Pressure canning is a little more complicated than hot water bath canning, but it’s not as hard as people might think. The biggest difference is that you need a special pressure canner, which usually costs under $100. I have the 23 quart Presto and I love it! The greatest part is that you can use […]
My patients know how much I love food therapy and therefore grow most of my own vegetables and preserve them through canning. So I frequently am asked to explain how to do hot water bath canning. This method can be used for anything acidic (vinegar, tomatoes, citrus, etc.), but should not be used for vegetables […]
Ever since we remodeled my bathroom together, my dad has been telling me that I should enter it into a design contest. So I finally did. The actual entries are linked below, but first a little history on our design. My father had a major heart attack just before I bought my first house. Together, […]
Now that there is snow on the ground and Thanksgiving has passed, I thought it would be a good time to look over the garden bounty that I managed to get canned and preserved this year. I was surprised by all my dedication! pickled beets – 57 pints, 2 quarts bread & butter pickles – 47 […]
I have been working all summer on mulching my yard so that I won’t have to use a gas mower anymore. I am keeping the grass in my backyard because I can use my eco-friendly push mower back there, so the extensive boulevards on my corner lot have been my focus. Yesterday I was planning to mulch 1 of the 2 side boulevards with my mom. I figured that in an effort to practice a little moderation in my life, doing half of the job was more realistic than a marathon session of mulching. When my mom arrived, she asked why we didn’t just do the whole thing in one day and be done with it, so after a little convincing me, we decided to do the entire thing.
Since my usual compost site where I get free mulch is closed on Thursdays, I found another place in Minneapolis where we could get enough free mulch to get the job done. Between the two of us, we could haul about 400 gallons (2 cubic yards) of mulch in our cars. So we drove out to the site and found the cleanest, most beautiful pile of mulch I have ever seen. Then again, my appreciative eyes have had lots of experience with identifying good mulch and it is one of those things that quickens my heartbeat a little as I imagine the beauty I can create with such a simple recycled product.
I had a hard time not feeling overwhelmed at the beginning from the scope of our project, but then I realized that I wasn’t practicing mindfulness. So I committed myself to not being irritable despite the hot weather and being loving towards my willing and patient mother. That is exactly when I started enjoying myself. Despite working in 80-90 degree weather with high humidity, we worked all day in the direct sun. My neighbor Sally joined us right in the middle of the project when we started losing motivation and one of my patients stopped by to deliver some flowers from her garden for me. Sally was telling me that long before meditation became popular, she went into her own little world while gardening and it has always been her meditation. This is what I love about gardening!
We saw many neighbors throughout the day and enjoyed a lot of cameraderie. We took many breaks to drink cool water and sit in the shade, but by the end of the day, we were both overheated and dehydrated. It took us a total of 11 hours to haul the 1200 gallons (6 cubic yards) of mulch and lay it down on top of newspapers. A special thank you to all my neighbors who donated their newspapers and encouragement on this project. I’m so thankful to live in such a supportive neighborhood and to have a really energetic and loving mother. I’m looking forward to this additional way in which I can make the world a more beautiful place.
Recycling and reusing is very important to me, so I try to live by the advice of my favorite tee-shirts:
Hug a tree
A little change can make a difference
I have a friend who was thinning her flowers this week, so I went to her house to reuse the extra plants by planting them in my garden. My mother always tells me that “They just want to live!”, so I took home a carload full of day lilies, irises, bleeding hearts, lily-of-the-valley, ferns, and hostas. I spent most of yesterday planting, but I didn’t finish it all, so I wished for a light rain today to keep me cool while I finished putting all my beautiful plants in the ground. As soon as I walked outside this morning, it started sprinkling a refreshing mist that continued throughout my planting. I finished in 2 hours, then drove a bunch of weeds to the compost site and picked up more mulch while I was there. As I was driving home, it started raining heavily which I totally appreciated because it will help my new plants be comfortable in their new homes.
I can’t stop smiling at the good luck of it all. Actually, I think it’s more than luck; I manifested what I needed for today and it became a reality. Within the first 10 minutes of planting, I realized I had a huge smile on my face and I stopped for a moment to acknowledge that I’m really happy. It’s not just that I’m in a good mood, but am happy all the way into the deepest core of my being. My life as an acupuncturist on my little piece of land in St. Paul, surrounded by organic vegetables and flowers is exactly what I wanted and needed. Life is so beautiful here that I hope there are people everywhere who find the kind of joy in their life that I have created.
I’ve spent a few days hauling 500 gallons (2.5 cubic yards) of free mulch from the compost site. My goal is to get rid of all the grass in my front yard because it is so full of dandelions that I have to use a gas mower. My backyard has beautiful grass that I can mow with my push mower that relies on my own qi to operate, so I don’t mind it. Along with being eco-friendly, the push mower is great because it is quiet and I can practice mindfulness while methodically pushing it around the yard.
I’ve been putting down newspaper in the front yard and then covering it with mulch. I designate the walkways using stones, but someday I hope to put down pavers. I’m still gathering flowers for the new flower beds, and actually I’m getting some lupines from wisconsin today, which my uncle Dicky is bringing for me in a cooler. I can’t wait!
The next time you come to the clinic, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the wildflowers in the front yard and know that all the work done here was done with my own power and love.
The process of building my new raised gardens turned out to be quite straightforward. It took me about two weeks and added 450 square feet.
I went to the farmer’s market today to get my transplants and then came home to enjoy the beautiful weather in the way I love most – with my hands in the dirt. I planted my flowers, fruits and vegetables with a variety of seeds and transplants. I still have to buy my medicinal herbs, but I already have over 40 varieties of produce and each kind has multiple plants. Here’s where I’m at so far:
Annual Flowers: violas, marigolds, alyssum
Annual Herbs: basil, cilantro, rosemary, dill, sage
Annual Fruits: watermelon
Annual Vegetables: kale, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, jalapenos, orange bell peppers, purple bell peppers, chocolate bell peppers, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, baby bok choy, lettuce, potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, carrots, onions, garlic
Perennial Herbs: mint, tarragon
Perennial Fruits: apples, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, grapes (soon!)
Perennial Vegetables: green onions, chives, asparagus
I’m so excited to make herbal salves and do a bunch of canning this season. It’s going to be a great year!
I got a new washing machine yesterday for my clinic and had it delivered and installed. After a month of struggling with trying to repair the old washing machine that came with my house, I finally decided it was time to replace it. The guy at Best Buy who helped me pick out my new appliance was very helpful and realistic about my budget. He even got me free delivery since they honor competitors’ pricing. The installers who came to my house were friendly and really helpful. I did three loads of laundry to celebrate my new investment in my new high efficiency Energy Star front loader. Who could know a new washing machine could bring so much joy?
After doing the online feedback survey, I stopped by the store today to thank the sales guy for helping me find the best appliance within my small budget. He wasn’t working so instead I thanked his coworker, who turned out to be his boss. I told her what a great job he did in helping me choose the right washing machine and how great the installers were. I did this because I wanted to share the joy that these guys brought into my life this week, since I know they don’t get to hear positive feedback very often.
I hope the next time someone does something to help you out that you can let them know how much you appreciate them. By sharing our joy, we make life more beautiful for others and ourselves.