Archive for March, 2015

March 29, 2015

The Farmer or The Miner

Our family is a part of Jacob’s Well in Minneapolis. To quote Jacob’s Well, it is “church for people who don’t like church”. I learned about Jacob’s Well through a friend and for the first time in my life, I feel like I have found a community that feels genuine, non-judgmental, supportive, challenging and down to earth.
There’s no physical church building. We meet in a middle school or the park near the waterfall or a mile marker during the Twin Cities Marathon because being a part of Jacob’s Well is about the people in the community, not about the space we are in. We grab a cup of coffee and chat before sitting down. Our gatherings feel more like going to a friend’s house to have a good conversation over a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning than going to listen to someone preaching to us.
But this post wasn’t meant to be about Jacob’s Well. It is, however, inspired by Jacob’s Well so I felt I needed to give credit where credit is due.
The message this week, which, by the way, our family listened to via podcast on our drive home from visiting my husband’s family, was about seeing God and our relationship with God as The Miner vs The Farmer and our connection with the soil.
Ahhhh, the soil… a topic I can truly connect with. Every time I step foot in my garden I feel the connection between me, the plants, the soil and a higher power. In fact, for many years, my church has been outside in the soil in my garden with plants, fresh air, wind, rain, sun, birds and insects. It’s hard to ignore the connection to a higher power when you spend time connecting with nature. You start to notice the similarities between the soil, the earth, and us and how we are all intertwined.
I realize though, that a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to spend the same amount of time outside in the soil (and straw bales) as I do, so they may not see the connections I see every day.
When I look at plants I see the connection we have not only with food, but also with the exchange of air. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Plants inhale our carbon dioxide and release oxygen. How can that be a coincidence?
When I look at soil I see dark, rich life which supports healthy plant life which ultimately supports our lives. Again, an accident?
I see large nut trees which protect smaller fruit trees and plants with tiny flowers attracting insects that attack other insects which try to kill plants. This seems like a plan.
I see support system after support system.
I see birds eating berries and flower seeds only to fly off and deposit them somewhere else. Part of a bigger plan.
I see worms and other insects eating decayed plant material, turning it back to dark, rich soil again. How can this be designed if not by a higher power?
I see soil germinating seeds, growing plants, which produce flowers which attract insects, who pollinate the plants, then return to make honey for themselves and us to eat while the pollinated flowers drop and turn into fruit for us to eat or decay and fall to the ground to have insects and animals eat, to disperse the seeds to start the process again. We couldn’t design a system so amazing!
But I also see soils, neglected, abused, stripped of their nutrients and minerals forced to do the same thing over and over without the symbiotic relationships they yearn for. I see these old, grey soils die and blow away in the wind. They don’t seem to be a part of the plan.
I see areas once lush woods and forested be cleared and mined, left ripped open, wounded, robbed and left vacant. Sad. Neglected.
I’ve also seen trees be planted where others had once been harvested. An exchange of sorts.
We can’t separate ourselves from the earth or the soil beneath our feet. We are part of it. It was a gift to us. And this gift was given with the responsibility to care for it and in turn, it cares for us.
Everything we do each day impacts the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil from which we eat.
Each day we get to decide whether we want to live like a miner, harvesting the gifts of our planet; metal, oil, coal, trees or food from the soil and moving on to harvest more and more, leaving nothing behind or whether we want to be like farmers; planting, feeding, harvesting and nurturing the soil in a symbiotic relationship that will last beyond our years.
Each day we have a choice, but it’s not really our choice. By accepting the gift of life, the gift of soil and everything that goes with it, we accepted the responsibility to care for it like it were ours, because it is ours.
For now.


March 14, 2015

…and we’re back!

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post. Too long!

A lot has changed since my last post.  Let’s see if I can bring you up to speed.

I started the program with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Health Coach last spring and loved it.  And then things changed.  A couple of months into the program I found out I was pregnant!  I was overwhelmed with emotion, two of the biggest being excitement and fear.  Why fear?  Well, because I don’t do pregnancy well.  I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) during my pregnancy with my son, which if you’re not familiar with, means you have extreme nausea and vomiting around the clock. (Think of your worst hangover and bout of stomach flu, combine them together and then imagine having it for 9 months).  I hoped and prayed this pregnancy wouldn’t be like that, but unfortunately I did get HG again and without getting into the gory details, I’ll tell you that it basically made me worthless for the duration of my pregnancy. Unfortunately, that also meant letting go of my Heath Coaching program (but hope to return and finish this year).

That aside, with a lot of support from my family and friends, I survived and even managed to get a few amazing things accomplished last year.  I was a part of a project with Seed Savers Exchange and Seed Sages to grow out heirloom tomatoes that had limited prior documentation, save seed, document the growth habits, insect and disease resistance and present them in a tomato tasting at the end of the season.  It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun! Had it not been for growing them in straw bales and having an automatic watering system in place I’m not sure it would have turned out the same way.

I also was asked to be on the Richfield Beautiful Garden Tour, which show cased my Straw Bale Garden.  The tour took place on a rainy Saturday in July, but we still had over 95 people attend!  Just prior to the garden tour, a writer for the local paper contacted me and asked to do an interview and article (which you can read here if you are interested). That article caught the attention of Joel Karsten, the author of the book Straw Bale Gardens, and the next thing I knew his publisher called and they came out with a camera crew to snap some photos of my garden. Joel came along for the photo shoot and I had the pleasure of meeting him that day. We got to talking about Straw Bale Gardens, his background and my background and eventually, Joel offered me an awesome opportunity to get out and share the knowledge I have about Straw Bale Gardens with others.  I took him up on the offer and now, this spring (starting next week, actually) I’ll be teaching classes helping others learn “How to Grow A Straw Bale Garden”.

As if that wasn’t gift enough, December finally came and all of my sickness ended when I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.  I fell in love with her the moment I saw her.  Holding her in my arms washed away all of the struggles with my pregnancy and has truly made my world and our family feel complete.

So there you have it, nearly a year in a nutshell.  It was full of excitement, disappointment, illness and unbelievable joy.  And if I had to do it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat.

I’m truly blessed and looking forward to a fun year. I hope you are too!Kate