Terri's Airy Fairie World

Musings on Music, Tea, Gardening, Food & Life…


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Dreaming in Music…

Do you ever wake up dreaming music?

Maybe you’re just hearing it in your dreams, as a soundtrack, and then that song that is playing in your head when you wake up remains with you throughout the day, along with the feelings associated with it. This morning I woke up hearing The Old Castle from Mussorgsky’s ‘Picture’s at an Exhibition’. Here’s a link to the Tishmalov version, if you’d like to give it a listen. It’s beautiful and rich and haunting. Take the time to close your eyes and allow a story to unfold. That’s the best way (IMHO) to experience music, especially orchestral music.

Last week there was a day I woke up with ‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’, from the Fantasticks!     I love that show! It’s my favorite musical, and so much fun to play. The orchestration is just a harp and a piano. If you’ve never seen the Fantasticks, here’s a link. Oh, and that is not me playing the harp, it’s just a random video I found on Youtube.

I’m a big fan of dreams, a vivid dreamer, a dream journaler, and so many of my dreams have been portents of things to come. I often write my dreams down, but the really vivid ones stick with me for years, their  impact resonating in my life. My first musical dreams, and the first dreams I remember, took place when I was 3 or 4. I dreamed I was a Fairie, with beautiful butterfly wings, playing a harp and singing.  It has been and is a recurrent dream, and for those who know me, it is proof that dreams can & do come true, in ways we can never imagine! During early childhood, while all the other girls were pretending they were princesses, I was pretending to be the Magic Singing Harp from Jack in the Beanstock. All of my life I knew I would eventually play the Harp,  and when the opportunity came at the age of 19, I gave it my all. Now I AM the Magic Singing Harp. I AM a Fairie, and music gives me beautiful butterfly wings. The dreams we manifest can point the way to our Heart’s desires, and help us to manifest the lives we dream of.

I often dream that I’m playing music, usually on the Harp, occasionally on the Piano (which I also play), and sometimes on instruments that I still don’t know how to play, like the Kora, a West African Lyre/Harp.

or the Guzheng, a Chinese Zither, which is a cousin to the Harp. I’m hoping to buy one of them sometime soon 🙂

or the Qanun/Kanoon, a Turkish Zither.

Thirty years ago I wrote a letter to Jalaleddin Takesh, a famous Kanoon player, introducing myself as a professional Harpist and telling him of my interest in that instrument. I asked him where I could procure a good quality Kanoon, and written instructions on how to tune & play it. He actually took the time to send a reply, informing me that as a woman, I lacked the complex thinking required to play such an instrument, and some other demeaning BS. At the time I owned all of his recordings, which were wonderful. I broke them all. There are plenty of other gifted musicians in the world, who don’t view women as incompetent or less than. I listen to them instead. And as you can see, the person playing the Kanoon in the video above is a woman.

I also have dreams where I’m composing music. That can be a little crazy, as I wake  up groping for the light switch, my journal, and a pen to jot down notes, lyrics, rhythmic patterns, etc. A few years ago I dreamed it was snowing, and I heard the opening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and then superimposed over that was ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, by Gustav Holst. I woke up, quickly went downstairs, sat down at my harp with my practice journal (I have journals for everything), and started testing it out, and with a few harmonic tweakings, it worked! That dream became the inspiration and the title cut for my xmasy CD, MidWinter’s Canon.

Years ago I wrote a song called ‘Journey to Serenity’, which is on my Cynical Serenity CD. The lyrics were written while I was on a plane, flying from St. Louis to visit my folks in Florida. The music didn’t come to me right away, however, which can be frustrating for songwriters, and I do have a drawer full of song lyrics that I’ve never set to music…yet… Anyway, I’ve learned that you can’t force it, so I just let it go for awhile, contemplating the lyrics, tinkering with some ideas on the Harp, but otherwise believing that it would happen in it’s time. Lo and behold, a few weeks later I dreamed that I was in a plane, and it was kind of like a crazy music video, where sometimes I was playing and singing and sometimes I was sitting in my seat looking down from the sky. In the early morning hours I ended up down in my studio, playing my harp and singing softly, and jotting things down, and by the time the sun rose, the song was complete.

If you’d like to see and hear it, here’s a video.

