The Ginger Experiment

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So, we have been exploring options in hydroponics and aquaponics this year.  We are still in the early beginning stages.

However, I watched a video of someone using an amazing hydroponics system who grew ginger for home use.  I watched him harvest a few pounds of ginger.

We eat a lot of ginger here.

I make my own chai tea (recipe forthcoming some other time).  I cook with ginger.  I make ginger bread, gingerbread, and all sorts of other things.  Ginger is a real thing here.

I tend to use it for pain, especially in tea form.

I watched this guy harvest several pounds of home-grown ginger…and I knew how much I had just paid for dried ginger a few months before when I made my last batch of chai tea (as in, I make up the dry stuff, and then use it to make tea as needed).

I buy ginger root from our local global food store fairly regularly.

Not a day or two after I watched this video, and saw genuinely fresh ginger root, we went to said global food store and I saw for the very first time in my life the freshest ginger root I have ever laid my eyes on…laid up in the bin with the regular old dried up not so fresh ginger I was used to seeing/buying.

Strange as I am, I grabbed a nice thick big hunk of the fresh stuff…and then I grabbed a smaller piece of the not so fresh stuff.

I brought them home.  Showed them both off to a boyfriend who looked a me as if I had grown great big bunny ears because I was so excited about the ginger (and apparently he has no clue that I cook using as much ginger as I do…)

The not so fresh stuff…since I already had a nice hunk of that in the freezer that I use to cook with…I actually took outside and stuffed into this large pot of dirt that we have.  We’ll see what comes of that this year.  Fingers crossed it grows like gangbusters–we’ll have to see what happens with this bizarre weather around here.

The young fresh root I sliced, using a mandolin, very carefully, since i have lost more of my thumb to that thing that I care to admit to on a regular basis, and I cut it into fairly thick rounds.

I laid all these rounds out on dehydrator trays.  Oh, do I love our dehydrator.  I set it on the low herb setting.  I walked away.  About three hours later, just before I went to bed, I decided to check on my ginger.

I am so glad that I did.  Those nice big three inch wide rounds (some of them, not all of them were so big) had reduced down to tiny crumpled pieces of paper.  I had about 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of root…I have a sandwich baggy full of the dried scraps that I could probably crumple up and hold in my hand…it rehydrates amazingly well into those coin shapes once it hits a liquid again…so it is beautiful.

Terrific for using in cooking…amazing for using to make just plain ginger tea … which I cannot actually tolerate, but I can add something else to it so that it isn’t just ginger…because believe it or not, ginger alone upsets my stomach…with some other stuff, I can take it just fine.

There’s my idea for the day that I am sharing.

Thanks for listening.

For Your Inspiration Friday

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We are all one.

Nikola Tesla

 

If the world were clear, art would not exist.

Albert Camus

 

Compassion directed toward oneself is true humility.

Simone Weil

 

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.

William Arthur Ward

 

The movement toward gratitude, authenticity, and union is the natural and organic inner work of the second half of our lives.

Richard Rohr

A March Newsletter Happy Dance

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My beloved think pad took a header last month and fubarred the screen…so for my monthly newsletter I have returned (yeah, so I’ve been doing this for three months…and I have “returned”, ok?) to creating content by hand.

Guess what?  This month’s newsletter has been my favorite thus far.  I had a lot more freedom to work.  I had more content.  I was less censored.  I allowed myself to be me.  And I liked it.

This is the first newsletter of which I have been very proud.

It is not entirely hand-written.  I made sure there was a page of nothing but the clickable links, so no one would have to type in a whole bunch of stuff if they wanted to check anything out…because me writing it down that one time was bad enough for me.  I didn’t want anyone feeling that bad having to type that into a search bar or anything…

And just so you understand: I do not include affiliate links at all.  I did include a lot of links to the family website…but that’s all my stuff.  I do not shill for other people.  I link to people and things that I love because I love them, never because I am paid to do so.  Just to be clear here.

This month’s newsletter–even though it went out late–not because I was late getting it together–but because I hit a technical snafu where apparently I am in one time zone and my carrier thinks I am in another…and I didn’t realize what was going on (I thought the email to me got lost in the ether of internet crazy-dom, as emails sometimes do…) and it took me a bit to realize, nope, it’s just a technology versus me issue–and I corrected it…and the newsletter went out on the 10th, instead of the 6th, as I had meant it to.

