What is Beautiful Today?

Waking up in the country with sounds of the wind through the trees.

Remembering the stars at night and the shadow of the trees as the moon shines through them across the meadow.

Heating water for a cup of tea.

Walking back and forth between the cabin and the deck on steep ground feels good.

Starting to unload the trailer with supplies to get ready to open the kitchen on the covered deck.

Setting up the five-gallon buckets to catch rainwater.

Running errands in town, where we have phone access and internet.

Discovering a new B-B-Q joint.  They open at 11:00 and stay open until sell-out!

Getting under cover the for the rain and hail storm.

Recharging the battery for the vacuum on the inverter as we drive around.

Discovering an early childhood Literacy Fair on Saturday at the library.

Asking to be included and being given a table at the library.

A successful email of a file to the printer on the third try.

Delivering the colored paper to the printer.

Taking my “Kacky Muse” costume to the laundry to be ironed for the Literacy Fair.

Spending time at a local internet cafe with a cup of hot tea.

Heating water to mix in the camping shower.

Enjoying the garden shower while looking at the stars.

Sharing the peace…

© 2015 Kathryn Hardage

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Nurturing the Forest, Nurturing Ourselves

After the long drive to our forested land, we had an appointment which ended up lasting the entire morning with a representative from the the Missouri Conservation Department.

I was grateful for the need to move around that much after sitting and driving for so long the previous day.

As we walked and learned more about our land than we even knew to ask, I became more and more aware of just how good it felt to be back in Nature.

This was Nature we had not seen before since the trees were bare of leaves, a season which we usually spent in various public and private school teaching assignments.

We saw ridges and valleys and several kinds of oaks, sassafras, dogwood, black locust, young and old trees, and beginning vegetation on the floor of the forest.

We even saw the pink flagging tape we had put up during the time of extreme leafiness, last summer, to mark a 150 foot perimeter out from our current covered deck.

At that time, we could not even see where we had flagged once we walked back to our deck, the leaves were so thick.

During this season, we will be able to walk it and add more flagging tape so we can begin to create a contoured path farther out in the woods.

We have more information about the soil types on different facing slopes, and what will grow there, how to conserve it and how to develop it.

There is a lot of work, but all of it will be rewarding.

Step-by-step, we will keep learning more.

We will be part of a natural area that nurtures us as we nurture it.

© 2015 Kathryn Hardage

Anticipating the Return Move

Anticipating the Return Move

Last summer, when my husband retired from teaching high school, we moved out to our property in what he calls “the toenails of the foothills of the Ozarks”.

We have been back in Texas during the winter, for four and one-half months, for his seasonal business, helping children from various organizations build their pinewood derby race cars.  (www.pinewoodderbyworkshop.com).

Today, he finishes his final session and we drive back to Missouri.  I can feel the peace invading my soul like a gentle mist rising from the ground from morning dew.

I can feel myself watching across the meadow as the sun line advances, and relearning where it is at various times of day.

I can see myself walking down to where the solar oven gets the most sunlight to adjust its angle as it cooks our food.

I feel myself walking back and forth from the cabin to the covered deck to cook.  I eagerly anticipate filling the two fifty-five gallon drums with water.  Our total available water at any one time has been fifteen gallons.

I see myself in the loft of our 12 x 20 cabin, sewing journal covers on my hand-crank sewing machine.

I see myself listening for the inspirational ideas to fill them and writing them on cards by hand.  (www.InspiredPractices.com)

I love to write the chants, fingerplays and songs to continue my dialog with very young children.  (www.MyMusicalMind.com) (www.MusicandBooksforChldren.com)

I love the steps it is taking to establish our homestead.

Even as I keep reading more and alternative building, biogas, rainwater catchment, gray water systems, we have decided that we will simply implement what we know at this point in time to finish out our cabin.

We will add more insulation.  I will get someone to weld a terra-char stove together.  It is more efficient than propane or even a rocket stove.

We will start a small strawbale garden.  I will use thick mulches and food-grade absorbent pellets for enhancing our garden moisture.

In short, we will take the next steps.

After all, it is already begun.

Sharing the peace,

Encouragement for Today

Today I am feeling a sense of encouragement over solutions to global problems.

I have read several large-scale and small-scale approaches by people who are involved in solutions.

Since I have been taking steps for myself and my family, I feel unified with the many millions who are aware and active.

Steps we have been taking in my family:

Use a “blue” five gallon bucket to catch the shower water while it warms up, (It takes about two gallons), and then use that for one flush of the toilet, by just pouring it directly into the toilet bowl instead of pulling the handle on the tank.

Learn how to can food, both Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning, depending on the food requirements (lots of information available on the internet).  I took classes.

Shop at local Farmers Markets for food.  It supports the local economy and gives you safer and fresher food to eat.

Join a food co-op or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for the same reasons.

Start composting.  For eight years, I buried kitchen scraps in my yard, deeply enough to let them decay without causing a smell or attracting creatures.  It helps build soil fertility for when you can start a garden and recycles it instead of adding to the landfill.

Start a compost pile.  Learn how to compost.

Plant fruit trees in the yard.

Gradually change the yard to perennial plants. You can get a list of plants that are not allowed by your city.  I did not water except for a couple of times when I was helping new plants get started.  During the summer, we were gone and the yard came back into bloom in the Fall just fine.

Start a Certified Wildlife Habitat by following the guidelines from the State Park and Wildlife Commission. Even the grounds of businesses and colleges are implementing these guidelines.

Both of the above practices are supported by the state legislature.

Plant bee friendly flowering plants from an organic nursery.

I took the light rail a couple of times instead of driving.  I could take it more often.

Keep reading and become aware of the real issues from trusted grass-roots organizations in your locale.

Find Meet-Up groups that are sharing practical environmental information.

Find a group of friends to support one another as you explore the next steps.

There are more ways, but these are what I have found so far.

Then you can go even farther, once you implement simple steps like these.

© 2015 Kathryn Hardage