 

About year ago, I woke up with Tom Petty’s song, ‘I Won’t Back Down’ stuck in my head. It’s probably my least favorite Tom Petty song of all time, and it haunted me for a couple of weeks. I thought I’d never get that song out of my head!

Do you dream in music? If so, what kinds of music do you tend to dream?


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My Post-Election Pre-Apocolyptic Breakfast – The REALLY best Paleo almost Aip Plantain Pancakes!

First off, I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since I’ve posted!

I’ve started several posts during that time, all with good intentions. I’ve taken several photo of my garden, food, and all the other awesome things in my life. But I’ve just been way to busy to spend any real time at my computer, sorting things out into some kind of coherent blog post.

What was I doing?

Playing gigs! During the period between October 16th and Dec 4th I played with 7 different orchestras, yes, Seven different orchestras, with 7 different concert programs, in 8 weeks! So I was practicing A LOT  in between my usual schedule of private students (Harp & Piano). Meanwhile I was also playing a variety of other gigs during that time, like weddings, funerals, etc. And when I was done with all of that, the HoliDaze gigs started, but now all I have left is 2 Christmas Eve church services, and then a blessed week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. No gigs. No students. Just a week to sleep, rest, eat good food, and goof off a little bit. And get ready for the New Year!

Anyway, it’s all good, and next week I’m going to try to end the year by sharing a mini-compilation of some of the posts I almost posted over the last couple of months, just so that those photo’s and semi-blog-blurbs won’t go to waste!

Meanwhile, here is the Post I had planned to post a few days after the election, written on November 9th.

My Post Election Pre-Apocolyptic Breakfast

On Election Day (yesterday) my sons & I got up early, so that we could be at the poll when it opened to exercise our right & responsibility to vote, and then go out to breakfast. It’s our tradition. Afterwards, we came home and I spent the entire day cleaning my sunroom, and bringing in the houseplants that have lived outside for the last several months. I love sitting in my sunroom, sipping tea, eating breakfast, and communing with my dwarf citrus trees all winter!

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I didn’t spend the day thinking about the election, although I did check online before I went to bed, and it was clear to me by 9pm that Trump was going to be the winner, admittedly not the outcome I was hoping for, but I slept well anyway.

Now that the election is over, I’m grateful for the following things:

  1. The end, at least for a few years, of all the political bullshit: phone calls, advertisements, junk mail, etc. What a waste of time, resources, and materials.
  2. I’m also grateful that I live in the USA, where everyone is allowed to vote, and if I don’t like the outcome, in 4 years I can try again.
  3. My wonderful creative life, which I will continue to enjoy with wild abandon. I will continue to play my harp, garden, sing, make good food, meditate, encourage & nurture my inner child, be kind, and savor the many awesome moments that life offers, 24 – 7.

As an American, I am disgusted/dismayed by the following things:

  1. The hatefulness & slanderous comments that are allowed to proliferate in the media, especially during election years. It’s nothing new. The candidates spend most of their time telling us how awful their opponent is, & implying negative things about their honesty, integrity, and intentions. They tell us very little about themselves. There is a saying that applies here: “When you point a finger at somebody else, you’re pointing 3 back at yourself.” I wish the candidates would all agree to this suggestion: If you can’t say something nice, please don’t say anything at all. Quit talking about your opponent, and tell me about yourself. I also wish that the media would agree to not allow vaguely slanderous comments & outright lies to be broadcasted, published, etc.
  2. The ignorance of my fellow Americans, and the Dumbing Down of the American People. There are a lot of Americans who are poorly educated & poorly informed. Add to this the addiction to Reality TV, which in my opinion generally promotes rude behavior and overall stupidity. Many people will believe anything they see on TV, and even more so if they see it on the internet. Any blogger can post something hateful & blatantly slanderous/untrue, and I guarantee there are people who will believe it & share it as a fact.
  3. People who don’t vote, but want to complain about the government & the election results, and then blather on in an uninformed way about these things. Shut the F@#k up, please!
  4. The Doomsday Drama Queens (both male & female), who proliferate on social media. Just because your candidate didn’t win, that doesn’t mean the world is going to end, or our country is going to collapse, or one of the other super powers is going to starting lobbing missiles our way.
  5. The Crazy Racists, Masogynists, and other Wacko’s that seem to proliferate in the USA these days.

