A Few Less Wrinkles
Grandma Retter plowed her garden in early spring, intuitively planted her vegetables in mid-spring and started harvesting foods from her garden by early summer. I remember how delicious the foods were: potatoes fresh from the earth, green beans picked and cooked the same day, honey robbed from Grandpa Tom’s bee hives, milk still warm from Old Betsy and churned butter kept creamy fresh in the spring lying deep within the cool banks under gnarled roots.
An unstated respect for the earth and the food that came from it represented everyday life in Grandma’s time. This clear understanding of our reciprocal connection to the cycles of nature rarely exists in today’s modern world. With life-styles tied to technology and a fast pace, our nature connections may wither and finally decay. Many children forget, or never learn about where their food actually comes from- some would believe restaurants or local food markets are the source.
In today’s economy starting your own garden or joining a local community garden group may become a necessity. Some of the resources needed can be found at your local Cooperative Extension Office to connect with assistance in gardening, health and nutrition, community development, food preparation and preservation and more.
A community garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people. Community gardens are as varied as the neighborhoods in which they are located. They can be found at schools, parks, housing projects, places of worship, vacant lots, private properties or anywhere there is open land and lots of sunlight. Each is developed to meet the needs of the people who come together to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs and other plants on common ground. A community garden can be any size or shape, ranging from just a few raised beds to two or three acres.
Community gardens bring people together. They provide fresh fruits and vegetables for the gardeners or the produce may be donated to the hungry. Some focus on education, or on nutrition and exercise, while others may sell what they grow for income. Some simply provide a place to share the love of being out-of-doors and gardening. A good book for starting a Community Garden is "Eat Smart Move More North Carolina: Growing Communities through Gardens" This is a planning and resource guide for anyone who is thinking about starting a community garden.
If your interested in starting your own home garden there are many ways to get started. First of all an idea about what you want the garden to be is a must. There are many types of gardening techniques, The Raised Bed, Succession Planting, Vertical Gardening and Interplanting, but that’s another story. I am partial to my Grandma Retter and Grandpa Tom’s intuitive planting.
The truth is we are relentlessly tied to the earth’s cycles and knowledge of this is essential to a healthy life-style. From the beginning my husband Jerry and I have taken on stewardship of our land at Nature’s Home Preserve here in Western North Carolina.. This is an extremely creative life-style. Working with Permaculture principles and recycling, we are doing our best as a couple. Yet all of this is not quite what Grandma Retter and Grandpa Tom would do. They worked long hours tilling the soil and growing all the food they needed. The Appalachian heritage of this region has a creative spirit that can be honored but never reproduced. We can only keep it alive with our stories, memories and building our own style of connections to the cycles of life on this earth.
Winter Mural Painting
Its been cold and wet here in the mountains for months now, yet I’m not blue. One of the reasons is my passion for painting murals. Every day of this winter’s cold daze, I’ve been painting a commissioned mural, in panels, for the new library in Sylva, North Carolina. The mural is called “Cakewalk” and it tells the story of the way the mountain people here in the Blue Ridge Mountains helped out their neighbors. When one of their neighbors needed help, the whole community gathered for a Cakewalk to collect money for the one in need. The women baked cakes you could only dream about, the men set up in a large barn or community place and numbered spots for people to walk around. Local musicians came to play their music and the walk for winning one of those cakes ‘to die for’ began.
Each panel of my “Cakewalk” mural has special characters, like ‘the fiery fiddler,’ the courting boy, the moon eyed guitar picker, the young mother lovingly holding her child, the boy child with his pockets full of frogs and many more folks of the mountains during the early 1900’s.
One of the ways I stay happy, no matter what’s happening in the world, is to take a trip to my creative side while painting. This is where my young, fun side still lives. After a few minutes of drawing or painting and I get up to stretch my legs and glance in the mirror; I’ve lost ten years of wrinkles! That’s an inexpensive spa treatment and what a simple way to feel young again.
If you’re a person that says “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” think again. You do. One of the ways you can discover your art abilities is by taking a beginner’s art class. In particular, my beginning art class, “Opening Doors to Creativity,” which is located here at Nature’s Home Preserve in Jackson County in Western North Carolina. The workshop takes place inside my Yurt Studio. A wood stove fire will keep you warm while you experiment with color, drawing and new ideas. It’s great fun and you’ll walk away with a finished piece of art and a few less wrinkles!
Click on Photoblog: http://yurtstudio.com/myblog/blog4.php to see pictures of the first three mural art panels, not yet finished but in-progress and look to the right for more to read about!