Daydream Believer

Still chained down by my body and life… which means that my dreams are in full flight.

Came around to thinking… you know, I live here and daydream about living somewhere else.  But what if I fixed the things about here that drive me so bonkers, and made “here” the paradise that it could be? Or at least got busy and started making positive changes?

I listen to youtube when I do chores.  My crew has slowly started including more and more homestead bloggers.  They led me to videos about permaculture.   And THAT led me to daydreaming about gardening again.

There are two main barriers to my gardening efforts

  1. I suck at maintenance
  2. Water (I live somewhere 10″ of rain a year is exciting stuff)

So.  If I could set up a system where the watering and maintenance largely took care of themselves, and I just had to trot up and pluck food or cut flowers… wouldn’t that be good?  Oh, and knowing me, it has to be PRETTY.  If it’s not pretty, I’ll lose interest.  (Just being real here – we all have weaknesses, and that’s one of mine).

The soil is sad here, but I don’t mind doing soil amendments. (I will dig.  I will haul.  I will design.  I will compost.  But weeding, let’s not).  Actually, it’s not bad-bad, it has good soil fertility, but it has no biomass.  So, once you get it composted and fluffed (takes a few years) you have some good soil going on.   (Look closely at the cracks in the soil.  And this was garden soil some years back … I tell you, I could make bricks from this stuff.  This is what it looked like once we ripped the foxtails out, I haven’t been watering over here, and DH mowed).


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Pixels of my daydreaming:

This is the backyard/hill as is.  (There is a slim strip of lawn between the woodpile and house).  We are planning to take the rest of the pepper trees out.  Yes, they are nice and big and the bees like them – but that’s the end of the good from them.  They’re weed trees and their leaf litter kills anything under them.  No fruit, no useful flowers, no bueno.

Erosion control is a THING for the hill, obviously.  It’s very steep.


This is the path that MIL put up the hillside.  It needs repair before I can get up there and play, because my legs are not long enough to hit the footholds to climb up the hill without these stairs.  Yes, there are stairs under the wisteria somewhere.  (It needs taming).


A closer pic of the hill.  On TOP of the hill is a 10′ wide flat area, perfect for an orchard/garden.  If I could get up there… if there was water up there… if those awful trees were gone…

The bare spot is where DH has been skidding the tree bits as he chops them off.  There wasn’t much there anyway except weeds.  See:  Pepper Tree Kills Plants Around It

We’d tried to make this side of the hill into an herb garden.  It gets direct sun much of the  year (west facing hillside) and herbs don’t mind not getting much water, and shrubby herbs can do some erosion control too.  Not culinary herbs you’d want to get at, so much, as things to draw butterflies and hummingbirds and the like.

There’s a retaining wall at the bottom, where we keep our roses.  Um, some of the roses.  😀


First steps:  Pepper tree down, stairs repaired, water pipe of some sort (I’d be happy with greywater from the laundry, if we could find a good way to filter it and pump it up the hill, I think DH is thinking of just piping proper water).

Second steps:  Plumbago (to which my husband is allergic, and has no real function) removed.  Succulents removed (if DH doesn’t save them).  (I will make 16yo do this.  He likes swinging the machete, and what else is a 16yo, almost 17yo boy for, if not heavy yardwork?)

Third steps:  Planting large things – trees/shrubs.  We have a *impervious* Meyer lemon up there under the pepper tree – it will probably go nuts with a little TLC, since being completely ignored hasn’t killed it.  We also have a not-very-happy pomegranate.  But it’s a good spot for more trees, and we have a perfectly useful chain-link fence which practically cries out for more vines (it has some wisteria on it too).

Fourth step:  Planting herbs/small shrubs/putting together some vegetable garden.

I have this all on paper, and today I picked up a book on permaculture, which will no doubt force me to reevaluate everything (totally fine).  What I want to create is a space where you can sit and watch the world go by, and I want a yard full of flowers and fruit and shade and herbs and all the good things.  And I want it to work in tandem so that I don’t have to do much messing, and the messing I do is all joy.  Oh, and I don’t want to double our water bill.  :p

(And if the neighbor decided to remove the fire hazard eucalyptus tree you can see, that wouldn’t upset me a bit).

Anyway.  I’m daydreaming again… beware!