I personally avoid Drama in my life. Fear of the Future will keep me from enjoying today. Talking about and imagining horrible scenarios where women lose all their rights, where we return to some kind of dark ages, & where Hitler-esque atrocities take place is not conducive to savoring life. When we imagine fearful, painful, miserable things, we feel those emotions each time. We become emotionally invested in them. We mind-F&@k ourselves into an endless cycle of emotions & mental realities that will probably never actually materialize in real life. Whether we’re talking about Election results, or just in everyday life, it’s a self-destructive practice that I let go of over 30 years ago, and for that I am endlessly grateful.

I’m not talking about going into denial & sticking my head in the sand like an ostrich. I’m talking about living my life as if nothing has changed, until something actually changes. In that event, I’ll feel what I feel in that moment, do whatever it is I need to do, and continue on. It’s called Living.

We have a new President Elect (he won’t actually be the President until January).

As we say in recovery, Acceptance is the Key.

I don’t know where the next 4 years will lead us. Nobody really knows. But I do know that the President is only one person, that there are limits to that person’s power, and just because he says he’s going to do certain things, that doesn’t mean the American people will allow it. We are a country that prizes personal freedom, and our constitution guarantees that.

Where do we go from here? Forward! Starting with a Decadent Breakfast, because every day in my house starts with food.

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My Post-Election Pre-Apocolyse Breakfast was Plantain pancakes, bacon, eggs topped with crispy shallots on a bed of greens, and peach preserves (one of my rare cheats, although they are fruit juice sweetened at least), with plenty of black tea!

“Why so many cups of tea, AND a pot of tea too?” you inquire…

Because I love tea! And I want to linger over my breakfast, without having to get up and make more.

My hopes for the USA & all of it’s inhabitants: Let’s all be kind to one another. Let’s all be Creative and express ourselves in a loving way, accepting & celebrating our differences, encouraging each other to learn & grow. And don’t forget to have a good breakfast!

The REALLY best Paleo/almost AIP Plantain Pancakes Recipe!

I’ve been playing around with this recipe for awhile, and I have to say, I’m really satisfied with the taste and the texture! Most of the plantain pancake recipes I’ve tried have been really gummy, and also a disaster to flip. These are almost like ‘real’ pancakes!

1 Plantain – If you want a sweeter pancake, go with a riper plantain. If you want more savory, go with green. Slice it up into several pieces & remove the peel. You can also use bananas, but you’ll probably need 1.5 – 2 bananas to equal one plantain.

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tb melted coconut oil

a pinch of salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Tb Coconut Flour

2 Tb Arrowroot Flour

Opt: Cinnamon, Powdered Ginger, or other flavors you like (pumpkin pie spice?)

Put all of the ingredients into your food processor & let it go, stopping to scrape the edges a few times, just to make sure everything gets blended up well. Meanwhile, heat up a griddle or skillet to medium-ish. I love my cast iron griddle! And BTW, if you’re using cast iron cookware (and if you’re not, you really should be!), you need a silicone basting brush! It’s the best way to oil your skillets and such, and it also doubles as a fun inner child painting activity! You can baste it with coconut oil, lard, bacon fat, or whatever fat you choose. Also, if something sticks, just work that basting brush under the edges and it will usually let go like magic!

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Once the griddle is hot, start making pancakes! I like to use a small ladle, I think the one in the pic holds about 1/8 of a cup, or maybe 1/4th. I keep the pancakes smallish, so that they are easier to turn. Let them bubble, but keep an eye them because they do have a tendency to burn rather easily. They might not bubble that much, and if you need to flip them more than once, it’s ok. Just do it. They will have a tender texture when they first come off the griddle, but will firm up a little more as they cool.

Once the pancakes are done, fry  up some bacon on the same surface, and eggs if you like, and enjoy! You can serve them with preserves or jam, real maple syrup, fresh fruit, coconut whipped cream, or whatever you like, short stack or tall. To be honest, I usually stand there grazing on them as they come off the griddle, plain.

