Welcome to "Little Farma" where size matters. Let's grow big spirits, hearts and minds through loving the local and learning to listen while living close to the land.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Bless the Bugs and the Common Man

This morning during my walk, I ran my hands through a neighbor's rosemary bush.  Within a few steps I gasped.  I had a bug on my glove.

This was not a "Yuck, a bug!" response. This was a gasp of compassion as I held this dead little green grasshopper of a sorts.

'Bless the bugs,' was the first thing I thought as I walked along feeling 'bug love.'  Bugs - they are small yet such survivors.  Many bugs work together in community.  I'm not a bugologist but I'm fairly certain this helps in their survival.  Bugs, in our time, have been assaulted by Monsanto's chemicals yet they persist. 

The bug reminded me of people. 

Bless the common man who feels so small.  He too now bears in his body evidence of Monsanto's assault as chemicals contribute to cancers and disease.

I walked along cupping the bug in my gloved hands.  I thought I felt life, but decided maybe I was just imagining things.

Jerry pulled into the driveway just as I walked up.  He was happy to see me.  I was happy because of the bug. (Fortunately my cherishing creatures is something he loves about me.)

I was especially happy because the bug I carried was not dead after all. 

videoCan you imagine my delight upon seeing the bug move first one leg then another.  The warmth of my hands must have awakened him from his sleep. He began to stretch.  This little bug was very much alive.   

I took a photo then filmed him before returning him outside to our rosemary bush.  Inside I smiled.  How many people return bugs to their yards knowing it or its kin may next summer eat the very plant on which it's placed.  I ensured he was tucked in leaves near the plants center knowing the cold was on its way.

As I turned to walk away I thanked the bug for reminding me... 

The common man may feel insignificant and small but like the bug he is persistent, strong. 

And like the bug, the sleeping people are waking. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse at Imagine the Shift
26 November 2013 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Want A Heart of Garlic

Garlic's POV at sunset
This is my fourth year to have garlic's green sprouts breaking Earth's brown skin.  I continue to find myself mesmerized by the magic of how garlic grows.  Scientist-types of course would be quick to point out there's nothing magic about growing garlic for the credit belongs to soil, sun, rain and nutrients.

Garlic is still magic to me.  I am mesmerized by the fact that over eight months time one small clove can morph into 7-8 cloves clumped together providing the kick we savor on pizza, veggies, scrambled eggs and all kinds of things.

Garlic feeds me in all kinds of ways.  

I look at the word clove and c-love (see love).  If I can c-love in the darkest of people, acts and times then my heart of compassion and my mind of understanding will grow and multiply like the cloves of garlic in my yard outside. To C-love is the key to returning to relationship with rather than having power over.

Who decided to call it a 'head' of garlic anyway?  Why not a heart?  I'm not surprised it's a head as over the centuries, the head's gotten way out of proportion to the heart in our world. Valuing reason and thinking over the emotional and intuitive experience has gotten us to this place of such deep divides.

Divine Love is like a clove of garlic in Time's dark soil, stretching, expanding and morphing into multiple cloves. We have reached the end of Time's long night.  Love has been waiting.  Love is ready to be harvested, gently pulled from the shadows and the dark.  Divine Love is ready to be brought into the Light from the dark, yet magic Earthen Universe.

When I look at my garlic beds, I C-love and think, "I want a heart of garlic with a head, a thoughtful, open head of garlic on the side."
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at "Imagine the Shift" 30 June 2013
dawn@imaginetheshift.com

Friday, June 28, 2013

Green Beans of Wonder

Have you ever awakened with food on your mind?

I awoke recently with green beans on mine, not just any green beans, but my own.  I was still savoring their taste from the day prior when eight had been my meal gently boiled with the last of last summer's garlic and five quarter-size potatoes (that were not mine) all held in a little brown bowl thrown by Thor at Sparta's Fragrant Mushroom. 

The week before I had been in the grocery buying green beans impulsively not realizing mine were of eating size. 

I so prefer being in my little raised beds over being in the grocery.  I have heard Jean Houston refer to needing to teach children 'whole system processes.'  She explained what she meant but it wasn't until growing and eating my green beans that I got it. I am an adult just learning about whole system processes which is why I am often filled with the wonder and magic of life. To mindfully be involved from planting to preparing is sacred. 

Growing things feeds me.  I do not grow enough to feed myself physically but the feeding I receive is the soul food of experience that for me at least can't be found in the grocery aisle.  