This month’s newsletter (ahem) is chock full of…personal stories (how many people have missed those?  I have…and that’s the important thing.) — actual writing exercises — prompts — artwork –knitting — a couple tutorials — and gosh, I actually forget what all went into this month’s issue.  I had an outline I was writing from and I just kept writing until I had nearly everything crossed off my list…then I went in and added links and photographs and who knows what all…and I ended up with a lovely 61 page PDF of free yummy goodness and my own brand of sappy weirdness.

And that was just for March…who knows what will happen for April?

Don’t be shy.  You can sign up anytime, right here.

 

A New Project…

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I have been wrestling with taking more classes to expand my knowledge base, on many topics, of late.  The only classes I am really taking at this moment are…anything but art classes…

Sometimes I miss having that framework of a class to fall into, to fall back on to when I forget what it is I want to be doing…having classwork, homework, to do gives me a reason to be greedy and take time for myself that I wouldn’t otherwise get or allow myself.

There are a lot of year-long classes.  There are a lot of monthly subscriptions.  You pay for the month and have access to everything.  Yada yada.  There are many free-standing classes.  There are many self-paced and self-directed classes.

There are a few that pique my interest.  Yet, nothing really genuinely calls to me.  I have an interest, because that is who I am…but I balk every time I sit down and think, is this class something I want, something I need, something that appeals to me, something that will lead me somewhere on my journey…and invariably of late, no matter how much I love the subject matter, no matter how much I love the teacher, I always end up saying…not right now.  Even to many many free classes as well.

It dawned on me a few days ago that this is probably the reason I don’t feel up to creating any classes at the moment.  I am so unconnected/disconnected to classes of this nature that I am stepping back from creating them.  Even though I usually have much of the course material sitting ready to be typed up, videos made, handouts printed up…

So, I have been searching, soul-searching, meditating, pondering…what is going to mean something to me.  It always comes back to one thing…I want to — not reconnect–because that sounds as if I have dropped all ties and turned my back and that is not in any way true–I want to re-establish an excellent relationship with the Divine, the way I used to have that deep constant strong connection…only…I want it to be better than it was before.

I have spent several years now, working through other people’s classes, doing other people’s work, on things that stirred my soul and felt like they were heading in the right direction for me…but when I sat back, when I reflected, there was always something missing for me.

Now, I understand what has been missing.  Me–doing my work.  Me–working through my own things.  Me–stirring my own soul.

It’s funny.  My friend and I talk about the 201, the 301, and on and one classes…where are they?  There are so many 101 classes out there, beginner’s classes.  I will not speak for her, but I know myself I have tried to push myself to have that beginner’s mind into those places because…a beginner’s mind is essential–because there is always something new to learn, a new way to look at old things, so on and so on…

But, I have been reading this book, and I have been trying to work my way through it for well over a year now.  I read a few pages and then I stop–I digest.  I allow it to work on me.  Then I forget about it.  This is a beginner’s book, but it is a different sort of beginner’s book for me.  It’s not about the 101 stuff.  It is a beginner’s book for people who have and who are moving beyond the basic initial blah blah blah and who want to actually learn how and actually plan to do the real work of it.

That’s when it hit me.  It’s not about reading more books.  Have I said this before?  Me?  The uber-knowledge hoarder?  The bookworm?  The…perennial student? Yes, she who actually plans to eventually go back to school and get that degree in Art History…yup…that’s me.

It is about taking your subject matter and engaging in it, engaging with it, digging into it.  Creating your work as an entity.  Giving your work a name.  (I dub thee Sir So-And-So.  My goodness…)  Creating a relationship with your work.  Not using someone else’s work as a foundation.  Hmm.  How do I put this?  Because there are so many ancient texts that can be used as a foundation–like the Bible, like the Koran, like the Sutras, and so forth and so on…I am in no way discounting these structures as a foundation.  What I am discounting is accepting someone else’s methodology of interacting with this sort of thing and not actually putting your own thoughts, your own work, your own style, and so on, into it.

Then the whole #100Day Project emails starting hitting my inbox.  That, coupled with this image drawn in charcoal that has been stirring around in my brain, waiting for me to sketch it out, struck a chord in me.

So, this is sort of a declaration of my doing the #100Day Project…#100DaysofShe for me.

This isn’t what it sounds like.

I have been reaching out, reaching out…one Deity after another.  Mother Mary.  Kwan Yin.  Brighid.   Freya.  Kali.  Oshun.  On and on the list can go…not a single one of them felt *right*…but in their own way, every one of them felt *right*…just not *right* enough.

Back to the contemplation board…when I heard a voice whisper something, most of which apparently went in one ear and out the other–I was more than half asleep at the time…but what came of it was…why bind myself to one creation, one form, when what I am seeking is the Infinite Form of that creature?