If you’re following an AIP variation, you can eat these as long as you can eat eggs. If you can’t eat eggs, I’m sorry…

This recipe makes roughly a dozen pancakes and here’s the nutritional breakdown per cake: 65 calories, 8 Grams of Carbs, 4 Grams of Fat, 1 Gram of Protein. That’s 44% carbs, 48% Fat, and 8% Protein. So as you can see, they aren’t exactly low carb, LOL. But they are delicious. And worthy as a breakfast treat. And if you look at the overall meal in the picture, with the bacon, eggs, greens & preserves,  it comes out like this:

 

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Yes, it’s kind of a big breakfast, but I also tend to eat late in the morning, and then I don’t eat lunch, so if I eat a high protein low carb dinner, it all balances out nicely. And I’m not really sticking to a Keto kind of thing right now anyway, at least not every day!

And I don’t eat them every day! If I’ve had a particularly intense workout, or if I just feel like pampering myself a little bit, they really do the trick.

 

I recommend that you triple the recipe. A single batch will blend up well, but a triple batch seems to blend up better. Eat as many as you want, then freeze the leftovers on a cookie sheet and bag them for days when you want an easy breakfast, a quick snack, a bacon & eggs sandwich, or just because you feel like having pancakes and therefore you should have them. Enjoy!

 


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Last Night’s Dinner…

My blog has sort of gotten pushed to the side over the last few weeks, due to other priorities, like updating my website (which I’m still working on), so in an effort to share Something, here are the details of last night’s dinner!

First of all, I’m a long time fan of Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken recipe. I don’t really like chicken very much. It’s not very satisfying for me, and I usually get hungry pretty quickly after eating it. I do like chicken stock though, and will occasionally make chicken salad, but most of the time if I cook chicken, I prefer chicken thighs. They are fattier, and  more satisfying. This recipe has been my favorite way to enjoy chicken for awhile now, very versatile, and really, just perfect. If you haven’t tried it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so, & I think you’ll agree. Here’s the Cracklin Chicken recipe, & I’d like to thank Michelle for her blog, books, and ipad app! So many wonderful recipes! I’ve been a fan for years now. Thank you!

The other day I picked up some thighs, planning to make that recipe, but I’ve been super busy, and it does take a certain amount of prep time, in that you have to remove the bones. Gratefully Michelle shared a new chicken recipe a few days ago, an asian inspired variation on Cracklin Chicken, Cantonese Crispy Chicken Thighs! One of my family members has a Shroom phobia, so I left out the Shiitake Mushrooms (reluctantly), and due to the extreme heat in St. Louis, all of my cilantro is gone (until more comes up), but I have plenty of shallots, garlic, and scallions from my garden, so that was close enough! The chicken is crispy and wonderful, the pan juices rich & satisfying. Thank you Michelle for another wonderful recipe!  In a minute I’m going to eat the leftovers for lunch. Here’s the link.

img_3394I originally planned to serve this chicken over cauli fried rice, but then I realized I was out of cauliflower.

Improvisation is what I do, and so I made a simple cabbage sauté instead.

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Simple Cabbage Saute

Cut a cabbage in half, core and thinly slice half of it. Put the rest in the frig for next time.

Heat some good fat in your skillet, slice up 3 or 4 slices of bacon. Saute until crispy, then remove from the skillet.

Add the cabbage to the skillet, stir it around to coat with fat, cover and cook, stirring frequently,  until it starts getting tender. Remove lid, toss in some grated ginger & minced garlic and continue stirring, allowing excess moisture to evaporate.  If you’re out of fresh garlic & Ginger, you can use powdered, although it won’t be nearly as good.

Toss in a handful of Scallions (I use Egyptian Walking Onions), and season with fish sauce and toasted sesame oil to taste. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and enjoy!

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The Wonderful Burden of Being Me: Creating Order amidst the Chaos…

I have, in some ways, a storybook life, where I mostly get to do whatever I want all day. I play my Harps & keyboards, sing, compose, workout, garden, make & eat awesome food, write, etc. It’s all wonderful, and although I don’t always have a lot of money, I manage to make ends meet and I am immensely grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that I am yet to be. My life is awesome.

Terri & Puppy

Then there is little terri. little terri is my inner child. She looks innocent enough, but in reality she’s a crazy 4 year old, who wants what she wants and wants it right now. She’s compulsive and unwilling to listen to reason.     She’s smart, precocious, and prone to Obsessions, with her current obsession being “The Wheel of Time”, a series of high fantasy books by Robert Jordan, 15 books in all!  We, and by We, I’m referring to the Me, Myself, and I known as Terri HarpLady, little terri, and Ms. Theresa (my personal inner Secretary/Office Manager/Parent), started reading the books back in July and are currently on book 8, The Path of Daggers. It’s a wonderful series, and we can’t put it down! This means I’m not sleeping enough, or doing many of the things I need to do to keep my life flowing in a manageable way, and luckily, I don’t really have a lot going on right now, or I’d be in trouble!

