09 July 2014

warm, clear life

I liked the rhythm of today. We just had our racquets strung and returned to the neighborhood tennis court after a hiatus. Then we walked our bikes over to the Gecko Garden at the edge of Pioneer Park. The eggplants are shiny and gorgeous. We're helping out while the kids are on summer break. And as always, I return to the studio to create recordings. Nothing unusual to report, just a warm clear day and a warm clear life.

28 December 2013

sustainable sophia

The Sophia Conference - Near Zero Waste

The Sophia Conference brings together San Diego women to tend our souls every year. We sing, dance, listen to each other, and share beautiful food made with love. Because of the holistic nature of the Institute of Feminine Wisdom, we include Mother Earth in our sisterhood, and keep moving closer to zero waste at these events. With about 75 women in attendance, here's what we were able to capture and (mostly) divert from the landfill:

REDUCE (COMPOST) - About 3 gallons of mostly napkins and tea bags, plus a few food scraps and a nice big stack of uncoated paper dishes to work into the compost bin

REUSE - Two glass gallon jugs

RECYCLE - Two boxes, one paper coffee collar, and 5 recyclable plastic lids

LANDFILL - Veggie plastic spoons, plastic wrap, name tags, 3 black trash bags, 6 wax-lined coffee cups

Thank you to everyone who brought their own mug or water bottle. This allowed us to eliminate the "compostable" corn-based plastic cups from last year, once we learned that they are not recyclable in San Diego (or anywhere else that I know of) and sadly, they will not break down in a backyard compost pile.

Please remember that there is no such place as "away" for us to throw our trash. Modern landfills are lined with layers of absorbent material and sheets of plastic to keep pollutants from leaking into the soil and water. It's like a big Tupperware container buried in the ground. Not good.

We can improve next year by capturing kitchen scraps and trash from behind the scenes and all paper from the registration desk and vendor tables, for a complete snapshot of our waste stream. We can also encourage carpooling and public transit. Please share other ideas for leaving a light environmental footprint.

21 July 2013

edible ecosystem

Creating an edible ecosystem is what permaculture is all about, looking for ways to layer in more life, more food, and fewer tasks for the gardener. When Christopher Shein came to City College this week to introduce his engaging new book "The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture" I was grateful to be there with my friends Dorothea and Ellie.

I was reminded that the leaves and shoots of Chayote squash are edible. First introduced to this idea at a Hanoi restaurant where sauteed pumpkin leaves were on the menu, I had forgotten that these vital fuzzy greens are delicious! Chayote is a vigorous grower that will overrun anything in its path. Trimming is essential, and these tender early parts will soon be on our dinner table.

We talked about climbing Malabar spinach that produces year-round in coastal San Diego. Lucky us, to have the leaves of such a beautiful vine to add to salads. It has a slippery texture and tart flavor more like purslane than spinach. I've only eaten it raw. It may taste more like spinach when steamed.

From the garden at Merritt College in Oakland, Christopher shared seed for collards, chard and the Mimosa tree. I've planted them all. My Aunt Pat had a pink-flowered "silk tree" in her front yard when I was little. It's a nitrogen fixer that improves the soil as it spreads a broad canopy, but lets through enough filtered light that lots of food can grow under the Mimosa shelter. We do need some leafy cover to buffer the bright Southern California sunshine. Now to find the right place for it...

16 July 2013

back to the garden

"We are stardust. We are golden. We are billion year old carbon.
And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

[Woodstock ~ Joni Mitchell]

11 April 2013

new moon yantra

There's a new moon in Aries and it can super-charge creativity, according to dear ones who are in tune with  these energies.  Last night, Laura Plumb provided glue sticks, colored paper and intention to a circle of women who were invited to create their own Yantra for this season of Spring renewal.

I have to admit, I had never before heard the word "Yantra" but after a little enlightenment on the subject, I like the concept very much.  It's kind of a personal mandala and focus for your meditation.  I gathered the clippings I had in a box for a vision board that never took shape - taken from a letterpress project, a special card, tiny Tibetan prayer flags, magazines.  I resurrected words and images, played fast and loose with the petals and triangles of the Yantra and made a little collage that pleases me.  My muse says to shine.  Just shine, and to keep seeking honesty in any of the infinite ways to express my soul in this life.

Each Yantra was deeply personal and quite beautiful.  The diversity was exciting to see.  I'm feeling alive!

03 April 2013

mission fig watercolor

Sitting in the garden and drawing what I see is very meditative.  Unpacking my new paint set and mixing the colors is where the challenge lies.  Finding the right shades of green and mixing just the right size "puddle" of paint so that the greens will be consistent takes patience.

Next time I'll take a shot at the bright blue pot the Mission fig grows in.

29 March 2013

eucalyptus watercolor

My pen and ink watercolor class is a total delight.  The group is small, the teacher inspires me, and (bonus) it's an easy bike ride to the Park Blvd studio.  I tried a Eucalyptus branch first. Next week we're going to sit in a University Heights coffee shop to sketch what we see.

I hear there's an urban "Sketch Crawl" that meets up every week here in San Diego, based on the work of Danny Gregory - I'm putting it on my list of new things to try this Spring.