Confessions of an EVERYDAY ECOTARIAN

creative, conscious and conserving ideas, thoughts and solutions

Summer/Fall 2010 in Pictures: George Winston, Grassfire Festival, Vegetables and Other Random Things November 8, 2010

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 2:44 am
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Oh my.  The last serious blog post I wrote was in June.   My apologies.  It seems my life since June has been a continuous and massive effort in multi-tasking.  On top of my home activities I also happen to work for two non-profits.  One is a local cooperative of non-profits dedicated to the education about our area’s fresh water.  The other is a local branch of a national non-profit that trains teachers how to play guitar and integrate this learning into their classrooms, Guitars in the Classroom.  I started the local branch of this music non-profit and have been running it for two years.  All of this still equates a “part-time” job that sometimes seems more than full-time in actuality.  Once in a while I think of how much simpler, (in many ways, but not all)  it was having a steady teaching job pre-recession and before my layoff.  However, my life is now full of constant surprises.  The continuous flux can be tiring at times but overall, although it often seems I’m working more hours for less money and no benefits, I’m having a lot of fun.

This summer, on top of the “usual” things we also decided to have a music and camping festival at our house.  It was a great deal of fun.  The first night, torrential rains forced all inside my husbands woodworking shop for a tight-fitting yet fantastic concert.  The second night we had several bands play.  I didn’t see my children much the entire weekend because they were running with the 20-something other kids around the property the entire time.  Little did I know at the time, that organizing and executing this festival would be great preparation for what was to come.

In late September I received an email from the Guitars in the Classroom headquarters that George Winston, (one of our affiliated artists) was going to be in town and wondered if I’d like to organize a benefit concert for my local program.  Of course, my answer was yes.  I spent a great deal of time organizing this late September through mid-October.  The solo guitar concert, (yes, solo guitar, George did not play piano this time around…next time) was a great success, nearly a sell-out at a venue that seats 525 people.   George was also a great deal of fun to be with for three days.  He’s quite kind, extraordinarily generous, good with kids and a hoot to be with.  I enjoyed every minute of the planning, preparation and execution of the concert as well as playing host to George for the three days he was here.  By the way, the pictures of George below were taken my friend Tracy at Karuna Photo.

So, with that, a running re-cap of the summer and fall is in order…with pictures, (these pictures are somewhat out of chronological order but the general idea is here…)




Pickled Pink! And Other Things of the Summer September 24, 2009

I should have posted something some time ago.  But, the summer has kept me very busy and sitting down to write just hasn’t happened.  So, instead, I’ll recap the summer in pictures.  Then, when the onslaught of veggies to put away for the winter ends I will write again.  I really will.  I promise.


How To Fool A Chicken May 7, 2009

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 3:16 am
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It’s really not hard to fool a chicken.

Here is our dilemma. We have laying hens. We have no rooster. Why, you ask? Because all of the roosters we’ve ever had love to attack toddlers. That’s neither here nor there so back to our dilemma: Laying hens occasionally go to laying hen heaven for various reasons, (I wonder what that’s like…or maybe they are reincarnated…into eggs…which asks that age-old question…). In any regard, we need to add more hens every couple of years.

Golden Comet Chick under her adopted Bantam mom

Golden Comet Chick under her adopted Bantam mom

Well, without a rooster, that’s difficult to do right here. Luckily, it’s not hard to fool a chicken. We have one little Bantam that gets “broody” every year. What does that mean, you ask? It means she gets in the mood to have a “brood” -of baby chicks. She will sit on her eggs and any other hens eggs waiting for them to hatch which just isn’t going to happen at our house because of the rooster thing. She will sit for all eternity waiting for those eggs to hatch. So, every couple of years I buy a few chickens at the feed store and slip them underneath our broody hen. One year I bought 6 chicks and a duckling. The broody hen is instantly pleased that her eggs have “hatched” and her adopted chicks are instantly pleased that they have a real mom instead of a heat-lamp. It’s a good situation for everyone. -No awnry roosters, no unfulfilled broody hens and chicks that get to follow their mom around a barnyard instead of live under a heat-lamp.