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Here’s another view of little terri, drawn by my Tea Sister Sil

little terri is somewhat unruly, but she is also filled with joy, wonder, playfulness, & adventure. She likes to lock Ms. Theresa in a closet somewhere in the recesses of my mind, because Ms. T is kind of bossy, and not really very much fun. Ms. T likes to organize things & create systems, dreams of creating a beautiful orderly life for us, and when she finally picked the lock and broke out of the closet, she took one look around and screamed! Here’s what our office looks like, or at least half of it.

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This panoramic view is primarily focused on our desk, which is where much of the mess lies. Granted, even when things are neater, it’s really a mix of chaos & order. We have a special system, designed especially for us, by Ms. Theresa, which includes elements of various other systems. Years ago Ms Theresa read a book, “The Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” by Pam Brace & Peggy Jones. That book formed the cornerstone of her ongoing attempts to create order in Our lives, and her efforts continue to this day, pulling elements from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey,   “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, “The Passion Planner” by Angelia Trinidad (The best calendar ever, and yes, you need one!), and even the 12 Steps of NA.

Here is the card file, the same one I purchased back in 1983, as recommended by Pam & Peggy (known by some as the “Slob Sisters”). It’s filled with a variety of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and yearly tasks, each written on 3X5 cards. IMG_3336 Each day has it’s tasks, and when I actually complete each card, most of which take very little time to do, then I’ve accomplished something! Clearing off my Desk, for example, is a weekly task, meant to be done on Tuesdays, but today is Wednesday, and as you can see, I didn’t do all the Tuesday jobs yesterday. Not because they were difficult, but because I did other things, including playing a gig, teaching a few students, and then spent the rest of the day reading. Luckily, this system is kind of flexible. Although for me, that can also be it’s downfall, LOL.

Thanks to this card system, I’ve realized that I work best in cycles, and although I’m chronically right brained, my alter ego Ms. Theresa, has developed certain left brain tendencies that have helped expand upon this system. Each day of the week has a special quality to it, that instills a sense of order into my meandering life, and helps me to focus on the tasks at hand.

Maintenance Mondays consist of a few hours of concentrated housework, with all members of the house participating. The kitchen always gets cleaned, and especially on the first Monday of the month, which focuses on the first floor, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mondays being dedicated to the 2nd floor, basement, and front yard. The 5th Mondays are for special projects, like the garage. Monday is also my cookup day, where I make some staples to enjoy for the rest of the week, and plan some meals. It’s all about doing those things that will help the rest of the week flow smoothly.

Techno Tuesdays are dedicated to my desk work: clean my desk, balance checkbooks, pay bills, and other ‘businessy’ kind of things. I have plans to designate each Tuesday of the month to a specific task as well, such as updating my website on the first tuesday, etc.

Writer Wednesdays – In theory, Wednesday is the day for writing my Blog, which I’m finally doing today. I’m also a songwriter, and I have a few NaNoWriMo novels that I hope to eventually move from First Draft to something more, and a few other unfinished projects.  Of course, there will also be a rotating Wednesday monthly schedule, and a part of Wednesdays is Wandering Wednesdays, my weekly errand excursion, which usually happens in the morning. Sometimes, especially in the Spring, it becomes Wild Wednesday, a full day of gardening.

Tidy up Thurs, which fits because it’s my laundry day, also rotating through personal monthly tasks, like vacuuming my bedroom, changing my sheets, straightening up my studio, etc. It is also Tie it Up Thursday, meaning finish any projects that were started earlier in the week, so I can end the week with a feeling of completion. I also get to plan my creative ideas for Friday.

Freedom Friday! Yes, Fridays are dedicated to music & creativity! Recording myself, learning how to use Logic better, playing my Harp with wild abandon. Of course, I play music most days for an hour or 2, working on orchestra parts, or special pieces for an upcoming gig or another, but Friday is for being original and just having fun.

When I don’t have gigs on the weekends, we’re talking Slackerly Saturday and/or Slackerly Sunday. Sleep in, have a late breakfast, take a hot bubble bath, and do whatever I want, which usually includes wearing PJs all day.