Yet this week as I awoke with beans on my mind the part I was taken with related to the bodily satisfaction I experienced as I ate one bean at a time.  (I do not usually eat one bean at a time, do you?)

A place in my core felt soulful, bodily satisfaction.  It was the taste as well as knowing this tangible, tender green thing before me, then in me, was a cooperative venture resulting over time involving nurturing and nature. 

"Little Farma" is about the relational whether you're growing just a bit like me in raised beds or buying food from local farmers. 

The next time a bite of something is on your fork, stop for a moment to consider your relationship to what is about to become a part of you.  Have you been a part of it? Don't judge. Be mindful.  Wonder.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 28 June 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

Little Farma - Signs and Symptoms

Like Spring's seeds sprouting, signs of "Little Farma" will soon be coming to sidewalks, parks and places all around my Nashville town and I suspect your community too.  With genetically modified products on grocery shelves and chemicals in everything, it's more important than ever to know where your food comes from, what's put on it as in pesticides and what's put in it as in fertilizers. 

I love Little Farma's focus on the local, not so much because I'm anti-Monsanto or anti-anything, but because I find great joy and aliveness in the sensory experience related to growing things, from digging in the dirt, to watching seeds break through to light, to the color and texture of foods at my local farmer's markets to meeting the young men and women with such spirit and heart, the new generation of farming.  

Since the season of "Little Farma" is upon us here's the signs and symptoms I've discovered years prior juxtaposed to Big Pharma. First let's compare and contrast.

* Farmaceuticals are packed with nutrients.  Pharmaceuticals are packed with chemicals.

* Farmaceuticals come from Mother Earth. Pharmaceuticals come from labs (after having gotten Mother Earth's secrets through plants.) 
 
* Farmaceuticals alter the mood without addiction as a risk.  (Okay I admit, there is an addictive quality I've found in growing things but aren't some addictions good?) 
 
* If for some reason you need to find new health insurance, the only pre-existing condition related to Farma-ceuticals is a willingness to get dirty.  Pre-existing conditions related to pharmaceuticals result in higher premiums or no coverage for that specific condition. 

As for the "Little Farma's" symptoms, these may just be related to me but I don't think so.  (This is where you imagine me speaking in that hurried, low and serious tone heard at the conclusion of drug commercials.)

Symptoms and/orSide effects include most of the following.   
 
Time spent in front of the television and computer may decrease. One's home as well as friendships may be neglected. Warm, bubbly, tingling sensations are not reason for panic.  These are the first signs of extreme peace and wholeness.  Food may taste different. This does not suggest taste bud disturbance. You are actually discovering how vegetables are suppose to taste. Farma-ceuticals may result in random episodes of philosophical wonderings and creative surges. Farma-ceuticals carry a risk of heart break due to the interaction of bugs and fungus on growing things. It is advised to engage and enjoy the process without attachment to outcome. If you experience any of the above, do not consult your doctor. 
 
So with the sun finally popping out in Nashville, get yourself outside, get earth under your nails, make way to the farmer's market and check out Local Table! magazine on-line and in print for farm-finds all around Middle TN. 
 
Now I've got to get outside myself. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 5 April 2013

And here's the original "Little Farma" story from Summer 2009. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Three P's of Little Farma

Four summers ago a bamboo-like grass swept through the flower beds surrounding the new house we had bought in the country.  I don't like pulling green and growing things including weeds yet the sudden spread of whatever this was alarmed me.  By day's end, I had five extra large plastic bags of some grassy weed with which I didn't know what to do. 

A few days later I dropped in on Jay at Burgess Falls Nursery and mentioned my weed bags.  Jay said as long as the weeds didn't contain seed I could place the bags in an out of the way place and eventually have compost.  I did and forgot about them.....until this year.

Recently I needed some compost and remembered the bags.  I don't know why I was surprised, as Jay's tips are usually right on, but I opened one of the bags and just as he said I found, smelled and saw dirt.  To smell and see with my own sensory self the piles and piles of green grassy things I had collected, then forgotten become rich, granular soil was magic to me.  It's popular to say 'Believing is seeing' but in this case seeing and smelling was believing for me.

There's something rich about being involved in the making of one's own compost, dirt and more recently mulch.  It's all about the process and experience. Neither are found in depth through opening a bag of dirt bought from a store (though I'd be dishonest to suggest I've not bought bags of dirt from Jay, Tractor Supply and the Co-op in the last few years).