Unified Food Field Theory: Pt. 2

We’ll entitle this:  Things I Suspect

I suspect that GMO foods, poor soil management, pesticides and herbicides have made the bulk of the food that we eat less nutritious than God created it to be.

I notice that organic foods, home-grown, local foods taste better.  And that they make my body happier.

I suspect this particularly affects wheat.  I hear that bread, in other countries, tastes differently than our bread does (less sweet).  I hear that it affects people’s waistlines less.

I suspect that the legions of people who notice that certain foods have an aversive affect (but not a full-out allergy) could tolerate those foods in moderation if the food in question was 1) grown old-school and 2) prepared old-school (including applicable soaking/souring).  I notice that though it’s still wheat, and I still don’t want very much of it, the 24hour soured sourdough bread I get is much more tolerable to my body than regular bread.

I don’t quite understand how everyone I know who goes on a food-allergy diet ends up aversive to staple foods like legumes and grains and dairy (hey, dairy is a staple food for a lot of people).

I notice that including proper fermented food in my diet practically makes my body do a cheerleading routine.

I suspect that none of us eats the amount of veggies that they should.  I notice that some folks have bodies that scream for raw veg and some want it cooked.

I suspect that where your ancestors were raised affects which foods agree with you the most, which foods support your body the best.

I suspect that where you live and what you do with your life also affects those things, and they should be considered in concert.

I suspect that seasonal eating, following the rhythms of weather and usual harvest patterns, is a very healthy choice, and confuses people who spend too much time indoors and don’t understand why they crave comfort food at one time and salads at another.

I suspect that we were given tastebuds so that we could figure out which were the very best foods for our bodies, because I notice that the better the food is for me, the better it tastes – once I’m “clean” of the sugar monster, that is.

I suspect that we are supposed to eat rather a lot more herbs and spices than we do.

I’m pretty certain that none of this was designed to be as annoying as it is today.

Unified Field Theory: Food

13yo and I are gearing up to start Whole 30 for the month of June.  I’m totally looking forward to this – I need a reset badly.  13yo is finally ready to lose weight, and she’s looking in the mirror at her poor food habits and not liking what she sees.  (I don’t fool myself into thinking it’s going to be a breeze for either of us, but … she’s ready).

Do I think that the extreme version of Paleo that Whole 30 represents is the optimum diet plan for life?  No.

I think it’s a reset, a way to get your body clean and your ears ready to hear your body telling you what it needs – and needs to avoid.

I *think* that Nourishing Traditions is the optimum diet plan for life – and that’s because while I think that there are some good hard and fast rules for food (it’s fuel – GIGO applies; don’t eat fake food; avoid chemicals; too much sugar is bad; everyone should eat a lot of vegetation; ferments are awesome), from there the “perfect diet” differs from person to person, from life-stage to life-stage, from activity to activity.

I have a friend that does very well on a nearly-pure vegan diet, with odd meat-cheats.   High fat makes her sick.  Dairy disagrees with her, even hard cheese is too much.   If you give chocolate to my BFF’s son, you deserve what’s going to happen to you in about an hour.  *I* won’t be in range, thankyouverymuch.

I have friends who eat grains happily, in health.   My mom is 75yo and can still drink (and enjoy) liquid milk.   I know someone with a disease that means she has to mainline salt!  She has to eat so much of it that she gets sick of it.

I find that a too-low-fat diet makes me Eeyore very quickly, and that cruciferous veggies are my BFFs – as long as they’re cooked.  Well, second only to raw sauerkraut, to which I am developing a serious addiction.   If I’m lifting, magically I want to eat more protein.  I know that too much sugar is terrible for me, and that my threshold for “too much” is rather a lot lower than I’d like it to be.


WHY should we all eat one diet?  That would be stupid.    But whole foods?  We should all eat those.  Food sourcing matters.  Pesticides and herbicides matter.

I don’t think that the ideal involves us making food an idol, either.   And I’m not even saying everything in moderation – I think differently.  I think we should have feasts, and special times to enjoy the most wonderful flavors and sensory experiences that we can conjure up.   But I believe that we should SHARE those experiences, so that we enjoy them for a moment, and then that moment is over.

