The horse's pasture to the East...

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

HILLLBILLIE HO DOWN and TURMERIC, or How I Worked to Save My Laugh

We have, for the first time since we've lived out here, challenging neighbors. They're trashy, leaving cigarette butts, cans and plastic, paper trash and junk in the yard. Their solution to keeping things tidy is to push it in to a pile and put a tarp over it. For months they left a washing machine and dryer on the front porch. There's a trailer in the front yard, a BIG trailer, with the hose used to drain the, ahem, refuse from the bathroom and kitchen running down to the drainage ditch along the front of the property. And they are living here on the preserve with us, next door.

This is the land we live on. We've been here for fifteen years keeping it clean, working on fields and fence lines, hiking out and hauling in ancient refuse from owners in the past (when ranchers and farmers dumped in to stream beds). We keep ponds healthy, cut down the trees in danger of falling across drives and paths and leave the rest alone in the forrest because there are species of insects, fungi and animals, whole eco systems that live off the downed trees. 

We have lived in true peace and have shared it with as many people as we could, inviting them to come out and walk the land or to quietly sit and listen to the wind in the grasses and trees, birds singing, owls and coyote calling. They come to meet our horses, watch the stars at night since there is more of a view here than in town where light pollution interferes. I've taken photos, painted the landscape, written stories about it and have even taken people who are at the end of their lives, on this plain, out to fulfill bucket list requests of listening to this quiet. It has been a haven for us, a true gift of peace in our lives. Neither of us have ever taken that gift lightly either. We, both, believe in caring for the land. No chemicals are ever used here. The flowers I plant are native flowers that would grow in this habitat. I do my research before I add them to the landscape. Our gardens are organic and everything has been built with the idea of esthetics, low impact on the environment and easy removal in the future. 

Actually I liked the show this music came from. It was funny, at least as long as it wasn't in my backyard. Our "neighbors" moved in with the idea that they could set up duck blinds and deer blinds to hunt, fish in the ponds, ride motor cycles and dune buggies in the fields and generally be, uuummm, a challenge for the rest of us to live next to. I spend hours every week cleaning up trash that blows in to our space and paddocks and pastures. For people who identified themselves as " We're country folk! " they sure have a different point of view of how to live on the land. 

I'm not sure how to deal with it, so I contacted the local university who owns the preserve now to let them know, very diplomatically, about some of the things that concern us. They seemed very cavalier about it, weirdly enough. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The endowment association that now owns the land is a slow moving bureaucratic entity and we are a tiny, comparatively, blip on their radar. So I am doing the clean up, taking care of the land the way I always have, and so is John. And I'm using the situation as extra incentive to work even harder to keep this place clean and tidy, to make our gardens full of more flowers and herbs and to stay away from people who party late at night and gift us with gun shots in the middle of the night. Did I remember to say challenging?

We've become more vigilant about checking for trash (not that there was any before, sigh...) and not leaving the ranch more than I have to. Twice I've come back and found evidence of someone being in our barn. One of those times there was hay in the paddock that we did not put out. My herd has a four time a day schedule with good prairie hay and are happier for it. All of them are glossy with health and one of those days I came home and they were lethargic and there was hay in the paddock that I did not put out. Things in my barn had shifted around and I am, to say the least, not a happy camper. 

I've decided to see it as an ongoing living art installation, a play in twelve parts each part being another month, until they come up on their next contract to live here. It has occurred to me that we are seeing the direct results, on a small scale, of what is happening all over the globe. A lack of education and compassion, a disconnect from the Earth, is evident in these living patterns going on in the little white house next door. When people are self medicating with alcohol or drugs and living in chaos, there is obviously deep distress. It's a terrible shame. This land has so much to offer people who take the time to listen to it. I miss all of the wonderful artists who've lived here in the past, documenting the land with paint, photography, music, sculpture and gardens. 

Time will pass and they will leave, the land will recover and our quiet will come back. The longer we're here, the more the seasons play out their stories, it becomes easier for me to simply watch and learn. Some day we will be gone too and the land will still be here,hopefully with the wild flowers we've left and the old paths still in place for someone else to discover how beautiful it is. It's going to be OK. 

With the idea in mind pf healing and patience, I'm going to write out the recipe for Golden Paste that we've started making. It's an excellent way to help with the healing of minor wounds and illness, supporting the immune system and dealing with other types of inflammation. I give it to my equines, dogs, cats and us in small doses. I always use herbs and oils in a very conservative way. 


1/2 cup turmeric powder ( preferably organic)

1 cup filtered water plus 1 cup in reserve (drink what you don't use )

1/3 cup first press virgin olive oil OR coconut oil ( preferably organic )

1/2 to 1 and 1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper (Start out conservative on the use of pepper, with the 1/2 tsp. Later you can work up to the larger amount. Pepper and oil help to activate the medicinal properties of the turmeric. )

Use a stainless steel pan and wooden spoon, turn your burner on low and begin the slow cook process. You will only be stirring for ten minutes, more than worth the effort. I love the way turmeric smells. It has a sweet, almost perfumed scent. As you stir it will begin to thicken. Add water to keep it the consistency of potato soup or thick paint. During the last minute add the coconut or olive oil and pepper, using a whisk to mix thoroughly. Turn off the heat and decant to a container. Bring to room temperature before putting a lid on. Refrigerate.

Golden Paste has a bitter taste to it by itself. It's made to be mixed in to other things such as soup, smoothies, pasta or stir fry dishes or in to your animal's grain or dinner. Use tiny amounts to begin with, less than the size of your little finger nail. This is concentrated stuff so you won't need large amounts. 

When you're cooking with it there will be a subtle perfumed smell, very nice.

You can also find turmeric essential oil on line or at stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods or your local CoOp. Be sure to use a carrier oil with it when using it (ie. olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil), no more than five drops to a tablespoon of carrier oil.

More recipes to come. I hope this helps to take you all down the path to living a healthier life and healing the earth too. 

I am, ever yours, Nancy, laughing at the way things go

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