/s1600-h/Pinch-of-Tea.jpg
and with slight modification - these will be my new tea bags. Mostly so I can take tea to work for use in my travel mug. My cousin seems mortified.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

enjoying the bounty of last years harvest

As many of you know, last summer was not a banner year for many home gardeners here in Maine. A very rainy Spring and early Summer made gardening challenging especially for vegetables. To top all those challenges off, this year was my first garden, so I did not have a whole lot to show for my gardening work this past year except lessons.

The one area that really flourished in my garden was my herbs. I had a ton of rosemary and thyme at the end of the season and I dried much of it. We have a string tied along our hall ceiling on which are hung lots of bunches of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and sage. I also dried some rosemary and thyme in the oven, so have some in mason jar on the counter. The thyme on the counter ran out, so I jsut spent an enjoyable hour or so stripping thyme leaves from our hall herbs to store on the counter - very handy to be able to grab a bit out of the jar to add to my cooking - love it!

Now, the rosemary is still overflowing in our household. My herb garden was an attempt at a knot garden with rosemary as the hedge marking the line of the knot. I've mulched the rosemary like crazy in hopes that some may winter over, but this means last year I go a ton of rosemary - I actually threw out 1/2 plastic bucket (the kind you get a Lowes) because I couldn't process it quickly enough and it started to rot. Now, I'm researching medicinal uses of rosemary to use some of this up. Next year if I stick to my rosemary hedge plan I can use the rosemary to make wreaths and other gifts for next Yule/Christmas. This year the carpal tunnel really cramped my hand-made gift options.

The best part of my afternoon herbal activities is the joy that I grew this - well we grew this, the boy helped a great deal even using the herb garden as a homeschool project last year. It's an amazing feeling knowing that even this small thing I can use to feed and medicinally treat my family fills me with a calm and even a bit of pride. This whole gardening thing really rocks! It's time to start planning for this summer.