She.

The Timeless. The Endless.  The perfect complement to the He of my childhood church-going.  Or is She?

Right now–those boxes do not matter.

What matters to me is allowing that connection to She to open…

Will I create 100 pieces of art around this theme?  Honestly–I dunno.

I plan to write.  I plan to sketch.  I plan to paint.

I plan to allow this to take its course.

I do not in any way plan to allow 100 days to be the start and the end of this project.

If I have work to show, I will show it.  If I reach 100 pieces–yippee.  If I don’t, yippee skippy.  If there are more…boy howdy.  It is what it is..an on-going dialogue with the Divine Essence of She…and inviting Her into my life and into my world more fully and completely.

Thank you for listening.

The Things We Are Learning…

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Do you know what we learned here at home this past week?

That English muffins are not baked at all–they are grilled.  Like on a griddle, or in a pan.

We watch as much The Great British Bake Off as we possibly can on Netflix–there are only three seasons available…but we watch every single episode over and over–except the show stopper on one episode because we feel so bad for the person who went home (forty seconds, indeed!)…but we do watch episodes over and over and over of the three seasons we have available here…and we have begun to do several things.

I do have to say I am very grateful for this show…I am now cooking a lot more…and I haven’t wanted to cook in a long time.  Dinner tonight was homemade bread with homemade cottage pie…and the family is too happy about that one.

One: the teen girl is baking like mad.  She makes her own fondant, with marshmallows, so it’s the “quick” fondant–but she is way too happy with it.  She makes cakes, cupcakes and other bits from scratch now.  She made a coconut crème pie this weekend–and that includes making the crust from scratch, making the whipped crème from scratch…she is having a field day.

Two:  I have made things like, oh, English muffins.  I have a cast iron pancake skillet (or at least that’s what I call it–it is not a fry pan–no raised sides) and we worked out our first batch and they are yummy.  It was a test batch–they rose for too long on the first rise–but at least I know what I did wrong…they puffed up all mighty mighty when I fried them.  So the next time, I will adjust accordingly.

I also got to make an Apple Betty Crisp for my darlin’ man.  What is an Apple Betty Crisp?  Well, I took an Apple Betty recipe and I combined it with an Apple Crisp recipe…and voila…Apple Betty Crisp.  Why did I do it that way?  The Apple Crisp recipe had way too much sugar, and not enough crumble for the crisp…I like to improvise.

Three:  this week-end, for St Patrick’s Day, we had our celebration on Saturday, for the most part–I still have cupcakes to make, but Sunday was another busy day…and he girl had to make her coconut crème pie, so I wasn’t fighting to make cupcakes…although I did make my own buttercream…

I found out…the teen girl (as opposed to the teen boy) loves cabbage.  Cabbage.  Who knew?  And all I did was chop a head of cabbage up, toss it in water with two packets of onion soup mix, and let it boil until tender.  I pulled out, drained it all–I used the left-over broth to boil our ears of corn in…and that was nice and tasty.  But the cabbage, I chopped up finer for eating, tucked them into a bowl and let butter melt all over the top.  Nothing more than that.  And the girl cannot get enough.  Cool.

For the teen boy, I asked him what he needed to have at a St Patrick’s Day celebration–I received one request.  Green bread.  That’s it.  Not cakes.  Not cupcakes.  Not puddings.  Not jellos. (The youngest wants green and orange jellos, but no one else does.)  Plain old green bread.  I used a basic white bread recipe, in my bread machine on the dough cycle…and it took a lot more green food coloring than you would think to turn it a nice deep shade of green–versus a pale pastel Eastery sort of shade of green…it turned out quite yummy.

My oldest son's st pats day request. .. green bread

A post shared by Tabitha Beck (@theknittingjourneyman) on

Although the youngest, who normally cannot get enough of homemade bread when it’s baked here…he won’t touch it…even though when asked how he turned the bread green (his sister was teasing him) he said as he is a super hero he used his super powers to turn the bread green–and that he did it because he is a super hero and that is what super heroes do.  Just so ya know there.

I do plan on making cupcakes tomorrow…I have the green buttercream.  I am making either vanilla or lemon cupcakes.  Maybe even both.  The funny thing is–I probably won’t eat any.  It’s why I don’t really bake more, because it doesn’t always get eaten.  Believe it or not, the toddler is not all that into sweets.  He loves to help cook and bake, but not so much eat.  Although since last week, that has been slowly changing…so we’ll see where he sits when I start up with the cupcakes again.  He is a picky one, that boy.