Wednesday, 30 April 2014

My "Help-Yourself" Garden

Ryan has been helping me with gardening again and today we organically came across a cunning plan for utilising the space at the front of my house.  You see, where Ryan is standing in this photo, there used to be a planter.  It wasn't getting enough rain and I (being a serious non-green-fingered person) failed to water it.  So Ryan and I hatched a plan that we would move the planter to somewhere more conducive to getting rained upon.  Sounds simple but there was a lot of stuff that needed to be done along the way.

This is the planter making its way to it's new home.  And along the way we had to saw wood, move logs, get ds to stand on the contents of the green bin so we could fit more stuff into it, photograph frogs (see below), watch hot air balloons go overhead (see photos below), sweep the path, relocate one of the clumps of comfrey from the planter to the back garden, move more logs, move other logs to the back garden and clean the car (which had nothing to do with the cunning plan).  And whilst all this was being done their were vague ideas being discussed of making the planter a herb planter and transplating some of the plants from the raised bed next to the front wall so that that too contained only edible plants.

And from these discussions came an idea of sharing this produce with my neighbours and friends.  And so the help-yourself front garden was born.
The great thing was that during the day whilst tidying the front garden (I wish I had taken a proper before photo so you could ahev seen how untidy it was) we came across black plastic sheeting from when we had the woodburning stove installed.  This will be perfect for creating a pallet-based vertical garden system.

I also got around to cutting up our Christmas tree and that kindly donated by a neighbour for us to burn.  That donated Christmas tree generated another idea for the "help-yourself" garden in that as well as being able to help-yourself to some of the yummy edibles, maybe it could also be a "help-yourself" in donating unwanted trees, wood, and maybe even spare plants to others.
Anyway here is the planter in its new home next to the raised bed. Both beds are going to be planted with wholly edible foods over the next few months and hopefully a fuller system of raised plant pots with various yummies will sit in front of both beds.

There is space under the planter for unwanted wood and people will be invited to drop of wood if they want.

Dd is already designing some signs explaining the concept and there are also ideas for putting out information leaflets for what is being grown as well as recipe ideas.  All this from needing to move the planter to somewhere were it would get more water because I am too forgetful to water it.

Exciting though.


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Women's Magazine

I recently went to Wales for a course so had a 1-change train trip.  I get quite excited when I get to go on the train and have limited distractions I can take with me and it is my one opportunity to peruse the magazine isle at the train station newsagents (normally WHSmith.)  Not being a regular train traveller I seem to have a memory problem in that I always forget the short-lived excitement of getting a puzzle book or a magazine because they don't have either the ones that I want.  I am a kakuro fan and most of the japanese puzzle books at suduko and I am a craft fan and there are NO craft magazines that you can purchase at station newsagents.  This trip I decided that I would actually count what magazines I could get as a 'typical' woman, if there is a such a thing!!

Beauty magazines – you know, the ones designed to help you make yourself as attractive as every other woman mostly showing you famous woman who have experts and the time to make themselves that beautiful → at least 10.  I was reminded of someone telling me how much time it takes for an average star to get ready for any red carpet event.  It's a long time and I mean a LONG time.  Let's be honest most of us don't have that amount of time so these magazines are just designed to much us feel crap about ourselves or at the very least inferior.

Exercise and weigh loss magazines – you know, the ones designed to help you make yourself as fit and healthy as every other woman.  Slightly better than the beauty magazines because they often feature 'real' women, they are still sending a message that you could or should be thinner, healthier, eating something different to what you are (often with an out-dated diet that is one size fits all because we are all the same or at least we should all try to be.)  The message is if you only tried a bit harder or had more willpower you too could be perfect or at least a helluva lot better than you are now.  There were at least 8 of these magazines so I least I could choose which diet or exercise regime I could beat myself up with!!

And then I have saved the worse to last.  There were at least 20 gossip magazines which I could choose from telling me who was wearing what dress, who was splitting up from whom, who was pregnant with who's baby and other such information.  These magazines are full of beautiful women, who again have the staff, time, money to spend on looking fab, or of women who were beautiful but let themselves slip; or who are beautiful but made the mistake of wearing the “wrong” clothes or could be more beautiful if only they would put on some more make-up.  There is a crossover with these magazines and the beauty ones but this category are much more underhand about what is or isn't beautiful.

