Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thyme for Reflection

Japanese Water Rituals
I don't know if you've every flicked over to read my 'about me' page, but sometimes I do just to revisit my thoughts and reflect on where I'm at with my goals. After having brunch with my girl friend yesterday I was encouraged to to be true to myself and my goals. On my 'about me' page I say.....
My blog header states that 'Thyme-for-Tea' is a spot for me to blog on life in my garden, where I grow things, read things, drink tea and ponder. These are all important aspects of my celebration of life and important aspects of me caring for myself, providing me with sustenance to carry on with advocating for others. I am also passionate about caring for the earth, because without her, we have no way to sustain ourselves.
So today (being a rainy day and great for tea indoors) I'm going to ponder here...
You know that recently I visited a retreat for a few days where I was challenged to think about what I eat, the choices I make and why I make them. Well, this week I've been reflecting that I've been a pretty conscious person, trying to be mindful of my place in the environment, for a while. But I cant say that I've ever been quite so challenged on my food choices before. I grow organic veggies for my self and my partner - probably more to protect the earth from the harmful effects of fertilizers, chemicals, and because we like the taste of home grown produce. I know also that by growing my own I'm reducing the carbon footprint of transport of produce around the world. But these are different issues to the one about what food we eat. I'm interested to know if anyone has read any good books about these issues???? some of the questions I'm asking myself are a) what's happening to my body when I'm eating things I didn't grow or make? b) what's in the food I buy? c) what are the environmental impacts of the production of the food I eat (like meat)? d) what's happening to the life cycle of the things I eat (like the chickens who lay the eggs or the cows who make my diary products)?

Sometimes when these types of thoughts are developing in my head I can become overwhelmed and paralysed by the challenge. That's why I included the photo's at the beginning of this post. When visiting Japan in 2007, I was in awe and totally affected by the simplicity of the water rituals. My understanding is that prior to entering a temple or holy place, you wash away the evil spirits by splashing yourself with the water at the entry to the temple. It's a simple process, a ritual, that symbolises the self making the offering to be washed clean before the holy. When my head is swimming with questions and thoughts, I am reminded of this ritual. Like a form of meditation, it can help clean the mind and I find, I can give the space necessary to process the questions.

So, on the question of food and choices. I'm trying to reduce or cut out my chocolate intake for a range of reasons (it's financial costs to me, to not support multinational firms with bad practices, to improve my own health etc....). When I was at the vegan retreat I learnt this recipe for a little treat. 2 parts raw almonds (or any nuts), 1 part dates (or any other dried fruit), 1 part sultana's (or any other dried fruit). Blend together until the nuts are finely chopped. Then roll into bite sized balls. You can then roll these in desecrated coconut if you like (I don't). If you used all dried ingredients, the balls will last quite some time. But if you like to use some fresh fruit, like some banana or mango, keep them in the fridge. Yummy!

This afternoon I'm heading out in the rain to feed by garden. I've been noticing that most of my root vegitables (beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes, raddishes etc) have bee struggling to thrive and have been very slow to develop. So after some time on line today, and a visit to the nursery, I've decided its time to inject some potasium and phosphorus, and repreat the blood and bone spreading more frequently. Because it's raining it's a great time to get out there for this job- as it will help it soak down to the roots.

I'm also concentrating some effort into developing my fruit crop this year. Last years peach and nectarine crops didn't set (which means the fruit didn't develop from the flowers). So this year I've been keeping a watchful eye on each step of the way. (I'd give you photo's if it wasn't raining today). The fruit have set and are now about the size of my thumb nail. So it's time to start the defence system against the dreaded fruit fly (which once it gets into your fruit, the fruit goes off and is spoilt by the lavae). So, when it's finished raining, I'll have to get out an spray with an organic and eco friendly insecticide called eco-naturalure. I've also got to set baits which attract the flies into the traps. Unfortunately with fruit fly, the traps aren't totally effective on their own, but they do provide the gardener with a sense of how big the fly problem is over the season. My hope is that I will have fresh home grown peaches for Christmas!

Harvesting at the moment in my garden:
  • Spinach
  • Silver beet
  • Celery
  • Lettuces (different varieties)
  • Rhubarb
  • Radishes
  • Snow Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Leeks
  • Herbs - lemongrass, parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint..
  • Fruit - Black Sapote (Chocolate Pudding Fruit)
This past week I made a delicious leek (home grown) and potato soup, a baby spinach (home grown) and balsamic BBQ Roo & BBQ eggplant salad, and stewed rhubarb (home grown) and apple for dessert.

Blogs I've enjoyed reading this week have included:

I don't like long posts generally, but that's where I'm at. Currently reading (playing catch up with the read a long with non such books) Madame Bovary, and for JLC 4, I'm reading Murakami's Dance Dance Dance.


Karen said...

Lots of thinking T!! I know Ruby Red books blog has had some great book reviews about food production and eating in the past so maybe head over there to see what she has written for some ideas?? I like your suggestion for a yummy snack too. I'm going to give them a try - but I don't think I will ever be able to give up chocolate!!

Ruth said...

There is a LOT of good stuff here. Thank you. We went vegan last Christmas, and since then we've backed off to be about 90% vegan. We don't consume milk or egg products if we can help it. We have our own garden too. But we are nowhere as dedicated as our son and his girlfriend, whom I admire a lot. She went to vegan culinary school! I'm learning from her all the time. We started veganism because of the book The China Study. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. But it might be "preaching to the choir" and not what you need now.

Thank you so much for the blog mention, and for your lovely comment.