This is the basis for my system, although there are many other elements. Each day I try to get through all the dailies, like practicing, working out, gardening. Then I move on to the weeklies, monthlies, etc. I also have students on and off, gigs here & there, and a variety of projects I’m juggling (way too many, to be honest).

From Chaos to Creativity…more or less!

 

 

 

 


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“You’re Standing in my Cumquat!”

This post contains several links. I didn’t plan it that way, but all of a sudden, there they all are. I suggest reading the article first, and then if any of the links appeal to you, please check them out!

The title of this post is a quote from the off broadway musical, The Fantasticks! For those who have never seen it, The Fantasticks! was written in 1960 by Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt, and is the world’s longest running musical. It’s been performed in at least 67 countries, and has been translated into many, many languages. It’s story is universal.

The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, two fathers and a wall. The narrator, El Gallo, originally played by Jerry Orbach, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart, and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo’s words that “without a hurt, the heart is hollow”. (quote from the Greenville College Factory Theatre page).

Anyways, I love this show! It’s hilarious, and the music is awesome, including some classic songs: Try To Remember, They Were You and Soon It’s Gonna Rain. The only accompaniment is a piano & a harp. I’ve loved it since the first time I ever played it. I fall in love with it again every time I get the opportunity to play it (this is my 5th), which is what I’ve been doing for the last week or so with The Factory Theatre in Greenville, IL. It’s an hour drive each way, and last week I drove it every day, from Wednesday – Sunday. We’ve got 3 more performances this weekend, and then it’s on to other projects.

I utilize the drive time get caught up on a few podcasts that I enjoy, such as:

Bee the Wellness This is an Ancestral Health/Paleo podcast that touches on all things nourishing. Adam and Vanessa Lambert, coaches from my beloved Unveil Your Wellness group on Vimify , talk about all aspects of health & human potential: looking at, sifting through, and explaining the latest health related sciences;  interviewing a variety of interesting & knowledgable people; sharing their own journeys; and they also laugh a lot in the process. Vanessa, aka Nesta, is also an amazing singer/songwriter, and the opening and closing soundtracks feature her music. Here’s one of her songs

TAP to Music Podcast featuring Nick Johnson. In each episode, Nick interviews a different musician, sharing a few of their songs and talking about the things that inspire them, their creative process, and music as a part of their life. His guests come from all musical backgrounds, cultures, and styles. I love this show! Every episode inspires me!

So, I’ve gotten way off track here. The real point of this post was What’s a Kumquat?

A kumquat is basically a miniature orange, more or less, roughly the size of a large olive. They are first found in 12th century Chinese literature and have been cultivated for centuries in India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and southeast Asia.  Here is a picture of my Kumquat tree, which lives in my Sunroom during the winter months, and then enjoys being outside in the summer.

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The fruits usually begin to ripen around the HoliDaze, and then over the next couple of months I get to eat a few Kumquats a week, to add a little vitamin C & Joy into my life. You can put them in things, like a salad (veggie or fruit), or make marmalade, but most of the time I just pop one into my mouth and savor the contrast between the sweet peel & the tangy sour juices. There are also seeds, which I add to my compost bucket, because they’re rather bitter.

You can also make  Salt Preserved Kumquats, similar to preserved lemon.  This is a popular way to use Kumquats in China, resulting in a traditional home remedy for colds & sore throat. I haven’t tried doing this yet, but my kumquats are at their peak of ripeness, and I’ve had an abundant crop this year (I’ve already been eating/thinning them out since early January) so I think I’m going to give it a try!

I also have a Meyer Lemon tree & a Key Lime.  The Meyer Lemon usually produce an average of a dozen fruits per year, although this year the squirrels stole some. I enjoy using them in a variety of ways, especially salad dressings. The Key Lime is a crazy lime making machine, and although the limes are small, they are abundant, and I never seem to need much lime juice at a time anyway, so I haven’t purchased limes at the store for a long time now. All 3 trees are compact, easy to care for, and easy to move, except for the lime, which is loaded with evil thorns!

I love having my own source of citrus, and if my sunroom was bigger, I’d add a few more!

 

 


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Why Paleo?

A few days ago I turned 57. I feel fantastic. In fact, I feel better now than I’ve felt in my entire adult life. Why?

