_"...keep our shape soft and our plans mobile..." 
~We'Moon 2012 Astro-Overview

Life has a tricky way of shifting shape, so we must stay ever fluid and change our shapes to suit.  Sudden changes in plan have led me to seek a live-in internship on an organic farm across the country.

My heart is pulled towards the land, and the I'm filled by the possibility of my own growth alongside young tender shoots.  Here are excerpts from my personal statement - I hope it inspires you to move towards your dreams.

"... Several years ago, I was a long-term guest at {an organic, off-grid farm}.  My time there was transformative.  {There}, I learned to move to the rhythms of nature, the cadence of the sun, the smell of wind across freshly turned soil.  I crave this immersion, the connection to the land that farming creates.  I’m called to simplify my focus and lifestyle - I want to sweat and get my hands dirty, to build a stronger community through shared work, and to learn the skills needed to better serve my planet. 

... I want to actively build a network of wonderful people, and I am drawn to those who are drawn to the Earth... I dream of building a homestead based in permaculture, where my family can grow in symbiosis with the Earth... Earth is the basis of all my future goals, as I believe that the health of our planet is of fundamental importance - all human acts of goodness and inspiration rely on a thriving home planet."

 
 
Earlier this month I made a set of cloth menstrual pads, but I didn't know how well they would perform.  Well, the trial period (no pun intended) is over!  And yes, yes, cloth pads work!

Pros
~ No leakage whatsoever
~ The night pad design worked beautifully, even on a heavy flow
~ Much more comfortable than commercial pads, and feel drier
~ No irritation from crinkly plastic & synthetic materials
~ Totally re-usable & eco-friendly
~ The 'period tea' (water for soaking used pads) is awesome for plants!

Cons
~ You have to soak and wash them
~ They will stain anyway

... I can't think of any other cons!

So yes, 5 stars - cloth pads work just as well as commercial pads, plus they're much more comfortable & earth-loving.  Hooray!

Do you have any questions about cloth pads?  Anything I didn't cover that makes you go 'hmmm' or 'yuck'?  Let me know, we'll talk it out!
_
PSKXS78G4ANS
 
 
My diet doesn't fit into any easy label. 

When I say I'm vegetarian, friends raise their eyebrows over my occasional hamburger and call me a fake.  When I say I'm a flexitarian, it's dismissed as lazy vegetarianism.  When I say I'm a locavore, well, people are just confused.

The truth is, none of these dietary labels are accurate in the first place.  For me, food is highly personal, and my needs and intuitions change over time - daily, sometimes.

Currently, my diet could be described as a semi-locavore lacto-ovo-pesce-pollo-flexitarian.  But who really understands or wants to hear that?

If anything, I'm an intuitive eater.  (An intuitian?  Intuivore?  Hmm.)

 
 
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Morgan is satisfied!
_If there were a homemade tempeh church, I would join.

I know that sounds strange, but it really tastes that good!

As a vegetarian-minded/flexitarian-type eater, I've bought my fair share of commercial tempeh.  It's okay.  It's kind of boring, though, so I rely heavily on marinades like soy sauce and honey to spice it up.  Plus, tempeh costs around $4 for an 8 oz. package - $8/lb. is do-able, but not for something that's merely 'okay'.

One day, my partner Morgan and I were leafing through our copy of Wild Fermentation, and saw the section on bean ferments.  She offhandedly commented, "I'd be into making tempeh." 

Two days later, I bought 20 pounds of dried soybeans for $10 on Craigslist, and soon after, bought a packet of Rhyzopus oligosporus (the tempeh spore) from G.E.M. Cultures.

I was committed.


 
 
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Wild Grape & Mint Kombucha
_I was never a big kombucha drinker -  between its weird floaty slime and the price tag, the hype over its health benefits utterly failed to draw me in.

Then the day came... a dear friend brought me a bottle of home brewed kombucha.

Wow.  It was deliciously sweet and made with love.  Plus, it came in this ultra-cool blue glass bottle (I have a thing for colored glass)!  I used the spore juice left at the bottom to make my own batch, and I've been hooked ever since. 

Kombucha - or 'Booch', as I like to call it - is really easy to make.  Plus, you can make a liter of it (a little more than two 16-oz. bottles) for approximately $1 and half an hour of your time. 

When you make your own kombucha, it's designer - everything, from tea/herb/juice blend and type of sweetener, to the degree of acidity and alcohol content is up to you.

I'm not going to list off its health benefits, because I don't know and I don't really care.  All I know is that live cultures are good for you and it tastes awesome.

So!  Ready to learn?  Good.


 
 
I spend a fair amount of time searching for ideas and like-minded folk on the web.  In my search, I've noticed a few patterns in the 'homemaker' crowd.  Some I jive with, and others, well...

