One Man’s Trash is Another’s Garden?

One Man’s Trash is Another’s Garden?

I am proud of our garden–it’s been a lot of hard work breaking in a new plot, but with some sweat, hope (and pixie dust) we have a fundamental part of homestead healthcare: garden based nutrition (and exercise =).

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I could brag about our rainbow chard, four different varieties of heirloom tomatoes, but instead I’m going to brag about my community.

This garden is an indirect community project. Everything in the garden came from our local community, and most of it was free. A friend let us use her tiller to break ground. We re-purposed fence posts, the fence netting I rescued from the recycling bin (all of it!) The box beds were re-purposed from an old garden, and the new bed was made from scrap lumber from our local saw miller. The wood chips on the path came from a local arborist. Even our tomato cages, we made from scrap fencing. All of these materials were someone else’s trash.  We were fortunate enough that a Farmer friend of ours let us come by and pick out end-season plant starts, which we babied. A client of mine, passed along more plant starts. One day I came home to eight buckets of dried manure on my front porch, a gift from my father’s sheep =). The few things I had to buy, a friend gave me expert advice on organic top soil (cheap!).

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Yesterday, we finished planting the second half of the garden. The other half is yet to be built, but dreams of beets and Brussels sprouts, drive us to keep digging. Our garden is a labor of love–from which we will be able to give back to our community the gift of nature’s bounty and medicine.

484183_436215629767388_1853256906_n For more information about nutrition, Heirloom seeds, and horticulture therapy, check out our other blogs.

Gardening is my Healthcare.

Gardening is my Healthcare.

484183_436215629767388_1853256906_n My arms hurt. In fact, my whole body hurts. I just got out of my garden. It doesn’t really look like a garden right now–we tilled up a patch of grass. But its raw dirt (okay, mostly clay right now) but it is mine and I get to grow food for my family. I thought I would blog about my garden project because I figured there are other budding homesteaders, like me who are wanting a garden too and need moral support.

Gardening is more than just summer veggies. Gardening is my Prozac. Gardening is my Church. Gardening is my Patriotic contribution. Gardening is my Health Care.

A good garden is the life-blood of the homestead healthcare experience.

“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine your food” –Hippocrates.

This famous quotes carries as much weight today, as it did then. Good nutrition is the number one foundation for good health. A garden gives you superior nutrition (not to mention taste). Did you know that the vegetables of today in some instances have 37% less vitamins and minerals in them then they did in the 1050s!  This is partly due to soil depletion, but a study published in 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, cited that this depletion primarily is a result of genetic manipulation for uniformity and pest resistance, not nutritional value.

There are solutions to this serious nutritional crisis. BRING BACK VICTORY GARDENS! During World War II, Americans were encouraged to plant family gardens to help offset food rations. These were known as Victory Gardens. Today, every family should be encouraged to plant a victory garden, but for another reason: nutrition and non genetically manipulated foods.

Many countries have completely banned GMO crops because they are concerned about the health risks, ALSO they are concerned about pollen contamination with GMO. Cross pollination with GMOs causes corruption in the seeds of heirloom plants! There is the risk that over time, plants would lose the ability to reproduce themselves. There are other  issues as well, that the corporate Giants who hold the patent on these GMOs have sued and won cases against farmers for copy-right infringement because of pollen drifting.

This is why we need to bring back victory gardens because we are engaged in a new war, one where biological weapons of mass destruction are being used against us AND overt control over the food supply.

So, that is why Brandon and I are tilling up our grass, mucking though the NC clay, and painstakingly putting in an Heirloom vegetable garden. It is our labor of love–for family and country!garden

References & Resources:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss

http://www.rareseeds.com/

Spring Fever–Liver Health

Tree of life 2Here in NC we had our first week of hot weather. Spring had rushed in, better late than never. Birds were chirping, bees buzzing, flowers popping and pollen flying. The sun shone with clear purpose and I was in a bad mood. In fact, despite the wonderful weather–everyone seemed grumpy. While I was actively avoiding my loved ones, I picked up a book and was reminded of the basis of all the irritation: Spring fever, literally.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a cosmological system called Five Element Theory. Within their system, health is directly influenced by the energetic shifts of the natural world, as well by the internal (physical) environment. When we look at the below chart, we see that the season that corresponds with the Liver (network) is spring-time. The liver is connected with the Wood element, the emotion of the Liver is anger (interesting….) the senses associated are vision and the taste of sour. So, what does this mean for my grouchy mood? Let’s break this down….

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 The energy of spring is rushing, vibrant, the fever pitch of nature coming to life again. Our physical bodies also waking up, the heat of the sun warming our bodies and causing an increase in atomic vibration. Our energy is moving faster and in TCM, the Liver network is responsible for the smooth flow of energy. If our Liver is not in top shape (cold/flu, too many Christmas cookies, tax time, etc) then it may not be able to command the flow of spring energy giving rise to internal heat and wind (allergies, headaches), anger, insomnia and other issues.

Interestingly, traditional medicine has always used the spring time, as a natural time for detoxification, with special focus on the liver and lymphatic system. The first spring herbs are full of nutrients, but also have special diuretic and detoxification properties, some also have antihistamine constituents  that help with seasonal allergies. Mother Nature is offering us the exact medicine we need to prepare our bodies for the spring rush. Many of us also feel an innate desire to spring-clean our bodies–getting rid of excess winter weight, becoming more active and social.

I came home and shared this information with Brandon. It made sense to him, he had been grumpy too. We decided to do an experiment: drinking an herbal tea to support the liver to see if we could cool the fever from the liver. We mixed Dandelion leaf, Nettle Leaf, and Peppermint to make the tea. Our formula well balanced for liver-fire. The dandelion and nettle both have a slightly sour taste (which is the taste to balance Liver). They are also nutritive and work as both diuretics and mild detoxifiers. Their energy is cool and soothing. The Peppermint is very cooling and helps to take the kinetic energy out of the nervous system.

We both found the tea to be very satisfying and we both felt more calm. I was humbled to be reminded that I am not apart from the natural world, but am more influenced by it then my consciousness knows. By looking in my backyard apothecary at the plethora of spring medicine there, the herbs inspired my conscience-awareness.

Homestead Healthcare Spring Fever Tea

Dandelion leaf         1p

Nettle leaf                  1p

Peppermint leaf      1/2p

Lightly infuse herbs and mix with local honey for added immune enhancement.

Resources:

Crystal Honeycutt, HB: http://www.balancedliving4u.com

Just Bee Apiary: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Bee-Apiary/325542800863610