Well strangely enough I did not want to waste £s on any of these.  I wanted to have a look at the craft magazines: the knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing, creative-type glossies.  Unfortunately there weren't any of those so instead I saved my money and wrote this and when I have finished this I will continue reading Charles Eisenstien's book “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible” and sigh at the irony of how Charles mentions that the “all of our external institutions reflect our basic perceptions of the world, our invisible ideologies and belief systems.”  Basically, there are no craft magazines at train station newsagents because no-one wants to buy them.  People want to buy the other magazines to look outside of themselves to discover who they are.  The problem is it isn't making us any happier as is evident by a $4 billion dieting industry and this vicious cycle of beauty, gossip and health magazines.

Monday, 7 April 2014

More poems

I am trying to get all my poems from Facebook and get them here on my blog instead.  Look here for other poems, but here are some more.

Human Experience is not a test
Can you assess my state of happiness?
Can you score it out of five?
Can you really pass or fail a test
That tells if you're truly alive?
Is joy a quantifiable trait?
Can you plot it on a graph?
Do you score a special funny point
Every time you laugh?
Is empathy a transferable skill?
Can others give feedback?
Telling you if there are traits
In which they think you lack?
I don't think you can pass an exam
In love or contemplation
I don't think you can get an NVQ
In passion or in meditation
Hope cannot be learnt from a book
Grace cannot be easily taught
Peace cannot be summed up in lesson
Just because you think it ought
You cannot have a kindness target
That everyone must reach
The attainment of gentleness
Is not something you can teach
The fruits of spirit and soul
Need space and time to grow
They cannot be cultivated in league tables
Or seen in "tell and show"
Spirit cannot be marked and scored
Even if you wanted to
Because human experience is not an exam
ONLY YOU can A* you

"My Wings" poem
19 March 2010

My wings enfold me and I sigh
A tear drops slowly and I cry
I look straight down and all I see
Is my sea of tears and they're drowning me
My wings are heavy, a tear-soaked burden
I don't want to feel this, of that I'm certain
Wings are meant to be freeing and light
They should be magical, an instrument of flight
But my bad mood has taken hold
And my wings are completely soaked and cold
All my self doubts come crashing in
And all my worries they begin
To suffocate and trap my feelings
Stifle me and stop me breathing
I have to stop, adjust my perspective
To halt the turmoil and over-reactive
Dark side mumblings that float around me
Clouding focus and deadening me
So I look back up and see my wings
These beautiful, feathery, golden things
They can be magic, light and free
If only I can stop and truly see
That my gifts are numerous like the feathers
They can cause problems and feel like tethers
Or I can count them as a blessing
Try to use them and keep learning
Practice outside my comfort zone
My gifts and qualities to hone
Like a fledgling bird's first flight
Keep on trying with all my might
So I am grounded with my wings
With the freedom flying brings
A lofty escape from oughts and shoulds
An ethereal release to maybes and coulds
My wings spread out and I am free
The wind blows around and it lifts me
Perspective changes as I climb higher
Things seem smaller and not so dire
I feel grounded in the air
A contradiction but I don't care
My arms are open, a wide embrace
And I soar higher in my space
I circle and let out a joyous scream
Envisage my life as my perfect dream
Where my gifts and soul fly together
Not as burdens or a tether
When I feel low or feel like crying
My wings can stretch and keep me flying
And if I need a hug or to cry
I can do that as I fly

 I am my Masterpiece (moving forwards in giant small steps)
I don't know where that title came from but I am sticking with it!!!
31 January 2010

I sit quietly with myself
My spirit is here
I see through the sadness
And my purpose is clear
I will continue to ponder
Work out my issues
Battle to my core
I may need some tissues!
There will be sadness and sobbing
Doubts and reflection
But also joy and dancing
Time to be and meditation
Searching and enthusing
I am here to be me
Consciously work towards
The best me I can be
I may need a short break
When my sadness need space
But will always resume searching
At my own pace
I won't beat myself up
For these lapses of contentment
It's all a learning experience
Not needless entrapment
So here I sit quietly
Changing and growing
Small steps, giant leaps
New behaviours a-sowing
Acceptance, forgiveness
Justified grumpiness
Wholesome, loving
Intuitive faithfulness
Unique, special
I am one of a kind
Emotional, spiritual
Not just a mind
My poems are my language
My body, my shrine
My writing, my rhythm
That beats out in time
So pick up your sticks
Come drum with me
Let's dance and be merry
And be the best we can be