Little Farma values process as well as the cultivation of presence and patience.  I don't know about you but I've spent a lot of my life being episodically present, not continually showing up, but going through the motions day in and day out just to get things done.  Something about getting my hands dirty has helped me become aware of my inner presence as well as my relationship with Earth.  Something about this process has taught me patience when I wasn't even conscious of being taught.  Something about this process heals me.  Yes, when I am not in a good place physically, emotionally or mentally I can go outside and within moments of getting my hands in the dirt something shifts literally within me. 

I'm not suggesting everyone should quit their medication and resort to digging in the dirt.  At times medication is necessary(and I don't want to put myself in a position of getting sued).  But I do wonder what experiences might open up emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually for people if they reached for a trowel or spade instead of pills.

Little Farma values presence, process and patience as well as turning the soil.  It's good for the soil and soul. 

-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 20 November 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Little Farma, Local Love - Kale in the Country and Cancer

 "Make food your medicine and medicine your food." -Hippocrates, The Father of Medicine
"Make love your medicine and medicine your love." - Dawn, The Good News Muse

Recently on a country field trip to a local hardware store, a nearby farmer's market caught my eye.  Baskets of freshly dug potatoes and bags of turnip greens got my attention.

I walked over to find the bags were filled with kale. Kale?!  I was elated to find kale in the country but even more so to hear the story of how this particular kale came to be.

This Smithville farmer, Jeff Cantrell*, shared with me that a local friend approached him and asked if he would grow kale for her to purchase.  She had cancer and wanted it for her juicing machine.  He in turn has grown loads of kale for her and to sell too.  (By the way, Jeff's kale was much more vibrant than my photo portrays.)

One of the sales people asked what I do with kale. I originally started putting it in soup several years ago.  Now I saute it with scrambled eggs, stir fry it with veggies and dry it with salt and olive oil to make kale chips. Most times I don't use recipes though they abound.**  Cooking to me is based more in art and experience than following a recipe. I do what feels right and is colorful.

This is the same reason I eat kale. It feels right and is beautiful.  I had no idea it's such a great food until later when I searched it on-line. (Kale's an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant with more iron than beef, more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than spinach.)

I walked away that morning from the Smithville Farmer's Market with kale, potatoes and hot peppers but more importantly I walked away filled with love, joy and wonder.

How beautiful that as trees become barren and skies tend toward gray that kale's green leaves appear.  How beautiful this local man is participating in a friend's healing.  How beautiful that green, the color of growth is the color representing the heart's energy center especially since hurt hearts are inclined to resist the growth that comes with re-opening. 

Hippocrates the Greek physician considered the Father of Medicine said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine your food."  I would add, "Make love your medicine and medicine your love, especially loving the local."  

Little Farma is about local love, local love of nearby land growing foods for local folk like this farmer does for his friend.

Love the local and heal the land and yourself.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 16 November 2012

* Thanks to Jeff Cantrell who I've since learned is the president of the Smithville Farmer's Market. Thank you for talking with me that day and more recently for giving me permission to share your name in this story. 
 **  14 kale recipes from "Cooking Light."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Little Farma's Back Story

The idea for "Little Farma" was birthed in 2009 when I wrote of taking farmaceuticals after discovering the joy of growing some of my own vegetables.  I surprisingly found I was fed not just literally but energetically and at an inner soul level while engaged in the process of growing things.  Here's how I happened upon the benefits of "Little Farma" concluding with a side effects list at the story's end to ensure I don't get sued for pushing healthy food. 


It started with this, a lettuce seed, the speck at which the pen points in the photo. There was something magical about planting these speck size seeds and ending up with sprouts, sprouts emerging from darkness, seeking light, finding form.

Thanks to Happy Frog fertilizer, a raised bed from Gardener's Supply and a truck load of dirt, my garden took form. This would not qualify as a garden to my  grandparents who had not one but two significant plots that fed them. But this 8 x 4 space became my Farm-acy of sorts where I first realized gardening had benefits on multiple levels. 

It was mid-April. I had just cleaned the driveway of twigs and leaves earlier that morning only to walk out and find bags of dirt at varying stages of emptiness strewn about as Jerry planted azaleas. In all fairness, he had no way of knowing I had just cleaned the driveway, yet I went to my default setting of disappointment and silence.  I resented having to work in the garden, like this was the garden's fault, yet I had a truckload of organic dirt to finish layering with Happy Frog and kelp.

