Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

November 23, 2015

Chicken Drama

Somewhere between the sleepless nights and way-too-early mornings, thoughts pass through my foggy consciousness and call me to write. Then the moment slips away, baby’s brief nap ends and I’m back to being that little girl’s everything.
If I had a minute to write, I’d tell you about our chicken, Jolene, who died last fall. I’d tell you that in a moment of weakness for little fuzzy creatures, I agreed to get a baby chick this spring. I’d tell you that the baby chick lived in my son’s closet with a light on 24/7 through much of the summer and that my hot-blooded kid couldn’t sleep with his ceiling fan on because his chick could get chilled. I’d tell you that she moved from his closet to a dog kennel in the coop with the other girls and finally officially became one of the girls and moved in “for real”.


Berry – The New Girl

I’d also tell you about how some days, being a chicken mom stinks because your son comes in from the coop crying because his new chick’s head is bloody from being pecked by one of the other hens. I’d tell you how much fun it is to coordinate moving a chicken out of the coop into her vacation home in the compost bin.


Find Billina

And I’d tell you how easy it is to chase a chicken around with blue hair spray that’s supposed to protect her head and help her heal, but instead you end up spraying the wrong chicken, the chicken swing, the door and her face, making her look like she has a blue beard. I’d tell you that Billina (a.k.a. Bully-na) is currently looking to find a more permanent residence than her vacation home in the compost bin, she would really like to downsize into a small retirement home. And I’d tell you that the girls had a visit from a couple wild turkeys a few days ago. But alas, I’ve got to run, the baby is crying and needs to be fed, so I’ll have to save those stories for next time.

All my best,
Kate 😉

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

April 21, 2014

Thanks to Cancer

Cancer is such an ugly word. It brings fear, pain, suffering both physically and emotionally. It’s scary, especially if you’ve seen it’s work on yourself, family, friends or loved ones. For a lack of no other way to put it, Cancer sucks.

Thanks to Cancer, I’ve watched far too many friends and relatives suffer.

Thanks to Cancer I’ve walked around half of my life fearing that I will get it or my parents or family or friends will get it.

Thanks to Cancer, I’m afraid to die.

But it dawned on me this morning, that what if Cancer isn’t that bad? I often question whether it’s the Cancer that is making people suffer or the way we “treat” Cancer that makes people suffer.

Over the past few years, I’ve become aware of other “non-traditional” ways of treating, not Cancer, but the body, and the more methods I hear about and the more I learn, the more it makes sense.

I’ve mentioned the film The Gerson Miracle before, I’ve mentioned The Gerson Institute before, and I may have mentioned the film Ayurveda before as well.

The Gerson Institute is based on the studies of Dr. Max Gerson from the 1920s and his findings that juicing and a plant based diet can cure certain types of Cancer.

The film Ayurveda speaks to our bodies being in balance and if they are out of balance we will have illness and disease. One of the most interesting in that film to me was a statement that Western medicine treats Cancer, with Ayurveda, they understand that something in the body is out of balance, therefore it becomes a hospitable host for Cancer. If you correct that imbalance and bring the body back into balance, then the Cancer will leave because the body will no longer be a hospitable host. In Ayurveda, they heal the body with plants as well.

If you are familiar with Paul Stamets, you know that he also discovered though his study of mycillium that the Turkey Tail mushroom is an effective treatment for breast and prostate Cancer. A number of University studies have been conducted since his original findings to support this theory. Mushooms, another plant, or in this case, fungi, treating Cancer, or treating the body, getting rid of Cancer.

I spend a lot of time thinking about plants and soil: the healing properties of plants for soil; the effectiveness of growing plants in healthy soil versus dead soil.

I also spend a lot of time thinking about the healing properties of plants for people and the health and liveliness of people who are “on” plants.

The more I learn about this, the more it gets me thinking about Cancer.

This past weekend I learned of another family member getting diagnosed with Cancer. And it got me thinking again.

Cancer is scary. It’s scary because it can be terminal, but the reality is that life is terminal. So why is Cancer so scary? Is it because we are afraid of pain? Is it that we are afraid of suffering? Or is it that we are afraid to die?

This may sound crazy, but what if Cancer is a sign? A stop sign, or more specifically, a stop light. The yellow in the stop light of life.

What if we are driving down the road of life and see an intersection in the distance, we continue on, and about a half of a block away from the corner we can see that the light is green, but as we approach the intersection the light turns yellow. When we see the yellow light we are given a choice: we can glance at the light, look both ways, proceed through through the intersection with caution and continue down the road or we can take our foot off the gas, slow down, stop for the red and wait for the light to turn green again.

What if Cancer is that yellow light? What if Cancer is trying to get our attention on not only a personal level but also a larger scale? What if by offering us the yellow light it is trying to send us a message? What if it’s trying to tell us something in our life isn’t working? What if it’s trying to get our attention so that we slow down and make some changes before we proceed? What if it’s trying to get us to think, to trust our gut, to trust our judgement and make changes in our personal lives, our diets, our environment and in our world?

I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering why there is so much Cancer in our world. What if the answers aren’t as difficult as we think they are? What if we all know what needs to change but instead of looking up at that yellow light we’ve been accelerating through the intersection hoping for the best and saying a little prayer that we don’t get hit?

What if we are in control of whether or not we get Cancer and what if we are in control of fixing ourselves if we do?

A few people have asked me what brought me to IIN to do the Holistic Health Coaching program. The answer is that I have always had an interest in plants, growing food, health and wellness, but the driving force that got me into IIN was that I’m tired of watching my friends and family suffer from Cancer and the treatments for it. In my heart I believe there is another way, a better way. I believe that prevention is a key part of it, but I also believe that it’s never too late to change.

I believe that as more of us become aware of that yellow light, it will be easier to help each other change and we will create change on a larger scale.

Thanks to Cancer, I’m in IIN and want to be a Holistic Health Coach because I want to be a part of that change. I hope somewhere along the line I inspire you to be a part of the change too and that you, in turn inspire someone else.