Five years ago I made a radical change in the way I ate. After years of vegetarian/vegan eating, I gradually developed a variety of health issues. No matter how ‘good’ I was, I never really felt very good: Chronic fatigue, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, poor digestion, horrible gut aches & gas, kidney issues, headaches, weird aches & pains, slow healing of cuts, and more. I kept gaining more weight each month, in spite of an austere way of eating.  I had given up sweets in my 20s, all milk products in my 30s, and yet my immune system was a wreck, with constantly returning migraines, bronchial issues & viral infections. I also lacked motivation & focus. In my 40’s I began to suspect gluten & other grains to be a problem as well.

I’ve been gardening for a long time, and as I started looking into and incorporating what I learned about permaculture, I also began to realize that no matter what I did, I couldn’t grow enough grains & beans in my Urban Garden to support my family throughout the year. So eating those things might not be sustainable for me. I also realized that all the Vegan dogma about meat vs agriculture only applies to Industrially raised meats, and doesn’t actually take Industrially raised grains into account, and on the whole, all industrially raised foods are wasting resources and destroying our land, groundwater, the economy, and lives.

Around the time I turned 50, I read a book by Charles Eisenstein called The Yoga of Eating. It’s a very interesting read that advocates learning to trust our instincts and our desires, to recover our authentic appetites, to let go of Dogma and learn to truly nourish ourselves on all levels. It’s a short book, but very thought provoking, especially if you have a history of eating disorders & self-judgement (I do). This book was a game changer for me, not just regarding food, but regarding all kinds of choices I make on a daily basis.

Yoga of Eating

Here’s a link to the book

Eisenstein asks, “What are you saying ‘yes’ to?” 

I’m saying yes to growing as much of my own food as I can, and nourishing myself, my family, and friends on simple traditional meals. I can build health in my garden by adding certain elements (like mulch & compost) that encourage biodiversity in the soil: Bacteria, fungi, and other supportive life forms that symbiotically help the plants to flourish. I can do the same thing in my gut, the soil of my body, by making and ingesting homemade cultured foods, because health really begins with a healthy gut, and a healthy gut is a microbiological miracle of symbiosis that enables your body to absorb nutrients and thrive.

I’m saying yes to a healthy local economy, animals who are allowed to do their natural animal things, whether it be grazing, pecking, or rooting, with humane lives & as little suffering as possible. Locally sourced food supports the economy, the earth, and quality control. When you buy a side of “grass fed” beef from the guy that lives outside of town, you are supporting his family & his community. He’s just another person like you. You’re also saying “yes” to a lifestyle that supports real people, living real lives, making quality choices. No middle men.

I’m saying yes to taking responsibility for my own health, the health of my little piece of Earth that is my Garden, which I call Terri’s Airy Fairie World, and this has also led me deeper into Permaculture and it’s principles. I am my own Science Fair Experiment. Counting my body as Zone 00, and using the first principle of Permaculture (Observe & Interact), I discovered that if I remove certain foods from my body, I experience excellent health. If I re-introduce those same foods (always one at a time), like clockwork old symptoms re-appear. Remove the foods that are suspect and health returns.

This process takes time. I’ve been doing this since I was in high school, when I realized that every time I ate bacon I got a 3 – 5 day migraine. This discovery initially led to my decision to no longer eat pork, and to become a vegetarian. Many years later I realized that the pork wasn’t the problem, it was the nitrates in the processed pork that caused my headaches.

This year I observed & finally accepted that all Nightshades are out for me. When all the Paleo people started saying “Potatoes are ok now!” I quickly discovered that potatoes are not ok for me. They cause major problems for my feet and hands (you can’t blame everything on gluten & dairy). Over the course of the year I’ve tested green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, chilis, tomatoes. They all cause the same problems, with varying degrees. My plantar fasciitis returns with a vengeance, my achilles tendons swell up painfully, it’s like the muscles that allow me to roll up to the ball of my foot while walking are temporarily paralyzed, so I can’t walk right, & my ankles swell and stiffen. That’s not all, and that’s just my feet. It effects my hands as well, and being a musician, I can’t have that! When I don’t eat nightshades, all of these symptoms miraculously go away. Some doctor would probably say that there is no scientific evidence to verify my claims, I’m just some crackpot hypochondriac. Whatever. My body is my verification. That’s enough for me!

