Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Roots and Shoots

It's now been just over a week that I have been home and what a week it has been.  Am going to capture here some highlights:

Open Day at Sunrise Farm:  Last Thursday we went out to Sunrise Farm to join about 25 others in walking about the land and learning of the journey that Don and Marie Ruzicka have been on these last 15 years.  The conversations that happened through the day moved from co-planting trees to create shelter-belts and wildlife areas to how our economic system does or doesn't 'count' and on to our role (as farmers and as humans) in the broader ecosystem(s) we are apart of.  It was like being back at Schumacher.  What a wonderful gift - to find a philosophical home as I reconnect to my physical home.  

Old friends: was fortunate to be 'kidnapped' on Saturday by one of my dearest friends from high school.  Deanna picked me up and took me up to Edmonton to see one of her daughters dance in an Irish performance on Saturday night.  It was great to reconnect with Dee and to have some time to cuddle her kids - I do enjoy being Auntie Brenda.  I came back to Stettler with a bag full of wild mushrooms and some horseradish... probably not the usual thing a woman goes to the city for.

Gardening, composting and cooking:  am enjoying putting down roots - literally.  I have picked up some potted herbs for cooking, planting some seeds I picked in the Dartington Gardens before I left, and set down the horseradish roots from Edmonton.  And am now practising patience in hoping for the seeds and roots to produce.  
In the patience field:  I built a compost in the backyard and again - now the waiting game of decomposition begins.  I was pleased to find some very fat worms under it and take that as a sign that they are busy at work in the bottom layers of food scraps and cardboard.
And cooking:  those mushrooms have served us once alongside our garden asparagus and my basil plants to make a yummy pasta... and tomorrow the rest of them will feature at our BBQ.

Connecting ideas and getting back into the labyrinth of my thesis:  I just finished reading 'Web of Life' by Capra and have a good sense of my first chapters as well as the inquiry I am on...  and so will be taking more steps in that direction over the next days.

Speaking of labyrinth - was amazed to stumble across one in the park right by my parents place... but it needs some care by the park maintenance, you get half way in and then lose the path completely.  NOT the metaphor I need right now :)

And another good find:  a local, organic winery that is about 2 hours from here selling their wines at the farmer's market... tasting notes to follow soon ;)

Pictures can be viewed here.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tonight was the first night I cooked dinner since I have been home - and what was really nice was cooking dinner with ingredients from my parents garden and backyard. 

I made a quiche with asparagus and winter onions from my parents garden and added into the salad chickweed, which is normally a weed that is pulled out but is now part of our salad garden and my first foraging attempt.

It turned out better than I expected as it was my first time making a quiche and with a rice-flour crust at that (my dad is gluten intolerant).  It was definitely a crowd-pleaser (Vance joined us) and is a do-over.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Written on the 13 June - the sun was shining but my head was hazy so apologies for the disconnected thoughts and emotions:

24 hours (almost) at home and  I can say I am unpacked.  Or at least as unpacked as it is going to get until I find myself in a permanent home (however many months from now).

After bouncing from Romania for a wedding - Ireland for some gorgeous views and wonderful music - Wales for an Organic Gardening course and then back to the College for my last bag: I arrived into Calgary airport yesterday at noon with no ticket out and declared myself a Canadian resident again.

I AM facing small bouts of anxiety feeling like I am behind on my thesis because I have been 'away from it' the last weeks (despite being fine according to my timeline and plan) and also feeling like I need to start moving to get a job and pay back my loans.  But I am keeping calm and blaming this anxiety on the jet-lag grogginess I have been walking around with.

Getting on the plane to come home was easier and less emotional than I thought it would be - but once the many good-byes were said, this step was really another in a path that was set out last year when I left Singapore.  It is a big step but it is not a change in direction and so it feels natural.  It is something I have been preparing for over the entire 8 months spent at the College.

In the last few hours I have unpacked into my bedroom and begun to make my parent's basement my temporary home and office for the summer.  The desk is set up, clothes put away, books laid out... all I need to do is arrange for internet and to tack up my previously designed 'thesis maps' and I am set to get back to work on my Master's.  

It was interesting being 'reunited' with my items from Singapore.  I went through the boxes I had shipped and pulled out the books, a few kitchen items and other things that I will use this summer... the rest can wait in the boxes until I have my own space again.  Just seeing and touching some items took me back to different times and I am reminded of how much has changed, come together, fallen away over the last year. 

And it has already been nice to share with my parents ideas for little projects around here (setting up their compost), reading more about what 'weeds' we have in our garden that are edible (my mom seems excited about getting into a bit of foraging with me), and bird watching with my Mom from our back porch.  The back porch and garden have already become my favourite spots again.  While my desk in the basement may not have the stellar view I had at the college - having a sunny patch of grass and a little garden to sit next to, I am in heaven; I am home.