~ For people who are passionate about respecting the earth, walking in nature, observing wildlife, local diet, making do, repurposing, organic gardening, foraging for wild plants and fungi, natural health, scrumptious healthy cooking, renovations, DIY, crafting, raising children simply and mindfully, taking time for stillness, and living in harmony with the seasons.
Winter is almost here and my daily work schedule has been changing in response to the shorter days and much cooler temperatures. Like the squirrel that lives in the woodshed (pictured above gathering hawthorn berries), I have been very busy preparing for the coming cold months…
This time of year, the rising sun greets me just as I also am ‘rising’ each morning. I like to sit quietly, sipping my hot water and reflecting on the beauty that surrounds me and nourishes my spirit. Now that the leaves have fallen, I have a much better view of the sunrises and the lake.
The Autumn colors are completely done now. Not a single yellow leaf remains. The wild plants and grasses are brown, dry and brittle. Lucy and I still hike every morning and evening on the trails behind the cabin. Each morning the heavy frost crunches under my feet and I am getting excited about the coming snow (lots of snow, please!) and trading in my hiking boots for cross country skis…
The Autumn chores are slowly getting done. Last week my neighbor K came over and together we blew out my irrigation system (I have ‘underground’ water both at the greenhouse and all the way out to the Medicine Wheel garden). I also cleaned out the greenhouse and did more tidying in the veggie garden in preparation for spring.
By the way, I am finding that there are still many interesting things to discover and photograph around the garden. Here are some artichokes that I never got around to harvesting:
Finally, I took down the Autumn wreath of orange and yellow Chinese lanterns and replaced it with the red berry winter wreath. This week I plan on sweeping the roof, cleaning the eaves troughs, raking the remaining leaves in the front yard, bringing in the last of the outdoor furniture and building Lucy a dog house. Then I should be ready for winter…
I would like to show you the vegetable garden. When we bought the cabin last fall it was just a little postage stamp of a plot with some potatoes left behind. We dug these up in October and they lasted us until March.
By November, the land was covered in snow and I spent the winter planning my garden, making endless lists and researching ‘deer- and rabbit-resistant gardening’. In May, my wonderful neighbor, K, came over with her tractor and tilled the soil for me, enlarging the garden into it’s current size. The soil is good in this spot and I was told that years ago this used to be a large garden.
Once tilled, I mapped out a Medicine Wheel design using mulch for the pathways. I added some plants and sowed some seeds. Then I spent an afternoon pounding in large stakes for the fence. My budget was very limited so I used what I could find on the land. I also found some rusty barbed wire fencing in large rolls around the property. I carefully unwound these and wrapped these around the poles, using wire to fasten it to the stakes. I did two rows of fencing, one on top of the other and wired these together. This was tricky as I did this on my own, holding the fence in place with my head while wiring the fencing together with needle nose pliers and being careful not to get scratched with the rusty wire…
I choose a Medicine Wheel design as I wanted to be intentional in my creation of a garden. This place would be set aside as a quiet place for contemplation, a source of nourishment and healing. For some reason, stepping into a circular garden invokes a feeling of reverence and quiet power.
Both the design and use of sacred space are processes that draw on both the conscious and unconscious levels of mind and spirit. We learn as we create and we change as we garden. Let the process inform you spirit. ~Peg Streep
The circle has four quadrants (which were further subdivided into pie-shaped plots) set to the cardinal directions (north, east, south and west). Each direction has a corresponding element (earth, air, fire and water). The center of the circle is a place of concentrated ‘power’ and peace. At the door of the garden is a pile of stones found previously buried in the soil. Visitors are invited to take a stone, envision a prayer or request, wish or blessing, and imagine that they are putting it into the stone. Then they can place the stone in the center bowl. As I spend time each day working in the garden, I meditate, contemplate and pray. I sing songs, I laugh, I dance, I express gratitude for the earth’s abundance. I imagine this good energy being absorbed into the growing plants.
The creation of sacred space- how we set apart and arrange a certain spot and imbue it with reverent feelings… draws us closer to nature and affirms our personal ties with the earth. Medicine Wheel gardens are places for celebrating and teaching. Some go to the Medicine Wheel garden for vision quests, prayer and personal renewal. Others see it as a place to gather together for drumming, fire ceremonies and singing. -E.Barrie Kavasch
The above shot was just taken today. I love spending time in the garden and taking care of it never feels like a chore. I feel the earth supporting my body as I kneel to work, I listen to the wind and the birds, I feel the sun and sometimes rain on my skin and all of this brings me deep contentment. Today, it was a very hot and sunny day. Here are a few more shots of things growing in the garden…
I am noticing lots of green and yellow in the pictures but very little red. I do have red beets and radishes and red lettuce and potatoes; and soon will also have red peppers, chili peppers and loads of tomatoes, if only we would get more warmer weather. In fact, everything is behind this year due to the cool, wet summer. Perhaps we will have a hot late summer/autumn in time for harvest?
This season marks phase one in the Medicine Wheel garden design. Next year, I will add raised beds and incorporate the four elements into each quadrant (a bowl of stones for earth, prayer flags and wind chimes for air, a small fire bowl for fire, and a bird bath for water). In the meantime, we have a few months of harvest ahead of us. I will show you more pictures of the garden as the summer progresses.