So, it’s a good thing it’s not hard to fool a chicken.


Spring + Ecotarian + Garden = No Time to Blog! April 28, 2009

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 1:39 pm
broccoli, cabbage and all things cruciferous...

broccoli, cabbage and all things cruciferous...

Spring is finally here! There are pockets of snow here and there tucked into the woods but I am dutifully ignoring those flashbacks of Winter. I’ve been spending a great deal of time outside preparing our two gardens and strawberry beds as well as doing some winter cleanup in the animal paddocks. So, it’s not that I don’t have anything to write about it’s just that I don’t have any time. I love being outside in the dirt as much as I love writing and teaching so I guess my current predicament is ok for now. I would, however, love it if someone invented a wireless brain-activated blogging mechanism. I could then be outside in the garden and blogging at the same time. Just think of the possibilities it would open up in the blogging world! -And while I’m at it another great invention would be a one-handed keyboard for mothers who are holding a child in the other hand. Some of you know exactly what I mean.

Anyway, here’s a picture of my daughter watering newly started seeds from a few weeks ago. More to come…

In the meantime,

Busy One-Handed Typing Moms Unite! (we could start some sort of union…)


My life, Your life September 24, 2008

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 1:25 am
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Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt; ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait. We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

-William Stafford (emphasis mine)

“Ask me whether what I have done is my life”. This is an utterance that moves my very being. I can’t exactly explain why. It terrifies me, makes me feel remorse, gives me hope and endows me with a sense of purpose all at the same time.

In that one implied question a million more are raised. What is my life? How is it different than yours? Is it possible to live someone else’s life?

How do I know what my life is and how do I know when I’m living it?

I want to believe, like every other human who’s lived, that I am unique, that there is a path individual to me. Is this vanity? Does it lead to disillusionment and disappointment? Or does it lead to that place that only I can fill?

Sometimes it’s hard to know when the river is raging and demanding and loud. So, when the quiet of Winter comes again, when the river is ice, ask me mistakes I have made.

Please, ask me whether what I am doing is my life.


18 hours of my life July 27, 2008

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 1:53 am
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Friday, July 25th, 2008

6:00-7:00pm: Sang backup in a soul band for a little rural town’s celebration of itself. It was fun, felt a little ridiculous but I certainly don’t take myself seriously enough to care about that! I danced and everything.

7:00-8:15pm: Shared a hamburger and some fries with my kids, (mediocre). I looked everywhere for a fresh, organic salad greens stand, couldn’t find one. Drat.

8:15-8:30: Drove to my neighbors house to do chores -they watched our animals while we were away so I’m returning the favor.

8:30-9:45: I pull into the drive and all four horses are out of the pasture wandering the yard. So, now I collect, gather, entice four horses back into the paddock. Jubilee is not cooperating. Alpha mare. Everybody goes in so I go about the rest of my business…

-Find the break in the fence

-Fix the fence

-Milk the goat

-Put the milk into bottles and feed the baby goats

-Give hay to the horses, baby goats and big goats

-Check everyone’s water

-Go inside, filter the rest of the milk into a quart jar for our family

-Clean bottles, milk bucket and funnel

-Go home

10:00-10:30: Clean up dishes, fold some laundry, collect, gather the clutter from another day

10:30: Go to bed

Saturday, July 27th, 2008

4:30am: Go get the crying baby, bring him back to our bed to snuggle

5:00am: Put the wiggling, squirmy baby back in his own bed

6:00: Get up, have breakfast, drive back to the place I sang last night.

7:00: register for a 5K race, (3.1 miles)

8:00: Start running!

8:24: (and 46 seconds) -Cross the finish line!