Bad food is like wearing weights.  You don’t want to burden yourself with the bad stuff on the regular, you don’t want to eat party food on the daily.  On the day to day, you want to eat good food that makes you feel incredible, that makes you feel strong and smart and clear and light.

Whatever that prescription is for you, that’s what you should eat.   And you should drink lots of clean water, avoid other chemicals as you can, put clean things on your skin and hair – do as much good for yourself as you can.

Anyway.  That’s what I think.  And I’m going to do the reset, and I’ll let you know how that goes.  🙂

Birthday Cake

13yo and my dad had a joint birthday today….

She asked me for a unicorn cake.  I haven’t “done up” a cake in a long time, but I do enjoy it.  I went pedal-to-the-metal with this one.  Hey, you only turn 13 once.    She made the horn.  🙂

For what it’s worth, edible gold spray paint is a very disappointing color of yellow, it’s not metallic, and food pens don’t work very well on buttercream icing.

The cake sent 16yo into sugar shock, I guess he felt inclined to EAT all that frosting.  (It was proper frosting, lemon flavored – not horrible crisco decorator icing).  He has made me pledge to have nothing remotely unicorn themed at his birthday – there were a LOT of sparkly rainbow unicornish things on parade today.  Hey.  13.  Girl.  That’s how we roll.  😀

My mom made my dad’s cake – a nice water-bath cheesecake, GF, frosted with sour cream.   I found him a book by John Muir that one of his favorite authors wrote the preface to… got him a few other books, and 16yo bought him a watch.

Guess maybe there’s a difference between being 13 and 74, male and female?

Anyway, if anyone is looking for me, get a broom and poke around the ceiling, probably will work.

Staring at pictures…

I’m looking at an old pic of my mom, my grandma and I.  Mom doesn’t really like too many pix of her online, so I won’t post it.  Instead, here are some other pix of my grandma.

When I had my senior picture taken, everyone told me how freakishly alike my grandma I looked, excepting our coloring.  (Three blonde grandparents and my hair is dark brown…)

They tell me we’re a lot alike.  One of the few stories I have of my grandma is a story mom told me about bringing a beau home sometime in the late 50s… it was summer, grandma had taken the dogs out for a walk in the farm, and being a hot day, the dogs had jumped in the pond and she’d decided to follow.  They all traipsed home, grandma dripping wet… the beau was most unamused.  (My mom broke up with him for not having a sense of humor).

Would I jump in a pond on a hot day, fully dressed, on a whim?   Duh.

They tell me my grandma “didn’t know a stranger”, and that she was kind to people that  you wouldn’t think a nice lady would be kind to.   That she made a difference.  She was loved.  She loved nice clothing, and she was the reason my mom was voted ‘best dressed’ in HS.

Sometimes I wish I could have known that grandma.  Sounds like we could have gotten into some serious hijinx together.

This is the grandma I did know.  We lived within a city’s distance of her, most of my growing up years.  She and I spent a lot of time together.  She was quiet, and didn’t talk much about herself.  I lost her before I got old enough to start asking questions about her life…

But if you ever wanted to know where I got the Southern Lady titanium backbone covered with fluffy marshmallows, here she is:


She was an RN, she worked in the post-partum ward.  Yes, my first nurse was my grandma!  (Let’s just say I’m pretty sure I got excellent care in the first few days of my life).  If you know a nurse, you know the nurse thing – sweet and kind and nurturing, and you’d best do as you were told.

She was born and raised in the deep South, and moved out to CA around the same time as my grandpa.   She about half-raised me, I spend a lot of time with her growing up.  No hijinx, lots of being there.   My BFF continually reminds me of my paternal grandma.  Same character, same steady sweetness.

(Doesn’t Grandpa look dashing?)

Happy Mother’s Day, all.  🙂

Thursday Night Fun

Had a minor medical procedure on Friday, but it means a couple weeks off of lifting heavy things… so, happy that my coach let me finish strong by programming heavy backsquats on Thursday night.  I got a new PR:  245lb.  (I did that *twice*, because the first time (pictured) I didn’t get all the way horizontal.  So I did it again, butt below my knees).

It felt good to finish strong.



Glads Pt 2

Five days later, they’ve bloomed for maximum show.  I’ll be able to enjoy these for probably another five days, plucking the worn blossoms from the bottom and trimming them shorter as I go.