I'm slowly but surely finding my place(s) on the web, though I fit into several digital crannies:

What do you think?  Did I miss anyone?
 
 
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_Cloth pads have been on my to-do list for a while now.  I'm easily caught up in small, daily projects, like sprouting and making yogurt cheese - it was time to take more of a high-impact action.

Disposable pads, like disposable diapers, are a consistent source of waste - for me, it's 12-16 pads a month, or about 170 pads to the landfill each year.  That amount of consistent waste, as a lifestyle, is not okay with me. 

By crafting my own re-usable pads out of thrifted materials, I'm able to reduce my waste by about 3.5 pounds of cotton, plastic, and cardboard a year, thus saving trees & other precious resources, and re-purpose materials already in the consumer cycle.  Oh, and it's cheaper than buying pads!  So, thanks to instructions in Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knudsen, I made myself a set of re-usable cloth pads. 

 
 
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_Happy Martin Luther  King Jr. Day, everybody.

And by 'Happy' I mean let's take a minute (or more) to honor what the man did, and what we can do in turn.

We all know the history lesson, mentally at least - but I invite you to tune in to video footage of one of his many speeches.  Listen to the raw passion in his voice, the sheer power of his convictions and his hope... and let that resonate within the deeper parts of you.

In one address, King famously said, "the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice." 

We live in a time of great injustice, in many ways.  Just look at the environmental state we're in:  We live in a time where money is valued over the health of our shorelines.  We live in a time where speed and convenience is valued over air that is safe to breathe.  We live in a time where our very home, our planet, is continually damaged by our cultural habits.

But look at where we've come from, look at what other injustices we have emerged from.   A mere 50 years ago - not even a lifetime - we had massive institutionalized segregation and racial mistreatment.  Through the passionate, hopeful efforts of civil rights activists, we as a culture bent the arc of justice towards equality, compassion, and inclusiveness.   

And we can do it again.  We are doing it.  But we need more hands and hearts to push.  The 'moral arc' does not bend on its own, but only through our actions.

Today, please, take action.

Take action in whatever way rings true to your heart, small or large, quiet or loud - it all matters.  The world needs help in many arenas, and they're all interconnected - progress in any area helps to heal our world as a whole.

If you need inspiration, you can look to King's speeches, the 'Solutions' section of my manifesto, or any source of compassionate, proactive inspiration you can think of, whether social, economic, environmental, or spiritual.

So go.  Bend the arc of justice with your hands, heart, and mind.  Help to make the change today.

 
 
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photo via: Food.com - my process wasn't quite that pretty
_My first homemaking project was pickling - dilly beans, or pickled green beans. 

I had a summer CSA share and got pounds of green beans at a time.  I don't particularly like green beans fresh, but I found that pickling transformed the excess into a tasty snack.  This was back in September, but I still have a jar left (talk about self-restraint!)

I used a recipe from Back to Basics, and took over half my communal kitchen for the pickling/canning process.  My roommates weren't too happy (I picked a potluck night for my experiment), but it was worth it.

The process seemed complicated at first, but it's actually pretty simple, and you can do this with any kind of veggie you like.

Short Version, for the simply curious
  1. Wash beans & jar. 
  2. Pack beans and spices in the jar.
  3. Boil a vinegar/water mix with salt.  
  4. Pour hot vinegar mix over beans, and close the jar.
  5. Submerge jar under water and boil for a while. 
  6. Remove jar from water bath & wait for it to cool.
  7. Note the satisfactory lid suction when it's fully cooled, and then store it away!
* steps 5-7 aren't really necessary if you're going to eat the beans right away (i.e. within a month)

So, it's slightly more detail-specific than that, so here's the real recipe, for those who want to do it themselves.


 
 
_When I was 20, I learned to knit.  This was hard for me, because I identified strongly (and still do, to a more mellow degree) as a queer feminist.

I don't know about you, but when I think of queer feminist radicals, I think of combat boots, hand-lettered zines, and fair trade coffee.  Not knitting.  And certainly not homemaking. 

Turns out I'm not suited to knitting (I'm an angry, impatient knitter, who makes very ugly crafts).  But luckily, I found out several important things along the way:
  1. Knitting can be bad-ass (check out Slave to the Needles, via Microcosm Publishing: knitted beer muffs and thongs, anyone?)
  2. Femininity is powerful, but only when embraced.
  3. Taking the means of production into your own hands (however clumsy) is one of the most radical acts in which you can participate.

Fast-forward three years, and enter Shannon Hayes, author of Radical Homemakers.
I got tickets to the Sustainable Living Fair in 2011, and while researching the presenters I came across Ms. Hayes' biography.  Something struck a chord, so I followed my gut to the library and to her book....

 

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