In minutes while creating earthen lasagna, my mood completely lifted and shifted. Contrary to the spandex lifting underwear women are suppose to want, I prefer, "My garden shifts and lifts." I was chuckling over this when I realized all my anger and resentment were missing. There truly wasn't a negative feeling in my body. Growing food was good for my mood and my relationship. I was content, unusual for a Gemini. I was present and engaged, unusual for many today.

This is when I realized I wanted Farm-aceuticals. I'm not referring to corporately grown, perfect appearing, chemically covered, nutrient depleted, polished and shiny vegetables found in chain groceries across the country.  I want food birthed in my yard and in pots on the patio or bought from local farmer's markets.

My raised bed weeks (and years) after my first mood lift, continues to bring me joy. Every time I'm close to Earth whether pulling bugged leaves, fertilizing organically or planting something new, I experience a felt sense of connection to nature and myself.  In my body, I feel the sensation and joy of knowing we are so loved by nature.

I've witnessed the miracle of growing things (and since people including CEO's, lobbyists and right wing talk show hosts are growing things maybe there's a miracle awaiting there too.)

I've seen heart shaped leaves birth green beans and star shaped blossoms grow squash. My tomatoes haven't protested close quarters. I've gotten dozens of cherry tomatoes from my vines and this doesn't count the every other one I've eaten while picking.

I experience the alchemy of seeing plants I've tended over time become nourishment for my body and the tomatoes from a local man nearby become the spaghetti sauce and salsa that we'll enjoy for some time. Every yellow squash, green bean and zucchini, I've cooked has come from my personal grow-cery. 

Farmaceuticals helped save me.

Now I wonder how many of the depressed multitudes might benefit from farmaceuticals.  Millions are given anti-depressants even for a minor funk. Many of these people trade their everyday funk for the flatness resulting from prolonged anti-depressant use.  Prolonged use numbs experience whereas Farm-aceuticals are all about waking up to experience.

There were also the relational benefits since my resentment lifted that April Saturday.  Chronically held resentment ruins relationships and not only contributes to depression but to a myriad of physical symptoms.
My little farm-acy made me think growing something should be mandatory for everyone starting with our  representatives and senators. It's got to be harder maintaining ill will and mean spiritedness when you're digging in the dirt. (Of course, there could be a revolt if the government mandated growing things. People would show up to rallies with signs reading: The government can't make me eat vegetables from my own garden.) 

Farm-aceuticals is one piece of the answer to our present health care challenge.  Some people legitimately need drugs to live. Yet millions are offered unneeded drugs by well meaning doctors. I said, "No thank you."  (There's a story there.) I fear many don't even stop to consider the side-effects of pills or ask their doctor why he/she's prescribing medication.

Think about it. 

* Farmaceuticals are packed with nutrients.  Pharmaceuticals are packed with chemicals.

* Farmaceuticals come from Mother Earth. Pharmaceuticals come from labs. 

* Farmaceuticals alter the mood without addiction as a risk.  (Okay I admit, I'm already saving seeds for next year and have a lettuce tent in which I hope to grow greens through early winter.)

* If for some reason you need to find new health insurance, the only pre-existing condition related to Farma-ceuticals is a willingness to get dirty.  Pre-existing conditions related to pharmaceuticals result in higher premiums or no coverage for that specific condition. 

* I would be remiss to not mention side effects of Farmaceuticals. (This is where you imagine me speaking in that hurried, low and serious tone heard at the conclusion of drug commercials.)

Side effects include most of the following.   Time spent in front of the television and computer may decrease. One's home as well as friendships may be neglected. If you experience warm, bubbly, tingling unusual sensations, do not panic. These are the first signs of extreme peace and wholeness.  Food may taste different. This does not suggest taste bud disturbance. You are actually discovering how vegetables are suppose to taste. Farmaceuticals may result in random episodes of philosophical wonderings and creative surges. Farmaceuticals carry a risk of heart break due to the interaction of bugs and fungus on growing things. It is advised to engage and enjoy the process without attachment to outcome. If you experience any of the above, do not consult your doctor.

To get growing here's a seed for planting in the raised bed of your consciousness:   

Cultivate curiosity as to your relationship with food and how you experience listening?  Listening involves more than just our ears and auditory intake.  Listening deeply includes being open to take in information through your sight, experience, taste, touch and kinesthetically through our bodies sensations.   

Get Growing
-Dawn Kirk, The Good News Muse -(originally printed 08/14/09 chopped, diced and sliced 10/25/12)