9:00am: Leave for chores at the neighbors again

10:06am: Finish chores, (milk the goat, feed the kids, grain the goats/horses, hay the goats/horses, check water, test the fence again, let the horses back into the pasture).

10:15pm: Walk in the door late for yoga, (put the goat milk in the fridge of the building we are using for yoga because I didn’t have time to go home and drop it off).

10:15-11:30pm: Do Yoga, (with really tired legs and hay in my shirt). Finish yoga, give the milk to the yoga instructor who is just thrilled about that.

11:30-12:00pm: Drive back home, eat a snack-sized snicker bar, (I’m so hungry and I haven’t shopped since returning from our trip so it is what I could find), rest for a few minutes.

…until I head back over to see if the horses are still in their pasture and find that the fence is down again and they are all over the yard, again. So, I gather them in, again.

I think it’s a conspiracy. I think they’re organized. I think I’m tired and am going to bed.


Excess and Equality July 24, 2008

Filed under: Ramblings — adm @ 3:07 am
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Way up in the mountains of northern Colorado I had a lesson in excess I will not soon forget. Two friends of mine are ranch hands at what I will label as a “7,000 acre playground in the mountains for a very select ultra-rich”. The beauty was amazing. The landscape was incredible. The architecture of the homes was genius and something to be admired and appreciated for it’s beauty. However, for most of these families it wasn’t their primary home. These gigantic fully furnished lodges nestled in some of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever seen only get used a few times a year. For some of the families it is their 7th home -one their 13th. I can’t comprehend that kind of wealth. The yearly association fee alone is four times what our family exists on.

It really got me thinking. I try to live simply. I know I’m not living as simply as I could be but I try. You see, way up there in the mountains when the awe from the beauty passed I began to feel indignant. Who are these people who think they can have so much when there are people in the world who don’t even have their basic needs met?! How can somebody justify that kind of excess? Does it even cross their high-living minds what it might have been like for them had they been born in a third-world country to a mother who had HIV?

Not long after this internal rant the familiar pangs of conviction hit me. I have more than I need, too. So what is the difference between them and me? Well, besides millions, (maybe billions) of dollars. Stewardship is an old church word that comes to mind. What does it mean? In really simple terms I like to think it means doing the best you can with what you have. If I’m not doing the best I can with what I have where do I have room to judge them? These are questions we all need to ask ourselves. At what point does an inappropriate amount of excess creep into our lives? What amount of excess is inappropriate? When does it become a problem? When our neighbors are struggling to pay their basic bills? When someone in a third-world country can’t meet their basic food needs? It’s a really tough series of questions to begin asking and I’m not sure there is a corresponding series of simple answers. It’s uncomfortable to even think about. -But like all important questions -very necessary.

Maybe the best thing we can do is to constantly remain aware that we have more than we need and sometimes living on less means we can give more to help someone else. Feeling guilty over what we have isn’t helpful. Feeling resentful over what others have isn’t either. I’ve been guilty of both. Sometimes the only thing left to do is to live in the tensions of this world, remain aware of the paradoxes and incongruities while trying to do the best we can with what we have. -Giving what we can give and asking for help when we need help. Above all we need to always look for the holy in the everyday of our lives -those opportunities in which God is in the ordinary and he’s asking us to act. This reminds me of the chorus of a song I wrote a few months ago:

Sometimes we must quiet the world to hear the voice of God speak

Or we will pass by and miss, the burning bushes all around our feet

For we can listen to the world, to money and power and envy and greed

Or we can listen to God, who knows who we were created to be

Maybe the problem with excess isn’t the stuff itself. Maybe the biggest problem is that the stuff begins to run us. Maybe running after more and more demands so much energy, makes so much noise that we loose track of who we really are. -and then what good are we to the world anymore?

May you go through this week with the ability to live in the tensions of a world cluttered with stuff, full of inequalities and at the same time see the image of God in everyone.