The amazing part? Every body, like every fingerprint, and every snowflake, is unique. Some people can eat anything & everything. Good for them. I hold no resentments. Enjoy!

I flourish on rich meaty bowls of homemade soup loaded with well cook root veggies, greens, oniony things, and some animal protein. I eat eggs, meat & veggies from mostly local sources. I like food that is mostly Savory. Occasionally I eat something mildly sweet, like a custard, rich with gelatin, eggs, and coconut milk. I know that coconuts don’t grow anywhere near St. Louis. Tea doesn’t grow here either, and I love full leaf black teas….sigh…nobody is perfect, and we don’t have to be.

Call it Paleo, Primal, Ancestral, AIP, or whatever…

I’m saying “no thank you” to guilt, dogma, processed foods, and poor health.

If you aren’t experiencing robust health, I encourage you to be your own Science Fair experiment! You’ll be amazed by the things you learn from and about your body!

I eat well. I feel fantastic, strong, energized, creative, and I’m grateful for my health.

Here’s today’s breakfast: uncured fresh bacon, sunny side up eggs, and sautéed brussels.

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January 2016 – Week One

Dear Friends & Family,

Two Years have gone by since my last post here. Excuses 1 – 17, 33 – 39, 79 – 85, and various other random reasons, mostly not enough time in each day, trying to do way too many things, and I think you catch my drift. (Note to self – create a post with a list of excuses 🙂

How long does it take to compose a blog post?

I’ll time myself and see.

I think the hardest thing about blogging is taking the time to sit down and do it. I get all these great ideas while I’m cooking, gardening, gigging, even knitting, but then I never get around to actually sitting down and typing something.

Add to that a simple fact. If I don’t use a technology or program regularly, I forget how to use it. This also applies to driving places & various other parts of my life…basically everything except music! So, knowing that I’ll probably have to remember how to navigate Word Press doesn’t help my level of motivation, but I’m setting an intention (notice that I did NOT say New Year’s Resolution) to post more regularly this year, maybe even weekly!

2015 started and ended very busily, all good, of course! So now on to 2016, because I have a feeling this is going to be the Amazing Year of Awesomeness!!

There’s something wonderful about January (other than my birthday). I love the beginning of the year. The hub bub of December generally exhausts me (this year I played 21 xmas gigs in 24 days).  In January I look forward to Winter weather, introspection, and relative quiet. Time to sleep in, restring my harps, drink lots of tea, make big pots of soup, start planning my garden, and recuperate from the busy-ness of late Fall.

As it turns out, I’ve played 2 Gigs this week, and booked 6 more! So January may not be quite as laid back as usual. I suddenly have a music stand full of things to work on, in addition to all the projects I’ve lined up for myself this year, including:

  1. Complete the Permaculture course I signed up for last spring…the clocks a ticking! https://www.openpermaculture.com
  2. Improve my skills with Logic Pro and iMovie, and get good at recording/videoing myself
  3. Plan my best garden yet!
  4. Keep up with my Bee the Wellness Group! I’m in better shape than I was a year ago, and I want to keep it that way! If you’re interested in improving your health on all levels & exploring the Paleo way of life, the Annual Free 21 Day Transformational Challenge begins on Monday, Jan 11th. Also beginning that same day are the 21 day Unveil Your Wellness Challenge & the 21 Day Meditation Challenge. I’ll be there!! https://www.vimify.com/app/discover
  5. Continue to get better at playing Jazz.

All of these things fall under the umbrella of my main intention for this year, which is to live a fully Artistic life, feeling  Creativity flowing through me all day, every day, in all of my endeavors.

Got any intentions for 2016 that you’d like to share?

I’ll close this first post of the year with a photo of my garden in winter. It’s kind of wreck! I got super busy in the fall, and barely could find time to go out there to collect produce once a week, but in spite of my neglect, it’s been an amazingly productive garden this year, with loads of sweet potatoes, and wonderful varieties of oniony things (garlic, onions, shallots, etc), root veggies galore, greens, herbs, berries, and lots of self-seeded things. We haven’t really had any actual Winter weather in St. Louis yet, so I’m still going out there Leeks, Greens, and the occasional Root!

Happy New Year!

BTW, this took 45 minutes to write, including the uploading part, which turned out  not to be as stressful as I imagined it would be. 🙂IMG_2738